tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN February 15, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PST
the crisis in syria. damascus goes to the u.n. isis positions are literally a few miles away from this position. >> our fred migpleitgen and an exclusive. and in mexico, the pope takes on the drug cartels, telling them, quote, merchants of death. and the bafta goes to "the revenant." >> "the revenant" wins big at the british academy film awards.
we ask what it might mean for the oscars. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and and the world. i'm george howell. "cnn newsroom" starts right now. good day to you. we begin this hour with the crisis from syria and new news from turkey. the turkish defense minister telling a state-run news agency that turkey has no intention of sending in ground troops. all of this comes as turkey brushes aside appeals to stop shelling kurdish militias in attorney syria. it says it is retaliating against the kurdish rebel group, the ypg that the u.s. considers an ally in the fight against isis. the u.s. has urged ankara to
demonstrate restraint. >> translator: the ypg will withdraw and not go close again. it will not attempt to shut that corridor ever again. it will not have delusions of using the base to attack the syrian opposition. it will evacuate that air base. >> the turkish prime minister there. so while diplomats try to reach an agreement on the details for the cessation of hostilitiehost the kremlin revealed that president obama and president putin had a frank and constructive phone conversation on sunday. mr. obama urged russia to end its air campaign. and in munich, senator john mccain accused them of using syria as a live fire exercise. >> russia has indiscriminately bombed civilians and moderate groups for months with impunity. intelligence leaders have stated
publicly that russia's intervention has stabilized the asought regime and helped it get back on the offensive. and now, as we sit here today, syrian, iranian, hezbollah and russian forces are accelerating their siege of aleppo. it is no accident that mr. putin has agreed on a cessation of hostilities when he did. >> russian airstrikes have no doubt shifted the momentum of this conflict. the syrian army says that moscow's support has helped to push back isis militants. cnn's fred pleitgen was given exclusive access to the front lines against isis and has this report from eastern syria. >> reporter: in the eastern syrian desert, on the fringe of isis's self-declared caliphate, the syrian army readies its artillery canons, tanks and armored personnel carriers have dug in. we are right on the front line
with isis. the soldiers here tell us that isis positions are literally only a few miles away from this position. the top commander tells cnn that his forces constantly clash with isis here. he didn't want to appear on camera because of syrian military rules and instead designated a civilian working with him to speak on his behalf. over there is the village, he says, it's considered to be the alternative capital of isis. the syrian military recently launched a major offensive in the north of the country, winning back some territory but also causing tens of thousands to flee towards the turkish border. the u.s. says syrian forces mostly combat moderate rebels and put very little effort into fighting isis. but the troops here say that is not true. for three months now, isis has not been advancing, he says. they've only been retreating.
and assad's army acknowledges that russian air power has had a big impact. everything is much better since our russian friends came in, he says. they gave us the capability to conduct preemptive strikes and also aerial surveillance to warn us in advance about isis attacks. and they vowed to continue their push eastward, deeper into isis heartland. the commanders here say that they are on the move forward, and one of their predictions is that if nothing else goes wrong, they think they can be in raqqah by the end of the year. but they still are far away from achieving that goal. and in the past, isis has shown it can rebound after being pushed back. fred plight again, cnn, eastern syria. back now in the united
states and the race for the white house, the rhetoric is getting more heated among politicians after the death of supreme court justice antonin scalia. president obama has every intention, he says, of naming a replacement to the court. that is despite republican vows to dough lay or even to block outright that nominee. but it won't happen this coming week. the u.s. senate, which must approve the nominee, is in recess. the white house says the president will announce his selection when senators return from recess. fair to say, mr. obama faces an uphill battle with this. brian nobles explains what's at stake. >> reporter: a moment of silence for justice antonin scalia. it did not take long for the death of supreme court justice antonin scalia to get political in the debate. >> i think it's up to mitch mcconnell and everybody else to stop it. it's called delay, delay, delay. >> reporter: one by one, the
candidates paid homage to the conservative lion. >> there's no doubt in my mind that barack obama will not have a consensus pick when he submits that person to the senate. >> reporter: but president obama is pushing forward, promising to nominate someone quickly, and warning senate republicans to not play politics with the court. >> there will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. these are responsibilities that i take seriously, as should everyone. >> reporter: senate majority leader mitch mcconnell called on the president to wait and leave the decision in the quote, hands of the voters, and the winner of the race for the white house. rank and file republicans, like lindsey graham said any obama nominee will have a tough time being confirmed. >> the practical consequence is that no one will be appointed that's not a consensus choice. >> reporter: and as the president and senate leader squabble, it will be against a
divisive election. >> elections have consequences. >> reporter: hillary clinton rushed to support obama's right to pick the nominee and pushed the senate to confirm. >> it is outrageous that republicans in the senate and on the campaign trail have already pledged to block any replacement that president obama nominates. >> reporter: the republican candidates vowed to stand in the way, and once elected nominate a conservative in the mold of scalia. >> one of the most important judgments for the men and women of south carolina to make is who on this stage. [ bell ] has the background, the principle, the judgment and the strength of resolve to nominate and confirm principled the conservatives to the court. >> reporter: setting the stage for a rocky few months in washington with the supreme court and the white house in the balance. >> no one is declaring victory in the republican debate that
happened this saturday. but the real winner might be the network cbs which carried that debate. a whopping 13.5 million viewers tuned in. easily defeating the democratic debate. republicans are upset about the void on the court left by the death of scalia. two running for president are not mincing words when it comes to delaying approval of anyone president obama nominating. marco rubio spoke to cnn's dana bash. >> reporter: you talked about what kind of nominee you would be okay with. one name that has been floated for the supreme court for president obama to nominate is district court judge sri i have
vausen. why not support him? >> there's a different cry tire yeah, there's a heightened level of scrutiny. the next president will have a chance to appoint somebody. and when i'm president of the united states, i'm going to look for someone like justice scalia. >> joining us now is ron brownstein. good to have you with us. so president obama has indicated that he will nominate someone to fill that vacancy in the supreme court, but the question is, will the senate even prevent a vote from coming to the floor to confirm? >> so far, that is the indication from republicans, that they will essentially have a blockade against any nominee that the president puts forward. now that is, of course, a starting position, and we will see how the politics unfolds. in particular, there are seven republican senators defending
states that have voted for president obama, and we will see whether they will hold to that position over time as the public reacts to this idea. but in the initial response, they are basically saying they will try to hold out until the next president. almost an unprecedented declaration. >> for our viewers around the world, just explain the balance, justice scalia, how significant, how important was he in the balance of the supreme court? and with this vacancy, what are the stakes? what's at stake now? >> it's enormous. really could not be more important. the supreme court, like other institutions in american political life has become more polarized. and we have had a number of cases. most famously gore versus bush in 2000, but many others in which the five republican-appointed supreme court justices voted together against the four democratic supreme court justices. and that is the key here if president obama could nominate and confirm a fifth democratic appointed justice, given the
kind of trends we have seen with the occasional exception like the gay marriage decision where kennedy goes the other way, we would see the first democratic liberal majority on the supreme court since the 1970s, and that sh why republicans are drawing such a hard-line here, trying to hold out against that possibility and hoping to recapture the white house in november 2016. >> i know you saw that republican debate, and i'm sure you saw that moment when donald trump, all of the candidates, really, but donald trump pointed out, he said delay, delay, delay. explain to our viewers, the concept of the thurman rule. >> it isn't a literal rule. it applies to the idea that the senate will slow walk or move very deliberately on any nominees, not only to the supreme court but to the appellate courts for the president in his final year. there are precedents on both sides. in 1940, franklin roosevelt
nominated a candidate and was approved very quickly. kennedy was confirmed by the senate in 1988 in february of 1988. confirmed umsly. on the other hand, when president johnson tried to elevate a justice, abe fortis to become chief justice, the democratic-controlled senate balked at that. there really isn't a precedent here for what republicans are saying, where they would refuse to even consider a nominee. even if they consider the nominee, they might vote it down, but i don't think you can look back over the last century and say the senate has blanketly refused to even contemplate the possibility of the president getting a many no nation. >> ron brownstein, cnn political analyst. thank you. >> thank you. extraordinary moment.
>> it is, indeed. for more on the fight over scalia's replacement, you can visit our website at cnn.com. you're watching "cnn newsroom." still ahead, japan's economy is shrinking again. we look at the latest gdp numbers and how global investors are responding to it. plus, a. >> former israeli prime minister denies any wrongdoing while he goes to serve prison time. stay with us. start with a positive attitude... and positively radiant skin. aveeno® positively radiant moisturizer... with active naturals® soy. aveeno® naturally beautiful results®.
welcome back to "cnn newsroom." i'm george howell. japan's economy shrank more than expected in the final quarter of last year. the gdp fell 1.4% as consumer spending dropped, adding to fears of a global slow down. despite that news, japan's stocks surged at monday's open. china's shares slumped on the return from a week-long lunar new year holiday. we have more on the numbers. good to have you. let's start with china. all eyes were on the shanghai composite which closed down at .63%. what were the take aways today?
>> reporter: we were poised at the open, george, to see how far down that market was going to open because actually things had been shut down for a week for the lunar new year holiday. this was the first chance to see how shanghai stocks and china and the sentiment about china, how investors would respond to the big stock market selloff last week. so at the open, the shanghai was down 2.8%. now we've ended the session down a lot less than that, down 0.6% or so. so really narrowing those losses over the trading day. and the figures from china were pretty miserable and underlying the feeling about the chinese economy and its weakness. you would have thought the result would be even worse, but a narrowing of the losses that we saw earlier. all of this in the wake of an interview conducted over the weekend with the central bank governor. and in comments, people were really watching for what they
were going to say about foreign reserves in china which have sunk to their lowest level in 2012. what happens when we're talking about foreign reserve, they've been selling dollars to bayuy buy yuan, an important sign of how people are feeling about the economy and robustness. it was important that investors were saying that sort of thing isn't sustainable over time. how can you do it. normally, we don't get comments from the central bank. you can see it is normal for foreign reserves to rise and fall as lon as the fundamentals face no problems. so again, no one really changing their feelings over the chinese economy. they have between 6.5% and 7% growth. this is just the first trade number. and there are going to be other revisions and estimates and other indicators that we will have to watch as time goes on. so really, the take away on the chinese market is yes, the market is down, but it could
have been a lot worse. >> i'm looking there at the nikkei, and it was up 7%. so let's talk about, you know, trading in japan. we had this news that the economy shrank in the final quarter of last year. so the big question, what are we to know of abenomics? >> we >> reporter: well, many people are asking that question. there are going to be lots of editorials, what are they thinking of abenomics? not a whole deal. especially when you have an economy down. the thing with this kind of data is this is a preliminary estimate and we can expect revisions by early march. but if you break down the numbers, we have seen the drop in the consumtsing level, the amount that people are spending in japan, and this has always been a big concern, getting money moving. now one of the ways that the central bank has been trying to achieve that is negative interest rates, which effectively means it costs you
money to, it costs you money to keep your money parked. you want to get it moving. banks need to be lending to people, to companies. so you might be asking, well, that number on gdp, how come the market surged? we saw the 11% drop in the nikkei last week. and then we've seen a regional bounce back with the hang seng also up and the asx up in sydney. there are high hopes about what's happening outside the country, what's happening outside asia. we had a positive close on wall street with a late rally on friday. people will be keening an eping on, and what is happening externally, you don't have much left to help these economies. >> not a bad snapshot, considering it could have been
worse. we thank you soap f much forri with us this hour. >> ftse and the dax all making gains right now. now on to jerusalem. israeli police say two palestinians were shot and killed after think opened fire at officers outside the damascus gate in jerusalem's old city late sunday. officials told reuters, three other palestinian suspects were killed in two separate incidents the same day. violence has escalated in israel since october. the former prime minister of israel is starting his 18-month prison stint on bribery charges. he arrived at the prison about 30 minutes ago. and we go live to israel. oren liebermann has been
covering it for us. will he be mixed in with the rest of the prison population? or will there be special plans for him? >> reporter: he will be kept separately, george, in an area known as ward ten, an area recently renovated, specifically meant to keep those who have state secrets or other reasons to be kept separate from the general population, it holds a maximum of 18 people, and now with olmert, there are four people in that ward ten. we saw him arrive at the prison just about 20 or 30 minutes ago. we didn't have much of a shot of him. he got out of his car, flanked by two secret service agents. he walked to the door of the prison. that's where the two secret service eights left him, and he was turned over to the care, to the administration of the prison authority for the next 18 months. as for ward ten, he is separate, because, as you mentioned, he has state secrets, so he has to be kept, according to the prison authority, away from the general
population that has members of organized crime, so it is for state security reasons. other than that, he will be treated like any other prisoner. he's given a certain a items he is allowed to have, a tv, a desk, access to a living room, area where he can talk to his lawyers. that is normal. he will be spending 18 months. as part of the holy land affair, he could spend more time in prison. this is not the end of his lyegl problems, but he released a video saying he has done nothing wrong. here is a part of that video. >> translator: during my years of activity i also made mistakes, though i don't think they were of criminal form. for others i am paying an expensive pen a a-- penalty. >> he has 18 months in prison and possibly more.
18-month sentence on bribery charges. olmert is the first former israeli prime minister to go to prison. republicans in the u.s. senate are concerned about the vehic vacancy in the supreme court following the death of antonin scalia. president obama says he will name a nominee when the senate returns from recess. the turkish defense minister says turkey has no intention of sending ground troops into syria. he made that announcement while denying reports that turkish soldiers entered the neighboring country over the weekend. all of this comes as turkey brushes aside appeals to stop in syria. diplomats are trying to hammer out the details for a cease-fire for syria. nic robertson reports a phone
call between president obama and putin underscored a sticking point in these peace talks -- russian airstrikes. >> reporter: for that phone call for president putin and president obama reflects concerns here in munich. the kremlin focussing on one aspect and the white house focusing on another. they said it was important to work together to fight terrorists, but it's the definition of terrorist that's at issue here. the kremlin seems to consider anyone who fights against assad a terrorist. the united states takes a different view, it's isis and al qaeda who are the terrorists. they said russia should stop bombing the moderate opposition. we've certainly heard from the moderate opposition that they are monitoring the situation very carefully. that they are prepared, and this is all about getting the peace talks up and running again chkts
they are prepared to get back into those peace talks if they see that russia stops the bombing. but the leader of their delegation here, a former prime minister of syria, spoke to what he saw is actually happening on the ground. russia creating facts on the ground. this is what he told the conference here in munich. >> translator: since its intervention in january of this year, i ask you that we have 58 clear massacres committed by the russian military against syrian civilians, alone, in the last ten days. the russian air force and its army have intensified and maximized their attempts to punish the syrian people for their position in demanding their rights. even before i came here today i have news that they are seeking to extend assad's rule south to
the jordanian border. >> reporter: so president obama, president putin's phone call is really to try to move towards this cessation of whose tilt that was aglidereed a couple da ago. they are supposed to be leading a task force to create the modalities to make this happen, but listening to a lot of the delegates in munich, there's a real concern here. they don't really see that the united states has the leverage over russia at this time. they say russia creating facts on the ground, russia in the position where it can push its offensive not only in aleppo but in the south of syria as well, and really it will perhaps be a lot of the delegates here, that the peace can only come when russia is essentially done what it wants to do on the ground in syria, and then maybe say it's time for peace. the united states at the moment still a big hope, that's the word from the conference here, a big hope that the peace talks
can get up and running, but a lot of people are doubting that that actually can happen. nic robertson, cnn, munich, germany. pope francis is using his visit to mexico to highlight the problems of drug violence and violence in that country. he is also meeting with the poor and enjoying some unexpected moments along the way. take a look. ♪ a patient sang for the pope on sunday during a hospital visit in mexico city. pope francis kissed the girl on the forehead and offered a blessing. at mass he urged followers not to succumb to evil. >> translator: jesus doesn't answer the delve with any proper words. he answers him with the words of the scripture. he does not answer with his own words, because brothers and sisters, you do not dialog with the devil. you cannot have a dialog with the devil, because he'll always beat us. only the strength of the word of god can defeat him.
we have chosen jesus and not the devil. >> as the pope travels through mexico, he is calling on citizens there to create their own, quote, land of opportunity, and he's taking his missage to some of mexico's most violent cities. shasta darlington has this report. >> reporter: pope francis helicoptered into one of the most dangerous places in mexico on his second full day of his trip. a sprawling suburb outside of mexico city, notorious for poverty and violence. in fact, the pontiff's decision to visit ruffled more than a few official feathers. of course it thrilled the hundreds of thousands who lined the p the papal route hoping to get a glimpse of the pope. he lashed out at what he called the temptations of wealth, fame and power. and he was even more direct. he called on mexicans to try and create a land of opportunity
instead of a country where young people are destroyed. take a listen to this. >> translator: i want to invite you today, again, to be on the front line, to be the first in all the initiatives which help make this blessed land of mexico a land of opportunities, where there will be no need to emigrate in order to dream. no need to be exploited in order to work. >> reporter: back in mexico city, he visited a children's hospital. many of the patients suffering from cancer. there were some tender moments, for example, when he gave one boy the rosary and asked him to pray for him. ♪ another girl sang ave maria. on monday, he's off to chiapas, mexico's poorest state, also the main entry point for central american immigrants trying to reach the united states.
cnn, mexico city. the pope's monday schedule puts him in chiapas, where he is expected to spend the day focussing on the indigenous people. it is one of the poorest areas of mexico, but still a lot of work and preparation went into this visit, and the expectations and the hope for change are evident. >> reporter: putting on the finishing touches in the poorest state in the mexican federation. preparations are under way for the pope's arrival to the colonial city. a city that some believe the mexican government would prefer to keep out of the spotlight. the fact that he's coming to chiapas is a very important and historical sign, because it is here where a bishop was. one of the most important theologians who chose the poor, the marginalized. >> reporter: with the pope set to arrive later today, security has been stepped up.
federal police and soldiers on duty at key venues in the city, and there is excitement in the air. >> translator: we're full of hope, full of joy, full of faith, because he's coming. i think it's a new inspiration for mexico, which is a little sad and depressed. we've been through a lot of sad and economic issues recently. i hope that pope francis's visit to our country will leave us with a new hope. >> reporter: esperanza, hope, in a state where a little more than 76% of the population live in poverty. even as work continues to spruce-up the city's picturesque 17th century cathedral, the pope has chosen to celebrate mass with some of the poorest indigenous population. two decades ago, an insurgency highlighted the plight of the region's impoverished mayan
indians. the guns are silent today, but the age-old issues of development, poverty and discrimination remain. they are hoping that the pope's visit will shine further light on the realities in chiapas. for others, they just want a chance to be part of this historic visit. >> the pope is also expected to return to the vatican on thursday after his last stop, a visit to a prison there is also on his agenda. you're watching "cnn newsroom." still ahead, record cold is moving across the eastern united states. coming up, you'll see the effects of that and find out just how low the temperatures could go. plus, why a utah teenager saved his money for a year and a half to make a very grand gesture at his school. wiback like it could used to? neutrogena hydro boost water gel. with hyaluronic acid it plumps skin cells with intense hydration and locks it in. for supple, hydrated skin. hydro boost.
gripping many parts of the u.s. this video you see is from boston, massachusetts and shows sea smoke drifting over the water. that is fog that is formed when very cold air moves over warmer water. boston hit a record low, negative 9 degrees on sunday. and now a look at chicago. it was so cold in the windy city, you see these chunks of ice floating around in lake michigan. let's turn to pedram javaheri. it looks cold! >> yeah, it's pretty much as cold as it gets for parts of the country. the coldest valentine's day in 100 years time when it comes to new york city in particular. and about two dozen records were set across this region of the northeast and typically the coldest air of the region is locked back in toward the midwestern parts of the united states. but it locked in for the most densely part of the region. temperatures dipped below zero in the first term of president
clinton being in office in january of 1994. boston, coldest boston has seen since the 1950s, and even as cold as 18 below in western new york. you take a look at a town like watertown, new york. travel some 2,500 miles to the north, the town of alert, alaska, the northerly-most town that is populated year round in the world, sits there at the 82 latitude mark. it was warmer there, and they haven't seen sunlight since october. warmer there than down towards portions of new yorkity s itsta. scott kelly, aboard the iss, astronaut there from nasa showing us a photograph from space looking down toward the northeastern united states, all the clouds offshore with the brutal cold air that was in place. you notice a little dusting of snow back towards areas in that region. but a dramatic change in the
forecast. temps not only warm up above freezing but up to about 54 degrees fahrenheit. in just a couple of days from the zero temperatures they were observing. we do have another winter weather maker back behind this, about 70 million people dealing with winter storm warnings in place and light snowshowers generally a theme here. doesn't look like much here in the way of heavy snow, but it will snow across washington, philadelphia and new york. just a couple of inches, not going to hurt as much at 20 below zero they saw in spots of this region. >> 20 below zero. i think i'll pass on that. thank you so much. sunday marked valentine's day around the world in many places, and many people took that opportunity to celebrate their love. take a look at this massive light rose garden in hong kong. it served as the picturesque backdrop for couples taking
friends and passed them out. >> everybody was holding a flower. i thought that was so cool. >> reporter: impressive, right? especially when you consider it cost this student nearly $500 to pull off. caden works here at lee's marketplace as a bagger. he's been saving all of his money to buy those flowers, and you can bet there is no way he could have done that with just one paycheck. >> there's no way. there's no way. >> reporter: steve hogan knows. he's caden's boss. >> it takes one with real heart. >> reporter: you might they he's the luckiest guy in school, 800 girls with flowers, 800 potential dates with this big man on campus, except -- >> i already have a girlfriend. >> it's really sweet for him to do this, to watch every single one of those girls walk out of school with a big smile on their face. makes me very happy and very proud of him. >> now that guy is a class act.
good on him. next here on "cnn newsroom," we take you to london. a look at the red carpet, at britain's biggest night in film, the bafta awards. find out which film swept the top prizes as "cnn newsroom" rolls on. start with a positive attitude... and positively radiant skin. aveeno® positively radiant moisturizer... with active naturals® soy. aveeno® naturally beautiful results®.
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okay. so the oscars are just two weeks away, and the r"the revenant" my be the movie to beat. the 19th century american wilderness epic won five cat go -- cat gorys. alejandro enritto also won. the brie larson won for "room". and kate winslet won for best supporting actress in the movie about steve jobs. so let's talk about the baftas. were there any big surprises, good or bad in your view?
>> reporter: there's no doubt at all, a lot of it was predicted. but "the revenant's" night it most certainly was, as you've just said. best picture. it was challenged by "spotlight", which, of course, was a flawless movie about a journalistic expose about priests in boston. it was the fact that "the revenant" was on such a broad canvas that it was so fascinating, so atmospheric. that's what swung it, and the director directed a movie on an epic sweep, and this was dicaprio's evening. no question, he was always going to win, and he did win. and this means that the oscars is very, very likely remembering the rev nants's ability to be
only the fourth western picked. >> who might have been snubbed at the baftas? >> well, "carol" did very badly. a mix of so many different themes. we had three movies. "carol", "brooklyn", the "bridge of spies". we had several movies dealing with sexuality, and what i think people were looking at in this ceremony was the various other movies, each one of them in different categories only got a single award, brie larson for "room", a wonderful performance as a mother who had been kidnapped. and i think again at the oscars, she is likely to be a certain t kate winslet was up against tough competition in "carol."
and the steve jobs movie was a wonderful movie, but didn't do well at the box office. i suspect elba might win in the "beasts of the nation." but equal diversity is a problem, there's no doubt about it. black british actor john boyega won the rising star award, and deserved to. and there was a documentary about amy winehouse, but there's no doubt there is a conversation that will be taking place here on getting greater diversity in the future years. >> and i want to talk, just a bit more, on that, this concept of diversity. obviously, it's quite the controversy. we spoke with several actors and actresses about it there at the baftas, but can the oscars learn
anything from the baftas about diversity? >> i think that they most certainly can, because obviously, the oscars for two years had, as we know from the oscars so white controversy still raging, an all-white nominee list for the best actors. now the baftas have, as i mentioned, a long way to go on this. the oscars have announced a radical program, which will be enforced by 2020. and it will be a challenge, but it's one that they must meet, because you can't have an awards ceremony from an institution which is 90% white, 77% male and average age 62. the baftas are looking at their membership, looking at how they can change, and it's a question of opportunity, a question of the right stories, and a question of the depth of the various roles. we know the talent is there. >> thank you.