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Jury: 96 Liverpool Fans Unlawfully Killed; Voters Cast Ballots In Five Northeastern States; Bangladeshi Bloggers Living In Exile Out Of Fear;

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Five Northeastern States; Bangladeshi Bloggers Living In Exile Out Of Fear;

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families, friends of the 96 who died, plus many, many more, the result they

had fought for, for more than a quarter of a century. Liverpool football

fans exonerated. Instead, an inquest jury finding the victims unlawfully

killed. Hillsborough soccer deaths ruled unlawful. US fighter jets land in

Romania. US campaign trail latest. Racist postings by San Francisco police

officer examined.>

Police; Military; Romania; Elections; Politics; San Francisco; Race

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLINES)

[15:00:17] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live at CNN London. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

The 96 Liverpool football fans crushed to death at Hillsborough Stadium, a disaster in 1989, still very traumatic in this country and remains Britain's worst sporting tragedy.

There was a very long battle for truth, and it was only covered up by lies until now. Today, a jury found that the police and not the fans at all were at fault. Here's Phil Black.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the day that hope finally gave way to justice. For families, friends of the 96 who died, plus many, many more, the result they had fought for, for more than a quarter of a century.

Liverpool football fans exonerated. Instead, an inquest jury finding the victims unlawfully killed. Brenda, Debbie, and Diane lost their brother, Brian.

BRENDA MATTHEWS, LOST BROTHER BRIAN: I just felt elated, like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders, after 27 long years. Just trying to get justice, for our brother, brain.

DIANNE MATTHEWS, LOST BROTHER BRIAN: Today has been a victory and I think, you know, we can go home and maybe have a good night's sleep after 27 years.

BLACK: Margaret Aspinall lost her 18-year-old son, James.

MARGARET ASPINALL, LOST SON JAMES: Idon't mind truth, and I don't mind justice, and I don't mind the words, but give me the truth on my son's death certificate. And people said, you've had the truth. A lot of people will say, then, you've had the truth. No, we knew we never had the truth and we've proved now, I can get my son's death certificate with the right verdict.

BLACK: The man in charge of the policing operation for the match, Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield of South Yorkshire Police was found responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence. He could now face criminal proceedings.

He admitted to the inquest he had lied when he blamed Liverpool fans for causing the crash. The man in charge of South Yorkshire Police today admitted his predecessors had got it catastrophically wrong.

DAVID CROMPSON, SOUTH YORKSHIRE POLICE: The force failed the victims and failed their families. Today, as I have said before, I want to apologize unreservedly to the families and those affected.

BLACK: British Prime Minister David Cameron in a tweet called it a landmark day, which had brought long overdue justice. England football captain, Wayne Rooney, whose hometown is Liverpool, tweeted, "At last justice for the 96 and their families. Well done to all who never gave up."

In Liverpool itself, a candle for each of the 96 beneath banners bearing their names. And slowly, the two words people here had been waiting for, truth and justice.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well, Phil Black joins me now from Liverpool and "World Sports'" Don Riddell is at the CNN Center in Atlanta. So Phil, let me start by asking you what's next? Could we see some criminal cases emerge from all of this?

BLACK: Hala, there are two ongoing criminal investigations here, separate investigations. One led by the police, "Operation Resolve" is looking at the event leading up to and during the disaster itself.

A second is being run by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It's looking at the aftermath, or essentially, the alleged attempt by police to cover-up and hide their failings on that day.

Both investigations say that they should be finished around the end of this year, at which point it becomes the job of the Crown Prosecution Service to then determine if there is the evidence, if there is the public interest in bringing people before the courts.

[15:05:05]GORANI: All right, Phil Black, thanks very much. Let's get to Don Riddell at CNN Center. And I want you to explain to our international viewers, for whom Hillsborough is not necessarily a household word, but it truly is in the U.K. Explain how traumatic it's been for this country to have to deal with its aftermath.

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Well, it's interesting you phrased the question that way, Hala, but you're absolutely right to do so. This tragedy goes way beyond the 96 individuals who lost their lives and all the people who were traumatized as a result of what happened that day and those people range into the hundreds, incidentally.

But, yes, hugely significant moment for the country of Britain, because for so long, the suspicion has been that the police were responsible for what happened on that day, and the fact that the judicial process never found them responsible until 27 years later is a real problem in a democracy.

How on earth do you have any faith in the police service, when many, many people knew that this had happened? And so that, I think, is a key question that many people are going to be finally coming to terms with today.

But so many things have changed, as a result of Hillsborough. Football, for example, in England is completely different. It's unrecognizable and that is largely as a result of what happened on that day. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL (voice-over): The premiere league is promoted as the best football league in the world. Every week, its games are broadcast all over the globe, taking viewers inside England's state of the art stadiums.

But 27 years ago, it was a very different story. Stadiums were decrepit. Many fans stood. The scourge of hooligans meant that rival supporters were kept apart by fencing. They were penned in on all sides.

PHIL SCRATON, AUTHOR, "HILLSBOROUGH, THE TRUTH": The conditions of the stadium, we took them for granted. We would cheer when people were handed down, who had fainted and they were handed down to the front and passed over to the ambulance people. We cheered, because it was just part of the way it was.

RIDDELL: But in 1989, one game changed everything. It was April the 15th, the semi-final of the FA Cup between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. More than 50,000 fans of both teams had traveled to a neutral venue in Sheffield, Hillsborough Stadium.

Usually fans accessed the stadium one at a time, but a crush outside prompted the local police in charge of crowd safety to open a large exit gate. In that instant, some 2,000 fans streamed down a tunnel into a section behind the goal, an enclosed section that was already too full.

And then, as the game kicked off, in full view of the stadium and the live television cameras, hundreds of people were crushed.

WENDY WHILE, HILLSBOROUGH SURVIVOR: I felt it was like you imagine how to be where people are dying, people are dead. Other people don't know what to do.

RIDDELL: The game was stopped after just 6 minutes. Back in the dressing room, Liverpool's manager tried to counsel his players.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden a fan came in, with tears in his eyes, shouting, there's ten people dead. What do you mean? He says, it's like a war zone over there.

RIDDELL: Hundreds of people had been injured, and for 96 Liverpool fans, those injuries proved fatal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you can see them pressed up against the fence, for them to get the air sucked out of them like that must be the most horrific way to go.

RIDDELL: It was an unspeakable nightmare, and one that would only get worse. As the disaster was still unfolding, police pinned the blame on the fans, saying they had arrived late, drunk, and without tickets.

SCRATON: People initially were stunned that the truth could be so quickly fabricated. And within days, they were being held responsible for the deaths of their loved ones or their friends. So it hit people at their most traumatized, and I think that it united the city and the region immediately around a search for what they considered to be the real truth.

RIDDELL: Professor Phil Scraton himself was a Liverpool fan, and he worked doggedly to uncover the real truth. What he found was a shocking cover-up at official levels.

SCRATON: What I'm illustrating in these two statements is where they overlap, word for word.

RIDDELL: But his dedicated research and the fan's tireless campaigning took decades to force the British establishment to change the narrative. Finally, the longest running inquest in British legal history determined the real story.

[15:10:01]The whole world now knows what the victims' families and survivors have known all along. It was never their fault.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RIDDELL: There are remarkable scenes on the courthouse steps in Warrington earlier this Tuesday. A triumphant day for these campaigners, who have been fighting so long to finally get to the bottom of what actually happened on April the 15th, 1989.

I would resist the urge to call it a joyous day. Some of the families, Hala, have described how their emotions are very confused today, because of course at the heart of all of this remains the tragedy from 27 years ago.

These people have been trying to grieve in public all of this time, but because of the very public nature of the disaster and the campaign since, it's been very hard to grieve properly. So a very difficult day for them, even though they've got the verdict they wanted.

GORANI: Hopefully some sort of closure for them. Don, thanks very much. We'll have more on this tomorrow. The CNN documentary, "Hillsborough: They'll Never Walk Alone" debuts in our slot tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Central European Time on CNN.

Well, back to U.S. politics and they are hoping for a clean sweep and may very well get it. But even if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton win big in today's Super Tuesday contests, it's all but certain that the race will go on.

We're waiting for the polls to close in five northeastern states holding primaries right now. In a sign of Clinton's confidence, she's not even in one of those five states.

She's already moved on, campaigning in Indiana, a state that votes next week. The Democratic presidential frontrunner wants to shake Bernie Sanders off once and for all, but he says he is not going anywhere.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, it's a narrow, it's a narrow path, but we do have a path. And the idea that we should not contest in California or a larger state, let the people of California determine what the agenda of the Democratic Party is and who the candidate for president should be is pretty crazy. So we're in this to the end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Bernie Sanders there. I'll be speaking with one of his supporters a little bit later in the program.

Now, the Republican candidates are laying low as they wait for the polls to close in just a few hours. Let's get a check on the voting now. Brian Todd is at a polling station in Baltimore, Maryland right now. It looks pretty quiet behind you, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, it's a little bit quiet because we're in the pre-rush hour lull period here in Baltimore and North Baltimore. This is the Mt. Washington Lower School just north of Baltimore City.

Again, we had a heavy turnout here earlier today. Lines out the door. But, again, we're not quite at the rush hour yet, so a little bit of a lull here. But it's been steady.

And what one of the big stories here is, earlier voter turnout. They had early voting opportunities between April 14th and April 21st here in Maryland. And they had a record turnout.

Hundreds of thousands of people on both sides turned out to vote in early voting. So very, very galvanized voting public here in Maryland. You mentioned Hillary Clinton wanting to shake off Bernie Sanders, and you mentioned she probably won't do it after today.

But she can certainly put real distance between herself and Sanders. She is expected to do very well in these five northeastern states especially here in Maryland.

Her strongholds are here in Baltimore and in two counties bordering Washington, D.C., Montgomery County and Prince George's County. Real strongholds for Hillary Clinton, heavily populated areas.

She was projected to do very well, at least in our sample polling of people leaving the polls here. She is doing very well. Probably two-thirds of the voters we sampled said they were supporting Hillary Clinton today, Hala.

So she is, she is, at least so far here in Maryland, in the Baltimore area, having a very strong showing.

GORANI: And for the Republicans, of course, we were reporting yesterday about the Cruz/Kasich deal to try to block Trump. What is the expectation for Trump in the five states voting today?

TODD: Well, Trump is expected to do very well. He, again, is ahead in the polls in most if not all of these five northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. This is his stronghold here in Maryland, especially in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

He's got a strong base of Republican support. Now, we have to say, Maryland is a very, very Democratic state. In almost 80 voters we sampled leaving here, the vast majority of them are Democrats.

Trump only had a handful of votes, but among republicans, he is expected to do very well. What's interesting here in Maryland, Hala, is that the sitting governor of Maryland, a Republican named Larry Hogan, who even in a very heavily Democratic state is a good enough political operative to get himself elected as a Republican.

He did that two years ago. He says he is not supporting Donald Trump. Larry Hogan had endorsed Chris Christie, and he is not yet ready to endorse Ted Cruz or John Kasich.

But what he has done is come out and said, he does not support Donald Trump, does not want Donald Trump to be the nominee.

[15:15:01]So you've got the sitting governor of Maryland here, a Republican, coming out against Donald Trump. But will that make a huge difference? Maybe not. Donald Trump has been ahead in most polls here.

GORANI: Right. Thank you very much, Brian Todd, in Baltimore, Maryland, at a polling station. Super Tuesday number four today. We'll have special coverage a little bit later as well.

Still to come, this man's brutal murder in Bangladesh is just the latest in a wave of attacks by extremists. CNN speaks exclusively to activists who now live in exile.

And Apple investors are not used to hearing bad news, but it appears they might get some today when the company reports results. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Well, let's talk about Bangladesh now. In an exclusive report coming up that stretches from the capital of Dhaka all the way to Germany.

An al Qaeda affiliate is saying that it has responsible for two brutal killings of two men Monday. The latest, just the latest, in a series of attacks targeting minorities, activists, atheists, you name it.

Ivan Watson has gained access to some of those who have had to flee the country in fear.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 25- year-old atheist blogger, Ananya Azad (ph) fled his home in Bangladesh last year.

(on camera): Good to meet you. How are you?

(voice-over): Soon after arriving here in Germany, he says he ended up on the top of this hit list published by Islamist extremists.

(on camera): This is the ISIS flag here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

WATSON: It says we do not forget, we do not forgive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

WATSON (voice-over): These online threats are not virtual reality. In the capital of Bangladesh attackers with machetes have murdered at least six atheist bloggers and secular publishers over the last 14 months.

Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent claimed responsibility for the most recent murder, citing the victim's Facebook posts as justification for the killing.

Among the dozens of atheists who have now fled Bangladesh, Azad and two other online activists, all exiles in Germany.

(on camera): What do you write about?

ANANYA AZAD, BLOGGER: I wrote -- I criticized the Islamic militants. I criticized our government.

WATSON (voice-over): Azad knows firsthand the dangers of angering extremists.

AZAD: In 2004 my father was attacked by Islamic militants.

WATSON (on camera): This is your father covered in blood.

AZAD: Yes.

WATSON (voice-over): His father, Huma Yun (ph), a famous atheist writer, died soon after. Even though he continues to receive daily death threats, Azad says he won't stop publicly criticizing Islamist extremism, in part to honor his father.

Atheist blogger, Asif Mohiuddin (ph), still goes live on Facebook even though in 2013, he was ambushed on his way to work in Bangladesh.

[15:20:02]ASIF MOHIUDDIN, BLOGGER: Three people came from behind and started -- they tried to cut my head from my neck.

WATSON (on camera): They were using what weapons?

MOHIUDDIN: Like big machete.

WATSON (voice-over): He barely survived. Just three months later, Bangladeshi authorities shut down Mohiuddin's blog and sent him to jail.

MOHIUDDIN: They arrested me for blasphemy.

WATSON: A top government official says atheists like Mohiuddin have no business insulting religion.

ANISUL HUQ, MINISTER FOR LAW, JUSTICE AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Reasonable criticism is acceptable. But unreasonable, abusive language is difficult to accept.

WATSON: During his three-month jail stint, Mohiuddin had a chilling encounter with another prisoner.

MOHIUDDIN: And I said, no, who are you? I don't know you. And then he told me that I am the one who stabbed you that night.

WATSON: Mohiuudin says that man was one of several suspects arrested after his attack. Police tell CNN that suspect is currently in jail awaiting trial in connection with the suspected machete murder of another atheist blogger, Niloy Nil (ph) in 2015.

(on camera): Did you have tea with the man who tried to kill you?

MOHIUDDIN: Yes. He told me he left Islam so the Sharia punishment for apostasy of Islam is death penalty. And I told him that OK, so I'm still alive, so what are you going to do now? And he told me he will try again, when he will get out of the prison he will try again.

WATSON (voice-over): Bangladeshi officials insist they will bring the murderers of atheists to justice. Meanwhile, from exile Mohiuudin says he still faces criminal charges in Bangladesh for insulting religion.

(on camera): When will it be safe for you to go back to your country?

MOHIUDDIN: When the government tell us very clear message that writing is not a crime, expressing one's view is not a crime. Killing people is crime.

WATSON: Ivan Watson, CNN, Germany.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: It sounds pretty simple. Killing people is a crime.

Now, the countdown is on to this summer's Olympic games, and that means the Olympic torch is winding its way around the world, from Greece all the way to Brazil. But the torch took a different route than normal earlier in Athens.

In a refugee camp, the torch was carried by Ibrahim El Hussein. There he is, you see the sunlight behind him, so he's a bit backlit. He's 27 years old, an athlete, and a refugee who lost part of his right leg in the country's brutal civil war. He was granted asylum in Greece after fleeing his homeland.

Apple is set to release its latest sales figures in about an hour and a half, and the tech giant is expected to say it had the worst quarter in well over a decade.

Let's get more on this. Cristina Alesci is in New York. As I was saying before the break, usually Apple fans are not used to really bad news from Apple. Can this be considered, you know, something that investors should be worried about at this stage? What are we expecting?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly for the short- term, this is not good news and something that's concerning investors. Because not only are the profits and sales dropping, you're looking at probably a double-digit decline in sales, which is actually something we haven't seen since 2001.

That was before the iPod came out. That was a time when windows had the dominant operating system. And it's all tied to what you're looking at on the screen right now, which is the drop in iPhone sales.

Analysts predict about 50 million compared to about 61 million for the same quarter last year. Hala, let's keep in mind that iPhones make up a staggering two-thirds of revenue for Apple.

It is an extremely important product for Apple. And last year, we had this incredible phenomenon, where they launched the iPhone 6 in China, with the very same quarter last year that we're comparing this to.

So the expectations, the comparisons, if you will, are a bit difficult to make, because they had a new product, they launched it in China so last year's numbers look incredible. Tim Cook says, what do you expect?

We can't have that kind of sterile year all the time. So, the bar was set relatively high. Now, what Apple's managed to do is kind of manage expectations on the street. So I actually could see the stock even popping today, because the bar now is set so low.

GORANI: You mentioned the stock. I'm checking it. It's APPL, right? So we have -- Apple is down 0.75 percent right now, is what I'm seeing.

ALESCI: Right, but when the results come out, maybe they won't be as bad as all of us are talking about.

GORANI: Right, so it's -- I guess, once we either have that confirmation that it's what we expect or perhaps it will be worse, I guess we're going to have to just wait and see.

[15:25:09]But what about the rest of the year, right? Because you talk about iPhones and one of the interesting questions about Apple, since the death of Steve Jobs is, you know, there hasn't really been that new product.

I mean, there are improvements to existing products, iPads, iPods, Macbook, et cetera, but what is going to continue to drive Apple forward into the future? What are we expecting for the rest of the year, for instance?

ALESCI: That's an excellent question. Apple needs to innovate in other areas. It's trying to do so with television. It's trying to do so with music, really investing in that platform.

But unfortunately right now, analysts are looking over the next 12 months. And the biggest boost that Apple is going to get to its top and bottom lines will be the iPhone 7, to your point.

Not a new category, at all. But the iPhone 7 will launch in September. And analysts are already looking and surveying consumers who 40 percent of which, one Goldman Sachs analysis says they will upgrade to the new iPhone 7.

So that's the silver lining here. That's what we're going to expect them to talk about on the call today.

GORANI: Well, you've got to count on people to upgrade and they only do that if they feel like they have money to spend, et cetera. We'll see how that goes for Apple, as well. Cristina, we really appreciate it. Thanks very much for that report.

A lot more to come this evening. We were discussing at the top of the hour, 27 years and finally there is some measure of justice for the families of Hillsborough victims. I'll be speaking to the man refereed that very football game on that fateful day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Welcome back. A look at our top stories. Families of the Hillsborough victims say justice has been served here in the U.K. That was after a jury ruled that 96 Liverpool football fans were unlawfully killed in a crush back in 1989.

The jury found the fans themselves were not at fault, which is quite significant, and police error was a factor in the death. Police say they may now pursue some criminal charges in the matter.

Also among our top stories, it could be a big night for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the two obvious frontrunners. Polls will close in just a few hours in five American states that are holding Super Tuesday contests today. Both the Republican and Democratic presidential frontrunners are expected to widen their delegate leads.

[15:30:00]

GORANI: Also among the stories we're following, Norway's government is saying that it will appeal the recent verdict in the case of Anders Breivik.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Breivik, the convicted mass murderer you'll remember successfully argued in court that his isolation in prison was inhumane and degrading and the court in Norway agreed with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, it has been decades of questions, anger, and anguish and really a story that has been very traumatic for this country. Even more than a quarter century on. But today, there are finally some answers for the families of the Hillsborough victims.

More than 50,000 people traveled to Sheffield to watch a game of football. 96 of them never returned. Here are their faces.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: 22 of those who died were under 18. The oldest was 67 - the youngest, 10. Karen Hankin's husband was one of those kills. She spoke at a news conference earlier today.

KAREN HANKIN, WIFE OF HILLSBOROUGH VICTIM: For 27 years, I have watched as our children grew, denied the joy of a father who loved them daily. For many of those years, I closed ranks and tried to protect Lindsay and David from the horrors and lies I knew were out there. As they grew, rather than this heartbreaking situation we found ourselves in diminishing, it grew, too. For so many years, I had tried to protect and finally, I no longer had that choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: One man with vivid memories of that day is Ray Lewis. He was the referee on the pitch in the game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest and he is live in the studio with me tonight. Thank you, sir, for being here.

RAY LEWIS, REFEREE DURING HILLSBOROUGH GAME: My pleasure.

GORANI: You heard the results of the inquest. Essentially removing all blame from the fans and saying that it was possibly the fault of the police. How did you -- what went through your mind when you heard the news?

LEWIS: Well, I was very pleased for the families, basically, because they felt that justice had not been done over the 27 years, and I think, hopefully, they feel that there's a closure in the situation.

GORANI: And is this over the years something that you also concluded yourself? Because what were you told initially?

LEWIS: Well I mean, the game itself sort of got off to a normal way. That day in April, '89, we had no indication that there was any problems prior to the game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS: And all of a sudden, a policeman comes on to the pitch and taps me on the shoulder and says, you know, we have some problems --

GORANI: You have to stop the game.

LEWIS: We stopped the game and it was never re-started.

GORANI: Now, we have some footage of that day. This was in April, as you mentioned, of 1989, that we're going to show our viewers now. Not some of the more graphic images, of course. But describe to us what we're seeing, here. These are when fans actually started sort of making their way on to the pitch.

LEWIS: Yes. Well, I think at the time, it wasn't unusual for people to be moved from one pen to another pen during matches, simply because there were no seats.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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