Pyongyang Prepares for Workers Party Congress; Holocaust Survivors Celebrate Rite of Passage Lost During World War II; India's Drought; Takata



Celebrate Rite of Passage Lost During World War II; India's Drought; Takata

Expands Airbag Recall. Aired 8:00a-9:00a ET - Part 1>

David McKenzie, Phil Mattingly, Sumnima Udas, Andrew Stevens>

celebrate rite of passage lost during World War II. Discussion on India's

drought. Takata expands airbag recall.>

Takata; Pyongyang; World Affairs; Environment>

[08:00:00] KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and welcome to News Stream.

Now, North Korea's call to action ahead of the highest political meeting in nearly 40 years. We'll take you to Pyongyang at look at the potential threats the summit carries.

And then there was one: Donald Trump now the Republicans de facto nominee after his last competitor drops out.

And India's catastrophic drought. Is there an end in sight? And how is the population surviving?

It is 8:30 p.m. in North Korea, where some 12 hours from now the nation will hold its most significant political gathering in decades. The Workers Party hasn't called a congress in nearly 40 years. And this is, of course, the first one with leader Kim Jong-un at the helm. State media are now calling him a great son of the 21st century.

Now, CNN is on the ground inside Pyongyang. Will Ripley has been reporting, live from there. And he joins us live. And Will, ahead of the congress -- again, Kim Jong-un is now being called the Great Son of the 21st Century. What does that mean? Why is he being positioned this way ahead of the big meeting?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The wording is really significant, Kristie, because the Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un's grandfather, the president and founder of North Korea, Kim il-Sung, his birthday is known as the day of the sun. And for a number of years now, really in more than four years sing Kim Jong-un assumed power, we have had watched as this country has -- whether it's a deliberate attempt or not, sort of branded the founder's grandson in the image of his grandfather.

There's a physical resemblance. We were touring around at a facility today where pictures of the two of them were hanging side by side, often in similar environments, you know doing field inspections, decades ago. And then a field inspection that would have happened very recently.

And now to say that he is a great son of the 21st Century, clearly there is an attempt to have North Korean's identify with their current leader much as they did with the man who ruled this country for a number of decades who still revered here and whose portrait still hangs in many households. In every household actually.

LU STOUT: Yeah. And the selection of that moniker, as you put it, very, very intentional as we wait for the beginning of North Korea's first Workers Party Congress, the first one in almost four decades. We know it's a historic occasion, but will it bring momentous change?

RIPLEY: Well, that's really the unknown factor is what is going to be announced at this.

We know that the supreme leader has made it clear that his goal for this country is to aggressively grow its nuclear arsenal and at the same time simultaneously grow its economy.

Now, there are a lot of observers who think that those two ideas contradict each other, because with each nuclear test, for example, each provocation, there often are consequences from the international community, diplomatic isolation, the new round of heightened UN sanctions, which are aimed at crippling the nuclear program, but it could also have a trickle- down effect on the economy and people's living standards here.

But yet within the capital there's a real concerted effort to present an image to the world that these two ideologies can coexist, and so we may hear some sort of economic announcement tomorrow. But there's also a lot of speculation in South Korea and the U.S., could there be another nuclear test as well at some point during this congress to also reinforce that aspect of the strategy by the leader?

LU STOUT: And as you've been recording for us here on News Stream we know that people there in Pyongyang have been working overtime to prepare for the kickoff of the North Korean Workers Party Congress. What type of activity, what kind of preparations have you seen today in Pyongyang?

RIPLEY: Even people walking around the streets today -- yesterday we saw people carrying bundles of fake flowers, that we presume will be likely used in some sort of mass demonstration, likely in Kim il-Song Square or another public venue in this city as we often see during major events.

But then today I noticed that there were people -- everybody was carrying these white sticks. And we don't know what those will be used for, but we know that there have been rehearsals that have been ongoing for weeks now, and then of course, as you mentioned there's that 70-day work campaign leading up to this, a number of different buildings have been refurbished. There have been infrastructure projects that were completed around the city.

I saw people sweeping along the side of the streets, making sure that everything is immaculate. There are flowers out in front of nearly every household and planted all along the major boulevards.

And so it seems on the eve of this congress, the first in 36 years, the city has completed its work to prepare. And tomorrow will be the big show with international news media, more than 100 news outlets from around the world are here to cover this, whatever happens.

And we'll be talking again for sure tomorrow when it all kicks off.

Will Ripley reporting live from Pyongyang. Thank you, Will.

Now residents in Pyongyang, they have been working nonstop to get ready for the congress. And later this hour, we'll show you some mortgage remarkable photos that Will Ripley has been taking on the streets of the capital.

And now to a bombshell announcement out Turkey. Now, the Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying just moments ago that he won't seek the party leadership when the Justice and Development Party meets later this month.

Now, this all comes at a critical time for Turkey, as it deals with the refugee crisis, as well as threats of terrorism.

Now, our CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is following developments in London. He joins us now with some insight. And Nic, why is Turkey's prime minister about to step down?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is, if you will, a soft transfer of power. What he is doing here, and he talked about it, the speech lasted about 40 minutes. And a lot of it was setting the stage about how he had kept helped in his position to keep the unity of the country, keep the country peaceful through a number of elections at a very difficult time, talking about the situation with Syria on the border, talking about the Kurdish issue without going into sort of details about that.

So this is to insiders, if you will, a real clue that he, although he's very careful to point out he doesn't want have any discussion about differences he might have, or he doesn't want any discussion at all about his relationship with the president, but to sort of -- to keen observers, this very much looks like the President Tayyip Recep Erdogan taking more power in the country, that there's been a difference of opinion between these two men, but you wouldn't know about it listening to the prime minister today.

The prime minister talking about the continuity, talking about the effective and good job that he had done, and the way that this is being characterized, him stepping down, has been very sort of carefully choreographed, an executive party meeting to be held in a couple week's time to elect a new leader of the party, who automatically becomes prime minister.

He's not putting his name forward for that election, so it's a soft changeover. And as he put it himself, he has never tried to, you know, to get political he has never tried to, you know, to get political offers. He's been foreign minister, prime minister, but he's never asked for it, he said.


AHMET DAVUTOGLU, PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY (through translator): I have never yearned for positions as such. I have done many important and honorable duties. None of these, neither to become a prime minister nor a foreign secretary, I have never asked for these. And today in the same way, I do not ask for positions.


ROBERTSON: So there were some clues in there, however, in his speech that might give you an indication that all is not well. He talked about he's never been willing to compromise to keep a position or to get a position. He said the man who is strongest is one who is clear and happy in heart and conscience.

And perhaps, you know, the most telling thing that he said was, you know, we're like soldiers on a road here presumably talking about the country and the party -- we're like soldiers on the road. And sometimes it is more important to have the friends around you rather than to know the destination of where you're going.

So, you know, it appears that he's saying it's more important for the party to remain united, for me to have a good relationship with the president than for me to be setting the terms or trying to dictate about where we're going. Clearly saying there that he's, you know, the road is not so important where it's going.

That's perhaps the biggest clue that there are differences. And that's what's lead to this, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, thank you for parsing the clues for us on these political power struggle that's been taking place in Turkey.

Nic Robertson reporting live for us. Thank you, Nic.

And from the man who won't be Turkey's prime minister, to the one who aspires to be the U.S. president. Donald Trump is the de facto Republican nominee now that John Kasich has announced he is dropping out of the race for U.S. president. But now, Trump faces the task of healing deep divisions inside the part as it takes on the Democrats in the general election in November.

Now, John Kasich, he made that announcement in his home state of Ohio, the only state he was able to win. And that's where CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us now.

And Phil, Donald Trump is now the last man standing in the GOP race. How much support does he have from inside his own party?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He has support, Kristie, but it's in a lot of cases grudging support. And that's the big issue that Donald Trump is going to face going forward right now.

He's calling to unify the Republican Party. It's a Republican party that's not entirely on board. Example 1A John Kasich. Here in Columbus last night announcing that he would suspend his campaign, but not saying anything about Donald Trump. No word about an endorsement. No word about being willing to be considered as vice president, just another example of Republicans not totally on board with the man who now leads their party.



MATTINGLY (voice-over): Donald Trump's elevation to presumptive nominee of the Republican Party happened suddenly, even for Donald Trump.

TRUMP: I thought that I would be going longer.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): His ascent now has conservatives scrambling, deciding whether to back a billionaire, unabashedly vocal about his disdain for the party.

TRUMP: The Republicans' system is rigged but in a much more sophisticated way.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Both former Presidents Bush have made it clear they will not support Trump, according to close aides. Bush 41 is, quote "retired from politics," and his son does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign.

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer Trump is looking ahead in hitting his clearest target, the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, falsely accusing her of being the first to speculate on Obama's citizenship.

TRUMP: You know who started it?

Do you know who questioned his birth certificate, one of the first?

Hillary Clinton, she's the one that started it. She brought it up years before it was brought up by me. And, you know, so she can talk, look, here's a person under investigation by the FBI. She's only going to get the nomination because it's a rigged deal and, frankly, maybe she won't even be able to run.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The new standard bearer of the Republican Party outlining some of his potential policies, taking a cue from Bernie Sanders, when asked if he will raise the minimum wage.

TRUMP: I'm actually looking at that, because I'm very different from most Republicans. I mean, you have to have something you can live on. But what I'm really looking to do is get people great jobs so they make much more money than that, so they make much money than -- more money than the $15.

Now if you start playing around too much with the lower level, the lower-level number, you're not going to be competitive.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): And vowing to implement his ban of all Muslims from entering the U.S.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: You're sticking with this temporary ban?

TRUMP: Until we figure out what's going on. We have to be very tough; we have to be very vigilant, yes.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Trump now focused on potential running mates.

TRUMP: I'm starting to think about it very soon and we'll be vetting people.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): In a possible push to unify the GOP, name check previous rivals who have since supported him.

TRUMP: I'm going to set up a committee and I may put Ben Carson on the committee, I may put Chris Christie on the committee. I've had a good relationship with John, I've gotten along with him well. But John will -- whether he's vice president or not, I think it will be very, very helpful with Ohio.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): John Kasich has always said there is zero chance that he would be Trump's V.P. But his future is still left unknown.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have always said that the Lord has a purpose for me, as He has for everyone. And as I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith that the Lord will show me the way forward.


MATTINGLY: And Kristie, Donald Trump's advisers saying these understand unification of the party will take time, but they do expect it to happen. And that includes the support of John Kasich. but time really is of the essences. I think this is one of the issues that Republican leaders are worried about right now. You're talking about donors who have to raise big money not just for the presidential campaign, but for Senate and House races as well.

A party that at least on some level appears to be broken at the top could have disastrous consequences in November up and down the ballot, Kristie. And I think that's one the big concerns you're hearing right now from Republican leaders, something that Donald Trump at least in the near- term is going to have to confront head-on.

Yeah, a number of factors to calculate for the Republican Party. Phil Mattingly reporting live for us from the U.S. state of Ohio. Thank you, Phil.

Now some Democrats are concerned that the front-runner Hillary Clinton won't be able to handle Trump's attacks, but she says she is ready.

Now, here's what she told CNN's Anderson Cooper.


HILLARY CLINTON, 2016 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION: I don't think we can take a risk on a loose cannon like Donald Trump running our country. He's a loose cannon. I mean, he's somebody who has said so many things and I'm sure he'll be scrambling and his advisers will be scrambling, but he's already said all of these things. You can go down a long list, some of which he's tried to bob and weave a bit, but I think it's a risk. I think he is a loose cannon, and looe cannons tend to misfire.


LU STOUT: Hillary Clinton there.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, we will have more on a crippling drought in India. And for some people there, there is no water and no relief in sight.

Also ahead in the program, Takata recalls millions more airbags, but we'll tell you why they could be on the road still for years to come.

And Israel pauses to remember the millions who perished in the holocaust. As the prime minister sounds an ominous warning.


[08:18:43] LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream. Now, a state of emergency is now in effect across the Canadian province of Alberta due to a massive wildfire there. Some 88,000 people have been forced from their homes, including the entire city of Fort McMurray. Now firefighters there are struggling to keep up as entire sub- divisions just go up in flames.

Now, CBC News reports that 1,600 homes have been destroyed and dry conditions and fierce winds are only making matters worse.

Now, one resident described the unbelievable scene there.


ERIC LAVALINE, ESCAPED FIRE: It's something like you would see out of the movies. The bank was on fire when we were driving in. The trail other park that was there is gone, the Super 8 is gone, one of the gas stations is gone.


LU STOUT: Devastation there in that Canadian city. And meanwhile, India has been in the grips of its worst drought in years. It is so bad that even though the monsoon season is on its way, it may not be enough. As CNN's Sumnima Udas tells us millions of people are suffering.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Farmland and riverbeds so terrifyingly parched they have cracked, deep cracks. Reservoirs have dried up. And many of the wells are empty.

India is no stranger to drought. Experts say climate change, rapid population growth and years of groundwater mismanagement have strained India's already scarce water resources. But this is the worst it's been in decades.

Two back-to-back weak monsoons have caused unprecedented water shortages in ten out of India's 29 states. The government says some 330 million people are affected.

"The water crisis is very bad here. Wells have dried up in almost every household," she says.

Villagers have no choice but to watch for kilometers in temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius to the few wells that aren't completely dried up.

The water levels are so low, though, even if they pump for hours, not a drop of water.

"Since 6:00 in the morning, we are pumping, and we managed to fill sound three pitchers. To fill a pitcher, we need to pump for an hour," she says.

Residents in this part of Marashtra (ph), India's richest state, haven't had running water for months. To provide some respite, authorities have dispatched trains carrying water, but residents say it's not enough.

"They say water has been brought by railway wagons and dispatched through tankers, all this they say to the media, but in this part of the city, one water tanker makes a trip only after eight days," he says.

Relief is due with the arrival of the monsoon rains in mid-June. India's meteorological department is forecasting above-average rainfall. But experts say the groundwater levels are so depleted water woes will remain for some time.

Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.


LU STOUT: Let's go straight to our meteorologist Chad Myers for more.

And Chad, what are all the factors coming together to cause this situation in India?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Kristie, what we have now is an Earth that has no humidity to give to the atmosphere. So if you've baked a brick for long enough, there's no more water to get out. To make more rainfall, you'd like some evaporation, you'd like some plants to make evapo transporation, to get humidity in the air, to rise into the atmosphere, to rain out again. That's the water cycle, but we have broken the cycle here. There is no water to evaporate and so the air just remains dry.

Even when there's a chance of rain, because there's a lack of humidity, even when there's a front that can come by, when there's a lack of humidity we don't get the movement of the air enough to get it to rain there's just not enough condensation up in the clouds to get more rainfall.

Now, that will break with monsoon. And monsoon is forecast to be 106 percent of normal this year. That's good. But it's not going to help the growing season now until the rain gets there.

A drought means it's less rain than we should have in a normal year. Well, we've had year after year now of this below normal rainfall.

If you plant or if you grow crops, or if you have cattle or whatever it might be out there in any rangeland, whether it's a goat or an elephant, that's what you expect to have a normal year. So you put enough animals out there for a normal year. If you're below normal, you don't have enough to eat, you don't have enough to grow. And now with this rainfall being a deficit for so long.

It takes -- it can take ten years for water to trickle down to get to the bottom where you would pump it in a well. Well, if it going to take ten more years to get those wells filled, even on normal years, we're in a bad way for a long time here.

New Delhi, you're will be in the 40s for the next couple days. In fact, I don't see any relief from it until, really, the monsoon starts. And that doesn't happen until the end of May. It starts here in the southeastern part of India and it starts to work its way all the way toward New Delhi. And that's good news. It will eventually rain.

And the forecast with la Nina is that it will be a very heavy rainfall. B ut for now they'll have to plant short crops, because there's nothing growing at all in a lot of places -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, and there's nothing growing there. As you put it so vividly, there's not enough water to evaporate. That's why we're seeing the video of just the cracked Earth in India. And know that this drought crisis affects so many people and so many industries. Just how devastating is this going to be for the people of India?

MYERS: i think everything is looking at the dirt and saying, wow, that's bad. But we have to look down the road. This may be a four or five or six-year recovery with normal seasons to get that growing season going again.

And in the meantime you have the lack of fresh water. You can't drink saltwater, you need fresh water. Fresh water will be a problem for some time. They're going to have to train that or truck that water in for quite some time, Kristie, this is not over. I know it looks like this is the worst of it, but it could get still worse from here.

[08:25:07] LU STOUT: That's right. It's been called India's worst drought in decade. Chad Myers reporting for us, thank you so much, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

LU STOUT: Now 16 people have been killed in central India after a bus veered off a road. Police say that the bus fell into a dry canal after the driver swerved to avoid a motorcyclist. Authorities say 37 people suffered minor injuries.

Now, the Japanese autoparts maker Takata is recalling up to 40 million more air bags in the United States. That's more than double the size of what was already the largest recall in history after several deaths were attributed to air bags exploding.

As Andrew Stevens reports, the company says it faces a severe challenge to replace millions of air bags.


ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Takata's recall is now so big it's expected to take years to replace all its faulty air bags. Affected cars could be on U.S. roads until 2019, as U.S. regulators say 35 to 40 million more air bags are at risk of exploding.

MARK ROSOKIND, NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: The Takata air bag recall, which we are more than doubling today, is the largest and most complex recall in U.S. history.

This issue is urgent.

STEVENS: Urgent and deadly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says humidity and heat wear away at the air bags inflators which can result in explosions when the air bag is deployed. The latest recall targets mainly airbags not fitted with a chemical drying agent known as a desiccant. Authorities say that moisture inside the bags could be the cause of the air bags exploding.

Now, two airbag related deaths in Malaysia have been confirmed. A Takata spokesman said, quote, our heartfelt condolences go out to the drivers' families. Takata's number one priority is the safety of the traveling public.

In the U.S. there's been at least ten deaths and more than 100 injuries, the most recent victim confirmed a 17-year-old Texas teenager.

Takata has issued this statement agreeing to the expanded recall and reinforcing its commitment to replacing air bags, but has otherwise remained quiet this Thursday, which is a public holiday in Japan.

It's not clear how many vehicles globally are fitted with Takata airbags and how many are being recalled, but the Japanese company is one of the biggest air bag makers in the world. Owners are being advised that they can continue driving until their vehicle is recalled.

Authorities say a potentially faulty air bag is still safer than not having an air bag at all.

Andrew Stevens, CNN, Hong Kong.


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And after the break, Israelis across the country take pause to remember the millions lost in the holocaust.



[08:31:15] LU STOUT: At least ten people have been killed, dozens wounded when two bombs exploded in a town just ease of the Syrian city of Homs, that's according to the UK-based Syrian observatory for human rights.

Now, to the north in Aleppo, fresh condemnation from a top UN official, the undersecretary for political affairs told the security council deliberate attacks on hospitals should be considered war crimes.

Now meanwhile, Washington and Moscow have now agreed to extend the cease-fire to Aleppo. Now, the U.S. and Russia are both monitoring the situation in Syria to see if the cease-fire will hold.

Our senior international correspondent Frederick Pleitgen is embedded with Russian troops. Now he is at the Russian airbase in Latakia in Syria, and he sent us this report a short time ago.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Russia's air force still flying missions at a high pace. We saw more than a dozen strike aircraft and fighters take off within only a few hours.

A top general says they're intensifying pressure on ISIS.

"Russian aviation was at work today in Raqqah," he says, "also in Central Syria and Deir ez-Zor. In total, Russian aviation carried out 87 sorties in the past four days."

While the Russian air force has withdrawn several aircraft in the past months, it's ramped up other assets, deploying advance MI-28 gunships that have already seen combat action.

Despite Russia's announcement that it would withdraw most of its forces from here from Syria, they maintain a fleet of strike aircraft and fighter jets, showing that Russia is still very much capable of playing a decisive role in the Syria conflict.

The Russians took us to what they say was the signing of a local reconciliation agreement near the town of Hama. Russian military brass say they are working closely with the U.S. to also make a cease-fire in Aleppo work to finally halt the bloodshed there.