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tv   Wolf  CNN  March 16, 2015 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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to defend him again. this time saying he did not do the killing. live in new orleans continuing to follow the story. paul call land joining me as well. just as mystified as the rest of us. thank you for being with us. wolf starts right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer zer. it's 1:00 p.m. in walking, 7:00 p.m. in jerusalem. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. high stakes talks under way right now to curb iran's nuclear ambitions. a deadline looming. the secretary of state john kerry met iran's foreign minister in switzerland earlier today. the u.s. and five other countries are negotiating with iran. they're under intense pressure to get a deal done before march
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31st. both united states and iran face obstacles from hard liners in their own countries. let's begin this hour with nic robertson joining us from london many. where do the talks stand right now. >> reporter: right now you are the iranian foreign minister in brussels briefing. he's expected to go back to switzerland today. he had a five-hour meeting in switzerland with secretary of state john kerry. both sides recognize they only have two weeks to get the deal done. if you listen to what they said going into the talks when they arrived in switzerland, slightly different narrative. there are technical issues to accomplish heerp. you have from secretary kerry say yes there where technical issues but this is a time for political judgment on the iranian side. secretary kerry expected along with others from the state
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department to be in switzerland for talks. both sides recognizing the clock is ticking on this 31st of march deadline wolf. >> and another related matter the secretary of state john kerry spoke about a willingness to sit down with syria's president, bashar al assad. i want to play a clip from the interview. >> everybody agrees there is no military solution. this tl is only a political solution. i'm convinced with the efforts of our allies and others there will be increased pressure on assad. >> and you'd be willing to negotiate with him? >> we have to negotiate. >> report. so there's been a little bit of an uproar over those words we have to negotiate with him. the criticism being this is the president of syria. and now the secretary of state is saying we have to -- the u.s. has to negotiate with him. give us a little perspective
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here. >> you know the state department is saying okay step back and look at this in the context of the geneva talks 2013 which also recognized the rebels if you will would get into talks at some point with the syrian government. what secretary kerry is saying is in that context. i think what is different here and if we listen to the responsibilities we've heard from the syrian president today, the sort of language that's being used compared to the language that was being used perhaps a couple of years ago, you know from the u.s. side you know the language was that assad must go. it seems that the rhetoric on both sides is toned down. look at the way that this is being looked at right now. if assad is forced from power, if the syrian leadership collapses, you get a failed state in syria, isis will take advantage of that a more
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practical reality based look at how to close the situation down. but what secretary kerry also said we need our partner to put more pressure on assad. i was at the talks in switzerland in january of last year again, those talks, the expectation was russia would put pressure on assad to make compromise in the talks. that didn't happen. when you look at it today, the united states and russia are not the closest of allies, further apart than they were a year ago. >> thank you nic robertson reporting for us. meanwhile, president obama is weigh in on the controversial letter sent by 46 republican senator to the iranian leadership last week that letter warning that any nuclear deal reached nout may not exist past the current presidency. president obama spoke to vice news. >> i'm embarrassed for them. for them to address a letter to the ayatollah who they claim is our mort l enemy and their basic
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argument to them is don't deal with our president because you can't trust him to follow through on an agreement. it's close to unprecedented. >> just a few hours ago we heard from one of the senators who signed that gop letter. senator ted cruz says any potential white house candidate who doesn't reject the iran deal is not fit to serve as president of the united states. senator cruz spoke to a crowd in new hampshire earlier this morning. let's dig a little deeper on these issues. jay my rubin is joining was one the u.s. secretary of state during the clinton administration. joining us from london. what is your take on what's going on. the letter from 47 senators and now senator cruz saying any candidate who supports this deal -- we don't know if there's doing to be a deal -- would not necessarily be fit to be president? >> well i think it's really tragic. i've never seen in all of the years of following arms control agreements between the united
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states and the soviet union, similar agreements that have taken place with other countries around the world, i've never seen the entire opposition party unite and basically embarrass the country. america's reputation in the world suffered under bush a little bit under obama. but a lot of that is due to the perception that we can't work together the republicans and democrats. and the republicans harmed the country by showing this level of dysfunction to in this case our adversary, let alone our friend. i've never seen it like that and obviously there's a reason that both obama and the republicans think this agreement, if it happens, is a really really big deal. and that's what's so unique about it. >> by the way, seven republican senators including the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, senator corker refused to sign that letter.
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54 republicans in the senator, 47 of them signed it. do you think there's going to be a deal in the text two weeks? >> no i don't think there will be a final deal. what is going on right now, this is called in the parlance of negotiation, the end game. by that i mean that both sides have in their heads, what they expect the other side to do at the end. they've been holding certain issues back whether it's the question of how fast sanctions will be suspended or a question about whether inspectors can go anywhere anytime. and they have hoped that as the pressure building towards the end of the negotiation something they care a lot about, the other side will bend on. and so i don't think either side is in a bending mood right now. and so i think it's going to be very very difficult to really complete this agreement in the next couple weeks. it's possible however, that they can reach a stage where they have so much agreement on so many pieces of this complicated puzzle that they
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could announce a partial agreement. i would consider that possible. >> and what do you make of the secretary of state john kerry's words over the weekend saying that he's ready, the united states is ready to resume negotiations with syrian president bashar al assad to end the conflict there? >> well i guess the truth is that john kerry has had a lot more success in the iran talks in terms of the potential for an agreement than in the syria talks. he took on the syria issue when he was first secretary of state, flying off to moscow promising to put new pressure on assad, saying he was illegitimate and thinking that he would negotiate some grand bargain with the russians and get this problem solved. and the truth is that syria has gone from bad to worse in the last year or two. we've now gone over 200,000 dead. and as your correspondent was
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indicating earlier, america seems more worried about the islamic state and what it could do or not do under a syrian leadership of assad than they are about getting rid of assad. i think the syrian issue, the administration is flailing around a little bit. and i think the confusion over the last 24 hours is demonstrative of that. >> jay my ruben, the former secretary of state. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> still ahead, one day to go for israelis head to the polls and the prime benjamin netanyahu has lots of reason to worry. we're going live to jerusalem for a look at what's at state stake the rush hand president finally appearing in public today. but his absence in the last ten days still not explain. we're heading to moscow. we'll go live there to talk about what happened. stay with us.
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. it's election eve innize real. among the major issues, repairing ties with the united states. they hit a low point during the strained relationship between prime minister benjamin netanyahu and president obama. the election also affects the nuclear talks with iran and raising tensions with the palestinians since the breakdown of those peace talks. the prime minister benjamin netanyahu is fighting for political survival in tomorrow's election. the final round of polling showed the labor party leader ahead of netanyahu's likud party party. here with me in washington the former u.s. ambassador to israel for the israeli palestinian
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negotiations. david, very quickly, these reports we're getting that prime minister netanyahu has been saying to interviewers in israel that quote foreign powers are spending millions of dollars to try to force him out of office. what's going on over there? >> well, he feels that you know although this is an election that he initiated more than two years early, the campaign is not going well. one of the reasons that he claims is there's a big effort with a lot of money coming in from abroad a lot of activism to try to get out the votes of all of the people who are seeking to oust netanyahu. there's a free newspaper here funded by a great supporter of his. so there are allegations in both directions there. >> and there have been a lot of american political consultants over the year who have come to help likud and the labor party
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to get involved. >> there was an effort to try and assert that some of this activism was illegal, that netanyahu could try to take this complaint to the courts. but they realized they had no case. they withdrew the case. so they're disgruntled and unhappy but they're unable to assert that there's an illegal breach here. >> the prime minister is now trying to get more support for some of those real right wing party to come back to the likud and he's saying some stuff about opposing a palestinian state now. he says anyone who is going to establish a palestinian state, anyone who is going to evacuate territories today simply giving up base for attacks against israel. does he now oppose what's called a two-state solution israel along a new state of palestine? >> that's what he cease saying.
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the negotiations i was involved in secretary kerry led were based on a two-state solution. he was an important partner in that process. he's changed his position now and made it categorical that he opposes the palestinian state. the problem with that is it's short-term useful in terms of trying to attract right wing votes if he gets elected as prime minister. >> some say it's an act of desperation given that he's losing in the polls that are coming out. >> it certainly looks like that. it looks like panic. but if he's elected prime minister then he's going to have a mandate to oppose a palestinian state and that's going to get him into another problem with president obama supporting palestinian state. >> david who wits the other labor party leader, he's on record strongly supporting the two-state solution right? >> absolutely.
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netanyahu is losing to her zog in support of their parties. netanyahu seemed to have the better chance of building a coalition. this is an election that is going to be incredibly hard to call even when we know the results, however complicated and ridiculous that may sound. >> do you agree with that ambassador? >> the right wing block is larger than the center rest block. and a lot of things are going to come down to the numbers. and the king maker it seems is this center party who left likud to set that up. he may choose to join with likud. nobody knows what he's going to do. >> david, what do you think he's going to do? >> well he won't want to oppose sort of the perceived consensus in israel. if the trend is still with netanyahu, he will go with them.
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if it's clear that really netanyahu has been quite marginalized he's not put himself into any corners. but they raised the threshold here the arab parties united. we don't know what the turnout is going to be. there are so many variables here. my bet is you'll get the exit polls tomorrow. it might be a fair while afterwards before we know who is going to be building the coalition. >> it's clear to me -- let me just get your sense -- that the speech that netanyahu delivered before congress may have given him a slight bump in the day or two that followed but he's really gone downhill since then. and the big issue is not iran it's housing and the economy, right? >> it turns out to the speech was a strategic miscalculation on his part. he would have been much better off staying at home and addressing the social issues in particular the housing crisis
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which is boosting the center counter part. and he caused a huge problem for democrats, caused a huge problem with his relationship with president obama. >> thanks to both of you. we'll check back tomorrow. the exit polls come out at 4:00 p.m. eastern. we'll of course have coverage of the elections in israel. just ahead, the changing face of israeli politics. israeli arabs are prepared to flexion their muscle in tomorrow's election. could they sway the election? we're live in jerusalem with that part of the story when we come back.
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israeli elections are tomorrow and the prime minister benjamin netanyahu now trails in the final round of polling. the most authoritative polling shows him behind. right now the poll shien the zie yonist union with 26, lee kooud 2 2 likud at 22. an unlikely group is going to be flexioning its political muscle. arab parties have joined forces if are the fist time and could sway the balance of power and give the israeli arabs who are citizens of israel a voice. the most recent polls show that that party could get as many as 13 seats and be decisive. that is a potential possibility.
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our global affairs correspondent has more. >> reporter: he is a powerful new face in israeli politics. in a sea of jewish parties amman 0 day is a star attraction. but he is not jewish. he's an israeli sids of palestinian decent. one of 1.6 million living in israel. the block he leads could hold the balance of power, a potential game changer for one-fifth of the country who for decades have complained about being second class citizens. no one can ever ignore us again he told us. we want to close the social and economic gaps between arabs and yous in this country. walking through this neighborhood he is welcomed as a local. i walk this street every day he says. i belong to each shop each
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person. growing up here he says he identified with mall come x. now the 41-year-old lawyer relates to martin luther king. having convinced arab rab's splintered parties to team up he wants the arabs to get out and vote and unseat benjamin netanyahu who he says feels racism against them in their own country. what makes people vote is the hope of change he says. we are 20% of the population. together we can prevent him from forming a government. there is some skepticism but many here believe their native son can lead them to a better place. many people didn't want to vote before. we asked or our right u but he never get anything. this is a good step and united we can be strong. why odeh's focus is improving life he says he needs israeli jews to help.
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arabs alone cannot make a democracy strong, he says. it must be arabs and jews together. a message that resonates back at hebrew university with some jewish students are joining the fight. >> it's not only a struggle of the palestinian minority withinize real. it's a strug of the palestinian minority together with the jews. >> it's not a vision shared by most but odeh's something message now is their chance. they can make the vision a reality reality. >> and elise is joining us live from jerusalem. this joint arab list could get 13 14 15 seats, potentially that could be a game changer. potentially is it possible that ie kak herzog's labor party would reach out to the arab list and bring them into a new government potentially bringing them over the 60 vote mar again.
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they need 61 seats in the 120 member ka nes et to have have the majority. >> reporter: that's what herzog and his running mate hope. if he were to form a government and they would certainly recommend him to the president who talks to all of the parties to see who he would task with forming a government. but they don't a want really to join a government. certainly they want to get rid of benjamin netanyahu. they would like to see a left wing government. but they would like to be on the outside and call themselves an umbrella for herzog. they want to be the leader of the opposition wolf. now as leader of the opposition as you know, ayman odeh would be brief by the prime minister hep was be addressing the knesset. he would have all of the privileges of the leader of the
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opposition and this could give him a greater platform. they want to support the left but not necessarily be part of the government. >> we'll see what happens. a fascinating feature of the israeli election tomorrow. we'll have special coverage tomorrow night. thanks very much. a group of british teens is facing terrorism charges. we're going laif to long on the for the latest on where they were headed and how they were caught. nobody told us to expect it... intercourse that's painful due to menopausal changes it's not likely to go away on its own. so let's do something about it. premarin vaginal cream can help
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world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. a fourth teenager has been arrested in great britain on suspicion of preparing to travel to syria to join isis. this follows the weekend arrest of three british teens who police were believed to be headed to syria. the three young men have since returned to london where they face tore roar charges. they're now free on bail. atika shubert is joining the story in london. what are you learning about this fourth arrest atika? >> reporter: the most recent arrest happened in birmingham. a teenager there was arrested around 7:00 in the morning before he even had a chance to get on the plain to go to syria. it clearly shows that police are being much more proactive about this communicating well with turkish authorities in stopping those three teenagers over the weekend and perhaps most importantly communicating with families and the community.
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the police today launched a campaign specifically reaching out to mothers and families asking them to keep watch over than sons and especially their daughters. there's a lot of concern about young women and girls traveling to go join isis. it really is a community effort that british police are hoping to come together. >> what's the latest on the three young men who were caught in turkey supposedly on their way to meet up with isis in syria? >> reporter: well all three were deported over the weekend here to the uk. they have now been released on bail. they will in about a month's time need to return for questioning. but as you can imagine, police will be keeping a watch over them. in addition to those three teenagers, of course there's the three teenage school girls that did manage to cross into syria. according to activists, they're believed to be in the isis strong hold of raqqa. but police investigating how they were able to slip through
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and cross over to join isis. >> thanks very much. the situation of teens going to isis in ear ya getting worse? our national security analyst peter bergen is here with me. we just heard about the three british boys who were arrest nd. now a california man is being arraigned today after allegedly attempting to go to syria. we had the story of three brook leadership men, a teen in minnesota. how do we gauge this threat from teenagers potentially trying to get into syria to hook up with isis? >> well i think there's two things wolf. one is the biggest threat that the teenagers face is going to syria themselves. these are kids. they don't know anything about being in the most violent country arguably in the world right now. some of them will end up dead if they get on the front lines. the second point is we've seen the foreign fighters quote
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unquote take leadership roles in isis. so the most brutal people in isis are the sale of brits who kit napped and behead american british officers. the foreign fighters are tenting to be the mere veer lent. i think it's not so much of a problem with them coming back. the authorities are keeping careful track of what they are. if they come back they'll get arrested. but it is a problem, you know ie think i've had some parents say to me i'm grateful that the fbi arrested my kid before they could get to syria because they know it's very dangerous over there. >> once you get to syria it could be the end of that 15 16 or 17-year-old kid for that matter. and john brennon last week said there were 20,000 foreigners from 90 countries who have gone to syria and iraq to join forces with isis. that doesn't include the
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syrianance the iraqis fighting with isis. >> the 20,000 figure doesn't -- the majority did not join isis. some are going to join the free syrian army. not all of the foreign fighters join isis but the majority do. >> what you make of the commotion now of the past 24 hours, secretary of state john kerry saying that the rust is willing to negotiate with bashar al assad. he's getting a lot of pushback kerry, including from the french government saying they're not ready to negotiate with bashar al assad. he must go. >> the gaffe in washington is telling the truth. i think this is a fact. the country, syria is controlled by three entities. if you're seesh yous about a solution unfortunately you're going to have to deal with ie
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said assad assad. >> he's got the blood of 200,000 fellow syrians on his hands. >> we dealt with stalin who had the blood of millions of people. i'm not defending this. we've dealt with bloody people in the past when it suited our interest. >> the u.s. is dealing with iran right now, saying that iran is a country that supports terrorism. it's on the state department's list as a terrorist nation. >> we're engage in a long term negotiation about their nuclear weapons. >> negotiations in switzerland right now. we see john kerry shaking hands with the foreign minister of iran almost every day now as they try to meet the end of march deadline. even though the u.s. regards iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, regards syria as a state sponsor of terrorism, it would be okay to negotiate with
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terrorist raegimesregimes. >> we're normalizing relationships with cuba. we live in a world where things change. take a look at this video. it's what remains of saddam hussein. the moz liam is just outside tikrit tikrit the site of a military opposition. saddam hussein was a sunni muslim the same as the isis leaders, iraq leaders and their iranian leaders with shiites. his body was removed from the tomb last year. i's not known where the remains are now. up next a very different story we're following here in the united states. how a vote on abortion could hold up the confirmation of president obama's choice to become the next attorney general of the united states. we'll take a closer look at what's at stake when we come
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a vote of confidence today for the director of the u.s. secret service. last hour the secretary of homeland security jay johnson spoke about joe clancy saying he knows the secret service director is committed to helping fix the agency. these are the first comments from secretary johnson after an embarrassing incident at the white house earlier this month when two agents supposedly crash into a little barricade while allegedly driving drunk. clancy wasn't informed about the incident for at least four day. president obama may have to wait longer to get his new attorney general. republican senator majority leader says that the vote on loretta lynch's confirmation won't happen until democrats sign off on a human trafficking bill. he spoke about it with danah
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bash yesterday. >> sounds like you're threatening to hold up loretta lynch, who has been in limbo for months and months -- >> it's not a threat. we need to finish this human trafficking bill that came out of the judiciary committee unanimously. >> let's bring in our chief political analyst gloria borger. the democrats voted for this bill early, the language same language prop opposing abortion benefits for women and part of the human trafficking bill. they voted for it later but then discover that the language is in there and now they're fighting. >> that no money from this bill could be used to fund abortions. the democrats were shocked this was in the bill. >> they didn't read it the first time? >> some people said they did. other people said wait a minute you tried to sneak it in there. used language where it wasn't clear enough. whatever reason we'll never know kind of what the truth is.
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whatever reason it remained in the bill. and mitch mcconnell -- this is one of the reasons people hate washington. because mitch mcconnell says okay we have to pass this bill in order to take up the normal nation for the attorney general of the united states loretta lynch. so she's being held up because of a human trafficking bill that there's a partisan dispute on. by the way, the notion of trying to stop human trafficking is a bipartisan idea and measure. and so people might be scratching their heads saying why couldn't congress even get together to pass that. and why is it holding up the attorney general. >> let's say they worked out the human trafficking bill. is it a done deal that she will get confirmation? >> no it is not. what often happens with the nominations is the longer they hang out there, the more controversial they get. and the controversy that's hanging around here now has really nothing to do with her but it has to do with her reaction to president obama's
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executive order on immigration. she testified before the committee that she thought it was perfectly legal and that it was appropriate. i might add she was approved by the judiciary committee with three republican votes. but, wolf when she does get voted on, no matter how that plays out, when she does get voted on it could come down conceivably to a tie vote in the senate that would have to be broken by joe biden. she clear hi has all 46 democrats. the question is how much can she get among the republican ranks. >> joe biden is the president of the senate if it's a 50/50 tie, the vice president can come in and break that tie. he would of course vote to get her confirmed. >> exactly. >> but she's had such a distinguished career in new york. she came in highly regarded. eric holder is staying on until he's confirmed. >> like many things in the senate these things get twisted
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up and bogged down over very ancillary reasons that have nothing to do with her nomination. now, again, republicans are so opposed to the check tif action on immigration, they've taken it to the courts they have won one round in the court. they didn't like it when they asked the attorney general and she said she thought what the president did was absolutely league. after all, she is the president's nominee. so you know it gets caught up in all of these other things. and she is held hostage, not only by what the president did but also on a human trafficking bill which has nothing to do with her nomination. >> with the attorney general of the united states. 54 republicans in the u.s. senate you need 51 or 50 if it's a tie to pass. we'll see how many republicans are willing to bolt and support her confirmation. >> three did in committees. >> once that comes up we'll see what happens. still hay head a holiday
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has the latest from the island nation. >> the first cargo flights carrying emergency help flying in to an island nation battered and in some places flooded by the worst storm seen here in generations. >> we have no food and now we have no food no houses house fall down. >> your house is destroyed? >> yeah. >> van awe teu is a highly -- it's one of the poorest countries in the pacific. a place where many rely on subsistence farming to feed their families. these tough islanders haven't wasted any time. clearing debris and reopening roads. but even their resilient spirit has been shaken. >> this was the bathroom? >> the terrifying wind ripped away the walls of this woman's house, leaving her family homeless. >> no house.
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no more. we don't know how to, what we're going to do next. we live like this. just clean up. >> if not for preparation and training some hearsay it could have been even worse. >> everybody was inside the evacuation center. of course it was part of the plan which we trained. many evacuations for the cyclone. >> three days after the storm, this church is still a temporary shelter for dozens of families. there's still no electricity in this community, no running water and locals tell us it will probably take them years to rebuild. the natives of the area are sometimes called the happiest people on earth. it's hard to imagine what they could have done to deserve this. >> ivan watson cnn, port villa, in vanautu.
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>> go to you can impact your world. ivan watson thanks for that report. when we come back vladimir putin is back after being out of the public eye for ten days. the russian president is now reappeared. it hasn't ended speculation about where he's been and what he's been doing. we'll go live to moscow when we come back. sal khan: khan academy is a not-for-profit, with a mission of providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. if you look at a khan academy video, they can cover everything from basic
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finally reappeared in public. speculation was swirling about his health and personal life. he hadn't been seen in ten days. his appearance hasn't calmed all the rumors about where he's been and what he's been doing. matthew chance is joining us live from moscow now. matthew, did the russian president address his absence in any way today? >> reporter: well, he didn't explain it. i simply made light of it. he appeared with the president of kyrgyzstan looking healthy. putting away the rumors that he had been sick that he had cancer or suffered a stroke. there was speculation that he died. that's been put to rest finally. but he didn't explain why he was away for ten days, which is an extraordinary absence for a leader that's usually so present
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as this. particularly without explanation. you can imagine if the u.s. president was away for ten days and nobody knew where he was, it would be utter chaos, i expect. he did make light of it. he said look i'm not going to explain it. but things would be very boring i'm paraphrasing things would be boring without gossip. you know, you got the sense he was smiling. he was quietly enjoying all the attention that he was getting. >> over the weekend, there was a documentary, as you know matthew that aired on russian tv in which putin supposedly claimed he was ready to put russia's nuclear forces on alert over last year's crisis in crimea. what are we to make of this? >> that's right. he said this in his documentary. that was broadcast on sunday night local time. a big documently.
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in it he made that suggestion that he had actually considered putting russia's nuclear forces on a higher degree of alertness. if the situation developed where other countries with ukraine, the western countries had attempted to seize back crimea from russia after they had taken it. i think he was just trying to underline how important crimea is to russia. they were prepared to go he's saying all the way to defend that and keep it as part of russia. so that was the basis on which he was talking. i have to say, the nuclear footing of russia's the footing of russia's nuclear arsenal was not changed. it was something they considered doing if the situation deteriorated. >> fascinating. his approval ratings inside russia right now, they remain sky high for some reason despite all the setbacks economically that the russian people have been suffering since that invasion of crimea a year or so
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ago. matthew matthew, thanks very much for that. i'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in the situation room. cnn news center coming up next. for the viewers in north america, newsroom with brooke baldwin starts right now. wolf blitzer, thank you so much. great to be with you on this monday. i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn. we're beginning with robert durst and a what appears to be his confession to not one but multiple murders. here's the back story. he was born into one of the richest families in new york city. the crimewatchers will tell you his luck runs far beyond his birthright. he's been linked to the deaths of three people his wife his confidant and his neighbor. robert durst escaped any murder convictions thus far but this may be the beginning of the end of his freedom. this is his latest mugshot after his arrest this past saturday. he just waived