his. voila. remotes, come out from the cushions, you are back. the x1 voice remote is here. neighbors with claims it tested a hiydrogen bomb. an emotional moment for barack obama as he outlines his plans to curb gun violence in america. >> but his critics aren't listening. the reaction from republican presidential candidates and the national rifle association. hello and welcome to our viewers here in the united states and all around the world. i'm rosemary church. >> and i'm errol barnett. thanks for joining our two hour block. this is "cnn newsroom."
we begin with breaking news and global condemnation after north korea says it conducted a successful test of a hydrogen nuclear bomb. >> south korea's president says this test is a clear provocation. these are photographs of north korean leader signing the order. if the claim is true, this marks a significant advancement for a country which has only tested less powerful plutonium weapons. >> the united nations security counselor will hold an emergency meeting in a few hours. it could take several days to determine whether or not this test was successful as north korea claims. >> paula hancock is in seoul with more. north korean tv has broadcast the pictures of him signing the orders for the nuclear test. they're eager to promote this, clearly, but we don't know if
this is a hydrogen bomb. what do we know so far about this? >> reporter: well. what we've heard so far from north korea they say about six or seven hours ago they carried out this, what they call a successful hydrogen test. as you said, we don't know whether or not it was a hydrogen bomb. we've been hearing from one government institute here at the korean institute of government staft, that the radio active material would have blown east to the sea of japan or the east sea. so it'll take at least two days for them to collect that material and then to analyze it. even then, they say, it may not be that they can give a definitive answer whether or not it was a hydrogen bomb. as far as pyongyang is concerned, they say it was and successful. and the photo with the north korean leader was signing the order for this to go ahead on
january third, according to north korean state media. it says he issued the order back in december the 15th, just a few days after he publicly admitted they had the h bomb, the claim which, at the time, many analysts queried and said was highly unlikely that they could have made such a significant jump in nuclear capability. at this point, it's yet to be confirmed whether or not this was a hydrogen nuclear test, but the fact that this test went ahead is leading to expected swift international condemnation. meetings across the region are ongoing. we know right now here in south korea, seoul, there is the head of the u.s. forces in korea, and also the u.s. ambassador to south korea, and the south korean foreign minister to discuss what's happened. >> yet to confirm if this is indeed a hydrogen bomb. how do they go about confirming
this, and if it is, and we don't know for sure, how significant would that be? >> reporter: there are a number of ways they can determine what kind of bomb it was. the way the immensity of the explosion, the kilotons given up, and in the case of a hydrogen bomb, it would be a significant level. but we don't know what kind of underground casing the north koreans have. we know they've been working in the site in the northeast of the country the last couple of years since 2014. the experts that will be analyzing any scientific data that comes in, they simply don't know the conditions on the ground, so that will make it extremely difficult to ascertain whether or not it was a hydrogen bomb, but you would assume they would have some kind of an idea
as to whether or not it could be that, because it is so much more powerful than an atomic bomb. the three previous nuclear tests, plutonium, and then the 2013, neither plutonium or uranium wasn't ascertained. it would be a significant increase in capability if they have managed to pull this off. pyongyang has been very clear that they have trying to push their nuclear program forward. they've blamed the united states for this. they've used the united states as justification for this program. in fact, the announcement this morning at north korea time was that this was in defense against the united states, saying that if the u.s. does not violate north korea's sovereignty, we will not use nuclear weapons, but if it is a hydrogen bomb, it's a huge jump in capability, but it's a huge if at this point. >> it is, and paula keeping us up to date from seoul in south
korea. we'll check back in with you next hour. >> let's show you some of the reaction to this. the u.s. is denouncing korea's claim. there was a statement released. part of it says we will not accept north korea as a nuclear state. we will continue to protect and defend our allies in the region, including the republican of korea, and will respond appropriately to any and all north korean provocations. now, in the meantime, japan is vowing to join forces with the allies to take a stand against north korea for the nuclear test. the prime minister went on national television wednesday. >> translator: the nuclear test is a serious threat to our nation's security and cannot be tolera tolerated. we strongly denounce it. >> here's what we know about north korea's nuclear capability. experts believe the north has
enough plutonium for about four to eight nuclear warheads. it's unknown how many nuclear warheads it's assembled. north korea has an arsenal of short and medium range missiles and is working on longer range weapons. the north did stage a rocket launch in 2012 that it said played a satellite into orbit, but experts are unsure if they have the technology to mount one on a missile and to target a missile effectively. >> let's bring in mike from hong kong. it's a senior fellow with the u.s. china institute at the university of southern california, ucs, also the author of melt down, the inside story of the north korean nuclear crisis. thanks for staying with us as we continue to cover this breaking news. the reaction and condemnation from regional powers as we just showed you, that would e expect bid the north. so would additional sanctions.
why is north korea doing this now? what does kim jong-un gain? we' >> we've seen a situation where nart koreans are forcing to react to them. this fits a pattern of north korean behavior we've watched over many years. having an enhanced nuclear capability has been a central theme of kim jong-un's rule. it's one of the key principles guiding his regime, and the north has been making it very clear that that was the direction they were going to go. kim himself spoke about having a hydrogen bomb a few weeks ago. so it's not altogether surprising that they would take this test. partly if the north looks around the region, based on what we've seen happen after the previous nuclear tests, my guess is the north calculated, whatever the fallout, it can withstand it.
so far there's no evidence that sarngss enacted after previous tests had any impact in terms of changing north korea's behavior. the north knows the united states and south korea are not going to start a war over this, and china, even though beijing is certain to be fur use at the north koreans is unlikely to take the kind of really harsh steps that would compel a change in north korean behavior. so the north probably calculates this gives it leverage if there's any diplomatic activity that follows, and it's in the driver's seat in every other country in the region as to how to react. >> do expect the north's relationship will stay the same with north korea? this alleged h bomb test could be seen as an insult to efforts on north korea's behalf. how is that relationship likely to change after this, if at all, do you think?
>> well, this nuclear test is really a slap in the face to china. beijing shifted its approach to north korea in recent months. before then china had been somewhat more critical and stand offish toward the north. in the past new months a top official visited pyongyang. the chinese, evidently made a calculation that being more friendly to the north would improve beijing's leverage and encourage north korea to shy away from further provocative steps. clearly that approach didn't work. so north korea is essentially poking china in the eye, and for the chinese president, it's an insult. china will be upset. at the end of the day when the chinese look at the korean peninsula, what's more worry somethan if north korea has
nuclear weapons, is collapse in china. therefore they are not going to take the kinds of step that would inflict a enough pain on north korea to prompt pyongyang to change behavior. at the end of the day, it will be business as usual. >> it makes you wonder if previous sanctions and efforts haven't changed north korea's behavior, what would. mike joining us from hong kong, senior fellow with the u.s. china institute at ucs. thanks for your time. still to come, the u.s. president gets personal. >> every time i think about those kids, it gets me mad. >> speaking act massacred school children as he makes his case for executive action on gun control. >> also coming up, iran's president lashes out at saudi arabia for cutting ties with tehran. we'll take you live for the latest on that. tting the best price on this?
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in gun violence. he announced executive actions at an emotional ceremony. >> at one point he teared up as he described the string of gun massacred that seem to have become common in the united states. jim acosta has the details. >> reporter: it was, perhaps, the most emotional speech president obama has ever given in office. first embracing the crowd of mass shooting victims in their families on hand. then openly crying as he made the case can for new executive actions on gun control. >> from first graders in newtown. >> reporter: the president wiped away tears as he recalled what he's described as his saddest day in office. the slaughter of 20 first graders and six adults in a shooting. >> every time i think about those kids, it gets me mad. and by the way, it happens on the streets of chicago every day. [ applause ]
>> reporter: under the president's new executive actions a warning to nearly all gun sellers to conduct background checks. plus new agents, $500 million for mental health care. to hammer home the argument, the president was joined by the father of a child who died at sandy hook. >> as a nation, we have to do better. we are better. we're better than this. >> reporter: and a former congressman who was nearly killed by a shooter five years ago. her husband is now a leader of victim's families. >> it's almost like you're a community of people now. >> we are, for -- i mean, you know, unbelievable devastating circumstances. so it's not a community that people want to belong to. just leave it at that. you don't want to be invited into that club. >> reporter: the executive action stopped short of a law mandating universal background
checks. the president blamed the nra and the republicans in congress for that. >> reporter: the gun lobby cannot hold america hostage. the nra said the proposed executive actions are ripe for abuse by the obama administration. and speaker spaul ryan said rather than focus on criminals and terrorists, the president goes after law-abiding citizens. it's a form of intimidation that undermines liberty. >> he's obsessed with undermining the second amendment. >> reporter: the white house says that's pure politics. >> i believe in the second amendment. it's there, written on the paper. it guarantees a right to bear arms. no matter how many times people try to twist my words around. >> reporter: much of the president's ability to enforce these new actions depends on
congress spending the money to hire new investigators at the atf and fbi. republicans have said the president should enforce the existing gun laws. and lawmakers saw they have chance to do just that. jim acosta, the white house. >> and later this hour, we'll have more reaction to mr. obama's plan. we'll hear from the father of a young victim of gun violence. we want to turn to tensions in the middle east. iran's president is lashing out at saudi arabia over its execution of a shiite cleric. he says the saudi government cannot hide its, quote, great crime by severing ties with tehran. >> the execution spurred protests across the middle east and similar diplomatic action by neighboring nations. kuwait recalled its am bass sba to tehran. >> we are joined now live from saudi arabia.
nick, more countries are aligning with saudi arabia on this. where's it all going and what efforts are underway to try to deescalate the tensions between iran and saudi arabia? >> reporter: well, there's certainly international pressure on both countries to deescalate both from the u.n., the united states, of course, feeling how this might impact upcoming talks on syria. they're supposed to begin in january. we've heard from the saudi ambassador to the u.n. that he says this won't effect saudi arabia's participation in those talks. they'll come regardless of whatever iran's position is. the reality is once you get inside the room, saudi arabia and the allies and we saw them meet here in late december, if essentially hardened their position toward whatever iran'ses a separations are in syria. we know they're to keep bashar al assad in power. the diplomatic political impasse to try to get a peace agreement
in syria is made more difficult. there's no indication things are deescalating -- >> all right. we certainly had problems there, and we just lost nick robertson. we'll try to get him. if we don't this hour, we'll talk to him next hour. >> germany's chancellor is expressing anger over what she calls disgusting assaults and talks that happened during new year's investigations. >> police are nvlgting dozens of complaints over immigration. atika schubert reports. >> reporter: new year's eve in germany has always been a rowdy party scene. the police now report that dozens of women were sexually assaulted and robbed in the chaos. police say victims described the prerp pay or thes as small gangs of arab or north african men. the men surrounded us and
started to touch our crotches. they touched us everywhere. i wanted to leave. i turned around and in that moment, someone grabbed my bag. only identifying herself as linda, this victim says she is too scared to go out alone, and still has nightmares. >> translator: i thought the whole time in the crowd they could kill us or rape us and no one would notice. nobody noticed and nobody helped us. i just wanted to get out. >> reporter: other women agreed saying there was no one to help them. >> translator: we ran to the police, but we saw the police were so understaffed. they couldn't take care of us, and we as women paid the price. >> reporter: by tuesday morning the headlines blared that a section mob of arab men. germa germany's justice minister said the scale and nature of the attacks may constitute a new dimension of organized crime but cautioned against jumping to
conclusions. >> translator: during these investigations, it will become clearer which circle of perpetrators is involved. making this an issue through oversimplifications and connecting it to the issue of refugees is nothing more than misuse of the debate. now, it is about determining the facts and drawing the necessary conclusions. >> reporter: police have so far recorded 90 criminal incidents. one rape was reported. at the time there were roughly 1,000 people in total at the square. not all were prerp traitors. the real aim was pickpockets, mostly mobile phones and tablets. police are combing through surveillance video of the area. but the results play into public fears that the influx of refugees would also bring a crime wave, fueling right wing criticism of the open door policy toward refugees. local residents gathered in
protest at the site of the attacks. >> translator: what happened here is terrible, but at the same time, not everybody who was here in this square should be incriminated. that's not acceptable either. the perpetrators must be caught and brought to justice. >> reporter: fear, anger, and suspicious. the country is already straining under the influx of nearly one million refugees. a tinderbox that won't take much to catch fire. two major league baseball players are suing al jazeera america. ryan howard and ryan zimmerman filed the suit tuesday. >> they accused the network of de defamation after they were mentioned about performance enhancing drugs. they're seeking monetary damages and a retraction. it also claims peyton manning's
wife received a banned substance. manning is considering legal action. >> when we continue, we'll have more for you on the breaking news out of north korea and reaction to its announcement of the nuclear test. >> plus reaction to the u.s. president's new push for gun control. we will hear from the father of a young shooting victim. ♪ (cell phone rings) where are you? well the squirrels are back in the attic. mom? your dad won't call an exterminator... can i call you back, mom? he says it's personal this time... if you're a mom, you call at the worst time. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. where are you? it's very loud there. are you taking a zumba class? (singing alougetting to know you. getting to know all about you... getting to like you. getting to hope you like me...
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bomb in an underground test. the u.s. says the claim may take days to verify. >> and people are meeting in seoul, and the allies have all condemned the testing. a hydrogen bomb is more powerful than anything the country has tested before if this turns out to be true. >> now, earlier we spoke with a former u.s. ambassador to north korea. he says the world community must find a way to slow down the north's nuclear ambitions. >> i'm not sure saying we're going to respond with strategic patience is going to get us very far. i think what we're going to have to do is there will be a discussion in the u.n. and an effort to tighten sanctions, and i think further efforts with china and other countries, and i hope there will be some understanding that we have to somehow retard this program in
the way that we did with the iranian program, and so i think we're going to have to really think very hard about what to do, because we can't just leave this one alone. i think the real issue is we need to find ways to make sure that program doesn't move forward as quickly as its been moving, and there are a number of ways to do that. technical issues. it's very sort of edge of your skis tough measures, but i don't think we can just let this thing continue to grow, because if they really exploded a hydrogen weapon, that is a very serious matter, and they're clearly getting close to putting it on missile. >> let's bring in will ripley who joins us live from beijing, and you've been to pyongyang many times. they always claim these tests are for peaceful purposes, but today the north says this is a defensive move. what's the message they're trying to send?