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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI

World Confronting Terror; Politics in France; FBI Investigates Attack on Mosques in California. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired December 14, 2015 - 15:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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GEORGE HOWELL, HOST: Tonight from the Pentagon to the streets of Europe, the world is confronting terror.

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As new reports emerge about some of the most recent attacks.

Then all sides are claiming some political victory in France. We'll have a report from Paris on why the far right's win wasn't as big as expected.

And some mosques in the United States are becoming targets. Why the FBI has now stepped in to help investigate two attacks in southern California.

Plus Donald Trump posts big numbers a day ahead of the final Republican debate of the year.

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HOWELL: Hello, I'm George Howell live from the CNN Center in Atlanta for Hala Gorani. This is "The World Right Now."

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HOWELL: And a good day to you. We begin with tough talk from the U.S. President. Barack Obama met with his top military leaders at the Pentagon

and after that meeting he told reporters America and its allies are hitting ISIS "harder than ever."

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HOWELL: He says the U.S. lead coalition is taking out ISIS leaders one by one warning those who remaining that " you are next". Mr. Obama says ISIS

has lost significant territory in Iraq and Syria but also acknowledged a long fight ahead. Listen

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We recognize that progress needs to keep coming fast. No one knows that more than the countless

Syrians and Iraqis living every day under ISIS terror as the families in San Bernardino and Paris and elsewhere who are grieving the loss of their

loved ones.

Just as the United States is doing more on this fight, just as our allies France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Australia and Italy are doing

more, so must others. And that's why I've asked Secretary Carter to go to the Middle East. He'll depart right after this press briefing to work with

our coalition partners on securing more military contributions to this fight.

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HOWELL: In the meantime, we are learning new chilling details about the terror attacks in Paris last month.

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HOWELL: A French terrorism expert now says the ring leader of those attacks may have given direct orders to the gunmen inside the Bataclan theater as

the massacre unfolded.

He says based on witness accounts, it seems Abdelhamid Abboud instructed the attackers over his cell phone from just a few blocks away.

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HOWELL: That information comes from an article published in the CTC Sentinel. Its editor in chief, Paul Cruickshank joins us now live from

London. Paul, you broke that story there. Let's talk about this. The article talks about a witness who was about three blocks away who was able

to watch Abboud on the phone seeming to supervise in real-time these various phases of the attacks. What more are we learning about what this

witness saw?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well George these are really stunning new details about what played out that night.

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CRUICKSHANK: That Abdelhamid Abboud, the ringleader of the plot, was standing outside the Bataclan concert hall during the attack and talking in

a very animated fashion for about an hour into his cell phone, a hands free kit he was using according to this witness. He was huddling in the doorway

of a residence very, very near the Bataclan during this time. And the supposition is he was communicating with the attackers inside in real-time

as they are massacring people inside that venue.

Also earlier in the evening he'd been in communication with one of the stadium attackers Bilal Hadfi for a period of 41 minutes over cell phone

lines right until the point when the stadium attackers started to blow themselves up. And in fact, was actually on the line as the first of those

stadium attackers started to blow themselves up.

So the picture that is emerging, is that the ringleader Abdelhamid Abboud on the ground that night coordinating all of this, stage managing all of

this for maximum destruction on behalf of ISIS. Of course he wasn't meant to die that night. He had more plans and those plans were to launch a

second wave attack with another fellow co-conspirator a few days later against a shopping district in Paris.

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CRUICKSHANK: But fortunately that was thwarted by the French commandos who went into the Saint-Denis safe house where he was holed up.

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HOWELL: So showing that there could have been a great deal of command and control in supervising these attacks. And, you know, the big concern

obviously about Abboud's alleged accomplice Salah Abdeslam is still on the run. And at the same time we've seen recent arrests of two twins in Finland

tied to the murders of 11 unarmed prisoners in Iraq. Those men and the murders as you'll remember were seen in an ISIS propaganda video.

And in Geneva the city on high alert after concerns that suspicious individuals were in that city. So the big question here Paul is you know

how are E.U governments trying to face these various threats head on?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, George, they're scrambling to get ahold of the situation to face these threats. We're living in a time of unprecedented threat. And

as you point out, there are not many parts of Europe which are immune to this threat right now. The threat being faced in Scandinavia, in countries

like Germany, Austria, Switzerland, also Italy, France, Spain, you know you can almost name it that the threat is really Europe wide right now.

More than 6,000 European extremists have traveled to Syria and Iraq. Many of them have joined with ISIS. At least 1500 have come back to European

shores. That's the ones they know about. And sometimes they know about some of these operatives coming back through intelligence. But it's difficult

for them to make arrests and to land charges because they don't always have enough evidence to put people away. Because sometimes it's not clear

whether they've gone to Turkey or whether they've gone into Syria or Iraq as far as what you can put in a courtroom.

So there's a very big challenge that European security agencies and law enforcement agencies are facing. There's also a problem of coordination

right across the European Union. A lot of these services are reluctant to share crucial information, intelligence sources and methods which would

help the other evaluate all this information. And so they're now cause for real reform right throughout Europe in terms of how to meet this threat,

George.

HOWELL: Concerns, for sure. At the same time there's concern about the influx of refugees as these two twins were asylum seekers as well. Paul

Cruickshank, thank you so much for your insight and the story that you broke.

Now onto France and a surprising election result that is set to shake up next year's Presidential election.

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HOWELL: The Far Right National Front Party has failed to win control over any region. That despite the fact it had the large share of the national

vote in last week's first round. Still Marine Le Pen's party took 27% of the ballots partly why the French Prime Minister says the Far Right is here

to stay.

MANUEL VAILS, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER: (As translated) Tonight, there is no place for relief, no triumphism, no message of victory. The danger posed by

the Far Right has not gone away, far from it. I won't forget the results of the first round and of previous elections.

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HOWELL: For more, our senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann is following the story from Paris.

JIM BITTERMANN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kind of a strange election result because no one appears to have lost this election.

Everybody was claiming victory in the aftermath.

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BITTERMANN: The two mainstream parties, the Socialists and Republicans were happy that they had stopped the National Front just a week ago. It looked

like the National Front could win as many as six of the 13 regions of France. In fact they won none of those regions.

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BITTERMAN: But while they were claiming victory because of that, the National Front, the extreme Right Wing party was in fact claiming victory

as well.

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BITTERMANN: Because Marine Le Pen, the leader of that party said look we have tripled our representation in municipal and regional governments over

the last five years. And she's right about that in these regional elections there are still National Front people who have won seats even though they

haven't won the region. They still won seats and are representing the opposition in many of the regions.

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BITTERMANN: So everybody was saying they were victorious tonight. The Socialist party leader said it's a victory without joy, however.

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BITTERMANN: And one of the reasons he said that is because the Socialist party told its candidates in regions where it looked like they might lose

that they should withdraw in order to form a front against the National Front and in fact that seemed to have worked in both the northern region

and in the southern region where Marine Le Pen was running and her niece Marion Marechal-le Pen was running in the south, both were defeated in the

elections.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

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HOWELL: To another race now. Anticipation is building for CNN's Republican Presidential debate which is now a little more than 24 hour ace way.

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HOWELL: It's the last time these candidates will square off in 2015. Nine of them will take part in the main debate like the other debates that we've

seen this primary season, front runner Donald Trump will be front and center once again.

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Let's go live to the debate hall. CNN's M.J. Lee is there for us. Very good to have you with us. So Donald trump will be in the center of that stage we

see behind you. And talk to us about Chris Christie as well.

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Hey, George. We are just one day away from the big event. You can see behind me the stage is set. And preparations

have been under way all day inside the Venetian theater here in Las Vegas. We just saw some rehearsals taking place. Some last-minute sound checks.

There are currently four podiums as you can see behind me. That's four podiums for the four lower ranking candidates that will participant in the

so called undercard debate. Now of course when the main debate takes place, there will be nine podiums so five extra podiums will be added. And of

course Donald Trump will once again take the center stage.

Flanking Donald Trump will be Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. The fact that Ted Cruz will be standing in the middle of the stage right next to Donald Trump

really reflects how he has recently risen in the polls.

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LEE: It's been the talk of the political world that Ted Cruz is catching up to Donald Trump a little bit nationally. But perhaps more importantly and

more interestingly, in Iowa in at least a couple of polls, Ted Cruz has actually caught up to Donald Trump and overtaken him. So that is not great

news for Donald Trump heading into tomorrow night.

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LEE: But I should say that nationally Donald Trump does have a very strong standing still at 41% in one new poll released today.

HOWELL: And M.J, at the same time we were talking about Chris Christie as well. So you know this will be important for him because he will be on the

main stage as opposed to the last debate.

LEE: Absolutely. He is one of the candidates who had sort of been unable to really push himself up. The mid-tier candidate as you know has been really

frozen for a long time with Donald Trump at the top and a lot of the other candidates sort of tuck in the middle tier.

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LEE: Chris Christie really trying to change that as we are now just seven weeks away from the Iowa caucuses.

HOWELL: M.J. Lee live for us in Las Vegas, Nevada, the site of the last Republican debate of the year.

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HOWELL: M.J. thank you so much. Still to come this hour, oil prices hover near multiyear lows as investors gear up for a crucial decision from the

U.S. Fed.

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HOWELL: The latest on the markets right after this break. This is "The World Right Now."

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HOWELL: This is "The World Right Now." I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Let's talk oil prices.

They are recovering slightly after hitting a new seven-year low earlier on Monday.

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HOWELL The international bench mark Brent crude is currently trading at around $38. Earlier it was close to the lowest level in 11 years.

Following, it of course, CNN's Richard Quest has analysis from the market.

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HOWELL: Let's talk -- Richard, just 45 minutes from close now and there is a slight recovery in oil?

RICHARD QUEST, HOST QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Well, oil is sort of the (inaudible) in between. But it, George, it's the general feeling of the

financial markets at the start of what's a crucial week. With it probably being the week when the Fed will raise interest rates for the first time in

what nine-odd years.

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QUEST: And I want to show you the Dow Jones. Because when you look -- all right the movement at the moment is just down 11. It's barely changed in

percentage terms. But look at the way the day's progressed. Up, down, big section down then back up again. This sort of admittedly low volume, low

movement volatility is what we should expect pretty much through the course of this week.

Oil prices is one factor into this. Brent crude; this is where Brent is at the moment. It's down at this low just around $35, $34 a barrel. And the

market believes because of the questions of increased supply, lower demand. The market believes that this might be just testing a level and the further

downside to come. Looking at how oil prices have actually traded today, bearing in mind we saw something like an 11% fall last week.

Brent is now at 38 and a quarter, West Texas 36 and a third. And even allowing for these minor movements upwards, the view is still very much

with so much supply, Saudi, Russia, Iran coming online, Qatar. Everybody is continuing to dominate market share that the pressure and trend George, is

down.

HOWELL: The glut of oil on the market.

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HOWELL: At the same time, Richard, there is concern about volatility. Given what the Fed may or may not do when it comes to the interest rate. What are

you hearing?

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QUEST: So that volatility - well the Fed almost certainly -- I do not know anybody if you look back at the Dow which of course is much more relevant

than just on -- I do not know anybody who believes that the Fed isn't going to move.

The last unemployment jobless numbers was the final shove they need. There is absolutely no reason for them not to put a quarter point on interest

rates when they meet on Tuesday with the decision being on Wednesday.

But the devil will be in the detail of the statement. And just how dovish it is. How many rates are we expecting in 2016. Just how gradual with this

tightening series be. And that is what we're starting to see. Nobody will be surprised that the Fed moves on Wednesday. In fact, they'd be downright

shocked if they didn't. That's the way it's looking.

But, George, the key here is they're literally starting the firing gun on interest rate rises. And now the question is how fast do the runners and

the rates move up.

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HOWELL: So we'll have to see come Wednesday you know, will the Fed or won't the Fed and all expectations are - inaudible.

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QUEST: I would say George, it's not will they or won't they. I promise you -- take this to the bank. If they don't --

HOWELL: I'll hold you to it, Richard.

QUEST: If they don't, that will be the equivalent of financial Armageddon.

HOWELL: Richard Quest, always great to have your analysis and breaking down what to expect. Thank you so much live in New York.

This is "The World Right Now" and still ahead.

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HOWELL: Find out how a member of one of Japan's most feared mafia groups has turned his life around. Plus it's the film that everybody is talking

about. And it's projected box office take is shall we say out of this world. This is "The World Right Now."

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HOWELL: You're watching "The World Right Now." I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta in for Hala Gorani. Let's talk about the embattled

American actor Bill Cosby. He is suing seven women who have accused him of sexual assault.

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HOWELL: His lawsuit calls their allegations malicious and opportunistic. And it demands the women issue a public correction. Dozens of women have

come forward accusing Mr. Cosby of sexual assault. Some of the alleged incidents go back as far as the 1960s. Bill Cosby denies the claims.

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HOWELL: Now onto Japan where there are growing signs of trouble for the nation's powerful organized crime group Yakuza. Both Tokyo and Washington

are stepping up their crackdown and the United States has frozen the American assets of one of its top bosses. The once glamorized gangsters are

finding it harder to survive.

CNN's Will Ripley has the story of one man who went from prison to the pulpit and now tries to guide others away from the mob.

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WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At Sunday service in Kawaguchi, Japan, a message about transformation. A familiar topic for the

congregation and the man they called teacher, Sensei (inaudible) Shindo.

Before we were in rival gangs firing guns he says, now we're praising the same guy. The pastor and some of his parishioners, ex-gangsters shunned by

Japanese society. Shindo joined the Japanese Mafia, the Yakuza at 17 hooked on easy money, women, and drugs. He saw many around him killed.

Looking at my past, he says, no one would have thought this could happen. Shindo's body bears the scars of his old life. Tattoos are taboo in Japan,

symbols of Mafia membership along with his missing pinky. Cut off with a chisel. A Yakuza ritual of atonement for driving drunk, wrecking the boss'

car.

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A Yakuza returning to society is indeed extraordinary he says. Shindo says he found God in solitary confinement. Since his release from prison a

decade ago, he's helped other former gangsters leading a growing congregation from all walks of life. He's baptized about a hundred people

including his mother.

When he came back, he apologized and said I survived for you mother. (Yoshimi Shindo) says that's when I decided to forget the past.

Her longtime bar (inaudible) transformed into a house of worship. He's changed to helping others. Being called a sensei. I think it's wonderful,

she says. Ex-mobsters don't have many options in Japan. Their secretive underworld is shrinking, profits drying up from years of government

crackdowns.

What do you do with these people when they're not in the Yakuza anymore? How do you prevent them from becoming common criminals? Journalist Jake

Adelstein says the Japanese Mafia keeps thugs in check. He says if the Yakuza lose influence street crime could surge in Tokyo, considered the

world's safest city. Police fear a repeat of Japan's 1980s gang warfare. Triggered by the recent split of the Yamaguchi Gumi, Japan's largest crime

syndicate.

(Hiro) ran away from the group after five years as a Yakuza. Afraid for his safety, he asked us to hide his face.

It's really hard to get back to normal society, he says. Cast away by his family, (Hiro) sleeps on the church floor. If you didn't have this church,

what do you think you'd be doing right now?

I'd be arrested in jail, he says. (Hiro) says here he and other ex-mobsters have a chance to transform their lives in a society that doesn't easily

give second chances especially to people like them.

Will Ripley, CNN, Japan.

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HOWELL: This is "The World Right Now" and still to come this hour.

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HOWELL: It was a hellish scene near the Syrian capital. Dozens of civilians paying the price for attacks on rebel held areas of Damascus. Plus vandals

target a string of mosques in the U.S. state of California. We'll have the latest on the investigation. You're watching "The World Right Now."

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HOWELL: Welcome back. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta in for Hala Gorani.

Here is what's happening in the world right now.

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HOWELL: A new report suggests the ringleader arranged the attack at the Bataclan from his cell phone.

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HOWELL: The academic journal CTC Sentinel says Abdelhamid Abboud was a few blocks away from the venue speaking with the gunmen on cell phone while the

attacks were under way.

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HOWELL: This just in to CNN, U.S. Authorities say that a man from the state of Maryland has been charged with attempting to providing material support

to ISIS. They say he received money from overseas for operational purposes then lied about it when the FBI confronted him. He is due in court later

this afternoon.

And CNN has just learned the U.S. Army Sergeant, Bowe Bergdahl will face Court Martial.

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HOWELL: A top military commander has ordered that Mr. Bergdahl must face two charges, desertion, and endangering the safety of his fellow troops.

Bergdahl disappeared in Afghanistan in 2006 and as you'll remember was captured by the Taliban. He was freed after the U.S. traded him in exchange

for five Taliban detainees held in Guantanamo bay, Cuba.

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HOWELL: Voters in France's regional elections have delivered a surprising result.

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HOWELL: The far right, National Front Party has failed to win control over any region in that country. That's despite the fact that it had the largest

share of the national vote in last week's first round.

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HOWELL: As the world's diplomats make a new push to end the war in Syria, the horrors never stop in the neighborhoods and in the villages in that

country. Children run from bombs to embrace their parents there. Men drop to the ground in prayer simply thankful that they're still alive. Nick

Paton Walsh has the story of one bombing this week near the capital city of Damascus.

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NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This may be the sound of the new normal over rebel held Duma, but pause and imagine looking

up to see the bombs themselves.

ISIS is not here but barely a week passes without the regime's slaughter of rebels. This time activists said it was Russian jets using cluster bombs.

Russia denies targeting civilians and CNN can't verify the claims. Moments of life here stand out in the dust and death. The fight against ISIS takes

the headlines in Syria. But it's the brutality of the regime that takes by far the most lives.

I want mother, he's saying. He stops and pauses. I think he's hurt. But he's just thanking god he's alive. Here this man says leave me be, I'm

calm, my daughter has just been martyred. One of the places hit, a school. It's unclear how many children died here or how the bombs came to fall upon

it. In fact, after four years of this, what's almost the more shocking is that school was even open.

Asked where Syria's extremism came from, many activists point to this carnage. The crucible of Syria's humanity.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Beirut.

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HOWELL: That kind of violence has caused millions of people to flee their homes for safety in Europe. But now German Chancellor Angela Merkel is

promising to stem the massive tide of refugees entering her country.

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HOWELL: But she's rejecting calls by some within her own party to slam that door shut. As Merkel addressed the congress of the Christian Democratic

Union on Monday, she says Germany has a duty as Europe's economic power house to help these refugees. Especially those fleeing the war in Syria.

Listen.

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ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: (As translated) We want to and we will noticeably reduce the numbers of refugees because it's in the interest of

everyone. It's in Germany's interest with a view on the tasks ranging from the accommodation of refugees that are integration into society and the

labor market.

It's in Europe's interest with a view on our internal situation in Europe. And with the view on our role in the world and dear friends, it's in the

interest of the refugees themselves because nobody, no matter why they make the journey, thoughtlessly leaves his home.

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HOWELL: And in the United States, the FBI and California police are investigating vandalism at two local mosques as possible hate crimes.

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HOWELL: The attacks happened during the weekend in the city of Hawthorne which is part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area and our Nick Valencia is

following this story.

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HOWELL: And Nick I know you have been looking into this. This happened just after the fire bombing of a mosque in Cooachella, California.

NIC VALENCIA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we'll get into that in just a second. But the latest vandalism happening in two mosques over one

night in Hawthorne California. That's about an hour away from San Bernardino, the site of the terror attacks that took place earlier this

month.

As George was mentioning both of these mosques had graffiti put on the outside of the mosque. The word Jesus spray painted. One actually had a

fake grenade that was left on the front steps of the mosque that led to some tense moments for the members of that mosque as well as the responding

police.

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VALENCIA: This comes as George mentions after the fire bombing of a Coachella mosque also about an hour outside of San Bernardino when people

were still outside.

Now a suspect has been taken into custody in that incident. But the latest vandalism, there is still no suspect of leads according to investigators,

members of that mosque just confused as to why this happened.

ZAHID MIAN, AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY: It's disheartening because, you know, as Americans we all believe that this is land of the free, you know,

liberty, the freedom of speech and religion.

VALENCIA: And we mentioned that the FBI is investigating this. They did release a statement to CNN which read in part, ".The FBI is committed to

ensure law-abiding citizens are protected and to deter those who would threaten them. We continuously work with our state and local partners to

secure communities and to investigate and bring to justice those who would commit violent acts or make violent threats against others based on the

victims constitutionally protected characteristics or beliefs, real or perceived."

So this is a very serious situation there for the FBI. And of course local law enforcement are having to dealing with this.

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HOWELL: So the FBI looking into it Nick. But I know you've been speaking with your FBI sources and they are concerned about reprisal attacks against

Muslims here in the U.S. What are you hearing?

VALENCIA: This is a very real concern, very credible threat according to the FBI spokesman I had a chance to meet with just a couple of weeks ago

right after the San Bernardino attacks. They tell me that they're concerned about white supremacists, sovereign citizens that may be staging attacks

against the Muslim community. And as I was told by this FBI spokesman, they don't think that the terrorists will be caught in these reprisal attacks.

It's more likely the innocents of this community will be affected by them. So it's still a very serious concern, not just of course the radicalization

element of Muslims in this country in the United States, but also the exact opposite of those targeting innocent Muslims because of the nature and the

atmosphere currently in this country George.

HOWELL: Just innocent civilians.

VALENCIA: That's right.

HOWELL: U.S. national correspondent, Nick Valencia.

VALENCIA: Thank you, see you George.

HOWELL: Thank you so much, good to see you too.

This is "The World Right Now." And still ahead, Donald Trump.

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HOWELL: He is a well-known businessman in Scotland but now he is facing a backlash there. I will speak with Scottish MP, stay with us.

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HOWELL: Welcome back to "The World Right Now." I'm George Howell. Donald Trump may have more -- may have come to the worldwide stage because of his

Presidential campaign, but he's been a well-known figure in Scotland for many years as an investor in business there. And now Mr. Trump's comments

about Muslims are provoking backlash in Scotland.

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HOWELL: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stripped Mr. Trump of his role as a business ambassador. Trump's commercial interests in Scotland include

ownership of two golf courses.

In 2010 he was given an honorary degree at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. That was revoked following his suggestion that Muslims be

temporarily banned from entering the United States.

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HOWELL: To talk more about this joining us live from London is Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, she is a Scottish national party MP and also a Muslim who has

spoken out about Donald Trump's comments this week. Thank you so much for taking time with us today.

So look there's a petition in the U.K. to ban Mr. Trump from that nation. The Prime Minister has also stated that he opposes Mr. Trump's proposed

ban. What are your thoughts?

TASMINA AHMED-SHEIKH, SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY MP: Well, first of all it's important to see that the petition was actually in progress after Donald

Trump's remarks about disabled people you may remember from some time ago and then about women and then indeed about Mexicans. And now what we find

is that the Petition has been signed by over 550,000 people.

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AHMED-SHEIKH: In fact, the petition hasn't been completed so quickly or gotten so many signatures so quickly in the history of having petitions. So

that just goes to show the strength of feeling around this issue. And I'm not surprised. Because in the United Kingdom we've seen in the past couple

of weeks a 300% rise in crimes against Muslim women. And that just goes to show how important the language is around this debate.

Now in terms of the -- this particular Petition, what we're asking the U.K. government to do is to be consistent in the actions in relation to Mr.

Trump. Because the U.K. has banned 84 hate preachers from the U.K, those are people who spread bad words and can incite racial hatred and indeed are

not conducive to the public good. And my request to the home secretary and indeed the government and the Prime Minister as I articulated at Prime

Minister's questions last week was to make Mr. Trump number 85.

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HOWELL: Mr. Trump certainly getting a great deal of response from the United Kingdom. And trump actually speaking back, pressing back on this

writing in the press and journal newspaper in Scotland, Mr. Trump had this to say.

"If they Nicola Sturgeon and Robert Gordon University were going to do this, they should have informed me prior to my major investment in this 200

million pound development which will totally revitalize that vast region of Scotland. The U.K. politicians should be thanking me instead of pandering

to political correctness."

What are your thoughts about his point about investment in Scotland?

[15:45:11]

AHMED-SHEIKH: Donald Trump is not good for business in Scotland. And that is evidenced by indeed some committee members at the RNE, (inaudible) in

terms of the open championship which will not come to Turnberry as long as Donald Trump is in ownership.

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AHMED-SHEIKH: Separate to that in terms of his investment in Aberdeenshire, not only has he not met to commitments to the local community the council

and indeed government, he's also blocking a 100 million pound investment in terms of renewable energy project that's out there because of a legal

challenge he's mounted.

So the question is is Donald Trump good for business. I think what we have seen of late he's demonstrated that well certainly he is not. Golf is a

tremendous asset to Scotland. And indeed my own constituency at Glen Eagles Golf Course, the home of the Ryder Cup was sold very recently, so there's

no shortage of interest in business in terms of golf in Scotland. And what we need to make sure is our business owners are committed to Scotland and

conduct themselves in a manner that's conducive to the public good. And a manner in which people feel comfortable in dealing with them.

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AHMED-SHEIKH: And I think Donald Trump's remarks whether it be in relation to the entirety of those who practice Islam, whether it's in relation to

women, whether it's in relation to people of disability, he really hits a raw mark at every single point and it's about time to call him out. And

that is why I'm asking the U.K. government to be consistent in its approach to people who preach hatred.

HOWELL: As a political leader and personally what are your thoughts about what you're hearing from Mr. Trump? And also, what are you hoping to see

out of the U.S. Election?

AHMED-SHEIKH: I'm hoping in terms of the U.S. Election for the people of the United States to vote for, you know, who they want to or who they think

will be the best President. I mean, there are 20 million Scott-Americans in the United States and I feel confident that they will vote in a good way

and vote for the right candidate, a good candidate in terms of the elections. It is entirely a matter for the people of the United States of

America and we'll be watching closely.

They certainly haven't wasted any time in calling Mr. Trump out on his behaviors and his attitudes which are quite frankly unacceptable wherever

you may be in the world, U.S., U.K., or indeed beyond.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, thank you so much for your time today joining us live from London.

AHMED-SHEIKH: Thank you George.

HOWELL: This is "The World Right Now" and still ahead.

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HOWELL: We visit a place where simple and sophisticated design go hand in hand. Stay with us.

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[15:50:38]

HOWELL: I'm George Howell. This is "The World Right Now." And the world premiere of the hotly anticipated new "Star Wars" movie is just hours away

now.

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HOWELL: And fans have been camping out in Hollywood to catch a glimpse of that cast. CNN's Isha Sesay sat down with director, J.J. Abrams and he

talked about what it was like mixing old cast members with the film's new actors and actresses.

J. J. ABRAMS, DIRECTOR, STAR WARS: You have these actors like Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamlin and people who are you know

obviously just wonderful and established in this - in this iconic way. And then you've got these absolute unknowns who are stepping in and it wasn't

clear what that alchemy would result in.

And what was so lucky was to a person, they were supportive of each other. There was no weird resentment or kind of trying to edge out someone. They

were all there to kind of raise each other up. And that was sort of a beautiful thing to watch.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Are you worried about the numbers, the box office numbers? Is it something you're concerned with? All

the projections are this is going to blow box office takes - you know totals out of the water. Is that something you care about?

ABRAMS: The success for me is just going to be if people go and like the film and if kids go and see themselves in the movie and people feel better

when they leave the theater than when they got there. And the numbers are the numbers.

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HOWELL: A lot of people will be seeing these. And these may just be numbers for J.J. Abrams, but the movie is set to be a record a moneymaker.

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HOWELL: The previous trilogy has grossed more than $4.2 billion in ticket sales worldwide. That is dwarfed by toy sales worth about $12 billion. And

if you add other merchandise like video games, the total franchise revenue soars to a whopping $27 billion.

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HOWELL: Here's what Kim Sarafin thinks the force awakens might make in its opening weekend.

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KIM SARFIN: $200 million, $250 million for "Star Wars." potentially even more. Of course Disney is down playing expectations because you don't want

to get ahead of you. But consider the buzz for "Star Wars." consider how many people are talking about it. Consider how huge the premiere is. It's

bigger than the Oscars, practically in terms of shutting down Hollywood Boulevard. It could potentially make more than "Avatar" in terms of the

worldwide record and Avatar is 2.7 billion in its entirety. So look for "Star Wars" potentially to make even more to beat "Avatar's" record.

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HOWELL: With its timeless combination of form and function, Japan's design pedigree is second to none.

CNN's Paula Newton reports from Tokyo where a new wave of designers are keeping those traditions alive.

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PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The simultaneous simplicity and sophistication of Japanese design can at times be hard to grasp. From

architecture to lamp shades, the aesthetic is subtle, but you find yourself drawn to it. It can inspire feelings, emotions even. These design instincts

have been bred for centuries and now reborn at Japanese design house Nendo.

From its perch in central Tokyo, it's become one of the most prolific design houses in the world. And its creative heart is Founder, Oki Sato who

at the moment of this interview had more than 400 projects on the go.

OKI SATO, FOUNDER Unlike, like a top, when you keep on spinning, the center part is always very stable, but when it starts to get slow, it gets like

this. It gets kind of wobbly.

NEWTON: It starts to wobble.

SATO: Right, right.

NEWTON: His concepts are pure and genius as Japan's design pedigree. But they do go beyond. Nendo means play-doh or modeling clay in Japanese. A

metaphor Sato says stands for something that a fluid, flexible, transformative.

SATO: In a way I think Japanese design, it's about the idea, which is the most important thing. So it is very flexible. The output could end up in a

very different way, a different form, which really helps companies sometimes.

[15:55:12]

NEWTON: It is that concept of form and function that finds resonance globally for design. For more than three decades from housewares to furnish

to food, Muji's flagship Tokyo store has scrubbed the place bare of embellishment and Naoko Yano, Muji's design executive tells me why.

NAOKO YANO, DESIGN EXECTUIVE: (As translated): When we explain Muji to the people overseas, we would say no brand, no name. There are three points for

manufacturing. Selecting material, improving the production process, and simplifying the wrapping. These are the points we take seriously.

NEWTON: And that is the essence of how Japanese design is evolving. Take this seat now in Nendo's icon cabbage chair. Layers of fabric remnants from

designer, (inaudible) are peeled open.

SATO: I try to add a pinch of humor or a friendliness. Something that creates a link between people and objects.

NEWTON: In truth, Japanese design is built on timeless principles, but they have at times been unyielding and rigid. A new wave of design here takes

the best of that inheritance and imagines a whole new modern design history to come.

Paula Newton, CNN, Tokyo.

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HOWELL: Quite beautiful. And that is "The World Right Now." I'm George Howell. Thanks for watching. "Quest Means Business" is next.

END