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CNN NEWSROOM

Israel Denounces U.S. Abstention at U.N.; Berlin Market Attack; Actor Carrie Fisher in Hospital; Hijackers Surrender; Bethlehem Beermaker. Aired 12-12:30a ET

Aired December 24, 2016 - 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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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Israel pushes back after the U.N. decides to call for a stop to new settlements and the U.S. chooses not to use its veto.

The manhunt is over: the man accused of driving a truck into a crowded Berlin market has been found and killed.

And Carrie Fisher is in the hospital after a cardiac incident on an airplane. The latest on the "Star Wars" actor's condition.

It's all ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. We're live in Atlanta. Thank you for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen.

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Our top story: Israel vows it will not comply with the U.N. Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlement activity and demands the construction stop. It's also taking diplomatic action.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Israel's ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal to return to Israel for consultations and he wants aid programs for Senegal terminated. New Zealand and Senegal are two of the four nations that co-sponsored the resolution.

Fourteen Security Council member nations approved it in Friday's vote. The U.S. abstained. That infuriated Israel and it is now accusing the U.S. of colluding with the U.N. The U.S. decision to abstain highlights the growing frustration the Obama administration has felt over Israel's continued settlement activity. For more now, here is CNN's Elise Labott.

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ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the Obama administration poured salt in an already openly wounded relationship with Israel, abstaining from a controversial vote at the United Nations to condemn Israeli settlements in disputed territories.

SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: It is because this resolution reflects the facts on the ground and is consistent with U.S. policy across Republican and Democratic administrations throughout the history of the state of Israel that the United States did not veto it.

LABOTT: The administration's decision not to exercise its right to a veto, despite pleas from the Israeli government, prominent Democrats and President-elect Donald Trump allowed the resolution to pass. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. told the Security Council the U.S. was not abandoning Israel, even though the U.S. has traditionally wielded its veto to protect the Jewish state on votes regarding settlements.

POWER: Our vote today is fully in line with the bipartisan history of how American presidents have approached both the issue and the role of this body.

LABOTT: President Obama has long held the settlements were an obstacle to peace. But the vote today in the waning days of Obama's presidency was seen by some as a parting shot against the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who at times has clashed with Mr. Obama.

After the resolution passed, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted, quote, "As to the U.N., things will be different after January 20th."

Israel's U.N. ambassador said in a statement he expected his country's, quote, "greatest ally to act in accordance with the values we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution." And he said he hopes the Trump administration will be more sympathetic.

The vote brought to head a standoff between the current and future presidents over Middle East peace. It was initially delayed Thursday after a diplomatic scramble by Netanyahu, who CNN has learned reached out to President-elect Donald Trump to intervene. When Trump sent out a statement Thursday calling for a U.S. veto, Egyptian President Sisi, whose country sponsored the resolution, took a call from Trump and then put the vote on hold.

Today, other members reintroduced it. Behind the scenes, officials complained Trump's interference runs afoul of the long standing tradition that a president-elect does not interfere with an outgoing president's administration, especially in foreign policy. But publicly, the State Department has appeared unfazed.

JOHN KIRBY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Nobody here felt boxed in by a tweet from the president-elect. And he's perfectly entitled to express his views on these kinds of things.

LABOTT: This morning, Trump's new spokesman made clear this president-elect won't be staying on the sidelines until he takes office next month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama and his team have been unbelievably gracious to the president-elect and his team, but at the end of the day he's not someone that's going to sit back and wait. LABOTT: Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office is accusing President Obama's office and his administration of colluding behind the scenes against Israel, something the White House has vehemently denied.

And Israel says it is looking forward to working with the Trump administration to negate the effects of this resolution and has recalled its ambassadors from countries who voted for it -- Elise Labott, CNN, Washington. -- Elise Labott, CNN, Washington.

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ALLEN: Russian president Vladimir --

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ALLEN: -- Putin is openly dismissive of a new arms race with the U.S. Putin said Donald Trump's recruitment remarks about enhancing U.S. nuclear capabilities were, quote, "nothing new."

The U.S. president-elect has not clarified exactly what he meant Thursday when he called for U.S. to strengthen and expand its nuclear capabilities. On Friday, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer characterized the remark as a warning to other countries not to build up their nuclear arsenals or the U.S. would respond in kind.

Trump released what he calls, quote, "a very nice letter" the Russian president sent early this month. The message says in part, quote, "I hope that after you assume the President of the United States of America, we will be able by acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation."

Trump says that Putin's thoughts are, quote, "so correct" and that he hopes both sides can live up to those thoughts.

In other news we're following, Italian police ended a manhunt that gripped Europe when they killed the main suspect in the Christmas market attack in Berlin. Anis Amri was suspected of slamming a truck into a crowd on Monday, killing 12 people and wounding dozens more.

Erin McLaughlin explains how police found him.

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ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Anis Amri, the chief suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack, gunned down outside a subway station near Milan, Italy, in the early morning hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A police patrol stopped a suspicious person in the area of Sesto San Giovanni in Milan at 3 o'clock this morning.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian, was standing alone in a piazza. The police, unaware this was Europe's most wanted man, asked him for identification.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He was absolutely calm when he was stopped. He started getting his things out of his pockets and his backpack when suddenly, in a totally unexpected way, he pulled out a weapon.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): According to Italian police, Amri shouted, "Bastard cops," while firing a .22 caliber handgun. One officer was injured; the second officer then shot and killed the suspected terrorist.

According to Ansa, the Italian news agency, Amri apparently made his way from Berlin to Chambery, France. There, according to tickets found on his body, he took a train to Turin, Italy, then on to Central Station Milan, arriving at 1:00 am in the morning about two hours before the final confrontation with police.

Hours later, an ISIS-linked news agency released video of Amri, pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But in it, Amri makes no mention of the Christmas market attack.

ISIS also released a statement that didn't name Amri but said, quote, "the perpetrator of the Berlin attack carried out a new attack on an Italian police patrol. He was killed during an exchange of gunfire."

CNN, learning Amri carried out the attack while being considered one of the most dangerous Islamists in Germany. An intelligence official there says the 24-year-old Tunisian was added to a threat list nine months before Monday's attack.

Now German police remain on high alert, investigators turning their focus to possible accomplices who may have helped Amri as he moved across three European countries -- Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Berlin.

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ALLEN: Joining me now is CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer. He is also a former CIA operative.

So, Bob, thanks for joining us. The suspect is dead and just so happened to be approached by Italian security.

What do you make of how this came to an end?

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: I don't think this guy was supported. You look at the details now, his fleeing to France, France to Italy. This was at libbed right from the beginning.

I don't think there is any network in terms of actually helping him drive the truck into the market; I see no evidence of it. Taking a gun across international borders is sloppy. You know, wandering around a train station at 3:00 in the morning is going to get you hauled in.

I think we can say pretty much this guy was self-recruited in the sense that he has recruited himself for this operation, simply took instructions off the Internet, off Islamic State sites.

If they had wanted to protect him, if there was any interest, they could have hid him from the German police. It would have been very easy. But he was on his own.

But this doesn't make it any less dangerous, when people wake up one morning and they decide they're going to murder people. It's almost impossible for the German police to stop this unless they had preventive detention, which they don't in Germany.

ALLEN: Right. I was going to ask you about that because we have had these lone people --

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ALLEN: -- working on their own, inspired online by ISIS and what have you. And we always -- he was on a watch list -- and we always talk about this. But it's very hard to stay ahead of people like this, especially when they have so many people to watch in these target countries.

BAER: Exactly, Natalie. I mean, to watch somebody like this, let's say he was on a list, it would take 40, 50, 60 people every eight hours, a new team to put surveillance on the street. It's just not practical when they have a list of 500-plus people, watching them all, you can't do it.

German law doesn't permit simply expelling them, taking them right to the airport or sending them anywhere. That's not going to work either under the current law. So the Germans are in a bind.

But the main problem here really in this whole thing is what it's going to do to European politics in terms of refugees, in terms of far right parties. The far right parties are going to say, look, we told you so. These people are dangerous. Don't let them in. That's the only way to protect a place like Germany or France or Italy.

ALLEN: The Italian officers are very fortunate that they happened upon him and the one who was shot is going to be OK.

But now we have another threat that we're hearing about here in the United States against churches in this country this Christmas weekend.

As far as you know, is that a specific threat?

I think it's fairly specific. The airports are on a watch for North Africans coming to this country. You also have Berlin. You have got the Islamic State reduced this conflict to Christianity against Islam. It's the most basic terms.

And in effect there is a war on Christmas from the Islamic State and they know they can get a lot of mileage; in a place like the United States they could convince one of their followers to drive a truck into a crowd. I think it's a very real threat. It's not specific enough to arrest people. But it's worth watching. ALLEN: I certainly hope everyone has a safe holiday this weekend. We appreciate you always joining us. Thank you so much, Bob Baer, thank you.

"Star Wars" actress Carrie Fisher is in intensive care at a California hospital. The 60-year old suffered cardiac problems during a flight from London to Los Angeles. A passenger tweeted he had been sitting in front of Fisher on the airplane and saw emergency personnel take her away after the jet landed.

We spoke with Michael Musto, a columnist at out.com.

MICHAEL MUSTO, OUT.COM: I just am praying that she will be fine. We are all rooting for her. Carrie is show business royalty and has been from the second she was born. Her father was this great singer, Eddie Fisher. Her mother is Debbie Reynolds from "Singing in the Rain."

Of course, Eddie Fisher dumped Debbie Reynolds for Liz Taylor, one of the most famous gossip stories of all time. And that all made Carrie stronger and funnier.

She became one of the wittiest writers and commentators about the show business scene, whoever lived, quite frankly. And obviously also is an actress from "Star Wars" and so many other things. She has done Broadway; she's done novels.

She wrote the brilliant movie, "Postcards from the Edge" based on her book and has had an interesting life with some terrible relationships, some good relationships. But she is a decent person and is just one of the most hilarious people you'd ever want to meet.

Carrie is so funny that I once interviewed her in her hotel room and she was having a book party that night. And said she was nervous and didn't want go to the party. And I said, well, I'll go for you.

She ran into the other room, came out with a pair of her panties and said, "Here, wear these and go as me and wear these" -- which I did not do, I assure you.

But that's just an example of her outrageous and endearing sense of humor. She's such an endearing person because she has such a brilliant take on the world around her.

She has been diagnosed as bipolar. She's battled drug addiction through the years, up and down and of course it's every day is a new day with that situation -- and came out stronger than ever and funnier than ever because she has a real acid wit and a great take on everything that happens in her life.

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ALLEN: Fisher recently reprised her role as Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" sequel, "The Force Awakens," and she also just released a new memoir. She was coming back from a book tour in London.

Still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, a plane hijacking is over in Malta.

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ALLEN: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

Investigators are interrogating two hijackers, who forced a Libyan plane to land in Malta. The hijacking ended peacefully, we're happy to say, on Friday after the pair freed all the passengers and surrendered. Top officials in Malta say the hijackers had fake weapons and had threatened to blow up the airplane.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They treated it as though it was a actual real grenade on board the aircraft. They diverted as they were supposed to. They kept the thing; they wouldn't -- it was textbook. They did exactly as they were supposed to do. And as a result it ended up with no fatalities and the aircraft is intact.

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ALLEN: And again, the hijackers, excuse me, are being interrogated right now. They didn't make any specific demands. All right. That one's over.

Derek Van Dam is here. He has got his eye on Typhoon Nocten, we're sorry to report, to the Philippines.

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ALLEN: Coming up here, we'll check in with Santa Claus. He's been chillaxing all year but now it's time to get to work. That's next.

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ALLEN: We all know the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank is the focus of many Christmas celebrations each year but we have something different this year with the three wise men now appearing in the form of a local craft beer. CNN's Ian Lee has this one.

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IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Something is brewing in the little town of Bethlehem, Not of milk and honey, but barley and hops. A carpenter by trade, Rafat Houary found a higher calling, brewmaster.

RAFAT HOUARY, BREWMASTER, WISE MEN CHOICE BEER: Chocolate, roasted, coriander, aromatic malt. This will give you the flavor, also the color.

LEE: The woodworker's tools repurposed. Houary's friends were skeptical when he said he wanted to change the beer landscape in the West Bank with his ales.

HOUARY: They start laughing, what you're doing. Usually they drink in the, you know, the lager, the cheap lager.

LEE: His friends quickly acquired the taste and Wise Men Choice Brewery was created. Some curious neighbors wondered how this carpenter turns water into beer.

HOUARY: They think I'm adding alcohol. I got a bottle of alcohol and added it.

(LAUGHTER) HOUARY: This is funny.

LEE: More of a laboratory than brewery, concocting different flavors into six unique beers, a one man operation in the basement of this Palestinian Christian's house. He learned to brew in the United States and online --

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LEE: mostly self-taught. Every beer crafted by hand, limiting him to less than 1,000 bottles a month. With Christmas almost upon us, Bethlehem pilgrims can try his special brew, deep winter ale. All of Houary's ingredients are imported, except one which we find in his garden.

One of the key ingredients for that local Bethlehem taste is sage, which gives it its signature aroma and taste.

The sage Houary tells me, also gives Bethlehem IPA it's amber color.

You can smell the sage.

HOUARY: You can smell the love.

LEE: You can taste it, too. That's good.

For Houary, it's simple. He brews what he wants to drink.

HOUARY: So use whatever you like, but let the customer like your beer.

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LEE: Ultimately, he plans to grow his brewery so he can leave his job as a carpenter to attend to his flock of beer drinkers.

HOUARY: Cheers. LEE: Ian Lee, CNN, in Bethlehem.

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ALLEN: Beer for Christmas.

Why not?

All right. Santa Claus is almost ready for his annual trip around the world. He left his home in Finland, in his sleigh, naturally. While Santa spends most of his time at his toy workshop at the North Pole, his official residence is just inside the Arctic Circle.

At the North Pole, he will gather the rest of his reindeer, make his final preparations and then he sets off to deliver gifts to children around the world.

Go for it, Santa.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. Our top stories, right after this.

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