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A Hard Brexit for UK: Theresa May Outlines Britain's Position; Vladimir Putin Dismisses Dossier Claims; One Square Meter: Remaking Downtown L.A.; Eastern Aleppo Refugees Share Story. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 17, 2017 - 10:00   ET



[10:00:16] THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We are leaving the European

Union, but we are not leaving Europe.


HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, HOST: A hard Brexit: British Prime Minister Theresa May lays out her country's plans for exiting the EU. Next, what the PM

said and analysis of her blueprint.



JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It was inappropriate for the president-elect of the United States to be stepping in to the politics of

other countries in a quite direct manner.


JONES: Passing advice from America's top diplomat to the United States' next president after Donald Trump calls NATO obsolete. More on the

controversy coming up.

And CNN's Arwa Damon on an exclusive trip inside Syria. We hear from the families that

escaped the horrors of the battle of eastern Aleppo. That story coming up later in the program.

Hello, welcome to Connect the World. I'm Hannah Vaughn Jones. A new and equal partnership with Europe, that's the British prime minister's plan for

the divorce from the European Union. After months of waiting, Theresa May finally laid out her blueprint for Brexit. After months of waiting,

Theresa May finally laid out her blueprint for Brexit. The PM confirms Britian will leave the bloc's single market and also vows to put any final

Brexit deal to a vote in both houses of the UK parliament.

We are living the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe. And that is why we seek a new and equal partnership between an independent self-

governing global Britain and our friends and allies in the E.U. not partial membership of the European Union,

associate partnership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half in, half out. We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by

other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave. No. The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.


JONES: And we can speak to our diplomatic editor Nic Robertson who is outside 10 Downing street. Nina Dos Santos is also here in London as well.

Nic, to you first. We know now after a long awaited details, that Brexit does mean hard Brexit, but what exactly does that mean?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, again, Theresa May - - and this is something that characterized all her pronunciations on Brexit so far, this was the most that she said, but still it was scant on detail

and said she warned once again that she wouldn't be giving a blow by blow and accuse the media of hyping lines about Brexit. So, again, this was not

giving her a blow by blow and accused media of hyping lines about Brexit. Again, this was a little more detailed, but still not a huge amount of

detail, but she was clear on a number of issues. She said that this would -- the decision making would -- on Brexit -- would involve the devolved

governments in Britain. She talked about the precious nature of Britain's union. Again, a very strong indication from the prime minister this is not

going to lead to an independence of Scotland or any other part of Britain.

She talked about the future that she hopes for Britain, one that will see a fairer and better society, the vision for Britain as being a global trading

partner. But she also had, if you will, a very specific warning for the European Union as well. No deal -- no deal is better than a bad deal is

what she said, that Britain wants to be friends with the European Union, but she warned that there would be calamitous consequences if that wasn't

to happen. This is what she said.


MAY: But I must be clear, Britain wants to remain a good friend and neighbor to Europe,

yet I know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages

other countries from taking the same path. That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the

countries of Europe, and it would not be the act of a friend.


ROBERTSON: So what she warned that may happen if that were the case, that Britain could lower its taxes for businesses to do Britain to become, if

you will, a tax haven. And in that way, be competitive with Europe. This is something that has been spoken about by the chancellor of the exchequer

before, but the financial markets do seem to have taken this in their stride. A lot of what was in the speech today, little detail, but it's

been talked about -- it has been leaked, at least, over the past couple of days. So the market's responding positively to the announcements by May


[10:05:21] JONES: Nic, stand by, if you will. I want to bring in CNN Money's Europe editor Nina Dos Santos who is live for us in London, and was

outside where Theresa May was giving that speech earlier on today.

Nina, what kind of reaction have we had, if any, from Theresa May's EU counterparts on her

tone and the rhetoric she used?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN MONEY: Yeah. We've got to remember that this speech was finally tuned towards various different audiences, wasn't it, Hannah?

Part of it was to the British people, part of it was for the financial markets, and a large part of it was also aimed at those European

counterparts who are going to be engaging in those negotiations with Theresa May come March when she finally tables the Article 50 get-out


And a lot of the representatives of those countries were actually in the front lines there of that speech in the audience. I got the chance to

speak to two ambassadors, to two Baltic countries -- the ambassador to Estonia and also the ambassador to Latvia. And more or less what they were

saying here is, on the one hand they're a little bit taken aback by the aggressive tone there when it came to that barbed reference of the fact

that the UK would have other options if the EU didn't play ball here in these negotiations, but they also said, yes, it's a risky strategy, but all

in all, it doesn't serve anybody any good if the UK doesn't manage to have some kind of relationship after its exit from the EU with o ther EU

countries in whatever form it takes.

But the clear message here from Theresa May, as Nic was just saying before is that she's now made it plain and clear and very simple for people to

understand, the UK and will leaving the single market. The big question is how will it manage to negotiate access to certain parts of the customs

union that it has with the EU at the moment. If it still stays part of that customs union, Hannah, it can't embark upon other trade negotiations

with other countries, including EU countries, it has to leave the whole lot. She wants to keep some elements of access to that customs union.

Will they play ball? That's the big question from here.


Let's go back to Nic Robertson on Downing Street for us. Nic, one of the crucial elements of her speech was the fact that the British parliament

will, indeed, get to debate and vote on any Brexit deal when finalized. Is there a chance that if they reject it that Britain

remains within the EU?

ROBERTSON: It would seem unlikely from what's been outlined so far. And what Theresa May is trying to do is to position herself to respond to

criticisms that there has to be a vote. Courts said there has to be a vote on the final outcome and therefore head off the potential, you know, that

parliamentarians votes to block it. It's obviously not without the bounds of possibility.

But what she is saying is that once we get an agreement, that's when we vote on it. Well, the job would be done by then. The horse, if you will

be almost past the post.

What she did talk about, and this is something that is, you know -- she framed this as wanting to get clarity and be clear about Britain's

position, because she's been criticized very recently for not being clear. This is something she felt the business community needs, this particular

time. And to that end, she also spoke about how she expected the two years of negotiation, once Article 50 is triggered, would provide enough time to

discuss the substance of what's going to happen beyond those two years, and she talked about a sort a transition after that, not an interminable

transition, but a transition to allow what's been discussed and agreed to be implemented.

This, if you will, softens the potential impact to businesses and allows them critically to be able to plan, and more critically for Theresa May,

not to flee out of Britain and take their business elsewhere fearing what a Brexit may mean for them as individual companies -- Hannah.

JONES: OK, well Brexit broken down for you then by our Nic Robertson and Nina Dos Santos. Thank you to you both.

We turn attention now to some extraordinary accusations by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Just a short time ago he accused the White House

of trying to undermine the legitimacy of Donald Trump's election victory. Mr. Putin says the Obama administration

is trying to bind Trump's hands and feet to prevent him from carrying out his agenda. He also said the unsubstantiated dossier on Trump's alleged

ties to Russia is rubbish. Mr. Putin says he's never met Trump, so he has no basis to criticize or defend him.

We will have more on this developing story later on in the show in a live report from Moscow.

Now, Washington is getting ready for a full day of festivities to usher in the next U.S. president, but many Americans apparently aren't in the mood

to celebrate Trump's inauguration. A new CNN/ORC poll finds Trump has an approval rating of just 40 percent, that's the lowest of any recent

president ahead of inauguration day by far.

But Trump himself, as you might imagine, is brushing it all off. He tweeted this response: the same people who did the phony election polls and

were so wrong are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged, just like before.

Well, what we know is that more than 40 Democratic lawmakers are now boycotting Trump's

inauguration on Friday. Jason Carroll explains how Trump's remarks about a civil rights icon pushed many of them over the edge.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President-elect.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The growing discontent within the Democratic Party over president-elect Donald Trump sparking a

massive boycott.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just cannot celebrate in good conscience.

CARROLL: Nearly one in five House Democrats are now saying they will not attend Trump's inauguration.

LEWIS: When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something, and not be


CARROLL: Democrats standing with civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis after Trump called Lewis all talk and no action, angered by Lewis's claim

that he is not a legitimate president.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: You can respect Congressman Lewis's vaunted place in our history and still defend yourself.

CARROLL: Despite the backlash with Lewis, the president-elect meeting with Martin Luther King's eldest son on the holiday devoted to the civil rights


MARTIN LUTHER KING III: Things get said at both sides in the heat of emotion. And at some point in this nation, we've got to move forward.

CARROLL: This as the battle continues between Trump and the outgoing CIA director, John Brennan. Brennan bristling at the president- elect's

comparison of handling of handling of unverified intelligence reports to Nazi Germany.

TRUMP: That's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.

CARROLL: In a new interview, Brennan saying, quote, "Tell the families of those 117 CIA officers who are forever memorialized on our wall of honor

that their loved ones who gave their lives were akin to Nazis."

Secretary of State John Kerry criticizing Trump, as well.

KERRY: It was inappropriate for a president-elect of the United States to be stepping into the politics of other countries in a quite direct manner.

CARROLL: And Trump reasserting old criticisms of NATO, saying it is obsolete in an interview with foreign media.

TRUMP: I said a long time ago that NATO has problems. No. 1, it was obsolete because it was designed many, many years ago. No. 2, the countries

weren't paying what they're supposed to pay.

CARROLL: Trump also saying that he trusts America's longtime ally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as much as he does Vladimir Putin.

TRUMP: Well, I start off trusting both.

CARROLL: But Trump's Russia-friendly rhetoric is a relatively recent development. Nearly three years ago, Trump stuck a different tone.

TRUMP: We should definitely do sanctions.

CARROLL: CNN's K-File unearthing a series of interviews where Trump called Russia America's biggest problem.

TRUMP: We have to show some strength. I mean, Putin has eaten Obama's lunch.


JONES: Jason Carroll reporting there.

Let's talk about the shockwaves, then, that Donald Trump is sending across the Atlantic, in particular, with his comments about NATO.

Erin McLaughlin joins me now live from Brussels,

Erin, he's called NATO obsolete. It's not building the Transatlantic partnerships, is it?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Hannah, well today at the World Economic Forum, a senior member of President-elect Trump's team, it sought

to clarify what he meant when he said that NATO was obsolete, saying that he didn't mean the entire thing, the entire alliance is obsolete, but just

parts of it, also saying that member states need to think about changing the treaty.

Take a listen to what Anthony Scaramucci had to say at Devos, Switzerland today.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI,TRUMP ADVISER : Maybe we need to focus less on the combating Communism and more on potentially rejecting radical Islamic

terrorism. And so when he uses the word obsolete, and everybody runs around and says, oh, he's going to bust up NATO, that's not what he's


Secondarily, why not sit down with our North American Treaty Alliance members and reorganize and recharter? Many of us here have renovated our

homes. We've certainly changed our wardrobe since the 1940s, we have to think about changing that treaty to front face the 21st and 22nd Century.


MCLAUGHLIN: Our NATO representative here in Brussels was not immediately available

for comment on those specific remarks. NATO officials, though, have been pointing to the fact that

NATO has been fighting terrorism for years, noting that the only time that Article 5 has been invoked in its history was in response to 9/11.

I've been speaking to NATO diplomats here, and they have been telling me they are confident that the United States will continue to back NATO going

forward, but they are going to be watching very closely, U.S. troops presence in the region, U.S. troops, some 4,000 recently deployed to

Poland. They are expected to be spread out across seven eastern European countries. Diplomats telling me that they are going to be watching very

closely to see that that happens, that they are looking at actions, not necessarily rhetoric -- Hannah.

[10:15:35] JONES: And what about the idea from Donald Trump himself that NATO members need to pay their fair share when it comes to defense and

defense spending? What's the word out of Brussels on that?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's something that NATO officials agree with the president-elect on. NATO officials, I've been speaking to, saying that

they have been, for some time now, encouraging all member states to reach that 2 percent NATO threshold, 2 percent of GDP devoted to defense


Only five of the NATO members so far reaching that threshold, although, defense spending is on the increase among 22 of the 28 NATO member states.

NATO officials saying, agreeing with President-elect Trump that member states need to be doing more when it comes to defense spending.

JONES: OK. Erin McLaughlin live for us there in Brussels. Thanks very much, indeed.

Well, we will be looking at more reaction to Trump's dismissal, seemingly, of NATO later on in the program. We'll take you to one small alliance

member that is watching Trump and Russia very carefully, indeed. And some people there are taking matters into their own hands.

And we'll also ask whether Moscow really could be prepared to reduce its nuclear stockpile, seen by many as its international trump card.

To other stories now on our radar. And Istanbul's governor says the suspect in the New Year's

Day massacre has confessed. Police captured the man, an Uzbek national, in a raid on Monday. ISIS claimed responsibility for that take that killed

39 people.

The underwater search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been suspended nearly three years after the plane went missing. 239 people were on board

MH370 when it vanished over the Indian Ocean. The search yielded little to no information about the aircraft's final moments.

And the widow of Omar Marteen, who carried out a the mass shooting at a night club in Orlando, Florida is to appear in court in the next few hours.

NOor Salman faces charges that include obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting her husband's material support to ISIS. 49 people were killed

and more than 50 wounded at the Pulse nightclub last June.

For the first time, a Chinese leader has addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In a speech to the business and political elite,

Chinese President Xi Jinping defended globalization, a response, of course, to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. Trump himself has promised a more

protectionist economic stance, and President Xi added, though, that no one wins in a trade war.

Well, let's take a closer look at the economic shift we could soon see. Richard Quest, of course, anchor of Quest Means Business, joins me now live

from Davos. Richard, a globalization versus protectionism. It seems the Chinese and Americans are presenting a very different world views.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they are. And I think that it was extraordinary to hear the Chinese president give a speech

that included a quote from Dickens, part of the Gettyburg address, wrapped up with several Chinese

proverbs all geared to basically say that the global economy is a large ocean, and even though there is maybe storms, and winds, and high seas,

China has to sail in that ocean. And he also continued the analogy saying that each time the weather gets rough, you can't immediately sail to


However, that's the scene from the Chinese point of view because what Xi was really saying is, look, we want to be a bigger, global player. The

other side of that coin, Hannah, is the U.S. which says, well, that's fair enough. We don't have any problem with you being a bigger player, but you

need to be a fairer player.

And I think here in Davos because the only voice we're hearing today is the Chinese, people

have forgotten -- excuse me -- that the U.S. argument is fundamentally that the Chinese do not play by the same rules, Hannah.

[10:20:03] JONES: President Xi, Richard, saying that a trade war helps no one, except perhaps Donald Trump. Might we get some sort of direct

response from the president-elect?

QUEST: We might. We might get a tweet from the president-elect, who knows. I mean, he's already tweeted about a variety of other issues so far


If he does tweet, my guess would be it would be a recognition, firstly in what he said, you know, like what you said, now do what you say.

I think from the Davosian point of view, they are seeing a shift towards China that was symbolized by Xi being here. At the same time as there's

nobody officially from the transition. This is everything that Trump has stood against.

Look at it out there. We can think of it, we can talk about it as being the Davos swamp if you'd like. And although he's not claiming that he's

going to drain that swamp, he would certainly argue that the people who are here have no interest in moving away from an establishment point of view.

What Xi did when he came here today was play right into that globalization mindset that basically says trade is not a zero-sum game, it's a win-win

position. Donald Trump does not necessarily agree with that.

JONES: One to watch and see. Fascinating stuff. Richard Quest, live for us there in Davos. Richard, thanks very much, indeed.

Now, still to come on Connect the World this evening, committing to a hard Brexit. The British prime minister plans a path for the UK's exit from the

European Union. We explore that next. And a vision for a new world. Russialays out why it's hopeful relations with the U.S. will change under

Donald Trump. We have all the details from Moscow ahead.


JONES: Welcome back, you're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me, Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. Let's return now to our top

story. And we're getting a clearer idea of the plan for Britain's exit from the European Union. The British prime minister spoke in the past few

hours, and she's pushing for a clean break. As Theresa May confirmed, the UK will leave the EU single market and will put any final Brexit deal to a

vote in the British parliament.

Let's bring in Tom McTague now, chief UK political correspondent for Politico. He was in the audience listening to Theresa May, the prime

minister's speech. Tom, welcome. Thanks very much for coming in.

Theresa May, herself, said no deal was better for Britain than a bad deal. It's something of a veiled threat, is it not, to her European counterparts?

[10:25:00] TOM MCTAGUE, POLITICO: Absolutely. I think it's actually the key point in hers

speech. What she was doing is taking control of the negotiations, setting out what they will be about. They will not be about maintaining membership

of the single market, they will be about access to the European market and she's limiting the price she's willing to pay. She's saying to them, if you do not give us a good deal, we're off.

JONES: What cards, though, does Theresa May have up here sleeve when it comes to negotiating this -- for Britain's best interest?

MCTAGUE: Well, she has some cards the Europeans want from the UK. We have, as she says, the best security and intelligence services in the UK to

help out with terrorism. We certainly have 3 million European Union citizens in Europe. We also have the biggest

financial center in Europe, which they would like to continue to access as well as to sell 65 million people their cars and wine and other goods.

JONES: And perhaps one fresh card, which she hadn't necessarily anticipated before would be Donald Trump's support. We heard just in the

last few days that he is in favor of Brexit, supports it.

MCTAGUE: Well, it is a bit of a trump card, so to speak, because she is able to say to the European Union, we are no longer as reliant on you as we

were. We have this huge market that is now willing to open up within a very short period of time. That wasn't available before, obviously, Barack

Obama said backing the queue. Ms. Theresa May said today we are front of the line.

JONES: One of the interesting things of that speech, though, was that she did confirm that parliament would indeed debate and vote on any final

Brexit plan. Could that derail the government's whole plan altogether given the fact that if Parliament does vote against it, they go back to the

drawing table?

MCTAGUE: Well, we don't actually know what voting against the Brexit deal means. If they vote against the deal at the end of a two-year period,

David Davis, the Brexit secretary today said we're still leaving the European Union. S, it essentially means we just

crash out of the European Union. It would be brave MP to vote for a disorderly exit rather than the deal that Theresa May has agreed.

JONES: It's all been quite confusing, I think, for many of our viewers, hard Brexit, soft Brexit, red, white, and blue Brexit. She's now talking

about a hard Brexit, but more of a clean Brexit. How would you sort of define that?

MCTAGUE: I think she's given herself a little bit of room for maneuver here. She's talking about cutting the budget contributions, but she's

prepared to pay reasonable sums. Who knows what that is. She's talk about an immigration system, taking back control, but you can control it in any

number of ways. So, I think we are heading to a hard Brexit, but there -- it's certainly able to be

softened around the edges.

JONES: And just, finally, when we're talking about trade, she said that it's, you know, mutually beneficial for European counterparts to play ball

with Britain. Is that the case? Will France and Germany and the like all be listening to what Theresa May had to say today and thinking, right, OK,

we need to get on board with this woman?

MCTAGUE: Well, my colleagues in Brussels who talk to European MEPs all the time slightly scratch their heads at this threat. Yes, they want to keep

open the UK market. It's profitable to them. There's 65 million people here with, you know, fairly deep pockets. However, the European Union is a

political construct more than an economic one. They will defend this construct, you know, with their lives, essentially.

JONES: Yeah. OK, very interesting. Thanks so much for coming in, Tom McTague from Politico. Thank you.

Now, the latest world news headlines are just ahead on the program. Plus...


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the border that so many Estonians fear could one day be moved by force. Just across that

river is Russia.


JONES: Nervous neighbors in eastern Europe where Donald Trump's latest comments on NATO being obsolete have caused some concern. We'll have

analysis and a special report next.



[10:32:19] JONES: Now, to some extraordinary statements by the Russian president. Vladimir Putin says the White House is trying to undermine the

legitimacy of Donald Trump's election, and make sure that Trump can't carry out his agenda.

Well, just hours earlier, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, laid out Moscow's vision of how ties with trump could be transformed under

Trump, even going so as far as the two men have a similar world outlook.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Donald Trump also says he wants to focus on the interests of the United States, on

security, and on the interest of the United States, including setting up favorable conditions for business, and that is exactly like President Putin when he speaks about

foreign policy and the Russian Federation.


JONES: Well, CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is live in Moscow, for all the analysis on this now. Matthew, we have to start with

these comments by, and the Russian President Vladimir Putin, seemingly a defending Donald Trump against the White House itself. What did he say?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, no, i t's astonishing to hear the Russian president speak up for an incoming U.S.

president in this way. But, basically, Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, of course, denying that the Russian security services had any compromising

material, kompromat as it's called here, on President-elect Trump rejecting allegations that the secret services have been, for years, gathering that

kind of information.

We didn't know about his political ambitions years ago, Putin said. He was just a rich businessman. Our security services don't chase after every

U.S. billionaire, he added.

It was interesting, he talk about the allegations that were carried in the dossier that was dumped on the internet by BuzzFeed, which said there was

compromising sexual material on Donald Trump. Putin said that Trump was a man who had spent his life with the most beautiful women in the world, why

would he need to socialize with Russian prostitutes or, as he called them, girls of low social responsibility.

Even though he added, to some amusement, they are clearly the best in the world.

He called the dossier and the allegations that Russia has that the material an attempt in the

United States to delegitimize or to undermine the president-elect, and said the methods that were used were similar to the methods that had been used

in Ukraine in 2013 and 2014 during the Maidan uprising, which, of course, many people in Russia see as being orchestrated by the United States and by

the State Department under Hillary Clinton, specifically. And so, the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin, he is trying to put this in the category of,

you know, events that have taken place over the past couple weeks, in which the Kremlin says the Obama administration is trying to essentially hijack

the incoming administration of Donald Trump and prevent it from carrying out the

promises that it made during the campaign to build a better relationship with Russia.

[10:35:14] JONES: It's just extraordinary stuff, isn't it?

We have to also talk about Sergey Lavrov's, the foreign minister's, press conference as well. He says that Russia want to be an equal partner with

the U.S., but could we actually see some kind of deal to cut a nuclear stockpile in Russia in return for the easing of sanctions from the U.S.?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, that's something that Donald Trump has spoken about. He spoke about it in his interview with the Bild newspaper alongside the

Times of London, which he did a few days ago. And it's a strange one, because it's not something the

Russians have said they are necessarily that happy to talk about.

But the idea that sanctions, which are imposed predominantly because of the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia in 2014 and the fomenting by

Russia of conflict in the east of Ukraine should now be linked to a nuclear disarmament deal is kind of like a bolt from the blue, really, and it's not

clear whether that's ever going to be carried out. It's not clear whether U.S. allies, not to mention Donald Trump's own Republican Party, are going

to be accepting of that.

But the whole idea of meeting Donald Trump face-to-face, a Russian president sitting on the same table as a U.S. president as equals is

something that is very appealing to the Kremlin. In fact, it's been one of their main ambitions over the course of the past several years to show that

Russia is a superpower again, that it needs to be consulted on all major issues of international policy. And, you

know, he has a place at that top table of international diplomacy.

JONES: Given the backdrop of the hacking allegations of the U.S. election, for example, you say that Russia wants to be on a level playing field with

the U.S., but does it, in reality, really want the upper hand over Donald Trump and his administration?

CHANCE: Oh, I mean, I think that if you were to ask them if that was really what they wanted, if they were to tell you, I mean, of course they

would. They would almost certainly want to make sure that their interests are given paramount importance in all discussions when it comes to

international diplomacy.

When it comes to Crimea, of course, they would love it if Donald Trump would recognize them a legitimate part of Russia that was annexed, of

course, back in 2014. Donald Trump has spoken about NATO, the military alliance, as being obsolete, that's music to the ears of the Kremlin. It's

something they have been saying about the expansionist confrontational military alliance of NATO for years, if

not since the collapse of the actual Cold War, the end of the Soviet Union. And so, yes, they would love things to go their way exclusively.

And I think there's quiet confidence in the Kremlin that when they talk to Donald Trump and when they negotiate with him, that, indeed, may be the

direction of travel.

JONES: Very interesting stuff. Matthew Chance, live for us there in Moscow. Thank you very much, indeed, Matthew.

Well, any warming of ties between Russia and the new U.S. president will get a cool reception in eastern Europe. Former Soviet states say they are

still nervous about Russia and look specifically to NATO for protection.

CNN's Phil Black went to the tiny Baltic nation of Estonia to see how some people there are preparing to take matters into their own hands if



PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Many Estonian people love spending time, enjoying the rugged often frozen beauty of their countries

forest and wilderness. They also feel a powerful drive to defend it.

These people are volunteers in an official paramilitary force. Through numbers alone they make up the bulk of the country's armed forces -- 25,000

people, men and women, train with the Estonian Defense League.

When Ryan Olari Gurm (ph) isn't training to defend his country he travels across at working as a salesman.

Why do the Estonian people feel they have to be ready for anything?

RYAN OLARI GURM, VOLUNTEER: We have a huge friendly neighbor and I'm not talking about Latvia.

BLACK: He's talking about Russia. Through much of Estonia's history, this land was ruled from Moscow. Many fear it could happen again especially

since Russia's recent military adventures in Georgia and Ukraine.

What is it about Estonians that make them come out here into the cold to prepare and train?

GURM: We love our land. We love our people. We love our language. We'd like to keep it that way.

BLACK: This is the border that so many Estonians fear could one day be moved by force. Just across that river is Russia.

But in this part of Estonia there are also many people who feel culturally Russian. They have strong connections to their giant neighbor and they

don't believe Moscow is a potential enemy.

Narva, on the Estonia side of the border looks and feels like a Russian city. In this local market you only see and hear the Russian language.

These women say they are big fans of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. But they don't think he wants to invade such a small country.

The Estonian government doesn't share their confidence. That's why for all the enthusiasm of its volunteers, Estonia relies on the combined strength

of the NATO alliance to deter Russia and why Estonians have watched with concern as U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump has talked about NATO

inconsistently describing it as both obsolete and important while also complimenting Vladimir Putin.

[10:41:01] MARGUS TSAHKNA, ESTONIA DEFENSE MINISTER: We know Russian's soul and we know, of course, during the hundreds of years we have experienced

the Russian attitude it hasn't changed. And even more Putin's regime is clearly not democratic.

BLACK: In the heart of Estonia's Russian community these students are practicing a language they rarely speak at home -- Estonian, many descend

from Russians who moved here when Estonia was part of the Soviet Union. They're now the children of two cultures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love Russian and I love Estonian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Estonia future is very optimistic. We know this. I know this. We are young people's future of Estonia.

BLACK: It's a hopeful vision shared across the country but many here have long believed freedom can only be assured if Estonia and its allies are

prepared to fight for it.

Phil Black, CNN -- in eastern Estonia.


JONES: Well, just to remind of you of what exactly Trump said about NATO in an interview with two European newspapers this weekend, he said he stood

by his controversial criticism. It's obsolete because it wasn't taking care of terror. I took a lot of heat for two days and then they started

saying Trump is right.

Well, not for the first time, Trump has had harsh words about the alliance, but, of course, timing is everything, and it is just days, of course, until

his inauguration.

Beyza Unal, a research fellow on nuclear weapons policy with Chatham House is here with me now. And if America says that NATO is obsolete, is NATO

now redundant?

BEYZA UNAL, RESEARCH FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: Well, actually, it's just the opposite, I think. NATO is not obsolete. Criticism can be fair saying

that it does not function the way that the member states would like NATO to function, but it would not

make it an obsolete organization.

I think if we say that NATO is obsolete, that means it's out of date, and it does not function

or do its main roles, but that's not the truth. If you look at it, right now, you would see NATO troops in

eastern Europe protecting the member states. You would see NATO's presence in Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea, and also not only the member

states, but also the partner states that actually provide NATO's security.

JONES: If it is out of date, though, and therefore, in need of reform, what kind of reform would that be? Are we talking about the way the

organization, the alliance, is actually constructed, the policies that it indulges, or, indeed, the funding, which is one of Donald Trump's main

criticisms, of course?

UNAL: Yes. So, after the Cold War, the whole spectrum of whether we need NATO or not became a huge deal. And from that time onwards, the whole idea

was to actually transform NATO. So, it's a fair criticism if Donald Trump makes and says that NATO does not function in the way that it should

function, and the things that we need to look at is, of course, the defense spending should be along the 2 percent line for the member states. But not

all member states would continue spending 2 percent. Right now, it's five states that do that.

The reason for this is not because they do not want to contribute to NATO, but they contribute to NATO in a different way, not in the quantity that

president-elect would like to see. But for instance, Germany, if you look at it, they do not go for the 2 percent threshold that we would like

Germany to see, but they have been supporting the Afghanistan mission. They have been into the operations with NATO, and other states as well.

Turkey is another example of that.

JONES: Well, we'll have to wait and sigh how NATO comes out under the administration of Donald Trump. Beyza Unal thank you very much for your

analysis of this topic. Thank you.

Now thousands of Syrians were forced to flee Aleppo last month after the government brutally retook the Syrian city. In a CNN exclusive from

"inside Syria," senior international correspondent correspondent Arwa Damon spoke with families still recovering from a traumatic escape.


[10:45:12] ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Our car bumps through syria's rugged hills towards a new refugee camp close

to Turkey's border. My mind drifts back.


To nearly six years ago. To the first camp we visited not far from here and all the cycles of Syria's wretched story.

"We want to talk to those who evacuated Eastern Aleppo during a cease- fire last month or as it was for them, a forced displacement after months under

siege and relentless bombing."

"All you hear are the planes, the strikes, the terror, the funerals. All you see is funerals. And one of those was for her husband, a farmer killed

in a strike on his way to work seven months ago."

(on-camera): The only thing that she was able to bring with her, other than one change of clothing for the kids when they left was a photograph of her

husband, their father.

(voice-over): It's the most precious thing she has. She pulls out another picture. Ali, the youngest reaches for it. He likely won't remember his

father's touch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): "Even now, we don't know if this is permanent. Maybe something worse than war will happen to us."

DAMON: The last days in Aleppo defied logic.

"What more is there to say?" Umm Bilal asks us?

[08:36:18] UMM BILAL, DISPLACED FROM EASTERN ALEPPO (through translator): They bombed us. And in just three minutes, not three hours, they destroyed

our whole neighborhood.

DAMON: The children don't know how to live. They only know how not to die or even wish for it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He asks why are there so many strikes? He starts to cry. Sometimes he even says I want to die.

DAMON: They walked and walked. Twice the buildings they sheltered in were hit by air strikes. For four days, they lived in the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I had to burn my children's clothes to make heat for them. I had two bags of their clothes and I burned

them because it was so cold.

DAMON: Like everyone we saw they yearn for home, for that feeling of being safe and warm.

The images are not new. Not shocking. But then again, even when Syria shocks, what difference has it made?

Arwa Damon, CNN, Qafir Karmin (ph), Syria.


JONES: Arwa Damon there with that extraordinary account of Aleppo's residents -- their stories, and what they've had to endure over the course

of this five year civil war.

Well, more opposition groups now say that they will attend another round of peace talks in Kazakhstan due to take place next week. The talks are

sponsored by Turkey and Russia, which is trying now to encourage the incoming Trump administration to also participate. We'll watch and wait

and see how Donald Trump and his administration will indeed respond to the crisis in Syria.

Live from London, this is Connect the World. And coming up, saying good- bye to a pioneering NASA astronaut. We'll tell you where Eugene Cernan left his mark.



JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN MONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Downtown Los Angeles used to be the place you crawled in for work, then swiftly drove out once

you clocked off, but that's changing. It all started in the late 1990s when the west side was noticed as an attractive and undervalued real estate

location. This ushered in the cranes, high-rises, and dollars.

Meanwhile, heading east a few blocks, instead of building anew, changes in legislation led

to a repurposing of the old.

As I head to check out what's been done there, I find an early mover to downtown, Hal Bastian and his sidekick Skitter (ph).

HAL BASTIAN, DEVELOPER: In 1924, 100,000 people lived in downtown Los Angeles. After World War II, we suburbanized and we all left downtown and

one day we woke up and said, what happened? We did it to ourselves.

DEFTERIOS: 1999 was a game changing year when an ordnance was passed to convert empty

buildings like this one into lofts and apartments. Up and down Spring Street, Art Deco icons are coming back to life.

BASTIAN: This street, Spring Street, was the Wall Street of the west. Every important office user, lawyer, the banks, the Pacific Stock Exchange

was on Spring Street. In the year 2000, this street was empty.

DEFTERIOS: Since then, $19 billion has been invested, rental occupancy is a very solid 95 percent, with 700 restaurants and retail spaces created.

The Grand Central Market opened way back in 1917 is now a haven for street food with stalls reflecting L.A.'s diverse population.

This is a personal flashback, if you will. I remember coming here as a child in the late 1960s when it was a vibrant hub, and it went dormant for

nearly four decades. Its revival is emblematic of what's taking place downtown.

Mark Peel regarded as one of the founders of California cuisine, left Hollywood to set up Bambo (ph), his hot pot seafood eatery.

MARK PEEL, RESTAURANTEUR: You what I love, you look around here, there's not one

demographic here, and that's the great part. This is Los Angeles. This is a slice of L.A. right here.

DEFTERIOS: This is life in the gritty city center, 16 different areas merging into one destination that nearly 60,000 people call it home.

John Defterios, One Square Meter, Downtown Los Angeles.


[10:55:11] JONES: Hello again, you're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. And a warm welcome back to


Now, when the temperature drops, people take photos of all sorts of frozen things, and one photographer in Minnesota shot something quite remarkable.

Mike Shore took this real-time video of soap bubbles freezing in extremely cold weather. Well, he posted this video on social media with the caption,

bucket list item done #frozen. Wonderful stuff.

Well, for more weird and wonderful stories just like that and for all the latest, of course, on the global shifts that are changing lives, and

political landscapes as we speak, you can follow the show Connect the World on social media. Head along to our Facebook page, that's And also a reminder you can always reach me on Twitter @hvaughnjones is my Twitter handle and the shows, of course,


So, in today's Parting Shots, we say farewell to a man who made his mark many, many miles away from this planet. Famed astronaut Eugene Cernan has

died. He was 82-years-old.

And Cernan was the second American to walk in space and visited the moon twice.


GENE CERNAN, ASTRONAT: We'd like to share a piece of this rock with so many of the

countries throughout the world. We hope that this will be a symbol of what our feelings are, what the

feelings of the Apollo program are, and a symbol of mankind that we can live in peace and harmony in the future.


JONES: Well, that was Cernan on the surface of the moon in 1972. He was the commander of the Apollo 17, that was the last mission to fly there.

NASA administration Charles Bolden says Cernan's footprints, quote, remain on the moon and his achievements are imprinted in our hearts and memories.

Our thoughts go out to his family.

And that's it for the program. I'm Hannah Vaugha n Jones in London. That was Connect the World, thanks very much for watching.