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Northern California Inferno Continues; Bromance Gone Between Trump and Macron; Still No Evidence of Khashoggi's Body; World Headlines; World Leaders Mark 100 Years Since End of World War I; U.S. Demands Ceasefire in Yemen; Fresh Violence Erupt in Gaza; Alibaba's Online Sales Hit New Record on China's Singles Day; China Unveils Artificial Intelligence News Anchor. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired November 12, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLE WYATT, RESIDENT, PARADISE, CALIFORNIA: I'm still trying to wake up from this terrible dream. My daughter she said, I know we hated our home and we wanted to move out, but it was our home and I'm said that it's gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: Whole neighborhoods burnt to cinders. And we're hearing heartbreaking stories of people, families who lost everything in deadly wild fires raging in California.
Plus. a day of unity with a sharp dig at the U.S. president, his French counterpart saying nationalism won't work in today's world.
Also. ahead this hour, imagine earn $30.8 billion in just one day. That's how many sales Alibaba racked up setting a new record. Wow.
Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, we welcome our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the U.S. I'm George Howell. The CNN Newsroom starts right now.
At 3.01 on the east coast, we start in the state of California, entire communities there have been burnt to the ground.
Take a look at this map, it shows the fires is affecting both the northern and southern parts of the state. Many people there still are unaccounted for. The death toll continues to rise. At least 31 have died in the Camp and Woolsey fires so far.
Take a look at this. Terrifying scenes when a Camp fire first sparked up in northern California Thursday. At least 29 people have died as a result of that fire tying it to the deadliest fire in the state's history. It's already taking the record for state's most destructive.
In southern California, the Woolsey fire forced more than 2,000 people to evacuate and leave their homes. Residents say they were shocked as the flames raced towards their homes. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG LUNIES-ROSS, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: You know, we thought we were ready, we thought we had the right stuff and we hosed everything down, the standard protocol for what people do in these areas, but when it came over this ridge right here behind us, there was no way. I mean, it was a 100-foot wall of flames. It was like a fire storm, it was roaring, it was just no way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: And in northern California, residents there, a Paradise. They're hoping to return home, though many won't have homes to return to.
Our Nick Valencia reports from what's left of Paradise, California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that the Woolsey from the Paradise? It is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's our Paradise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: By the time those people in Paradise realized how quickly the fire was spreading, they were already in trouble. This man he couldn't believe his eyes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The town is on fire.
MAYOR JODY JONES, PARADISE, CALIFORNIA: Nothing like what we have had before. But here you're looking at 90 percent of the homes are gone in every single neighborhood.
VALENCIA: Jody Jones is the Paradise mayor. She says the speed and ferocity of the fire only gave the town five minutes to evacuate. The mass exodus caused gridlock on the main road out of town. There was such a panic. Some drivers abandoned their cars as they tried to flee on foot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: JONES: We did have an evacuation plan in place we did implemented. It worked the way it was supposed to work. We just never anticipated having to evacuate all zones all at the same time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: An automatic emergency alert was sent out to land lines and cell phones of registered residents.
But not everyone got a notification. Cole Wyatt and his family they live here. And Cole tells me he was asleep at the time when the fire started. Had it not been for a phone call from his brother, he says, he might not have gotten out before it was too late.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WYATT: He didn't think it was bad enough to call, but something in his guy said I need to, you know, make sure my family knows. Thank God he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: Cole wasn't registered to receive the alerts.
WYATT: I-- just to me, I start think about my daughter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: In the chaos, Cole says it took him two hours to find out his eight-year-old daughter had already been picked up from school by a family member. When they finally did evacuate stuck in the gridlock. He ran out of gas. A stranger stop and gave him enough to get out of town.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: I mean, has it hit you yet?
WYATT: No. I'm still in shock. I'm waiting still waiting to wake up from this terrible dream. My daughter, she said, I know we hated our home and we wanted to move out, but it was our home and I'm sad that it's gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: Outside of Paradise we meet James and Ruby Harris, their car is covered in ash from the fire. They showed us where it was damaged when an RV crashed into them during the evacuation trying to move it out of the way. The scene they describe is absolute mayhem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:05:01] RUBY HARRIS, RESIDENT, PARADISE, CALIFORNIA: And My husband had to get our son out of the car and into the wheelchair and you know, buckle him in and you know, keep other sons from taking off
VALENCIA: And this is wild flames were surrounding you.
HARRIS: Exactly. And everybody is running and passed us.
VALENCIA: Though they were both able to get out, both the Harris' and Wyatts have nothing left to return to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WYATT: Our whole town was wiped off the face of the earth in a matter of eight hours. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: The most destructive fire in California history has changed their town forever.
Nick Valencia, CNN, Paradise, California.
HOWELL: On the phone with us this we have a man who escaped with his family from their home in Paradise, California. Forrest Woodcox is now safe in Gridley, California for us. Thank you again for being with us.
First of all, we are so thankful that you and your family are safe. Tell us how you're doing and if you could tell us, about you're hearing given the situation in Paradise.
FORREST WOODCOX, RESIDENT, PARADISE, CALIFORNIA: Well, right now, George, we're doing the best that we can for what the situation is. Base on everything I've heard there's a death toll about 29 so far that they have accounted for.
WOODCOX: From what I've also heard, there's a lot of people missing. I'm not entirely sure if they're dead or if everything is OK. I'm hoping and praying that everything is OK with everybody that's missing and I'm hoping that all these families can be able to hold these people again because it's quite unfortunate to see all the devastation that's happened around us.
Not easy and it's not going to be easy for the community of Paradise for a while. We've seen a lot of beautiful support and a lot of great things have been done throughout the rest of the other communities. Yes, I mean, for what it's worth, it's -- yes, not going to be easy is all I can say.
HOWELL: Forrest, while you're talking, we're looking at these pictures. We're seeing what it must have been like to drive through that main road getting out of Paradise.
Would you just tell our viewers in the U.S. and around the world what it was like for you, what it was like for your family getting on that road, seeing all those flames on either side of the highway? How did you get out of there?
WOODCOX: Well, George, the easiest way to explain this, I mean, there's no easy way to explain it. But it was terrifying. We honestly weren't thinking we were going to make it out of there alive. We had carbs on the left and right of us, trying to pass us, people turning around, freaking out, panicking.
The car driving behind us, those driving behind us tire popped and they swerved and we had hot embers and the fire was cracking and just burning everything in its path. We could hear the trees around us, the crackling of the trees burning. We had -- everything around us surrounded in flames and smoke and hot ash was blowing into our car. You could literally feel the heat that was outside of our vehicle
inside of our car. And even with our AC on, you could still feel how hot it was. We were honestly all hysterical. At the end, we were crying. You know, that was a moment in my life that I know that we will never forget. We honestly didn't think we were going to make it out of that alive.
HOWELL: Forrest, we're so thankful that you and your family did make it out safely and one can only imagine what it was like for you to be on the road in that right there.
Look, I ask you with respect, if it's too far to ask, just let me know. But people wonder, what is it like for you in a situation like this where you don't know what's left over. You're trying to figure out your next steps. Have you started thinking about the next steps, what is next for you? Where do you go from here?
WOODCOX: Honestly, the first step that we can have is just keeping each other, you know, trying to keep each other together. My family and I, we have been very close throughout all these years. We helped each other through the hardest of times. We've been through a lot together already.
My grandparents' house has been on the brink of being burned down multiple times. We knew, you know, that the day would probably come we just did not think that it was going to be Thursday. We had all hoped and prayed that things were OK.
Recently we found out from a family friend that our house was completely burned down. My grandparents lost their property and their business. Over 47 years of hard work that my grandpa put into his house and his business was completely destroyed.
I'm not worried about us so much. I'm worried about my community. I want everybody to know that if they need anybody to talk to or anybody to direct them, need direction to get help, that they can always come to me and I'm there for them. We're all in this together.
[03:09:59] HOWELL: Forrest, thank you again for being with us. We wish Forrest the very best. Thankful that he's safe. But again, so many other people with a great deal of uncertainty.
Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is following it. Pedram?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, George. You know this pattern has played out for so many months here. We've seen the drought build across this region. And of course, now we're in the thick of it when it comes to extreme fire conditions going even into this Monday afternoon.
And then work your way to the north, we're talking about critical risk in place there. The gusty winds still in that forecast. The humidity is down to as low as 3 percent in spots and, of course, plenty of fuel to go around as well.
High pressure has been kind of really push across the eastern portion of the state now over the Santa Ana mountains. That's where we're having the Santa Ana winds kick up. Of course, the month of November often the prime time to see the winds really pick up in intensity across this region.
And the rainfall has been just about nonexistent in this region. In fact, the last time some of these cities saw rainfall was more than half an inch in a single day was some seven to eight months ago. So really tells you what a long duration period we're going here without any significant rainfall across this region of California.
And we'll expect this warmth to continue another couple of days. The next best window for any improving conditions in the weather department is going to be sometime around Wednesday. And the next best window for rainfall is Thanksgiving, some 10 days out.
So, still looking at widespread extreme conditions for fire weather behavior to be very difficult to contain. Fifty to 70 mile per hour gusts are in the forecast across the canyons, across the mountainous terrain. That's in southern California where 20 million people are underneath these wind warnings and advisories.
You take a city like Calabasas that has been hard hit across this region with the fire weather in the last couple of days. Temps actually expected to rise in the next few days. Rainfall probability sits right at zero percent there, so good news certainly going to be hard to find across this region.
And you take a look at the air quality conditions. They are comparable to what's happening in areas of China. Eastern China, well known of course for poor air quality. So really talks about the severities of what's happening in California right now.
HOWELL: Pedram, thank you again.
JAVAHERI: Thank you.
HOWELL: The U.S. President Donald Trump, he is back in Washington, D.C. after marking 100 years since the end of World War I in Paris, the armistice that ended the war. During his time in Paris, alongside world leaders, Mr. Trump also got a lecture from the French President, Emmanuel Macron for his proud nationalism and America first policies.
Jim Acosta reports.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is on his way back to Washington after receiving something of a lecture from the French President Emmanuel Macron at the 100th anniversary at the end of World War I here in Paris.
President Macron said nationalism is the opposite of patriotism and what seemed like a stinging rebuke of President Trump's politics. Here's more of what Macron had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. I know there are all demons which are coming back to the surface. They are ready to wreak chaos and death. History sometimes threatens to take its sinister course once again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Later on, in the day, the president paid a visit to a U.S. military cemetery to remember American soldiers who died in World War I. The president made the trip despite the heavy rain in Paris, contrast that with the decision he made one day earlier when he scrapped the visit to a cemetery to remember U.S. soldiers.
That is a decision that was blasted on Twitter by the grandson of Winston Churchill who sent out a tweet saying of soldiers who died in World War I, "They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate Trump couldn't even defy the weather to pay his respects to the fallen."
Jim Acosta, CNN, Paris.
HOWELL: Let's talk more about this with CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas. Dominic chairs the department of French and Francophone studies at UCLA. Joining this hour from Los Angeles. A pleasure to have you on the show, Dominic.
Look, the context of history on full display, and we saw two themes. Patriotism and nationalism being discussed. We know that the U.S. president embraces that word nationalism. The French president didn't mince any words, rebuking nationalism, describing it as a danger. What are your takeaways from that?
DOMINIC THOMAS, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES UCLA: Yes, well, from the moment Emmanuel Macron came on the state visit to the United States back in April, one of the main gifts that he gave President Donald Trump, which was planted on the South Lawn of the White House, was precisely an oak sapling from Billow Woods to remind him of that important historical relationship to the very least 1918, and to commemorate the first World War. This, of course, was the site that Donald Trump did not travel to, claiming bad weather.
[03:15:01] But the whole purpose of this visit as far as bringing these dignitaries together for Emmanuel Macron was precisely to remind these international leaders of the absolute devastation that this conflict caused in mainland Europe, and also to remind them how since that particular period, it was precisely international organizations and multilateralism that has provided for peace in that area.
And the use of the word nationalism, the echoes of that particular world in this bloody and complicated European history, are extremely disquieting to people. And it was absolutely impossible for him to not take a shot across the bow at that particular word and, of course, it was everybody understood that this was referring specifically to President Trump.
HOWELL: And Mr. Macron even making the point, saying that nationalism and patriotism sometimes get confused, but now the two very different words. And clearly, he made that very plain and simple, straightforward when he spoke.
Let's talk about the overall spirit of Mr. Trump's interaction with his counterparts in Europe. He has had less than warm relations with many of them, and we even saw the bromance, Dominic, the bromance between he and Emmanuel Macron seem to simmer a bit in this particular instance. How did Donald Trump come out of this trip to Europe in your view?
THOMAS: Well, as many of the previous trips have gone, whether it's visiting NATO and the United Kingdom and so on, they have not gone well. On this particular occasion, the tensions rose the moment he exited Air Force One and tweeted his dislike for comments that President Macron had made earlier about the importance of developing in this particular global atmosphere, stronger and more consolidated and articulated European troops.
He then did not walk down the Champs Elysees along with the other leaders, and he left immediately after having attended a small ceremony in (Inaudible), just outside of Paris. And did not attend the peace forum.
He was very much an outsider. I think he felt an outsider, having just left the United States where he's been embroiled in all kinds of controversies and issues and surrounding the recent elections. And his outsider status was sort of reinforced at this particular, particular gathering. He stood out as somebody whose protectionist, kind of nationalist and unilateral policies are at odds with many of the leaders who were there. And that was the purpose of this gathering and of the peace forum.
HOWELL: Given some of Mr. Macron's comments before the commemoration at this weekend, you'll remember Mr. Trump described on Twitter that he saw it as an insult, that Europe should consider beefing up its own military to protect against China, Russia and the United States.
The French president seemed to clear that all up as a misunderstanding, that his words were taken in the wrong context. But how does Europe view its Transatlantic relation with the United States? Is it a matter of short-term temporary adjustments tailored to this current presidency, or is there a longer view here that they must look ahead to do things differently?
THOMAS: Well, the responsible position is to engage with both. It's to realize that beyond the statements of President Trump, there is a long-standing relationship that continues at various levels of cooperation on a whole range of issues.
But the fact is that the relationship has changed dramatically, and that the European Union or the Europe in a more general fashion, finds itself in a very complicated position. It can no longer rely on the United States and, therefore, the Atlantic relationship. The relationship across the channel with the United Kingdom and with Brexit has changed things. And, of course, looking over to the other side, there is concern about
a rising Russian federation. The European Union finds itself between these two particular spaces.
In different parts of Europe, we have witnessed for a long time now the gradual rise of these far-right radical and populist political parties. And it is clear that President Trump, as well as Vladimir Putin sees a weaker Europe as somehow benefiting the geopolitical plans that they have. And Donald Trump has provided oxygen to some of these political groups and parties, particularly in areas like Poland and Hungary. This has been incredibly disruptive.
And as the European Union heads in May of next year into elections, we will essentially be dealing with two particular views of Europe. On the one hand, that of Macron and Merkel seeking greater integration and cooperation, fighting against those that are disrupting the European Union and some of those countries that I've just mentioned.
And to that extent, the relationship with the United States is not one that they can rely on for the time being. And so obviously they've got to think about how they're going to act and behave and without being able to rely on this unpredictable president.
[03:20:01] HOWELL: And to your point, it does seem that one view as you describe it, does seem to be on defense. The other view seemingly on the rise. Dominic Thomas, we appreciate your time and perspective. We'll stay in touch with you.
THOMAS: Thank you, George.
HOWELL: Up next, keeping up the pressure. The U.K. And U.S. lean on Saudi Arabia over the death of Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.
HOWELL: The U.S. and the United Kingdom are keeping up the pressure on Saudi Arabia over the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
The British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will meet with the king and crown prince Monday. He'll urge them to cooperate with Turkey's investigation of the journalist's murder, and to end the war in Yemen.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also discussed those issues in a phone call with the crown prince on Sunday.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is following the story live in Istanbul. Jomana, given the pressure, is there a sense they will get any traction here?
[03:24:54] JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, George, it's been more than 40 days since the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, and still, Turkish authorities have not been able to locate a body. They have not been able to locate his remains.
They don't even know if they're searching for a body right now or not because, you know, you've heard the theories that Turkish authorities are looking at different scenarios including the possibility, one theory that his body may have been dissolved in acid.
And Turkish officials including President Erdogan and we heard this from the president several times, believe the answers are with the Saudis. And they want these answers to questions like where are his remains? Who ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi?
And they put these questions forward to the Saudis, but they're not getting answers. They are actually complaining about this lack of cooperation from the Saudis, and that has really led to this Turkish strategy we've seen over the past few weeks, this drip feed of information. The latest was over the weekend when President Erdogan said that they provided recordings of the killing without going into details to several countries, including the United States, France, Germany, the U.K., and to Saudi Arabia, and the hope has always been here that the United States would lead the effort to put pressure on the Saudis to get to the bottom of this.
But so far more than a month, more than 40 days, George, and still no answers. And the feeling is that not enough pressure is being put on the Saudis.
And I think what sums up the international position is that meeting we saw over the weekend between President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, according to a French presidential spokesman, they did discuss how bad the killing of Jamal Khashoggi was, and the importance of getting to the bottom of what happened.
But at the same time, the spokesman says if the United States feels that Saudi Arabia is the cornerstone of everything in the Middle East, and they don't want to really disrupt anything, they don't want to destabilize Saudi Arabia. And this is causing a lot of concern.
Yesterday we attended this memorial service that took place here in Istanbul. It was organized by friends of Jamal Khashoggi, and also attended by opposition members from this region, journalists, activists, dissidents who feel that this is a dangerous situation. That unless there is real accountability, that there will be many other incidents like this.
And amongst them, you know, the friends of Jamal Khashoggi, his fiance, people are really starting to lose hope that they will ever get to the bottom of this, that they will ever find the body of Jamal Khashoggi to give him a proper burial, and that is why, George, they have announced that they will be holding funeral prayers, funeral in absentia prayers that will be taking place on Friday here in Istanbul, and they're calling for prayers at different mosques around the world.
HOWELL: Prayers and consistent questions continue. Jomana Karadsheh, thank you again for the reporting.
It has been 100 years since the end of World War I. What lessons have been learned from the Great War? And are they still relevant to today? We'll talk with an expert on that ahead.
Plus, one lesson from the French president that he hopes his fellow leaders will heed, working together is better than going it alone. His rebuke of nationalism as Newsroom pushes on.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.
In the state of California, the death toll has risen to 31 people dead in these massive wildfires burning on both ends of the state. Most of the deaths are in Paradise, California, a town largely wiped out by this devastating campfire. Firefighters struggling there against fierce winds to put the blaze out in the northern part of the state and two other large fires also in Southern California.
After a sharp escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Seven Palestinian and Israeli special forces soldiers were killed. Hamas said a senior leader of its military wing is also among the dead. The violence disrupted a short period of relative calm at the Israel-Gaza border.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, took aim at Donald Trump's "America First" agenda with Mr. Trump looking on. Under the Arc de Triomphe, Mr. Macron declared that nationalism is the opposite of patriotism. His comments came during Sunday's World War I armistice centennial ceremony, which the U.S. president and other world leaders attended in Paris.
Let's talk about the big picture of what we saw take place in the French capital with Chris Kempshall. Chris, a historian from the University of Sussex who focuses on first World War, live this hour from Canterbury, England. It's good to have you on the show with us. Thank you.
CHRIS KEMPSHALL, TEACHING FELLOW, MODERN EUROPEAN HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
HOWELL: Look, we look back at wars like this one. The death, the destruction, the tragedy around World War I for lessons learned. What are some of the biggest lessons to be considered from World War I?
KEMPSHALL: I think essentially exactly what you're saying that wars are destructive. They kill people, they destroy infrastructure, they destroy states. As a result, they are transformative moments in history, but not necessarily good moments in history.
I think when you look at some of the commemorations, some of the kind of events that have been going on around Europe over the last kind of 24 hours or even the last kind of four years, what you see is a a kind of a thread emerging at times about the importance of European international cooperation to avoid kind of reenacting some of the destructive wars of the past.
HOWELL: We saw in France two themes on full display, the theme of patriotism versus nationalism. We know of the U.S. president's embrace of nationalism and Mr. Trump looked on as a guest in France. Mr. Macron did not mince words in rebuking nationalism as a danger. What are your views and takeaways of nationalism versus patriotism?
KEMPSHALL: I mean, I thin to begin with, speaking as a historian, I think that Macron is probably right, that nationalism particularly in Europe has been a destructive force. It has led to conflict between countries. It has led to conflicts within countries as well.
So I think that his point on the dangers of nationalism is well taken. I definitely think that there is a message probably there to President Trump. That being said, given what is going on in Europe, it could equally be a message to people in France and people in Germany as well.
President Macron made a fairly ill-advised attempt to court some of the nationalist vote recently in regards to first World War commemorations. We are talking about Marshal Petain, who was a general during first World War but then became a kind of the head of Vichy states.
[03:35:03] So it could equally be kind of a message to kind of voting blocs and political parties in his own country. I mean, Germany is well aware elements of nationalism is on the rise.
HOWELL: We talked about nations working together, looking back at this war. The first World War underscores the importance of the Transatlantic relationship between Europe and the United States. What's your view of the health of that relationship as it stands now under the Trump administration and for Europe? Is it a matter of short-term temporary adjustments tailored to this presidency or is there a longer view here that Europe must do things differently?
KEMPSHALL: Honestly, I think probably the health of the relationship between Europe and America has probably been better in the past. I don't think it is necessarily particularly good at the moment. In regard to what is going to happen in the long term, I think it partly depends on America, it partly depends on Europe.
There is a possibility that this might just be a case of isolation, depending on what happens in the coming years in America particularly in the American 2020 election. If Trump is replaced by someone who Europe finds easier to work with, then this might not be a long-term issue.
That being said, Europe itself is changing. There are populist nationalist movements on the rise in a variety of European states. And the state of European Union, as I sit here in England, isn't a guarantee going forward. So I think that in the immediate short term, I think it's probably going to be a case of let's wait and see what happens in America more than anything else.
However, for the long term, Europe itself has to kind of decide what direction it's going to potentially go in with regard to the future of some of its political ideologies.
HOWELL: And you see it bubbling up in Germany, in Poland, in Italy. It is happening in various, various countries in Europe. We'll of course have to see how this all plays out. Thank you again for your time.
KEMPSHALL: Absolutely my pleasure. Thank you very much.
HOWELL: The French president says his good relationship with Donald Trump is important to both countries, and he's proving his friendship supporting Mr. Trump over an issue that has proved thorny. Here's what the French president told CNN's Fareed Zakaria in an exclusive interview.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Were you disappointed that President Trump chose not to go to the cemetery and memorial? I know it was his decision, but this was a place that French and American soldiers died together, fighting for freedom, and is very important in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps. Were you disappointed?
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: No, i think it was just because of the weather and for security reasons. So i do respect that. I'm not part of the security team of President Trump. He did want to go there. And we had a discussion, we had a very pleasant and friendly lunch. He wanted to go there, but he was not in a situation to go there because the helicopter was blocked in Paris due to the weather.
But, anyway, I appreciate that he had the intention to go to Waterloo. If you remember, we together at the White House garden, precisely we put an oak coming from Waterloo together as a symbol of this alliance. So, I'm sure that next time it will be in a situation to go there that they still have a tree in a certain way representing this alliance and the presence of marines.
These young American people came to France. They were 18, 19, 20, and -- and they died there in a place they didn't know, unknown from families. I have in my office -- normally, I have the key that Lafayette brought to Washington. I mean, it's so strong that we are from our history and in future together.
HOWELL: For viewers outside the United States, you can watch the rest of Emmanuel Macron's interview with our Fareed Zakaria less than two hours from now, 10:00 a.m. in London, 6:00 p.m. in Hong kong here on CNN.
U.S. is making fresh calls for a ceasefire in Yemen as the long war there shows no sign of resolution. We'll see if there's any hope on the horizon ahead. Also, new violence in Gaza. Ahead, the toll taken during an Israeli operation, and the response from Hamas.
[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOWELL: A new wave of violence in Gaza has left seven Palestinians and one Israeli soldier dead. The senior military leader for Hamas among those killed. There had been a brief period of restraint over the past two weeks following months of violence. Now, Israel says it is reinforcing its troops near Gaza. Our Oren Liebermann has this report.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a sudden spike in violence between Israeli forces and Gaza militants, an Israeli soldier and Hamas military commander were killed Sunday evening during Israeli's special forces operation inside Gaza. The Israeli military said its officer had been shot and killed during what it described simply as operational activity in Gaza. Seven Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the exchange.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, among them, 37-year- old Nour Baraka, a leader of Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. Reports of the deaths were followed by sirens in Israel and warning of incoming rocket fire on the Gaza periphery. The Israeli military said the iron dome aerial defense system had intercepted at least two rockets.
So what happened here? According to a statement issued by the Qassam Brigades, Israeli special forces entered Southern Gaza in a civilian car and assassinated Baraka, the Qassam Brigades leader. When the Israelis were discovered and engaged by Qassam militants, the statement said Israeli war planes carried out airstrikes to provide cover while the special forces escaped.
Israel provided no further information about the special forces activity, only saying that it had concluded. The sharp escalation comes just days after Qatar close to Hamas sent $15 million in the Gaza to relieve the humanitarian crisis and to reduce tensions there.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was criticized for allowing the transfer of money defended the initiative, saying it was the right decision and that he was looking into every direction to restore Gaza periphery and to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Netanyahu also said it was impossible to reach a long-term arrangement with Hamas since they vowed to destroy Israel.
Netanyahu who was in Paris has ended his trip early because of the escalation. Meanwhile, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two main Palestinian factions in Gaza, are on high alert.
Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.
HOWELL: The U.S. secretary of state is again urging Saudi Arabia for a ceasefire in Yemen. Mike Pompeo spoke with the Saudi Arabia crown prince on Sunday about the Saudi war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
[03:45:00] The U.S. wants all of the parties to sit down with a U.N. envoy and negotiate a peaceful solution. In the meantime, street battles continue raging in one area, one of Yemen's main port cities, with civilians trapped in the violence.
CNN's senior international correspondent Sam Kiley following the story in Abu Dhabi. Sam, U.K.'s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, traveling to Saudi Arabia. We know he'll be focusing on what's happening in Yemen, asking for an end to that war. What more are you hearing?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's become a really -- there is unanimity now among Saudi Arabia's western allies, the closest allies to Saudi Arabia. In descending order, if you like, the United States, United Kingdom and France have now for more than two weeks been calling for a ceasefire led by the United States.
Now we have the first visit of a senior European foreign minister to Saudi Arabia since the murder of Jamal Khashoggil. But this is an opportunity to both raise that issue, of course, which Jomana has already discussed with you, George.
But also this very important matter of the Yemen, the United Kingdom and the United States are the principal suppliers of arms to the Yemen. They have called for a ceasefire which is due to happen if they stick to scheduled sometime next month.
And they do have levers to pull. So far the United States has pulled a pretty meaningless lever in suspending air refueling to the Saudis, who said they didn't need it anyway, but there are real pressure points that can be brought to bear.
I think that is likely that we are going to hear Jeremy Hunt suggests later on today that perhaps he might use some of those pressure points or at least implore the Saudis to dial down the violence. But as ever, George, when there is a prospect of peace talks or a ceasefire, belligerence on all sides can be expected to try and grab as much territory as they can before the front lines get frozen.
That is exactly what we've seen with a very substantial new assault on Hodeidah. By coalition, George, it is a very complex tapestry led by the Saudis, the United Arab emirates also deeply involved.
But on the front line, there are militia troops from Salafi groups, from secular groups, from separatist southerners. Even Al Qaeda elements have been involved in this fight against the Houthis. They themselves of course getting a lot of their backing from Iran, George.
HOWELL: Sam Kiley in Abu Dhabi. Thank you for the reporting.
The world's biggest online shopping day, Singles Day, China's Alibaba Group racks up big numbers, breaking their own record from last year. We'll go live to Hong Kong. Stay with us.
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HOWELL: Online retail giant, the Alibaba Group, set a new sales record on China's biggest shopping day. It's known as Singles Day. Mariah Carey was there, in fact. Alibaba says it rang in about $30.8 billion in sales on Sunday, November 11th. That is well above last year's record of $24 billion.
CNN's Sherisse Pham is following the story for us, the numbers, big numbers to tell us about there live in Hong kong. Look, 1.30 billion in one day, huge. But before we get into the context of all of that, help our viewers understand what exactly is Singles Day?
SHERISSE PHAM, CNN REPORTER: That is a great question. It's a $31 billion question actually, George. Singles Day is an informal holiday in China. It was started by students in the 1990s. And for all you single viewers out there, you will love this, it started as an anti- Valentine's Day holiday and it is celebrated on November 11, so 1-1-1- 1. Get it? Yes. So that is Singles Day.
And then Alibaba high-jacked that day 10 years ago, turning it into a massive shopping bonanza. And this is a huge day for Alibaba. They kicked off the event with a four-hour-long gala, with everything from circus acts to Mariah Carey performing as you mentioned there.
And they had another huge date this year. This is a day where they really like to try out some of their new business models. So, they have a new grocery store, brick-and-mortar grocery store similar to Amazon in the United States. In China, it's called Hema. You have to have an Ali pay account to shop there, really trying to capture that shopper in the online world and the offline world.
This year also the very first year that they pushed Single Day sales in Southeast Asia through an e-commerce platform that they have. They are called Lazada. But, look, big numbers obviously, a billion dollars in 90 seconds, $31 billion in 24 hours. But sales growth did decline a little bit. So last year, Singles Day sales growth came in at 40 percent. This year, George, clocking in at just 27 percent.
HOWELL: Thirty billion in a day is pretty big, pretty significant. But overall, Sherisse, what does this say about the health of the Chinese economy, given, you know, the trade disputes that we're seeing back and forth between the United States and others?
PHAM: Yeah, that's the big elephant in the room, right? The ongoing U.S.-China trade war did play a factor in the slowing sales in Singles Day. No matter what, Alibaba says, because you've got a multitude of factors affecting the sales number. You've got the slowing Chinese economy. You've also got the weaker Chinese yuan which has been under pressure because of this trade war.
When the yuan is weaker, all those international goods that people like to buy on Singles Day, all the makeup from companies like Estee Lauder and L'Oreal, all the electronic goods from companies like Apple and Dyson products are really popular on Singles Day, all of those goods become more expensive, much more expensive with a weaker yuan.
[03:55:01] So absolutely, the U.S.-China trade war did play a factor here, but executives really trying to play down the geopolitical head winds. Executive vice chairman, Joe Tsai, saying look, we will still benefit from the growing Chinese middle class, and he said that trend is not going to stop trade war or no trade war. George?
HOWELL: Sherisse Pham, thank you again for the reporting. So, you've probably heard that machines that A.I., that robots are taking over many jobs around the world and in this glimpse of the future, news anchors are not immune. Look at this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, everyone. I'm an English artificial intelligence anchor. This is my very first day at Xinhua News Agency. My voice and appearance are modeled on Zhang Zhao --
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HOWELL: It is not a real person. It is a life-like example of how artificial intelligence is developing in China. The Xinhua News Agency reports that this news presenter can work uninterrupted. That means no coffee breaks, no bathroom breaks, no coughing. Just constant updates typed into a software, cheap and efficient, maybe missing a little personality? You bet. But, hey, that is what's to come.
And we thank you for being with us for this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell at the CNN center in Atlanta. Early Start is next in New York for our viewers here in the United States. And for viewers areoun the world, my colleague Max Foster kicks it off live in London. You are watching CNN, the world's news leader.
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