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Family Uses Facebook To Auction Off Child Bride; Trump Hesitant To Link Crown Prince To Khashoggi Murder; U.S. President Slams Architect Of Bin Laden Raid; Tales Of Heroism Emerge Amid Fire Tragedy; Carlos Ghosn Investigated For Financial Wrongdoing; Ebola Cases Climb To 373 in The Congo; PM to Hold First Cabinet Meeting since Draft Deal Reached; Disney Betting Big on Theme Parks. Aired 1- 2a ET

Aired November 20, 2018 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Cars, cows, and cash. The winning bid for a child bride in an auction conducted via Facebook. The accusations the social network failed to police itself. A president with five draft referrals for the Vietnam War insults another American military hero. This time ramping up his war words with the admiral who oversaw the operation to get Osama bin Laden. And betting the house of mouse on a massive expansion of theme parks worldwide. The company said to spend billions to create a galaxy far, far away at a Disneyland near you.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world, I'm John Vause, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Another scandal for Facebook, this time the tech giant is under fire after the social network was used to auction a child bride in South Sudan. Facebook says the post was taken down as soon as the company learned of it but that only came out after the girl was already married. We have more now from CNN Samuel Burke.


SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: A barbaric use of technology, that's how humanitarian organization Plan International is describing the auction to marry a girl in South Sudan who they say is just 16 years old. All this carried out via Facebook. The girl's father reportedly received 500 cows, three cars, and $10,000 in exchange for his daughter. The post was originally published on Facebook on October 25th but Facebook didn't become aware of it until November 9th, 15 days later.

The social network has taken down the post and a spokesperson tells CNN "any form of human trafficking whether posts, pages, ads or groups is not allowed on Facebook. We remove the post and permanently disabled the account belonging to the person who posted this to Facebook. We're always improving the methods we use to identify content that breaks our policies including doubling our safety and security team to more than 30,000 and investing in technology. But activists worry this could inspire other families to use social

media to try to get larger dowry for their daughters. Plan International is calling on the South Sudanese government to investigate this matter and suspend any officials who took part in the bidding. Even though it's against the law there, UNICEF says more than half of girls in South Sudan are married before age 18. Samuel Burke, CNN London.


VAUSE: Zainab Salbi is a women's rights activist, Author and Editor- at-Large of Women in the World Media. She joins us now from New York. Dana, thank you for taking time to be with us. Facebook removed the posts after the auction was done and only then after the company was actually made aware of the material in the first place. And that same it makes it's pretty clear they've got no idea who's posting what.

ZAINAB SALBI, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, you know, does have a responsibility because it's not the first case, nor is it going to be the last. We're actually tracks the curse generally put those things on many social media network. This was Craigslist in America, Facebook now, so this is a common practice actually with a lot of traffickers doing that. In this case, is actually even more complex because it's the family of the girl who did that. And in a culture, that does allow for dowry and we have to distinguish between dowry which is a common practice in many cultures including Southern Sudan which does not mean selling or auctioning your daughter. And what this family particularly have done is actually done an egregious act even in their own cultural standard.

So there are a few things here that we need to distinguish. One is not to generalize all, that's a Sudanese culture. Second is actually the whole social media platforms responsible for such acts and they have to do something to make sure that they medicate more damages from happening to women and girls. And then the second -- third is we need to look at or what are they actually needed to resolve that. You know, (INAUDIBLE) verses Southern Sudanese girls as well as the social actions needed by social platforms.

VAUSE: I just wanting to know how much responsibility, where do you allocate the responsibility, how much worse with Facebook, how much with the Sudanese authorities, you know after all the auction happen in public because of the very fact it was taking place online. How much responsibility is with the family?

SALBI: We'll hold all of them accountable. I think the public outrage is very important in this case. And the message in here for the family and for anybody who considers doing that, it is absolutely no. Now, we need to also explain it in a language that Southern Sudanese do understand because cows in southern Sudan is basically means money. So usually the culture, you marry your daughter, you get dowry of money, cows, and then you use these cows both with yourself as a family and then recycle it use to marry your own sons. And when he took to a lot of southern Sudanese girls, they say look, we need to actually get jobs, we need higher education, we need secondary education because the jobs are incentives for us and for our parents to get into jobs rather than marrying us. It's a more financial incentives.

[01:05:18] So first we need to look into these things. Second, Southern Sudanese government does need to look into that. It is a big issue. It's a big crisis is Southern Sudan. There's more there, there is fighting, and usually, women and girls are the first victims in war and fight -- and fightings and no one take them -- take what happened to the seriously. So this care is really a serious grievance that needs to be taken seriously the Sudanese government. And then social media platforms, again, it is very important because of lot of traffickers above and beyond this case, a lot of traffickers sell ads and exchange and you know, in different platforms about girls being sold in trafficking. So they do need to take this case very, very seriously because this is an indicator of a much larger behavior that is happening in the world.

VAUSE: Zainab, we'll leave it there. We're out of time but thank you so much. Obviously, it's a complicated (INAUDIBLE), multi-faceted (INAUDIBLE). Facebook isn't making it any better by those things so thank you for being with us.

SALBI: Pleasure.

VAUSE: Despite talk of a cease-fire, fighting continues in Yemen. According to reports from news outlets aligned with Iranian backed Houthis, the Saudi led coalition launched more fights Monday. They report the Houthis destroyed coalition military vehicles. And just a day earlier, the Saudi-backed Yemeni government said it was on board for a new round of U.N. backed peace talks. Houthis also said they were ready to agree to a cease-fire and would end missile and drone attacks. The U.K. is pushing a cease-fire of U.N. Security Council which calls for a two-week break in the fighting to in humanitarian aid. A vote is not expected until after Thursday.

The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman is seen as the key architect of the war in Yemen. At the same time, he's also accused of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. For the latest on that case and how that could play in to a resolution in Yemen, here's CNN's Alex Marquardt.



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yet again, the President raising doubts about his own intelligence agencies conclusions. Sources tell CNN the CIA now believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman known as MBS personally ordered the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But President Trump says he doubts that because of MBS' repeated denials that he played any role.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He told me that he had nothing to do with it. He told me that I would say maybe five times at different points.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if he's lying? TRUMP: As recently as a few days ago. Will anybody really know, right? Will anybody really know?

MARQUARDT: Part of what the CIA examined was the infamous audio recording from inside the consulate when Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered. A recording the President says he doesn't want to listen to.

TRUMP: It's a suffering tape. It's a terrible tape. I've been fully briefed on it. There's no reason for me to hear it. In fact, I said to the people, should I? They said you really shouldn't. There's no reason. I know exactly -- I know everything that went on the tape.

MARQUARDT: On his way to visit the aftermath of the California wildfires over the weekend, the President offered up a likely explanation for his defense of the Crown Prince.

TRUMP: We also have a great ally in Saudi Arabia. They gave us a lot of jobs and give us a lot business, a lot of economic development.

MARQUARDT: Republicans in Congress are splitting from the President. Many believe there's no doubt that MBS was behind it and want to hold him to account.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think the evidence is overwhelming that the Crown Prince was involved.

SEN. LINSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I believe from day one that 15 people, 18, whatever the number was, they don't get on two airplanes, go to Turkey and chop a guy up in the consulate who's a critic of the Crown Prince without the Crown Prince having known about it and sanctioned it.

MARQUARDT: And this morning MBS' father, King Salman, spoke publicly for the first time since Khashoggi's death. As the Crown Prince listened in the audience, the King heaped praise on him and never directly addressed the murder or mention Khashoggi by name.


MARQUARDT: Now, the U.S. has taken some action in response to the killing of Khashoggi. They imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis accused of being behind that horrific murder, as well as the stopping of refueling of Saudi planes in the war in Yemen while also calling for a cease-fire. But for many lawmakers Democrats and Republicans alike, that's not enough and they fear with Trump again seeming to not believe the Intelligence Community, that he's not ready to go further. Alex Marquardt CNN, Washington.

VAUSE: Donald Trump who took five (INAUDIBLE) to avoid the Vietnam war is taking a shot at a military hero renewing his feud with the four-star admiral who oversaw the Osama bin Ladin raid. The Commander in Chief tweeted this. Of course, we should have caught Osama bin Laden long before we did. That criticism is aimed at retired Admiral William McRaven who has been critical of the president, in particular, his attacks on the media which he says of the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime. A comment he continues to stand by and that brought this rebuke from President Trump.


[01:10:09] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer and frankly --


TRUMP: It would have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that? Wouldn't it have been nice --


VAUSE: In response to that side remark from the president, former CIA deputy director Michael Morell issued this statement. Correction needed to the POTUS' comment today that McRaven should have found bin Laden sooner. CIA did the finding, McRaven's special operations did the getting. They moved within days of President Obama giving the order. Joining us now from Orlando Florida, CNN Military Analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, the former Army Commander General for Europe and the 7th Army. General, good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, here is the response from Admiral McRaven. I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else. I am a fan of President Obama and President George W Bush. Both of whom I work for. I admire all presidents regardless of their political party who uphold the dignity of the office and who used that office to bring the nation together in challenging times.

But at the same time the Republican National Committee is backing the President. They put this statement out on Twitter. Worth learning after recent comments, retired Admiral William McRaven was reportedly on Hillary Clinton's shortlist for Vice President in 2016. He's been critical of President Donald Trump even dating back to the 2016 campaign. He's hardly a non-political figure.

I mean, you can debate that back and forth but what's the end result here when a military leader of Admiral McRaven standing becomes politicized, becomes another prop in this president's reality T.V. show.

HERTLING: That's the thing that concerns me the most, John. It is the politicalization of the military and the president has done this already with other institutions or at least he's tried to do it with the Intelligence Community, with law enforcement, with the judicial branch, and all of that is really contributing to the divisiveness that we're seeing across our society. And it's unfortunate because the military -- and interestingly enough I counted today how many presidents I've served for during my years and Admiral McRaven and I were in the military the same amount of time. We entered about the same time and left the same time. And both of us served under eight different presidents, five Republican and three Democrats. I would not have known that unless I stopped to think about it. The military serves the ideas embedded in the Constitution. They

don't serve an individual. And yet it seems Mr. Trump once that fealty of the military serving a person. That's not what we do. And when it doesn't go the way he likes it to go, the same way he treats his political adversaries, he starts mocking them as he did with McRaven and as he's done with several others.

VAUSE: This is just a latest example of Donald Trump insulting a war hero. It comes up he skipped that World War One ceremony in France just over a week ago because it was raining. It was followed by a no- show at Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day. And here's his reason why he didn't lay a wreath on Veterans Day.


TRUMP: I should have done that. I was extremely busy on calls for the country. We did a lot of calling as you know.


VAUSE: Many like Democrat Congressman Don Beyer have questioned that he tweeted so far, he the President, have spent one of every four days of his first term golfing and two to three months at Mar-a-Lago. How credible you find that excuse coming from this President?

HERTLING: Not credible at all. In fact, it speaks to me of what he sets is his priorities on a national holiday dedicated to honoring veterans. I can understand the president is busy. But as we've seen he certainly takes a lot of time off to do the things he wants to do vacationing and golfing. Now, I'm not knocking him for that, but on a day that's dedicated to veterans, you would think that he would at least dedicate a certain amount of time to honoring those veterans when Arlington Cemetery is literally a ten-minute Drive away from the White House.

VAUSE: Yes, especially when you consider how much this president has publicly declared his overwhelming support for the troops like this.


TRUMP: There's nobody, nobody that loves the military like I do. I love the military.

I don't think anybody has been more with the military than I have.


VAUSE: What was interesting, the Military Times polled 900 readers and found that while support for the president remains relatively high almost 44 percent. That approval rating has slowly been eroding since 2016 but that seems almost negligibly decline in the context of the past year or so and everything that's happened. Why is the military so supportive of the Commander-in-Chief? Why do they remain I guess, so loyal to our Commander-in-Chief who won't go to places like Iraq and Afghanistan because he doesn't support the war so soldiers have been sent to fight. [01:14:57] HERTLING: Well, when you look at that survey,

there are some challenges within there. There are differences between the lower ranks and the higher ranks. There's certainly been a shift in terms of women in the military support for the president. And I think we're seeing some huge shifts across the board.

Now, the, I had said this from the beginning, that survey instrument is not very reliable, and they admit that themselves. It showed much greater support for the president during the campaign than it has showing now.

And I think, we're seeing the shift because truthfully, I hate to say it this way, but the military is getting wise to him. He likes the military when he can use it in his speeches and when he can use it for his props. But I think many people who wear the uniform or who have worn the uniform are beginning to become a little bit more wise to his ways in what he is doing with the military as part of the defender of our country versus his particular political props.

VAUSE: Yes. It's been an interesting year, I guess, for the military as well as everybody else when it comes to this president. General, thank you. Good to see you.

HERTLING: Good to see you, John. Thank you.

VAUSE: The White House is backing away from a legal fight of proper deciding to restore the press pass of CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. This came just hours after CNN asked for another emergency court hearing because the administration had again threatened to revoke his pass.

Also on Monday, the White House detailed new rules for reporters at presidential press conferences. Journalist will each be allowed one question and only the president or his aides can decide if follow-ups will be permitted.

Air quality in San Francisco, Stockton, and Sacramento has been so bad because of the so-called Camp Fire that were classified as the world's three most polluted cities. The Pittsburgh has made simply breathing hazard.

In less than two weeks, the wildfires had both ends to the state had claimed, at least, 82 lives, hundreds remain missing. Rain is finally in the forecast, but that could be both a blessing and a curse. CNN's Paul Vercammen, reports now from the fire zone.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, the death toll rising in the incinerated wreckage of Paradise. And there are more than 15,000 structures obliterated. The search for remains is unlike any in California history.

DAN NEWMAN, SHERIFF'S SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM, BUTTE COUNTY: This is the largest -- the largest rescue operation in California ever. In the way of over 500 search and rescue volunteers from all over California, and that's just unprecedented.

VERCAMMEN: The number of people unaccounted for is down from more than 1,200 to under a thousand. Authority are trying to whittle down that list as survivors were found.

KORY HONEA, SHERIFF-CORONER, BUTTE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: This is still raw data. My objective of finding progress or moving forward over perfection, I think, is still the better course of action even though the numbers in many cases seem quite daunting.

VERCAMMEN: Those displaced in camping in area parking lots are now spreading out to shelters ahead of predicted rain.

SCOTT MCLEAN, DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF, CAL FIRE: Unfortunately, believe it or not. Yes, unfortunately, we are having some rain come in.

VERCAMMEN: Four to six inches of rain desperately needed before the fires that officials fear will now cause mudslides and debris flow.

MCLEAN: It will pretty much diminish a lot of those flames that are taking place now. However, it does not pose a hazard to the firefighters because there -- back there on dirt roads, dirt trails, trying to fight this fire. And now, it's going to turn into mud, which will be another hazard for them to contend with.

VERCAMMEN: Still out of the devastation, more dramatic rescue stories. A bus driver, a few months on the job, shuttled two teachers and 23 elementary school children to safety and rescued a third teacher along the way. A five-hour odyssey through walls of flame.

CHARLOTTE MERZ, STUDENT: There were like fires left and right. Everywhere you look, there were like smoke everywhere and people trying to get out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- time to go. It's much worse than we'd ever seen. So, let's get the kids that are here left, and let's get them out of here.

VERCAMMEN: Cal Fire estimates 80 to 90 percent of the homes destroyed in Paradise California. The bus driver, the fourth grader, one of the teachers, all lost their homes. Paul Vercammen, CNN, Paradise, California.


VAUSE: Well, still to come here. Carlos Ghosn was a titan of the automotive industry. His company's made one out of every nine cars sold worldwide. For the details on his arrest and what it means to the future of Nissan.


[01:22:09] VAUSE: Shares of carmaker, Nissan, have plunged after the company's chairman was arrested in Japan. Nissan says, Carlos Ghosn and another top executive committed significant financial wrongdoing. Prosecutors say, he made nearly $90 million over five years but reported only half of that.

Ghosn heads up the Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi auto alliance, and all three saw stock losses. Whistleblower alert Nissan to investigate the allegations. Now the man who was the driving force behind the company's success is behind bars. Anna Stewart has details.


ANNA STEWART, CNN BUSINESS NEWS JOURNALIST: He's one of the auto world's highest profile and highest-paid business leaders, Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn. Arrested in Japan after claims after claims of financial misconduct. The company he built into a global car giant preparing to oust him.

Born in Brazil, educated in France, Ghosn started at Renault in the 1990s, where his radical restructuring of the French auto firm earned him the nickname Le Cost Killer.

When Renault teamed up with Nissan in 1999, the Japanese firm was struggling, and Ghosn was ruthless. Cutting thousands of jobs, closing factories, and selling off assets. His plan worked, he returned Nissan to profit. Over the next two decades, he continue to expand taking control of Russian carmaker, AvtoVAZ, and Japanese rival, Mitsubishi.

By 2017, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance was the third biggest car seller in the world. Carlos Ghosn, a globe-trotting business leader, and a massive name in Japan.

Known for his work ethic, Japanese media dubbed him Seven-Eleven for the hours he worked, and his jet-set lifestyle. He split his offices between Paris and Tokyo.

His life story was turned into a superhero comic. Carlos Ghosn sat down as Nissan's CEO in 2017 but stayed on as head of Renault and chairman of the Alliance until 2022. With a heavy investment in electric cars and a partnership with Google, he pledged to lay the groundwork for the company's future. Now, his own future is very much in doubt. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


VAUSE: The Ghosn scandal in (INAUDIBLE) is weighing down stocks at the Asia-Pacific markets. Let's take a look at the latest numbers right now. We can see red across the board. Nikkei down by more than one percent. Hong Kong down by almost two percent. Shanghai Composite also down by almost two percent, and the Seoul KOSPI down by almost one percent.

Nissan's U.S. (INAUDIBLE) shares fell six percent on news of the scandal, and the Dow finished down almost 400 points, with 1-1/2 percent. Losses for Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix sent the NASDAQ falling three percent.

Well, still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, down but not out facing crisis after crisis. Theresa May vows to keep fighting for her Brexit deal as her new look Cabinet (INAUDIBLE) to meet in the next few hour.


[01:27:26] VAUSE: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause, with the headlines this hour. The U.K. is backing a ceasefire in Yemen at the U.N. Security Council. A draft resolution is calling for a two- week break in the fighting.

Both the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and Houthi militants say they are ready for peace talks. That's despite a report of more airstrikes and fighting on Monday.

Facebook is under fire from human rights activists after a family in South Sudan use the site to auction off their teenage daughter to the highest bidder.

Facebook, says it removed the post this month soon after it found about that -- found out about it. But, that only happened once the girl was sold for cows, cars, and $10,000 in cash.

Ebola vaccination program which began last May. The deadly Ebola virus continues to spread in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Health Ministry reported on Monday, there are 326 confirmed, and another 27 probable cases of Ebola in the Congo. So far, more than 200 people have died in this current outbreak which started in August.

Meantime, more than a dozen World Health Organization and staff were evacuated over the weekend from the city of Beni, the epicenter of the outbreak after rebels attacked U.N. peacekeepers.

A few hours, the British Prime Minister will hold her first cabinet meeting since last week's emergency session on the draft Brexit deal. In a speech to Britain's business lobby on Monday, Theresa May vowed to fight for the deal to spine facing a possible leadership challenge.

Meantime, the government plans to publish economic forecasts for all Brexit scenarios that draft deal. Theresa May secured also the free trade agreement possibility and maybe a no deal possibility as well. CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas joins us now from Los Angeles. Dominic, good to have you with us.


VAUSE: Let's deal with the most immediate crisis facing Theresa May and her government in Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which may rely on for 10 votes in Parliament from majority. The DUP has withheld supporter on a series of budget measures because they're furious over this Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Their Brexit spokesman tweeted this, "The government made clear commitments never to undermine the constitutional or economic integrity of the United Kingdom. They have reneged. Consequences were inevitable."

So, is that a shot across the bow by the DUP? All of the sudden, the government is in serious trouble. THOMAS: Well, it's more threats and blackmail, actually. I mean, the whole reason that the DUP are even an issue is because Theresa May underestimated her popularity and kind of greedily launch this snap election, hope to -- hoping to consolidate her power in Parliament, and it post dramatically backfired.

[01:29:54] DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: So She entered into this deal with the DUP to give a majority in what is confidence and supply. And the confidence part here has gone away.

The DUP are dissatisfied with the European Union deal that stands to potentially treat them differently from the rest of the United Kingdom. And so essentially in this finance deal discussions by holding back the vote they're sending her a very clear message that if she did not come back to Brussels with a different deal, they will not go along and support it.

Of course the situation is completely dramatic. Because they don't want a hard border and they want the rest of the United Kingdom to essentially remain in the customs union and in the single market union which is, of course, what the hardcore Brexiteers are wont to do. So this another serious problem Theresa May has to tackle.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Crisis number two, this one seems to come out of nowhere. Spain warning it will reject the Brexit over Gibraltar. Madrid wants veto power to vet any E.U. trade deals with Britain that actually covers the Peninsula. So what's going on here?

THOMAS: Well, more threats yet again. Of course, you know, Gibraltar for over 300 years now has been an overseas British territory. And essentially the Spanish, although they're not happy about it, as a condition for entering the European Union and becoming a full-fledged member in 1986, essentially argued that they would put that argument aside.

Now, they've said, as the DUP have said, guess what? We had a deal with you initially but we're no longer going to really honor that deal because things have changed. You're now looking to go leave the European Union.

We don't want the E.U. involved in this. And on future deals that have to do with trade and defense, we want to deal directly with the United Kingdome or we will support the European Union's deal with the U.K.

So more threats of (INAUDIBLE) is here.

VAUSE: And crisis averted at least for now. Tory rebels maybe aren't able to get enough support to trigger a no confidence vote in May's leadership. Again it's a job that no one wants.

THOMAS: Right. Well, these hard-core Brexiters are really, really creating, you know, problems here. I mean they needed 48 votes. The reason they need 48 is in order to trigger this vote of no confidence. You need 15 percent of the elected members of parliament of the Conservative Party. If you're not even able to get 48 together, there is absolutely no likelihood that you're going to be able to get a majority of the 326 elected MPs. So this has dramatically backfired.

And all of this really, you know, goes back to, you know, the Boris Johnsons and the Rees-Moggs of this world who got the U.K. into a mess in the very first place. So I think people are getting increasingly upset with them and with their shenanigans.

VAUSE: And finally crisis ignored, the U.N. putting out a report, what is it, budget austerity of Britain has rarely impacted the level of poverty and Brexit will make it worse. This report by the U.N. special raconteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

He warned, "In my meetings with the government it was clear to me that the impact of Brexit on people in poverty is an afterthought to be dealt with through manipulations of fiscal policy after the event, if at all."

You know, this comes just as the government put out those scenarios on the economic various Brexit outcomes, deal or no deal, or maybe the trade deal that Theresa May is talking about.

THOMAS: Well, I mean the very fact the United Nations issues a report using the words "extreme poverty" to talk about a country like the United Kingdom is in and of itself outrageous. Of course, what further upset the British government beyond the fact that its economic policies are being heavily criticized here is the fact that he also mentioned that things would be worse after Brexit.

So all of these things are connected. So it's all very well to talk about austerity deals, the impact of it, of lowering the national debt and so on. They won't even look specifically at the ways in which the policies of the Conservative Party, since David Cameron came to power in 2010 have impacted the British population.

The lowest 20 percent average household income is the only category that has dramatically dropped since that particular time and all other groups have risen. And the one that has benefitted exponentially from the Conservatives being in power are the top percentage income brackets.

These economic disparities ironically enough are precisely what fueled so much of the Brexit vote from which the Conservative Party has benefited from staying in power. And when one looks at the ways in which these measures impact people in the U.K. -- cost of living and housing and the (INAUDIBLE), this is a government that has been completely distracted by Brexit and that is falling short in its mission dealing with the greater concerns of the British public.

And these disparities are growing every day and Brexit is making it worse.

VAUSE: It does seem to be a bit of a one-trick pony right now, the British government. They can't seem to you know, walk and chew gum at the same time when it comes to this Brexit deal. THOMAS: Right.

VAUSE: Dominic -- as always, thank you.

THOMAS: Thanks -- John.

VAUSE: Well it might not be a small, small world for much longer. Disney betting big on a massive expansion of theme parks and resorts. Details next, right here on CNN NEWSROOM.




A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away --

Cleared for Arrival -- Star Wars Galaxy's Edge.


VAUSE: All part of the hype. That was Disney announcing its newest attraction "Star Wars Galaxy Edge", described as a more immersive and personalized experience for visitors which will open at the end of next year at both Disneyland and Disneyworld in the U.S.

This is all part of a massive worldwide expansion by Disney into a galaxy far, far away when it comes to price and ambition with reports the House of Mouse will spend billions upgrading and growing all six theme parks around the world as well as buying three new cruise ships for the Disney fleet.

And the reason is simple, the happiest place on earth also happens to be a money-making machine. Profits are soaring at theme parks and resorts but is slowing for media like television and cinema.

Film entertainment and business journalist Sandro Monetti is with us from Los Angeles. Sandro -- good to see you.

SANDRO MONETTI, FILM ENTERTAINMENT AND BUSINESS JOURNALIST: Good to see you -- John. Now, if you're the kind of person who is tired of waiting three hours to get into Splash Mountain -- don't worry. Under this new scheme, you'll have to wait two hours to get into the Iron Man roller coaster.

VAUSE: That's an improvement.

MONETTI: It is an improvement. Now, these Disney parks are pretty much full to capacity. So what is the solution? Expand the parks. So more attractions, more rides, more room.

The biggest operating profit that -- the biggest return on investment in fact that the Disney empire has is from its theme park division in the fiscal year 2018. It had an operating profit of $4.5 billion. That's 100 percent up from the number of five years ago. We're talking more ticket sales, more food purchases, more hotel occupancy. So, never mind movies, never mind tv.


MONETTI: Double down on the theme parks.

VAUSE: There's no shortage of people willing to pay at least in California, $135 dollars a day to stand in line for hours and hours and hours. But here is a key line from a report in the "New York Times". There's a media analyst who estimates that Disney will spend $24 billion on new attraction, hotels and ships over the next five years. That's more than Disney paid for Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm combined.

[01:39:59] But you know, the bottom line is Disney can't get out of the movie business because the movies are the inspiration for the rides and the attractions at the park.

MONETTI: Absolutely. They are monetizing all these great franchises. The Avengers, the Incredibles. I mean you can just rattle them off. Disney is the biggest thing in the entertainment game.

So many successful movie franchises. And it all goes hand in hand. And so yes, $135 is an extraordinary amount to pay. But people will pay it.

So let's double the attendance, let's double the size of the park.

VAUSE: Yes. And you know, that's per person -- you buy food, you go to park the car, you've got to get there in the first place. I mean it's like $1,000 a day for a family of four.

MONETTI: No wonder Disney is so rich.

VAUSE: They're happy as (INAUDIBLE). This new Star Wars attractions in particular which, they're under construction right now at Disneyland and Disneyworld.

They will also have new theme music. This is no expense spared from composer John Williams. Here's a sample.


VAUSE: You know, both rides are set to open next year along with a Star Wars Hotel, which is actually what is most anticipated about all of this.

MONETTI: Yes. The Star Wars Hotel won't have windows. It will be videos screens. It will be like looking out on the galaxy. When Bob Iger, the Disney CEO paid over $4 billion for Lucasfilm it seemed an extraordinary amount of money. Now it looks like a cheap deal. Iger has really proved himself such a visionary. Perhaps the best entertainment CEO in America. He was due to retire. The Disney board have extended his contract through July 2019. Let me tell you, they should never let him retire. They should still let him run the place from the rest home. He's been doing a fantastic job. If he ever does, Bob Chapek, who runs the theme park division would I suggest, be a great replacement. But yes, Disney is doing it all right.

VAUSE: No truth to the rumor that Shrek was based on Bob Iger, I believe. But not everything glitters so brightly in the Disney universe. Hong Kong Disney has actually lost money for the past two years and has really struggled since its opening. They have spent a ton of money there as well.

MONETTI: Yes. Three years of falling admissions, falling profits there. So that is where they're really going for it. They're building Frozen land. They're putting in lots of Avengers attractions in there. Rather than just writing it off, they're making it better. And they're making it the ultimate Disney theme park.

Again, a great move.

VAUSE: Yes. Kids around the world are rejoicing and celebrating and annoying their parents to go.

MONETTI: And big kids like me.

VAUSE: Absolutely. See you. Thank you.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us.

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