Return to Transcripts main page
Emmanuel Macron Caves In and Offers Minimum Wage Rise After Yellow Vest Protests Spark Violence across France; Bail Hearing For CFO To Resume In Coming Hours; U.S. Military Responds To Russia Aggression; Israel Clear Mines Near Jesus Baptismal Site. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired December 11, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Brexit takes a time out. Theresa May delays the biggest vote of her career but raises even more doubts that she will ever get her Brexit plan passed by Parliament.
The French president tries to calm down a protest movement while students take to the streets, outraged over economic inequality.
Plus: forced to leave your home because of extreme weather. That's the new reality for thousands of people as they struggle to escape droughts and the starvation they bring.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I am Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
CHURCH: Britain's already agonizing process to leave the European Union is now even more chaotic. A day before Parliament was scheduled to vote on prime minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, she abruptly announced a delay. She told lawmakers she will meet with the E.U. to seek assurances to bring back to Parliament.
However European Council president Donald Tusk said there will be no renegotiation. Ms. May's admission, though she was facing a sound defeat because of one key issue, was met with laughter and jeers in the House of Commons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is clear that while there's broad support for many of the key aspects of the deal --
MAY: -- on one issue, on one issue, the Northern Ireland backstop --
MAY: -- there remains widespread and deep concern. As a result, if we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow, the deal would be rejected by a significant margin.
MAY: We will, therefore, defer the vote schedule for tomorrow --
MAY: -- and not proceed to divide the house at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: The government is in disarray, uncertainty is building for business, people are in despair at the state of these failed negotiations and concerned about what it means about their jobs, their livelihood and their communities.
And the fault for that lies solely at the door of this shambolic government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Nina dos Santos joins us now from outside Parliament with what might lie ahead.
Nina, most were stunned by Theresa May's decision to postpone the vote on her Brexit deal and play for time here.
Given the E.U. has made it clear negotiations are over, what is the next step?
What are the possible scenarios ahead?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Well, the next step immediately for Theresa May is to hotfoot it over to the European continent. She will be meeting with the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte in the Hague early this morning and then she's also going to be heading to Berlin to speak with to main power broker in the E.U., which is the German chancellor Angela Merkel.
All of this to try and press the flesh, to get European leaders on her side, to try to get them to understand that obviously it's been too much of a tough sell for her to even try to have that vote that was scheduled for today, particularly with regard to this issue of the so- called Northern Ireland backstop, this insurance policy.
The British government says is really hypothetical because they are not planning on introducing it. But something that for U.K. parliamentarians just crosses the line because what they believe it would do is enshrine into U.K. law a mechanism the U.K. could not negotiate its way out of unilaterally with regard to different customs arrangements for Northern Ireland, part of the U.K., and the rest of the United Kingdom.
All of this trying to avoid smuggling and the need for a hard border and so on and so forth between the European Union territory, which is the Republic of Ireland in the south.
Now we have heard from the taoiseach in Ireland making it clear that he's had conversations in the aftermath of that decision to delay the vote with Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, saying that both sides have agreed that they don't want to reopen this big document that's been agreed and make substantial changes, particularly with regard to the Irish backstop.
They are going to be stepping up their no-deal planning scenario, the Europeans have made clear, the Irish taoiseach has also made that clear and this will form the backbone of the types of conversations that will be happening as we now know at an emergency summit that the E.U. has convened on the subject of Brexit taking place on Thursday.
Now the E.U. on a softer note has said that they are willing, quote, "to help facilitate" some discussions that could potentially give Theresa May something to come back to here with Britain.
But the big question is, will it be enough?
In the meantime, domestically, what's happening, Rosemary, we'll see the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, hold --
DOS SANTOS: -- an emergency debate in the House of Commons. The Speaker has granted him the right to do that later on this morning.
And Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is also going to be addressing the house. So domestic machinations taking place but also the real power brokering heading over to Europe in these crucial next three days before that E.U. summit -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Right. Of course it has been a tortured journey. If this doesn't work for Theresa May -- and we know of course, as we have said, that the E.U. have said no more negotiations -- could this or how likely is it that this could go a second referendum?
And if it does, what would the likely question be?
Would it be put to the people on this issue as a question of whether they remain or leave the E.U. as the initial referendum stated?
Or could this offer just different options for a Brexit deal?
Has there been much discussion on that?
DOS SANTOS: There's been a lot of discussion, furious discussion about the need for a second referendum. Some say based on the principles of informed consent, people now have a better idea of what Brexit really means to them. So they should have a chance to vote accordingly now that they have -- they are armed with the arguments as to how it will affect their lives and future generations to come.
That has been the topic of a second referendum gaining momentum in the House of Commons; likewise, though, other potential economic models that could be on a balance sheet if you like; the Norway model, which would mean espousing some parts of the E.U. being part of a European economic sort of trading area if you like but also that couldn't necessarily give the U.K. control over its borders and it would still have to contribute to the Brussels pot of money, the budget, which means that of course, the U.K. wouldn't be taking back control of its borders and its money as the pledge that Theresa May has made when she said she wants to deliver Brexit.
From here, the other thing you have to remember is, if we do have a second referendum, what would be on the ballot sheet?
We have had former cabinet ministers saying there should be three options, a soft Brexit, hard Brexit or no Brexit at all. These are the difficult conversations that have to be had in the House of Commons and also Theresa May will have to have with herself. For the moment she's ruled out a second referendum.
CHURCH: A number of possible scenarios there. We will watch this very closely. Nina dos Santos joining us from outside Parliament and we'll talk to you again next hour, many thanks.
Let's get some more on the economic impact the Brexit process is having, let's go to Anna Stewart in London.
Good to see you, Anna.
So how have markets in Britain and, of course, across Europe, been responding to this whole Brexit deal chaos?
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the fallout has been interesting particularly with sterling, which is most sensitive. We saw the British pound slump to a 20-month low against the dollar. We haven't see it at that level since April of last year. It was down at one stage by 1.7 percent which is significant.
And what was so fascinating, Rosemary, we saw it fall just before the prime minister announced that the vote would be delayed or deferred and that's because we largely expected that's what she would say.
But it really slumped when the Speaker of the House, John Bercow, raised the issue as to whether Parliament should get to vote on whether the prime minister should be allowed to defer a vote.
And it was the confusion and the fear for investors that we are going to see more confusion coming forward and possibility that Parliament has lost confidence in this government entirely. And that's something that will be key in the days ahead when we look at the markets.
The pound has now fallen over 7 percent since the beginning of the year; it's down 12 percent since the referendum in 2016. Yesterday we also saw on the European markets all the major indices falling into the red. The FTSE 100 was down, you'll see there wasn't as the further down as some of other indices and that's because most of those stocks actually make money in dollars.
But I have to say some of the stocks were hit hard, particularly ones that are susceptible to things like U.K. banks, U.K. homebuilders. They have significant falls and as investors switch out of shares, we saw the yield on the 10-year gilt. That fell as well.
CHURCH: Yes, markets do not like uncertainty and what are investors saying about the options left for Theresa May and how markets are likely to respond to those possible scenarios when we are talking about maybe a second referendum, maybe a general election?
STEWART: Well, exactly. And as you said investors hate uncertainty and all the scenarios -- and there are too many of them, frankly, for investors -- all of them have really uncertain outcomes for business. And analysts that we have been speaking to, currency analysts, they said that we'll have currency volatility on sterling, particularly up until this vote, which was supposed to happen this evening.
Now we don't know when that will happen so volatility will continue much further.. We have some interesting reaction from business as well. The head of the CBI, which is the Confederation of British Industry, she said on Twitter this is yet another blow for companies desperate for clarity.
STEWART: She said the investment plans have been paused for 2.5 years and unless a deal is agreed quickly, the country risks sliding towards a national crisis.
We also have reaction from the BCC, the British of Commerce. The head of that said events at Westminster have businesses across the U.K. looking on with utter dismay.
And I have to say markets are always looking at the next risk ahead. So we have the risk of the second referendum, of the potential fallout for the government of Theresa May but that's also the big risk further along, which is potentially a Labour government in the coming months. And that is a big risk to business, that would mean higher taxes, potentially nationalization of utilities.
CHURCH: Britain confronting difficult times now. Anna Stewart joining us from London, many thanks, Anna.
French president Emmanuel Macron is facing more protests in a few hours, despite announcing plans to raise the country's minimum wage and scrap new taxes on pensions. He announced the move Monday in response to weeks of violent anti-government protests.
But as CNN's Ben Wedeman reports, it's unclear if those reforms will be enough to soothe the growing anger over France's increased cost of living.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the nation for 13 minutes in a pre-recorded address, during which he began by condemning the violence of some elements within the Gilets Jaune, the so-called Yellow Vests, who have been protesting since the 17th of November.
He promised to increase the minimum wage by 100 euros a month. He said he would cancel a planned increase in taxes for old-age pensioners and he said that he would be encouraging employers to give their employees Christmas bonuses.
But many people said that what he had to offer was too little too late. And in the coming days it is expected that there will be more protests. Students have said that Tuesday will be Black Tuesday. They're protesting educational reforms which will make it more difficult for students to get into universities.
Today there were 120 disruptions at French schools, 40 of which were completely blockaded by the students. It is expected that, on Friday, there will be strike by trade unions.
They will be joined by students and the Gilets Jaune are saying that next Saturday will be Act 5, the fifth Saturday in which they will hold protests -- I'm Ben Wedeman, reporting from Paris.
CHURCH: For more insight on the protests in France and President Macron's reaction, Jean Bogais, joins us now. He is a sociologist and an associate professor at the University of Sydney in Australia.
Thank you so much for being with us.
JEAN BOGAIS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY: Thank you.
CHURCH: now, in his national address, France's President Macron promised to raise the minimum wage and get rid of new taxes on pensions in an effort to stop the anti-government protest, but the Yellow Vests say it's too little too late.
So what happens next?
And how should Macron have handled this?
BOGAIS: It is a little too late. Looking an increase on the minimum wage, for example, 30 percent will be taxed. So that brings it down to 70 cents. Only two months from now there will be another 30 euro paid to the French people. And therefore the increase there are proposing is on the 40 Euro, not 100. These issues are at stake.
People do not trust the president, do not trust the government anymore. What we are witnessing through the rejection of these measures by the (INAUDIBLE) is a reflection of that distrust the French people have of the government.
Where are we going from this point? Probably to more demonstrations, as we know, but also no doubt, more
CHURCH: Right, why do you think President Macron left it so late to respond?
Why not do this earlier, given there was so much anger for weeks?
And how could, how could he have missed all the warning signs from people who were really hurting from his policies and the high cost of living in France?
BOGAIS: I think to answer this question we need to understand the psychology of the president Emmanuel Macron. President Macron has been a very successful man. He has never experienced any failure in his life. University, work and now he become the president of France, its youngest one.
What President Macron cannot do is to understand the psychology and --
BOGAIS: -- the need of the French people and that this connection meant that, when a crisis was building, he was totally incapable to ensure the possible appreciation (ph) and to understand that this crisis is already, you know, over 40 years old in the making.
He applies a very technocratic model to a social crisis and that cannot work.
CHURCH: And of course, as it has been reported, students are expected to walk out of classes in support of the protesters in what is being called Black Tuesday rallies and marches. And trade unions plan to strike on Friday.
So Macron's address appears to have emboldened rather than appeased protesters.
So where is this all going, do you think?
And will Macron be forced to do more to help those struggling to make ends meet?
BOGAIS: This is where the problem is. There's very little else he can do, because we would need to see a complete reform process and he cannot do that. Economically, France cannot sustain it, even if we concede a tax reduction, (INAUDIBLE) and so on, then it would go in contravention with (INAUDIBLE) and there will be a call for hostility.
So President Macron has locked himself into a corner with absolutely no way out. Then confrontation and possible repression. This is why the first part of his speech this morning was actually about replacing of the violence, not so much resolving social issues.
One of the key elements at stake is that is the French people, the demonstrators want a change, especially with regard to the taxes on the rich, the taxes on the wealth.
And that is something that Macron does not want to compromise with. So they look at him as the president for the rich, the president for big business, the president for Europe, who is incapable to understand the fundamental needs.
And that this connection can only lead to more confrontation and to widening of this already very difficult crisis.
CHURCH: Yes, and we will be watching this story very, very closely. Jean Bogais, thank you so much for joining us from Sydney, we appreciate it.
CHURCH: We have to take a short break here but up next on CNN NEWSROOM, the climate change refugees, how global warming is driving some migrants to join the caravan to the United States.
Plus Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government keeps targeting journalists. The latest on the Turkish president's crackdown. That's next.
CHURCH: Just 1.5 degrees Celsius could decide the fate of our planet; if the rising temperature of Earth passes that threshold the result could be disastrous. The COP24 Climate Change Conference, underway right now in Poland, is trying to find agreement on how to stop that disaster from happening.
But some say the U.S. delegation is trying to derail the talks by promoting clean and efficient fossil fuels, just watch the reaction here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESTON WELLS GRIFFITH, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY: The administration's economic strategy is rejuvenating our economy, revitalizing our manufacturing base, benefitting American workers, creating jobs and encouraging innovation while safeguarding our environment.
CHURCH (voice-over): You can hear the laughter from the protesters mocking that official from the U.S. Department of Energy and they didn't stop there.
GROUP: Keep it in the ground, keep it in the ground!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Now a new report not only links climate change to extreme weather, it says global warming is causing some of those events. Our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, is here to talk more about this.
Interesting watching that reaction.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely.
JAVAHERI: It's really an incredible report, too, Rosemary. For years we have seen that climatologists' stance be you can't take a particular weather event and call it a climate change.
Over the past several years, more data and more computing power and more analysis by scientists and the report released on Monday breaks down specific events now that were not only caused by climate change but potentially entirely related to climate change. It's an incredible finding here.
Some of the analysis of the past, linking extreme weather to warming, we know the strongest evidence comes in for heat waves, coastal flooding because of sea level rise and floods in general but lesser evidence in place for hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical cyclones, typhoons, for them to be more numerous.
But the study conducted took some 120 scientists and examined 10 countries and released the data for 2017 alone, finding out using the historical data and model simulations -- and this is advanced modeling that they put together -- that they isolated 17 specific extreme weather events taking place in 2017 that were either directly related to human activity, with climate change, or specifically by humans in total as far as the events taking place.
Hurricane Harvey and the amount of rainfall that storm produced, 150 centimeters, the single wettest storm in U.S. history. And officials there saying if that -- if the sea surface temperatures were not as warm, if the water content in the atmosphere was not as high, rainfall amounts would be significant but that would be 50, 60, 70 centimeters, not over 100 centimeters.
We had heat waves in 2017 in Europe, in the Mediterranean; the study relates this, saying it's three time more likely to have such heat waves in 2017 and 2018 and moving forward versus 1950.
Floods in China and Bangladesh, also in South America, were worse specifically due to climate change. We know as the atmosphere warms more water vapor is available, creating more clouds. So a warmer environment is more conducive to more clouds, means more rainfall and data here for the United States really breaks it down because you take a look.
In the northeastern United States in particular, really the eastern half of the United States has seen a dramatic increase in heavy rain events and the study ties in places such as the East Coast of Africa. We note the water temperatures there in 2017 were through the roof. It doubled what we have seen in previous years and increasing the probability of droughts.
The Somalian drought, in a large period of 2017, some 6 million people impacted by food shortages across that region. That was related to the water temperatures off the East Coast of Africa. A lot of these have the human fingerprint in climate change right on top of them.
CHURCH: So the evidence is there. But still we hear from President Trump and others that they don't believe it.
CHURCH: They don't believe it but --
CHURCH: -- it's a reality. You can choose to believe it are not.
JAVAHERI: The smartest people in the world say it is a reality.
CHURCH: Indeed. Thank you so much, Pedram. Appreciate it.
Well, if global warming continues, experts fear a growing exodus of climate refugees forced to flee drought and starvation. That's already happening in parts of Central America, as CNN's John Sutter reports.
DELMI AMPARO HERNANDEZ, RESIDENT, COPAN, HONDURAS (from captions): It did rain more before, but not so much anymore, because there wasn't much harvested in the corn fields this year. We didn't harvest anything.
JOHN SUTTER, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Delmi has been struggling to feed herself and four kids these days. The crops just aren't growing like they were. Conditions eventually got so bad that her husband, German, fled Honduras for the United States, part of the migrant caravan that attracted the ire of U.S. President Trump.
TRUMP: And in that caravan, you have some very bad people.
SUTTER (voice-over): German didn't join the caravan because of violence in his homeland. He left because of drought and climate change. Central America has been hit with an intense and unusual drought in recent years. Crops are failing, starvation is lurking. The U.N. says 2 million people in the region are at risk for hunger.
EDWIN CASTELLANOS, DEAN OF RESEARCH, UNIVERSIDAD DEL VALLE DE GUATEMALA: We have seen events of children actually dying out of hunger. So it is that extreme. These people are moving away, if not just out of their own will, it basically they -- because they have no option.
SUTTER (voice-over): The reasons people migrate are complex. But the World Bank says, in coming decades, more than 17 million people in Latin America could be forcibly displaced because of climate change.
This is already starting to happen in Honduras. And almost nowhere is the trend more pronounced than in Copan.
Data from the U.S. Border Patrol, which seen and analyzed in collaboration with the University of Texas, shows an increase in migration to the U.S. during the recent drought.
LISANDRO MAURICIO ARIAS, MAYOR, COPAN RUINAS, HONDURAS (from captions): I believe around 30 percent of the population, 25-30 percent of the population has emigrated.
SUTTER (voice-over): Climate models show it's only getting worse. Droughts are becoming more intense. The relatively small, dry corridor of Central America is expanding. And it may cover the entire region.
EVELIO OCHOA, RESIDENT, COPAN, HONDURAS (from captions): When it rains, the cob grows. And as you can see, because of the drought, it doesn't.
SUTTER (voice-over): Evelio says he fled to the U.S. three times with the help of a smuggler. Each time, he was deported back to Honduras.
OCHOA (from captions): We didn't have much to harvest this year because of the drought. We had very little corn to harvest. We had even fewer beans. Very little, because of the drought.
SUTTER (voice-over): His wife, Nora, says their family would have starved if a relative hadn't sent them help from the States. She wants Evelio to try the dangerous journey again, but they don't have the money.
Climate migrants who joined the caravan have little chance of safe and lawful passage to the U.S. International law does not recognize the rights of so-called climate refugees.
And President Trump has claimed that all refugee candidates have to wait in Mexico while their claims are reviewed.
Slashing carbon pollution could decrease the number of climate migrants by millions, the World Bank says. And irrigation projects could help ease the pain of future droughts.
But this exodus already is taking a toll. Delmi's husband died on the road while trying to join the caravan across the border in Guatemala.
HERNANDEZ (from captions): He said he was going to look for a better life, so that his children wouldn't suffer, so that we wouldn't suffer anymore. However, it wasn't possible, no. What he wanted didn't come true.
SUTTER (voice-over): The circumstances of his death are unclear. The family buried him in the land he used to till.
HERNANDEZ (from captions): He left us alone. He left us alone forever.
SUTTER (voice-over): John Sutter, CNN, Copan, Honduras.
CHURCH: We'll take a short break here. Still to come, all the uncertainty about Brexit showing up in the markets. The economic impact of the U.K.'s divorce deal. We'll be live in Downing Street.
[02:31:43] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. French President Emmanuel Macron says he will raise the minimum wage and get rid of new pension taxes in response to weeks of violent anti-government protests. But the move may do little to ease public anger over France's rising cost of living.
Students plan to hold protests in the coming hours and trade unions are expected to strike on Friday. Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says his country will not extradite the suspects in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He also criticized Turkey's handling of the case saying the government has not cooperated. Khashoggi's body still has not been found more than two months after he was killed at Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Sources tell CNN that accused Russian spy Maria Butina has reach a plea deal with prosecutors. The source adds she is also cooperating with them. The government accuses her of cozying up to powerful Americans and groups to push pro-Russian legislation. Theresa May is going back to Brussels as her Brexit plan tries to get off its drawing board. The British Prime Minister is heading first to Berlin and The Hague on Tuesday as she courts E.U. leaders in a desperate bid to save her Brexit deal.
Mrs. May canceled a vote on the deal scheduled for Tuesday after it became clear parliament would not go forth. We are live in Downing Street where CNN's Hadas Gold is standing by. Good to see you, Hadas. So what's this all going to mean for Theresa May's leadership as she heads back to Brussels to renegotiate her Brexit deal despite being told by E.U. leaders that negotiations are over?
HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Right. Rosemary, she's on this diplomatic dash you could call it around Europe. She's actually supposed to get back here to London and to Downing Street tonight. But during the day she's going to try and get at least some sort of superficial concessions anything really out of the European leaders that will appease some of these members of parliament who are against her deal and as you noted yesterday, she pulled that vote at the last minute.
I mean I have to tell you. Up until the last moment, Downing Street was telling reporters that the vote was on. Everything was going on as normal and then it was a dramatic 11th hour pull. And really what this is all about, she just does not have the numbers in front of her to get the deal over the line. And not only is this a political crisis for the Brexit deal, it's a political crisis for Theresa May herself and her leadership.
Had she lost, it would almost guarantee been the beginning of the end of her own period as prime minister. And now, she's trying just get enough members on board to support her. We've already starting to head calls for no confidence vote. There's been several members of parliament who have called for the vote. Now, the opposition, the Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has indicated that they want to wait on that to see what Theresa May gets out of these European leaders whether that will be enough.
But as you noted, Europe has said they're done negotiating that it's now Britain's problem. It's not their problem any longer. We'll have wait and see what Theresa May brings back from Europe and also when this vote will be this big vote, is it going to be before Christmas? Is it going to be after Christmas or is it even going to be up until the last minute until March when Britain is legally supposed to leave the European Union?
[02:35:01] CHURCH: Yes. I mean Theresa May has bought herself some more time but it appears she is facing the inevitable, isn't she? We're looking at two possible scenarios facing May right now, a possible second referendum if she can't come back with some better deal or a general election. How can May survive either one of those scenarios?
GOLD: Well, listen, Theresa May has survived a lot in her time in leadership. I have to say she's one of the most resilient world leaders we have seen on the stage at this moment. But there has been so many other times where people thought she was nearing the end that she was going to lose her spot and somebody else is going to take over. We just haven't seen that and I think that's a testament to what a difficult situation she has found herself in.
I was actually out outside of London over the past few days talking to members of the public and even if they hate Brexit, even if they are let's say pro-Brexit but hate the deal, they've all commend Theresa May for the work that she has done. The question is whether she can actually pull it through enough to survive the next few days, the next few weeks, and get this Brexit deal over the line otherwise we'll face a hard Brexit. And as for that second referendum, Theresa May has said over and over and over again as long as she is in leadership, there will not be a second referendum.
The question is if somebody else then comes in, will there then be a second vote?
CHURCH: She has certainly been a survivor so far. We will see if she can sustain that. Hadas Gold, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
GOLD: Thanks. CHURCH: Well, Turkey says it wants justice for Jamal Khashoggi. Yet,
it is cracking down on its own journalists. Istanbul's chief prosecutor wants prison sentences of up to 15 years for five journalists. They're accused of aiding the organization of Fethullah Gulen this according to state media. Now, Turkey blames the U.S.- based cleric for a failed coup attempt in 2016. These journalists work for one of the few Turkish publications openly critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
For the latest, CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us now live from Istanbul. So Jomana, ironically, Turkey targeting its own journalists while at the same time calling for justice in relation to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. What more are you learning about these five Turkish journalists and the charges and sentences that they face right now?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Rosemary, when it comes to Turkey's position in relation to the case of Jamal Khashoggi while some Turkish officials would come out and say that this is about an attack on the journalist, the killing of a journalist, and standing up for freedom of expression. This is about a lot more for Turkey. This was an attack on its sovereignty as they see it and they see it as an attack by a rival in this region.
So it's a lot more than just about a journalist in this case. Now, when it comes to these five journalists that you mentioned according to the state news agency here, they say that the chief prosecute for Istanbul is seeking a prolonged prison sentence for five -- for those five journalists that include two columnists and three editors of this anti- -- this opposition newspaper, a secular newspaper. They're accused of aiding the Gulen Movement as you mentioned that movement that is accused of being behind the failed coup attempt back in 2016.
And of course, since that coup attempt, Rosemary, there has been a purge, tens of thousands of people have been either fired from their jobs, others put behind bars including dozens and dozens of journalists accused of either being members of the Gulen Movement or supporting the group. And in this case the chief prosecutor is accusing these five journalists of aiding the Gulen Ovement and they're set to go on trial on January the 18th.
CHURCH: Right. And what evidence does Turkey have that these journalists did anything wrong? And what will likely happen to them if the past is any guide?
KARADSHEH: Well, we're going to have to wait and see what evidence they have, what their indictments say. This is something that we have been working on this morning. Our producer spoke to one of those columnists a short time ago who sounded surprised at this. He is a popular journalist in this country. He called these accusations ridiculous and absurd. So we'll have to wait and see, Rosemary, what the prosecution has.
But, of course, Turkey in the past has been accused of using this failed coup attempt. President Erdogan has been accused of this by rights groups, by journalism watch dogs around the world abusing this failed coup attempt as a pretext to go after journalists in this country and to use that -- to silence dissent. And, of course, this is coming at a time where we're seeing also sorts of movements from Turkey to try and repair relations with the west, with the United States.
Of course, you know, the -- we saw some tensions in this relationship between whether it's the United States or Europe following that failed coup attempt after a lot of criticism against Turkey for the crackdown and what these nations say was human rights abuses carried out by the Turkish state.
[02:40:20] So but there have been signs in recent weeks that they're trying to mend their relations with the west. So very interesting timing again for these charges bring -- being brought against these journalists and it's not the first time, Rosemary. Just a few weeks ago, another journalist was sentenced today 19 years in prison for similar -- for similar charges. So we'll have to wait and see what happens on January the 18th.
CHURCH: Yes. We'll be watching this very closely. Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much for that live report. Appreciate it. And my colleague Michael Holmes spoke early with CNN Global Affairs Analyst Jason Rezaian. He's also a Washington Post writer. Rezaian was imprisoned for a year and a half in Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You were jailed in Iran. I mean when you think about -- when you think about Turkey and these journalists in particular at the moment of the most recent case, I personally as a journalist for 40 years, I can't imagine the courage it would take to work for a newspaper in Turkey today that is critical of the government.
JASON REZAIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: No. And I think that that's the exact message that Erdogan is trying to sends to journalists in his country. Don't do this. Don't do this work. Stand aside and stay out of trouble. But, fortunately, there are always brave souls that are willing to inform the public and in the name of freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And that was Jason Rezaian speaking to my colleague Michael Holmes. Well, she is at the center of a diplomatic fight between the United States and China. Now, a top Huawei executive is headed back to court in Canada. Why her lawyer says she would be let out on house arrest? That is coming up in just a moment. And the U.S. has a message for Vladimir Putin, enough is enough. We will take you to the hotspots where the U.S. military is now sending that message loud and clear.
Back in a moment.
[02:44:54] CHURCH: A bail hearing will resume in the coming hours for the CFO of Chinese telecom giant, Huawei.
Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver, Canada on December 1st. She is accused of trying to help the company dodge U.S. sanctions on Iran. And the U.S. wants her extradited.
For the latest, CNN's Ivan Watson is live in Hong Kong. He joins us now. Good to see you, Ivan. So, what more are you learning about the charges Meng Wanzhou is facing right now, and how does her lawyer plan to fight this?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, we've -- with the bail hearing now going into its third day, we've learned quite a bit more about Meng Wanzhou. This executive at this Chinese tech giant, who had a relatively low public profile. And we've learned a little bit more about the case that the New York District Attorney has filed against her and why she's in the situation facing extradition from Canada to the U.S.
First of all, the defense attorneys are trying to get her out of jail on bail in Canada. And they have offered a million dollars bail. They have offered to provide her with 24-hour security, an ankle bracelet, and have proposed that the fact that she owns two homes in Vancouver. And that her husband as guarantors that she would not be a flight risk.
And despite all of that, the judge was quite skeptical and we've learned more about the woman herself that she's had some fairly serious health issues such as she survived thyroid cancer. A 46-year- old mother of four, who seems to have been married at least three times. And the value of her homes, $16.5 million, and some $5 million, respectively, just in Vancouver. So, someone of considerable wealth.
When it comes to the charges against her, she's, of course, being accused of fraud. Of somehow evading sanctions to provide technology to Iran. Well, in the course of the documents that were proposed, that were submitted by her defense, they showed a PowerPoint presentation dating back to 2013 from Huawei, which tries to explain how the company does business and complies with sanctions from the U.S., from the United Nations, from the European Union and its relations with what was a subsidiary company, Sky-Comm, and vowing that Huawei had sold all its shares in Sky-Comm.
So, just by submitting that, that gives us a little bit more of an indication of the kind of case that the New York District Attorney has filed against Meng and Huawei. Of course, of both parties say, they're innocent of all these allegations.
CHURCH: All right. We watch to see what the outcome is in the end and what to impact it has on the relationship between the United States and China. Thanks so much for that, Ivan. Appreciate it.
Well, Malaysia's sovereign world fund was meant to make the lives of average Malaysians better. But the country's former prime minister was once again arrested on Monday in connection with a scandal that allegedly saw billions of dollars siphoned out of government coffers. Now, this time, officials say Najib Razak tried to tamper with the final audit report of the fund known as 1MDB. Sections of the report were apparently deleted.
Meanwhile, authorities are hunting for the financier they accused of being a central figure in the scandal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRADLEY HOPE, CO-AUTHOR, BILLION DOLLAR WHALE: Jurors believed to be hiding in China. He's been there since late 2015 and also around Asia. And it's believed that he has protection from the Chinese government. He's played this sort of crucial role as an intermediary between Malaysia and China at a time when Malaysia was very vulnerable by the very scandal he created.
He kind of created an opening for China to take a more decisive role in Malaysian affairs and shifting them towards China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The United States is sending a message to Vladimir Putin in a language he understands. Military might. That message is we have had enough of Russia's aggressive moves in Ukraine and Japan. But the question remains how will Putin respond? Brian Todd, reports.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. military is signaling it's fed up with Vladimir Putin's aggression. His warships rammed a Ukrainian vessel. His fighter jets buzzed American ships and planes. And he sent a spy ship from Havana to Rome, America's East Coast, gathering intelligence, all in recent months.
[02:49:57] MAJ. GEN. JAMES MARKS (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: He is clearly sending a message to our president that, "I have freedom of movement and I can do what I want." And now we're sending the message, "Look, we've had enough. We thought we might be able to communicate with you, talk you down from the ledge. That apparently is not working. Now, we are going to take action.
TODD: American sea and air forces pushing back on Putin with three actions. An American guided missile destroyer has sailed near a Russian controlled area in the Sea of Japan, where Russia and Japan are disputing a group of islands.
A Navy official telling CNN, it's the first time a U.S. warship has done a strategic maneuver against the Russians in that area since the Cold War. Also, a U.S. Air Force surveillance plane has conducted an overflight of Ukraine.
MARKS: We're looking at Russian forces that are already in the Ukraine. We're collecting intelligence.
TODD: And another American Navy ship is about to steam into the Black Sea, off Ukraine. MICHAEL CARPENTER, FORMER DIRECTOR FOR RUSSIA, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: The U.S. is sailing in the Black Sea to demonstrate that this is not Putin's lake. That he does not own the waters of the Black Sea.
TODD: The American Black Sea maneuver and the overflight of Ukraine, or at least, partially in response to the Russian ships' confrontation with Ukrainian boats in the Kerch Strait off Crimea in late November.
An area that Putin invaded and annexed. And which analysts say could now be one errant bullet away from a major conflict.
MARKS: This region is now the latest page in a new chapter in the Cold War.
TODD: Experts say, America's recent diplomatic finger-wagging over Putin's military moves doesn't work with the former KGB colonel. And it's likely that U.S. officials felt they had to hit him with the language he understands.
CARPENTER: Putin only responds when there are consequences to his actions. Military consequences, economic consequences, diplomatic consequences. When things flow from his actions, then, he takes notice.
TODD: But some analysts don't expect these American military moves to stop Putin from being aggressive. They say he could respond by taking it out as he often does on Ukraine. Possibly harassing Ukrainian commercial shipping.
CARPENTER: I think, Putin's next move is to take full control of the Kerch Strait, and to exert dominance in the Sea of Azov. He wants to effectively blockade or economically starve Ukraine.
TODD: One of the dangers ahead in this high-stakes game of military maneuvers, analysts worry about miscommunication between U.S. and Russian forces on land, sea, or air. Then, a possible miscalculation. Ships or planes coming too close to each other, someone firing. Then, a full-scale escalation. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: Well, up next on CNN NEWSROOM. For decades, churches near one of Christianity's holiest sites were inaccessible but that's finally about to change. We will explain why when we come back.
CHURCH: Well, Beyonce took center stage at the most lavish Indian wedding of the year. The singer performed at the pre-wedding festivities of Isha Ambani, the daughter of India's wealthiest man.
And Beyonce shared photos of herself in a bejeweled gown. Look at it there from the high-profile event where she treated guests including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Bollywood A-listers and other stars to a private concert. Beyonce's performance is just a part of what's being called the big fat Indian wedding. A play on the popular 2002 film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. With several days of extravagant celebrations leading up to the nuptials on Wednesday.
And finally, this hour, a piece of history rediscovered in the aftermath of the of the1967 Six-Day War. Israel planted mines along its border with Jordan. More than 50 years later, those instruments of death are finally being removed. And at long last, allowing access to churches close to one of the holiest places in Christianity. Ian Lee has the story.
[02:55:33] IAN LEE, CNN FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Stepping into this church is to step back in time. The sanctuary abandoned over 50 years ago. But step here last year, and it could be on a landmine. Israel laid thousands along the border with Jordan after the 1967 War including at seven churches.
These bullet holes are just a reminder of the fighting that took place here. And while this area has been cleared of landmines, you don't have to go far, maybe 200-300 meters, and you're in another minefield.
Over the past year, the Israeli government and British NGO, HALO have cleared the land around three churches. A testament to the peace with Jordan that now prevails.
But what makes these churches particularly important lies just upstream, what is believed to be the baptismal site of Jesus. One of the holiest places in Christianity nearly 800 thousand pilgrims visit every year.
How certain are you that you got all the landmines?
MARCEL AVIV, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL MINE ACTION AUTHORITY, ISRAEL: Almost 100 percent. Though I cannot say 100 percent, but if I can walk here, my children can walk here. So, everybody can walk after we have finished the job here.
LEE: Roughly 5,000 landmines remain, and an unknown amount of unexploded grenades, mortars, and other explosives. The work is slow, and painstaking as demonstrated here. They aim to finish by the end of next year.
Another problem frankly put, landmines move. A recent rainstorm came through here. And you can see where the water flowed from the hillside. The only problem is that this is a landmine field, and that water can carry landmines and deposit them in recently cleared areas.
Once completed, these churches hope to turn this moonscape of death back into a garden of life. Ian Lee, CNN, in the West Bank.
CHURCH: And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church, and I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You're watching CNN, stick around.