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Hunt for Strasbourg Market Gunman; Huawei CFO Released on Bail in Canada; British Prime Minister Meets Top E.U. Leaders: President Clashes with Democrats in Heated Exchange; Strasbourg Shooting: France Hunts Gunman as Alert Level Raised; Reuters: May No-Confidence Vote Triggered In Britain; Macron Says He Sympathizes With Protesting Students; Vote Of No Confidence In Theresa May To Be Held Wednesday. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired December 12, 2018 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A shooting at a Christmas market and now France searches for the gunman responsible for the deadly attack.

Plus a showdown in the Oval Office: President Trump and top Democrats bicker and argue. A possible government shutdown is just one of the hot topics.

And "Time" magazine honors the heroes who report the news even when their lives are threatened.

Hello and welcome to the viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


CHURCH: A massive manhunt in underway in France for a gunman that killed at least three people at a Christmas market. The attack happened Tuesday in Strasbourg near the German border. The shooter is known to police. He's a 29-year-old man on a terror watch list with a criminal past. Witnesses say shoppers at the market were rushed into nearby stores and restaurants when the shooting began.


ISSAM FARES, WITNESS (through translator): I thought, maybe it's firecrackers or they're attacking the store. I saw a lot of people running scared, crying kids and all. They said he was shooting right next door. I ran away. I went to hide in a restaurant not far from (INAUDIBLE).


CHURCH: France is now on the highest security alert level. The Christmas market will be closed on Wednesday as well as some schools.

Our Melissa Bell joins us now Strasbourg.

What is the latest information you're getting from authorities on this ongoing manhunt?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This manhunt continues this morning. It was at 8:00 pm local time last night that the gunman came down this road and into that Christmas market behind me. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe, full of tourists and locals milling about in the evenings at the various stalls and shops.

It was in the market that we understand that the gunman carrying both a knife and a gun began attacking people. In the course of the rampage, he came across security forces twice, including the military, who are charged to protect places like this.

This Christmas market, because of its size and its fame and popularity, has been exceptionally well guarded and policies for the last few years, especially as the terror threat has gotten larger in France.

In fact, there's been a subject of a foiled plot back in 2000 and had been threatened several times over the last few years.

So the -- the organization of its security was extremely well thought through and taken care of. And yet this gunman was able to go on this rampage and we understand, for the time being, the death toll is three people. And 13 people remain in hospital, including many in critical condition.

CHURCH: That's important to know.

What are we learning about this 29-year-old suspect who was already known to security services as a possible terrorist threat?

BELL: Not only was he known to services -- we understand he had a fairly heavy criminal record, known for a number of different crimes he committed. We understand he had already served time in jail.

Not only was he known to police and on the watch list in France, designed to keep an eye on people that the state believe present a threat to the country's security. So he was on the active watch list. Not only that, Rosemary, but the very morning of the attack.

So yesterday morning, police had tried to take him in for questioning and they failed. Found him not at home.

Did he decide to act because accomplices had been taken in that day, because he understood authorities came to his house?

That is one of the possibilities clearly. Just after 8:00 pm, he came here to this Christmas market and committed these acts. And still after 12 hours later, he's still being actively looked for; 350 police men and women are in Strasbourg, trying to locate him.

So the manhunt continues, even as Strasbourg wakes up to the horror of what happened here last night. CHURCH: Indeed. We will watch this story very closely.


CHURCH: Melissa Bell, joining us from Strasbourg, just after 8:00 in the morning. Many thanks.

Britain's prime minister is back in London after a frenzied day of Brexit diplomacy and a clear message there will be no renegotiation. Theresa May returned to media reports of a growing momentum within her Conservative Party to oust her. She had met with E.U. leaders in the hope of getting reassurances on the deal to take back to Parliament, specifically arrangements for the Irish border.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Whatever outcome you want, whatever relationship you want with European future, there's no deal available that doesn't have a backstop within it. But we don't want the backstop to be used. And if it is, we want to be certain that it is only temporary. And it's those assurances that I will be seeking from fellow leaders over the coming days.


CHURCH: Hadas Gold is outside Parliament. She joins us now live.

Good to see you, Hadas. While Theresa May was in Europe, frankly trying to get these concessions on her Brexit deal, moves were apparently underway back in Britain to oust her.

What more are you learning about this possible vote of no confidence by her own party?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There definitely seems to be a sense that Theresa May's leadership is on the brink right now because of exactly what you said. The possibility of a no confidence vote from within her own party.

So while Theresa May has been driving around Europe and trying to meet with all these leaders and get some sort of concessions on the Brexit deal, here in London, there is a sense that we are getting closer and closer to that possible no confidence vote for Theresa May from her own party.

How this works, there needs to be 48 letters submitted to this one specific minister who will then inform Theresa May that that number has been reached and there will be a vote. That does not mean that Theresa May will automatically have to step down, that she will lose; that will just trigger a vote.

And then we go and see what happens from there. But this is not something that Theresa May would like to see or hear. A lot of ministers don't necessarily want to have the leadership challenge in the midst of this really crucial time. Obviously that vote was pulled on Tuesday evening. We're in the midst of figuring out when a next vote will be.

Whether this no confidence vote will be before then, after then, that's all up in the air. Like I said, we're not sure whether the 48 number has been reached. We probably won't know for a few days until Theresa May gets back from all of her travels.

She's supposed to meet with the prime minister of Ireland today; she's supposed to go back to the E.U. Council on Thursday. She is moving all around. So she might not know that there has been -- that that limit has been reached until perhaps even Monday. Then we'll see what happens. If there is a confidence vote and if she wins that vote, because if she wins she cannot be challenged for another year. That would obviously be helpful for stability.

But I have to say, Theresa May has been in this situation before. We've seen this before. There's lots of rumors of a no confidence vote. And nothing has come about. So I don't want to say this is happening until we actually see a notification that the letters came in.

CHURCH: Indeed. She has survived many situations but the walls are closing in.

So if she is ousted, who would likely replace her?

And what could that mean for any Brexit deal?

GOLD: It's a little bit hard to say because there's not a very clear second in command, somebody that everybody thinks could take over. There's rumors of Sajid Javid taking over. There's -- Syrian people want Boris Johnson to take over. He recently, I should say, got a haircut and cleaned up a little bit and started to look a little bit more like one might look a Boris Johnson prime minister might look like.

But it is really unclear and I have to say that even if she loses the confidence vote, it is not something that immediately would come to Downing Street and take over. There would be a period of time until the leader and the new prime minister would come in. Because of not having that clear somebody else who could take over, I think that's probably contributing to the sense she might be safer than somebody here might suggest.

CHURCH: All right, Hadas Gold, bringing us up to date on that developing situation from outside Parliament. We'll see what happens there. Many thanks.

A Canadian court has granted bail to the chief financial officer of Huawei, one of the largest telecom companies in the world. Meng Wanzhou posted a bond of $7.5 million ahead of a hearing for extradition to the United States.

She's accused of helping her Chinese company dodge U.S. sanctions on Iran. Meng is to surrender her passports and agree to a curfew and 24-hour security that she will pay for.

Her arrest has sparked outrage in China with allegations she's being used as a bargaining chip in the trade war with the United States.

For more, CNN's Andrew Stevens is with us now live from Hong Kong.

Good to see you, Andrew.

So what do you know --


CHURCH: -- about the release of Meng Wanzhou and the house arrest she'll be under?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: It is interesting, Rosemary, the $10 million Canadian bail, about $7.5 million dollars, roughly three-quarters of that is put up by her family. But the other is friends within the Chinese community and Vancouver.

She had a lot of support at that the bail hearing, three days is a long time for a bail hearing. The courtroom erupted in applause when the decision was announced. As we know the U.S. or the Canadians were arguing on behalf of the U.S. that Meng posed a flight risk, that she would go back to China and would not honor her conditions about staying in Canada, face her extradition hearing, which will be held on -- well, we'll get an idea of when it will be held when she goes back to court February the 6th.

But the Canadian court basically said they were confident she would stay. She's a high-profile -- she is indeed a high-profile person within Vancouver as well as within China. They own properties there. The family have deep roots in Vancouver and they agreed to that bail posting.

One interesting comment from the judge, he was quite skeptical of some of the arguments being used by the Americans to try to -- to get the flight risk accepted, Rosemary. It was called speculative opinion by the Americans. So that was quite scathing. Interesting; it could be a pointer on how this plays forward in the actual extradition hearing itself.

CHURCH: We also learn, as we mentioned, that Donald Trump may use Meng Wanzhou as a bargaining chip in the trade war between U.S. and China.

What did he say about that and how would it work?

STEVENS: It's quite extraordinary because Robert Lighthizer, who is the U.S. trade representative, said on CBS that the arrest of Meng had no impact at all on the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. He said it was a purely criminal justice case and it was totally separate to any workings with Lighthizer's people on trade.

Two days later, Trump came out and said, yes, I'll intervene on the Meng case if it helps secure a deal. He described it as the biggest trade deal ever.

So he made it absolutely clear, that he's prepared to use Meng as a bargaining chip in these talks with China. Interestingly, getting reports today that the Chinese are preparing to cut tariffs on U.S. autos going into China. It's currently a 40 percent tariff in retaliation to the tariffs that the U.S. had imposed on Chinese goods.

That 40 percent is expected to come down to 25 percent. Now this is all part of the negotiations which kicked off on December the 1st, when Xi and Trump met on the sidelines of the G20, ironically the day that Meng was also arrested.

So we're expecting to see this. How Xi and Trump gets together to work out more details remains to be seen. And how Trump uses this bargaining chip -- Meng, given the fact that she's very high-profile in China. She's the daughter of the founder of Huawei. Huawei is highly regarded in China. There's outrage in China about how she has been treated.

The state media are accusing this of being politics all the way through. The official Chinese response has shied away from linking the two together. But Trump is a dealmaker. His foreign policy is transactional. He makes no bones about that. So he will use this in some way that he sees fit to help try and get a trade deal.

Remember, Meng is potentially facing up to 30 years or even more in a U.S. prison because of these fraudulent activities the U.S. alleges she's doing, that she misled financial institutions about the relationship between Huawei and a company doing business with Iran.

She said we're not connected. And the U.S. saying they are indeed connected. So it is going to play out somewhere now, and whether she likes it or not, she is in the middle of this big geopolitical trade fight between China and the U.S.

CHURCH: Watching all the twists and turns of this. Andrew Stevens live from Hong Kong, where it is nearly 3:15 in the afternoon. Many thanks.

You could call it in a rumble in the White House. The latest on an Oval Office feud between President Trump and top Democrats -- coming up next.

Plus fighting against the war on truth: journalists who risk everything to report the news. "Time" magazine honors them as Person of the Year.


CHURCH: We're back in a moment.




CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. President Trump is shrugging off the possibility he could be impeached. In an interview with Reuters, he dismissed prosecutors' assertions that multiple people who worked for him had contacts with Russians before and during the 2016 campaign.

The president called that "peanuts stuff."

He also said, "It is hard to impeach somebody who hasn't done anything wrong and who's created the greatest economy in the history of our country."

He went on to say, "I'm not concerned. No, I think the people would revolt if that happened."

Mr. Trump also got into a heated exchange Tuesday in the Oval Office. He faced off with the top Democratic leaders as the Democrats prepare to take control of the House in January. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has this post-fight recap from Washington.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will shut down the government.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: OK, fair enough. We disagree. We disagree.

TRUMP: And I am proud -- and I will tell you what.

SCHUMER: We disagree. We disagree.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A first look tonight at divided government in Washington.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The fact is you do not have the votes in the House.

TRUMP: Nancy, I do. We need border security. It's very simple.

ZELENY: A civics lesson short on civility, ending with President Trump vowing to shut down the government if he doesn't get his border wall.

TRUMP: I am proud to shut down the government for border security.

ZELENY: The president, trying to gain the upper hand by inviting cameras in for his first meeting with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, got something else entirely, ownership of a potential shutdown.

TRUMP: So, I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down, it didn't work. I will take the mantle of shutting down.

ZELENY: They talked past each other.

TRUMP: Then we have the easy one, the wall. That will be the one that will be the easiest of all.

What do you think, Chuck, maybe not?

SCHUMER: It's called funding the government, Mr. President.

ZELENY: And over one another.

PELOSI: I think the American people recognize that we must keep government open, that a shutdown is not worth anything and that you should not have a Trump shutdown.

You have a --


TRUMP: Did you say Trump?


TRUMP: No, we don't have the votes, Nancy, because in the Senate we need 60 votes and we don't have it.

PELOSI: No, no, but in the House, you could bring it up right now.

TRUMP: Yes, but I can't -- excuse me, but I can't get it passed in the House if it's not going to pass in the Senate. I don't want to waste time.

PELOSI: Well, the fact is, you can get it started that way.

TRUMP: The House, we could get passed very easily and we do.

PELOSI: OK, then do it. Then do it.

TRUMP: But the problem is the Senate --


TRUMP: -- because we need 10 Democrats to vote.

PELOSI: But the fact is, is that legislating, which is what we do, you begin, you make your point, you state your case. That's what the House Republicans could do if they had the votes.

But there are no votes in the House, a majority of votes, for a wall, no matter where you start.


SCHUMER: That's exactly right. You don't have the --


TRUMP: If I needed the votes for the wall in the House, I would have them in one session. It would be done.

PELOSI: Well, then go do it. Go do it.

ZELENY: At times, it seemed more like a New York street fight playing out in the Oval Office, taunts and all.

TRUMP: And we gained in the Senate. Nancy, we've gained in the Senate. Excuse me. Did we win the Senate? We won the Senate.


SCHUMER: When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana, he's in real trouble.

TRUMP: I did. We did. We did win North Dakota and Indiana.

ZELENY: As Schumer confronted the president on exaggerations and mistruths.

SCHUMER: "The Washington Post" today gave you a lot of Pinocchios because they say you constantly misstate how much of the wall is built and how much is there.

ZELENY: But it came back again and again to border security and the wall.

TRUMP: We have to have border security. We have to have a wall as part of border security. And I don't think we really disagree so much.

I also know that, you know, Nancy's in a situation where it's not easy for her to talk right now. And I understand that and I fully understand that.

We're going to have a good discussion and we're going to see what happens. But we have to have border security.

PELOSI: Mr. President, please don't characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats, who just won a big victory.

SCHUMER: Elections have consequences, Mr. President.

ZELENY: Taking a page out of the president's name-calling playbook, it didn't take long for Democrats to brand a potential shutdown as Trump's.

PELOSI: The Trump shutdown is something that can be avoided.

ZELENY (on camera): Was it any more productive behind the scenes, Madam Speaker? Was it any more productive after the cameras left?

PELOSI: We didn't want to contradict the president when he was putting forth figures that had no reality to them, no basis in fact. I didn't want to in front of those people say, you don't know what you're talking about.

ZELENY (voice-over): A few hours later back in the Oval Office, the president called it a very good meeting, a rare view in Washington.

TRUMP: I don't mind owning that issue. If we close down the country, I will take it, because we're closing it down for border security. And I think I win that every single time.


CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about this is Republican strategist and CNN political commentator, Alice Stewart.

Good to have you with us as always.


CHURCH: It's the exchange heard all around the world. And everyone has a very different take on it. Conservatives applauded the president's performance, while Democrats thought Pelosi and Schumer outmaneuvered him.

What was your reading of what played out in the Oval Office in front of all those cameras?

STEWART: This is what you call Sausage Making 101. While people may criticize the president or pick sides as to who won, this is what happens every day when it comes to negotiating in Washington. This happened to be out there live on television. This just happened to be out there live on television for all to see.

And if you want to look at who won, I think everyone at the table there won. They were able to show, this is where I stand and this is where you stand. Now it is time for us to work together moving forward.

We all knew President Trump was firm on what he wanted. He wanted $5 billion to build a wall and Schumer and Pelosi said we would put forward $1.3 billion. Now the big challenge is to find common ground and how they will move forward. This is what we expected. There's really no surprise here.

Both sides marked their territory and the tough work of negotiating behind the scenes is beginning. The good news is it is transparent for all of the world to see and the next step is to see who blinks.

CHURCH: Everyone agrees, this country needs better border security. Trump said he would be proud to shut down the government for border security and he's willing to take responsibility for that. If he doesn't get what he wants he will shut it down.

Why does the president view shutting down the government as a win here?

Do you agree with that strategy?

STEWART: He believes getting what he campaigned on as a win.


STEWART: And he campaigned on, as we remember, painfully, that he will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it. I myself, even as a Republican, never believed that Mexico would pay for it.

But I did believe that Trump was going to be firm on his commitment to make sure we secured the border and we looked at immigration. He views this as national security. So he's being true to his word. This is a campaign promise made and he's hoping it will be kept.

He is a negotiator, he's a business man. Here's where he wants to start the negotiating process. Democrats will do the same. The difference now, compared to where he was when he -- when he was elected into office, is now Democrats have a little more leverage. They're getting ready to take control of the House.

So he has to find some common ground and work with Democrats in order to get this through. But we all knew this was a key priority for him.

The interesting thing, if you look at what Americans want, Americans in this immigration conversation do want to provide some type of protection for DREAMers. They could use this as a leverage point. If we work in some type of DACA protections for the border and building the wall, this is a good leverage point.

So I expect that to come into the conversation in the next few days, in the next 10 days before -- before supposedly the government is shut down. That's a good leverage point and negotiating tool for both sides to fund the wall and -- and also provide some kind of DACA provisions.

CHURCH: A lot have suggested this was all about distraction to stop us talking about Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn. But that's for another day.

But Nancy Pelosi was the only woman lawmaker in that room, and she reportedly later told Democratic members this, "It is like a manhood thing for him, as if manhood could ever be associated with him, this wall thing."

So Alice, what did you make of that?

And how much of her reaction, Pelosi's reaction, is about securing the House Speakership?

STEWART: That's a big part of it. You can never underestimate Nancy Pelosi. She's singlehandedly made sure that ObamaCare passed, famously saying we have to pass this bill before we can find out what's in it.

Look, she's got a lot at stake here. She's really trying to regain control of the gavel in the House and she's in a good position to do so. But you can never underestimate Nancy Pelosi and her ability to really negotiate and get in there as she did today, with the boys and negotiate and make sure that what she has also campaigned on and working for, the Democrats that she has so very well represented. She's going to get in there and really make sure and hold her ground.

I think she did a tremendous job as did Schumer. Everybody at the table in this Oval Office meeting did a good job of making sure the president knew when they stood. He let them know where he stood.

CHURCH: Alice Stewart, always great to talk with you. Thank you so much.

STEWART: Thank you, Rosemary.

And we'll take a short break here. Still to come, journalists who risk their lives and freedom to uncover the truth are getting some recognition. "Time" magazine has named them Person of the Year. We'll get the reaction from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

And as the Yemen peace efforts inch forward, the bombs are still falling on the country's main port city of Hudaydah and CNN has a rare glimpse of the suffering families there.


[02:31:13] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone, to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the headlines for you this hour. A manhunt is underway for a gunman who killed at least three people at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France. He has been identified by police and has a criminal past. The country is now on its highest security alert level. British Prime Minister Theresa May is back in London where she's reportedly facing a move to oust her.

British media puts sources are saying enough lawmakers from her conservative party have called for a no confidence vote though it's not known if it will take place. She spent the day trying to win concessions from E.U. leaders on her Brexit deal only to be told there was no room for renegotiation. The chief financial officer of Huawei, one of the largest telecom companies in the world has been released on bail in Canada.

Meng Wanzhou faces extradition to the United States. She's accused of helping her Chinese company dodge sanctions on Iran. Her $7-1/2- million bail is meant to keep her in Canada until her extradition hearing in February. President Trump's national security advisor is asking a federal judge to spare him from serving a prison term. Michael Flynn cite his extensive cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and is asking for probation.

Mueller himself has told the judge Flynn should not face prison time. Flynn will be sentenced next week. Well, Time Magazine has chosen four journalists and one newspaper as its 2018 Person of the Year. The guardians and the war on truth share the recognition. All journalists who have been targeted for their work. The group includes Jamal Khashoggi, the first person of the year to be named after their death sharing the recognition the Capital Gazette newspaper where a gunman killed five employees, also two Reuters journalists arrested late last year in Myanmar, and Maria Ressa, Chief Executive of the Philippine news site Rappler and a former CNN bureau chief who has been targeted by the Philippine President.

Well, Courtney Radsch from the Committee to Protect Journalists joins us now from Paris via Skype to talk more about this. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So what was your initial reaction to news that Time Magazine and honor these journalists for the work they have done that ultimately made them a target and how significant is this choice for Person of the Year, do you think?

RADSCH: I think we're really delighted to see this attention being paid to so many journalists who have literally put their lives on the line. And it doesn't just affect journalists when they're put behind bars or killed. It has broader repercussions on society and on the public's right to now. So I think this was a real recognition of the deep risks that journalists take and their vital importance to the public.

CHURCH: And why was it so important to see murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi honored in this way?

RADSCH: Well, I think that the murder, the really brutal unprecedented murder of Jamal Khashoggi was emblematic of the extreme risks that journalists take even when they're not on the frontline, right? He worked from outside of Saudi Arabia. He was killed in an embassy and I think that this highlights the fact that this killing cannot go unpunished that those who killed Jamal must be brought to justice. And this will send a signal to the rest of the world.

And I think it's also a repudiation of President Trump who has really failed to stand up for press freedom, to stand up for Jamal, and ensure that the -- that the killer, and those who murder who ordered his murder are brought to justice, not just those that carried it out.

[02:35:18] CHURCH: Right. And the Time announcement also honors two Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo who is were arrested in Myanmar almost a year ago in fact and this is what the Reuters Editor Stephen Adler had to say about their arrest and imprisonment.


STEPHEN ADLER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, REUTERS: The fact that they remain in prison for a crime they did not commit calls into question Myanmar's commitment to democracy, freedom of expression, and rule of law. Every day they continue to be behind bars is a missed opportunity for Myanmar to stand up for justice.


CHURCH: So what impact might the recognition of their work have on -- the captivity in Myanmar do you think?

RADSCH: Well, I hope that this will underscore yet again that the world is against the fact that they are jailed for their work. I mean one of the main reasons that we know about the massive violation popping against the Rohingya in Burma is because of these reporters and because of their really important reporting. So I hope that this helps build pressure. But, frankly, we have been doing so much to convey to Aung San Suu Kyi and to the government in Burma that they really need to release these journalists and yet they seem to be impervious to pressure.

I think that highlighting Maria Ressa is really important because she is facing --


CHURCH: Yes. We want to -- we want to get to that because she did have comment on that as you mentioned former CNN colleague, Maria Ressa, also named by Time. She is the founder of a new startup in the Philippines which has been targeted by the president of the country due to its critical reporting and Ressa actually faces possible jail time as a result of being targeted. This is what she had to say.


MARIA RESSA, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RAPPLER: For every single time that it is so apparent that the charges are politically motivated that we are -- that we are targeted precisely because we keep telling the truth. Well, then that challenges us to keep telling the truth.


CHURCH: And incredible message there. Being targeted challenges her to keep telling the truth rather than carrying in fear. Is that the message you want to send out across the globe as well?

RADSCH: Absolutely. An d I think we hear that from all of the journalists who are profiled in that article and that we helped on a daily basis is that they're really committed to bringing the public the truth to holding those in power to account which comes through, you know, critical investigative beat reporting and they're committed to doing that regardless of the risks that they faced and those risks are extreme. We are seeing a record level of imprisonment yet again this year killings remain high by a higher percentage of journalist kill or murdered.

So it really is very challenging time for journalists. So when you see someone like Maria stand up and say I'm going to keep doing this no matter what they throw at me. It really is inspiring.

CHURCH: All right. Thank you so much, Courtney Radsch, for joining us. We appreciate it.

RADSCH: Thank you. My pleasure.

CHURCH: Well, the Yemen peace talks in Sweden will end on Thursday with a closing ceremony plan to mark the event. And it seems the warring parties will leave with some progress being made. The Saudi- backed government and the Houthi rebels have agreed to a prisoner swap totaling about 15,000 people. The Red Cross is hoping to coordinate the exchange.


JOHANNES BRUWER, HEAD OF DELEGATION FOR THE ICRC IN YEMEN: (INAUDIBLE) have been exchanged and we do not have more information on the actual contain sheet. And it's going to take a number of weeks for sure. We have been with working with a fairly tight timeline internally, but this remains to be -- to be clarified. So -


CHURCH: Delegates at the talks have reportedly set January 20th as a final date for the prisoner swap. Another issue being discussed is the status of Hodeidah. On Monday, protesters called for an end to the Saudi-imposed blockade of the poor city. The U.N. is proposing that all sides in the conflict withdraw from Hodeidah and that a joint committee or an independent entity be set up to manage the city. Well, even as the talks continue in Sweden, bombs are still falling on Hodeidah.

CNN has rare footage showing the immediate aftermath of an artillery strike. Nima Elbagir has our report and a warning there are graphic images you may find disturbing.


[02:40:08] NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An ambulance screeches up to one of the few remaining hospital in Hodeidah. What we're about to show you is incredibly difficult to watch. In the jumble of bodies, a boy in yellow searching for his mother. (INAUDIBLE) little bodies are carried in draped in blood- soaked cloths. Everywhere shocked, and blood, and death. This man searching for his wife. He finds instead the both of his three-year- old sister.

It's too much to take in. My wife, he asks, in surgery. The baby is fine. A glimmer of hope that all too quickly lost. My mother is head. Even as the peace talks continue in Sweden between Yemen's warring parties, the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition and Iran-backed Houthi rebels, so too does the violence on the ground. This message was sent to CNN by the Houthi rebel backed Ansarullah media. Eye- witnesses tell CNN, the members of this family were killed during artillery strike under coalition air cover, a charge the coalition denies saying the Houthis continue to target civilians in Hodeidah.

This is just a glimpse into what it's like almost every night in this pursuit (INAUDIBLE) in spite of U.S. government promises in October to deliver a ceasefire within 30 days, that month has long since passed. Much of what was filmed here so graphic we're not going to show it in full. Outside, two little lifeless bodies side by side waiting for loved ones to claim them. This man (INAUDIBLE) a litany of loss. His daughter and her son. His other daughter and her husband.

It's too much. Inside, the boy in yellow finally finds his sister as he comforts her. Other children are carried out. There's just no more room at this hospital. Outside, his grandmother begins to wail and he attempts to comfort her. It's all too much. grandmother. Nima Elbagir, CNN London.


CHURCH: A coalition spokesperson denies responsibility for the attack telling CNN we have no knowledge of this and it is widely recognized that the Houthi militia is continuing to target civilians with all types of weapons in Hodeidah Province and its cities. Now, if you would like to help the victims of the war in Yemen including those suffering from famine, you can go to our website, We'll be back in just a moment.


[02:45:52] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN "BREAKING NEWS".

CHURCH: We are getting word that the leadership challenge against the British Prime Minister Theresa May has been triggered.

Reuters reports the threshold of letters from 15 percent of the Conservative Party has been exceeded. It reports the ballot will be held later Wednesday, and the results announced Wednesday evening.

Of course, we will endeavor to get more information on this. That's all we know at this point. In actual fact, let me bring in Nic Robertson. He is I think on the line. Is that right? OK. He's at Downing Street now. And Nic, of course, no one's surprised by this. Maybe they're surprised by the timing of this.

But talk to us about the fact that -- oh, I think we've lost Nic. Is he aware that we're about to go to him? We're going to go to Nic? All right, we will endeavor to get him and come back to that story.

Let's move on though, students across France are making their voices heard in the anti-government protest movement. Hundreds marched on Tuesday, angry over proposed reforms to the end of school exam, and changes to the university admission system which critics say favors the rich.

The protests come as President Emmanuel Macron has promised concessions to French workers. But critics say, he's ignored students concerns.


JULES SPECTOR, GENERAL SECRETARY, FIDL UNION: Emmanuel Macron made announcements yesterday about the yellow vest, on fiscal policies and taxes, but he made no announcement and no mention of the youth. The high school students' movement. The students' movement, their protest, he didn't mention anything at all. He said the word, "university" only once.

He vaguely spoke about education by saying that we needed to improve it. Fine, but how with what method? That's what's important. He didn't speak about the youth and we feel as if we are being despised today. That's what the problem is. And so we are fighting so that we can make ourselves heard by the government. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: President Macron, reportedly says he sympathizes with the students. But also warns that violence will not be tolerated. The demonstrations Tuesday were calm for the most part, no clashes were reported.

All right, let's go back to the story we were bringing you. Of course, they're getting word that leadership challenge against British Prime Minister Theresa May has been triggered. Let's go to Nic Robertson at 10 Downing Street.

So, Nic, of course, as I was saying before no surprise that this has happened. It may become a little earlier than we expected. But what's interesting is that the numbers of the Conservative Party members needed to call this a no-confidence vote. It has been exceeded.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It has. The number was 48. 15 percent of the Conservative MPs. We just saw in the last 50 minutes or so the chief Conservative Party Whip leaving number 10 Downing Street behind us.

Clearly, he's got a job on his hands now. Because what this means that there have now been these 48 letters submitted, saying that they have no confidence in the leader of the party. Is -- it will lead within the space of a day and likely today. A vote of no-confidence in the Prime Minister.

This will involve all the Conservative MPs. And what Theresa May will need now is a simple majority of a 158 of those MPs. Of course, the job on her Chief Whip. Now, is to make sure that she has those. She said all along that she was ready to face this challenge, that's she believed that she could win this vote of confidence from the simple majority of her Conservative MPs.

Precisely, when the vote will take place? That isn't clear. But the mechanism that allows it to happen has now been triggered and generally speaking, it would happen within that 24 hours. Of course, the speculation would then begin, what would happen if she didn't get the votes that she required if she failed to get the confidence of her party. That would, of course, trigger a new leadership race.

Any Conservative M.P. that wanted to put their name in the Hat so to speak on this, would be able to do that. Then, generally speaking, the traditionally every Tuesday and every Thursday, there would be a secret ballot of all those names that are put forward to be Conservative Party leader amongst the Conservative MPs. Until it was whittled down to just two.

Once that happened, it would go to the broader Conservative Party membership by for a postal ballot. So, one can see here that it's not a very quick process. If it was expedited, it might be a matter of weeks and this comes at the most precarious of times because the deadline is ticking to exiting the European Union 29th of March 2019. So, the timing of this is very difficult for the Prime Minister. She was due to go to Island this afternoon to meet the Irish prime minister. To discuss what she is looking for reassurance she has -- she has said about the nature of this backstop element of the Brexit negotiations.

So, the word that she had went to meeting with European leaders yesterday was that the whole deal was not going to be opened up. There were indications of sort of some -- sort of support for her -- for her position but nothing on the scale of which she was going to need to get support for the Brexit vote as had been planned for yesterday.

So, this not just a wrinkle, but a huge hillock in the way that the prime minister at the moment trying to do what she has said she is always going to set out to do, which was deliver the best for the British people by the 29th of March. Rosemary?

[02:51:48] CHURCH: It has certainly been a tortured journey for Theresa May, hasn't it? And she has survived on so many occasions. It's not looking good for her right now. But we don't know what the outcome will be, she surprised as before. But should the worst happen from her perspective and she doesn't win this no-confidence vote.

What could it mean in terms of her replacement? Who is likely to be that person? And, of course, perhaps the more importantly, what does it mean for Brexit? Because time is running out to come up with some outcome for Britain.

ROBERTSON: There are a number of people's names have been mentioned. And Boris Johnson is seen to be -- the former foreign secretary seem to be the leader among those names at the moment. But he is also seen to be a divisive figure, somebody who squandered view by summer squandering his time in the Foreign Office here.

Not somebody who perhaps, can garner broad enough support to win what's going to be probably a very challenging race for leadership. But the reality is, and this everyone here knows, every Conservative M.P. knows this and, and across on the Labour benches as well inside Parliament that whomever becomes Prime Minister, Europe the European Union is not going to change its position.

They have said all along that the deal that Theresa May's got is the best deal. So, all that the new Conservative Party leader should there be one can expect are the same challenges, the same headwinds coming from Brussels trying to -- trying to work how to deal.

Now, there are some in the party who would say, "You know, we'll support a leader that would just get out of the European Union without a deal." But it doesn't seem that they would have the majority support at the moment. And there's also been talk about the possibility of -- and this was a recommendation for the Irish Prime Minister last night that Theresa May could delay -- or the Prime Minister could delay exits in the European Union on the 29th of March.

Or even -- or even put a full stop to it and end it all together. But then, of course, there's a possibility of a second referendum. None of the challenges are going to lessen for a new Prime Minister.

CHURCH: No significant challenges there for Theresa May and for whoever may follow her if that happens. Oh, we shall -- we shall have a break now. But I do want to thank you, CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson, bringing us the very latest there from 10 Downing Street. We'll be back in just a moment


[02:55:59] CHURCH: As we've been reporting, a leadership challenge against the British Prime Minister Theresa May has been triggered. The necessary threshold of letters from 15 percent of the Conservative Party has been exceeded. Now, the ballot will be held later Tuesday. We understand and the result announced Wednesday evening.

But it is a long process. We turn to our Hadas Gold, who's outside parliament and joins us now live. Hadas, not long ago, we were talking about this very topic and wondering if they would get to the numbers.


CHURCH: And it appears they certainly have. So, let's talk about that and the process. How they work through this? And whether Theresa May is likely to survive this no-confidence vote.

GOLD: Right. This is the letter, the press release that we just got a few minutes ago. Announcing that, that threshold had been exceeded. That fifteen percent of the party seeking a vote of no-confidence. And as you noted the vote will be later today and they announced what we made soon after Sir Graham Brady who is in charge of collecting these letters will actually be just behind me soon in a few minutes to answer questions. So, I'm sure we'll get some more information on that.

But now, they mean this doesn't mean that Theresa May is automatically out of the leadership. There will be a vote. And what she actually needs is just a simple majority of the members of her party in order to survive.

And if she does, if she wins that vote, she actually gets sort of a year of immunity where she does not cannot face another leadership challenge. This would be a really interesting next few hours as we see how this all plays out. As you noted, coming much faster than we anticipated.

CHURCH: My plea, someone has done the numbers on this to work out whether this will succeed or not. Hadas Gold, we will talk more about this a little later. Many thanks to you. Joining us live from Parliament House.

And thank you for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You're watching CNN.