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U.S. Troops to Be Pulled Out from Syria; Fed Hikes Turn Stocks into Red; Read My Lips; Brexit Deal Effect on Health Industry. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired December 20, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE: -- had no place. It's the issue of expertise which we want. We want to grow our economy. We want to modernize our economy. We will not focus on the past. Our focus is to make Zimbabwe a better place, is to make Zimbabwe acceptable again into the international community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN.
NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Nick Watt. And you're watching CNN Newsroom.
Ahead this hour, the Pentagon and members of Congress, Trump's allies and the U.S. allies all caught by surprise when the president announced that he's pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria.
Plus, a sharp denial from opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn after accusations fly that he called the British prime minister a stupid woman.
And U.S. for the first time joins Afghanistan and Mexico and Yemen as one of the most dangerous places on earth to be a journalist.
We begin with Donald Trump's call for a full and rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. A move that caught virtually everyone off- guard and flies in the face of advice from many in Congress, the military and his own administration.
Preparations are under way to pull 2,000 troops from the country after the president tweeted this.
"We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency." A short time later came this video from the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back and they are coming back now. We won. And that's the way we want it. And that's the way they want it. (END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: But exclusive CNN footage from Syria tells very different story. Widespread destruction from the fears ongoing fight against ISIS. Just minutes before the president's tweet, the terror group claimed responsibility for an attack in Raqqa.
CNN's Barbara Starr picks up our coverage from the Pentagon.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Devastation and ruins for miles in eastern Syria seen in exclusive video obtained by CNN, as ISIS fighters make their stand. Still, despite the reality on the ground, President Trump says ISIS is defeated and ordered the surprise withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S. ground troops stationed mainly in eastern Syria where ISIS still controls territory.
Leaving the Pentagon which does not believe ISIS has been completely defeated scrambling to devise a way to safely get troops and their equipment out of harm's way. And to suddenly reshape the Middle East.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SETH JONES, SENIOR ADVISER, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PROGRAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: This clearly sends a message both to Moscow and Tehran that Syria, and frankly, bigger parts of the Middle East are yours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: There is confusion on all fronts. Several allies were caught unaware. On Tuesday, the State Department was adamant the ISIS fight is not done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT PALLADINO, DEPUTY SPOKESMAN, STATE DEPARTMENT: We made significant progress recently in the campaign and, but the job is not yet done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: And official DOD estimate says there may be up to 30,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria. Just days ago, the chairman of the joints of chief said the U.S. was not too close to finishing that task of training local forces to fight ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH DUNFORD, CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: We estimate, for example, about 25 to 40,000 local forces have to be trained and equipped in order to provide stability. We're probably somewhere along the line of 20 percent through the training of those forces. But with regard to stabilization we still have a long way to go. And so, I'd be reluctant to affix a time.
(END VIDEO CLIP) STARR: The plan to pull-out comes just a day after the U.S. Announced it was selling Turkey a patriot missile defense system, something Turkey wanted. And now it's raising question whether Trump's decision paves the way for Turkey to move against their long-time rival, the Kurds who have been allies of the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Erdogan has been asking the U.S. to leave so that he can deal directly with his Kurdish problem. And in return the U.S. may be pushing for something including greater arms sales, maybe a way to balance against Turkey's relationship which has grown stronger with Moscow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: But what State Department spokesman tells CNN, it has no connection to other policy matters.
With mounting opposition in Congress from both Democrats and Republicans, it is Defense Secretary James Mattis that may face a very tough road ahead trying to work with Congress to make the president's desires happen.
[03:05:04] Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
WATT: Reaction to President Trump's decision is coming in from around the world. So, let's head to Istanbul. And CNN senior international producer Gul Tuysuz. Gul, President Erdogan must be ecstatic.
GUL TUYSUZ, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL PRODUCER: Absolutely, Nick. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been very vocal about a Turkish operation into northern Syria. That's that stretch of Syria where U.S. troops were on the ground and they were mainly they are backing this Kurdish fighting force, the YPG in an effort to fight off ISIS.
Now Turkey views that group, that Kurdish fighting group as a terrorist threat. It is a very big national security threat for Turkey and they have been saying that at any moment Turkey could cross the border and carry out an operation there to expel those Kurdish forces from Turkey's borders.
Now, with the U.S. presence there on the ground, it would have meant that two NATO allies, the U.S. and Turkey would come face-to-face on a very chaotic and complicated battlefield. So, with the U.S. pulling out, there's not going to be the threat of those two militaries facing off against each other but it's also going to significantly weaken that Kurdish fighting force who were not going to be able to rely on the presence that the U.S. has guaranteeing their safety.
So, this is a very welcome development for Turkey. And in fact, one senior Turkish official told CNN that the U.S. pulling out of northern Syria is not going to weaken Turkey's resolve to combat all sorts of terrorist organizations across their border in Syria, signaling basically, that Turkey does plan to go ahead with its plans for an operation there. Nick?
WATT: And so, Gul, the U.S. has been supportive of the Kurds for a long time now. Are they going to see this withdrawal as a betrayal? Is this going to force them, perhaps to cozy up to Bashar al-Assad?
TUYSUZ: The Kurds will definitely be feeling a sense of abandonment. I mean, the U.S. presence there really bolstered the Kurdish fighting force stance there and made it someone of a viable, you know, their hold over that territory viable. With the U.S. departure, they're definitely going to be looking around and seeing who they can find as a new ally.
And of course, the name that comes to mind is Bashar al-Assad. The Kurds we have been hearing that there have been some negotiations that Damascus has been reaching out to the Kurds there. And of course, that will be a natural way of things for the Kurds to try to find some ally in the region. And that could very possibly be Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Nick?
WATT: Gul, thank you very much for joining us from Istanbul.
Joining me now is Christopher Hill, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Macedonia, South Korea, Albania, Poland, and perhaps, most pertinently in this case, also Iraq.
Ambassador Hill, we've heard today just criticism, bipartisan criticism of this decision by President Trump. I mean, one senior administration official told our own Jake Tapper, "this will put American lives in danger. This is a mistake of colossal proportions."
And we have a Republican congressman saying that Iran is rejoicing right now. Over the past two weeks we had military and diplomatic leaders in the United States saying that the job fighting ISIS is not yet done. So, why do you think the president made his announcement today?
CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA AND Iraq: You know, I think when the president does these things, he's got one thing in mind, and it's politics. He has a base in the United States and that base has never understood these foreign wars, have never understood our role out there and -- or at least they are perceived not to have understood it.
And so, I think the president is trying to kind of address their concerns about having 2,000 Americans out in the middle of this very tough situation in Syria. I think the second issue is -- and -- this comes up all the time, we have a president who absolutely is not on top of his brief. He does not understand issues. And I can't think of a more complex one than the one in Syria.
And he clearly just threw up his hands and said, why are we there? So, and to announce it via Twitter without any effort to engage the allies, well, I mean, we've been seeing that every day for the last two years. I think we'll see it for at least two more years.
WATT: Yes. I mean, you mentioned he announced this on Twitter. Out of the blue and catching many people unaware.
[03:09:59] I mean, he also, he wasn't out and about today. No one got a chance to throw questions at him. But he did later in the day also post this video on Twitter and explaining a little bit of what he is doing and a little bit of why. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And we have won against ISIS. We've beaten them and we beaten them badly. We've taken back the land. And now it's time for our troops to come back home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: I mean, listen, your career was diplomacy, is this good diplomacy or bad diplomacy?
HILL: Well, you know, where do you begin? Certainly, I think a key word there is land. We've taken back the land. I don't think you can find one sentence that could quite show the degree to which he doesn't understand what this issue is. It's not about the land. There's a lot of desert out there.
This is about the future of the Middle East. This is about radical Sunnis. This is about a lot of issues related to the numerous fissures, division who then in the Middle East. He clearly doesn't understand the affect this has on our allies on like-minded countries.
And on particular, he doesn't understand what is going on with the Kurds, because we now have Kurds in the northern part of Syria who are really going to be very much unprotected.
So, a lot of downstream consequences to this. And you just have to wonder, how could he just kind of summarize this in a sort of a football statement that we beat them and we beat them badly. A lot more going on here.
WATT: And a lot of people today have been saying that the real winners here are going to be Turkey, Iran and Russia. Do you agree with that? And if so, why?
HILL: Well, they're absolutely the countries on the ground, usually when you're on the ground, you have a say in the matter. And if we're going to pull out our troops, we're not going to have much of a say in the matter.
Certainly, Iran is there and Iran has been there supporting Bashar al- Assad. I must say this has been difficult to explain to the American people why we're trying to go after ISIS, but why we're also making very clear that we don't think Assad should be there. And you know, that's confused Americans over the years. Does that mean Assad is in league with ISIS? How does that work?
And usually what you look for in a president who is someone who can explain this stuff to people. But you know, we have -- we don't have a great explainer here. We have someone who has a very, very narrow limited attention span and that's the kind of decision-making you get from this president.
WATT: Finally, I want to draw a little bit on your own deep experience in Iraq. I mean, you know, there are two examples from recent history that I feel are pertinent here. This was President Bush's mission accomplished and also President Obama's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Are these lessons that have not been learned by the current president?
HILL: Well, they haven't been learned because the president doesn't sit through any lessons. Certainly, the fact that President Bush had that frankly, dreadful banner behind him about mission accomplished was something that haunted him through the remainder of his presidency.
I think with respect to Barack Obama, a little more complex in the sense that those troops had arrived in Iraq for the purpose of overthrowing the government, and so the problem was, can you take troops that were there in a sort of regime change mode and then make them your friends?
And I think ultimately, what happened was they were sent out and then they're brought back in and then the Iraqis were very pleased to have American troops, that is American troops that they didn't invited.
Of course, none of this really speaks to the fact that I think Donald Trump just looked at this and say, why are we there if we've already beaten them, which we haven't done. And so, he just made this decision kind of on his role. He's on vacation.
WATT: Ambassador Christopher Hill, thank you very much for your time and your insights.
HILL: Thank you.
WATT: And now just in to CNN, all flights to and from Gatwick airport outside London are suspended right now while authorities investigate reports of drones flying near the airfield.
The U.K. civil aviation authority says there are severe penalties including possible prison time for anyone operating drones too close to an airport. The airport posted on its Twitter page "We're sorry for the inconvenience, but the safety of our passengers and staff is our number one priority."
The number of flights have been diverted away from Gatwick. And officials are urging travelers to check their flight status before heading to the airport. We'll keep you posted on this developing story.
And now to financial markets in Europe. They are opening giving us a first look at the impact from the hike in U.S. interest rates.
[03:15:02] We are here. Here's a look and then we're going to move on now to the Asian markets down, down, down.
The board of the U.S Federal Reserve unanimously decided on Wednesday to raise interest rates a quarter point, triggering a sell-off from Wall Street. The Dow fell 351 points, closing at its lowest level for the year.
This latest hike is a slap in the face for President Donald Trump who has put unprecedented pressure on his handpicked Fed chairman to move cautiously on interest rates to avoid as the president put it, another mistake. With the markets plummeting, now and economic growth expected to slow next year the pressure squarely on the president who promised Americans that they'll win so much, they'll get sick and tired of it.
We have more now from CNN's Cristina Alesci.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Dow closing at the lowest level for the year. This is a prime example of economic policy clashing with Wall Street. In fact, stocks were trading positively throughout the morning and then at 2 p.m. when the Federal Reserve announced its decision to hike interest rates a quarter of a percentage point, that market immediately turned down.
In fact, when the chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell started speaking, stocks ended up rebounding just a little bit and then when investors and traders realized and started to digest his comments, the market swiftly turned negative again.
And what they got from his comments was an indication that the Federal Reserve may continue to hike interest rates into 2019. Again, they were expecting those interest rate hikes that we saw today but they were looking for signs of what's ahead.
And the chairman indicated that the economy is strong. This is something that President Trump probably doesn't want to hear, not that the economy is strong but he doesn't want to hear the Federal Reserve indicating that more interest rate hikes may be on the way.
Again, President Trump tried to pressure Jerome Powell into not hiking rates, and clearly, that didn't work. And in response to questions about whether there was any political pressure factored in to the analysis at the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell gave a very clear indication that political pressure had no bearing whatsoever on its decision. In fact, he said, quote, "nothing will deter us from doing what we think is the right thing to do."
Back to you.
WATT: And read his lips, stupid woman or stupid people. The latest debate dividing the British parliament. We'll explain just ahead.
Plus, Brexit uncertainty is affecting the entire U.K. health industry. Why they are preparing for the worst, just ahead.
[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WATT: In a few hours, British Prime Minister Theresa May sits down with her Polish counterpart, these are friendly face for May. She says Poland is one of the U.K.'s closest ally. And Polls in Britain are welcome to continue living and working there post-Brexit. But as the Brexit deadline inches closer, U.K. lawmakers spent much of Wednesday consume not by their uncertain future, but by two words. That Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn may have mouth during a parliamentary session. They appear to be "stupid woman." Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: They said they put out a vote of no confidence then they said they wouldn't, then said they would. Then they did it but it wasn't effective. I know it's the Christmas season and the pantomimes season, but what do we see from Labour front bench and the right honorable gentleman. He's going to put a confidence vote. Yes, he is. No, he isn't. I've got some -- I've got some news for him. I've got some advice for the right honorable gentleman, look behind you. Then not to impress (Inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: Now Corbyn insists he didn't call the prime minister a stupid woman, he claims he was calling some lawmakers stupid people. Really? Professional lip readers were consulted and no luck there. They are divided on the issue.
Meanwhile, many in the U.K. are actually concentrating on a no deal Brexit possibility. And that includes the U.K.'s medical community. It's been warned that drugs could be delayed at the border, possibly for months and that could have devastating consequences.
CNN's Samuel Burke reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, it's routine.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Routines that are part of the fabric of the U.K.'s national health service. The supply chain for prescription drugs for conditions like these anchored in the European Union for more than 40 years. Now that arrangement is at risk under a no deal Brexit.
The Brexit Health Alliance, a nonpolitical group representing the health sector says 37 million patient packs including prescriptions are imported from the E.U. every month. Forty-five million are exported to the E.U.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But if you look at the insulin, you can see it's being made in Denmark.
BURKE: The devalued pound then makes that much more expensive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
BURKE: Pharmacies are also facing uncertainty over future drug supplies from the E.U. Now Britain's health ministry advises that in the unlikely event of a shortage pharmacies can provide an appropriate alternative medicine to their patients. MITRA AZIMI, PHARMACIST: We've got a lot of people coming in with prescriptions where we turn them away and say, look, I can't get hold of this item, but we fear we are going to get a lot more shortages. The medicines that we are worried about are mainly the antidiabetics, the inhalers. They tend to be out of stock.
BURKE: The health ministry says it's planning for the worst. Five hundred companies that supply medicines and medical supplies told to increase stockpiles by another six weeks, to expect delays of up to six months at the border due to new customs checks, to seek alternate route of shipment for drugs including air freight and increase additional warehouse capacity for drugs at ports. That also includes increasing refrigerator capacity at warehouses to stockpile medicines like insulin that must be kept at low temperatures.
And what about people who say that we're scare mongering talking about stockpiling drugs?
LAYLA MCCAY, DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NHS CONFEDERATION: I think that having a company stock piling is in order to reduce the risk of scaremongering. We need to know that in the worst-case scenario, if there's no deal and there's lots of disruption at the borders, then we have put the right plans in place.
BURKE: The fear is real. But the Brexit Health Alliance says if Theresa May gets her plan through it would meet the major concerns of the health industry. Medicines and medical supplies would continue to cross border without customs checks during a transition period. Still, for James Moore who also takes multiple injections of insulin every day, he is planning his own contingency while Britain is still in the E.U.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can take my prescription I'm going to a French pharmacy and get it. It is possible to conceive of hopping across the channel than doing that offline across two island.
[03:24:57] BURKE: This holiday season, the one get James and many others desire above all an end to the uncertainty for what comes after Brexit.
Samuel Burke, CNN, London.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: Meanwhile, in Hungary, opposition forces from the far right to the left have been taking to the streets for days now, protesting at what they say is an increased authoritarianism coming from the Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
They're angry with several controversial new laws. One allows employers to demand to up 400 hours of overtime a year from workers. And critics call that a slave law. But the Hungarian foreign minister pushed back earlier on Quest Means Business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PETER SZIJJARTO, HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I know I was there this the parliament, you know. The parliament has voted about that. And I know very well what is written in the law. The law says--
RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: So, everybody else is -- so if everybody else is wrong and you're right.
SZIJJARTO: I mean, here you invited me. You ask--
QUEST: No, I mean, you personally.
SZIJJARTO: You asked me to explain. And this is the explanation. I'm a member of the government, I'm a member of the parliament. I took part in the voting session. So, believe me, this is written in the law. That's on individual basis on a voluntary basis. People can work 100 hour or more on an annual basis for more salary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: Protesters are also angry about another law that will create a government-controlled court system. But the government insists that the courts will be independent.
And the United States joins a club that no one wants to belong to. Coming up, the U.S. is named one of the most dangerous places on earth to be a journalist.
And anger is mounting up to reports that Facebook user data was allegedly shared far more widely than previously thought.
WATT: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Nick Watt, with our headlines this hour.
U.S. lawmakers and allies are reacting with surprised and indignation about Donald Trump's decision to pull all American out troops out of Syria. The president tweeted Wednesday that said ISIS has been defeated. Many disagree with that bold assessment. About 2,000 U.S. personnel are currently stationed in Syria training local forces.
And Wall Street closed Wednesday at its lowest level for the year. The Dow had been in positive territory before the U.S. Federal Reserve announced its fourth interest rate like of 2018. The move was expected but coupled with fears of future hikes that triggered a steep sell- off. The Dow ended the day down 351 points.
[03:29:59] And the U.S. Senate has passed a bill to avoid a government shutdown. The measure keeps things running through February the 8th. But still needs approval from the House where the Conservatives are urging President Trump to veto the bill unless he gets funding for his much wanted border wall. If the bill is indeed blocked, key agencies would run out of funding at midnight on Friday. And Gatwick Airport outside London is closed to all flights right now due to reports of drones flying near the airfield. The authorities are investigating and the officials are urging travelers to check their flight status with the airlines before heading to the airport.
And the Paris based group Reporters Without Borders has released its list of journalists killed, detained, or reported missing in 2018. And for the first time the United States has made the list of the most dangerous places for journalist.
The annual report states 80 media workers worldwide were killed doing their jobs. The top five most dangerous countries, Afghanistan, with 15 deaths, Syria, with 11, Mexico, so nine journalist killed, Yemen at eight, India and the United States each saw six journalists killed. The U.S. made the list because of a mass shooting of a newspaper in Maryland.
Christophe Deloire is Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders and he joins us now from Paris. Christophe, in the past few years this number had been going down, if I'm correct. And in 2018, we've seen a spike, if I'm right, why?
CHRISTOPHE DELOIRE, SECRETARY GENERAL, REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS: I think there are in fact two main reasons. The first reason is that these particular regimes now consider that they can set new norms on what happens with Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey is an evidence that now such regimes -- agents working for such a state consider that they can dismember a journalist as normally -- normally, that is not a very nice word, but has usually drug traffickers in Mexico do.
And the other reason is that hatred (ph) against journalists, that is more and more spread through sometimes politicians, sometimes urges groups, et cetera, mafia, of course, mafia groups leads to concrete actions and we got alarmed for few -- for a few years about this extension of hatred. Now, it leads to consequences.
WATT: And Christophe, I want to talk briefly about the U.S. and President Trump. And I want to play you a couple of clips of him talking about journalists. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And that is why 33 percent of the people in this country believe the fake news is, in fact -- and I hate to say this -- in fact the enemy of the people.
A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people and they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: Christophe, does that kind of language from the President, this enemy of the people, does that actually matter? Does that actually make a difference? Does it actually cause problems? DELOIRE: Of course, it can have an impact on the field. And we were said by American journalists in many states that in fact this violence they feel it when they work, when they investigate, when they try to ask questions to politicians.
Of course, it has also impact in other countries because a lot of bad guys now would like to imitate Donald Trump. And regarding what happened in the Capital Gazette in Maryland in June, four journalists and the Communication Officer of the news room were killed.
In fact, they were killed by a guy who has been insulting -- who has been harassing them for six years on Twitter. So, violence through words can lead to violence through physical action and deadly violence.
WATT: And I mean, I wonder what kind of impact these statistics have on working journalists. I mean listen, you know, we see 80 people killed during their jobs this year. We also see, you know, in Myanmar, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, thrown in jail for a report that, you know, still stands.
I mean, the administration isn't saying that what they reported is wrong, but they were thrown in jail. I mean, this must have an impact on how journalists do their job. This must make some of us scared.
[03:35:10] DELOIRE: Of course. There are a lot of countries were journalists are obliged to flee the countries otherwise they would be killed. And we spoke about the killed journalists in the course of their jobs. That -- they are also all -- journalists are -- that are now in jail.
Right now, 348 journalists are in jail just because they exercise their jobs. The number of forced disappearances is higher and even the number of journalists were held as hostages is now about 60, mostly in Syria and Yemen, I have to say.
WATT: I mean, Christophe, as we say, we've seen a spike this year. But going forward, next year and beyond, do you fear that this trend is going to get worse or are you optimistic that things are going to get a little bit better?
DELOIRE: I would like to avoid to predict the future. But what I can say is that the U.N. -- the member state of the U.N. has to take action, and a lot of resolutions have been adopted by various bodies of the U.N. Now, we need a concrete mechanism for the implementation of international law. That's absolutely key, not only for journalists but for all the citizens on earth that have a right to free and reliable information.
WATT: Christophe Deloire in Paris. Thank you very much for your time.
Now as we reported yesterday, Facebook may have given tech companies much wider access to user data than previously disclosed. That is according to the "New York Times" which reports that major tech firms had access to Facebook's user list of friends and even private messages. Tom Foreman takes a deeper dive on the details and the reaction.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For years, Facebook gave some of the world's largest technology companies more intrusive access to user's personal data than it has disclosed. That's the opening line from the "New York Times" explosive article and the details may be even more troubling if you use Facebook.
The Times says the social media giant made deals with more than 150 companies under which among other things, Netflix and Spotify had the ability to read Facebook users private messages. Amazon and a Microsoft search engine could access the names of your Facebook friends and Yahoo could even look at your friends post, all without your consent.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO FACEBOOK: Keeping people safe will always be more important than maximizing our profits.
FOREMAN: It's another shot over the vow of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has been grilled by members of Congress who want to know shouldn't users have control of all of their personal data?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D), CONNECTICUT: And specific ability to consent to the use of that information.
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I do generally agree with what you're saying.
FOREMAN: Privacy advocates have railed about the way Facebook allowed a political consulting firm to harvest loads of data again without the knowledge of users.
ZUCKERBERG: This was a major breach of trust and I'm really sorry that this happened.
FOREMAN: The response to the latest revelations, Congress must act promptly and powerfully next session with a strong privacy protection law. Opening someone else's mails is a federal crime. Why is Facebook allowed to let Netflix and Spotify open your private messages?
Netflix said it never asked for or accessed anyone's private messages. And several other companies have also denied any wrongdoing. Furthermore a Facebook executive said sharing all of that info was OK because Facebook considered the partners extension of itself, but --
GABRIEL DANCE, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Despite the fact that they say these partnership are fine and OK, they're also winding them all down.
FOREMAN: To be clear none of the companies named in this article have admitted any kind of wrongdoing. And CNN has not independently verified the Times reporting. Nonetheless, this is certain. Facebook has been under tremendous pressure this year about how it handles user's privacy, and that pressure is only growing. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)
WATT: Korean Air has been ordered to pay nearly $18,000 to the flight attendant excoriated in the now infamous nut rage incident. It happened back in 2014. Heather Chow, who is then the Vice President of Korean Air and the daughter of the company CEO, she demanded the attendant be removed from a flight because he served her Macadamia nuts in a bag and not in a porcelain bowl. The court also ruled the attendant is entitled to another $27,000 for more chose assault and insults, though it's unclear if he actually received that amount.
[03:40:14] And tensions are rising on the border between Israel and Lebanon, where Israeli forces have uncovered tunnels they say were dug by Hezbollah. And in his most forceful rhetoric yet, Israel's Prime Minister is calling this an act of war. CNN's Ben Wedeman reports from the Lebanese side of the border.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The line that separates Lebanon from Israel is tensed at the best of times. Ever more so, now Israel is searching for tunnels it claims Hezbollah has dug into Israeli territory. A soldier keeps a close eye through his scope on the CNN crew on the other side of the fence known as the blue line.
Since the Israeli operation dubbed Northern Shield began more than two weeks ago, they uncovered at least four tunnels. Hezbollah closely aligned with Iran has no comment. Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared the tunnels amount to an act of war. The rhetoric on both sides is taking on a menacing tone.
Last month Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned his fighters would respond if Israel strikes. Any aggression toward Lebanon, he said, any raid on Lebanon and the shelling of Lebanon would definitely, definitely, definitely be answered.
Lebanon and Israel have been officially in a state of war since 1948. In the summer of 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought for more than a month. But since then, (inaudible) has prevailed. The possibility of small incidents however sparking a broader conflict always looms large.
We are right on the border between Israel and Lebanon. And just to give you an idea how close everyone is to one another, this is a Lebanese army position. Over there, under the camouflage, are Israeli troops, and right there are U.N. peacekeepers.
Hezbollah's forces are nowhere to be seen, many of them simply local residents who joined the group. On this hilltop, we met two young men who said they come to enjoy the view. This man who identified himself simply as Abuwaheb (ph) told me, God gives strength to the army and the resistance, we're with them.
The U.N. Interim Force In Lebanon or UNIFIL is task to implementing U.N. Security Council Resolution-1701 which brought an end to the 2006 hostilities but also stipulated that armed groups, meaning Hezbollah, should disarm.
But in Lebanon's complicated political landscape, Hezbollah has managed to keep and build up its arsenal and send its fighters to bolster the Syrian army in its war against the rebels. Israel weary (ph) Hezbollah is growing ever stronger, almost daily sends its war planes into Lebanese airspace.
The Lebanese government has responded to the tunnel report saying the Lebanese army has been instructed to take all necessary measures to implement resolution-1701 and maintain calm on the border. UNIFIL spokesman, Andrea Tenenti, stresses the importance of continued calm despite violations by both sides.
ANDREA TENENTI, UNIFIL SPOKESMAN: Yes, there had been violations from both sides of 1701. What is important to emphasize that there had been violations, but we it all will bring stability in the South of Lebanon.
WEDEMAN: Stability, yes, but one wrong step and it could blow. Ben Wedeman, CNN, South Lebanon.
WATT: Next, after months apart and an international outcry, a Yemeni mother is getting to see her son in California before he dies. She landed in San Francisco a short time ago after winning a small victory against President Trump's travel ban. That story next.
[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WATT: A Yemeni mother heading to a hospital in California to see her dying son. She arrive a couple of hours ago in San Francisco. Shaima Swileh had been kept from the two-year-old boy Abdullah since October. She finally won permission to come to the United States despite the Trump administration's ban on Yemenis and others from majority Muslim countries traveling to the U.S. Our Dan Simon reports from San Francisco.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nick, what a scene here tonight at the San Francisco International Airport as dozens of Yemeni Americans came to the international terminal to welcome Shaima Swileh to United States and also to draw attention of what they say or the inequities of the Trump administration travel ban. You could tell that the mother, Shaima, she was completely overwhelmed by the situation. Really, who wouldn't be?
She had a long plane ride first time to the United States and you could see that she was just overwhelmed by the situation with all those cameras in her face. She is been through one heck of an ordeal, first experiencing the pain of a mother whose son has this terrible condition, and second the ordeal of this trying to gain access to the country.
We're told that she reached out to the embassy in Cairo, Egypt, some 28 times. She had been living in Cairo, worked very, very hard to try to come to the United States and was ultimately the media attention that really forced the State Department to grant this waiver. This is what her husband said just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI HASSAN, ABDULLAH HASSAN'S FATHER: This is difficult time for our family, but we are blessed to be together. I ask you to respect our privacy as we go to be with our son again. The Muslim ban has hurt Yemen-American families and needs to end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: Well, the waiver may have been granted and she is now in the country, but it certainly doesn't erase the pain by any means. From here, we are told she headed straight to Oakland, California to be with her son, to be in his hospital room, to touch him, to kiss him, really to say good-bye. Nick?
WATT: All right. Thanks to Dan Simon.
The body of the young migrant girl who died in U.S. border patrol custody is to be repatriated to Guatemala on Sunday. The U.S. Border Protection says that Jakelin Caal Maquin and the migrant she was with did have access to food and water when they were detained. And that Jakelin's father claimed she was in good health. But now, attorney's for family says that neither she nor her father were given any water during their detention. Ed Lavandera has more.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin arrived at this remote border checkpoint with her father, the station was closed. There were only four border patrol agents on duty to handle the 163 migrant refugees who turned themselves over to the agents.
Customs and Border Protection officials insist the father and daughter were given food and water as they waited nearly eight hours for buses to drive them to a border patrol station, 95 miles away. But now, attorneys for the young girl's father paint a different picture.
[03:50:12] CHRISTOPHER BENOIT, FATHER'S ATTORNEY: What we do know and what our client is unequivocal with is that no water was provided to either him or his daughter. They were provided cookies essentially with limited bathroom facilities.
LAVANDERA: Homeland Security officials have not responded to these latest accusations. According to the timeline released by Customs and Border Protection, Jakelin started showing signs of distress just before the bus departed from the port of entry checkpoint to the border patrol station in Lordsburg, New Mexico.
REP. RAUL RUIZ, (D), CALIFORNIA: There's a small little table, right? And you know, about this big and this wide.
LAVANDERA: Congressman Raul Ruiz, who is a doctor, was part of the delegation that toured the facilities. He says he was stunned to see the room where border agents used a table in a utility room as a bed to treat the young girl who had stopped breathing.
RUIZ: And I'm not saying that they didn't try. I'm saying that there are some clear under resourced, undertrained and underequipped and lack of standards of procedures that reflect the highest possible care that we can give to any child.
LAVANDERA: CBP officials say the decision to keep Jakelin on the bus was the best means to provide the child with emergency care. But the father's lawyers questioned whether that was the best decision and want to know why they didn't choose to airlift her from the checkpoint area sooner.
ENRIQUE MORENO, FATHER'S LAWYER: At sometime, before the bus left, sometime around 5 o'clock, there was an indication of distress and a decision was made at that point to transport her by bus anyway. One of the fundamental questions that need to be answered that we don't have an answer for is if, in fact, she was in distress.
LAVANDERA: It's hard to overstate the remoteness of the Antelope Wells Outpost on the U.S.-Mexico border. Customs and Border Protection officials say human smuggling routes in to this area is a brand phenomenon.
In the last two months, officials say, extremely large groups of migrant refugees have been arriving together, smugglers leaving parents and children on America's doorstep in the middle of nowhere.
WALKER: That was CNN's Ed Lavandera reporting. Cuban players have long been a mainstay of U.S. baseball and coming up, details on how the best from Cuba will now get a shot at the majors without needing to defect.
WATT: A chance to play for the top baseball teams in North America just got a whole lot easier for Cubans. Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation had struck a deal which ends the need for Cuban athletes to defect from their nation first. CNN's Patrick Oppmann reports.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Baseball may have been invented in the U.S, but it is Cuba's national sport too. On this baseball mad island, Cubans put all their passion and talent to the La Pelota (ph) and produced some of the game's greatest players, but many of those stars defected to play and earned big paydays in the U.S.
[03:55:02] Some paid human smugglers to get them out of Cuba and then they were ban by the Cuban government from returning. The exodus of talent has badly damage to Cuba's national past time, says former player, Gerardo Diaz (ph).
We have to fight to get to a better place, he says. We are not there now and we have to work to get there. We're really below where we always have been in baseball.
After three years of negotiating, Cuba and Major League Baseball have struck a deal. They will allow Cuban players for the first time to play in the U.S. without having to defect (ph).
They won't have to abandon the country illegally or take risks, Cuban Baseball President says, in other countries at the hands of unscrupulous people who live off the sweat and blood of those athletes. The deal represents a reversal of the policies of Fidel Castro.
Fidel Castro said that sports were a right of the Cuban people and any baseball star here that defected to go play in the Capital's going for (ph) a bigger paycheck was punished severely. For years amongst decades, baseball stars who left were denied the right to return and they wouldn't even show their games on the island. But now, Cuba's baseball isolation is about to end.
The state run Cuban Baseball Federation will receive up to a quarter of the player's siding bonuses in likely taxes on their salaries, generating badly needed revenue for the cash strapped communist-run island.
And there's some strings attached to the deal. Cuban players will have to wait until they are 25 years-old and have played six years in the National League, stipulations designed to keep future stars from leaving.
If they go along with the deal, Cuban players will be able to return and even continue to play ball back home. Cuba is betting the deal will help turn around the island's winning baseball fortunes.
Over there is where they have the best instructors, he says, of the United States. Baseball there is more live. It is stronger. If there's an agreement, it would improve baseball in Cuba.
For better or worse, Cuba's baseball deal with the majors will change the sport here forever. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.
WATT: Thanks for joining us. I'm Nick Watt. The news continues with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. You're watching CNN.