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European Markets Mostly Higher; President Trump, First Lady Make Surprise Visit To Iraq; Indonesia's Tsunami Threat; Anak Krakatau Still Spewing Thick Ash; Year In Review; President Trump Visits War Zone; Stock Markets Up Again; Another Immigrant Kid Died in U.S. Custody. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired December 27, 2018 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. You are watching CNN Newsroom.

Ahead this hour, Donald Trump surprises U.S. troops with an unannounced visit to Iraq. It's his first trip to a combat zone since becoming president.

Plus, Wall Street roars back setting a new record for single day stock gains. But plenty of market uncertainty remains.

And another border tragedy. For the second time in just a matter of weeks a migrant child dies in U.S. custody.

U.S. President Donald Trump and the first lady are over the Atlantic at this hour, heading back to Washington after an eventful day after Christmas. For the first time in his presidency Mr. Trump visited a war zone spending time with troops and military leaders in Iraq. He defended pulling the military from Syria and said the U.S. cannot continue to be the world's policeman. And he told the troops he came to share the country's gratitude for what they do.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The other reason I'm here today is to personally thank you and every service member throughout this region for the near elimination of the ISIS territorial caliphate in Iraq and in Syria.

Two years ago, when I became president, they were a very dominant group. They were very dominant. Today they're not so dominant anymore.



CHURCH: Now a president visiting troops in a war zone that's not new. In fact, Presidents Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama all did it, and even though Vice President Pence visited Afghanistan last year this is the first time for President Trump.

Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports a trip like this is not without risk.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: For any president of the United States to make a trip into a war zone it is a significant security event. The Secret Service and the military working together for weeks to plan it all out. They know how to do it. They did it for President George W. Bush. They did it for President Obama, and now for President Trump.

Some of the key challenges that we know from past presidential trips they have to secure the airspace as they enter a combat region. They have to make sure they have intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance helicopters up while the president is on the ground, making sure that there can be no intrusion by adversary forces.

They know how to do it, but it doesn't mean that they are not worried. This time it appears by all accounts the trip went off flawlessly. The president, the first lady visiting troops at the holiday season getting briefings on how the fight against ISIS is going and the president defending his decision to bring U.S. troops out of Syria and also saying he will continue to have U.S. troops inside Iraq.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about all of this is CNN military analyst retired air force colonel Cedric Leighton. Always good to have you on the show.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's good to be with you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, we just heard President Trump thank the troops in Iraq for nearly defeating ISIS. First, is that true? Have they newly eliminated ISIS and what was your take on this presidential visit to a war zone, Mr. Trump's first since being in office.

LEIGHTON: Well, it's certainly good, Rosemary, that he went to the war zone and I think that the fact that the first lady accompanied him was also good. As far as, you know, whether or not ISIS has been almost eliminated, it is certainly it is true that the territory that ISIS had controlled for, you know, a few months has greatly diminished in size.

But that fact is just one aspect of everything ISIS not only a territorial issue, but it's also a hearts and minds issue and that is something that is far more nebulous and to say that one has defeated ISIS in the absence of, say the elimination of their leadership like al-Baghdadi, for example, that is really is being a bit too optimistic about what is actually happened.

[03:04:53] So, what we have eliminated ISIS. We have not defeated them. We are on our way to doing so but the movement from Syria, the movement of U.S. troops from Syria is coming at a bit too early a point in this equation, I would say.

CHURCH: A critical distinction to make there. And President Trump's visit to Iraq came just after he announced plans to withdraw U.S. troops from both Syria and Afghanistan. Here's Mr. Trump's response to a question about what might come next. Let's bring that up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any plans to pull forces out of Iraq as well?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No plans at all. In fact, we can use this as a base if we wanted to do something in Syria after.


CHURCH: All right. So, using Iraq as a base if they wanted to do something in Syria. How will that work exactly and what's your reaction to Mr. Trump's military and political strategy in regards to Syria and Afghanistan and Iraq?

LEIGHTON: Well, I think this is something that we've done before. We have actually used Iraq as a base against operations in Syria against ISIS, as well as other elements that we were going after there.

However, I think it's a very difficult strategy to implement. It was only partially successful. The real successes that we achieved were when we were able to be in contract with our allied forces and when we let our adversaries of all types know that we were actually present in that country.

So, to use Iraq as the sole base for mounting operations in Syria is, I think not a very easy thing to do. And it's also somewhat dangerous because in many respects, the Middle East is really based on personal relationships. Whether those are relationships with allies or relationships with adversaries.

It is very important to maintain a real presence on the ground there. And that's I think what will be lacking in this particular case.

CHURCH: And so, why do you think Mr. Trump is taking troops out of Syria and Afghanistan?

LEIGHTON: Well, because in essence promise to do so on the campaign trail. And Rosemary, I think that's, you know, it's one thing to promise these things politically, it's a quite another thing to look at the geostrategic implications of doing these things.

So, if you take Syria first what you have there is in essence, the ceding of that country to a Russian- Iranian fear of influence. That is something that, you know, kind of happened at least as far as the old Soviet Union was concerned back in the 1970s and 80s.

But we are living in a completely different time now and we are actually willfully seething, the U.S. is willfully seething Syria to Vladimir Putin and to the leaders in Tehran.

As far as Afghanistan is concerned, we're basically doing something like that with the Taliban. We have not really succeeded in getting concessions from the Taliban. There have been peace talks that have been going on usually in Qatar or in Oman.

But those talks it can only bear fruit if the Taliban and other parties know that the United States is going to put pressure on them and continue to put pressure on them for the long term. We are in essence not very good at the long term. And that is what our adversaries will be seeing in all of this.

And I think as far as Syria is concerned withdrawing troops at this point in time is also the wrong signal to send. Eventually they should all come home but we should come home on a much more positive note for the United States than what we are currently seeing.

CHURCH: Before you go, I do want to just very quickly get your reaction to President Trump signing campaign hats during his visit with U.S. troops in Iraq. What did you think of that?

LEIGHTON: Well, it's not appropriate from a U.S. military perspective. The U.S. military is an apolitical organization. The types of hats they are campaign hats, they are not slogans of the United States government. They're also not slogans that have been approved by the Department of Defense for any reason.

And in essence, it shows a degree of partisanship on the part of some of the members of the military there. And that is something they should most definitely avoid whether they feel favorably or unfavorably toward Present Trump.

CHURCH: Thank you, sir, for being with us. We appreciate it.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Rosemary. Any time.

CHURCH: Well, investors are hoping big rallies in New York and Tokyo will help boost stocks across Europe this morning. The Dow set a new record Wednesday for the biggest one-day point gain. Blue chip surge more than a 1000 or 5 percent, but analysts warned the U.S. markets are still on pace for a dismal December overrule.

Now Japan's Nikkei sold nearly 4 percent on Thursday, but markets in China did not keep up. Australia finished almost 2 percent higher. Trading in Europe just getting underway this hour. Let's take a look at those numbers.

[03:09:55] So, we see the FTSE 100 up about a third of a point there. Zurich up .62 percent. Down, the DAX is down and Paris is up over 1 percent.

So, let's head to London. And CNN's business correspondent Samuel Burke. It is very -- and we have to emphasize that the markets have just opened, so you know, we don't want to get too ahead of ourselves trying to set a trend here. But what if investors said about whether there's a likelihood that Europe markets will follow in the footsteps of U.S. markets here?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, starting off on a positive note, but it's been a bumpy day in Asia in spite of that miraculous rally in the United States, really, a historic rally, and that's in spite of the dismal December that the U.S. markets have had. And a lot of markets around the world, quite frankly.

So, I just want to put up on the screen for your viewers what exactly drove this positive market all of a sudden. Of course, there was a 20 percent discount for anybody buying stocks. A few months ago, those stocks would have been much more expensive.

But you had this news a White House advisor saying that the Fed chairman's job is 100 percent safe. Keep in mind, that especially on Twitter Jerome Powell had been the target of a lot of Trump's ire over the holidays. Then you have this report from Bloomberg saying that a U.S. delegation may visit Beijing in January, so it looks like there could be positive news on the trade war front.

And finally, got some very positive numbers from MasterCard about people spending up until Christmas Eve. The best spending that we had seen in about six years. But the other thing that was absent here is we didn't have Trump on Twitter really agitating the markets.

For days now Trump had been tweeting, sometimes dozens of tweets within 24 hours criticizing everybody from the Fed chair to his treasury secretary. That's really what had spooked the markets on Christmas Eve.

So, I think the fact that he may have been on an airplane and off Twitter and focused on the military instead of the markets may have helped him a lot.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. I mean, that is the sense, isn't it? He was silent and the markets responded positively. What will happen of course in the hours ahead we do not know. But of course, there has been this rumor of a possible recession and that, that makes everyone very, very shaky, doesn't it? What is being said in Europe about all of this.

BURKE: Well, I think what's interesting here is that, again, everybody looks toward the United States. But the factors that are usually difficult for a president to control in the United States like GDP, like profit from companies are actually quite strong. The things that are not difficult to control, cabinet turnover and trade wars.

These are all self-inflicted wounds. The markets have been reacting to those things which are easy for the president to control. So, I think if the president can maybe take his foot off the pedal for a bit, this is what I'm hearing from investors from Asia, Europe and the United States. Maybe if he can just lay off the Twitter feed for a bit, things could maybe keep on going the way we've seen in the past 24 hours.

CHURCH: Yes. Let's hope his advisers explained to him that that was a positive move. Samuel Burke, thank you so much. We appreciate that. Well, the U.S. government shutdown is also playing into the market uncertainty. The partial shutdown is now into its sixth day and there are no signs that either the president or Democrats in Congress are willing to budge.

Mr. Trump says he will do whatever it takes to get $5 billion for his border wall, but the Democrats offer is nowhere close to that.


TRUMP: We need a wall. So, when you say how long is it going to take, when are they going to say that we need border security. When are the Democrats going to say? Don't forget, the Democrats all agree that we need a wall, until I wanted it. Once I wanted it, they didn't agree.


CHURCH: Well, joining me now from Birmingham, England is Scott Lucas, professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: Thank you, and to you, too.

So, both the president and the Democrats a holding firm on the border wall. Who is likely to blink first here, and what damage will be done in the meantime with his government shutdown?

LUCAS: Well, it's not a question of someone blinking as much as someone being forced to close their eyes, and I think it will be Donald Trump. And that is when Democrats commune on January 3rd and take control of the House of Representatives, which of course is the body that has budgetary authority.

I think the chances that Trump has support from either House of Congress to maintain the shutdown that it operates is just a question of how long before he finally gives up on this idea of $5.7 billion for the wall or I'll keep everything closed.

In terms of the damage, in a sense we've been buffered over the holidays because of course a lot of workers would not be working anyway. But remember that more than 400,000, such as your workers at airports, such as border guards continue to work now without pay.

[03:15:01] And if the shutdown wants to extend until the end of January when the next pay checks are due, the next monthly pay checks are due, then you see damage at a personal level. That a wider level the damage is beyond what you can simply measure in dollars and cents. It's the symbolic effect here.

And that is, you've just been talking about international markets. It's not just a question of whether American investors, whether American employers, but it's a question of whether international investors, international employers can have a sense of reliability in this American economy while Donald Trump is in the White House and continuing to pursue this vanity project.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, as we've been reporting Present Trump travel to Iraq Wednesday, visiting a war zone for the first time since taking office. Now this comes just after he announced plans to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and Afghanistan. He was also asked about future plans for Iraq. Let's listen to what was said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any plans to pull forces out of Iraq as well?

TRUMP: No plans at all. In fact, we can use this as a base if we wanted to do something in Syria after.


CHURCH: OK. So, no plans to withdraw troops from Iraq, but use it as a military base. Our military experts don't see this as a particularly smart strategy in the fight against ISIS. What are the politics behind all this?

LUCAS: Well, first of all, it's called a P.R. trip for what it is. A P.R. trip. This was a rank that very short noticed after the resignation of Defense Secretary Mattis who was protesting Donald Trump's approach to the Middle East, especially Syria and as approach to Afghanistan. It came after the U.S. envoy in the anti-ISIS coalition Bret McGurk resigned.

And so, Donald Trump's people said he's got to regain authority somehow. In terms of practical effect, well, there's two dimensions here. The first is by keeping troops inside Iraq at least you maintain an American commitment to that country, which of course face the Islamic state defense in 2014 and spent years trying to push back ISIS.

But the wider question is that the Pentagon wants to use that Iraq base to at least maintain cross border operations into Syria, Special Forces. Now what does that mean not only in terms of the American efforts against the Islamic state, but more importantly, American support of the Kurds. The Syrian Kurds who have been the American ally in the anti-ISIS fight.

I don't think you can maintain that support of the Kurds by just simply going occasionally across the border. That means they are vulnerable to attack by Turkey and by pro-Assad forces. And that's the broader military question here.

It's not just what happened with the Islamic state. And in this Syrian conflict is the United States walking away no matter what the consequences might be for those who have fought alongside it.

CHURCH: Right. And I do want to talk quickly about the market rebound and what role you think politics played in the record-braking comeback Wednesday. LUCAS: Well, I mean, some investors as your correspondent were noting

simply were profiting by buying stocks low and hoping for that rebound. And so, we'll see this the market sort of moving up as people try to take advantage with what effect to speculating against politics.

But let's be clear. The overall downturn in the market and the overall worst December since 1929. This is Donald Trump's roller coaster. He is the one that starts it moving when he goes on Twitter, when he threatens to fire the Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, or when he declares he is tariff man versus China.

And unless Donald Trump wants to stop the rioting get off within the next 24, 48, or 72 hours, he could say something again, he says he's back on a downward path on the coaster, rather than moving upwards and trying to catch our breath.

CHURCH: Scott Lucas, Many thanks for your political analysis as always. I appreciate it.

LUCAS: Thank you.

CHURCH: Let's take a short break here. But next on CNN Newsroom, a new mission for border patrol agents after the death of two young children in U.S. custody.

Plus, confusing signals over whether the United States and North Korea will hold a second summit in the new year. We'll take a look at that when we come back.


CHURCH: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is now back home recovering from cancer surgery. She was released from hospital on Tuesday after surgery last week to remove two cancerous nodules.

The 85-year-old was hospitalized after she fell in her office in November and fractured three ribs. Doctors treating here have found the cancerous spots on her left lung. Ginsburg has had two previous bouts with cancer, but a spokeswoman for the court says the justice now appears to be cancer free.

Well, some doctors are questioning the medical care given to an eight- year-old Guatemalan boy who died in U.S. custody. Infectious disease, experts say, it appears Felipe Alonzo-Gomez probably had the flu, which can kill children very quickly.

The Customs and Border agency didn't respond when CNN ask if the boy received a flu test. Meanwhile, we are learning more about the last few days of his life.

Dan Simon has that.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Felipe Alonzo-Gomez's final days were spent 2,000 miles from his home in Guatemala shuffled from U.S. border custody to the emergency room. The second Guatemalan child to die in the agency's custody this month. The tragedy is raising new concerns about whether federal authorities are equipped to deal with the surging families with young children pouring across the border.

Incoming Democratic Representative Veronica Escobar whose district covers the El Paso area is concerned.


REP.-ELECT VERONICA ESCOBAR, (D) TEXAS: Congress and the administration have not adequately provided the resources both in personnel and infrastructure to adequately take these folks in.


SIMON: Here's the time line from Customs and Border Patrol. On December 18, Felipe and his father were taken into custody about three miles from the official border entry in El Paso, Texas. On December 23, due to overcrowding, Felipe and his father were transferred to a center in Alamogordo, New Mexico, about 80 miles away.

[03:24:54] On the morning before Christmas a processing agent notice Felipe was coughing and had glossy eyes. He was transported to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo at 9 a.m. The hospital diagnosis, the common cold. Hospital staff gave Felipe Tylenol. But things hardly got better.

By 1.20 p.m. Felipe had a 103-degree fever. At 2.50, he was released with prescriptions for Ibuprofen and the antibiotic Amoxicillin. Father and son were transferred to a temporary holding facility at another holding checkpoint. Agents gave Felipe a dose of the prescribed medication two hours later.

But at 7 p.m., Felipe vomited. And the agency says his father declined more medical assistance. At 10 p.m. agents were concerned that Felipe was lethargic and nauseous again.

So, he and his dad were sent back to the hospital. On the trip, Felipe started vomiting again and lost consciousness. At 11.07, Felipe arrived at the hospital, but doctors were unable to revive him. An autopsy will determine the cause of death.

Felipe is the second Guatemala child that died in border patrol custody in the past month. Seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin died on December 8, less than two days after being detained at a remote border crossing in New Mexico. It is still unclear what caused her death. She was buried on Christmas day in her hometown.

The deaths have prompted the CBP to announce policy changes. It will conduct secondary medical checks on all children in its custody with a focus on those under 10. The agency also says it will work with ICE to improve transportation and review other options to work with nongovernmental agencies and nonprofits for temporary housing.

CHURCH: Dan Simon with that report.

Well, U.S. immigration agents will be dropping off more than 500 migrants at shelters in Texas and New Mexico. But this time, unlike earlier in the week the process is expected to be orderly and it was planned in advance.

An organization that helps immigrants has 11 different sites available to offer shelter, food, and medicine.

On Sunday and Monday, agents dropped off hundreds of migrants at a bus station in El Paso, Texas. Police say the people were simply left there with no one to help them until volunteers and churches stepped in.

Well, President Trump says he is preparing for a second summit with the leader of North Korea. But conflicting messages from the North raise questions about another meeting. Coming up, we will explain what both sides are now saying and doing.

We're back in just a moment.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: A very warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the headlines for this hour. European financial markets are mostly higher after a huge rally on Wall Street. You see there, the FTSE 100 up, .18 percent. Paris added nearly 1 percent there and a .5 percent up there in Zurich. In Tokyo the Nikkei gained nearly 4 percent. Sydney was up almost 2 percent, but Hong Kong and Shanghai finished lower. In New York, the DOW sets a new record Wednesday for the biggest one-day-point game. Blue chips surged more than a thousand points or 5 percent.

President Trump and the first lady made a surprised visit to Iraq Wednesday was his first trip to a war zone since his inauguration almost two years ago. Mr. Trump spent about three hours on the ground, thank the troops for their service and defended his decision to pull troops from Syria.

One country certainly to be effected by the U.S. pullout from Syria is Turkey. So let's go there now. Our Gul Tuysuz is standing by in Istanbul. Good to see you Gul Tuysuz. No doubt decision makers in Turkey were watching and listening very closely to what President Trump had to say about his planned U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria and how he intends to use Iraq as a base, should troops need to be sent back there for a particular reason. No reaction yet from Turkey, but how might the leadership respond to this?

GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: Look, Rosemary, everyone in the region and not just in Turkey is watching and waiting to see what is going to happen. Trump really surprised almost everyone in the world by announcing that he would be pulling some 2,000 U.S. troops from the ground in the fight against ISIS from Syria. And the big worry of course, is when those U.S. troops go home, is there going to be a power vacuum that would of course be extremely dangerous in the fight against ISIS, allowing perhaps for that terrorist organization to rebuild itself and to come back into existence. You know at the height of their control. They had really quite a

large chunk of both Iraq and Syria. So, you know, Donald Trump's visit to the troops in Iraq, of course sent out a message, saying that the troops in Iraq would be remaining in that country and that they could of course be used in operations into Syria in the fight against ISIS as well.

But Donald Trump also coming out and saying that the U.S. can't be the world's policeman anymore and that those that expect the U.S. to fight would have to pay a price as well. And that could sometimes be monetary. Important messages, especially at a time when it becomes more and more clear that Trump is not going to listen to his establishment. He has been deferring on a lot of decision-making with his establishment, actually even leading to the resignation of Mattis.

So really it has become a one-man show. So what he does when he is visiting the region, when he was visiting those troops is something that of course everyone is watching. And not just the U.S. Allies, Rosemary. The U.S.'s opponents on the ground in the region are also watching and waiting and listening to see what other steps Donald Trump may surprisingly take.

CHURCH: Gul, and we will of course wait for official reaction from Turkey. Gul Tuysuz, joining us there live from Istanbul. Many thanks to you.

Well, no date has been set for a second summit between the U.S. and North Korea. Yes, U.S. President Donald Trump apparently expects it to happen despite conflicting signals from Pyongyang. CNN's Will Ripley has our report.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a matter of days, Kim Jong-un is expected to make his biggest speech of the year. A new year address that could reveal new clues into the North Korean leaders mind-set as he prepares for what could be a game changing second round of diplomacy with President Donald Trump.

On Christmas Eve, Trump tweeted this photo from the Oval Office. Taken during a briefing with his North Korea team. Looking forward to my next summit with Chairman Kim, he said.

[03:35:09] But more than six months after Trump and Kim's historic summit in Singapore, many observers fear U.S.-North Korea diplomacy is falling apart. Satellite images show work continuing at North Korea missile sites, weapons factories and its main nuclear reactor.

On Monday, North Korean state media continued its increasingly sharp criticism of the U.S. warning that America must stop provocative and malicious acts. North Korea has expressed growing anger with the U.S. for keeping sanctions in place, sanctions over North Korea's nuclear program and U.N. allegations of widespread human rights abuse. An issue Pyongyang has repeatedly called nonexistent.

Within hours of Trump's tweet, a U.S. federal judge ordered North Korea to pay more than half a billion dollars to the family of Otto Warmbier. The U.S. college student died last year of severe brain damage, just six days after North Korea released him. The family says he was tortured, claims North Korea has denied. The Warmbier's unlikely to collect the full amount of damages, Pyongyang has few assets in the U.S. the parents could make a claim for.

In recent months, Pyongyang has not ruled out of possible return to the tensions of more than a year ago, where North Korea last test fired and Intercontinental ballistic missile. Despite rising tensions with the U.S., a new sign of diplomatic progress this week between North and South Korea. A ground break ceremony to modernize roads and railways in the north and connect them with the south. And perhaps more diplomatic maneuvering by Kim Jong-un's government.

North Korean media while criticizing the U.S. has praised President Trump, blaming Trump's opponents for the breakdown in denuclearization talks. A move experts say could be an attempt by Kim to play to the president's ego, he hopes of getting a better deal, if that second summit ever happens. Will Ripley, CNN.


CHURCH: Russia says it will soon deploy a next generation missile that flies so fast nothing can stop it. The hypersonic system is just one of several revolutionary weapons unveiled by the Kremlin last March. Russian President Vladimir Putin who watched the latest test boasted that the new missile is unstoppable.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The new Avangard Missile System is invincible against todays and future air and missile defense systems of the potential enemy. This is a big success and a great achievement.


CHURCH: And reportedly can be armed with nuclear war heads, travels through the atmosphere at 20 times the speed of sound and evade any modern defense missile system.

Still to come. Concerns in Indonesia that the danger is not over yet. The latest proportion authorities are taking, days after a deadly tsunami.


CHURCH: Well hope is fading for 15 coal miners trapped in a flooded shaft in Northeastern India. It's been two weeks since the men became stuck in the illegal mine. Rescuers had been trying to pump out the water, but heavy rains have flooded it again. The miners are believed to be at the bottom of the 100 meter shaft. Rescuers are also (inaudible) by the fact the mine operators did not make a map of the underground tunnels.

The volcano that triggered Indonesia's deadly tsunami last Saturday is still erupting. And the Red Cross says, Indonesia is evacuating thousands of people over fears more tsunamis may be coming. Alexandra Field joins us now from Hong Kong with more on this. So Alex, what is the latest information you have on the situation on the ground and at the disaster zone?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, really there's reason to be concerned about a crisis compounding which is why these steps have been taken to evacuate thousands of people. These are people who live on islands in the Sunda Strait, not too far from Anak Krakatau, that volcano that erupted on Saturday triggering the landslide which then caused a tsunami.

Since that happened, officials have been concerned about a possibility of another tsunami, but now they are seeing increased volcanic activity. That has prompted them to raise the warning level around the volcano up to the country's second highest level and to take these additional steps like these evacuations. They have been seeing ash spewing from this volcano for months now. There had been periodic eruptions of lava. But again, this is activity that has kicked up in the last day which has force officials to take these extra steps.

In fact, the ash that is now spewing from that volcano has forced airlines to route some of their planes around the ash to keep those aircraft a safe distance away. And even people on land are being asked to wear goggles and masks, because of the ash in the air.

Officials are also enforcing a 5 kilometer exclusion zone around the volcano in order to keep people far away. There is plenty of reason to be concerned that more volcanic activity could cause more devastation, the likes of which we saw on Saturday. That's why officials are scrambling to do whatever they can to mitigate chances for another disaster that includes adding additional sensors around the area of the volcano, in order to detect volcanic activity.

Rosemary, we've certainly discussed it a lot. It is the failures of these tsunami warning system in Indonesia that have been heavily blame for the casualties on Saturday and for the 2,000 casualties in the tsunami that happened just back in October.

So precautions are being taken where they can be taken. Certainly this is rattling for people who have just live through another disaster on a horrific scale. We are talking about 430 people killed. There are still search and rescue missions underway. Thousands of people injured, about 1500 is the latest number along with some 22,000 people displaced. So, everyone there certainly hoping that they will not see another disaster. The likes of which they saw just about a week ago, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. The problem is, of course, I don't know how long this will remain that this danger whether this happens again, whether there is another tsunami and the problem is for all of these people who won't be able to return to their home through a very long time. If there was a home to go back to.

So what are authorities doing in trying to look after these people and giving them some sense of the future here and some hope? FIELD: Right. Look, Indonesia, sits on the ring of fire, so this is

an area that is obviously prone to tsunamis, because of the earthquake. This was something different, because it was the volcanic activity that triggered this tsunami in the sense that it force that landslide to happen which then caused this 3 meters high wave that went through the Sunda Strait.

[03:45:06] If this volcanic activity continues, you really can't foresee whether or not it could trigger another tsunami and officials are trying to investigate what's going on with this volcano. They say there's a possibility that another crater has formed. So, you have to move people further inland at this time in order to protect them from another wave that could come crashing through these coastal areas.

Are these long-term viable places for people to live? This is something that will have to be considered, but really all focus has been turned to the tsunami warning system. There are the insufficiencies in that system. We know that the tsunami detection buoys that were placed in the water, haven't worked for some six years. So, an incredible amount of pressure right now on Indonesia to make this right, to put in place an effective tsunami warning system, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Indeed. A lot of pressure there and terrifying for those survivors, of course, we will continue to watch these story very closely. Alexandra Field joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks to you. We will take a short breaks here. Back in just a moment.


CHURCH: A lavish royal wedding. The depth of the queen of soul and diversity of the box office. CNN Contributor Nischelle Turner, takes a look at the top entertainment stories of 2018.


[03:50:07] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jackie, would you like to take a knee?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: A TV star booted off her own show getting crazy rich at the box office and Kanye's White House bromance. Here's a look at the top entertainment news makers in 2018.

Number eight, Arianna Grande, Thank You, Next. The lyrics say it all. Arianna Grande's newest single is a deeply personal look back at 2018, a year filled with young love, breakups and heartache. But Thank You, Next capped up she says, one of the best years of her career and the fans agree.

Arianna's fourth album Sweetener, skyrocketed to the number one spot on the billboards chart. On Spotify, she broke the global record for the biggest opening week by a female artist and her star studded music video became the most watched premier on YouTube.

Number seven. Pay inequality in Hollywood. Hollywood fights to close the gender pay gap. At the Golden Globe, stars wore black to support the Times Up movement and raise awareness on issues like pay inequality.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are here sending in solidarity with women everywhere.

TURNER: This came on the heels of an announcement from E News host, Cat Sadler, who says, she left the network after learning her male co- host was making nearly double her salary. Just days later, we learned Michelle Williams was paid $1,000 to (inaudible) scenes from All The Money In The World, while co-star Mark Wahlberg was paid 1.5 million. Wahlberg pledge support for Williams, donating the entire sum of his payment to the Times Up legal defense fees.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight Bill Cosby once nicknamed America's dad has convicted of three counts, for aggravated indecent assault.

TURNER: Number six, Cosby and Weinstein's woes. America's dad behind bars.


TURNER: Bill Cosby was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting a women at his home, sentenced up to 10 years in prison and will be classified as a sexually violent predator for life. Cosby's case was the first celebrity sexual assault trial conviction and sentencing since the start of the MeToo Movement.

From another industry heavy weight, Harvey Weinstein was arrested and charged with rape and sex abuse from incidents dating back to 2004. He faces dozens of additional accusations, but denies all allegations of quote, nonconsensual sex. Investigations are under way in the U.S. and abroad.

Number five. Kanye boards the Trump train. Kim and Kanye dive headfirst into politics. First up, Kim's plea for President Trump to commute the sentence of first time nonviolent drug offender Alice Johnson. After a trip to the White House and some words of advocacy on Twitter, Trump commuted Johnson's sentence. She was freed from prison after serving 21 years. Meanwhile Kanye's bromance to the president flourished.

KANYE WEST, HIP-HOP STAR: I love this guy right here.

TRUMP: Me too.

TURNER: They admired each other since 2014, but Yeezy sealed the deal during a bizarre visit to the president and discuss prison reform. The wild antics went and on and on leaving Trump speechless.

TRUMP: That was quite something.

TURNER: Number four, Aretha Franklin dies. Saying good-bye to a legend. Aretha Franklin died at her home in Detroit from pancreatic cancer in August. In wake of her death, thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to honor her life and career. And her famous fans were just as sorry to say good-bye from Stevie

Wonder, to Jim (inaudible) and Arianna Grande and also Smokey Robinson. It was a tribute fit for a queen. Aretha Franklin was 76 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news, in the world of entertainment, the top rated television comedy of the year is now canceled.

TURNER: Number three, Roseanne's reboot drama. The show was booted off ABC in May after the show star made racist comments about former White House Aide, Valerie Jarrett on Twitter. And as they say in Hollywood, the show must go on. Just months later, the network announced the show would return without its namesake as The Connors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we have to keep talking about death all the time? Just keep charging me, grandma.

TURNER: The spin-off which chronicles life after the sudden death of Roseanne Conner, premiered to 10.5 million viewers, astound 35 percent from the original reboot.

Number two, Box Office Diversity. Diversity ruled at the Box Office. Marvel's Black Panther smashed record bringing in over $1.3 billion worldwide. Starring a mostly black cast and helm by a black director. This superhero flake resonated with theater goers everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you family is rich?

[03:55:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are comfortable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is exactly what a super-rich person would say.

TURNER: And social media favorite play, Crazy Rich Asian exceeded industry expectations. Making over $237 million globally. It is the first major studio film to feature a predominantly Asian cast since the Joy Luck Club. But that is not all. Tickets sales showed that (inaudible) became the highest grossing romantic comedy in U.S. in years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The countdown to the royal wedding is very nearly over, Don.

TURNER: And number one, a royal wedding. A storybook wedding for Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle. The royal couple tied the knot in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle. The dress, the ring, the fashion and the fascinators and of course, the Queen and the Princess. No royal wedding is complete without a star-studded guest list, George and Amal Clooney's, Serena Williams, Oprah and the Beckham.

But the duke and duchess had even more happy news to share, a royal baby is on the way due in 2019. Well, the year did end clouded in controversy, Kevin Hart stepped down as the host of the Oscars after homophobic tweets from his past surfaced online. So, the question is, who is going to step in? Well, we will find out very son. Nischelle Turner for CNN, Los Angeles. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: A lot happened in 2018. Thanks so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. For our viewers in the United States, Early Start is next and for everyone else, another edition of CNN Newsroom starts after a short break.