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UK Lawmakers To Decide On May's Brexit Deal; Quick Start For Serena Williams; James Hardon's Record Night Lifts Rockets; Tony Parker Given Warm Reception By Former Team; National Champs Dine On Fast Food At White House. Aired: 7:00-7:45 a ET

Aired January 15, 2019 - 07:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, ANCHOR, CNN: Welcome to CNN Talk. It is decision day. We've been building up to this day for quite some time. We're joined by drums and bells as well from the campaigners today, so hopefully you can hear us. We asked you, should U.K. lawmakers back Theresa May's Brexit deal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prime Minister Theresa May is facing, perhaps, the biggest crisis in British politics in more than half a century.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Give this deal a second look. No, it is not perfect and, yes, it is a compromise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clearly, the Prime Minister is struggling to get her deal through.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lawmakers are expected to reject the plan when they vote in the coming hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now estimates are ranging that she'll lose anywhere from 100 to 200.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very difficult to see how she continues with any semblance of authority after that.

JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: It's time for a general election. It's time for a new government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not clear that Jeremy Corbyn himself has the numbers in order to defeat Theresa May or for government.

MAY: People will look at the decision of this House and us. Did we deliver on the country's votes to leave the European Union? Did we safeguard our economy, our security, and our Union? Or, did we let the British people down?

FOSTER: "Just get on with it," says Josephine. Geoff says, "Please U.K., we people in the EU love you. Stay with the EU." "It's not Brexit, it's a farce," says Joe. And Lesley Ian says, "It won't pass Parliament, I think everyone knows that." So what's the story here?

IAIN DALE, RADIO HOST, LBC: Well, the story is what happens next. We'll be back here tomorrow, Max, and in a sense tomorrow is going to be possibly a more exciting day than today, because the Prime Minister once she loses this vote tonight in Parliament, and assuming that the majority is something around 150 to 200, it could even be more than that. I think she will then come back to the despatch box immediately that the voters past and tell us what she intends to do.

Now, I think the probability is that she will say, "I've heard what the House has said. Tomorrow morning, I'm going back to Brussels and I'm going to say to them, 'Well, look, you've seen what's happened in the House of Commons. This deal will not pass. We need to renegotiate one or two aspects of it.'" There's not going to be a wholesale renegotiation. Nina is absolutely right when she says that EU isn't going to do that, but I think they could tweak it to an extent, and her objective will be to get the Irish DUP party on side her.

In fact, it's a kind of coalition partners going to vote against her tonight. She can get them back on her side. There'll be a number of Tory MPs that roll in behind that and that is her only hope of getting anything through the House of Commons.

FOSTER: You're very well connected in Brussels, what are they saying about Theresa May coming back to renegotiate?

NINA SCHICK, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the idea of renegotiating is something that not only Theresa May but British Prime Minister David Cameron have floated, and I think the idea of a wholesale renegotiation is simply ...

DALE: Tweaking?

SCHICK: Absolutely. So wholesale renegotiation in the way that some politicians are demanding in this country, so a unilateral guarantee that the backstop will not come into force. I mean, that is simply not going to happen. What the EU will be able to give is some tinkering of the language. For example, if you look at how they came to that agreement last December to push them the talks forward on the Irish border which then resulted in the almighty mess where every side interpreted something different. They might be able to do some magic with the language, but actually changing in substance what has been negotiated for the past two years, what's in the withdrawal agreement is not going to happen. It's simply a fantasy politics, I believe that it might.

FOSTER: Just pointing out, George, just because people are wondering why we're being interrupted. Now, we've got cartoons floating down the street as well. Brexit is a monstrosity. We've got bells, we've got lots of noise in the background, everything that Nina just said, MPs will have at the back of their mind as they go in to vote tonight, take us through what to expect tonight and how seismic actually this moment is in British politics.

GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON, SENIOR PARTNER & CHIEF ADVISER, PORTLAND COMMUNICATIONS: Well, I mean, interesting that the bell behind us is tolling, because it does sense really that this is a critical moment for Britain, and the European Union and the relationship with the rest of the world. I think what will happen tonight is that the Prime Minister will lose the vote. There will then be tabled a no- confidence vote by the Labour Party in opposition and that the government will win that vote tomorrow or Thursday. She will then go to Brussels, as Iain says, she will seek more negotiating bells, and whistles, tweaks, whatever. I don't think that will be enough in the first round.


She'll go back to Parliament and try that vote again. She might try that two or three times. There is an increasing chance I think of a general election in the U.K. now, because eventually we might get to the point where we can't move. Parliamentarians before it can't back. People genuinely want Brexit in this country, even the remainders who were sort of opposed actually except in the main that Brexit is what was voted for and it has to be delivered.

People want a second referendum in the Labour Party, but the Labour leader doesn't want a second referendum. So there at sixs and sevens and torn, I think a second referendum has massive implications for the state of sort of peace in this country because that's really anti- democratic. In the end there could be a second generation, but I suspect and here's my punt, we will get through this, we will leave the EU at the end of March with some sort of a deal. That's what I think about it.

FOSTER: Well, it's a historic votes and Theresa May asks lawmakers to really consider that when they make it tonight. Let's hear what she said yesterday.


MAY: So I say to members on all sides of this house, whatever you may have previously concluded over these next 24 hours give this deal a second look. No it is not perfect and yes it is a compromise. But when the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this House tomorrow and ask, did we deliver on the country's vote to leave the European Union? Did we safeguard our economy, our security and our Union? Or, did we let the British people down?


FOSTER: Well, Julius on is saying what many people today is saying, particularly when we did that international poll. They should back a second referendum and fight to remain. Lots of talking about a second referendum, but it's not something that you support.

DALE: No, it isn't because you can't have constitutional referendums every couple of years. If there had been a major shift in the polls, then I could see maybe a case for it but there hasn't been. Maybe the poll show a slight shift towards remain, but only to sort of 52%, 53%, 54%. I haven't seen a single poll showing more than that unless the question has been rigged a little. It's going to be 70%. I think you could argue that, but there hasn't been a major shift and people say, "Well, we know things now that we didn't know then."

Well, we know things after general election that we didn't know then. You don't automatically have another general election and the people that voted for the first time, and there were many people in their 40s, 50s, 60s who voted for the first time in the referendum. They will again completely disengaged with the world of politics if they feel that their vote has been betrayed. So I think it would be deeply dangerous for our democracy if the original 2016 vote wasn't delivered upon.

And in a sense if we get to the 29th of March, this argument will be redundant because we will have left. The question is, will we get to the 29th of March without Article 50 being postponed and I have my doubts about that.

FOSTER: I heard another word this morning, there's a bit of a disconnect at the moment between Parliament and the rest of the country. The rest of the country voting to leave the European Union and most of the MPs in Parliament actually be largely remain, and that's actually where a lot of these tensions come from. Do you have some sympathy for that view?

SCHICK: Yes. I mean, I think just in general the vote even in 2016 was very close. It almost divided the country right down the middle. It's true that the majority of parliamentarians were in favor of remaining and, of course, that is the problem that Labour had. Majority of the parliamentary party in favor remain, a large segment of their voter is wanting to leave. But I think the fundamental thing, the thing that was set in motion in 2016 is an issue that has become so emotive and so divisive that that is why we see this gridlock behind us now.

Whatever way you look at it, one half of the population is going to be unhappy. So I do agree with Iain that I don't think a second referendum is a way to resolve this, because I think you'd have the same results or maybe you'd even have a bigger vote for leave. So one way or another, something has got to give and there's realistically only three options on the table. One is to remain which is I think the least likely option. The second is to leave without a deal, which is the default option. Remember that clock is ticking. And the third is to have Theresa May's deal or some other off-the-shelf model like Norway which have already been dismissed as not sufficient for the U.K. Something has got to give in the next few weeks.

FOSTER: And there's a question here about parliamentary democracy, isn't there, as opposed to the direct democracy of the referendum. They're not speaking together and we need to decide which one we're going to go with.

WATSON: Well, the history of Britain has been one where Parliament and a change of government settles issues, not referenda. And it's highly, highly unusual the referenda are being played in this way, which is partly why I think parliamentarians are beginning to realize that a general election might be the way forward here.


And then the question is does Theresa May take the Conservative Party into that general election or does she get pushed aside. There is a chance, of course, that Conservative MPs do not support her in a vote of confidence to allow the Labour Party to get the chance to form a government which they couldn't do (inaudible) and then create new leadership for the Conservative Party as that new leader would then be able perhaps to get a new deal in Brussels. I think it's highly unlikely but these are the machination that we're...


FOSTER: Well, the traffic is honking in response to you, George.

DALE: I disagree with George on this, because I can't see what's --

FOSTER: The honking stopped as well.

DALE: They're saying, "No, I'm on that." I can't see how a general election will solve anything, because if Theresa May led the Conservative Party to a general election which would in fact could be a referendum on her deal, what do people on those sort of soft bright need to do. Can I vote Conservative for the general election when I totally and fundamentally disagree with the main ...


WATSON: And you're right as a candidate for the Conservative Party on what manifesto would you be sending.

DALE: And what's Labour's position going into it?

WATSON: All of these are correct problems.

DALE: So I'm not sure I see a general election as a solution to this at all.

FOSTER: And also the question then vote of confidence was up in the air this morning. Kate Hoey from the Labour Party saying it's not actually a given, it depends on how large the losses tonight. But Hilary Benn saying, "Jeremy Corbyn has to pull a vote of confidence. This has come to the point where he really does have to address the issue."

SCHICK: I think I agree with Hilary Benn. I think Jeremy Corbyn will call a vote of confidence, but the bigger question is even if Theresa May did or her government managed to withstand that vote of confidence, and let's say hypothetically there was a general election and Labour won, the fundamental problem still has not been resolved. We are still in square one. Well, what are we going to do? What type of Brexit is it going to be? And don't forget, as I keep saying, the default is that March 29th 2019 barring any action by the U.K. government to ask for an extension or potentially a revocation of Article 50, the U.K. crashes out with no deal.

DALE: And the fundamental law of opposition politics is do not call a vote of confidence in the government unless you're pretty sure you've got a chance of winning it.

FOSTER: Well, they're not going to win. DALE: No, they're not going to win and this is where Jeremy Corbyn --

he march his troops up to the top of the hill in December, they're marching down again on voter covenants. He can't do it again, so I think he will be forced to do it even though and it would be much better for him to wait until March when there might be some conservative MPs who would possibly support him. That'd be the end of that (inaudible) if they did, but --

FOSTER: He only has one chance in it, doesn't he and Hilary Benn accept it even though he wants him to call this voter confidence that he's not going to win because the DUP won't go with it.

WATSON: Yes, I think there's no option but he has to do it and I think the very next thing in Labour is an internal fight as to whether they go for a second referendum, and then put the machinations in place for that or whether they try and create some other way forward. Because there are other alternatives to the Labour Party. But what I would say as well and all of this is happening, and the business community that I work with has paused and put everything down waiting to see what happens next, and that is real money not being invested in this country which should be, and he's being invested in other countries, it is having an effect.

FOSTER: Let's hear from Jeremy Corbyn in response to the idea really that this vote just isn't going to get through tonight.


JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: The government is in disarray. It's clear. If the Prime Minister's deal is rejected tomorrow, it's time for a general election. It's time for a new government.


FOSTER: There's lots of talk about Theresa May having a plan B ready to go to come back to Parliament with. Have you got any indication of what might be in that? Could it be another election?

DALE: Anything is a possibility. She's kept it very close to her chest. You would hope that she's got a plan B. I mean, there are some people who think that she hasn't. She's just going to wait to see what happens tonight and then decide. She certainly hasn't shared anything with her fellow cabinet ministers, because that might leak, so nobody knows. We can only guess.

I think the most likely thing is that she will just go back and she'll say, "I'm going back to Brussels tomorrow morning. They will see the vote in this house tonight and I'm going to see what I can do in terms of reopening the negotiation."

FOSTER: We're looking at those possible next steps, George, Parliament taking back control. There's been a lot of talk about that. What does that mean?

WATSON: That means that MPs will amongst themselves agree that the government can't get traction, can't move forward.

FOSTER: They take control from the government.

WATSON: They would use parliamentary powers agreeing amongst themselves to amend different bills, to take the power either to create a second referendum or perhaps to push for a general election or some other variation of that. That's what that means.

FOSTER: Is that a solution?


SCHICK: Again, I'll say it again, general election, new referendum, I do not see how that solves the fundamental quandary that this country is in, and that is that the people and Parliament are divided, so once again there are three options on the table, Theresa May's deal or some kind of variation of it or an off-the-shelf model, a no-deal or remains. So you can call a general election, you can have a new referendum, that fundamentally doesn't alter the option on the table.

WATSON: But I think it's worth reminding ourselves that the majority of MPs over there are in favor of remaining and they are at odds with the majority of the country. But this is where this conversion -- and so if they do take back control in some way of the process, they are still going to be at loggerheads with what the nation wants, and that is why people are very concerned in the long term about what happens in society.

DALE: If MPs try to take the control of government back to Parliament, which has never happened in this country before, I mean that is a full blown constitutional crisis. You have a Speaker of the House of Commons who is aiding and abetting the MPs that want to do that. He says he's speaking from the heart of the Parliament.

FOSTER: Because he's seen as a remainer.

DALE: It's partly that, but he and the government, should we say, do not see eye to eye and many even know he's extensively a Conservative MP. But he is intent on causing trouble and we're only seeing the beginning of the skirmish again at the moment.

FOSTER: Okay. We're going to be following it all for you throughout the day right up to the vote as well and after. Mark on Facebook says, "Brexit equals more trade with New Zealand, bring it on." Katz says, "There will be no perfect deal for the U.K. They should back May." Fritz says, "It's time to dismantle the United Kingdom, independence to Scotland and Irish reunification." It could snowball.

Welcome to very noisy Westminster. The campaigners are forceful, and a historic vote tonight on Brexit, will MPs here in Parliament vote for Theresa May's Brexit Deal. It seems as though they're going to. The question really how much they go against it really. You can see all of the flags there. There's a bell and a drum behind us as well. An elderly couple banging away there, but a very powerful. DALE: I beg your pardon. I believe I said that.

FOSTER: Let's move on to the newspapers today. The Daily Telegraph headline, Out of Allies, Out of Time. The front page of The Daily Mail, Time To Put Your Country First. This is one of the questions that keeps coming up, one of the issues that keeps coming up that Parliament isn't actually living up to its responsibilities that it's to sort these sorts of messes out. And the talk of going back to another referendum is just confirmation of that.

SCHICK: Yes, I mean but I think that a lot of parliamentarians think that they're doing exactly that, that they're putting the interests of their country first. It's just that on both sides of the divide there are a lot of ideologically driven factions. So for some that means leaving with no deals on WTO terms is putting their country first. And for others, it's running these negotiations right down to the wire, so you have a second referendum, so remain good potentially win. So I think parliamentarians are acting in what they think is the best interest of their country. It's just that there is no unity amongst parliamentarians as to what that is.

FOSTER: There is a history of deals being struck at the last minute, isn't there, in Europe? So do you think you (inaudible) the MPs here on that?

WATSON: Well, I've covered European Union politics and British politics for 25 years, and in every single case, when a new deal needed to be done, it was done at a little close -- almost at the point where they were rushing off to get to their planes and go back to their countries.


That's the moment and I still think that there is a decent chance that the European Union, the members, the commission will come up with enough to get this thing through. I think that is possible. I think people are much more worried about this Irish backstop situation than they need be. If you're a Brexiteer, get out of the European Union. By the end of March, things will be sorted out in time and it will be fixed. And if you don't get out now, the biggest concern if you're a Brexiteer in my book is you may not leave that all.

DALE: I totally agree with you and I think the problem is that on both sides in this debate, particularly among Members of Parliament, there are irreconcilables. There are number of people and I don't know how large the number is on the Brexit side, but I suspect it's quite a large number. Large enough to mean that Theresa May couldn't get any deal through the House of Commons.

Now, I don't know what happen -- well, what happens then is legally the law of the country says that we leave on the 29th of March, that's when all of the parliamentary shenanigans really started, March, I suspect.

WATSON: Yes. FOSTER: And what businesses saying about their preparations for this?

Supermarkets are saying they're ready, the hospital is saying they're ready, but actually are they prepared for a no-deal Brexit?

WATSON: There's a really important point to be made about what we mean by preparing for and no-deal Brexit. Companies, the NHS, the statutory bodies, infrastructure projects have taken steps to prepare for that. It doesn't mean to say that things will go swimmingly and smoothly and we won't notice. We will notice a difference, but it means that things will be better than if we just fell off (inaudible).

So people should know that there will be impact, so you can stockpile enough, let's say, medicines and foodstuffs, and energy and various other things that we need. But there will still be delays, there'll be inspection regimes that we hadn't anticipated. There will be people who are not clear about what happens next. There's a finite time, let's say, on things like vaccines that a vaccine is usable. They have to be held at different temperatures and stored in different ways. And 90% of our vaccines come from abroad in this country. So that's just one tiny example. So, yes, provision has been made, but it's only for so long and then change really does begin to impact.

FOSTER: What about on the European side, the organizations that are trading with U.K., this major economy as well? They've got to make contingency plans as well, haven't they, for any disruption across the borders.

SCHICK: Yes, absolutely. Like the EU has always been clear that a no-deal Brexit is a lose-lose situation, both sides lose. It's just that the U.K. happens to lose more percent of its GDP than any of the other European countries except Ireland.


DALE: I'm glad you said that.

SCHICK: ... from Ireland and Ireland will be -- severely damage the Irish economy. But there is a point where the European Commission has to start preparing the legislation to put through in order to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. So I think that U.K. Parliament, they can only run things down the line so far before the European Union has to start putting in place its own no-deal legislation and that will be some point in --

DALE: Well, some countries already have. France has already started. Spain has already started. Germany has.

SCHICK: Yes, they have measures in place to mitigate for the worst circumstance.

FOSTER: We've just heard from cabinet as well that there was no discussion today on extending Article 50, so she's brawling that out as well.

DALE: Well, I mean, the Prime Minister has been very clear that she's going to extend Article 50, but needs must sometimes. (Crosstalk)

WATSON: Yes, I don't think that's ruling out.

DALE: I don't think you can rule it out now, because --

FOSTER: Because it's the one compromise that seems most likely.

DALE: Look, there is so much U.K. legislation that has to get through before March the 29th, whether we have a deal or not. And I don't see how that's -- Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons was on the News Now last night and she said, "Well, we can just about do it if this bill gets through now." But if it doesn't go through now --

WATSON: But we can't just do it. I mean, we have to have permissions from the 27 EU States to extend Article 50 and they will only do that for a reason and what is the reason. So that's why that's not really being talked about.

DALE: Getting domestic legislation through was not a reason.

WATSON: Correct, not for them, anyway.

SCHICK: Yes. The EU will extend Article 50 for a matter of weeks, not months. And as George and Iain have already pointed out for a concrete reason, not to allow the U.K. to get its house in shape.

WATSON: And that reason could be for a general election or a second referendum.

SCHICK: Or new referendum.

WATSON: But the European Union runs out of time in about June, July anyway because they've got their own elections.

SCHICK: European Parliament connections.

WATSON: Parliament and then everything goes up in the air. So it is a moment that has to be seized and grasped pretty soon.

FOSTER: Rebecca is making the point, "This is going to influence the South African economy too." Are we being too Eurocentric on this issue? What impact is there on the rest of the world of all of this?

DALE: I don't have answers to that question, because we trade with the rest of the world anyway so I'm not sure that that's going to be, why should that be disrupted.

FOSTER: And there's a lot of concern today on the Facebook feed as well about people being able to move in and out of the U.K. freely, obviously, London.


Many people would argue is the sort of most multicultural capital of the world.

SCHICK: Yes. I think there will be a time in history when the politicians are saying the greatest aspect of this deal is that it bars free movement, the ability of our kind of closest friends and neighbors from 27 countries to come and live and work here. A lot of them, myself included, came to this country and think contributed quite a lot. So I think there will be a time in history when that will be seen as rather a negative stain on British political discourse. But let's not forget that if it's a no-deal Brexit, all of the provisions that have been negotiated to ensure that there is fair treatment of both EU citizens and U.K. citizens in Europe go out of the window.

DALE: No, they don't because the U.K. government said unilaterally that they will stick to those. Now, whether the European Union does, of course, you know.

SCHICK: They won't do that unless the European Union try to do that.

DALE: No, no, they said they won't. That's been a firm commitment from Theresa May that she will honor those commitments.

SCHICK: Well, Theresa May has said a lot of things about EU migrants rights which she has not commit -- she has not actually honored throughout the course of the negotiations, so forgive me if I take that with a pinch of salt.

FOSTER: These two will keep arguing. We're going to keep covering the story from here in Westminster right up into the vote and afterwards. We'll be back tomorrow morning as well which Iain says is the crucial test really of the response to this, particularly on the Labour side. Do listen again to CNN Talk by looking us up on Apple podcasts. Thank you for watching.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, ANCHOR, CNN: Hello there. Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong and this is CNN News Now. British Parliament is in its final hours of debate on Brexit. We know that Prime Minister Theresa May is urging members to take another look at her deal with the EU. Lawmakers are expected to reject the proposal when they vote later today. Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn says if the deal doesn't pass, it's time for a new government.

Now, a Kremlin spokesman says a speculation that U.S. President Donald Trump was conspiring with Russia has "no relation to reality." Now, Mr. Trump has vehemently denied media reports that he worked for Russia. He also slammed FBI officials as scoundrels for reportedly opening an investigation to whether he worked for Russia against U.S. interests.

Polish investigators say the 27-year-old man who brazenly attacked the Mayor of Gdansk had a grudge against him and his political party. Pavel Adamovich was stabbed in front of thousands of people at a charity event on Sunday. Authorities say he has a criminal record, that he blamed the Mayor for having been sent to prison. The legal team for a Canadian citizen facing the death penalty for drug trafficking in China says he will appeal his conviction. He was originally convicted in November for being an accessory to drug smuggling and given 15 years in prison, but after a retrial he was convicted of a primary role in the smuggling and sentenced to death. And that is your CNN News Now. Stay tuned for World Sport coming up next right here on CNN.

ALEX THOMAS, SPORTS ANCHOR, CNN: A strong start to her tennis history chase. It's one down and six to go for Serena Williams at the Australian Open. James Harden continues to rewrite the NBA record books. And the fast food feast laid out for the latest sporting visitors to the White House.

Hello. Welcome to CNN World Sport. I'm Alex Thomas in London. Serena Williams has stormed through to the second round of the Australian Open making light work of her opening match and she chases tennis history. This was her first competitive appearance since losing the U.S. Open final last September. But there were no signs of rustiness as she pummeled her German opponent, Tatjana Maria winning in straight sets, six-love, six-two. The whole match lasting only 49 minutes.

Due to broadcasting restrictions we have to bring you the video later in the day. Williams, of course, though bidding for a record equaling 24 Grand Slam singles title. Let's go live to Melbourne to join Tennis Writer and Broadcaster Ravi Ubha who's been soaking up the atmosphere at the tournament all day. Ravi, Serena has won the Australian Open seven times, some people may be surprised to learn it's has many as her successes at Wimbledon. It's her most recent Grand Slam triumph too when she last played there in 2017, although we didn't know at the time she was pregnant. She can certainly make it eight titles if she carries on playing like this, can't she?

RAVI UBHA, TENNIS BROADCASTER AND WRITER: She certainly can, Al, and the thing about those seven titles, six of them have come in odd- numbered years, and look at us in 2019, that could be a good omen for her. She looked very, very sharp for playing somebody like Maria who she knows pretty well, because they're actually neighbors in Florida. And Maria also early in her life like Serena had a life threatening pulmonary embolisms, but on the court it was all business first to Serena, getting out of the match in under 15 minutes.

I think the intensity on court today, the way she was striking the ball was so, so good from Serena. I think she's going to have a bigger test to elaborate in the next round against Eugenie Bouchard who's all working for it today just like he did for Maria Sharapova yesterday who executed a double bagel on her win over Harriet Dart.

THOMAS: Serena was questioned in her post match press conference about her outfits and that sounds a bit sexist on the face of it, but are there some good reasons why that was?

UBHA: Yes. I must say too, Al, that when we were watching the match, the journalists were watching female and male were wondering how to turn that out. Was it a onesie was it a catsuit, was it a playsuit. In her press, she was asked by a female reporter what actually it was, was it a leotard. And Serena replied, "No, it was a Serena-tart." So just to play on words a little bit and he talked about the health aspect. Yes, she was wearing compression stockings because speaking of those pulmonary embolism, she had one of them in 2011. One of them after she gave birth to her daughter in 2017, she said she's always on top of it. Never wants to assume this is going to go away.


So she always has to be on top of that situation given the fact she almost died after giving birth to Alexis.

THOMAS: And also some controversy wasn't there when a similar outfit was banned from the French Open so no wonder it's making headlines. Ravi, you sound a bit hoarse like you've been cheering someone on. I wonder if it was Simona Halep. She had to come from a set down to win her opening match. You interviewed her, of course, before the events and although she's the top seed and last year's runners-up, her offseason didn't quite go as planned, did it?

UBHA: No, it didn't. I got hoarse because I was doing the Maria match on radio. I'm getting excited at certain times. But we did get a chance to talk to her and you're right, Al, it was a difficult offseason for her. It should have been a great offseason for her and only great offseason because she won the French Open to win her first Grand Slam title after some agonizing losses in finals. However, had a packaged or herniated disc in the fall and then she cut ties with her coach (inaudible).

So she told me going in really the expectations were pretty low. She's coming in fairly, fairly chilled, didn't really know what to expect from herself, especially after she lost her warm-up match in Sydney to Ashleigh Barty. So this is going to be interesting time for how this tournament -- the fact is she was able to win this match and beat the player who beat her in the first round of the U.S. Open, having to come back to do so. I think this is such a confidence boosting win for a player and could face pretty early on in this tournament.

THOMAS: Yes, and a brief word about the men's top seed and favorite Novak Djokovic, not a surprise as he imbrue -- breeze through his first round match. He actually got a break of serve early on, but it was all Djokovic after that. But it's about his second round encounter, isn't it? Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is no mug.

UBHA: He's not at all, yes. It's going to be morning time there, I'm pretty sure your time, Al, and so I want you to grab a popcorn and get some butter. Have a drink because that's going to be a super match to watch. I mean, how Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's career could have been different had he won the Australian Open final more than a decade ago against Djokovic I think of sliding doors. It was Djokovic who won it, however his career has really taken off and for Tsonga not really the career I think we thought he would have, just won Grand Slam final but, yes, a popcorn match because Tsonga started out this year so good.

THOMAS: Okay. We'll let you go and take a spoonful of honey for that voice of yours, Ravi, and tell our viewers in the meantime of all the other interesting stories you've been writing on the first of this year's fall annual Grand Slam tennis performance, you can read more at Ravi's analysis by going to our website, tennis. Now, he plays the Rockets and his scoring is certainly been sky-high. James Harden's coach says the player is dog-tired, but he continues to rewrite NBA history this time with yet another 50 points last game.

Hello, again. Welcome to World Sport. I'm Alex Thomas in London. James Harden is continuing to defy recent NBA history, scoring bucket loads of points more consistently than anyone has for decades.


His coach at the Rockets says it's beyond impressive but also describe his star player was dog-tired. Let's get out to our own, Coy Wire at CNN Center. Coy, amazing just another day, another slice of history for Harden.

COY WIRE, SPORTS ANCHOR, CNN: Yes, buckets of points. You nailed it, Alex. I mean the reigning MVP is just putting up historic numbers. He scored 36 of Houston's 54 points in the first half alone on Monday and he is absolutely stealing the show in terms of individual performances in the NBA. He finished with a season-high, 57, and his team win over the Grizzlies. The beard has now scored at least 30 in a record 17 straight games, that breaks Kobe Bryant's streak which was the longest since the ABA NBA merger back in the 1970s. Let's take a look at some of the numbers.

James Harden has been putting up. He's leading the league in scoring with 34.8 points per game. Now, keep in mind he led the league last season during his MVP run, averaging just 30 a game. His Rockets are currently in fourth place in the Western Conference. They have the second ranked offense behind only Golden State, but it's that fifth worst defense in the NBA that might be an Achilles heel as this season goes on, but we'll see. That mean James Harden is on another level right now.

THOMAS: Yes, sensational to watch and I don't know during your NFL playing days, Coy, whether you ever had an opposing crowds cheer for you. But that's kind of what we saw with Tony Parker on Monday night.

WIRE: Yes. It was a special moment and I did not have that privilege in my playing days, Alex. Tony Parker has been playing in the NBA for 17 years over 1,200 games but this one he said was one of the most emotional of his career, returning to San Antonio to face his former team. He joined the Charlotte Hornets in July, but the Spurs they still treated them like one of their own before the game surprising with a tribute video on the JumboTron.

The fans giving him a long standing ovation, even his former coach there you see. They were chanting his name, what a fitting welcome back for the 36 year old who was drafted as a 19-year-old from France playing every season other than this one with the Spurs, helping to bring them four NBA titles, earning an NBA Finals MVP along the way. But that wasn't all, his family made a surprise visit from France to be there for that special occasion. Parker said that he talked to them earlier and they told him that they

were going to watch from France early in the morning, but what a great surprise. Parker received another standing ovation. Once he made his way on to the court and the fans flashes of vintage Parker is what they saw. He had eight points on the night, but some of them were key points late in the game that helped lift the Hornets of victory over the Spurs, 108-93. In the dying seconds of the game, Parker's teammates, they were pushing him back into the game where he could receive yet another standing ovation with time expiring. After the game, Parker talked about just how special this night was.


TONY PARKER, CHARLOTTE HORNETS POINT GUARD, NBA: But I'm definitely tired, very tired like draining mentally and emotionally. It was just an awesome night. I just want to thank the fans, the way they reacted tonight it was just unbelievable, loving, and I appreciate everything. Oh, it was just a great memory and great night for me that I will cherish for the rest of my life.


WIRE: How special, Alex, now his visit to San Antonio put him in elite company with Hornets' owner Michael Jordan as one of just two players ever to play against the team for which he won at least four championships and a Final's MVP trophy, incredible stuff.

THOMAS: Yes. Special occasion. Now, we've reported often on World Sport about this long-standing tradition that a U.S. President invites certain winning sports teams to the White House. But has any of them faced the sort of meal that was an offer to college football champions, Clemson, on Monday.

WIRE: I don't know for a fact but I highly doubt it and it's not the steak and lobster you might assume it would be. The college football national champion, Clemson University Tigers, they've been celebrating their second national title in three years and Monday during their trip to the White House they were treated to a fast food feast. That's right. Paid for by the President because of the partial government shutdown here in the United States, we're talking McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, not served with the fine China, but hey pizza still in the box. Here's the reasoning for the menu choice.


TRUMP: So I had a choice, do we have no food for you because we have a shutdown or do we give you some little quick salads that the first lady will make along with along with the second lady, they'll make some salads. And I said you guys aren't into salads. Or, do I all go out Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, do I go out and send out for about 1,000 hamburgers, Big Macs, we have everything that I like that you like. And I know no matter what we did, there's nothing you could have that's better than that.



WIRE: This moment still trending on social media this morning. Many folks wondering, "Did the players like the food in that menu choice?"