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The Brief with Bianca Nobilo

U.K. Election: Britain's Pivotal Votes Just Hours Away; British Election Marked By Dirty Tricks, Misinformation; Soon: House Committee To Debate Trump Impeachment; Volcano Tour In New Zealand Turns Into Nightmare; Report: FAA New 737 MAX Had Higher Risk After First Crash; Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Genocide Accusations; Greta Thunberg Blasts Leaders At COP25 For Greenwashing; Aramco Now The World's Most Valuable Listed Company. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired December 11, 2019 - 17:00   ET


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: in this police say are also suspects in earlier murder of an Uber driver, a lot for authorities to sort

out, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Miguel Marquez, thank you. Our coverage on CNN continues right now.


LINDA KINCAID, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight in THE BRIEF, the British election that seemingly no one wants, we're just hours away from the polls opening. The

death toll from New Zealand's volcanic eruption has gone up. Tonight we hear from a survivor who turned around to help save lives.

And climate activists, Greta Thunberg named "TIME Magazine's" Person of the Year. But the Brazilian President is calling her another name.

Live from CNN's headquarters. I'm Linda Kincaid. Welcome to the show and good to have you with us. But we are just hours away from a snap election

in the U.K. that will determine how even if Britain leaves the European Union, and it could be a turning point for the United Kingdom and for the


The candidates today were out in what was a final push for votes and the stakes could not be higher. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the race

could not be tighter. The latest poll shows his Conservatives still holding a majority, but it is shrinking.

Here's a snapshot of where voters stand right now. The latest YouGov projection has conservatives on track to win 339 seats in parliament, much

fewer than the forecast last month. Labour is projected to win 231 seats and the Scottish National Party 41.

Well at the heart of all of this is, of course, Brexit, an arduous process. And as Matthew Chance discovered Brexit has meant big changes for the



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What's happening in this constituency of Dudley is also taking place across the country.

Brexit, disillusionment with politics and politicians, are turning traditional party loyalties upside down, making this British general

election particularly tough to fight and hard to predict.


KINCAID: Well, for Boris Johnson the day began well before dawn when he delivered milk to try to reach voters, but at one point he scuttled into a

refrigerated truck to escape reporters. Take a look.


PIERS MORGAN, ITV NEWS ANCHOR: You're not getting near Boris

JONATHAN SWAIN, ITV NEWS SENIOR NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Boris, will you come on Good Morning Britain and deliver on your promise to talk to Piers and

Susanna? We're ready to go. We're live on ITV right now. Prime Minister? I have an earpiece in my pocket. You are more than welcome to come on.


KINCAID: So Boris Johnson out there delivering mail, but can he deliver votes. CNN's Phil Black is at 10 Downing Street and he tells us just how

many remains to be seen.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL FREELANCE REPORTER: With the likely result still really anyone's guess. It has allowed Boris Johnson to really try to

motivate his potential voters, to remind people with great urgency about how close he believes this contest is, about how people shouldn't be


If they care about Brexit, if they're nervous about the idea of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, he says, brave the weather, get out and vote for

the Conservative Party, because a conservative victory can't be taken for granted.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This could not be more critical, it could not be tighter. I just say to everybody the risk is very real that we

could tomorrow be going into another hung parliament, that's more drift, more dither, more delay, more paralysis for this country.


BLACK: But Boris Johnson and the Conservatives they know that victory can only come in the form of an outright majority that allows them to deliver

Brexit. Anything else is a humiliating defeat. It's why they wanted this election in the first place.

Labour, can almost certainly not achieve an outright majority, but could still find a path to government in the event of a hung parliament. What all

this means is that in the final night of the campaign the leaders of both major parties are unable to have any clear ideas on precisely what the

voting day will bring. Linda.

KINCAID: Our thanks to Phil Black there outside 10 Downing Street. Well there's a lot for voters to digest when making their choice of a candidate.

There is an onslaught of information. But as CNN's Hadas Gold tells us it's not always accurate.


HADAS GOLD, CNN REPORTER: Linda, campaign tricks are as traditional in elections as campaign buttons and slogans. But this year the U.K. general

election has been particularly tricky and particularly dirty, and almost no party's hands are completely clean.

In particular, the parties have been utilizing social media and the speed of our new digital lives in ways experts I spoke to said they've never seen

before. One of the worst tricks we saw was during the first head-to-head debate when the Conservative Party press account changed its Twitter name

and logo to fact check U.K., making it look like a real fact checking organization, all while keeping their verified account badge.

Then there were the selectively edited videos, something both major parties were guilty of. The Conservatives edited a television interview with the

Labour Shadow Brexit Secretary to make it seem as though he had no answer to a question on Labour's position on Brexit. But in reality he actually

answered the question immediately.

The Labour Party itself selectively edited a video featuring an FT reporter speaking about broadband, which Jeremy Corbyn then tweeted out. Corbyn then

removed the video after a complaint from the newspaper.


And there was campaign literature made to look just like local newspapers by the Liberal Democrats. Though, the United Kingdom has strict regulations

when it comes to coverage of electoral politics and campaign ads on television, how politicians and journalists behave on digital and social

media is a free for all, Linda.


KINCAID: Thanks to Hadas Gold there. Well join us on Thursday on CNN for our special coverage of the results as the polls close. That's at 10:00

p.m. in the U.K.

Well to the United States now where it's promising to be a long night on Capitol Hill. In just two hours a House Committee will begin debating

Articles of Impeachment meant to remove President Trump from office.

Well, so far, the hearings have been scheduled during the day when many Americans are at work without the luxury of watching TV. But today's

session will be different. Lawmakers will get to make their case for and against impeachment in primetime.

Well, President Trump is accused of abusing his power and obstructing Congress, both counts relating to pressuring Ukraine for political favors.

And he is mocking the charges, and of course, taunting Democrats. Mr. Trump calling their impeachment effort, "weak."

The death toll from the eruption of the White Island Volcano in New Zealand has risen to eight after two people died in hospital. Another eight people

remain missing presumed dead and almost 30 others are being treated for severe burns. Doctors say they need more than a million square centimeters

of human skin to graft onto burns victims in an effort to save them.

CNN's Will Ripley spoke to a man who got off the island only minutes before the eruption and then turned around to help those who were not so lucky.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Monday was a picture perfect day to visit White Island - crystal blue skies, sunlight

bouncing off the lunar like landscape. Raw, rugged, natural beauty lures thousands to this New Zealand treasure each year.

GEOFF HOPKINS, TOURIST & TRAINED FIRST RESPONDER: Beautiful yellows and whites and crystals. But knowing the - just below the surface it's so

violent, so hot, so explosive.

RIPLEY (voice over): The trip was Geoff Hopkins' 50th birthday gift from his daughter Lillani.

HOPKINS: We weren't in any hurry to get off the island. I'm thinking where I'm going to sit on the boat, so we'd get some awesome shots of the island

as we leave. This is--

RIPLEY (voice over): He took this photo at 2:07 p.m.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those dots are people--

HOPKINS: Yes. They are people--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are in the crater--

HOPKINS: On the Crater Lake - on the edge of the Crater Lake. And then four minutes later--

RIPLEY (voice over): At 2:11 blue skies turned dark.

HOPKINS: For a split second it was a gasp of awe. One or two seconds later as that menacing ash cloud started to roll over the cliff and engulf the

island - wow, this is serious. This is bad. And at that stage then you think there were people stood on the island.

RIPLEY (voice over): Their tour boat turned around, everything on the island covered in ash.

HOPKINS: And that smashed helicopter just completely gray. And we can see these people in the water, there's people swimming off the island.

RIPLEY (voice over): They pulled 23 survivors onto the boat. It was hard to tell the students from the senior citizens.

HOPKINS: Everybody was horrific burns. Skin falling, off lots of screaming, panic screaming - "Get me out of here. I'm burning, I'm burning."

RIPLEY (voice over): Hopkins is a trained first responder. He spent much of the 90 minute trip back to shore caring for a young couple from Virginia,

Lauren and Matthew Urey, on what was supposed to be their dream honeymoon.

HOPKINS: I remember I asked her a name and she struggled to say it, but he said it for her, he said, she's my wife. And she would ask, how's my

husband? And he would ask, how's my wife?

RIPLEY (voice over): He fought to keep them awake, fought to keep them alive.

HOPKINS: She said this is the worst day of my life. And I had to say, yes it is. But you've got so much more in your life to live. When she says, I

don't think I'm going to make it. You rebuke that. You are going to make it. You are going to make it. You're strong, you're a fighter. You're going

to get through this. You've got a future.

JANET UREY, MOTHER OF BURN VICTIM MATT UREY: 10 minutes for the delay for--

RIPLEY (voice over): I spoke with Matt Urey's mom, Janet. She was about to board her flight for the 29 hour journey from Pennsylvania to New Zealand.

UREY: It's absolutely soul crushing. It's my worst nightmare. But on the other hand, I'm starting to focus on the positive. They were lucky enough.

They had already come down the volcano so they were very close to the water.

RIPLEY (voice over): The couple managed to seek shelter behind a rock. They still suffered severe burns over much of their bodies.

HOPKINS: I'm still coming to terms with it.

RIPLEY (voice over): Hopkins tries not to think about what could have happened--


HOPKINS: If we hadn't got off the island, there would have been double the victims and nobody to help. It's a day I'll never forget. Never forget.

RIPLEY (voice over): He'll also never forget the people who died, and the ones still fighting to stay alive. Will Ripley, CNN, Whakatane, New



KINCAID: Well imagine an airline so risky that officials expect it to crash. Now imagine those officials doing nothing about it. That is the

scenario that was presented in Washington today. A congressional panel heard that after an accident in 2018, U.S. federal regulators knew the

Boeing 737 Max was at a higher risk to crash, but they did not stop it from flying.

That model was only grounded after a second deadly crash in March. Take a listen to this exchange between a lawmaker and the head of the Federal

Aviation Administration.


REP. SEAN MALONEY (D-NY): Are you aware that four months before the first crash you brought these problems to Boeing's attention. You're aware of

that gentleman - four months--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that there's were--

MALONEY: --before first crash?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that concerns are raised. Yes.

MALONEY: That's right. And you understand that after the Lion Air crash, he went up and down the chain at Boeing. He went to the CEO. He went to the

general counsel. He went to the Board. Are you aware of that? He sent them letters too--


MALONEY: --saying all the same things. And you know what they did? They sat on it until a second plane crash, that's what happened, a bunch more people

lost their lives.


KINCAID: Well, CNN Aviation Correspondent Rene Marsh tells us how these regulators who are in charge of keeping passengers safe, actually

pinpointed how many times the plane could crash.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Linda, serious questions for the FAA and whether they could have prevented

the second 737 MAX crash and saved lives. A new document publicly released on Wednesday morning shows internal FAA analysis of the Boeing 737 MAX,

following the Lion Air crash last fall.

And it found that the plane is significantly more likely to crash than other aircraft. And predicted it would crash 15 more times. Now that 15

number was a conservative number, because it was based on this assumption that 99 out of 100 flight crews would successfully react to the alarms and

alert within just 10 seconds, and we know that that assumption was wrong.

The pilots in both of these crashes were overwhelmed by all of the alerts and all of the alarms and they couldn't react successfully in 10 seconds.

Despite this risk assessment, the findings from this assessment the FAA did not ground the aircraft until after the second crash of the MAX, that was

months later.

Now these two crashes, they claimed 346 lives and on top of all of that whistleblowers, one from Boeing and one from the FAA, testified that they

raised concerns about internal pressure during the certification process, and how their concerns over safety of the plane were simply ignored.

On top of all of that, more bad news for Boeing today, the Head of the FAA said that the plane would not be cleared to fly this year and that this

would extend well into 2020, Linda?

KINCAID: Thanks to Rene Marsh there.

Well, Nobel Peace Prize winner unsung Aung San Suu Kyi was once a voice for the oppressed. Well, now she's accused of siding with the oppressors.

Myanmar's de facto leader soon in front of the International Court of Justice today to defend her nation against charges of genocide.

Aung San Suu Kyi tried to explain the rape, mass murder and torture of Rohingya Muslims by saying they were caught in the middle of a battle for

control of Rakhine state.


AUNG SAN SUU KYI, MYANMAR STATE COUNSELOR: To conclude, Mr. President and members of the court, Rakhine today suffers an internal armed conflict

between the Buddhist Arakan Army and Myanmar's defense services. Muslims are not a party to this conflict, but may, like other civilians in the

conflict area, be affected by security measures that are in place.


KINCAID: Well, a U.N. human rights investigator says that Suu Kyi has become a different person since she rose to power in 2015.

"TIME Magazine" has named its Person of the Year, and you've no doubt heard her name, 16-year-old climate activists, Greta Thunberg. Her relentless

advocacy and her fearless calls for world leaders to do something to stop climate change have grabbed the world's attention.


She's been on the receiving end of insults from world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump.

But that hasn't stopped her from speaking out. The teen activist is in Madrid right now for the COP25, the U.N. climate meeting. And in her

trademark, take no prisoners style, Thunberg is criticizing politicians and businesses for not taking enough steps to halt climate change.


GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: I still believe that the biggest danger is not inaction. The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it

look like real action is happening, when in fact almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR.


KINCAID: Greta Thunberg has been a divisive figure for some, but what lasting impact is she having on the climate movement? I put that question

to our Arwa Damon who who's in Madrid a short time ago.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Linda, she is perhaps divisive when it comes to the fossil fuel and other high carbon

emitting industries or when it comes to nations who don't want to stop exploiting their natural resources, like Brazil, whose President Bolsonaro

did call her a brat. But she then turned around and proudly made that part of her Twitter profile.

What she's been trying to do here is shift that spotlight from herself and on to the science and on to the stories of other youth activists who are

feeling the effects of this climate crisis every single day. And their voices are the voices that are perhaps the loudest here in Madrid, but they

are not necessarily the ones that are being heard.

And we've been talking to a lot of them, and they are finding that quite crushing. But at the same time it's not tampering their determination,

because as they say, this is really all about their future, Linda.


KINCAID: It certainly is. Arwa Damon in Madrid, thank you. Well it is almost Election Day in the U.K. Voters are getting ready to decide the

future of their country. We'll see how the candidates are making a last minute push. Stay with us.


KINCAID: Welcome back in. And it is back to our top story, which is of course, the most crucial U.K. election in years. We are keeping an eye on

all the last minute campaigning as the candidates work to get their supporters out to the polls. Experts say there's a chance we could see a

hung parliament with no one party securing enough of the votes.

Boris Johnson warned that would bring even more paralysis to the U.K. Well, Robin Oakley is an expert in British politics and joins me now for today's

"Debrief". Good to see you Robin.


KINCAID: So the Prime Minister has promised to deliver Brexit by the end of January. That, of course, after he said he would leave with or without a

deal from the end of October. And of course, after he said he'd rather be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Why should voters believe him now?

OAKLEY: Well, that is the big point, Linda. Because this is becoming now all about trust and it has to be said that this British election has become

really an unpopularity contest. Because when you look at the poll ratings for the two main party leaders, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister's scores

minus six, which is bad enough for a Prime Minister.

But Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour opposition party has got the lowest poll rating in history at minus 42. So the question of whether

either of them can be taken on trust on their promises is a big part of how this election is going to turn out.


And nobody can make any real predictions about British politics at the moment. Everything we predicted over the last three years has turned out

not to happen or to happen in a different way.

We don't know how much tactical voting there will be. We don't know how much people at the last minute, particularly Boris Johnson has been trying

to get Labour voters who voted leave in the Referendum campaign, and who have traditionally been with the Labour Party, to turn to him.

And he's presented this as Parliament versus the people. He says Parliament has denied the chance of having Brexit. He says that the people - the

politicians have sneered at the people's values and neglected their voices. And he's presenting himself as the man who will do what the people want.

But, Labour, of course, on the other hand, say the key issue is not just Brexit. It is the whole economic situation in Britain, the degree of

poverty, the lack of jobs and opportunities. And, particularly, they want to save the much famed British National Health Service which they feel is

suffering under the Conservatives.

So they're trying to make the election about the NHS. Boris Johnson wants it to be about Brexit and it's certainly getting tighter as we get into the

final day.

KINCAID: It he is getting tighter, Robin, but as we have seen consistently Johnson is in front. How Why is Labour sticking with Jeremy Corbyn, because

he is the least popular head of a major party since polling began and polls shows he remains behind Johnson. I have to wonder why Labour didn't try to

find someone more electable.

OAKLEY: Well Jeremy Corbyn has twice been elected by the members of the Labour Party who are - and it has become in his time as leader and much

more left wing party, reflecting his personal views.

And I don't think there's very - there has been any chance - serious chance of Jeremy Corbyn being ejected by the Labour Party in the run up to this

election despite the fact that he is so unpopular with a lot of people in the country.

He has got the support of the core activists in his party and they dominate the Labour Party at the moment. In a way it's a sadness for British

politics. But both major parties have become rather narrow sects with the Conservative Party becoming now just the Brexit party really, a right wing

nationalist party, and the Labour Party being a full blooded socialist party planning to have the biggest tax and spend program that we've seen

since World War II.

And the more moderate, a range of opinions in both those major parties has rather been pushed to the sidelines and disappeared in the course of this

last Parliament and this election in particular, Linda.

KINCAID: So, in terms of what we could see play out tomorrow Robin, looking at the latest YouGov poll, it suggests that we could, in fact - it could be

close enough that we could see a hung parliament. Just explain the risk if that happens and your prediction going forward.

OAKLEY: Well, there is possibly a risk of a hung parliament, if you see that as a risk. Of course, a lot of people who want to see a second

Referendum on Brexit would say that's not a risk. Because if there is a hung parliament Boris Johnson has to win outright to be able to drive

through his Brexit plan, because he's got no other potential allies in the House of Commons. So he's got to have that majority to do it.

Jeremy Corbyn could conceivably in a hung parliament get into Number 10 Downing Street by combining with or having help from other parties like the

Scottish National Party, who will have a significant representation and the Liberal Democrats.

Although, the Liberal Democrats have said that they wouldn't put Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street. Well, maybe they would put somebody else

leading the Labour Party into Downing Street to get a certain amount of the economic program and a second Referendum.

So, there's much more at stake in a way for Boris Johnson. Jeremy Corbyn can advance in this election even if he doesn't massively increase his

number of seats. Certainly, there's no possibility that I can see of Jeremy Corbyn winning an outright majority. The question is a hung parliament or a

conservative majority.

At the moment, I would suggest that because Boris Johnson has been able to put the focus so much on Brexit and that he's been able to combine

virtually all and leave voting people in the country behind the conservatives that he's likely to emerge with a majority, but not a very

significant majority, somewhere around the region of 20.

KINCAID: We'll see if that prediction is right. Robin Oakley, you have a busy day tomorrow, no doubt. Thanks for staying up for us tonight.

OAKLEY: Thank you.

KINCAID: We're going to take a quick break. You're watching THE BRIEF. We'll be right back.



KINCAID: Well, in a blink of an eye or rather the ringing of a bell, the world of business was transformed today.


KINCAID: Just minutes after that clanging, Saudi Arabian oil giant, Aramco, became the biggest and most valuable listed company in the world. Shares

rocketed the maximum 10 percent permitted above the IPO value when they debuted on the Riyadh Stock Market today.

Aramco is now worth almost $1.9 trillion. And if that's hard to wrap your head around, consider this, Aramco eclipses the world's next most valuable

corporations Apple, Microsoft and Google's parent company Alphabet.

Well, Saudi Arabia is welcoming outside investors as it tries to diversify its oil dependent economy. It's aiming for a $2 trillion valuation for

Aramco, and some experts believe that could happen as soon as Thursday when the Riyadh Stock Market bell rings once more.

Well that is THE BRIEF. I'm Linda Kincaid. World Sport with Don Riddell is up next.