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Emmanuel Macron Caves In and Offers Minimum Wage Rise After Yellow Vest Protests Spark Violence across France; Bail Hearing For

December 12, 2018

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<Date: December 11, 2018>

<Time: 09:00>

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<Head: Emmanuel Macron Caves In and Offers Minimum Wage Rise After

Yellow Vest Protests Spark Violence across France; Bail Hearing For

CFO To Resume In Coming Hours; U.S. Military Responds To Russia

Aggression; Israel Clear Mines Near Jesus Baptismal Site. Aired 2-3a

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<Sect: News; International>

<Time: 02:00>

<End: 02:59>

Mrs. May canceled a vote on the deal scheduled for Tuesday after it became clear parliament would not go forth. We are live in Downing Street where CNN’s Hadas Gold is standing by. Good to see you, Hadas. So what’s this all going to mean for Theresa May’s leadership as she heads back to Brussels to renegotiate her Brexit deal despite being told by E.U. leaders that negotiations are over?

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Right. Rosemary, she’s on this diplomatic dash you could call it around Europe. She’s actually supposed to get back here to London and to Downing Street tonight. But during the day she’s going to try and get at least some sort of superficial concessions anything really out of the European leaders that will appease some of these members of parliament who are against her deal and as you noted yesterday, she pulled that vote at the last minute.

I mean I have to tell you. Up until the last moment, Downing Street was telling reporters that the vote was on. Everything was going on as normal and then it was a dramatic 11th hour pull. And really what this is all about, she just does not have the numbers in front of her to get the deal over the line. And not only is this a political crisis for the Brexit deal, it’s a political crisis for Theresa May herself and her leadership.

Had she lost, it would almost guarantee been the beginning of the end of her own period as prime minister. And now, she’s trying just get enough members on board to support her. We’ve already starting to head calls for no confidence vote. There’s been several members of parliament who have called for the vote. Now, the opposition, the Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has indicated that they want to wait on that to see what Theresa May gets out of these European leaders whether that will be enough.

But as you noted, Europe has said they’re done negotiating that it’s now Britain’s problem. It’s not their problem any longer. We’ll have wait and see what Theresa May brings back from Europe and also when this vote will be this big vote, is it going to be before Christmas? Is it going to be after Christmas or is it even going to be up until the last minute until March when Britain is legally supposed to leave the European Union?

[02:35:01] CHURCH: Yes. I mean Theresa May has bought herself some more time but it appears she is facing the inevitable, isn’t she? We’re looking at two possible scenarios facing May right now, a possible second referendum if she can’t come back with some better deal or a general election. How can May survive either one of those scenarios?

GOLD: Well, listen, Theresa May has survived a lot in her time in leadership. I have to say she’s one of the most resilient world leaders we have seen on the stage at this moment. But there has been so many other times where people thought she was nearing the end that she was going to lose her spot and somebody else is going to take over. We just haven’t seen that and I think that’s a testament to what a difficult situation she has found herself in.

I was actually out outside of London over the past few days talking to members of the public and even if they hate Brexit, even if they are let’s say pro-Brexit but hate the deal, they’ve all commend Theresa May for the work that she has done. The question is whether she can actually pull it through enough to survive the next few days, the next few weeks, and get this Brexit deal over the line otherwise we’ll face a hard Brexit. And as for that second referendum, Theresa May has said over and over and over again as long as she is in leadership, there will not be a second referendum.

The question is if somebody else then comes in, will there then be a second vote?

CHURCH: She has certainly been a survivor so far. We will see if she can sustain that. Hadas Gold, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

GOLD: Thanks. CHURCH: Well, Turkey says it wants justice for Jamal Khashoggi. Yet, it is cracking down on its own journalists. Istanbul’s chief prosecutor wants prison sentences of up to 15 years for five journalists. They’re accused of aiding the organization of Fethullah Gulen this according to state media. Now, Turkey blames the U.S.- based cleric for a failed coup attempt in 2016. These journalists work for one of the few Turkish publications openly critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

For the latest, CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh joins us now live from Istanbul. So Jomana, ironically, Turkey targeting its own journalists while at the same time calling for justice in relation to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. What more are you learning about these five Turkish journalists and the charges and sentences that they face right now?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Rosemary, when it comes to Turkey’s position in relation to the case of Jamal Khashoggi while some Turkish officials would come out and say that this is about an attack on the journalist, the killing of a journalist, and standing up for freedom of expression. This is about a lot more for Turkey. This was an attack on its sovereignty as they see it and they see it as an attack by a rival in this region.

So it’s a lot more than just about a journalist in this case. Now, when it comes to these five journalists that you mentioned according to the state news agency here, they say that the chief prosecute for Istanbul is seeking a prolonged prison sentence for five -- for those five journalists that include two columnists and three editors of this anti- -- this opposition newspaper, a secular newspaper. They’re accused of aiding the Gulen Movement as you mentioned that movement that is accused of being behind the failed coup attempt back in 2016.

And of course, since that coup attempt, Rosemary, there has been a purge, tens of thousands of people have been either fired from their jobs, others put behind bars including dozens and dozens of journalists accused of either being members of the Gulen Movement or supporting the group. And in this case the chief prosecutor is accusing these five journalists of aiding the Gulen Ovement and they’re set to go on trial on January the 18th.

CHURCH: Right. And what evidence does Turkey have that these journalists did anything wrong? And what will likely happen to them if the past is any guide?

KARADSHEH: Well, we’re going to have to wait and see what evidence they have, what their indictments say. This is something that we have been working on this morning. Our producer spoke to one of those columnists a short time ago who sounded surprised at this. He is a popular journalist in this country. He called these accusations ridiculous and absurd. So we’ll have to wait and see, Rosemary, what the prosecution has.

But, of course, Turkey in the past has been accused of using this failed coup attempt. President Erdogan has been accused of this by rights groups, by journalism watch dogs around the world abusing this failed coup attempt as a pretext to go after journalists in this country and to use that -- to silence dissent. And, of course, this is coming at a time where we’re seeing also sorts of movements from Turkey to try and repair relations with the west, with the United States.

Of course, you know, the -- we saw some tensions in this relationship between whether it’s the United States or Europe following that failed coup attempt after a lot of criticism against Turkey for the crackdown and what these nations say was human rights abuses carried out by the Turkish state.

[02:40:20] So but there have been signs in recent weeks that they’re trying to mend their relations with the west. So very interesting timing again for these charges bring -- being brought against these journalists and it’s not the first time, Rosemary. Just a few weeks ago, another journalist was sentenced today 19 years in prison for similar -- for similar charges. So we’ll have to wait and see what happens on January the 18th.

CHURCH: Yes. We’ll be watching this very closely. Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much for that live report. Appreciate it. And my colleague Michael Holmes spoke early with CNN Global Affairs Analyst Jason Rezaian. He’s also a Washington Post writer. Rezaian was imprisoned for a year and a half in Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You were jailed in Iran. I mean when you think about -- when you think about Turkey and these journalists in particular at the moment of the most recent case, I personally as a journalist for 40 years, I can’t imagine the courage it would take to work for a newspaper in Turkey today that is critical of the government.

JASON REZAIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: No. And I think that that’s the exact message that Erdogan is trying to sends to journalists in his country. Don’t do this. Don’t do this work. Stand aside and stay out of trouble. But, fortunately, there are always brave souls that are willing to inform the public and in the name of freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And that was Jason Rezaian speaking to my colleague Michael Holmes. Well, she is at the center of a diplomatic fight between the United States and China. Now, a top Huawei executive is headed back to court in Canada. Why her lawyer says she would be let out on house arrest? That is coming up in just a moment. And the U.S. has a message for Vladimir Putin, enough is enough. We will take you to the hotspots where the U.S. military is now sending that message loud and clear.

Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:44:54] CHURCH: A bail hearing will resume in the coming hours for the CFO of Chinese telecom giant, Huawei.

Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver, Canada on December 1st. She is accused of trying to help the company dodge U.S. sanctions on Iran. And the U.S. wants her extradited.

For the latest, CNN’s Ivan Watson is live in Hong Kong. He joins us now. Good to see you, Ivan. So, what more are you learning about the charges Meng Wanzhou is facing right now, and how does her lawyer plan to fight this?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, we’ve -- with the bail hearing now going into its third day, we’ve learned quite a bit more about Meng Wanzhou. This executive at this Chinese tech giant, who had a relatively low public profile. And we’ve learned a little bit more about the case that the New York District Attorney has filed against her and why she’s in the situation facing extradition from Canada to the U.S.

First of all, the defense attorneys are trying to get her out of jail on bail in Canada. And they have offered a million dollars bail. They have offered to provide her with 24-hour security, an ankle bracelet, and have proposed that the fact that she owns two homes in Vancouver. And that her husband as guarantors that she would not be a flight risk.

And despite all of that, the judge was quite skeptical and we’ve learned more about the woman herself that she’s had some fairly serious health issues such as she survived thyroid cancer. A 46-year- old mother of four, who seems to have been married at least three times. And the value of her homes, $16.5 million, and some $5 million, respectively, just in Vancouver. So, someone of considerable wealth.

When it comes to the charges against her, she’s, of course, being accused of fraud. Of somehow evading sanctions to provide technology to Iran. Well, in the course of the documents that were proposed, that were submitted by her defense, they showed a PowerPoint presentation dating back to 2013 from Huawei, which tries to explain how the company does business and complies with sanctions from the U.S., from the United Nations, from the European Union and its relations with what was a subsidiary company, Sky-Comm, and vowing that Huawei had sold all its shares in Sky-Comm.

So, just by submitting that, that gives us a little bit more of an indication of the kind of case that the New York District Attorney has filed against Meng and Huawei. Of course, of both parties say, they’re innocent of all these allegations.

CHURCH: All right. We watch to see what the outcome is in the end and what to impact it has on the relationship between the United States and China. Thanks so much for that, Ivan. Appreciate it.

Well, Malaysia’s sovereign world fund was meant to make the lives of average Malaysians better. But the country’s former prime minister was once again arrested on Monday in connection with a scandal that allegedly saw billions of dollars siphoned out of government coffers. Now, this time, officials say Najib Razak tried to tamper with the final audit report of the fund known as 1MDB. Sections of the report were apparently deleted.

Meanwhile, authorities are hunting for the financier they accused of being a central figure in the scandal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRADLEY HOPE, CO-AUTHOR, BILLION DOLLAR WHALE: Jurors believed to be hiding in China. He’s been there since late 2015 and also around Asia. And it’s believed that he has protection from the Chinese government. He’s played this sort of crucial role as an intermediary between Malaysia and China at a time when Malaysia was very vulnerable by the very scandal he created.

He kind of created an opening for China to take a more decisive role in Malaysian affairs and shifting them towards China.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: The United States is sending a message to Vladimir Putin in a language he understands. Military might. That message is we have had enough of Russia’s aggressive moves in Ukraine and Japan. But the question remains how will Putin respond? Brian Todd, reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. military is signaling it’s fed up with Vladimir Putin’s aggression. His warships rammed a Ukrainian vessel. His fighter jets buzzed American ships and planes. And he sent a spy ship from Havana to Rome, America’s East Coast, gathering intelligence, all in recent months.

[02:49:57] MAJ. GEN. JAMES MARKS (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: He is clearly sending a message to our president that, “I have freedom of movement and I can do what I want.” And now we’re sending the message, “Look, we’ve had enough. We thought we might be able to communicate with you, talk you down from the ledge. That apparently is not working. Now, we are going to take action.

TODD: American sea and air forces pushing back on Putin with three actions. An American guided missile destroyer has sailed near a Russian controlled area in the Sea of Japan, where Russia and Japan are disputing a group of islands.

A Navy official telling CNN, it’s the first time a U.S. warship has done a strategic maneuver against the Russians in that area since the Cold War. Also, a U.S. Air Force surveillance plane has conducted an overflight of Ukraine.

MARKS: We’re looking at Russian forces that are already in the Ukraine. We’re collecting intelligence.

TODD: And another American Navy ship is about to steam into the Black Sea, off Ukraine. MICHAEL CARPENTER, FORMER DIRECTOR FOR RUSSIA, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: The U.S. is sailing in the Black Sea to demonstrate that this is not Putin’s lake. That he does not own the waters of the Black Sea.

TODD: The American Black Sea maneuver and the overflight of Ukraine, or at least, partially in response to the Russian ships’ confrontation with Ukrainian boats in the Kerch Strait off Crimea in late November.

An area that Putin invaded and annexed. And which analysts say could now be one errant bullet away from a major conflict.

MARKS: This region is now the latest page in a new chapter in the Cold War.

TODD: Experts say, America’s recent diplomatic finger-wagging over Putin’s military moves doesn’t work with the former KGB colonel. And it’s likely that U.S. officials felt they had to hit him with the language he understands.

CARPENTER: Putin only responds when there are consequences to his actions. Military consequences, economic consequences, diplomatic consequences. When things flow from his actions, then, he takes notice.

TODD: But some analysts don’t expect these American military moves to stop Putin from being aggressive. They say he could respond by taking it out as he often does on Ukraine. Possibly harassing Ukrainian commercial shipping.

CARPENTER: I think, Putin’s next move is to take full control of the Kerch Strait, and to exert dominance in the Sea of Azov. He wants to effectively blockade or economically starve Ukraine.

TODD: One of the dangers ahead in this high-stakes game of military maneuvers, analysts worry about miscommunication between U.S. and Russian forces on land, sea, or air. Then, a possible miscalculation. Ships or planes coming too close to each other, someone firing. Then, a full-scale escalation. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Well, up next on CNN NEWSROOM. For decades, churches near one of Christianity’s holiest sites were inaccessible but that’s finally about to change. We will explain why when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Well, Beyonce took center stage at the most lavish Indian wedding of the year. The singer performed at the pre-wedding festivities of Isha Ambani, the daughter of India’s wealthiest man.

And Beyonce shared photos of herself in a bejeweled gown. Look at it there from the high-profile event where she treated guests including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Bollywood A-listers and other stars to a private concert. Beyonce’s performance is just a part of what’s being called the big fat Indian wedding. A play on the popular 2002 film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. With several days of extravagant celebrations leading up to the nuptials on Wednesday.

And finally, this hour, a piece of history rediscovered in the aftermath of the of the1967 Six-Day War. Israel planted mines along its border with Jordan. More than 50 years later, those instruments of death are finally being removed. And at long last, allowing access to churches close to one of the holiest places in Christianity. Ian Lee has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[02:55:33] IAN LEE, CNN FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Stepping into this church is to step back in time. The sanctuary abandoned over 50 years ago. But step here last year, and it could be on a landmine. Israel laid thousands along the border with Jordan after the 1967 War including at seven churches.

These bullet holes are just a reminder of the fighting that took place here. And while this area has been cleared of landmines, you don’t have to go far, maybe 200-300 meters, and you’re in another minefield.

Over the past year, the Israeli government and British NGO, HALO have cleared the land around three churches. A testament to the peace with Jordan that now prevails.

But what makes these churches particularly important lies just upstream, what is believed to be the baptismal site of Jesus. One of the holiest places in Christianity nearly 800 thousand pilgrims visit every year.

How certain are you that you got all the landmines?

MARCEL AVIV, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL MINE ACTION AUTHORITY, ISRAEL: Almost 100 percent. Though I cannot say 100 percent, but if I can walk here, my children can walk here. So, everybody can walk after we have finished the job here.

LEE: Roughly 5,000 landmines remain, and an unknown amount of unexploded grenades, mortars, and other explosives. The work is slow, and painstaking as demonstrated here. They aim to finish by the end of next year.

Another problem frankly put, landmines move. A recent rainstorm came through here. And you can see where the water flowed from the hillside. The only problem is that this is a landmine field, and that water can carry landmines and deposit them in recently cleared areas.

Once completed, these churches hope to turn this moonscape of death back into a garden of life. Ian Lee, CNN, in the West Bank.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: And thank you so much for joining us. I’m Rosemary Church, and I’ll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You’re watching CNN, stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(Byline: Rosemary Church, Hadas Gold, Jomana Karadsheh, Ivan Watson, Brian Todd, Ian Lee)

(Guest: Jean Bogais)

(High: France’s President Emmanuel Macron has caved in and promised to raise the country’s minimum wage after violent protests. Responding to weeks of demonstrations, Mr. Macron also vowed to raise tax concessions so as to end an “economic and social state of emergency”. Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, is due back in a Canadian court on Monday where she’ll fight for her freedom with the help of pressure from Beijing against prosecutors’ claims she cannot be trusted. The U.S. military responded this week to what it calls Russia’s unlawful and destabilizing actions in Ukraine and elsewhere by pushing back against Moscow on the seas and in the air. Efforts to clear thousands of landmines and other ordnance around the site where many believe Jesus was baptized have reached a milestone and officials allowed a rare glimpse Sunday of abandoned churches there.)

(Spec: France; Emmanuel Macron; Saudi Arabia; Turkey; Jamal Khashoggi; Washington Post; Maria Butina; Spy; Russia; Theresa May; Brexit; United Kingdom; European Union; Brussels; Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Fethullah Gulen; Jason Rezaian; Meng Wanzho; Huawei; Canada; Sky-Comm; China; Najib Razak; 1MBD; Malaysia; Vladimir Putin; Ukraine; Black Sea; Kerch Strait; Sea of Azov; Beyonce; Isha Ambani; Israel; Jordan)

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