Related topics

Huawei’s Heiress Arrested in Canada; Brexit Voters Wants Results; Yemen Hoping for Peace; No Deal Done at OPEC; France No

December 7, 2018



<Date: December 7, 2018>

<Time: 09:00>

<Tran: 120720CN.V11>

<Type: SHOW>

<Head: Huawei’s Heiress Arrested in Canada; Brexit Voters Wants

Results; Yemen Hoping for Peace; No Deal Done at OPEC; France No

Stranger to Protests. Aired 3-4a ET - Part 1>

<Sect: News; International>

<Time: 03:00>

<End: 03:59>


[03:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: Trade tensions, and a market roller coaster after United States has a prominent Chinese tech official arrested.

Manafort and Cohen documents, new filings from the special counsel’s probe coming out on Friday. What we may learn about the investigation.

And a glimmer of hope for war torn Yemen. With the country facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, peace talks are under way between Iranian backed rebels and the Saudi supported government.

Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers all around the world. I’m George Howell. The CNN Newsroom starts right now.

Around the world, good day to you. We begin with what we could learn on Friday about why a Chinese tech executive was arrested at the request of the U.S. on a bail here. It takes place in Canada.

Meng Wanzhou is the CFO of the Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies. A Canadian court impose a news blackout on the case but there’s no question the U.S. wants her extradited. The news sent Wall Street into a tailspin.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones dropped 785 points before regaining most of it to close down just 79 points.

CNN’s Matt Rivers following the story live in Beijing. Matt, the timing of this that seems the most circumspect to see a senior Chinese executive arrested.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there’s no doubt about it. I mean, this isn’t happening in a vacuum. The fact that this is would like arresting if China arrested a senior executive at Apple, for example. That’s how big Huawei is to China.

And so, the fact that this is happening is really going to put a damper, if you will, on the ongoing trade negotiations. George, remember that trade war that’s ongoing between the U.S. and China, well, this isn’t going to help those negotiations.

Just a couple of days ago, that President Xi of China and President Trump sat down in Argentina in Buenos Aires at the G20 where they agreed on this 90-day framework to try and hammer out a deal on trade.

Well, then this happened. So, that is certainly not going to make those negotiations any easier.

Now, in terms of exactly why Meng Wanzhou was arrested, you know, there’s a -- what’s called a publication ban in Canada right now so we can’t discuss the specific charges that she’s facing.

However, here’s what we do know. The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and others earlier this year reported that Huawei was under investigation by the Department of Justice in the United States for violating sanctions that the United States have placed on Iran.

So, basically, what they’re saying, is that they’re investigating Huawei for doing business with Iran that would violate U.S. law. Amongst the rest might have something to do with that.

And the fact that the United States is willing to go so far as to try and extradite her, ask the Canadians to arrest her and then bring her back to face trial or charges unspecified at this point in a New York City courtroom is a massive escalation. It’s something the Chinese are not happy with. They have already called for her release.

But where it all goes from here, George, we’re not really sure it’s going to affect those trade negotiations. But do both sides let this one arrest derail this broader talks? It’s a possibility.

HOWELL: Matt Rivers following the story live for us in Beijing. Matt, thank you.

Most outside of China may not be familiar with Meng Wanzhou or appreciate her role in China’s tech industry.

CNN’s Michael Holmes gives us a closer look now.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A sometimes elusive figure, Meng Wanzhou has often been seen as the likely next leader of one of China’s largest technology companies and the heiress to an empire. The 46-year-old began in 1993 as a secretary of Huawei, a multi-billion- dollar telecommunications giant founded by her father.

At the time of her arrest on Saturday in Canada, Meng had risen to chief financial officer and deputy chair. Requested by the U.S., her surprise detention has China incensed demanding more answers.


GENG SHUANG, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY (through translator): The Chinese side made it clear our solemn positions to the U.S. and Canada and ask them to clarify the reason of the detention and to release the detainee immediately.


HOLMES: It’s not the first time China has gone on the defense for Huawei which has suffered a series of setbacks this year, largely over increasing worries it might be influenced by the Chinese state.


SEN. ANGUS KING, (I) MAINE: There’s a grave concern in this country in Europe and other countries that embedding Huawei equipment in our next generation of the 5G generation of cellular, for example, creates a really serious national security risk.

[03:05:02] I don’t think this -- this detention has anything to do with that. But that’s an overarching issue in the background here.


HOLMES: In February, the U.S. intelligence agencies warned that Huawei’s phones and those of its rival ZTE, pose a security threat to Americans.

In August, Australia banned Huawei’s 5G technology there. And on Wednesday, a U.K. telecom company said it would no longer buy the firm’s products or technology.

Huawei has long denied any government interference in its business but some have also scrutinized the background of Huawei’s elusive founder and Meng’s father, Ren Zhengfei. For nearly a decade, he helped build China’s communications network while working as a civil engineer with the China People’s Liberation Army.

Much like her father, Meng who also goes by first names Sabrina and Kathy has largely kept a low profile. Little is known about her outside of Huawei’s web site and limited media appearances.

After earning a master’s degree in 1998, she has held financial jobs at the company. In the most senior position of her uncle, brother and stepmother who all work there, she was considered the obvious choice to take the helm. But her fate and that of the global tech giant may be uncertain.

Michael Holmes, CNN.

HOWELL: Michael, thank you. U.S. oil prices fell more than 2 percent on Thursday after OPEC members failed to reach an agreement on supply cuts during their first of meetings taking place in Vienna. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister added more uncertainty, saying he’s not confident that a deal can be reached by Friday.

CNN’s Emerging Markets editor John Defterios is joining us from Vienna where OPEC leaders are meeting again on Friday. And John, does this have more to do than just oil?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes, I think so, George. This is a case where oil and geopolitics are clashing. let’s put it that way. They came in with a pretty simple mandate and that is to try to take some oil off the market to lift prices because we had a $25 fall in October and November. In fact, the month of November is the worst in oil since the global financial crisis in 2008. And everybody was optimistic coming in. Because you saw the meeting between Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and Vladimir Putin in Argentina last weekend, their discussion of keeping this declaration between the two major parties intact and that they would agree on what level to cut here in Vienna.

This has been complicated by the fact that U.S. President Donald Trump has been leaning on Saudi Arabia to keep the supplies steady with oil prices low. So, the three major oil exporters of the world today, being Saudi Arabia and Russia and the United States don’t see eye-to- eye. So, they met all day yesterday with a simple plan to try to take a million barrels a day off the market. More modest effort to do so and they could not agree.

So, in the last 15 minutes we’ve seen the different ministers coming through the front door here, trying to iron out their differences, they’re pretty subtle. And then we have the Russian minister coming back after a meeting with Vladimir Putin trying to get a final agreement, probably in the next three or four hours but they came unstuck last night.

HOWELL: John, you say ministers coming together and trying to iron out differences. But the grand question here, what will it take to get a deal done?

DEFTERIOS: Well, you know, it’s a key question, George. Because when we came in we were looking from a -- for a bold statement from OPEC of a cut of 1.3 million barrels a day to send a signal to the market after $25 fall, we want to rebalance supply and demand.

The U.S. is serving as a wedge into the negotiations. This is the reality, particularly because of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the support that President Trump has given to Mohammed bin Salman.

And there’s a fly in the ointment. The wild card here is Iran. The U.S. leaning on Iran, of course, with sanctions. The Iranians are suggesting if we are going to a deal let’s make it a robust deal. Why are we going with the U.S. push here for a smaller cut? That’s not what we’re looking for and that’s exactly, according to sources, is what happened last night.

Saudi Arabia and Russia trying to find an agreement, Iran suggesting they want something a bit bolder because they are facing sanctions and the U.S. on the phone lobbying Saudi Arabia to where it is. So, it is complex. But they’re trying to get an agreement by the end of business today at the very latest, George.

HOWELL: John Defterios following the story for us in Vienna. John, thank you. We’ll keep in touch with you.

Now to the conflict in Yemen, the opposing sides of the fight are holding peace talks in Sweden. These are the first direct discussions between the Saudi-led Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels in two years.

[03:09:56] On Thursday, a confidence building gesture, each side agreed to free thousands of prisoners. The U.N. envoy for Yemen warns it is a hopeful start but it’s not time to be overly optimistic.

Following the story, our senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman live in Beirut, Lebanon. Good to have you with us, Ben. So, the simple fact that talks are happening surely positive. We’ve seen prisoner swaps, trust building that is building. But are these talks expected to result in any major breakthroughs here?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Major breakthroughs, George, no. But really it is significant that they’re being held at all. Remember that last September, talks were supposed to be held but the Houthi delegation never showed up. Their fear was that to get to the -- the talks, that they were going to have to fly through Saudi controlled air space and were afraid they might not make either make it or perhaps not make it back to Yemen after the talks.

And it’s important to stress that according to Martin Griffiths, the U.N. special envoy for Yemen, these are not peace negotiations. He’s calling them consultations. And that we understand that there is no part of the program -- there’s going to be no face-to-face talks between the U.N. recognized government based in Aidan and the Houthis who control Sana’a, the capital of Yemen.

But as I said, it’s significant that they’re speaking at all. Now you discussed these confidence building measures, this perhaps 5,000 prisoners swap between the two sides, the Houthis want the Sana’a airport to be completely opened again. At the moment, only flights that are approved by the Saudi-led coalition are allowed to land in Sana’a.

So, those are small measures that can be taken as they talk but certainly given the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen some sort of breakthrough is desperately needed.

Now one of the points that they are discussing is the possibility of putting Hudayda, that port on the Red Sea controlled by the Houthis but under siege by the Saudi-led coalition, putting that under U.N. control.

It’s important to keep in mind that about 70 percent of the humanitarian aid that enters Yemen comes through that port and any disruption of that flow of aid would be catastrophic in a country where according to some estimates, 14 million people are in danger of starvation. George.

HOWELL: Ben Wedeman following the story. Of course, we’ll continue to watch these talks. Ben, thank you for the report.

Now to New York City where police there have given the all clear. This after CNN’s offices and studios at the Time-Warner Center were evacuated due to a bomb threat just a short time ago. The caller claimed that five devices were planted inside that building but a floor by floor search police found nothing suspicious.

Northern Ireland has been no stranger to division. But now comes Brexit, when we return, how people there view Theresa May’s latest deal. Plus, how France plans to keep another weekend of yellow vests protest from becoming violent. Stay with us.


HOWELL: Welcome back. Comedian Kevin Hart says that he’s stepping down from the opportunity of a life-time as the host of the Academy Awards in February. Hart made that announcement after tweets protested from 2009 to 2011 came to light, in them he made offensive remarks about the LGBT community.

Hart eventually apologized on Twitter saying this. “I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.”

Now to the United Kingdom and Brexit, the Prime Minister Theresa May got a much-needed boost for her plan to leave the E.U. for Britain’s finance minister. Many lawmakers there oppose the deal that she brokered with E.U. dealers. But the finance minister told parliament it’s simply not realistic to renegotiate.


PHILIP HAMMOND, BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER: Mr. Speaker, I have observed this process at close quarters for two and half years. And I’m absolutely clear about one thing. This deal is the best deal to exit the E.U. that is available or that is going to be available.

The idea that there’s an option of renegotiating at the 11th hour is simply a delusion. We need to be honest with ourselves, the alternative to this deal are no deal or no Brexit.


HOWELL: Keeping in mind, lawmakers there are mired in a five-day debate over the prime minister’s plan.

Let’s get the very latest now from our Erin McLaughlin who is on the streets of Belfast. And Erin, once again, Northern Ireland came up as a possible obstacle here.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That’s right. It’s looking like the obstacle what could happen to Northern Ireland that so-called backstop solution, is really looking like the reason that it’s increasingly unlikely that Theresa May will be able to get that critical Brexit legislation through parliament next week.

But speaking to people here in Belfast and talking to them, they say that they’re confused by all of this. Some are angry but business leaders I’ve been talking to say they see opportunity.


MCLAUGHLIN: Belfast is a city that knows division. And when it comes to Brexit, there are new fissuers over Theresa May’s deal. Though many say they’re more confused than anything else. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, like I understood it at the start of the Brexit thing but now I just don’t understand what’s happening anymore, so.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it’s difficult.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To understand some but not at all. And to say and I think the part that they don’t understand much themselves either. So, as I say it’s very difficult for such only like ourselves, you know.

MCLAUGHLIN: Isn’t that concerning?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is concerning, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I mean, it does. So, that’s the world we’re living, isn’t it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It’s concerning. We don’t know where we’re going.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don’t know what the future will hold.

MCLAUGHLIN: There are those with a more definitive view. They say the controversial backstop drafter to prevent the return of a hard border means weakening the union between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, keeping us more in the E.U. than with Britain.

MCLAUGHLIN: And it bothers you?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we’re British. We’re not Irish.

MCLAUGHLIN: The Democratic Unionist Party feels the same. The DUP holds the keys to Theresa May’s minority government balance to vote down her deal next week.



NIGEL DODDS, DEPUTY LEADER, DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY: Northern Ireland will treat Great Britain as a third country. How can we possibly stand here and recommend this deal?



MCLAUGHLIN: But where the DUP sees a threat, brewer Niall McMullan sees opportunity. In fact, he debated the backstop means Northern Irish businesses will be able to trade both in the E.U. and the U.K. friction-free.

NIALL MCMULLAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HERCULES BREWING COMPANY: As I say, we could actually benefit from inward investment, you know, being in this unique situation where we can play with both markets.

[03:20:01] MCLAUGHLIN: So, it must be surreal to see argument against the backstop that you see as a potential opportunity.

MCMULLAN: Yes. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me.

MCLAUGHLIN: the city of Belfast is known relative peace for the past 20 years. With Brexit there’s newfound uncertainty and plenty of confusion.


MCLAUGHLIN: And the latest attempt according to British media reports to resolve this legislative impasse is a tabling of an amendment that would give the U.K. parliament more of a say over when that backstop is triggered.

But we just recently heard from the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster who said that that solution simply won’t cut it. So, the impasse continues, George.

HOWELL: Where do things go from here? Erin Mclaughlin live for us in Belfast. Erin, thank you for the report.

We’ve already heard warnings from the Bank of England and some major firms if the country crashes out of Brexit with no deal. But there are some companies that see opportunity in a hard Brexit.

Our Anna Stewart has details on that.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: It’s the sound of routine, far from the shouting in Westminster. Since 1961, David Nieper has made classic British clothing. Trousers, coats and nightgowns for ladies of a certain age.


CHRISTOPHER NIEPER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DAVID NIEPER LTD.: We have a mature customer base. And they buy directly from the designer’s work which are here behind me.


STEWART: Britain’s major manufacturers those in aerospace and automotive have warned of calamity, if parliament doesn’t pass Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week. Here in Derbyshire the management likely disagrees. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIEPER: If there was referendum tomorrow, I would vote the same way. And I would encourage our M.P. to vote against the withdrawal agreement next week in parliament.


STEWART: The sales are up nearly 15 percent since the 2016 referendum. Mostly thanks to weaker sterling.


NIEPER: They predicted the economy would go down, it went up. The stock market should go down, it went up. All of their official predictions have been wrong.


STEWART: Most here aren’t clear what parliament is even voting on.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The deal that’s been proposed right now not a lot of people know what it is. We don’t know what it is. We don’t know what’s written in the papers. Everybody is falling out with everybody else in parliament.


STEWART: The business may look like a throwback from an earlier era but it generates about $20 million in annual revenue, a third from customers in Europe.


STEWART: Now if there were tariffs, if we had a hard Brexit that’s going to cost you more. Are you going to pass that cost on to the consumer?

NIEPER: No. We won’t pass it on. It won’t make a difference.

STEWART: So, you see this as an opportunity?

NIEPER: It’s a catalyst for change. And it’s just what Britain needs, is a shot of adrenaline to start producing in Britain again.

STEWART: And that could be bad news for its European suppliers. David Nieper gets its yarn and printed cloth from Deveaux, a fabric company in the foothills of the alps. That company says a no deal Brexit could sink a significant U.K. business.

And David Nieper may deliver the first blow. Its invested millions in this new fabric factory to make more at home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NIEPER: One of the most important things for us is that we have continuity of supply chain. And so, we’ve taken a decision to bring more of the supply chain from Europe into the U.K.


STEWART: A homegrown firm hoping the prime minister’s deal will falls apart at the seams.

Anna Stewart, CNN, Derbyshire.

HOWELL: Anna, thank you. Now to France. Thousands of troops will be deployed on the streets of Paris on Saturday and many across the country ahead of another round of yellow vests protests.

The government there is hoping to get out ahead of new outbreaks of violence. Just a week ago, there were riots. Cars were torched and national monuments vandalized and dozens of people injured in clashes with police.

For several weeks now, Protesters have demanded economic reforms starting with relief from rising fuel prices. French authorities say troublemakers aren’t legitimate protesters and they will be ready to deal with them they say.


EDOUARD PHILIPPE, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We’re facing people who are not here to protest but to smash. We want to have the means to not give them free rein.

We have mobilized a considerable amount of forces, 8,000 in Paris which is much more than last Saturday and in total for France. Not 65,000 as announced earlier, but 89,000. So, it is truly an exceptional mobilization.


[03:24:58] HOWELL: The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and other famous landmarks will be closed during these protests. Now, Paris is no stranger to this type of public anger.

Our Jim Bittermann reports the yellow vests reminds lawmakers there of a violent social movement 50 years ago.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Forty-year- old Emmanuel Macron is the first president of France with no direct memory of what happened on the streets here in May of 1968. But many of those around the young leader recall graphically what took place back then and the consequences.

On the surface, the violent scenes of the protest that have taken place here looked a lot like the scenes from 50 years ago.

The street barricades, burning cars, running battles with police armed with tear gas and protesters armed with cobblestones. All are signs in France that public anger has reached a boiling point. That people had enough.

Laurent Joffrin today editor of the left-leaning newspaper Liberation was a university student in 1968 and confronting the police on the streets.

LAURENT JOFFRIN, EDITOR, LIBERATION NEWSPAPER: It’s France, you know. France is a country where you like rebellions. Demonstrations. So, that’s the cultural thing. And the fact that the government is lost. It was the same in May ’68, in front of a revolt that didn’t (Inaudible) at all and don’t understand in the first place.


BITTERMANN: While the ’68 protest started in the universities and today it’s began with higher prices at the gas pumps, both then and now, localize demonstrations quickly spread throughout the country. Common to both as well is a growing sense that the government was having a difficult time getting a handle on the situation as more and more groups joined in.

But a well-known French journalist who was a researcher for NBC News back in 1968 says there are major differences today.


CHRISTINE OCKRENT, FRENCH JOURNALIST: First of all, the internet, the social media. The fact that this movement is amorphous, no leaders. The very few people who come out immediately receive threats from the others. So, it’s very dangerous. The other dimension is that trade unions are completely out. Political parties are completely out.


BITTERMANN: Just like 1968, though, the demands of the protesters have broadened as the protests have worn on. Demonstrators demanding more and more and just like in ’68, some want the president to resign even though he was democratically elected just 18 months ago.

President Macron’s government has now made compromises but still trying to identify a leader of the grassroots yellow vest movement to accept him, still looking for an exit strategy.

Back in 1968, President Charles de Gaulle faced a country paralyzed in protest. He decided to suddenly leave the country without telling anybody where he was going or when he would come back. After a day of political uncertainty and high drama, he returned to make major concessions to the protesters, dissolved the parliament and called for a new election. Something that just strengthen his hand.

Macron is a committed follower of de Gaulle and like de Gaulle, he’s had to make major concession to defuse the threat from the streets. But just in 1968, it may take even more to avoid further chaos.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

HOWELL: Friday may be a big, big day in the Russia investigation. Why we will be watching for two court filings and a hearing.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta. I’m George Howell with the headlines we are following for you this hour. The war insides in Yemen’s conflict are holding peace talks in Sweden. These are the first direct discussions between the Saudi led Yemeni government and Houthi rebels in two years. But the U.N. envoy warns they would be overly optimistic he says, talks are only consultations, not yet the beginning of negotiations.

Friday’s bail hearing in Vancouver Canada, could help shed light on why a top Chinese tech executive was arrested. And why do United States wants her extradited? Meng Wanzhou, is the CFO of the Chinese tech giant Huawei technologies. Canadian court imposed the news blackout, but months ago it was reported the company was being investigated for possible violations of Iran sanctions.

The U.S. comedian Kevin Hart, he says he is dropping out, stepping out from a chance to host the Academy Awards in February. The actor made the announcement after tweets that he wrote from 2009 to 2011 came back to light. In those tweets he made offensive remarks against the LGBT community. Hart apologized, said that his goal was to bring people together.

We are learning some surprising new details about what was going on behind the scenes in the days before Robert Mueller was appointed as Special Counsel in the Russia investigation. Our senior White House correspondent, Pamela Brown has more for you.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, CNN has learn any hectic eight day after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein and top FBI officials viewed Trump as a leader who needed to be rein in and they discuss a range of options. Ultimately then acting FBI director, Andrew McCabe to the extraordinary step of opening, obstruction of justice, probe, even before Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed. This is what the several sources told us. This was an idea that the FBI had previously considered.

Update hourly