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China to Trump: One China Policy Not Negotiable; Mexico Pushes Back, Vows Retaliation against Trump Tariff; Facebook Curbing "Fake News" in Germany; Brexit Uncertainty Forces Companies to Leave U.K.; Deadly Cold Gripping Europe; Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Ends after 150 Year. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired January 16, 2016 - 01:00 ET
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ANNOUNCER: This is CNN BREAKING NEWS.
[01:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us. We're following several "BREAKING NEWS" stories for you this hour. First, let's go to Kyrgyzstan, where at least 30 people including several children were killed when a Turkish cargo jet crashed into a village. It was a Boeing 747, it crashed near the country's main airport. We're just getting this video of the crash site. You can see the debris -- rescuers on scene as well. Our Ian Lee joins us now from Istanbul, Turkey where he's monitoring the situation. Ian, what more can you tell us?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, right now, there is a large search and rescue operation underway, trying to find anyone who have been - who was hurt in this crash also recovering bodies. At least 30 people have been killed, a number of people injured, suffering from burns taken to local area hospitals. We're also hearing that 15 homes were destroyed when this Boeing 747 crashed about two miles from -- or two kilometres, rather, from the main international airport. We are hearing that there was a poor visibility at the time that may have contributed to the crash. But also, search crews are going to be looking for those black boxes to try to determine exactly what happened.
VANIER: Ian Lee reporting live from Istanbul in Turkey. Thank you very much, we appreciate the update. Of course, you'll continue to update us throughout the morning, thanks.
And also, breaking news that we're following out of South Korea, where prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for the heir to the Samsung empire. They believe that Lee Jae-Yong played a part in the country's massive corruption scandal and they've named him a suspect. CNN's Paula Hancock's joins me now from Seoul, South Korea. First of all Paula, can you give us the context here. Of course, this is part of a very large corruption scandal?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Cyril. Yes, this is a corruption scandal. It's actually led to lawmakers impeaching President Park Geun-Hye. And now, the other parent of Samsung, Jay Y. Lee, is also implicated prosecutors, wanting that arrest warrant for him. They say on charges of bribery, perjury, and embezzlement. Now, the allegations are that Samsung actually gave millions of
dollars to two foundations that were run by Trayson Shield (ph). This is a confidante Of President Park, the woman who is at the center of this corruption scandal. And the allegations are, is that he did that in order to curry favor, in order to gain approval for a merger that he was carrying out to try and solidify his succession plans.
Now, Samsung at this point has said that they don't have a comment. We've heard in the past That Jay Y. Lee has denied these charges. He was questioned for about 22 hours last week by prosecutors. Last month, he appeared on national television along with the heads of many other companies who were grilled by lawmakers. And then once again, he did deny any wrongdoing, Cyril.
VANIER: Samsung is a vast, sprawling, business empire. It's a big part of the South Korean economy. Just how big is this?
HANCOCKS: Well, one figure that is often quoted is that Samsung accounts for about 15 percent of South Korea's GDP. I mean, it is a massive company. It is probably the richest, in fact, it is the richest company, the richest family in South Korea. Arguably, one of the most powerful families in South Korea. So it is a significant move. The prosecutors feel they have enough evidence against the de facto leader of Samsung that they -- they want to have him arrested. So, we will hear on Wednesday -- we understand Wednesday morning is when the hearing will be held when Jay Y. Lee will appear in front of a judge and they will decide whether or not he should be detained and whether that arrest warrant should be approved.
Now, the reason for that arrest warrant being requested, according to prosecutors, as in keeping with Korean norms, is that they're concerned he is either a flight risk or he may try to and destroy evidence. This is the reason that they request an arrest warrant and that potentially is the reason why the Judge could approve this on Wednesday.
[01:05:01] VANIER: You know, the Forbes are calling Jay Y. Lee, one of the most powerful people in the world. How do people in South Korea feel about the scandal and the involvement of Samsung in the scandal?
HANCOCK: The feel reminds of people we've seen on the streets of Seoul, really shows how angry people are. In fact, it's not just Seoul, it's all around the country. We still have these massive candlelight vigils on Saturday night. They're not as big as they were, but you still got a lot of people coming out in the bitter cold here in the South Korea winter and showing their displeasure, not only now with President Park Geun-Hye, but also with the heads of the companies. There is this link between government and big companies in this country that many people are not happy with. They have seen in the past some heads of these companies -- these so-called Trebles, being arrested, being indicted, charged on charges of tax evasion, bribery, embezzlement.
And then they have also watched them being pardoned by former presidents because the presidents say that they are just too important to the nation's economy, and they need to be released. So there is a sense of two laws in South Korea - one, for the heads of these big companies; and one, for the rest of the public. And you can just imagine how the public feels about that.
VANIER: All right, thank you very much. Paula Hancocks reporting on the feeling in the streets of Seoul, South Korea. Thanks a lot.
With the U.S. Presidential Inauguration nomination just four days away, the head of the CIA is the latest target of Donald Trump's Twitter. On Fox News Sunday, CIA Director John Brennan urged the President-elect to appreciate what impact his words could have on national security. And he cautioned Trump about Moscow saying, he doesn't think that Trump has a full appreciation of Russia's capabilities and intentions. Now, that brought a swift response from the Donald Trump. He tweeted this, apparently, using Brennan's words, quote, "Outgoing CIA Chief John Brennan, blasts President-elect Donald Trump on Russia threat does not fully understand." Well, Trump added this, "Oh, really? Couldn't do much worse. Just look at Syria redline, Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes -- not good. Was this the leaker of fake news?" And the CIA tells CNN it has no comment on that. Earlier on Sunday, Brennan also slammed Trump's suggestion that the Intelligence Community was to blame for leaks.
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: What I do find outrageous is equating an Intelligence Community with Nazi Germany. I do take great umbrage at that. And there is no basis for Mr. Trump to point fingers at the Intelligence Community for leaking information that was already available publicly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Not at all. The President-elect is calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to let more than a million refugees and migrants into Germany, "catastrophic". Trump spoke about immigration trade in Syria with the Times of London and Germany's Build Newspaper. He said that once he's president, there will be extreme security vetting to tighten U.S. borders. And he said he thinks that more countries will follow Britain and leave the European Union.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think Brexit is going to end up being a good thing. But I predicted the heat I took was unbelievable. And I said, because people don't want to have other people coming in and destroying their country. And you know, with this country, we're going to go very strong borders from the day I get in. One - first, borders I'm going to start on day one.
Countries want their own identity and the U.K. wanted its own identity. But I do believe this, if they hadn't been forced to take in all of the refugees, so many, with all the problems that it all entails, I think that you wouldn't have a Brexit. It probably could have worked out.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VANIER: The President-elect also spoke about his views of both the German Chancellor and Russia's President and whether he trusts either one of them. More on that, and what else Trump had to say, from CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, this was a wide-ranging interview. And going into unchartered territory it certainly seems. I mean, he was asked -- Donald Trump was asked, "Who do you trust more the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel or the Russian President, Vladamir Putin?" And he said, "Well actually, I trust them both pretty much the same although that may change over time." He said Angela Merkel made catastrophic mistakes by allowing so many illegals into Germany here. We think he means refugees, more than a million coming into Germany and (INAUDIBLE) said that's why he thought Britain had left the European Union because Britain was opposed to having so many refugees, as he said, forced on the country that they had to take. But in Germany, he also talked about the imbalance that he sees in the auto trade between Germany and the United States. He said, look, on Fifth Avenue, you see lots of Mercedes, you don't see many Chevrolets in Germany. And he said there has to be a better balance, it has to be a two-way street and indicated German car makers may pay significant tariffs to sell their cars into the United States.
[01:10:02] on Vladamir Putin, he said that there was an opportunity that he felt to make a deal and they would be trying to make a deal in the early part of his presidency. A deal that would reduce the number of nuclear weapons that both countries have. And part of that deal would be the United States dropping its sanctions against Russia -- unchartered territory here for European leaders, because of course, Europe as well has sanctions on Russia like the United States put in place for, you know, for Russia's annexing of Crimea, for going into Ukraine, for its actions in Syria. In the United States' case, the hacking of the DNC computers in part of the electoral process. So, there's going to be a sense for European leaders, as they look at this interview that they can really tell that this is going to be a significant departure from President Obama's leadership. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
VANIER: It's worth noting that it was Michael Gove who secured the exclusive interview with Trump at The Times. And that's significant because he co-chaired the campaign for Brexit --that's for Britain to leave the E.U. The President-elect has also met with the leading Brexit tier, British politician Nigel Farage, former leader of UKIP. However, he is yet to sit down face-to-face with British Prime Minister Theresa May. Although, he says that will happen once he's in office.
A growing number of Democrats plan to skip Trump's inauguration this week. Some decided to boycott the event after a feud broke out between Trump and civil rights icon, John Lewis. The Congressman said he didn't see Trump as a legitimate president because of Russia's alleged meddling in the election. Trump then tweeted that Lewis is all talk and no action. On Sunday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence defended Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE-PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Look, Donald Trump won this election square and fair. 30 out of 50 states, including Georgia, more counties than any republican candidate since Ronald Reagan. And to hear John Lewis, a man that I served with, and that I respect, to question the legitimacy of the election, and to say that Donald Trump will not be a legitimate president -- it was deeply disappointing to me. And also, to hear that he was not going to attend the inauguration this Friday. I hope he reconsiders both statements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Donald Trump has told The Washington Post that he will replace Obamacare with health insurance for all. The democratic lawmakers and their supporters are fighting back. They're holding rallies across the country in support to the Landmark Healthcare Law. Here is CNN's Jessica Schneider with more.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We saw these sorts of rallies taking center stage throughout the campaign. Now, it appears they're extending into Donald Trump's presidency. 40 rallies throughout the country today extending from Maine to California, hundreds of people gathering to send Republicans a message telling republicans that they should not repeal and replace Obamacare.
In fact, many people throughout the country, sharing their stories about the Affordable Care Act, how it saved their lives, also saved them massive amounts of money. Right here in Michigan, Senator Bernie Sanders was leading the charge here. This is a state that Democrats have not lost since 1998. Of course, this year, it went to Donald Trump. I asked senator sanders why come back here to Michigan? Why talk to the people - the working-class people here as well, when he could have been in Vermont building a rally -- his home state.
BERNIE SANDERS, FORMER UNITED STATES DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. Trump when he ran for president, promised the people of Michigan and the people of America that he was a different type of republican. He was not going to cut social security, Medicare or Medicaid. So part of what today is about, is reminding Mr. Trump that he better keep his promises.
SCHNEIDER: President-elect Donald Trump had said repeatedly that he wants an immediately repeal and replace of Obamacare. House Speaker Paul Ryan says it will be a simultaneous repeal and replace. But Democrats are skeptical saying that they have not seen any sort of plan from the Republicans. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Warren, Michigan.
VANIER: Smugglers threatened their lives. You will be hearing the story of two Syrians who tried to escape the terror in East Aleppo when we come back.
And a bold escape. Captive violent weekend in Brazil's prisons. We'll look at what's behind the inmates fighting, just ahead.
[01:15:00] VANIER: With its economy in free fall, Venezuela is once again extending the use of the 100-bolivar note. At his State of the Union Address on Sunday, Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, said the bills are now good until February 20th. They were supposed to be retired in December, but protests broke out when replacement currency did not reach many banks and ATMs. Mr. Maduro now says that new and higher denominations went into circulation on Monday. This is important because amidst spiraling inflation, the 100-bolivar note is worth less than 15 cents now. It costs about 500 bolivars just to buy a portion of bread.
A bold escape is the latest in a rash of violent prison battles in Brazil. More than two dozen inmates are now on the run. Rafael Romo, has the latest on this.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Within a 24-hour period, there were three separate incidents at prisons in Brazil, one deadly. At least 26 prisoners were killed Saturday, in Brazil's fifth deadly prison riot since the beginning of the year. It happened in the Alcacuz Prison, the largest penitentiary in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, the country's Northeast. Brazil's news agency reports most of the dead were decapitated. The riot lasted more than 14 hours before authorities were able to regain control, Sunday morning. Authorities said six inmates responsible for the riot have been identified and are being moved to other prisons.
There's been at least six deadly riots since the beginning of the year that have left more than 100 prisoners dead. The root of the problem is rivalries between primal gangs that are fighting for control inside the prisons, something authorities have acknowledged. According to its Justice Ministry, Brazil has the fourth largest prison population in the world with more than 622,000 people behind bars, many of them in overcrowded conditions.
[01:20:08] Also Sunday, 28 prisoners escaped from a jail in the Curitiba Region of Southern Brazil by blasting a hole through a wall. Two prisoners died in a shootout with police. Rafael Romo, CNN.
VANIER: Diplomats from some 70 countries gathered in Paris on Sunday. They were trying to restart peace talks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and they urged both sides to support a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was dismissive of the talks. He called them useless. Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, said he welcomed them. But the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the PLO, have this caveat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN LIBERATION ORGANIZATION: As it turned out, this was just a proclamation of statements of intent, of commitment, to get a two-state solution. It was likely watered down because of several interventions to try to avoid country mechanisms or deadlines and to just call on both parties to go back to negotiations. The issue is not negotiations per se, the issue is what is the basis of the negotiations and what is the behavior of Israel as an occupying party.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The conference convening today in Paris is a futile conference. It was coordinated between the French and the Palestinians. It aims to force conditions on Israel in conflict with our national interests. It further just insists peace because it hardens the Palestinians positions and helps them avoid direct negotiations without pre- conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Israel is concerned that the recommendations could turn into a U.N. Security Council Resolution during the last week of the Obama administration.
Alright, let's go and see what's happening in Syria now. Fighting there is intensifying, north of the capital, Damascus. That area has become a major battlefront after the government retook Aleppo. The Syrian Army is trying to restore a main water supply for Damascus.
Meanwhile, Turkey and Russia have agreed to invite the U.S. to the next round of peace talks, scheduled for next week. However, it's unclear if the incoming Trump administration will accept that invitation.
Residents of East Aleppo fled their homes last month to save their lives. But most are still recovering from a traumatic escape. CNN's Arwa Damon spoke to two citizen journalists who were forced to flee and they're now across the border in Turkey. One of them asked that we blur his face in order to protect his identity. And we should also tell you that Arwa's report has some video you may find disturbing.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To those behind the cameras, every strike, every heartbreak, every rescue in Aleppo seared their soul and their psyche. Hazar was trapped under a collapsed building.
HAZAR, CITIZEN JOURNALIST (through translator): This girl and I saw she was alive and screaming, "Mom and dad", I started to cry. As a journalist, I wanted to leave the camera and help. But I can't forget her even now.
DAMON: Thaer and Mojahed wanted to be the last to leave Aleppo.
MOJAHED, CITIZEN JOURNALIST (through translator): When I saw this bus, like any besieged person, I felt disappointment because the international community was able to perform a miracle, but this miracle was a crime. The miracle was saving 300,000 people from death but the crime was forcing them out of their homes. DAMON: For the two close friends, it would end up being the ordeal of
trying to get here to Turkey that they say would prove to be the most terrifying. The pair had paid smugglers who took them dangerously close to regime territory, refused to answer their questions and taunted them.
MOJAHED: In this moment, we thought of the worst possible options. They could hand us over to the regime, they could kill us, they could sell our organs, they could traffic us. The last thing we thought could happen is that we would cross to Turkey safely.
DAMON: And when they got into Turkey, the smuggling ring trying to extort even more money.
HAZAR: When we entered Antakya, the smugglers started messaging Mojahed and threatening him and saying, "You think that you have escaped? No, we will still get you."
DAMON: In their threadbare apartment, the two are constantly online, constantly following the news of Syria. For them, this is surreal.
MOJAHED: What is normal for me is if I look at a building, I imagine that it is collapsed. I look at my room, imagine it is shelled.
DAMON: Before they smuggled here, they were able to briefly reunite with their families.
That moment when you saw your parents for the first time after years, what did you say to them?
[01:25:00] MOJAHED: I told her this may be the last time I see you. We are leaving and you are staying behind.
DAMON: It was not just a goodbye to their family. It was a goodbye to the city and country they love. Arwa Damon, CNN Gaziantep, Turkey.
VANIER: When we come back, China quickly responds to Donald Trump's suggestion that he might change the longstanding One China policy, the latest from Beijing.
Plus, Mexico warns of swift retaliation after Trump threatens a stiff border tax on Mexican goods coming into the U.S.
VANIER: Welcome back, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's take a look at those headlines. At least 37 people, including children, were killed when a Turkish cargo jet crashed into a village in Kyrgyzstan. An official says the Boeing 747 crashed due to poor visibility near an airport, north of the capital. The plane was supposed to make a stop there, on its way from Hong Kong to Istanbul.
South Korean prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Samsung's Vice-Chairman, Jae Y. Lee on bribery charges. Lee has been named the suspect in the country's massive corruption scandal. He denied any wrongdoing when he faced lawmakers last month.
And CIA Director John Brennan is Donald Trump's latest Twitter target. On Fox News, Brennan urged the President-elect to trust the Intelligence Community, also suggesting that Trump did not fully understand Russia's capabilities or intentions. Well, Trump tweeted this and he apparently used Brennan's words, quote, "Outgoing CIA Chief John Brennan blasts President-elect Trump -
[01:30:52] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: China is rejecting Donald Trump's suggestion the so-called One China policy could be changed once the president-elect takes office. Under that policy, both China and Taiwan agree there is only One China, which includes the island of Taiwan. They disagree which government is the legitimate ruler of China. As a result, Beijing views Taiwan as a break-away province. The U.S. only has formal relations with Beijing, not with Taipei. China's foreign ministry says the policy is the political foundations of relations with the United States and the U.S. has acknowledged that policy since 1979.
For the very latest on reaction in Beijing, let's bring in Matt Rivers.
Matt, Donald Trump, it seems, is very comfortable setting up what could be a very confrontational relationship with Beijing.
MATT RIVERS, CNN AISA-PACIFIC EDITOR: Yeah, you know, this relationship between the incoming administration and Beijing has certainly gotten off to a rocky start, because of issues surrounding the One China policy. The president-elect has now signaled numerous times he would be willing to examine the U.S. recognition of the One China policy during what he said would be trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.
The One China policy is a very sensitive issue in Beijing because Beijing views Taiwan as an issue of natural sovereignty. So, what you hear from officials in Beijing, every time Donald Trump says this, you get a strong reaction. And what you hear from Chinese officials is they will not negotiate over the One China policy. They refuse and say Taiwan is part of China and that has been the bedrock of U.S./China diplomatic policy for decades.
That is a high-brow response from the Chinese government. What you see in state-run media is a little bit stronger of a reaction that's from media controlled by the Communist Party. We woke up in Beijing to an editorial in a tabloid and state-run newspaper called "The Global Times." I can read part of it. They wrote, quote, "We were simply angry initially, but now we can't help but laugh at this U.S. leader-in-waiting. The Americans who voted for him and promoted him too quickly. His amateurish remarks are shocking." So, strong words from "The Global times."
But the big question is, Cyril, if Donald Trump were to abandon the One China policy, how would China respond? They do have options. They could do things, like make life harder for U.S. businesses based in China, or devaluing their currency, making Chinese exports that much more competitive. And if you go to the U.N., China is a permanent member of the U.S. Security Council. They have veto power. Could they stand in the way of a U.S. agenda at the United Nations? These are all options Beijing has on the table. But again, we're talking about a hypothetical situation in a post-One China policy world -- Cyril?
VANIER: Matt, Donald Trump seems to want to get a "better deal" -- his words, not mine -- out the relationship with China. What could he get? Is there any give in that relationship?
RIVERS: What Donald Trump will tell you is the U.S. lost out to China because of what he calls unfair trade practices. The United States does run a trade deficit to China. So, what Donald Trump would want is things like taking surplus steel, for example, out of global steel markets. He's accused China of dumping steel at artificially low prices in world markets and would probably go after China in that respect. And he accuses China of devaluing its currency. Many people say China is struggling to prop up its currency right now. But Donald Trump insists it is keeping it artificially low to make its exports more competitive. There's disagreement over that. But those are two areas where you expect Trump to try to get some game. How willing Beijing would be to go for those games, to negotiate over those kinds of things, we're not sure yet.
VANIER: Matt Rivers, reporting live from Beijing. Thank you very much for the insights.
And Donald Trump is doubling down on his threat to tax companies manufacturing in Mexico and then selling their good in the U.S. Mexico is pushing back and vowing to retaliate.
CNN's Layla Santiago has more.
[01:35:13] LAYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very measured economic response from Mexico. The economic minister says that if the U.S. puts down this border tax, they will respond immediately. How they'll respond is unclear. What is clear is both countries have a lot at stake. President-elect Trump wants this proposed tax to save the millions of U.S. jobs from moving to Mexico. But millions of U.S. jobs, six million, depend on free trade with Mexico according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
I asked one of Mexico's top diplomats to the U.S. what this 35 percent tariff could mean? He told me I should ask someone else.
UNIDENTIFIED MEXICAN TOP DIPLOMAT: Add this to the American consumer who has paid lower prices for many different problems, not just cars, if they agree to pay more expensive products with this 35 percent tariff, that would be the final consequence of this. We need to think in a different way. That's the world not just the U.S.
SANTIAGO: NAFTA, the deal that eliminated the tax on a lot of goods coming in and out of the U.S. from Mexico is what President Trump calls one of the worst deals in history. Mexico said they're willing to come back to the table to discuss things that are not currently in the deal, e-commerce, migration as well as energy. They want to do so with the understanding that both country need each other right now.
Layla Santiago, CNN, Mexico City.
VANIER: When we come back, after the break, they have spent more than a century in the U.K., but one company says they can no longer afford to stay in Britain after Brexit. Their story after the break.
And why the end of the road for Ringling Brothers Circus. Why the famed circus is shutting down.
[01:40:27] VANIER: Welcome back. Facebook has launched an effort to curb the spread of phony news for its German users.
CNN Money's senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, explains.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: Very interesting timing for this Facebook announcement. Just a month ago, the social network started experimenting with fact checking right on the website. Here in the United States these tests have been going on with a few partners including the associated press, "ABC News" and Politifact.
The way it works is this, if I post a story on my Facebook page that's completely made up that consists of a bogus website lying to its readers, then there is going to be a flag below the story. It shows up on my wall but it won't show up as prominently in other people's news feed. If it does, there will be a flag at the bottom of the story that says, "This article has been disputed by third party fact checkers." And there's a link either the Associated Press or some other news room that checked it out.
That has been going on in the U.S. a few weeks. Now, that same idea is coming to Germany. Facebook on Sunday announcing Germany is the second country that will be doing this experiment. Essentially, Facebook is turning this feature on just for users in Germany and it's already on for users in the United States.
The timing is -- like I said, Germany is preparing for a federal election later this year. There has been concern in the country about the rise, the plague that is fake news. There have been alarms raised even by the country's intelligence service with some pointing the finger at Russia, alleging there is an attempt already to destabilize the country's elections, even though the election itself is not scheduled until September.
I asked Facebook about the timing and they're not directly linking this to the elections or to concerns about fake news. They say their partners in Germany were ready and that's why Germany is the next country ready for the test of fake news warning labels.
We'll see how it goes and how widely it spreads. Facebook says it wants to turn this feature on in many different parts of the world as it continues to find new fact-checking partners to work with.
VANIER: Also in Europe, British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to give her most detailed speech to date on Brexit on Tuesday. British media say May's remarks will call for a hard Brexit, leading to the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the single market and European Customs Union. Downing Street refuses to comment on this claim. May said the U.K. will trigger Article 50 by the end of March and that will put exit negotiations in motion with the 27-member E.U. states.
The uncertainly of Brexit is forcing some companies to leave the U.K. to keep their businesses afloat.
CNN's Nina dos Santos tells us about one company that decided their only option was to bid Britain farewell.
ELLIOTT PICKETT, DIRECTOR, SMITHY'S: So, we cater for every main dress-up event there is throughout the year.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than a century, Smithy's has been lifting the mood with his costumes.
PICKETT: Top Gun here and Bay Watch. Here's a really great retro license for this one year in and year out.
Selling 26 million items a year to 42 countries.
(on camera): Like this suit.
PICKETT: Very much. I wore that once or twice myself.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): But one thing that is no laughing matter is Brexit, which worries Director Elliott Pickett so much he is moving his family firms to the Netherlands and Germany.
PICKETT: Over one-third of our sells go to the European Union. If we did nothing, we could have a catastrophe on our hands. We employee 250 people. 170 people are in Gainsborough. Their jobs would be on the line if we didn't do something about this.
DOS SANTOS: Even before it happens, Brexit is already taking its toll. The government's unclear strategy over access to the single market has pummeled the pound, forcing Smithy's to raise prices and it has strained its relationship with suppliers.
(on camera): How angry are you?
PICKETT: Completely livid. There seems to be a lack of understanding of the impact of what will happen. What this business and other businesses in this country crying out for is certainty. This economy is going to be decimated by the impact of the currency dislodging against other currencies by a lack of access to the single market. I don't think the M.P.s, the politicians have the first clue of what they're doing here. All the signals are the European Union will give us an absolute kicking in these negotiations and we will come out with a really lousy deal. I'm afraid we're not hanging around to wait with our fingers crossed. We're taking action now.
[01:45:08] DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Smithy's is one of the world's biggest players in its field and among one of the largest employers in this area of northern England. Which means if businesses like these leave Britain, that could end up being a nightmare for the economy.
Nina dos Santos, CNN, Gainsborough, England.
VANIER: For days, much of Europe has been gripped by deadly cold. We will be talking about that.
Our Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with the story.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know very well, eastern Europe, how long it's become cold, we know many have been deadly and the homeless exposed to the elements. The perspective for much of January is high pressure and camping out on the edge of the con interpret allowing the air to fly over it, directly over eastern Europe. We're getting the coldest air ever in 120 years. It takes you a couple days and the wind chill that will remain well below zero working your way down to the French area, you think of the body temperature, right at 96.6 Fahrenheit, people's cores have been dropping to 35 or 36. Your shivers and fine motor skills. Once you get your core temperature below 33 degrees Celsius, the body stops and impaired judgments, you see these examples, in Budapest, it's beginning to freeze over.
Cold air from parts of Russia as well. And places that produce snow showers and expands over the southwest of Europe where typically they stave off most of winter and get in on the action. The best we can do, it gets colder through the afternoon. It does not want to get over the seasonal valleys this time of year. Climatologically, it is the coldest area across the western hemisphere. This is a tourist attraction, ice covered vines, what you're looking at, and people get to see ice caves beneath them. A very cool site capitalizing on the extreme cold in parts of China.
VANIER: Some positive news to come out of that.
JAVAHERI: Positive news, that's good.
VANIER: Pedram Javaheri, meteorologist at the CNN International Weather Center, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
JAVAHERI: Thank for having me.
VANIER: Always a pleasure to have you.
VANIER: The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus is set to have its last show. How a major animal rights group responded to the news, coming up after the break.
[01:52:32] VANIER: It was billed as the greatest show on earth. After nearly 150 years, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is coming to a close.
Fredricka Whitfield has more on what finally forced the show to shutter.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the end of the road for the greatest show on earth. In just four months, the curtain falls on the one and one Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, an iconic roadshow that defined the circus experiment for hundreds of children.
In the end, CEO Kenneth Feld said the circus was too expensive to produce. His family owned the show the last 50 years. Ticket sales were declining and the circus' fate was likely sealed last year when they retired the elephant show. Feld said then it was inevitable.
KENNETH FELD, CEO, RINGLING BROTHERS AND BARNUM & BAILEY CIRCUS: There is a saying, "You can't fight city hall." We found that to be the case in this situation.
WHITFIELD: For years, the elephants and their dance routines were a big draw for circus fans, but not at all popular for animal rights groups, which deplored their treatment and repeatedly criticized, picketed and sued the company for its treatment of anima animals.
In 2011, the circus paid a fine of $12 million for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act and then retired the elephants to a conservation center in Florida.
After the closure was announced, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals declared victory, while admitting its war against other wild animal exhibitors, including marine amusement parks like SeaWorld, is far from over.
The last performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be May 21 in Uniondale, New York.
Fredricka Whitfield, CNN, Atlanta.
VANIER: The late-night comedy show "Saturday Night Live" went after, no surprise, Donald Trump. This time it mocked the president-elect's first news conference in months. You will remember how Trump las lashed out at CNN and "Buzzfeed" for reporting Russian operatives having come compromising information about him.
Here's "SNL's" take on that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR & COMEDIAN: I love this press. I love the press. I respect the press.
Let's take questions from you.
UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: I'm from "Buzzfeed."
BALDWIN: No, no, no, not you "Buzzfeed."
You're a pile of garbage and I took your quiz yesterday. I'll tell you now, I am not a Joey. I'm a Rachel.
Who else has a question? I love the press.
UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: Yes, Jim Acosta, CNN.
[01:55:13] BALDWIN: No, not CNN either. You're overrated. You're fake news. I tried to watch last night. It was a crazy blonde woman spouting lies.
UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: That was Kellyanne Conway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Trump did tweet about the sketch saying, "'NBC News' is bad, but 'Saturday Night Live' is the worst of NBC. Not funny. Cast is terrible. Always a complete hit job. Really bad television."
That wraps up this hour of CNN "NEWSROOM. Thanks for watching. I'm Cyril Vanier.
The news continues with George Howell and Rosemary Church. You'll be in good hands. Right after a quick break.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [02:00:12] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: At least 37 are dead after a