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North Korea Launches Another Ballistic Missile; Merkel: Europe Unable to Rely on "Others" Anymore; More Arrests in Manchester as City Tries to Return to Daily Life; Deadly Monsoon Hits Sri Lanka; "Freddy Brexit" Van Rides Again Ahead of Vote. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 29, 2017 - 02:00   ET




[02:00:36] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier, from the CNN NEWSROOM in Atlanta.

All right. So let's start the show in the Korean peninsula. North Korea test-fired yet another ballistic missile, this one a short-range ballistic missile that traveled 453 kilometers some six minutes and landed off the coast of Japan.

We're going to give you a look at the map, see what's going on. It was fired off the east coast of North Korea, and right now these are the missile ranges for North Korea. The short-range missiles that put, as you can see, South Korea and Japan within range of its fire power, that includes tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers in that area. This, however, is the range it is looking to achieve, with possibly an ICBM, an intercontinental ballistic missile. That is not the case yet. North Korea can't do that, but that would be a game-changer. That's why, of course, everyone is looking at all these missile tests to see what we can learn from them.

For now, the Japanese prime minister is promising concrete action.


SHINZO ABE, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translation): We can never tolerate North Korea's continued provocation, ignoring the repeated warnings by the international community. We have launched a firm protest against North Korea. As we agreed at the G-7, the North Korea issue is the priority. In order to deter North Korea, we will take concrete actions together with the United States. We will maintain high vigilance in coordination with South Korea and the international community and take all possible measures to secure the safety of the people of Japan.


VANIER: Joining us now for more on this, Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea; and David McKenzie in Beijing.

Paula, how dangerous was that missile test for Japan? PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Cyril, Japan

itself said that it was extremely problematic. The chief secretary, Suga (ph), pointing out that there are a lot of ships in that area. There are aircraft and obviously North Korea does not give any warning before it carries out these kinds of missile launches. So certainly, from Japan's point of view, they are very concerned at what has happened. We also heard from the South Koreans, the foreign ministry saying it is a severe threat to the peace and stability not only of the Korean peninsula but also the rest of the world. And of course, we have to bear in mind as well there is a new president here in South Korea, Moon Jae-in, the liberal president who has been very open in how he has pro-dialogue, pro-engagement with North Korea. But since he has taken power about three weeks ago, there has effectively been a missile launch by North Korea every single week he has been in power. So it is a very difficult situation for the South Korean government to be in when you have a president who said that he wants to engage with North Korea. But of course, every week they are having to condemn Pyongyang for these launches -- Cyril?

VANIER: Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea, thank you very much.

Let me turn to David McKenzie in Beijing.

David, first of all, we heard that the Japanese prime minister wants concrete action, but we also know that there's not a very wide range of options for the international community. What can the international community do at this stage?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this stage there's been a lot of talk of possibly increasing or strengthening sanctions against North Korea. That would happen at the U.N. Security Council, of course. So that could be an option for the Japanese and the U.S. but it's likely at this stage, at least, that China might push back on that option. China has generally said that for every action by North Korea, there should be an appropriate reaction. And while you've seen the Japanese, the South Koreans, and the Americans in the case of this test coming out swiftly to condemn it, you've had no real reaction from the Chinese. It is a holiday here in China, but it's also in keeping with the Chinese and the Chinese government of being a lot more muted in their response to provocations from North Korea. They want negotiations, talks to start. But with each missile test, certainly the prospect of that seems to dim.

[02:04:58] VANIER: David McKenzie in Beijing, thank you very much.

Let me turn to John Delury, in Seoul, South Korea. He's an associate professor at Yonsei University, a graduate school of international studies.

You just heard this idea of negotiations that has been floated by North Korea. Do you believe that North Korea wants to negotiate in good faith?

JOHN DELURY, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER ON U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS & ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, YONSEI UNIVERSITY: Well, this has been a perennial question, and there's a real division and view of whether you can strike a deal with the North Koreans. But I think if you look at the record, you know, going back over the last 20, 25 years, actually there have been periods where in particular the United States government has effectively gotten deals out North Korea in a pragmatic spirit. I think that's the part we're not seeing thus far. We're not really seeing a diplomatic effort to talk to Pyongyang, to figure out, you know, what they could be interested in, to at least stop this accelerated pace of almost weekly missile testing. And as your reporters have commented, you know, this is actually something that the new South Korean government would like to see happen as well. So it's not just the Chinese and the Russians who want to see dialogue and diplomacy.

VANIER: You mentioned the accelerated pace of missile testing, and it's true it's been happening almost every week for the past month now. Is there -- is it a foregone conclusion that North Korea will at some point be able to acquire an ICBM, an intercontinental ballistic missile, and that's to say deliver a nuclear warhead to, say, the United States.

DELURY: You know, it used to be we talked about will they ever get a reliable nuclear device, a warhead. Then we talked about whether they could ever reliably weaponize it, miniaturize it. Now we talk about whether they could ever get this ICBM. I think that the bigger point here is that there's no end to the sorts of capabilities that they can develop. So right now, the Americans, in particular, are fixated on the ICBM issue because that seems to be some sort of game-changer where North Korea could directly strike the United States. But I guarantee you if and when they do acquire an ICBM, then we'll move on to the next set of capabilities that they could get. So, you know, this raises the whole question of we need to step back from these weekly tests, and we need to think about what's the fundamental problem here and how are we going to solve it rather than fixate on what's this next capability they're working on.

VANIER: Well, should the U.S. and North Korea's neighbors, Japan, South Korea, would they be better served by actually just accepting that North Korea is going to acquire that technology and preparing for that?

DELURY: Yeah, I don't think passivity and fatalism is a good policy here. But we do need a certain degree of realism. You know, the Obama administration painted themselves into a corner because they basically said, we're not going to talk to Kim Jong-Un because if we talk to him, that is recognizing him as a nuclear power, and North Korea as a nuclear state. Well, you don't have to do that. You know, there's something in between just giving up and recognizing them as a nuclear state. That's at one end of the spectrum. But, you know, you've got other possibilities where you do start a dialogue, where you find out what kinds of interim deals can be made. Myself and other experts have advised considering a freeze, you know, and the North Koreans originally proposed this. The Chinese have re-upped it, where the North Koreans would agree to freeze at least this testing, both of their missile capabilities and of their nuclear weaponry. In the context of that freeze, we can start a broader process involving all the parties in the region and the United States to, again, figure out how to change some of these underlying dynamics of hostility, provocation, counter-provocation that we've been stuck in for far too long.

VANIER: What makes you think that North Korea would agree to freeze what is a rapidly developing and rapidly improving nuclear and missile apparatus? Because there appears to be this widespread consensus that North Korea really wants this. They're not going to bargain this technology away. They're going to go to the end, as far as they can. So why would they freeze? Why would they stop?

DELURY: Well, that's a great question. But first of all, again, there really is no end. These capabilities just go and go and go. Second point is insofar as this is about a deterrent, which I think at root it is -- North Korea wants to feel secure and safe, particularly from American military attack. You know, they do have a lot of ways to deter that even short of this ICBM capability. And now the third point is as they get close to this line, you could argue that they reach a kind of maximum leverage, you know, because there is something really in it for the Americans to say, ok, you know, as President Trump tweeted, it won't happen. We don't want this to happen. Now, what do we need to do to get you to stop here where you are? That's the basis of a pragmatic negotiation. But what your question raises is the flip side. The problem here, what is the United States willing to do in order to make it persuasive and make it compelling for Kim Jong-Un to stop where he is? So far, we're just trying sanctions, sanctions, more sanctions. And I think we've seen over eight years of that approach where it's gotten us. Not very far. We need to start thinking about what are the carrots here to add to the sticks that would make it compelling for Kim Jong-Un to stop where he is.

[02:10:38] VANIER: All right. John Delury, thank you very much.

You say we've seen economic sanctions. They're in place right now. We've seen attempts at dialogues that lasted years. We've seen flexing the military muscle. That happens every year with the joint military exercises with South Korea. So far, North Korea's nuclear program and missile testing is undeterred.

John Delury, in Seoul, thank you very much.

DELURY: Thank you.

VANIER: Let's turn to U.S. politics now. Now that President Trump is back at the White House, attention is back on the Russia investigation. He held staff meetings after the latest report that his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, tried to establish back- channel communications with Russia during the transition. In a statement to "The New York Times," Mr. Trump defended Kushner, saying this: "Jared is doing a great job for the country. I have total confidence in him. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person."

Mr. Trump was pretty quiet on Twitter during his foreign trip, but now that he's back, one of his former presidential rivals said it's time for the president to stop the tweeting.


RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The last nine days, hopefully, have showed the president that if you stay on message, you stick to the script, you focus on policy, you drive home the messages that you talked about during the campaign and that people in America are excited about, you can be a great president. If you tweet every day and complain about the media and complain about how you're being treated, you're going to be sidetracked, and you're not going to get your deals done.


VANIER: But Mr. Trump is not taking that advice. He tweeted on Sunday, "The fake news media works hard at disparaging and demeaning my use of social media because they don't want America to hear the real story."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it's time that Europeans become more self-reliant and fight for their own future. She didn't mention President Trump by name but she said recent international summits have shown her that Europe can no longer just depend on the U.S. and other longtime allies.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translation): The times when we could completely count on others, they are over to a certain extent. I've experienced this in the last few days, and that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands.


VANIER: Joining us now for more on this is Scott Lucas, a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham in England.

Scott, how seriously are you taking these comments by the most powerful leader in Europe?

SCOTT LUCUS, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND: Very seriously. We have built up for a number of years where Europe has asked what its relationship is with the United States in the post-Cold War world. Relations were very strained under George W. Bush. They got better under Barack Obama. But now you have the Trump wild card. It was not only that America was saying, look, we can no longer rely on the U.S. In certain matters. It was also that France's new president, Emmanuel Macron, very pointedly during the summits over the weekend and then yesterday said he's not going to be led by Trump either. And the two most powerful countries in Europe economically and politically are France and Germany. And if they decide there needs to be an independent line, for example, on Russia, where they do not trust Trump, if they believe there needs to be an independent line on economic development as Trump becomes protectionist, I think we're going to see one of the most significant shifts since the Cold War. VANIER: This could be a moment of reckoning for Europe if they decide

they no longer have or can no longer count on the security umbrella of the United States and they have to go it alone both militarily and in terms of diplomacy, what could this do to Europe?

LUCAS: Well, I think it may be an opportunity for Europe, even while it carries great challenges. Europe of course is also facing the imminent departure of the United Kingdom, at least within the next couple years because of Brexit. But rather than portending the breakup of the European Union as some Trump associates have said, I think it's actually redoubled the focus of France, Germany, and many other European countries to redefine what Europe stands for. It's no longer the case that it simply was to be anti-Communist or anti- Soviet. But ironically as the United States or at least Trump appears to be going wobbly regarding how to handle Russia, Europe may say, we need to take the lead now in basically securing our own continent. This could change if Trump leaves office. It may be more of a temporary thing. But I think right now we're seeing a very gradual reconsideration in Europe that says, we no longer have to simply follow the United States. We need to be in charge of our own future.

[02:15:15] VANIER: But in a sense, that would be a win for Mr. Trump. That's what he's advocating, that Europe as well as other parts of the world should be doing essentially more of their own job of protecting themselves.

LUCAS: That's rather a superficial line that Trump puts. He says for example with very little understanding of the issue, oh, they should simply just give more money to NATO. The most telling moment last weekend was when Trump did not stand by Europe. He actually said -- would not acknowledge the collective self-defense under NATO's Article V. Now, when you don't stand alongside Europe, you're not saying, be more independent. You're not saying, work with us. You're pushing them aside, and Europeans recognize that. So, no, I don't think this is part of the calculated Trump strategy.

VANIER: Scott Lucas, in Birmingham, thank you very much for coming on the show. Appreciate it.

LUCAS: Thank you.

VANIER: We're going to take a short break. When we come back, the investigation into the Manchester terror attack continues as the city in mourning tries to get back to daily life. We'll take you there after the break.


VANIER: British police have made three more arrests in the Manchester terror investigation. 14 people are now in custody. It's been nearly a week since 22 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a concert by pop star Ariana Grande. Many of the victims were teenagers. Britain's home secretary warns that some of the people connected to the attacker, Salman Abedi, could still be at large.

Let's go to Phil Black who is live from Manchester. Phil, over the last week, the British police, British investigators

have been telling us they're looking into a network around Abedi. What have we found out about how he carried out his attack? What do we know about the assailant and the plot?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The authorities here are only saying that they're continuing to get to the bottom of this. And as you say, it's still very much an active investigation. We've seen more arrests and raids over the last 24 hours. In total, 16 people have been arrested, two of those released. 14 remain in police custody. What we've been hearing from authorities, though, is some more encouraging language about the significant process they believe they're making, the fact they believe they're getting their heads around how this attack was carried out and who was responsible. But they're not saying specifically just how that happened just yet, not publicly anyway. They leave open the possibility that there could still be people out there.

Most encouragingly, though, is the event over the weekend, which saw the terror threat level lowered from the highest level, critical, as it was raised to in the wake of the attack, meaning the authorities here feared that whoever did this had the ability to strike again imminently. They've now lowered that to the second-highest level, which means that a terror attack is considered likely, which is pretty much the normal status quo here in the U.K. when it comes to the terror threat.

Meanwhile, here in Manchester, people have endured what you can only really describe as an incredibly emotional weekend. This site here behind me, this growing memorial, a sea of flowers and tributes and candles remains the focal point for people's grief, and many people have been really trying to go out of their way to prove that their lives, their city will not change as a result of this attack. And you saw that pretty clearly with the tens of thousands of people who turned out to attend and take part in the great Manchester Run.


[02:20:47] BLACK (voice-over): Young girls, tense, single-minded, ready to launch through the streets of Manchester. For their parents, watching from the side, the motions are more complex.

BLACK (on camera): Is one of yours out there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our daughter is just running in there, yeah. The little one in the blue.

BLACK: What's her name?


BLACK: Tell me what you're feeling this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm proud, and I'm nervous. I'm proud of her that she's doing it.


BLACK (voice-over): Girls, boys, men and women came to run and cheer, defying those who murdered 22 people just days ago, including seven of the city's children.


BLACK (on camera): On your mind this morning?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: A bit, yeah. It's going to be for a while.

BLACK (voice-over): He's not alone. More than 35,000 people turned out, all of them aware this was more than a running event. Many wore yellow shirts, ribbons, the symbol of Manchester. The crowd honored the victims with silence. There were some tears, too. And huge applause for the police and emergency services who responded to the attack and worked to make sure this event could happen.

(on camera): Did you have second thoughts about being here today given the week?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it made me want to do it more actually. It made me more determined to come together and show we won't be defeated.

BLACK: What does it mean to you to be here today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of the recent events, just to show that we want to stay united.

BLACK: Show me your back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't let them change how you live your life.

BLACK (voice-over): A short distance from the run, people stood in a long line, waiting to leave flowers and messages at the city's growing memorial. Others have been busy painting bees on walls. People are waiting for hours to have bees inked into their flesh, with all money going to the victims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's something that I'll have forever, and I'll know when I look back on it, I'll know that I helped.

BLACK: The people of Manchester are exploring many ways to prove their resilience.


BLACK: Few things show it more powerfully than the pride and happiness of a young girl and the love of her parents.


BLACK: Cyril, a week on from the attacks, there is still so much raw emotion here, but things are getting back to normal. With the terror threat level raised, it's now expected that the high-profile, visible security measures that have been taken, the heavily armed police on patrol, the use of the military in guard duty, we expect all of that to be rolled back in the coming days -- Cyril?

VANIER: Phil Black, reporting live from Manchester, thank you very much.

We are learning new details about a deadly stabbing on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon. Witnesses say a man started shouting slurs at two teenagers, one of whom was wearing a hijab, before stabbing three men who came to their defense. Two of them died. The FBI is now trying to determine if the 35-year-old suspect will face federal hate crime charges.

One of the targets of those insults, 16-year-old Destinee Mangum, is struggling with what happened.


DESTINEE MANGUM, HATE CRIME VICTIM: Thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me because they didn't even know me, and they lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we looked. And I just want to say thank you to them and their family and that I appreciate them because without them, we probably would be dead right now.


VANIER: Portland held a memorial service on Saturday for the two men who died in the attack. The third man, who survived, is being treated for serious injuries.

Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Center says 164 people have been killed in severe flooding and landslides that were brought on by monsoon rains. At least 105 people are still said to be missing, so that death toll could go up. So far, India has sent two ships filled with supplies to help those in remote areas.

Meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins us now.

Allison, we've been monitoring this story and it's gone from bad to worse over the last few days.

[02:25:06] ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEROLOGIST: More rain is expected throughout the region in the coming days. There's a very short time frame here where there will be a time for cleanup and recovery efforts. They're trying to make do with the short amount of time they have. Here you can see some of the images coming in, a lot of folks being on some of those rescue vehicles.

The other problem we talked about from the heavy rain was mudslides and the cleanup from that likely going to be a long-term thing because you not only have to then clear the mud out, but you have to fix the roadways and a lot of things like that to be able to get back to some of these villages. Here's a look at the satellite. Most of the conduction has been well

off to the north, giving Sri Lanka at least a temporary break. That has allowed helicopters to come in, provide some relief for some of these areas and give them a better idea of some of the scope of the flooding damage that has taken place. The amount of rain that has fallen has been incredibly impressive. Some of the southern region picking up 200 millimeters of rain. Other areas picking up as much as 450 millimeters of rain. This wasn't over the span of two or three weeks. This was over, at most, 24 to 48 hours. Going forwards, the forecast accumulation does bring back even more rain, especially to that southern region. We could see an additional 50 to even 100 millimeters of rain in the next 48 hours.

Now, the good news is we need the rain. You don't want it all at once, but you need the rain, especially for agricultural purposes. The white line being where we currently are this year, the red lines meaning where traditionally the monsoon would set up for the rains in terms of its timelines. We're not too far off. The problem is we have this tropical cyclone, which really won't necessarily impact much in the short term other than the extreme northeastern region of India and also around Myanmar. But some of those extended bands of conduction are what were able to bring some extra moisture into portions of Sri Lanka. Still expected to be relatively strong, at landfall likely perhaps around 100 per kilometer winds to be associated along with it, not to mention the amount of rain. But the hot temperatures out ahead of the system before the monsoon rain comes in have been incredibly warm. A region around Pakistan actually had their hottest may temperature on record at 54 degrees, and they're not going to get much relief until those rains get a little bit closer.

VANIER: Allison, Chinchar, at the CNN Weather Center, thank you very much. Allison Chinchar there.

Coming up after the break, on the heels of the G-7 summit, Angela Merkel has a message for Europe. Why she is warning that they can no longer rely on a longstanding ally.

Stay with us.


[02:30:23] VANIER: Welcome back, everyone. We're live from the CNN NEWSROOM with your headlines.


VANIER: Donald Trump is celebrating his first visit to Europe as U.S. President. Over the weekend, he tweeted, "Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results."

But not everyone is as impressed. In fact, on Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Europe to rely less on the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MERKEL (through translation): The times when we could completely count on others, they are over to a certain extent. I've experienced this in the last few days, and that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands. Of course, in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain, and good neighbors with other countries, even with Russia, but we have to know we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans, and that's what I want to do together with understood.


VANIER: Let's take a closer look. Leslie Vinjamuri, joins us now. She is a senior lecturer in international relations at SOAS University in London.

Leslie, this is a strong statement coming from Angela Merkel, a leader that we know is very poised, disciplined, controlled. Do you think the U.S.-E.U. relation is in danger?

DR. LESLIE VINJAMURI, SENIOR LECTURER ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, SOAS UNIVERSITY, LONDON: She is very disciplined, and she chose those words very carefully. Remember, this is some qualification there. But Angela Merkel has been trying to distance herself from Donald Trump really since the inauguration as she was one of the few leaders who stood up and said, yes, we will work with America, but not on any terms. Values will remain very important. So the statement is very strong. It's very significant. It's drawn a lot of concern across the United States and many other European countries about what this will mean for the future of the transatlantic partnership. But remember Angela Merkel is also facing an election in September, and it plays very well in Europe right now and especially in Germany to show a considerable distance from the president of the United States of America. This comes on the back of the g7 meeting and on the meeting with NATO leaders, in which Donald Trump neither affirmed America's commitment to article 5, nor has he made it clear which way he will go in terms of keeping the United States in the Paris Climate Accord. So this is a very strong statement, but it's also indicative of the position that Angela Merkel faces at home. And of course, Germany and Europe will continue to rely on its security partnership with the United States. Someone wants to have a little bit of caution in not taking the statement too far. But nonetheless, it signals a very significant shift, that a head of Germany would actually put these kinds of comments on the table about the -- the extent to which she can rely on the United States has been deeply troubling for many of us.

VANIER: Of course you're right to remind us there's a context here. She is running for re-election. She is campaigning as she says this. My question is do you think that some of this is grandstanding and perhaps trying to show Donald Trump that, you know, Europe won't wait for him forever, or do you think she's really just talking to the European family and saying, we're going to need to act not unilaterally, but we're going to need to take care of ourselves now?

VINJAMURI: Well, I think she's talking to both audiences undoubtedly. Remember the other thing she's trying to do is make it very clear that the most important relationship that Germany needs to pursue from her perspective is that with France. And in light of the French elections, that's something that she's trying to really push forward because that will be critical to securing the future of the European Union in the aftermath of Britain's exit. So she's got a lot of things she's trying to manage in light of Brexit, in light of Donald Trump's erratic and seemingly hesitant commitment to Europe. And she needs to make it very clear at home to her domestic audience that Germany will remain strong, that Europe will remain strong, and that she won't cave into this pressure from Donald Trump to behave in certain ways, that she's got a degree of independence, and she's facing candidates in her own domestic context that are playing this card even harder, this sort of anti-Trump card, anti-U.S. So she's being pulled in a sense domestically. But nonetheless, it represents a very dramatic shift, a very significant shift in terms of the relationship between the U.S. And Europe, but a major European leader would use these words is not something to be taken lightly at all.

[02:36:01] VANIER: Leslie Vinjamuri, senior lecturer at SOAS University in London, thank you very much.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

VANIER: The U.S. could soon ban airline passengers from bringing laptops aboard as carry-ons on all international flights entering or leaving the U.S. Right now, laptops and other electronics bigger than a phone are banned in cabins on some U.S.-bound flights from the Middle East and north Africa.

But on Sunday, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told FOX News why he's considering this extended ban.


JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: There's a real threat. There's numerous threats against aviation. That's really the thing that they're obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it's a U.S. carrier, particularly if it's full of mostly U.S. folks, people. It's real.


VANIER: Kelly told CNN Friday that he would make a decision on the broader laptop ban when the time is right.

We're going to take a short break. When we come back, the U.K.'s general election is fast approaching, and new polling shows the Conservatives may have a tougher fight on their hands than they once thought.

Stay with CNN.


VANIER: Welcome back. British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, will face a live TV audience in the coming hours to take questions before the June 8th general election. This comes as the Labour Party appears to be gaining on the Conservative lead in recent polls. Both major parties suspended campaigning after the Manchester terror attack, but they got back to work on Friday. Mrs. May called for the snap election last month, hoping to strengthen her hand in the Brexit talks.

During the Brexit campaign, you may remember CNN's Richard Quest hit the road to hear from voters with his sidekick, Freddy the trusty camper van. And now Freddy is back.


[02:40:01] RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS CORERSPONDENT & CNN HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS (voice-over): It's been a long, cold, lonely winter for poor old Freddy Brexit, locked up in storage, ignored and unloved ever since that referendum last year. Oh, dragged out for a brief rainy day in Blackpool, when the sun didn't shine, a very sorry sight beside the sea.

But not even Freddy would have predicted he would be needed so soon to ride once again after Theresa May called a snap general election.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We agreed that the government should call a general election to be held on the 8th of June.

QUEST: All hands to the pump to get Freddy ready again. So Freddy passes his road-worthy tests.

And freshened up for another big road trip just like last year's Brexit journey. Ah, happy days in Cambridge. And the Caravan Park in Mabel Thorpe where Freddy was in his element.

Once again, Freddy will help us understand the British people as they make their political choice. This year, he will embark on a week-long trip, from Cardiff, the capital of Wales, the mining heartland of New port, the seaside wonder that is Western-Super-Mare, historic Bath, and ending the week outside the royal residence at Windsor Castle.

So join me. All aboard as Freddy returns to the road, and we keep our fingers crossed he lasts the course.


VANIER: And the Cannes Film Festival just ended and we now know this year's prize winners. The top award goes to a Swedish comedy, "The Square." A member of the jury said the film explained the dictatorship of being politically correct. He also found it very, very funny. Sofia Coppola became only the second female filmmaker to take home the best director award. That was for her film, "The Beguiled," a thriller set during the American Civil War. And Actor Joaquin Phoenix won the top acting honor for his portrayal of a hit man for the film, "You Were Never Really Here."

And that wraps up this hour of news on CNN NEWSROOM. thanks for watching.

"World Sport" is up next.

After that, you're in good hands. Natalie Allen and George Howell will be at the desk. Thank you for watching.