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French President Welcomes Trump To Paris; Vigils Honor Life Of Liu Xiaobo; Trump Shares Awkward Greeting With French First Lady; Trump Son Donald Jr. Is Time Cover Story; Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo Dies in Chinese Custody; Kim Jong-Un Celebrates Successful Missile Launch; Long Lines at Disneyland Despite Price Hikes; "Game of Thrones" Season 7 Premiere in L.A.. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 14, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, handshakes and awkward moments as the French President welcome Donald Trump to Paris.

SIDNER: Plus, visuals in Hong Kong to honor the life Human Rights Activist, Liu Xiaobo, the Beijing government will remember him, of course, quite differently.

VAUSE: And summer dread, those miserable long lines at theme parks continue to grow; we'll tell you how Disney plans to put happy back into the happiest place on Earth.

SIDNER: Hello, and thanks, again, for joining us. I'm Sara Sidner.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. This is NEWSROOM L.A.

SIDNER: U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron will soon stand shoulder to shoulder to watch an impressive military parade in Paris, as France marks Bastille Day.

VAUSE: Mr. Macron's invitation gave the American President a brief rest from his troubles at home, where his oldest son is caught up in the controversy over Russian meddling last year's election. CNN's Jeff Zeleny begin that coverage.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A change of scenery for President Trump on a whirlwind trip to Paris, yet no escape from the Russia cloud hanging over the White House. At a press conference today alongside French President, Emmanuel Macron, Mr. Trump offering a vigorous defense of his oldest son.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I have a son who is a great young man; he's a fine young person. He took a meeting with a lawyer from Russia, it lasted for a very short period and nothing came of the meeting.

ZELENY: That meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was described in an e-mail to the Trump's oldest son as a Russian government lawyer, is now part of the investigation in whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 election.

TRUMP: I think it's a meeting that most people in politics probably would've taken.

ZELENY: But that's not true. Republicans, Democrats, and Mr. Trump's own nominee to lead the FBI say the Russian offer to help take down Hillary Clinton and aide the Trump campaign should've raised red flags.

TRUMP: Zero happened from the meeting. And honestly, I think the press made a very big deal over something that really a lot of people would do.

ZELENY: Never mind the press; it's Congress and the Justice Department now are trying to learn more about the meeting attended not only by the President's son, but his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort. Republicans are calling on Donald Trump Jr. and Manafort to testify next week on Capitol Hill. A deepening Russian investigation comes as the President visits Europe for the second time in less than a week. This time invited by President Macron to mark Bastille Day, and the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. entry in the World War I.

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: It's a necessity to work together, to exchange information.

ZELENY: The two leaders pledged cooperation in today's fight against terrorism.

TRUMP: We also renew our resolve to stand united against these enemies of humanity.

ZELENY: Mr. Trump received a stately welcome with one hug and pat on the back after another. It's the fourth time the two men have met; a relationship that began with this tense handshake in Brussels in May. A striking tab low of two Presidents who've swept under the world stage this year in very different ways; Trump, 71, and Macron, 39, separated by a generation, and much more. President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Global Paris Climate Agreement hung over their meeting. But Macron still pressed him on the issue in their closed- door meeting at Elysee Palace.

TRUMP: Our occasional disagreements are nothing compared to the immortal bonds of culture, destiny, and liberty that unite us.

ZELENY: The Parisian pageantry was striking, considering how often Mr. Trump used the city of light as a punch line during his campaign.

TRUMP: If you look at what's happening in France; it's no longer France. Friends of mine that used to love to go to Paris, they say we're not going to Paris anymore; it's no longer Paris.

ZELENY: And since taking office. TRUMP: I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.

ZELENY: Yet, he sang a far different tune today after the warm welcome, flattering Paris and the new French President he once rooted against.

TRUMP: I really have the feeling that you're going to have a very, very peaceful, and beautiful Paris. And I'm coming back. You better do a good job, please. Otherwise, you're going to make me look very bad.

ZELENY: Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Paris.


SIDNER: Joining us live now from Paris: CNN's Jim Bittermann; and the Chair of the Department of French Studies at UCLA, Dominic Thomas.

VAUSE: And here in Los Angeles: Democratic Strategist, Matthew Littman; Republican Strategist, Luis Alvarado. Jim, I can hear the music playing already, so we should start with you. It seems the French President decided on the honey as opposed to the vinegar approach, really trying to impress Donald Trump.

[01:05:09] JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not for nothing they call French a romance language, John. Yes, indeed, the French are good at flattery, and I think that as we've seen in the past, Donald Trump has attention for flattery. So, I think it's working out quite well; the kind of show and display of hospitality that French have put on here. French are also great believers in cultural diplomacy and soft power as opposed to hard power. And that the consequence, I think, is the kind of thing that works very well in this kind of a circumstance. Now, the real question is: how much it can play beyond this, and how much it can, you know, have an echo and a resonance with the issues? That's a question we'll have to see down the line.

SIDNER: Now to you, Dominic, speaking of that, what is President Macron hoping to get out of all of this? This is a very short visit, but, obviously, an important one.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIRMAN, DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES AT UCLA: Yes. Well, as you pointed out in the lead, they've met on several occasions. President Macron, here, is clearly embracing a politics of engagement and of defensive diplomacy. He doesn't want President Trump to be marginalized. He would rather talk to him about some of the points of disagreement. So much of their interaction over the last 24 hours have been very carefully choreographed. They have constantly insisted on points of commonality, whether it has to do with counterterrorism, a conflict in Syria, and so on.

And President Macron has not hesitated to point out that they have a profound disagreement on the Paris Climate Accord, but they hope that they can move ahead, maintain this relationship, and continue to do business. Emmanuel Macron realized it here that there's a significant, sort of, the gap on the global, sort of, leadership platform right now, and he has been eager to position France at the forefront of international discussions, and inviting President Trump is one step in that direction.

VAUSE: And to bring you in, Matt, here. Donald Trump, you know, they can stage this, they can choreograph this as much as they want, but the U.S. President was in pretty awkward position. He's being faded in a city that he disparaged quite a lot during the election campaign last year. Listen to one question which came from a French reporter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've mentioned a friend, Jim, who told you that Paris is no longer Paris. You were implying at the time that France was not safe anymore, you've also said that friends in Germany are infected by terrorism, and "it's their fault because they let people enter their territory." Those are very strong words. Would you repeat them today, and do you still believe that France is not able to fight terrorism on its own territory? Thank you.

TRUMP: You better let me answer that one first; that's a beauty. He is the one that asked the question, that wasn't even one of my picks. You know what? It's going to be just fine because you have a great President.


VAUSE: Matt, we'll forget the fact that he did an investigation, and apparently, Jim, does not exist. But you know, we have a situation now that, you know, Donald Trump is in Paris; Paris is a great city. He's sitting next to Emmanuel Macron; Macron is a great President and a great leader.

MATTHEW LITTMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right. So, a couple of months ago, by the way, he was supporting Macron's opponent.


LITTMAN: In the election in France. And he's disparaged France for the last couple of years. And I'm sure that in two weeks from now when he's back in the United States, he'll be disparaging France again. They have profound disagreements -- Trump and Macron -- they just have a completely different philosophical view of the world. Donald Trump wants to retreat -- the United States to retreat from the world stage. And Macron believes in a completely different -- that we should be working together, that there are issues that we could fight together. And Donald Trump does not want to do that, climate change being one of those issues. You know, Donald Trump sounds open minded on climate change in this meeting.

Remember, in December, he met with Al Gore. Al Gore is supposed to be with Ivanka Trump. Donald Trump showed up in the meeting and everyone's very hopeful that Trump would be open minded on climate change. And it turned out, of course, that a week later, he was not open-minded on climate change. So, you know, this is nice that he's in Paris today. I think it's great; it's great to have a great relationship with France. His agenda, the United States is completely floundering at the same time.

SIDNER: I do want to ask about that because in this setting, he has been very kind. There seems to be a kindness between the two of them or at least a budding friendship if you will. But, then, usually, when he goes back home when Donald Trump comes back to the United States, he starts in again with the same kind of rhetoric. Do you think that's what's going to happen again?

LUIS ALVARADO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, we don't see him thinking about the audiences around the world. He sees the audience in front of him, and he adjusts his message to the people he's talking to at that moment. At the end of the day, if he goes to Paris and he actually can have some kind of progress in regard to Syria's peace- keeping efforts. And he goes to Paris, and he actually -- and his team actually builds a relationship with the French, with regards to anti-terrorism policies and accord. Then, he at least will bring something positive that will affect the American people. And that's, hopefully, where we can look at from this trip to Paris. With regards to how he's going to act, I think everybody, by this time in the world, knows what Donald Trump is and expects nothing less or nothing more.

[01:10:15] SIDNER: Actions speak louder than words.

LITTMAN: This is a very low bar.

VAUSE: Right. It's almost --

LITTMAN: Yes. I mean, there's -- it seems like, to me, that he's going to be there for two days, and there's really nothing definitive is going to come out.

VAUSE: I want to go back to Dominic because we were talking about this climate change issue, because a lot is being made of these comments that Donald Trump made during that joint news conference. Keeping in mind that Donald Trump did withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord last month, listen to what the U.S. President said while standing next to Emmanuel Macron.


TRUMP: Yes. I mean, something could happen with respect to the Paris Accord; we'll see what happens. But, we will talk about that over the coming period of time. And if it happens, that will be wonderful, and if it doesn't, that will be OK too. But we'll see what happens.


VAUSE: And Dominick, a lot of people are saying that you know, this is a result of Macron's flattery and, you know, sort of appealing to Trump's ego. It seems to me that if maybe we're making a little bit too much out of that.

THOMAS: Well, exactly, and we're going to have to see how this pans out. I mean, the big question around President Trump internationally is the issue of confidence, trustworthiness, and also consistency. You cannot, on one week, withdraw from the Paris Accord, and then speaking these ambiguous terms at a press conference when you realize (INAUDIBLE), is absolutely an unambiguously committed to the Paris Accord, and say, well, we'll see what happens.

Emmanuel Macron, actually, quite strategically was pointing out that one of the issues that President Trump faces is between what he actually says, and his constituency at home, and his electoral promises, and how he's going to go about balancing his position in the international market versus the domestic scene. You cannot, in one week, criticize NATO and call it obsolete, and then come to its defense. Criticize Angela Merkel, and then come to her defense.

So, he needs to learn as well; this may be a process of maturation, or people will continue to see, in his actions, hypocrisy, and inconsistency, and it will be difficult to go and trust him. So, this was a remarkable moment in that conference, and I'm sure that Emmanuel Macron's persistent pressure has touched him in some particular way, that we'll have to see how this pans out.

SIDNER: Matt, I can't help but ask this question. Is there a chance in hades that President Trump is going to say, you know what, let us look at that Paris Climate Accord? I'm going to sign on that.

MATTHEW: Well, it's interesting, because Dominic says that people -- Trump may learn; he may, basically, mature. There's no reason to think that that's going to happen. People have been saying that since Donald Trump was running for President. And all of a sudden, he's going to start to gain all this wisdom and realize that these climate accords are really meaningful. That's not going to happen. I mean, he just had the G20 Summit. It was basically everybody else and Donald Trump isolated by himself.

There are people in his own administration who wanted him to stay in the Paris Accord. He chose not to do it. His daughter wanted him to stay in Paris Accord, but he chose not to do it. He's not going to change his mind now. This is Donald Trump -- I'm used for over this -- this is Donald Trump that the world knows. That is not going to change. He will say one thing in front of somebody to appease them; he'll do whatever he wants when he gets back.

VAUSE: Jim Bittermann, though, these leaders did actually really try to find some common ground, especially when it came to issues of security and counterterrorism.

BITTERMANN: I think so, yes, and that's something that they do share: the threat from terrorism. And Trump has talked about that a number of times before. That comment, that he made during the campaign of France -- no longer being France. That came just a few days after the Nice attack here on last Bastille Day, and that's something that marked the French a lot. The fact is that that really was a blow to French pride, but also to just -- it was a very hurtful blow to the country.

In fact, today, we're expecting, unusually, at the end of the parade today, Emmanuel Macron will make a brief speech remembering that event, and then he's going to immediately, afterward the parade, fly down Nice for the commemoration ceremonies down there. So, that was very hurtful what Trump said a year ago. Whether or not that will heal or play into the anti-terrorism fight, but it is something that both nations have in common.

They do cooperate on an intelligence level and on a military level quite strongly. So, I think the cooperation is there; it has been there. A lower -- below the level of the presidency, and certainly, the French are willing to cooperate with the United States, and we'll see how much it plays out in the future in any kind accords that come down the line.

[01:15:56] SIDNER: I'd like you to talk, to Dominic, talk a little bit about the fact there's an elephant in the room, and that is Russia and Vladimir Putin, if you will, seems to sort of loom large over the meeting. And the best way of dealing with Russia from the French perspective; here's what Macron had to say.


[01:15:18] EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: The current environment, especially in the Middle East, it's a necessity to work together to exchange information to share these agreements, and to try to build solutions. So, that is my relationship with Russia. And we don't have obviously the same relationship as the one with the U.S. but that is a long standing relationship with Russia as well. And I think it's important that both of us have direct discussion and contact with the president Putin.


SIDNER: Did you see President Trump's response to that? And what do you make of those comments?

THOMAS: Yes. I find it interesting because, of course, President Macron welcomed in an equally and you know, splendid fashion. President Putin in Versailles and there was questioning. There were questions whether this meeting with Trump would go down that road. Macron was unrelenting in his criticism in the intervention of elections and played it tough. What was interesting in the discussion yesterday, the discussion around of Putin and Russia came after the questions of Donald Trump Jr. and it was interesting to see how President Trump deflected the question by underscoring that his meeting at the G20, the bilateral long meeting resulted in a cease fire in the Syrian conflict. So he was sort of trying point out that, you know, things are not quite that bad when it comes to Russia. It was an interesting moment that President Macron was careful to point out, that the relationship is different and certainly in comparison to the way he was dealing with President Trump.

SIDNER: There was certainly a couple of, I guess, you would call them, awkward moments. Maybe cringe worthy like this one. So, that's the President talking to the First Lady of France.

VAUSE: Yes, so, what did you make of that? Again, this is about the President learning and adjusting his behavior. When it comes to women and some people say, he just has not managed to grasp the concept? ALVARADO: The reality, he reminds you of the uncle that we all have

or knowledge that is improper and doesn't care or doesn't know, it reminds me of the comment he made to the Irish reporter.

VAUSE: The objectification of women.

ALVARADO: I think when you grow up and you manage, or you own the Miss Universe pageant and then he is part of that culture. And it's very difficult for him to transition from being that person, the stage manager, to being a statesman and I think that is very unfortunate because it hurts the administration.

THOMAS: Stage manager is a great euphemism. Well, by the way, I just want to make sure that anyone watching, any diplomat, when they listen to Donald Trump say, we will see about that, that means not a chance in hell.

VAUSE: Matt, the handshake problem has not gone away. This time, it was not the French President, it was the wife. You see the video, the President, the First Lady; she sort of dodged and weaved as he went in with his, you know, his famous, what would you call it? The grab and yank handshake. She dodged and they ended up doing the high-five thing.

LITTMAN: Remember the one with the Polish First Lady?

VAUSE: She in fact, may have worked out how to deal with it, this is just last week. So, this is the wife of the Polish President. There she goes, oh, she goes so fast.

SIDNER: Are we being unfair with the flubs, a handshake, sometimes it happens with friends, right?

THOMAS: Every president, we are unfair with every president. But the problem is that for Donald Trump, he has this weird handshake thing that he judges people by the type of handshake he gets.

SIDNER: It's a businessman thing to do.

VAUSE: Very quickly. Donald Trump Jr. appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, we have 30 seconds left. Matt, this is all about the administration's problem. This is what Donald Trump is coming home to in about 12 hours from now.

LITTMAN: I predict that he does not put it up at the golf courses.

ALVARADO: And he will be a daddy and protect his son and he will go full after whoever comes after his kids. I'm sure it's coming around the corner to blow up twitter. Let's hope he finds something to work on to make us proud.

VAUSE: OK. Thank you for being with us. We appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

SIDNER: A police in Jerusalem say there's been just now an attack near the old city. We will have the details for you just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:22:55] VAUSE: London police say they have arrested a teenage male suspect in a series of acid attacks. Five men had acid thrown in their face in 90 minutes late Thursday. One of the victims injuries are described as life changing.

VAUSE: Police say two suspects approached a man and doused him with acid while on his scooter.

SIDNER: Now, this is just in to CNN, at least two people have been wounded with serious injuries after an attack in Jerusalem. Israeli police say terrorists have been neutralized and the injured were taken to nearby hospitals. It happened in the old city and the police have closed off the area. Let's bring in Ian Lee, he is live from Jerusalem. Ian, what can you tell us about the attack and if there's more than one person involved or not?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sara, the attack happened less than an hour ago near Lion's Gate, which is next to the Temple Mount, also near the mosque. It's an area that is a place for people going to Friday prayers which is going to happen in about three and a half hours' time. What we are hearing from the police is that three assailants opened fire in the area with three different guns. The police responded and shot and killed them. The police are calling this a terrorist attack. Two people were seriously injured in the attack. They say that they have been taken to area hospitals and the area has been closed off. The police are looking in to the identity of the three assailants; they are going to keep the area closed for the rest of the day as the investigation continues.

SIDNER: You talked about the fact that prayers are in just a few hours that area obviously a sacred one for people of several different religions. And you are saying that it will be closed basically, as this investigation goes forward.

[01:25:04] LEE: That's right. The police say that they are going to close the area for at least the time being as the investigation goes forward. You know, Fridays are a time of heightened alert, heightened tensions as people go to pray at the mosque which is also known as the Temple Mount, and this is an area where it has seen a number of attacks in the past, stabbing attacks, usually they are not fatal, although there was one fatal attack on a police woman just the other week. But this is a time of heightened security. Police will have to be more alert during this time, as people go to pray.

SIDNER: I just want to mention that we are seeing some video. It's very shaky and it's taken by someone obviously by a cell phone in the area of the incident. And so far, Ian Lee has been reporting to us that there's three assailants and they have all been killed and two people have been injured in the old city in Jerusalem. Thank you so much Ian Lee, live for us. And if we have more details, we'll bring them to you as soon as we get them.

VAUSE: OK, we'll continue to keep a close eye on what's happening at Jerusalem. We will take a short break. When we come back, remembering the Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo and Nobel Prize winner has died and many are blaming China.


SIDNER: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Sara Sidner.

VAUSE: And I'm John Vause. We will take the headlines this hour. Israeli police are saying that two people are seriously wounded after an attack in east Jerusalem. The three attackers were terrorists and they have been killed. The area around the old city is now closed off, at least for a time while the police continue their investigations.

SIDNER: And London police say they have arrested a teenage male suspect in a serious of acid attacks. Five men had acid thrown in their faces in separate attacks all within 90 minutes late Thursday. One of the victims injuries are described as life changing.

[01:29:37] VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump is in Paris for Bastille Day, France's biggest national holiday. He is there as a guest of President Emmanuel Macron. Mr. Trump stepped out of Washington as the controversy around his son continues to grow. Donald Trump Jr. admitted this week to meeting with a Russian lawyer to gather damaging information on his father's election opponent, Hillary Clinton.

SIDNER: The death of renowned Chinese democracy activist, Liu Xiaobo, is drawing condolences and kind words across the world.

VAUSE: In Hong Kong, supporters had a vigil and paid tribute to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Some of his followers are accusing China of delaying his cancer treatment.

SIDNER: But the Chinese say that they made, quote, "all-out efforts to treat him."

CNN's Matt Rivers has more on the story.


MATT RIVERS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR (voice-over): He was one of China's most-famous political dissidents and among one of the few Nobel Peace Prize laureates jailed for their work. But the name Liu Xiaobo was taboo in his homeland. The prolific writer and veteran human rights activist saw his books and even his name banned by the Communist government. Imprisoned several times after 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, his last conviction came in 2009. His crime? Inciting subversion of state power by cowriting a manifesto calling for political reform. His punishment, 11 years behind bars, a reality he seemed to be prepared for.

LIU XIABOBO, CHINESE DISSIDENT: If you want to have dignity, fight for human rights and fight for free speech, going to prison is what you do.

RIVERS: In 2010, while in prison, he was awarded for the Nobel Peace Prize for, quote, "his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

An infuriated Chinese government tried to censor the news and boycott the award, putting his wife under house arrest and freezing diplomatic relations with Norway where the recipient was chosen.

Despite the threats of Beijing, in December 2010, Nobel organizers placed Liu's citation and the medal on an empty chair in a ceremony in Oslo.


RIVERS: Liu was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in prison in June 2017 and granted medical parole. Many blame the Chinese authorities for his condition, alleging negligence.

Liu's wife may have summed up his legacy the best before the last trial.

LIU XIA, WIFE OF LIU XIAOBO (through translation): His continued effort throughout these 20 years cannot change the society, but he has influenced a lot of people. He has more and more friends around him. More people have the same goal with him had. More people with fearless. I believe his effort and sacrifice is worthwhile.

RIVERS: Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.


VAUSE: Nicholas Bequelin, with Amnesty International, joins us now live from Hong Kong.

Nicholas, good to see you.

China now joins Nazi Germany, the last country to hold a Nobel Peace Prize winner until they died. What is it about Liu that angered or terrified the Communist Party so much?

NICHOLAS BEQUELIN, EAST ASIA REGIONAL DIRECTOR, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: That is exactly the question. I think that we have seen the Chinese government showing complete contempt for the dignity of China's most- famous political prisoner. And I think it shows that the Chinese government is afraid of the power of his words and the example that he set by fighting throughout his life for justice and basic human rights and dignity for Chinese people, but also for human beings in general. We see a Chinese government that is very tough on the exterior but, internally, they are terrified of the power of his message.

VAUSE: Beijing seemed to do everything they could to try to erase Liu from history. I still remember the day his sentence was handed down. Look at this.


VAUSE: The guilty verdict came as no surprise. In China, the Communist Party effectively controls the courts and Liu Xiaobo's crime appears to have been criticizing the Communist Party. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And the reason I remember it, it was Christmas day, 2009, and we thought it was a calculated move to try to minimize news coverage at the time and it was a tactic the Communist government continued until he died.

BEQUELIN: Absolutely. For the Communist Party, information control is key to maintaining their monopoly on power. Everything is about information. That's why the Internet is censored so heavily. This is why you do not have a free press. This is why anyone that wants to set up a nongovernmental organization is immediately on the screen of the police. This is why, generally, the government does not want anyone speaking about human rights in China. The government wants to maintain the fiction that human rights is a sort of Western concept that only Western democracies talk about it, and in a hyper critical way, by the way. And the reality is Chinese people have the same sense of justice as you and I. And day in and day out, they are fighting against forced eviction, injustice, abuse of power, corruption, and the things that are the bedrock of human rights, of which the most important was the freedom of expression. And Liu Xiaobo exemplified that, today, in the 21st century, where China is one of the largest economies in the real world, people in China do not have the freedom to speak.

[01:35:18] VAUSE: The U.S. secretary of state issued a statement after Liu's death. Part of it read, "I call on the Chinese government to release Liu Xia from house arrest and allow her to depart China according to her wishes."

That was also the last wish of her husband. Beijing is not going to do that, right?

BEQUELIN: Well, I think it all depends on how much pressure they will get from the international community. Amnesty International has been calling for her release. If the international community does not speak up, Beijing will make the cold calculation that they are better off keeping her in -- under house arrest, isolated, cut off from the world until she dies. And this is what we have to avoid.

VAUSE: Yes. Nicholas, it's good to see you. It's been a long time. Thank you for being with us.

BEQUELIN: Thank you.

SIDNER: Kim Jong-Un is celebrating again. This time, giving out awards to those responsible for North Korea's recent missile launch. The test illustrates how the leader is relying more these days on his scientists than on his military officials.

Our Brian Todd has more on the story.




BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Korea's news anchor sounds joyous as she announces Kim Jong-Un's arrival at this massive ceremonial hall.


TODD: The North Korean leader is the star of his own show, speaking behind 12 microphones. There to celebrate his recent intercontinental ballistic missile test firing and to hand out commendations to the scientists behind it. One woman who receives an award can't contain her emotions on stage.

What is not mentioned? That Kim's missile test may have fallen short on re-entry, at least according to South Korean intelligence. Analysts say this public awards ceremony was designed to project success to the people and to send a message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The medal ceremony was to tweak the United States and provoke the world and consolidate the image of North Korea as a true nuclear power that emerged victoriously out of this long stand-off.

TODD: But what Kim may not have realized is that his spectacle may also have intelligence value for his rivals. Analyst Michael Madden, who consults with intelligence agencies about North Korean leaders, tells CNN this man receiving an award is Ri Pyong Chol, a former Air Force general, and behind him, Kim Jong-sik, an accomplished rocket scientist.

MICHAEL MADDEN, ANALYST, 38 NORTH: These are Kim Jong-Un's top missile managers.

TODD: Kim Jong-sik, Ri Pyong Chol and an official named Jang Chang Ha are the three superstars behind Kim's missile program and are believed to be at every launch. At least one was seen right behind him on July 4th when the long-range missile was fired. CNN is told that intelligence agencies around the world are watching these three men carefully. Their body language and behavior toward Kim are different from other North Korean elites. They share hugs, smiles, and cigarettes with their vicious boss and enjoy privileges not given to most North Koreans.

MADDEN: These are gentlemen that live in a whole floor of an apartment high rise. They have domestic staff. Their families, family members get to go to elite schools. They have the top health care.

TODD: Analyst say this ceremony also shows how the scientists are Kim's key to threatening the West.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's significant to note that those were the scientists who accompanied Kim Jong-Un when he visited his father's tomb recently. And he used to rely heavily on military leaders to support his regime. And now, his power base seems to have shifted to scientists who enabled the success of missile launched. TODD (on camera): Those three top officials are so crucial to Kim

Jong-Un's missile program that analysts say it's possible that rival intelligence agencies could target them for assassination, similar to how four Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated a few years ago.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SIDNER: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., to millions of people, Disneyland is worth the time and money. We'll look at how much time the park's visitors spending in line.

[01:39:27] VAUSE: It's a lot, a real lot.


VAUSE: Well, here is something that you soon won't be hearing again on London's underground.


ANNOUNCER: Platform, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sure you are aware, we have to make sure that nothing gets trapped in the doors. Clear the doors. Thank you.


VAUSE: Well, to be precise, the words, "ladies and gentlemen." The U.K. is adopting gender-neutral words for announcements to try and reflect the city's diversity.

SIDNER: The new message will use "everyone" to greet passengers instead of the traditional "ladies and gentlemen." But the change has its critics. "Politically correct nonsense," is how one Twitter user described it.

VAUSE: Anyone who has taken their children or nieces and nephews to a theme park can relate to this.



CARTOON CHAAACTER: Hey, man, the line is this long. It has to be good.




VAUSE: It's funny because it's true.

These days the lines are getting longer and going as fast as the rising cost of tickets.

SIDNER: But the lines and ticket prices are not keeping people away from Disneyland at all. The "L.A. Times" reports that wait times at the most popular rides are way up, almost 30 percent in the last few years, and making it not quite the most happy place on earth, until you get to the ride.

VAUSE: If you get to the ride.

With us now, "Los Angeles Times" business and travel reporter, Hugo Martin, worked on the story.

Thank you for being with us. Thank you for coming in.


VAUSE: OK, in some ways, the theme park -- it's not just Disney, it's all of them. But mostly, they are a victim of their own success. When Disney first opened, the price of admission, in 1955, it was a buck. These days, it's now $124. And more and more people are willing to pay that price to go.

MARTIN: Yes, it's not a bad problem to have that you have more demand than you can supply, that you can provide supply for. So, that is something they have struggled with for years.

VAUSE: So, they are looking at a situation where they will have to deal with it and they are coming up against structural issues with the parks.

MARTIN: Yes, this park, these two parks, Disneyland and California Adventure Park, are hemmed in by freeways and other structures. So they have come up with different ideas. They have done the fast pass, where you get the ticket, and they have adopted last year the thing called seasonal tickets, which means the price goes up on high-demand days. So, if you want to go on a Saturday in July, which you know, high-demand day, it will cost you $124. If you want to go midday on a Saturday, it will only cost you $97.

SIDNER: Let's look at the average wait times that are happening now at Disneyland. In California, there's also, of course, Disneyworld. 2015, 19.1 minutes. 2017, 24.4 minutes.

VAUSE: So show me a ride that you wait 24.4 minutes.


SIDNER: That seems, that is average. But here's the thing. There are then, those popular rides, right? That are like space mountain, 48 minutes to 65 minutes?


SIDNER: That's a long time for anyone, adults and children, to be hanging out in the hot line. VAUSE: And people do it.

SIDNER: And they do it.

[01:45:08] MARTIN: And the newest ride, at California Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy, just opened. The average wait was three hours.

VAUSE: At Universal, three hours.

MARTIN: And it lasts three minutes.

VAUSE: It has to get to a cost benefit analysis for parents with kids, right? What is that tipping point, do they know?

MARTIN: Like I said, they have raised prices. They have added these different elements to try to deter people.

VAUSE: For the parents, they say, enough is enough, really? Mine is low.


VAUSE: One of the big problems is space. We are looking at Disneyworld and Disneyland in the U.S., I remember back in 2006, Hong Kong Disney, which is tiny, it was the Lunar New Year, and there was a lot of mainland tourists that came to Hong Kong. And there were so many people that they closed the gates and they were at trying get in. At one point, they were throwing their children over the fence so they could visit Hong Kong Disney. That's a very, very tiny small theme park. I guess the question is, you already have an existing infrastructure. Is it a problem with investing in a new park to basically you start it fresh and make it big or stay with what you have?

MARTIN: There's been talk about that, the chairman of Disney has talked about, does it make sense to build a third park out there. And he said he does not want to do it. What he wants to do is expand what he has with the parks he has. And so far, right now, they are building "Star Wars Land." It's a 14-acre expansion. And what they have done is taken out some of the attractions that are less popular and they have taken out some office space that they have had in the back. They are expanding that way. There's also rumors that they may do a Marvel Land. Ad to do that, they have to take out, again, the less, you know, attractive rides and maybe some office space and parking lots and that sort of thing. That is all they can do. They are hem in on all sides.

SIDNER: The price point is $124. That is high. That is like the price of a great concert.

VAUSE: $600 for a family of four.

SIDNER: If you have a family of four, are they looking at prices. When you are standing in line for an hour and a half, can they drop it? MARTIN: I don't think so. The prices have gone up 70 percent since

2007. And the demand for the park has continued to grow. You have a lot of people coming from international travelers coming here if they come to southern California, they are coming to Disneyland no matter the price. You have them locked in. And you have locals that buy annual passes. They come, two, or three times as month.

VAUSE: You have four minutes on a ride, three or four hours in line.

MARTIN: Right.


SIDNER: Doesn't sound right, but it works with the kids.

VAUSE: Hugo, thank you for coming in.

MARTIN: Thank you.

VAUSE: Interesting story. It's in the "L.A. Times." A lot of detail in there. Thank you.

MARTIN: Thanks.

SIDNER: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., it's still July, but winter is coming. A look ahead of the new season of "Game of Thrones" when we come back.


[01:49:53] VAUSE: Well the wait is over for "Game of Thrones" fans. It will begin its new season this Sunday. It only premiered here in Los Angeles.

SIDNER: The stars ditched the fur and armor for the red carpet and gave a glimpse of what to expect from the world of "Game of Thrones."

Our Amara Walker has more on the story.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The enemy is real.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Winter is here. And "Game of Thrones" fans are bundling up for the big return. At the season seven premier in Los Angeles, the cast of the series promised the run will be a wild ride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the first half of the end. So, I think, it's 13 episodes. So it will wrap up the story. These episodes are jam packed. And they are big moments in all of them. Hopefully, no one will be disappointed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This season though, it was a lot of those little -- those quite tough stuff.

WALKER: Based on the books by George R.R. Martin, "Game of Thrones" has captivated viewers with storylines of dragons, war and famine and shocking character depth. And this season, the actors say plots that have spanned the fantasy world for years may finally converge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a much different feel this year. You will find that as it goes on. There's certainly, it's not always desperate stories, we have seen people arriving and coming. So, that may well show its -- rear its head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a momentum toward the finale, that has started and starts in this next season. Which is just going to be rumbling very quickly underneath. And we could feel it just playing it.

WALKER: Fans could get closer this season to some of the burning questions from a song of "Ice and Fire." Who will rule the seven kingdoms? And can anyone defend against the advancing army of the White Walkers?

The actors say they are excited for what is next.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: There's so many ways to look at it and so many things that George has kind of dragged out of his mind and given us to play about, I think the possibilities for that are endless.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We go through the exact same emotional sort of trials and tribulations, we just read it on the computer screen and the audience looks at it on TV. We are going through all of it live as it happens as you are.

WALKER: The hit series will return this Sunday on HBO.

Amara Walker, CNN.


SIDNER: Joining us now in L.A., film and entertainment journalist, Sandro Monetti.

I want to disclose this right now. You are going to judge me. I have not watched this series. Not just --



SIDNER: But --

VAUSE: It's 20 years --


MONETTI: Well worth it, John.


MONETTI: Whether you are speaking of John Snow or -- (CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: I'm asking the questions for my friends that are fans. Seven episodes instead of 10. What are we expecting the themes to be going forward?

MONETTI: Bigger and better than before. There's normally 10 episodes. This time, seven. But the budget is higher. That means it will be spectacular, dragons the size of jumbo jets. There's a sea battle this series. This is bigger. It's the best show in the world and the biggest.

VAUSE: I was hoping this would be the last season.

MONETTI: Well --


VAUSE: Why drag it out, just be done with it. 13 shows, move on.

MONETTI: Sorry to disappoint you, John. HBO has four spin-off series in development. The "Game of Thrones" prequels.


SIDNER: Really?

MONETTI: This is not the end. It will be with us for the rest of our lives. It's never going end.

VAUSE: Never going to end.

MONETTI: Never going to end.

VAUSE: Winter is never coming.

MONETTI: Winter has come.


SIDNER: So, because it has gone on so long, it's not from the books anymore, is it? It has moved on?

MONETTI: No. Even genius that is George R. R. Martin can't keep up with it. He is very much agreeing with the producers and what will happen. They are all working together and yes, they are a great team, they have done a fantastic job so far and people all over the world are going to enjoy this Sunday's season premiere, because it's showing in 196 countries. British viewers, 2:00 a.m. If you want to watch it.


VAUSE: Yes. OK, you mentioned Martin, the author.

MONETTI: Get a "Game of Thrones" box set.


VAUSE: George R. R. Martin, he is known for the plot twists. Last season, it was John Snow, dead, and he is back. He is not dead. How do they top that?


VAUSE: Well, besides with the jumbo jet dragon.

MONETTI: Watch out for his half-sister. They have set the bar so high. And very confident they are going to jump over it. You know, nothing, everything works perfectly on this show.

[01:55:16] SIDNER: Who will end up on the iron thrown then?

MONETTI: If you are a student of the series, you would think it's John Snow, but it shows you that ruthless women can sometimes do anything to cling to power. I think the new power, Theresa May.

SIDNER: What do you mean? What do you mean ruthless?

VAUSE: Four prequels?

MONETTI: Yes, that's right.

VAUSE: God, they have to milk it to death.

MONETTI: But it's HBO's biggest show, why not?

VAUSE: Do you delete the brand?

MONETTI: No, in television, you know, we are not talking about "Laverne and Shirley."

VAUSE: "Joni Loves Chachi."

MONETTI: Or "Joni Loves Chachi." There's so many stories that can go in a lot of directions. I will be binge watching it for the rest of my life.


MONETTI: They should do a theme park as well.

VAUSE: Oh, can't wait for that.

MONETTI: Ten hours for the dragon ride.

SIDNER: Thank you so much, Sandro.

MONETTI: I'll get in line right now.

VAUSE: You should.

SIDNER: Lovely to see you.

You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Sara Sidner.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause.

We will be back with more news after this.


[01:59:54] VAUSE: France is just two hours away from celebrating its biggest and most important national holiday, Bastille Day. And there to take it all in as a guest of honor is the U.S. President Donald Trump.

SIDNER: French President Emmanuel Macron invited the American leader to Paris just one week after both men attended their first G-20 summit in Germany. Their lengthy talks on Thursday --