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Outrage Over Trump's Jerusalem Decision; Winds Fueling California Fires; Critics Accuse Beijing Of Forcing Migrants From Homes; Roy Moore Makes Final Push For Senate Seat; Unintended Consequences Of Paris Pollution Crackdown; Report: EPA Scrubs Climate Change Language From Web Site. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired December 11, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: No let up over Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Widespread destruction continues as firefighters in California face still an uphill battle.

And a bitter battle in Paris over how best to clean up air pollution.

These stories are all ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for joining us. We're coming to you live in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen, CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

Our top story, the U.S. facing more fallout after its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The change in policy has ignited a war of words between U.S. allies and sparked these Sunday protests in Pakistan. Some people chanted "death to America" and burned U.S. and Israeli flags. Demonstrators also turned out in Morocco and here in Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan even slammed U.S. President Donald Trump in a speech saying, "Trump's announcement is null and void for us. Both the decision to declare Jerusalem, the capital, and to move your U.S. embassy building there has no standing for us. Leaders of great countries do not cause battles, they try to bring peace." Mr. Erdogan also attacked Israel, calling it a "terrorist and child murderer state." That drew a strong rebuke from Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in Paris, Sunday, and blasted Turkey for his human rights record.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Mr. Erdogan has attacked Israel. You ask what is my response. I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people. That is not the man who's going to lecture us.


ALLEN: The anger and frustration over Mr. Trump's decision turned to violence in Lebanon. Our Ben Wedeman was there.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The rocks had no chance of hitting the U.S. embassy north of Beirut.


WEDEMAN: The chants calling for the embassy to be shut down probably, barely audible to the American diplomats hunkering down inside. The embassy itself is more than a mile away. But the message from more than a thousand Lebanese, Palestinians and others who gathered here was clear -- rejection of President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Adnand came from the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh. "We can't do more than this," he concedes, "all we can do is raise our voices." Some tried to stop the stone throwing but failed. Lebanese Jandar, fired volley after volley of teargas knocking some protesters unconscious. Demonstrators burned homemade Israeli flags but their anger was aimed at their own leaders as much as it was at the usual suspects.

"Were used to Arab leader and regime should talk, but do nothing," says Sharif Hussein Kassim. "Their condemnations and denunciations are useless." "They're sheep," says Muhammed, "all those leaders are sheep, even our children know they're sheep." As the protests began to break up, more stones were thrown and outrushed Lebanese security, arresting those who weren't fast enough to get away. In the end, the demonstration was dispersed by Lebanese Security Forces. The road leading up this hill to the U.S. embassy is secure, for now. Ben Wedeman, CNN, north of Beirut.


ALLEN: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says she believes the decision on Jerusalem will actually help the peace process. Nikki Haley, cited the will of the American people as she defended President Trump's decision in an interview with CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: For 22 years, you have had presidents and the American people ask for the embassy to be moved. And no president, not Clinton, not Bush, not Obama, actually made -- had the courage to make that move and listen to the will of the American people. The Senate, just overwhelmingly, again, voted to have the embassy moved. So, the president did the will of the people. When it comes to those that are upset, we knew that was going to happen. But courage does cause that. When you make a decision, you're going to have some that see it negatively and you're going to have some that see it positively. But I strongly believe this is going to move the ball forward for the peace process.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: How is it going to move the ball forward for the peace process? One of the things that have been pointed out -- first of all, let me say, that I'm sure Presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama would dispute the idea that this was -- that they didn't do it because of courage. But putting that aside, President Trump is supposed to be a master negotiator, isn't that just cashing in a chit and getting nothing for it? How does this move the peace process forward in any way?

HALEY: Not at all. And I will tell you, all the presidents wanted to do it and everyone around them kept saying don't do it, don't do it. This president said, for 22 years, that waiting didn't help us. Now, let's try and move the ball. What I will tell you is, you know, you have to look at the situation that he just took Jerusalem off the table; he just took it off the table.

So now, they get to come together, they get to decide what the borders will look like, they get to decide the boundaries, and they get to talk about how they want to see Jerusalem going forward. All we did was say, this is not something that we're going to allow to happen in the middle of your negotiations. You come together and you decide what you want from the Israelis and the Palestinians for the peace process to look like.


ALLEN: Well, after expressing deep concern about Mr. Trump's Jerusalem decision, Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with the presidents of Egypt and Turkey later Monday. CNN Producer Gul Tuysuz joins us now from Istanbul for more about that. Gul, Mr. Putin continuing to enhance his presence in Middle East affairs.

GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: Absolutely, and that is very clear here as well. One of the first phone calls that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made to a world leader was to Mr. Putin. And, of course, the two leaders have been working very closely already on the issue of Syria. But, really, the fact that the Turkish president would come out and make that phone call first to Mr. Putin is very telling in and of itself. And in a statement, that was put out by the Turkish presidency, we heard that both leaders, both Mr. Putin and Erdogan, believe that the decision on Jerusalem is going to negatively impact peace and stability in the region.

And, of course, the region has been roiling in the aftermath of -- you know, of from radicalism and the wars that have been raging across in Syria, as well as Yemen. So, really, a lot of cooperation there. And Russia really asserting itself into Middle Eastern affairs and becoming a power player here. But this week is really going to be a week of diplomacy here in Turkey. Turkey has called for the organization of Islamic cooperation to meet here in Istanbul -- that is on Wednesday so that Muslim leaders across the world can come here and figure out, sort of, a game plan, a declaration on the issue of Jerusalem.

And, of course, Mr. Putin is also going to be visiting Egypt there and meeting with leaders. So, it' going to be a week of diplomacy here in the region in the aftermath of the Jerusalem decision and we'll see if there's any impact whatsoever. Thank you. ALLEN: What about, Gul, as far as the protest there in Turkey, what

have they been about?

TUYSUZ: There have been protests almost daily since the declaration on Jerusalem. And, when you go to these protests, you can see how angry and infuriated people on the streets are. So, you know, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan coming out with strong words against the decision and towards Israel calling it an occupying force saying that it's a terrorist state, isn't just the diplomatic or political thing. Here on the streets, people are visibly angry, they're infuriated, they're very, very sad that this has happened. And there's already a lot of anti-American sentiment on the streets here, and this decision is just bringing fuel to that fire, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. Gul Tuysuz, we know you'll be covering Mr. Putin's stop there. Thank you. Ahead here, exhausted firefighters, devastated residents: the impact from the out-of-control wildfires in Southern California.

[01:09:43] Also, we'll tell you the reason Beijing is evicting thousands of people and destroying their homes in freezing cold winter weather. It's a story that Beijing doesn't want you to see.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Hi there, I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN WORLD SPORT headlines. Starting off with Sunday's highly- charged Manchester derby in England's Premier League. A city opens up a huge 11-point lead to top the table. Now, the game at Old Trafford ended 2-1 in favor of Pep Guardiola's team. They took the lead through David Silva. United's Marcos Rashford leveled, though, only for Nicolas Otamendi to grab the city winner early in the second half.

Another fierce local rivalry about 35 miles away, Northwest England in the city of Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp, The Reds, hosted Sam Allardyce's Everton at an (INAUDIBLE) will be home team's eviction star, Mohamed Salah, breaking the deadlock with a superb strike -- his 13th goal in 12 games for the top his level after Dejan Levron and clumsily bugles there would dominate Calvert-Lewin in the back, pushing a merit contact was minimal. The ref gave it, Wayne Rooney converts the penalty.

And an unfortunate news for another setback for U.S. Skiing Star, Lindsey Vonn. The 33-year-old had to pull out of Sunday's Super G race in Switzerland due to a back injury. Vonn, who told us so emotionally this past week, she'll be going for gold at next year's Winter Olympics in South Korea in memory of her late grandfather and managed to complete Saturday's race before slumping to the snow. She needed lengthy treatment at the course after her back apparently just seized up, she told us. That's a look at your sports headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.

ALLEN: Thousands of firefighters continue to wage what seems like an endless war against those destructive wildfires in Southern California. They're currently working to contain six active fires. The largest, the Thomas fire, is still burning out of controls as it advances north, prompting even more evacuations. It has now scorched 93,000 hectares and is only 10 percent contained. Since the fire started earlier this week, some 200,000 people have been forced to leave their homes. Some are now returning to sift through the rubble to see what little might have been spared. CNN's Senior U.S. Correspondent Kyung Lah has more from the fire area.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Unrelenting and growing, as punishing winds and dry land fuel the largest of California's fires, the Thomas fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a house by house fight yet; we're trying to prevent that. And you know, if we can get the wind to cooperate with us, the wind's definitely picking up now.

LAH: So, you've been hitting it from the air as well as working it from the ground?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, correct. The helicopters have been a huge help.

[01:15:04] LAH: You can see the wind as it pushes the embers this way. All of these embers fly towards the houses that haven't burned yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Firefighters, they're busy.

LAH: Exhausted, and in the back of this truck, injured. Thousands of firefighters, weary after nearly a week battling wildfires raging across Southern California. In Northern San Diego County, homes burned in minutes. A wildfire spreading so fast, terrified thoroughbred horses ran in circles trapped, others burned alive in their barns, some horses barely made it out. Their trainers' escape route, burning around them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got five heading out.

LAH: This entire neighborhood disappeared in just 20 minutes. Daylight revealed all that was lost. In Los Angeles' Bel-Air neighborhood, hillsides and mansions burned. More people, running from flames.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just started panicking, we didn't know what to do. So, we hadn't been told to evacuate, but we were going to evacuate. So, we just started thinking -- my husband said just take anything that, you know, you think you might need. Everything can be replaced. Let's just get out of here.

LAH: Nearly 200,000 people in Southern California evacuated this week. Some, returning to a home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, honey, it's me. Our house is still there. Yes, everything looks good.

LAH: Others digging through what's left. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's not much, but if there are a few things

that will help them, you know, have some connection to the past, then that was -- that's what I'm trying to do. Material stuff, but like you said, memories of a lot of years.

LAH: Back here in Santa Barbara County, it's at night when the fire's fury is most visible. You can see it churning in those hills. It continues to march northwest. But it's not just the wind, it's also the dry brush. 250 days here in California without any significant rain. Kyung Lah, CNN, Santa Barbara County, California.


ALLEN: And that is usually the story behind these fires. Julie Martin, our Meteorologist, joins us now with the latest on the conditions. Julie, it doesn't sound that hopeful.

JULIE MARTIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No. No rain in sight either in much of California, including where the fires are currently burning. Right now, we have over 20 million people under the fire threat. The Thomas fire is the biggest as we speak. Let's take a look at some video we have coming from the Thomas fire. Pretty impressive when you think about the sheer size of this. It's now the fifth largest fire in Ventura County, it's not far behind from becoming the biggest fire in that county. It could surpass that. It's about 44 million acres or kilometers -- square kilometers away from doing so.

So, we are looking at the potential for these winds to come into play, once again, today. We are under an elevated fire danger. We have the temperatures -- the threat level up here. The winds 40 to 55 miles per hour. The relative humidity still, in some cases, in the single digits. So, all of those factors coming together making for very difficult firefighting conditions. I mentioned the Thomas fire, 930 square kilometers. To get that clear, that is bigger than the city of Chicago. So, that just gives you some perspective as to what firefighters are dealing with here and what they have up against them.

All right. Let's check out some of the weather over the pond then. A big winter storm in England and the U.K. over the weekend. In fact, flights really at a premium for places like London and Birmingham. Let's take a look at what was happening in Birmingham where they had to spend flights due to heavy snow. As such as 30 centimeters of snow, actually, falling in some of these areas. Really, the first snow of the season, and in some cases the most snow in about four years here for parts of the U.K.

So, for today, the snow has moved out but we're certainly looking at windy, cold conditions here. Some of those winds gusting anywhere from 20 to 40 kilometers per hour throughout the day today and into tomorrow. This is a look at Wednesday. Still, looking at some pretty windy conditions and cold weather coming your way as well. As far as accumulation, certainly looking at some more snow here in the higher elevations as we get into France, and certainly more snow in the U.K. coming in the days ahead. Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. From dry California to super wet and snowy England. Thanks, Julie.

Thousands of migrant workers are being evicted from their homes in Beijing. It's part of an effort by the local government to shut down what it calls "unsafe and overcrowded housing." CNN's Matt Rivers joins us now from Beijing with the details. And, of course, this is happening there in the winter, Matt.

[01:20:17] MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, very cold winters here, Natalie, tonight. It's going to dip down to minus 10, and a lot of the city's poorest residents were hoping to spend these winter months in what used to be right behind me here. I mean, these were homes, these were businesses, sometimes both, and the people who occupied them were migrants. People from rural parts of China, they come here to Beijing, try and make a better life for themselves. But over the last several weeks, buildings like these across the city have been knocked down as a part of this government operation. And as a result, people have quite literally been forced into the streets with little to no warning.


RIVERS: They came on a Sunday, armed with sledgehammers and a government mandate. Workers broke down doors and kicked people out of their homes -- forced evictions as Beijing's winter sets in. A few days later, we meet Jiao Gwie Hwua, who wants $3.00 for the kettle but settles on 2.50. A week ago, the kettle and the rest, sat in her tiny apartment in South Beijing. Now, it's all laid out for sale in freezing temperatures on a dirty street.

"Our apartment was demolished," she says, "I'm sad. I'll be homeless." She and other rural migrants had been living in this building. But on November 25th, this notice went up: "Tenants, please clean out before November 26th at 5:00 p.m. or there will be consequences." As promised, the government showed up the next day. Within hours, crews left the building uninhabitable. We walked through to see walls stripped bare, windows broken, ceilings torn down, and signs that residents had left in a hurry.

They had to leave stuff behind. I mean, shoes still on this rack right here inside this bedroom, there's a mattress still on the frame, there are clothes in that dresser right behind me. They're all examples that show how fast these people were forced to leave their homes. It's all part of a government campaign to rid the capital of what it calls "illegal structures." This, after a fire last month killed 19 people in Beijing's Da Shing neighborhood. Though often unsafe, these types of structures are all most migrants can afford.

Critics accuse the government of using that fire as an excuse to force hundreds of thousands of poor migrants out of the city and back to where they came from. The government denies that. In a rare open letter, dozens of prominent Chinese intellectuals called the evictions "a vicious incident that breaks the law and tramples on human rights." The evictions have prompted an outcry online. And not surprisingly, authorities have censored talk of the issue on the Chinese internet. And on the streets, security has been deployed to keep order, including these plainclothes enforcers who tried to stop CNN from shooting here.

This is a public street. Why are you interfering?

And back outside Jiao Gwie Hwua's apartment, there's 24-hour security as we saw for ourselves. So, what's happening right now is that we're being forced to leave the building because the security guards say that it's not safe. They don't want us to film, even though residents are still having to come in here to try and collect their stuff. I mean, clearly it isn't that safe, there's broken glass on the ground, but it shows the struggle that these residents are facing. They want their stuff but these guys won't let them get it.

This place once welcomed migrant workers. Many worked low-end jobs -- in construction and restaurants. And now, some are being forced to leave the city they helped build. "I have no choice but to go," Jiao says, "we can't find housing. It's time to go home."


RIVERS: And Natalie, we know that the government really doesn't want to talk that much about this issue, not in depth. They don't really want us reporting on it, as you saw on the piece there. And we know that the signal, CNN signal here in mainland China has been blacked out sporadically as we've reported on this issue today by government censors. It shows you they're very sensitive to criticism about this issue.

ALLEN: Right. Well, why not then provide a safe-housing for migrants, instead of just throwing them out?

RIVERS: Yes, that's one of the questions that we've, of course, been asking. And what the government has said through state media is that they are trying to provide some sort of temporary housing for some migrants. They said that they've held some job fares to get migrants working here locally. But the numbers they've given have been right around 2,000. They say they've had about 1800 jobs open up from migrants whose businesses have been shut down.

But, you know, if you listen to critics, 2,000 jobs, pale in comparison to the number of people that might be affected here. Critics say, hundreds of thousands of migrants in the city could potentially be affected. We don't have any way to verify that number, but if you look at the scale of destruction that we've seen over the past week, it not hard to imagine numbers reaching those levels. And frankly, what the government has at least said publicly that they're doing to help these people is just not enough.

[01:25:18] ALLEN: Well, Matt, we appreciate you and your crew of bringing us the story during under duress from being harassed by the local officials there. Thank you. Well, it should have been a slam- dunk for the Republicans, but the Alabama Senate race could profoundly change the U.S. Senate. We will explain how. A big vote coming up this week.


ALLEN: And welcome back. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen. Here are the headlines this hour:

Protesters took to the streets in several countries on Sunday to condemn the U.S. and its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. This was the scene in Karachi, Pakistan where some people burned flags and chanted "death to America." Large demonstrations also took place in Lebanon and Turkey.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is defending the Jerusalem decision, he talked about it in Paris on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron. Mr. Netanyahu suggested, Jerusalem has always been Israel's capital and said Palestinians need to "come to grips with this reality."

In Southern California, the rampaging Thomas fire has moved north prompting even more evacuations. The largest of the six infernos is 10 percent contained and has now scorched more than 93,000 hectares. California's governor says extreme fires could be the new normal for years to come.

[01:30:03] E.U. leaders are arriving in Brussels ahead of a critical summit, Thursday. They're meeting just days after a significant Brexit negotiation break-through. Talks could now move forward to Britain's trade relations with the E.U. British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to address her Parliament with an optimistic message later in the day.

On Tuesday, the eyes of the political world will be on the Southern U.S. and the crucial Senate race in the State of Alabama. Voters will choose between Republican Roy Moore who has been dogged by a sexual misconduct scandal and Doug Jones, the Democrat, running in a fiercely Republican State. CNN's Kaylee Hartung reports the stakes are high for both parties.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The clock is ticking down for the December 12th's special election for Alabama's junior seat in the U.S. Senate. Republican candidate Roy Moore has all hands on deck as he works to galvanize his base in this state, Conservatives, and Christians. In this state that Donald Trump won by 28 points in the 2016 Presidential election, Roy Moore is depending on him for some help. Listen to a clip from this robocall that will be ringing across homes in the State of Alabama.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hi, this is President Donald Trump and I need Alabama to go vote for Roy Moore. If Alabama elects liberal Democrat Doug Jones, all of our progress will be stopped cold.

HARTUNG: This is just the latest effort by President Trump to support the Republican Moore. It was just last Monday that he explicitly endorsed the candidate. On Friday, he took a trip to nearby Florida, about 20 miles from the state line, where he had encouraged Alabamians to come to the rally and then, of course, encouraged them to vote for Roy Moore. In this homestretch of the race, it will be interesting to see what impact this can have. But the targeted ground game for Moore is different from bringing in a heavy hitter like President Trump, canvassers who are going door to door knocking, explaining to me that they're going to areas where they know Moore has support.

The effort is all about getting out to vote, getting people to the polls for a special election in December on a Tuesday when we're near the holiday season when politics is very far from many people's minds. But for anybody who lives in the State of Alabama and from what I've experienced, it would be hard to be unaware of an election that has gotten so much national attention. In Birmingham, Alabama, Kaylee Hartung, CNN.


ALLEN: Alabama's Senator Republican Senator says he could not and did not vote for Roy Moore. Richard Shelby tells CNN, he's already cast his ballot and chose to write-in a candidate.


SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: There's a time that's -- we call it a tipping point, and I think so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip when it got to the 14-year-old story. That was enough for me. I said, I can't vote for Roy Moore.


ALLEN: Joining me now political analyst Michael Genovese, President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. Thanks for being with us. Well, this week, we will find out if voters in Alabama will stand by Donald Trump and elect Roy Moore, a very controversial figure long before he ran for Senate. If he wins, Michael, what does that signal?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, that's a great question. I think the key is, will we able to better answer the question was the 2016 Trump victory, was it an anomaly based on Trump and his personality, or does it have legs? Is that the shape of things to come? Is that, in effect, the future of the Republican Party? But as Kaylee reported, you know, this is a very Republican State, 28-point win for Trump last year. So, the expectation is that the Republican ought to win. The fact that it's close is pretty surprising to a lot of people, but you know, in off-cycle elections such as this, turnout is the key. The Republicans are going to count on the so-called evangelical vote. But the Democrats, the key for Doug Jones is can he get the African- American vote out? That's why Corey Booker was stumping for him in the last couple of days.

ALLEN: Right. What Moore is accused of (INAUDIBLE) several women of sexual misconduct and/or assault, he flouts federal laws as a judge, he openly denies Civil Rights for gays and that's putting his thoughts on gays lightly and Republicans though fell behind President Trump on this since Mr. Shelby, is this a turning point, those that were distancing themselves from Mr. Trump are now just going to fall in for the sake of the tribal politics we've been seeing? GENOVESE: Well, that's partly what happened. I mean, Donald Trump did not endorse Moore in the primaries. The Republican Party initially said they were not going to support him. They caved in and now they support Moore. And so, it's a devil's bargain for them. On the one hand, they need his vote. That would be the 52nd vote, a very slim margin.

[01:35:06] The problem is, if he wins, the Republicans are saddled for several years, probably, with someone like an alleged pedophile being the face of the party. And that's not going to do them any good. I'm not talking about the south where they might win, but in some of the marginal states, that could be deadly.

ALLEN: Well, let's move to President Trump's decision on Jerusalem, declaring it's the capital of Israel. He's definitely shaking things up in the Middle East, protests in many countries, but could this be something positive for peace? Many Palestinians have told our reporters they need new leaders and a new approach. Mr. Netanyahu said in Paris, this could help the peace process. What's your take?

GENOVESE: Well, that's the key question, is this something that will be enhancing the process, or will it be reducing the process in the likelihood of peace? The road to peace has been screwing with wreckage. Does this clear the wreckage or does it make for more of a mess? The problem for Trump in the Middle East is that the two pillars of his policy in that region have been neglect and chaos. He goes in there intermittently then runs away, and there's no sustained policy. And so, by giving Israel this gift, and it was a gift as much to Trump's base here in the United States as it was to Israel because the evangelicals really like this call and moving -- the call to move the capital of U.S. embassy to Israel. So, he's helping his base, he's also helping Israel. Does he help the chances of peace? That's much less likely.

ALLEN: Right. It just seems the base -- Donald Trump's base is kind of running the world right now according to the United States as all of his moves are for his core constituencies. So, that's an interesting part of this. But as far as making a move on his own, dismissing our close allies who said not to do this, concerned about stability in the Middle East, in some ways, alienating close friends of United States. Will that lessen the leverage he may have over our or his enemies as a result?

GENOVESE: Well, this is part of a pattern, you know, in Lebanon, the United States withdrew, the French moved in. In Syria, United States pulled back, Russia moved and Iran moved in. And so, the President's America First Policy has been to let others do the heavy lifting in these regions with difficult problems and not get the United States involved. The problem for the United States is that that not only diminishes their leverage but it also makes us seems to be the country that is abandoning leadership of the global community.

ALLEN: And this is a country, of course, that brought down communism. So, that's kind of -- that's certainly a new world order we'll have to think about. Michael Genovese, as always, Michael, thank you.

GENOVESE: Thank you, Natalie.

ALLEN: Paris is leading the world on climate change but it's having a hard time cleaning up its own pollution problems. We'll have that story just ahead here.


[01:41:19] ALLEN: A top U.N. envoy says tensions of the Korean Peninsula are the world's most dangerous security issue. Jeffrey Feltman made a rare visit to North Korea last week to persuade the country to push for sincere dialogue with the United States. Paula Newton has the latest for us from Seoul.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jeffrey Feltman made it clear that time was of the essence and that the situation on the Korean Peninsula was indeed dangerous, on that point he agreed with the Foreign Minister of North Korea who also seemed to extend a hand and a willingness to continue to speak to the U.N. Now, this could mean many things. It could be some optimism and some room for negotiation where there is absolutely none, or it could also be a stalling tactic for North Korea. They certainly or seemed willing to accept the U.N. as some type of honest broker but these are very, very tiny steps towards dialogue and diplomacy.

In the meantime, here in South Korea, they will continue to have drills, missile-tracking drills with U.S. and Japan this week. And this is something that is a clear irritant to North Korea. They are advocating something that China has said, the freeze for freeze, which means that the military drills stop and then perhaps there can be some negotiation. We are a long way from that. Also, though, South Korea has imposed new sanctions on North Korea, they mirror, in fact, sanctions that the United States has already brought in earlier November. What is key here, though, is that there is a continuing effort to basically close down any kind of shipping routes and banking relationships that North Korea could have.

It's been quite clear over the last several months as U.N. reports have indicated that North Korea has been able to skirt some sanctions and continue its weapons and nuclear program through a lot of the shipping channels and also, a lot of the financial arrangements that it's been able to put together. Paula Newton, CNN, Seoul.


ALLEN: Well, the group that won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize says countries with nuclear arms like North Korea and the U.S. must eliminate what they call their instruments of insanity. The International Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons or ICAN accepted the prize in Oslo, Sunday. In her acceptance speech, the group's executive director warned that nuclear destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away.


NUCLEAR WEAPONS: A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or a bruised ego could easily lead us to the destruction of entire cities. A calculated military escalation could lead to indiscriminate murder of civilians.


ALLEN: ICAN won the Nobel Prize for its work on the U.N. treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

French President Emanuel Macron would take the lead on climate change this Tuesday at One Planet Summit at the One Planet Summit in Paris. It's happening two years to the day that nearly 200 governments agreed to take action to slow climate change. Paris has put a lot of effort into improving its air quality, but some of its attempted improvements have been total flops, as we learn from CNN's Jim Bittermann.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You don't have to look far to see how complicated the climate change issue can become. In fact, right outside the Paris Conference Center's front door, there's a battle going on between 2 million Parisians and the 1 million suburbanites who commute into the city each day.

Four years ago, city officials began closing down sections of express lanes along the River Seine in Paris hoping to replace cars and trucks with bicycles and pedestrians in order to limit pollution. But after a year-long study, air pollution officials found that roadway closings only pushed the pollution from the river where no one lives to Paris neighborhoods where people do live.

[01:45:16] CHARLOTTE SONGEUR, AIR QUALITY ENGINEER, AIRPARIF: If you take out cars, you have better air quality. It's better because less emission, but if you put them in other places (INAUDIBLE) you will have more pollution.

BITTERMANN: What's more, it was expected that an increase in traffic would encourage commuters to use public transit, but it hasn't happened. According to rail statistics, fewer people are commuting using suburban trains because service is deteriorating. One in four trains on some lines are delayed because of breakdowns and strikes. Commuters are increasingly furious with their lack of alternatives.

PIERRE CHASSERAY, ACTIVIST, 40 MILLIONS D'AUTOMOBILISTES: To live in Paris, it's too expensive. So, they have to go in the suburbs to live and take the metro -- the public transport but it's not really sure, it's not really safe, and you have many, many delays.

BITTERMANN: As well, the increase in traffic congestion on Paris streets adds times to commutes and can delay emergency vehicles which may get stuck behind the idling cars. City officials say it's worth it for the pleasure of Parisians and tourists derive from a leisurely walk or ride along the river. CHRISTOPHE NAJDOVSKI, PARIS DEPUTY MAYOR FOR TRANSPORT: There are thousands of -- tens of thousands people who are just using it now with biking, with walking, or just enjoying this new park in the center of the City of Paris.

BITTERMANN: That may be true in the summertime, however, when the weather turns, the strollers and riders disappear but the cars do not. What's more, the city's ambitious scheme to encourage bike sharing has had its own problems. The company behind it reporting that because of vandalism and theft, 15 to 20 percent of the bikes were lost each year and maintenance cost went through the roof.

ALBERT ASSERAF, STRATEGY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JCDECAUX GROUP: We have to work on each bicycles almost every 15 days.

BITTERMANN: The old bicycle riled stations are now being ripped out to make room for three new higher tech bike-sharing schemes, something which may solve some of the problems. But as city officials here have found out, convincing people to abandon their cars and go green is proving more difficult than they first thought. Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


ALLEN: Well, U.S. President Donald Trump, it's no secret that he's been a denier of climate change, even calling it a hoax by the Chinese during the campaign. Well, now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration appears to be removing references to climate change from its Web site. One group tracks the EPA's thousands of Web pages, and CNN's Rene Marsh says more on what they found.


RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT CORRESPONDENT: This is a group of 10 volunteers using software that alerts them when a change is made to the agency Web site. They've been tracking the changes since President Trump got into office and they say the EPA is slowly erasing the facts.

It's happened again, the Environmental Protection Agency scrubbing more references to climate change from the agency's Web site. In the EPA's strategic plan, climate change resilience is gone and links on how to adopt the climate change gone, too, on EPA's Web page for the nation's most contaminated superfund sites, click the climate change link you'll find it's been updated to reflect the EPA's priorities under the leadership of President Trump.

SCOTT PRUITT, ADMINISTRATOR, EPA: I don't even know what it means to deny the climate. I would say they're climate exaggerators.

MARSH: The agency says, of course, the site will be reflective of the current administrations' priority, but this isn't the first time the Trump administration has wiped away references to climate change. CNN reported in April, the agency scrubbed this page devoted to climate change, instead, this message popped up. Andrew Bergman is a part of the team of academics and non-profits monitoring the government Web site for changes.

What's the ultimate end-goal, you think?

ANDREW BERGMAN, ENVIRONMENTAL DATA AND GOVERNANCE INITIATIVE, EPA: I think in the short-term, to be able to, you know, more easily repeal certain regulations they don't like without as much pushback from -- you know, from the public.

MARSH: The EPA says all the contents from the Obama administration is still easily accessible and publicly available on its Web site, but the monitors we spoke to say, while it doesn't appear that the agency deleted any information, they've archived it in ways not easy to find.


ALLEN: Rene Marsh reporting there. What would make hundreds of people want to run around in the cold dressed like Santa Claus? Why not? Well, there's actually a big reason for it. We'll tell you next.


[01:52:20] JULIE MARTIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'm Meteorologist Julie Martin with your forecast as we start things off on a cold Monday for many of you here in the northeast, all the way down to Florida. We're looking at some of those sub-freezing temperatures. The snow has basically moved down that caused all the trouble here in the southeast and in the northeast for that matter. So, we will see a little bit more snow coming across the great lakes. The clipper system starts to work its way in.

And then, some very cold temperatures as we head into the week ahead for the northeast and the upper Midwest. So, taking a look at the blues, and the purples, and pinks here on the map, that's the cold air. That's really going to be kind of dipping in across this northern territories.

But, time we get back off to the west though, looks like things will definitely be on the warm side. In fact, temperatures running well above average in much of the western U.S. Los Angeles, 28, very gusty, windy conditions once again there for the fire danger. Those Santa Ana winds whipping up, yet, once again today. 26 here in Dallas, 13 and Sunny size in Atlanta. And four for New York City with partly cloudy skies.

Taking a look at the fire danger, as I mentioned, another day of very critical fire conditions expected. It would be a very tough conditions for the firefighters with those winds anywhere from 20 to 40 kilometers per hour, and a very warm weather, as well, temperatures running well above average.


ALLEN: Well, we often show you the running of the bulls in Spain. It's always kind of a dangerous race. Here's one that's not, the running of the Santas. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


ALLEN: And off, they ho, ho, ho, go. This weekend in Denmark, hundreds of people took part in a special charity run in the city in the country south. The Sta. Claus stampede was organized by the matches charity named after a story by legendary Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The money raised by the Santas will be used to give 500 families a full Christmas dinner and a gift, maybe even leftover free Santa suits.

Well, children all over the forest loved visiting Santa during a holiday sharing their wish list for what they liked for him to leave them on Christmas, but in this skit from "Saturday Night Live," who else, the kids are asking Santa about things he has a hard time explaining.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I get laser tag?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I can certainly try.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And can you tell me, what did Al Franken do?

[01:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, wow. Let's see. I think I can handle the mega blocks and the laser tag. Can you take the Al Franken thing, sugar plum?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. And in this climate, can you just call me Amy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess you could say that Al Franken is on Santa's naughty list this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what about Roy Moore? Which list is he on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not really a list, it's more of a registry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is President Trump on the naughty list?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know, Santa tries to stay out of politic matters. Our President may have said or done a few naughty things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 19 accusers. Google it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Can we not -- can we just not, Amy. Look, Jessica, I'm sure we can all learn a lesson from what's going on in the news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We sure can. I learned that if you admit you did something wrong, you get in trouble. But if you deny it, they let you keep your job.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: Only SNL. That's pretty funny. Thank you for watching this

hour of CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Natalie Allen. I'm going to step away. And the news continues with Rosemary Church and Cyril Vanier, right after this.