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Provocateurs To Be Targeted; North Korea Opens Door To Olympic Participation; Buffalo Ends 18 Year Playoff Drought. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 2, 2018 - 02:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles, ahead this hour, protests reported across Iran for a sixth day. President Hassan Rouhani though has displayed (ph) the unrest has nothing (ph) (inaudible).

Plus the U.S. president accuses Pakistan of lies and deceit and warns all American aid could be cut off if Pakistan does not do more to fight terrorism. In South Korea, acting on Kim Jong-un Olive (ph) branch, pressing (ph) could (ph) talks with Pyongyang next week. Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause, the third hour of Newsroom, L.A. it starts now.

Iran looks set for another day of unrest. Any (ph) government protestors have taken to the streets in major cities for the previous five days and there are reports of tension and protests in some outlying major cities. But a senior Iranian security official has accused the U.S., the U.K. and Saudi Arabia of inciting the demonstrations by social media. And Iran's intelligence ministry is saying that so called provoctors (ph) will be targeted.


VAUSE: These images are from western Iran on Monday. The crowd is shouting dead (ph) to (ph) Khomeini (ph), that would be the Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's supreme leader. Public despise like against the supreme leader is stunning and rare.

Many taking part in these protests are angry not just at a weak economy and high unemployment, especially among young people. But also at what is seen as widespread corruption. During a meeting with lawmakers on Monday, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani conceded the protesters have genuine concerns.

HASSAN ROUHANI, IRAN PRESIDENT: (THROUGH TRANSLATOR) In my opinion, what happened within the past few days on the surface, it looked like a threat, but we need to turn it into an opportunity. We should see what the problem is.

VAUSE: Trita Parsi is the president of the National Iranian American Council and the author of Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy, he joins us now from Washington. Trita, thank you for staying up. OK. So if we look at the protests, they spread quickly, mostly because of the shared economic hardship. They now seem to be taking on a political component and challenging

now just the Rouhani government, but also it seems the broader religious system too. There's chants of death to the dictators, referring to their supreme leader. Are these demonstration at this point posing a serious risk to the regime?

TRITA PARSI, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL IRANIAN AMERICAN COUNCIL: I don't think they're posing an existential threat to the regime, but certainly they have the capacity of being to stir things up and change the political landscape.

Clearly, the government is taking it very seriously but there seems to be a degree of struggle within the government on exactly how to meet the protestors with a Rouhani faction (ph) seeking to calm them down by acknowledging that they have legitimate grievances and thus far, not showing anywhere near the amount of police force and brutality that government showed 2009.

VAUSE: OK. As you mentioned, there does seem to be these conflicting messages which are coming from different groups within Iran's government. So for everybody playing along, it's element number three. So here's CNNs Nic Robertson, this is his reporting on the outcome of a meeting of senior defense chiefs in Tehran. Here's Nic.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN ANCHOR: We've heard from the spokesman at the -- at the -- at the ministry of defense putting out a very, very strong line saying that this -- you know, that these protestors are the sort of hand over of a complex international conspiracy that rages from the Unites States through ISIS though Iranian opposition group, MEK, but through to even the former shahs family. So, you know, the normal pan (ph) of plea (ph) of outside evils, as far as the Iranian leadership are concerned are being blamed for this.


VAUSE: OK. And here's President Rouhani talking about any external influence on protestors.


ROUHANI: (THROUGH TRANSLATOR) We can say whoever has taken the street has orders from other countries, there might be a handful like that. But some taken to the street based on their emotions and due to their problems.


VAUSE: So who gets the final word here? Is the president or is the defense military chiefs?

PARSI: Well so far, it the president, but it very much depends on what happens in the next 24 to 48 hours. If the situation does not calm down and particularly if we have a scenario in which the protests continue, or actually become more violent, then I think we're going to have a scenario in which the hard-line factions within the government may end up winning the argument, and you're going to end up seeing the government using a much more force and brutality to clamp down on the protests. So it very much depends on what happens in the next 24 to 48 hours.

VAUSE: The news website, Axios has details of an Israeli classified report, which says in part, the Israeli Foreign Ministry report says the Iranian regime was surprised by the mass protests and is now trying to contain it through preventive arrests and crackdown on social media while try to avoid violent response against protesters. This goes to your point. We do know about the crackdown on social media so far, it does seem the security services at least so far have been relatively restrained. What we know about the regime being taken by surprise by this is that assessment accurate?

PARSI: I believe so, and talking to folks on the ground as well, including people from the Green Movement; they too were quite surprised by this and they have largely been on the sidelines. What shouldn't have happened, however, is that the government should not have been surprised at the discontent in society is as deep as it is right now, particularly when it comes to economic situation and a sense of hopelessness and a lot of people feel in Iran because the economic benefits from the nuclear deal has not reached them, it's not at all been as big as they had expected and there is a sense that the corruption and other things are eating up whatever benefits have come to the country.

VAUSE: And again, with that in mind, his latest tweet from the U.S. president on Iran. "Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!"

Is the terrible deal Donald Trump is referring to is the nuclear deal, and as you say, one of the motivating factors behind these -- this unrest in these protests, is the fact that most Iranians have not seen the economic benefit of the lifting of sanctions. But is Donald trump right when he talks about the wealth of Iran being looted? Is that sort of a reference to Iran bankrolling foreign ventures in Syria and Iraq, Yemen, all around the region?

PARSI: He is certainly trying to utilize sentiments that do exist in Iran in which there are a lot of people that feel that's how Iran is spending money regionally is wrong and it should be spent at home. But it's also important to keep in mind that part of the reason why the economic situation has not improved is because the Iranian government has not managed and succeeded in bringing in more investments into the country.

The reason why the investments are not coming in is because the banks are unwilling to finance them, which in turn is because the banks are worried that Donald Trump is going to kill the nuclear deal. As long as there is a risk that he's going to snapback sanctions, the banks don't want to be in a situation in which they have been lending billions of dollars to projects that are not going to be able to be completed. so this political uncertainty that he has created, has definitely had an impact on the Iranian government's ability to be able to create jobs, and without jobs you are going to see a lot of people being very, very unhappy amongst -- in the population.

VAUSE: And that lost part of the president's tweet there, where he says "time for a change," are we looking at a situation where the majority of Iranians want to change in government or they just want to change in the economic circumstances?

PARSI: I think the vast majority would like to see a change in the economic circumstances and I think a vast majority would also like to see political change. The question is, how would you like to see that change? Is it through peaceful means, is it working within the system to gradual reform that are controllable, or is it by simply overthrowing the government? And here, I think there is a split. Clearly, some of the people out on the street, want to see and overthrow, whether that sentiment, where that -- that methodology is shared by a vast majority in the society remains unclear at this point.

VAUSE: Titra, we'll leave it there, but thank you so much for your insight, most appreciated.

PARSI: Thank you so much.

VAUSE: Pakistan summoned the U.S. ambassador in response to a skating tweet from President Donald Trump which read, "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more.

CNN producer, Sophia Saifi joins us now, live from Islamabad. So Sophia, Pakistan's defense minister, for one, he was quick to hit the twitter machine tweeting this out to the U.S. president, he was writing that Pakistan as an anti-terror ally of the United States, given Washington land and air communication, military bases and intelligence corporation that decimated Al Qaeda over the last 16 years.

While America, he says, has given us nothing but invective and mistrust. You know, we also waiting for this official government response to the Donald Trump tweet. But it's pretty clear already that many in Islamabad are far from pleased right now with the U.S. president.

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, I mean, there is the largest unease as the statements coming out of Washington. I mean, just ever since President Trump announced his Afghanistan back in August, there has been a back and forth of words between senior officials in the United States and officials both the military and the political establishment.

Now, as soon as President Trump tweeted out (ph) his tweet last night which was the first tweet from him in the new year, it was -- I mean, I think they were caught off guard. But you had the foreign minister Khawaja Asift respond quite swiftly to that tweet with a tweet of his own in which he said that Pakistan will be putting out a response and be putting out a statement which will separate the fact (ph) from (ph) fiction (ph).

Later on (inaudible) last night, he spoke against the tweet saying that, you know, Pakistan's already said that it's not going to do anymore with regard to helping the United States and that statement and his tweets are invalid. He also said that when it comes to aid given to Pakistan, Pakistan's going to be accountable for all of it.

There are about $225 million which are outstanding right now in aid that the United States is withholding at the moment. And this has been leading up the past week. There's been a lot of back and forth as I said before. Vice President Pence said something at the end of the week in December in which he mentioned aid being prevented from being given to Pakistan.

It all boils down to both the United States and Afghanistan accusing Pakistan of giving sanctuary (ph) to the Haqqani network, to the Haqqani Taliban. And it's a back and forth that appears to continue -- that's going to appear to continue for the days to come.

VAUSE: OK. Sophia, thank you. Sophia Saifi there live in Islamabad just gone 12 minutes past 12. Appreciate it. Joining us now, (inaudible) is an assistant professor at George Mason University, he's with us via Skype from Washington. OK.

So in recent day, the relationship between the Trump administration and Islamabad -- and not just in recent days, in recent weeks as well, it's become especially strained. But in recent days, is this being driven especially by American unhappiness with the way Pakistan has dealt with the Haqqani network in particular as well as other terrorist groups?

AHSEN BUTTS: Yes, I mean, basically one of the issues that the American Security Establishment and the American leadership, not just under President Trump, but going back to the Obama administration and going back to the George W. Bush administration has been Pakistan's sort of half hearted attempts or what they consider to be half hearted attempts to take on Islamist militants, especially in the northwest of the country and the border areas with Afghanistan.

And two, much of the alliance between the U.S. and Pakistan since 9/11 has been almost entirely predicated on security competition. The idea that these two states have in common basic goals against basic -- against terrorism in the region.

But complicating that very sort of neat (ph) story is the fact that Pakistan has not gone after actors that it considers to be friendly to it, but are obviously not so friendly to the U.S. or to the -- the Afghan state.

And so groups such as the Haqqani network as well as the Afghan Taliban that have been responsible for a significant amount of violence in Afghanistan, not just since 9/11 but before 9/11 and they are backed by the Pakistani security establishment or at least given safe haven on Pakistani territory has meant that the U.S. not just under Trump, but also as I said under Obama and under Bush have been sort of trying to convince Pakistan to take stronger measures. And so that's really where we are at this point.

VAUSE: When President Trump tweets out that the U.S. has foolishly given Pakistan $33 billion in foreign aid, there is an element of truth there. But there's also the reality that that's kind of the cost, right, of fighting a war in Afghanistan. You know, supply lines have to go through Pakistan, they got you.

BUTTS: Yes, I mean, I think -- I think a lot of American frustration with Pakistan is not just frustration with Pakistan but frustration with a lack of alternatives. I think if the U.S. could have had you know, a more reliable ally, they would have found one at this point; it's been 16 years since 9/11. And as you said, there's some basic logistical issues at play, especially given the Trump administration's rhetoric regarding Iran, which could be another conceivable route into Afghanistan, but the more you sort of have bad releases with Iran, the less likely it is that they will help in Afghanistan.

And then the alternate route, the so-called northern route, would be its complicated (ph) by Russia. And so, there's a sort of geostrategic, geopolitical game where, OK, if you want to be allied to Pakistan and don't want to be subject to its whims, then you have to give up a certain amount of your things that matter to you with regard to Iran or Russia. So if you're willing to do that, you should do that.

VAUSE: Almost out of time, it's all I've got (ph). But (inaudible), former Afghan President Hamid Karzai tweeted out, "Pakistan's duplicitous position over the past 15 years is vindication that the war on terror is not in bombing Afghan villages and homes but in the sanctuaries beyond Afghanistan." Very quickly, is he reading too much into Trump's statement or has he got it right?

BUTTS: I think he's - I think he's saying things for his own benefit rather than sort of - a very sort of considered interpretation of what Trump was saying. I think he's sort of trying to make a political point for himself, which shouldn't be surprising to anybody who knows that region.

VAUSE: Yeah, absolutely, and anybody who know Hamid Karzai. Bassam (ph), thank you for staying up with us, take care. Happy New Year.

BUTTS: Thank you. All right, Happy New Year.

VAUSE: And let's go to break here. When we come back, President Trump back in Washington and looking to build on his big tax cut victory in 2018.


VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump is back in Washington and in the coming days, he's expected to turn his focus to infrastructure. Hes scheduled to discuss that with the vice president and labor secretary later on Tuesday. In addition to an earlier tweet about cutting aid to Pakistan, the president has also continued his support for protesters in Iran. He tweeted that "Iran is failing at every level" and said it was "time for change." Jessica Levinson joins us now here in Los Angeles. She is a professor of law and governance at Loyola Law School. Jessica, Happy New Year, welcome. Good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, so on Sunday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, he said all that whole issue about Iran that Donald Trump as president needed to do a lot more than just tweet. Please?


LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SC: I would explain what a better deal would look like. It's not enough to watch. President Trump is tweeting very sympathetically to the Iranian people, but you just can't tweet here. You have to lay out a plan and if I were President Trump I would lay out a plan as to how I would engage the regime.

I would tell the Europeans and the Congress and the world that America's going to withdraw from this agreement unless it's a better deal. And I'd lay out what a better deal would look like. And I would stand with the Iranian people the entire time.

VAUSE: You know, a couple of mixed messages going on there with Lindsey Graham in (creating) the nuclear deal with the protest and - essentially he's saying Donald Trump needs to lay out a plan. So, the first thing on Monday, that was Sunday - the first thing on Monday though that Donald Trump tweeted out is about support for the Iranian protestors.

But you know, is that enough for the President? Does he have do more? The critics will say that's more than Obama did back in 2009.

LEVINSON: So, this is a fascinating study in two different Presidents in responding to two different uprisings in Iran. And really what you have is in President Obama you have a constitutional professor having a very studied and cautious approach to what was then in 2009 the green movement or the Arab Spring.

And then with President Trump you have the response of a former reality star where he basically just has something that's very light on details. I mean, I have to kind of chuckle to myself when Lindsey Graham says well we need a more detailed plan.


LEVINSON: Well, about Iran and everything else.


LEVINSON: And so, you see this wide difference in approaches and I think that yes, we do need more nuance from President Trump. And what we see now in his tweets is very much consistent with his world view. Which is protestors good, regime bad and it's very black and white, it's very stark. And what we now and I shouldn't have to say this, what we need now is nuance.

And what we need is an understanding that the protestors are starting with really saying we're having problems paying for food. And this isn't necessarily what President Trump is trying to make it which is a broad protest about freedom.

VAUSE: Rightly up against the regime which you know has a very bad record on human rights. That's a bit of a stretch at this point. And some argue well, one of the reasons why they're having so much trouble paying for food is because they're not seeing the economic benefits from the lifting of sanctions as part of the Iran Nuclear Deal.

So in many ways Donald Trump could be blamed for the protest. Because the uncertainty he's created by administration?

LEVINSON: Well, and it's very dangerous when you have a situation that is so complex, to just come out with this kind of knee jerk response of we support the protestors and we're in favor of freedom, and we're for the things that are good and we're not for things that are bad.

And so, I think you're right. I mean there's so much complexity here with respect to exactly what President Obama did with the nuclear plan which it's not clear for me that President Trump fully understands. And it's very important that we look at how organized the protestors are.

It looks like it's in some ways very different on the ground than it was in 2009 and where exactly the U.S. can be helpful with this. And President Obama made the determination perhaps erroneously that the U.S. coming down and putting a finger very heavily on the scale wasn't the way to go.

VAUSE: OK, yes we've seen the U.S. President try international diplomacy and policy announcements by tweet before. Earlier whether it's North Korea or now it's Iran and Pakistan. Or a transgender ban in the military. In the past it hasn't worked out so well, why does he keep doing it?

LEVINSON: Well, I think because he can't help himself and because this is his way of un-filtered, just talking to the American people. And of getting frankly, what I think he praised which is constant positive feedback which is what a lot of his followers provide him, but from a legal's perspective what I think is fascinating about these kind of policy tweets is that in a lot of American courts we're now seeing them being used as evidence.

So, you mentioned for instance the transgender ban. Also with respect to the travel ban, also with respect to I believe it was the sanctuary city space...


LEVINSON: ...where judges have said let's look at the record and let's look at what this is really about. So, in the travel ban case where President Obama tried - excuse me, President Trump by executive order tried to prohibit certain people from entering the country from certain countries and Judges said well, let's look to see if this really is a Muslim ban.


LEVINSON: So, I think we're seeing very specific and concrete examples where this kind of policy by tweet is not - only not working out, but it's actually coming back to haunt him. That doesn't mean I think it's going to stop. I don't think it's going to stop.

VAUSE: It will never stop, it's not stopping. I think we've all come to that conclusion. It may slow down a little, but I don't think its stopping.

LEVINSON: I don't even think it's going to slow down, I think it's a terrible idea and I don't think it's going to slow down.

VAUSE: OK, well despite all that. Donald Trump is upbeat, he is optimistic about the year ahead. This is what he had to say on New Years Eve.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to have a great 2018. It's going to be something very - very special. If we all keep kicking in everybody is going to love what's happening with our country. This is what makes it as big, beautiful as you and we're slowly turning it around. Like, it's moving faster...

VAUSE: Now compare that to the mood at the White House. According to a report in Politico the grim reality of 2018 has generated a sense forebode among White House aids according to more than a dozen current and former officials and outside advisors. West wing aids who worked furiously to push through legislation and executive actions during Trump's first year in office expect limited prospects for getting things done in Washington this year.

Heading into a contentious mid term election, the report says also that people are leaving the White House in droves. Now they can't find suitably qualified replacements for the vacant positions because nobody wants to work there and the mood is pretty flat.

But on the agenda is it possible that Donald Trump, getting those tax cuts through in the final dying days of 2017. Could that be the highlight of his administration, or his first administration, at least until the midterms?

VAUSE: OK, well despite all that. Donald Trump is upbeat, he is optimistic about the year ahead. This is what he had to say on New Years Eve.

LEVINSON: It could be and I think what we're seeing in this sort of dichotomy between what he's saying which is he's basically kind of the cheer leader and chief and we've seen that from him a lot. We saw that over the campaign, I'm going to be the greatest president in the world.

Everything is the greatest or it's the worst and typically it's the greatest, we're turning this ship around. We've done more than any other president and so, could the tax plan - which I think undoubtedly is a huge victory for President Trump and the Republican Party.

Could it be the biggest victory that we see, at least before the midterms, yes. But I think it's important to unpack President Trump from typical president. And it is possible that in a - from a typical president, from the past 44 what you could see is that one big legislative achievement really is the most that you get done before the midterm.

So, I think that there's a lot that you can fairly criticize President Trump about, but to say that merely achieving one - and let's be honest that this is a huge overhaul of the U.S. tax system that having one big signature achievement and appoint a Supreme Court Justice, that's not totally out of line with what we could expect from another U.S. President.

VAUSE: OK, finally PayPal which is the gambling website based in Ireland. According to the odds Donald Trump will be impeached - incredibly likely in his first term. Currently four to seven on which basically means you got to put $7 on to win $4 back. So, it's very good odds that he will be impeached. And chances are that it will probably happen this year as well.

Impeachment is possible if you look at the midterms. If the Democrats take back the House the actually removal from office remains extremely unlikely because of the Senate, right?

LEVINSON: I think that's exactly right. And I mean - so, with respect to these odds, I mean I have some polls back from October 2016 to show them. Where many of us, absolutely including myself we're very wrong talking about what was going to happen with respect to President Clinton, but...

VAUSE: But, this is about money so this actually matters.

LEVINSON: That's right, so this is about money so it matters, but what I would say is impeachment obviously is just a political calculus. And what we're looking at is whether or not there's the political will in the Senate. And that depends on what the makeup of the Senate is and that depends on what the midterms are.

So, we can talk all we want about where are in the Robert Mueller investigation, exactly what's happenings. But the truth is, unless there's the political will in the Senate we will continue to talk about President Trump.

VAUSE: And basically you need a two thirds guilty verdict in the Senate for any trial of the President needing to be removed and that's going to be pretty tough.

LEVINSON: And there's going to have to be - even if Democrats quote unquote take back the Senate. There's still going to have to be enormous political pressure for that to happen. We've seen it happen before, it's possible. But I would say probable at this point.

VAUSE: OK, (Jessica) good to see you, happy New Year.

LEVINSON: Happy New Year.

VAUSE: OK, we'll see a lot of you in 2018 I hope, thank you. Well after the break, guess who's coming to the Olympics. Well, that leads up the surprising decision from the hermit kingdom in just a moment.


[02:31:54] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. I'll check the headlines now. Iran's Intelligence Ministry says provocateurs will be targeted in the anti-government protests. At least 12 people have been killed since the protests began on Thursday. Iran's president admits the country has problems which need to be addressed. Meantime an Iranian official claims the U.S., U.K. and Saudi Arabia are using social media to insight the protests.

The United States is refusing to release $250 million in military aid to Pakistan claiming Islamabad is not doing enough to fight terrorism. President Trump on Twitter posted the U.S. has given Pakistan billions of dollars in pay only to receive lies and deceived in return. Pakistan has some of the U.S. Ambassador over that tweet. And buying unusually recreational marijuana is now legal in California. It's the sixth U.S. state to allow sales of personal recreational use. The Californian Cannabis Industry is expected to be worth about $7 billion within a few years.

South Korea has welcomed a rare olive branch from the north and has offered to hold talks on January 9th to discuss North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympics as well as other matters. This all comes after the New Year's address from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He said he was open to direct peace talks with the south added he wanted to send a delegation to the winter games in Pyeongchang. This dramatic shift in tone and policy from the north was warmly welcomed by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He called for swift majors to ensure North Korea's participation in the game. Well, more of CNN's Paula Hancocks is with us now live from Seoul, South Korea. So Paula explain how this all works. These talks, they start based on the Winter Olympics and North Korea's participation but they could cover a range of topics even the nuclear issue. So how does it work? Delegates have to be experts on ice skating and centrifuges?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a good question, John. I mean this is -- it's all very much up in the air at this point. I mean even the date is up in the air. We have the unification ministry say that he wants the talks to be on January 9th. So he is suggesting to North Korea that they're on January 9th and be held at Panmunjom which is the board of alleged which is in the DMZ, it's the North and South Korea meeting at a certain building on the southern side of the border next Tuesday. Now what they have to wait for now is to see whether the North Koreans go for that. And they have admitted on the South Korean side but even if they don't agree to that, the South Korea will agree to any venue any time on any subject. So certainly South Korea is bending over backwards to try and make

this work. They're saying that they need these high level talks to be so soon because there's only a month before the Olympics. But of course the South Korean government has said that if you guys talk about Olympics and you're going to talk with the North Korean and inevitably you will be widening out the topic potentially going towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

[02:35:03] It's a big leap but it's at least the first step. John?

VAUSE: It's a leap from a loge it would seem. Is this all being seen as a win for the South Korean president?

HANCOCKS: I certainly think so from his point of view. You can see from the sheer number of statements that have been coming out over the last two days all welcoming this decision that the South Korean government is delighted with this. Of course there will be some caution, North Korea has promised many things in the past and has gone back on many of those promises. So there will be some caution, there will be some cynicism, as to what exactly Kim Jong-un wants from this. Just look a year ago and the North Korean officials were potentially saying they're looking for a new relationship with the new trump administration at that point. They were looking to the U.S. President Donald Trump to see if that was the way that they could get what they wanted but that has gone very wrong last year. There will be a very personal insults and attacks between the two leaders themselves. And so now what we're seeing at the beginning of this year is North Korea is turning to South Korea so trying a new strategy to see if that works.

VAUSE: I guess very quickly either this is part of Kim Jong-un's to drive away between Seoul and Washington or the sanctions on North Korean are saying that Kim Jong-un is looking for a little relief here? Is it either or or could it could be both or either?

HANCOCKS: It could be both or either. I mean it is impossible to know what is going through the North Korean's leader mind. It could just be the fact that he is looking for an off-ramp and certainly many experts are welcoming the fact that he's looking for an off-ramp or at least trying to alleviate the tensions. He said those words within his speech as well in Korean to alleviate the tensions clearly very aware of just how tensed the situation is. But of course what happens with the joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea. Once the Olympics are over and the military drills start, do we just go back to where we were last year? It's very unclear what is going to happen.

VAUSE: As -- yes as is often the case. But Paula, thank you so much for making sense of it all. Thank you. Paula Hancocks live in Seoul. Okay. The MeToo movement heads into 2018 with renewed intensity because of a new initiative called time is up. 300 prominent actresses and Hollywood executives are pledging to help expand the fight against sexual harassment to working class women. They published an open letter to the New York Times and a Spanish language newspaper to call attention to the cause. They're also asking actresses to wear black at Sunday's golden globes. Alyssa Milano has credited for launching the MeToo campaign tweeted on Twitter saying, "We stand with you we support you. Times up." Arctic air is bringing some bone-chilling temperatures to parts of the U.S. How low can they go? Ivan Cabrera will tell you when we come back. Also after the New Year's fireworks and another dazzling light show from the year's first super moon.


[02:40:17] VAUSE: Well, New Year's day started with fireworks and ended with the first super moon of 2018. That means the moon is at it's closest point to the earth. NASA says the so-called wolf moon is the biggest and brightest and most glitter of them all that you'll see this year at least. And what a way to start the New Year with more record cold temperatures across the United States. Arctic air will keep the Midwest, south and east in a deep freeze all of the week. But NASA weather service says only the Southwestern U.S. is escaping the frigid weather. Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us now. From the really cold state of Georgia. It's freezing over there.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: So cold in fact you have to -- I need to wear a vest over my suit.

VAUSE: Yes, that's a new addition.

CABRERA: A little bit warmer. Yes, it is a new addition. I'm glad you -- I'm glad you noticed. Thanks for pointing it out. Absolutely it is cold except in California where folks are nice and warm I hear. Good stuff here, we have wind-chill threats that continue here in fact if you get in the car right now, if you're driving from Winnipeg and you go all the way down to New Orleans you will not leave the wind chill advisories. We're talking wind-chills anywhere from 40 below up to the north to as low as 10 to 15 below down across the south. This is incredible stuff, from the gulf to (INAUDIBLE) all right.

We the wind chill threat that continues at this hour still anywhere from minus 20 in Chicago, minus 24 up and to (INAUDIBLE) Minneapolis at minus 21. And there is at Boston at minus eight, with New York, we're seeing temperatures right now as far as it feels like temperature minus one. The air temperature sure that's important for records and whatnot but for me right when you walk outside and that air hits you it feels right now and it's well below zero in many areas. And then there is this. How about an east coast storm and throw everything together, right.

The store remains to be seen as far as the exact track of this and this will determine whether he had a big blockbuster snowstorm across the northeast or whether we get just some snow but it looks like it will get close enough for some impacts. Watch the clock there Wednesday. It'll be into Wednesday night and Thursday. This is the European model still looking at a snow band it could be significant anywhere from the mid-Atlantic heading up into Boston. But the rain snowline could get close to the major cities there and that could keep the totals down so we'll have to watch that rather closely.

And then of course as the arctic last. In fact let's head over and talk about what's going to be happening over the next several days. Because I think in fact we're going to be looking at a prolonged period of very cold temperatures here as I bring earth from the bottom of the floor here. Fantastic stuff. Watch the red. Typically red means hot but we ran out of colors so we had to go and use them again for the cold temperatures. We had one Arctic blast coming in for the weekend and then things kind of go back to normal as in it will be below normal but tolerable. That's Monday, watch what happens as we head into the middle part of the week, John Vause. Another arctic blast. So the North pole just continues to invade North America except across the West Coast that remains nice and mild and toasty for you.

VAUSE: What else is under the floor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happening?

VAUSE: What else is under the floor? What else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh we have our weather producer under the floor. He's in charge of making sure everything is working.

VAUSE: Let him go. He's a nice guy. Well it's going to be a freezing 12 degrees when I walk out into the L.A. night air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, terrible. And you'll feel colder because you got all that cough syrup in you so.

VAUSE: That's so true. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, okay. See you later.

VAUSE: Thanks Ivan. Talking of cold in north eastern China, a frozen river doubled as a racecourse for about 2,000 bundled up runners. Monday's ice marathon was part of the country's New Year's celebration really? Okay Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. World sport is up next and you are watching CNN.


[02:45:57] KATE RILEY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to WORLD SPORT. I'm Kate Riley at CNN Center. It's a New Year, and for Manchester United, it certainly was a happy New Year. They were waiting to Everton on Monday where they faced a former legend, Wayne Rooney. Where they be able to catch lies on the fact that runaway leader Manchester City, dropped point on Sunday.

Well, to Goodison Park we go where the visitors in red were able to go ahead. When push comfort, teed up Anthony Martial come the second half and Pogba was involved once again in the buildup this time for Jesse Lingard to finish things off. To now it end team and I took they reduced the gap at the top to 12 points.

Well, to another team in red now, Liverpool on the road just apparently. On the (INAUDIBLE) ahead, and then there would be some late drama test more. The host equalize three minutes from the time, however, the Reds to everyone out front missed dying moments for a last cast winner Ragnar Klavan, becomes the first Estonian to score in the EPL.

For (INAUDIBLE) they were lucky to come away with a point after the Seagulls tried to clear the ball away from goal three times near less. (INAUDIBLE) Wilson directed it past a helpless Mathew Ryan. Goodness me on the (INAUDIBLE).

Well, around the league in the former EPL holder Leicester City in action, scoring three times in the second half to the Huddersfield. And Stoke fans were left shaking their heads once again they lost again at home this time to Newcastle.

Here's a look at the table for you, you can see that the gap at the top of the table has now in narrowed slightly. United, 12 points behind the leaders and Crosstown Rival City, note that city actually had a game in hand, they're home on Wednesday to (INAUDIBLE).

All right, away from football for a moment, and we are just weeks away from the start of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Just a day ago, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, spoke offer a rare Olive Branch to their southern neighbors ahead of the games. In his New Year's address, he declared his wish, quote for a peaceful resolution with our southern border.

However, he did warn the U.S., the North Korea's nuclear ambitions were now complete and launch button was quote, always on the desk in his office. Now, just five weeks' time, the Winter Olympics will starting. Kim added he planning on Sunday, a delegation there.


KIM JONG-UN, PRESIDENT OF NORTH KOREA (through translator): The Winter Games be held in South Korea will be a good occasion for the country. We sincerely hope that the Winter Olympics will be in success. We are prepared to take various steps including the dispatch of the delegation. The officials from the two Koreas may urgently meet to discuss the possibility.


RILEY: So, a lot of organizers have built the Winter Games as a peace Olympics and have been keen for the North to take part. We've reached out (INAUDIBLE) for comment and they've said that maybe Kim Jong-un's comment is an open way.

Coming up on the show, there's lump happening this year, and early as well. The Winter Olympics negotiation and even the Super Bowl, who's going to be there? Well, we've got a preview of the post-season coming up here in just a moments time.


[02:51:22] RILEY: We're back with a look at how the NFL post-season is shaping up. The regular season ended Sunday and some serious business was resolved as a result. We had six teams vying for just two spots. Our own Coy Wire who had a connection with two of the team's makings those spots had been telling Rhiannon Jones about what happened.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: As you mentioned I played for the Falcons and also played for the Bills. And in my six years there in Buffalo, I never had the chance to experience the playoffs. In fact, no bills player has experienced that this century until now.

(INAUDIBLE) Taylor and company knew they need to beat the Dolphins to have any chance of ending the 18 year playoff drought, the longest in the NFL, well, they did their part. Buffalo beats Miami 22-16. And, you know, they still needed one other team, though, to lose. They waited and they hoped. Watch this.

COY WIRE: I wish I was part of that. So the Bills needed the bangles to beat the Ravens. That was the moment the team found out. Well, how about the fans waiting?

Buffalo fans everywhere, praying the bangles would win. Well, they did, and the bills tweeted this in part saying, "Dear Bangles, we need you and you came through big time. On behalf of Bills fans around the world, thank you, wings on us." No, really, we're sending wings. So Buffalo wings, of course, I can concur they are amazing. And so, Bangles will be enjoying them.

Now, the Falcons, they needed to beat division rivals, the Carolina Panthers, and Cam Newton to have a chance to make the playoffs. Well, and they took care of business. Right here across the street at home in front of their own fans, the Falcons sacked Cam Newton and the Panthers to find themselves in the playoffs, the defending super NFC champions.

It wasn't looking good for them, there was a lot of tension in the air, but they end up coming through and here they go, they're rolling right on into the playoffs. The Eagles are the top seat in the NFC. But remember, their star quarterback Carson Wentz suffered the season- ending knee injury a couple of weeks ago, so the race is wide open.

Minnesota, looking good, remember that was this year super move will be played. So, extra motivation for that team. Here's how the playoff teams stack up. The bills sneak in as the sixth best team in the AFC conference, but you have the powerhouse as knowing Pittsburgh on a collision course.

This two teams had combined to win seven super bowls since 2002 -- incredible stop now. First playoff action next Saturday. Tennessee traveling into Kansas City, the Chiefs have only lost twice at home off-season in the late game, Falcons playing the Rams in L.A. the Falcons looking to make that return trip to the super bowl.

Now, on Sunday the Bills, they'll be playing Jacksonville, the Jaguars, happy they are the home team because I guaranty you, they won't want to be playing in the cold of New York these time a year in Carolina. And Saints are division rivalry expected great game in New Orleans. Before I send it back, Rhiannon did you know it's been pretty cold in the U.S. this week, and you have to see this. Something that missed here? Yes, pants on. You forgot to take his sweatpants off. This is Eagles Punter Donnie Jones, he had them on for warm-ups, he takes them off, throws them behind him, and then punts an incredible kick. And it lands inside the 5 yard line that's outstanding. He would end up picking up his pants, jogging back to the sidelines. You don't see that every day. we had to share that with you here on WORLD SPORT.

RHIANNON JONES, CNN ANCHOR: I'm sure he didn't forget. I'm sure he's just trying to keep them on for as long as possible. Coy. Now, you've experienced both sides of the drama. You've clinched the playoffs and you know how it feels to miss out. So, talk us through the motions of both.

WIRE: Yes, and so, making the playoffs as incredible feeling, as I mentioned in six seasons with the Bills I never made it, but with the Falcons two of my three seasons here, we went to the playoff and the elation that joy you feel after putting in all that work all season long, the bumps, the bruises, the cuts, the tears, the pain it's all worth it.

And also, by the way, you get a playoff bonus, which is kind of nice for the pocketbook now. The other end of it missing out on the playoffs, when you're one of those teams like the playoffs who just missed out by losing on the final game which happened to me in Buffalo, is the worse be know because you just know you're going to make it to the playoffs and you can taste it but then it slips away.

But one interesting thing, Rhiannon, is the teams who know they're not going to make it, it one thing funny happened like the browns, for example, they knew they won't make it until the playoffs. Players used to book flights like three weeks in advance for the day after the season ends.

So, as soon as that team meeting ends, that -- after that final game, they already have their feet kicked up in their mind, sipping on something lovely. Kind of like I'm going to after this hit because it's New Year's Day. And we should all be celebrating this great year to come.


RILEY: And many thanks to Coy there. We're here in the United States, the New Year tradition seems to be the national hockey league hosting a game outside. They have their rather brave lot, Monday spend when the city failed in Queens New York have no problem keeping the rink freezing a drop the parking. It was a minus 10 degrees at that point remember NYC is in the middle of an arctic blast right now. So, the fans had to bundle up, this game going into overtime the New York Rangers. J.T. Miller are handed in the rebound for the winner. 3-2 over the Buffalo Sabers.

And that's from a cool story to be bringing this edition of WORLD SPORT. To a close, thank you so much for watching. Stay with CNN. The news is next.