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Donald Trump Boasts That His Nuclear Button Is Bigger Than Kim Jong-Un's; Wenger Charged By FA Over West Brom Outburst; Andy Murray Considers Hip Surgery. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 3, 2018 - 02:00   ET


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: A rare olive branch from North Korea, Kim Jong-un reopens a hotline with South Korea amid taunts from the U.S. President on Twitter. But North Korea wasn't President Trumps only target, now the U.S. is threatening to also cut funding to the Palestinian authority.

And later, it's one story determined not to become last year's news. We have more on a new initiative taking on sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond.

Hello and welcome to your viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN Newsroom.

And we begin with a major diplomatic breakthrough between North and South Korea. For the first time in almost two years a special direct hotline connecting the two countries just reopened and North Korea called the South.

North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, gave an order to open the phone line because he wants to talk about sending his athletes to the Olympic Games next month, but even as Pyongyang and Seoul make these moves toward talks, Mr. Kim and the U.S. President remain combative.

During his New Year's address, Mr. Kim said, the U.S. was within range of his weapons and the nuclear button is always on his desk. President Donald Trump responded with a taunt saying this, I too have nuclear button, but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his and my button works. The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. says Washington has a firm condition for diplomacy.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: North Korea can talk with anyone they want, but the U.S. is not going to recognize it or acknowledge it until they agree to ban the nuclear weapons that they have.


CHURCH: Well joining us now is CNN Military Analyst, Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, in California and Paula Hancocks in Seoul. Greetings to you both. Paula, let's start with you, what is the latest on these upcoming talks between North and South Korea and what has been the reaction to President Trump bragging on Twitter that his nuclear button is bigger than Kim Jong-uns?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well to your first question, Rosemary, just a half an hour ago that communication hotline was reopened at Panmunjom, the Truce Village in the demilitarized zone. It hasn't been answered since February 2016 according to South Korean officials, but South Korea has been phoning 9 a.m., 4 p.m., every single day since that point to see if North Korea would answer.

But today, North Korea actually made the first phone call, 3:30 p.m. local time here in Seoul. They made sure the communications were correct and then they started their discussions.

Now we don't have any information at this point as to what they were talking about, whether or not they agreeing to that suggestion from South Korea that January 9th, next Tuesday, should be the time that they actually start those high level talks at the DMZ. South Koreans saying they have to be soon, they have to be high level because there's only a month to go before the winter Olympics.

But, we've heard some very positive sounds from both sides. The North Koreans though the television on a North Korean official saying that Kim Jong-un did welcome the response from the South Korean president.

South Korean's President, Moon Jae-in, is saying he welcomes the idea of talks and he also went on to say that he thought that it could go onto nuclear talks as well. But at this point North Korea just wants to talk about the Olympics.

CHURCH: And of course the reaction to those words from President Trump?

HANCOCKS: There has been no official reaction. You can imagine the scratching of the heads and the conversations and corridors of power in North and South Korea as that tweet came out.

I think there's been those kinds of questions and discussions all around the world, but there has no official response from either side and quite often we don't see a response from South Korea.

They're an ally of the United States, they don't want to be saying anything that's seen as criticizing the U.S. President, but I can't image that they thought that tweet was helpful.

CHURCH: Indeed. Paula Hancocks, bringing us up to date on the situation there from Seoul in South Korea just after 4 p.m. Many thanks to you.

So, let's bring in Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona now for some analysis and Colonel, when you read that tweet from the U.S. President about his nuclear button being bigger than Kim Jong-un's, what did you think and what impact could that sort of language have on the outcome of rising tensions between the United States and North Korea?

[02:05:00] RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well I think a lot of this was to be expected. First you had Kim Jong-un making his statement. He included -- he started off his statement with his threats toward the United States, then he went on to make this conciliatory gesture towards the South. I think this was very well played by the North Koreans and I think this might be trying to drive a wedge, a small wedge, between the United States and South Korea.

If you look at what happened, he tried to provoke the U.S. President and guess what, it worked. And so you see Trump respond with this knee jerk reaction. Now preferably he wouldn't have said it, but I think we may be reading too much into this. I don't think we're going to war over this and I don't think it's really going to upset what's happening.

The North Koreans and the South Koreans look like they're on a path towards some talks. This is a good thing. The participation in the Olympics could be a good think. So, I'm not going to put too much into this bluster, because we see this bluster every year from the North Koreans, we just don't see a response from the United States like this every year.

CHURCH: Yes, let's talk about the opening of that hotline, because the U.S. is, of course, dismissing upcoming talks between North and South Korea initiated by Kim Jong-un which is highly unusual, calling them nothing more than a band aid and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, says the U.S. won't take any talk seriously if they don't ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea.

Now, if and when these talks do take place, it's more than likely that they're just going to be talking about North Korea being included in the Winter Olympic Games, but from what you've been saying it sounds like you see it as a positive move that talks are starting at all, but there's an effort here, presumably, for North Korea to freeze out the United States. Do you see that as a strategy on the part of the north?

FRANCONA: I do and I think that's what the North Korean's would prefer. They want to have bilateral talks with South Korea and they want South Korea to recognize that they're a nuclear power. They know that United States is not going to sit down at the table with them as long as they insist that they're going to be a nuclear armed nation and I don't see that changing.

I see the United States position and North Korean position diametrically oppose. I see neither side willing to give on that. So the only way we're going to have talks is if we start with North Korea and South Korea and given the stakes here, any talking is good.

CHURCH: Yes, and I did want to ask you or more less going back to the tweet that we read out from President Trump, what would you see as the endgame of challenging the power of Kim Jong-un?

Is it Mr. Trump using a language that Kim Jong-un understands and some people have suggested that that actually is helpful or could be helpful, or could it push tensions into dangerous territory here?

FRANCONA: Well he's running risk when he does this. I mean I understand what he's doing. He's saying, yes you don't even know that you have a capability that works. They have not tested it. I think the latest intelligence assessment that I've been able to glean was that they do not have a reentry vehicle yet.

So, they really don't have a capability that he's threatening to use. And I think the President wanted to put him in place and saying, yes you're still the little kid on the block and we're the big gorillas. So, let's just knock this off. I don't know -- I think he runs a big risk doing that because antagonizing a guy with his finger on a nuclear weapon isn't really a good idea.

CHUCH: Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, thank you for joining us and thank you for your analysis, we always appreciate it. And you can add the Palestinians to the list of people President Trump is blasting on Twitter early in 2018.

He is threatening to withhold future payments to the tweeting this, we pay the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year and get no appreciation or respect. With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?

Here is Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.


HALEY: The Palestinians now have to show their will that they want to come to the table. As of now they're not coming to the table but they ask for aide. We're not giving the aide, we're going to make sure that they come to the table and we want to move forward with the peace process.


CHUCH: We turn to Iran where demonstrators are planning to march Wednesday in support of the countries regime.



CHURCH: And these are some of the anti-government protestors clashing with riot police Tuesday, was the sixth straight day of protest against Iran's leaders. The protestors are fed up with Iran's stagnant economy, high unemployment, especially among young people and perceived corruption. But Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, is blaming outside enemies for the unrest.


CHURCH: Well the U.S. calls that allegation nonsense. Mohammad Marandi is a professor at the University of Tehran and joins us now live from the Iranian capital. Thank you so much for being with us.

MOHAMMAD MARANDI, PROFESSOR AT UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN: Thanks for having me. CHURCH: Now, the protests were apparently quieted Tuesday and we're expecting see pro-government demonstrations on Wednesday, what does that signal to you? An end to the anti-government protests or a pause in those demonstrations do you think?

[02:15:00] MARANDI: Well, I think we have to make a distinction between protests and riots. What we've had over the last few months in Tehran and in other cities, have been peaceful protests. For example, we have regular protests in front of parliament over different issues, but more recently since a couple of financial institutions have collapsed and a lot of people have lost their money, there have been protests where people have been demanding that the government resolve the problem for them and return their -- help them get their money back.

But what happened was that rioters began to hijack the protests and these rioters have been guided from abroad. The people who are using social media apps to very openly instigate violence; they've been teaching people how to make Molotov cocktails and other bombs, and they've been telling them to attack police stations; these are people who are based in Europe and the United States, it's very clear who they are. One such group is the Mujahidin (ph) the terrorist organization, which in the 1980's assassinated many people in my city in Tehran.

CHURCH: Sir, I wonder if I could just interrupt you. What evidence do you have of that outside influence?

MARANDI: Well the very fact that the majority Nadil (ph) terrorist organization is involved in this and they are -- they have offices -- their central is in Paris. In the 1980's, as I was saying, they assassinated hundreds of people in Iran and they blew up many bombs in cities throughout the country. Very near my home, a family of four Armenians was killed because of one of their bomb attacks. And they then went to Iraq fought with Saddam Hussein against Iran, basically betraying their own country and they have offices across Europe and North America, in Berlin and Paris.

And if we had such a group in Iran that was carrying out attacks in Europe, I think that the reaction would have been very different from those countries. So - -

CHURCH: And where are you getting that information from?

MARANDI: They are openly making statements on-line for people to carry out attacks on police stations. And as I said groups using social media apps in Persian (ph). These are very well known groups that people are members of; I monitor, I a member of these groups because I want to see what they are saying. So it's no secret.

CHURCH: Now Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday blamed Iran's enemies for stirring up unrest in the country you referred to it there, but some might say that President Trump's Tweet on January 1st was doing just that when he said this was a time for change in Iran. Are protesters being emboldened by U.S. support for anti-government protests in any where or are they motivated? The protesters you talk about, not the rioters, of course, are they motivated entirely by domestic factors? When they talk about economic issues that are a concern certainly to younger people trying to get work?

MARANDI: That's a very good point actually. Those who are protesting, no they're not motivated by Trump. Actually people like Trump and the rioters both cause them to stop protesting because they don't want to be associated with either Trump or the rioters. So Trump has, as usual, he does no service to anyone. People in Iran have no respect for Trump because in the United States, he supports direct or indirect (ph) racist groups. In Charlottesville he played a very negative role; when African-Americans --

CHURCH: We appear to have lost our signal there, Mohammad Marandi joining us from Tehran, many thanks to you. The U.S. wants the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency session on Iran. Let's get more now from CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Berlin. He has reported from Iran numerous times and Fred the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has called on the international community to speak out on the Iran protests. She says the U.S. will seek emergency U.N. talks on the situation. What are European leaders saying about the situation in Iran and how far might they go?

[02:15:00] FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well I think they're going a lot less far than the U.S. administration is at this point. You have Nikki Haley obviously speaking out; you have President Trump speaking out and supporting -- in support of the protesters in various Tweets that he's launched over the past 24 to 36 hours. European leaders, they don't necessarily take a different view, but they are very different in the way that they convey those views.

You have Frederica Mogherini who's obviously the foreign policy chief of the European Union and she's a big, big backer of the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers so she's been calling on all sides to tone things down but she's also calling on the rights to free assembly to be respected in Iran and that's really something that we're seeing from various European leaders. Leah Rhiman (ph) in Germany, you have Zeck Margobriall (ph), the foreign minister who also called on all sides to show restraint, but also said that freedom of assembly and freedom of speech must be respected.

And then there was a phone call between the French President Macron and the President of Iran Hassan Rouhani, where Rouhani called on Macron to stop some of the groups that Professor Marandi was just talking about from operating in France. It's unclear whether or not that's something that's going to happen, at the same time Mr. Macron also called on the Iranians to respect free speech and free assembly and also said that they were going to postpone a visit by the defense minister of France, which was supposed to take place next week to Iran.

So certainly this is having a bit of an effect, but at the same time the European leaders really have a different style of rhetoric than the Americans at this point Rosemary. CHURCH: All right many thanks to our Fred Pleitgen joining us there live from Berlin where it is 8:15 in the morning; we appreciate your live report. Let's take a very short break here, but still to come, President Trump tries his thumbs at Twitter diplomacy his latest swipes at Iran, Pakistan and North Korea, plus he saved a few jabs for his favorite target of late, the Department of Justice, we'll have more on that when we return.


CHURCH: Well on a day where we saw at least 16 tweets from President Trump, there's a lot of Twitter diplomacy to unpack here and CNN Political Analyst Julian Zelizer joins us now via Skype from New York. Julian is also an historian and professor at Princeton University. Always great to have you on the show, thanks for being with us.


CHURCH: So a lot to cover, let's start with North Korea and President Trump's latest tweet where he tells Kim Jong-un his nuclear button is bigger and more powerful than his. Have you ever witnessed this level of presidential bragging and just how dangerous is it within the framework of a potential nuclear threat?

ZELIZER: I've only witnessed it last year and we're seeing more of it now. This can be very dangerous, bellicose rhetoric from presidents in general has pushed the United States closer into wars if not into military conflict, but this is more unprecedented than anything we've seen; it involves name calling, it seems to be impromptu statements from the president and at a time when the tensions have been calming a bit, this ratchets it up so I think there's a lot of concern about where the president goes with this.


CHURCH: the U.S. won't take any talk seriously if they don't do something to ban all nuclear weapons. Is there any value in the two Koreas talking if it's just to perhaps allow North Korea to take part in the Olympics or could that be a pretty good first step to better relations?

ZELIZER: It could be a first step to better relations. It could be an effort to actually put pressure on the United States by having North Korea essentially work around the U.S. But talks are a good thing. So I think there is some positive feeling that this is a development that's different than the twitter wars and hopefully could lead to easing tensions rather than escalating them.

CHURCH: Now we mentioned there were some 16 tweets or so and President Trump also tweeted about the Palestinians saying the U.S. pays them hundreds of millions of dollars a year and gets no appreciation or respect. And that of course coming on the heels of his comments about Pakistan. He tweeted this, "With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?" What could be the consequences do you think for Middle East peace if Mr. Trump follows through on that threat? ZELIZER: Well, obviously this could cause just like the announcement with Jursalem, it's the potential for blowback and violence which is always the fear in that region and it could also be a lead to simply the abandonment of hope for peace talks. He's clearly siding with the Netanyahu government and he's really trying to increase the pressure on the Palestinians to concede to a deal that's structured probably in a way that would be favorable to Netanyahu's government. So I think it's pretty clear and in some ways it's very transparent what he's trying to do. But again, this is a region that's volatile where violence is familiar. So these steps can have pretty severe consequences.

CHURCH: And Mr. Trump also tweeted about the Iran protests on January 1st. Mr. Trump tweeted that it was time for change in Iran. Then on Tuesday he tweeted again saying the people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime and he warned that the U.S. was watching. Does that play into the hands of the Iranian regime that accuses the United States of cheering the protesters on and just how dangerous is that in this current climate?

ZELIZER: It can. And Iran obviously U. S. intervention has a bad history. And so the danger is protests against the regime can either be used by the government to say this is really about the United States and President Trump or that it undermines genuine democratic movements because the United States becomes too involved. This is a problem many presidents have faced. It's not simply President Trump. But towing the line between offering support for revolutions or protests such as this and becoming the center of the story and the problem is more complex with President Trump who's not very controlled and who's willing to make off the cuff statements. So, the Administration and the President have to be very careful here. Too many words can have the opposite results of what many are hoping for.

CHURCH: Julian Zelizer, we always appreciate your analysis. Many thanks.

ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: And many of Mr. Trump's recent tweets have been aimed at foreign countries but he saved a fair share for his ongoing feuds in Washington including further complaints about the Department of Justice. Here's Jeff Zeleny.

JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump opening a new front in unprecedented war with his own justice department. The President blasting the DOJ for being part of what he calls the deep state. A conspiracy theory suggesting that government bureaucracy is against him. In a tweet, the President is saying, "Deep state Justice Department must finally act." The President adding that Hillary Clinton's top aide, Huma Abedin, should go to jail and implying former FBI Director James Comey should be investigated.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President finds some of those actions very disturbing and he thinks that we need to make sure if there is an issue that it's looked at.


ZELENY: When asked whether the President believes the entire Justice Department is part of what he calls the deep state, Sanders said this.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY TO DONALD TRUMP: Obviously he doesn't believe the entire Justice Department is part of that.


ZELENY: For the President, it was his latest attempt to revive an old fight with former rival Hillary Clinton and her top aide, Huma Abedin. The FBI previously has said she was careless in her email habits and handling of information, notably sending messages to her husband, disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner's computer.

Just last week when asked whether he would order the Justice Department to reopen an investigation into Clinton's emails, Mr. Trump told the "New York Times", "I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I'm going to be treated fairly, I've stayed uninvolved with this particular matter."

All this after the President returned to the White House from a 10-day holiday break at Mar-a-Lago.





ZELENY: The President looking ahead to his 2018 agenda, and a big list of unfinished business.


TRUMP: We're going to have a great year. It's going to be a fantastic 2018.


ZELENY: The to-do list includes passing a government spending bill in the next two weeks, repealing Obamacare, fixing CHI, the child health insurance program, immigration and border security.


TRUMP: We're off to a very good start as you know with a great tax cuts and ANWAR, and getting rid of the individual mandate which was very, very unpopular as you know. But we are going to have a tremendous year.


ZELENY: The President held meetings inside the West Wing today, but was away from public view. He sent out nearly a dozen tweets so far this year, including the first of 2018 that touched off an international incident with Pakistan. "The United States has (ph) foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit. Thinking of our leaders as fools."

That prompted the Pakistan foreign ministry to summon the U.S. ambassador to explain Trump's tweet about lies and deceit after blasting it as (ph) invective. The President also raising eyebrows tonight after taking credit for no fatal airline crashes on commercial flights. "Since taking office, I had been very strict on commercial aviation. Good news, it was just reported there were zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record."

It's actually been nearly eight years since the last fatal commercial airline crash in the U.S. As to how the President could claim responsibility for the safety streak, the White House Press Secretary answered like this.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President has raised the bar for our nation's aviation safety and security. He certainly is very grateful.


ZELENY: Jeff Zeleny CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: Let's take another short break. But still to come Pakistani's respond with protest to President Trump's tweet, threatening the withhold aid. We will go live to Islamabad next for the government's reaction, plus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it like living here in the Shu'fat refugee camp?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, THROUGH TRANSLATOR: Living in Shu'fat means, you're living in a big prison.

CHURCH: 70,000 Palestinians packed into a refugee camp in Jerusalem. What Israel plans to do with them under its New Jerusalem plan? We're back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. In the confrontation between the United States and North Korea, neither leader is backing down after Kim Jong-un said, "The Nuclear button is always on his desk."

[02:30:01] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: -- the main stories we've been following this hour. In the confrontation between the United States and North Korea, neither leader is backing down after Kim Jong-un said the nuclear button is always on his desk. President Trump tweeted this. I too have a nuclear button but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his and my button works.

In Iran supporters of the government are now rallying right in various -- right now in fact in various cities. Their show of solidarity comes after nearly a week of anti-government protests throughout the country. At least 21 people have been killed and hundreds arrested since those demonstrations began. Iran's supreme leader is blaming foreign enemies for the unrest.

President Trump is threatening to withhold future payments to the Palestinians who he claims are no longer willing to talk peace. Mr. Trump says the U.S. gives hundreds of millions of dollars and gets no appreciation or respect.

Well, after recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, U.S. President Donald Trump insists he is still working on his Middle East peace plan. But Israel has made a two-state solution more difficult. It has enacted a law making it more difficult to negotiate any part of Jerusalem. The holy city is claimed as the capital of Israel and of a future Palestinian state. It's the most sensitive and perhaps most important issue in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. CNN's Oren Liebermann visited a blighted Palestinian refugee camp in Jerusalem that could be affected by Israel's new policies.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: If there was ever hope in Shua'fat refugee Camp, it was long ago replaced by garbage. Bags have been piled up on the streets, filled empty yards far more real than any peace process. When was the last time you saw a garbage truck here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): There was never an Israeli municipal truck getting in here for garbage. There's no cleaning services given to the refugee camp at all.

LIEBERMANN: (INAUDIBLE) takes me through the camp's narrow alleys home to some 70,000 Palestinians who cram in the Shu'fat's concrete jungle and crowded streets. Many of the refugees from wars in 1948 and '67. (INAUDIBLE) runs a children's center in the camp to keep kids off the streets. Crime, drugs, major problems here. There is a national healthcare center here but few local services. Jerusalem's holy sites seem a world away. What is it like living here in the Shu'fat refugee camp?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Living in Shu'fat means you're living in a big prison.

LIEBERMANN: The greater Jerusalem plan being developed by the Israeli government would see this neighborhood removed from the city into a new municipality made up of other densely packed Palestinian neighborhoods. The move would see Jerusalem's Palestinian population cut by more than a third.

MICHAEL OREN, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT MINISTER: The goal is one that is shared by the overwhelming majority of Jewish Israelis that Jerusalem remained our capital and Jewish -- a Jewish majority city.

LIEBERMANN: A wall separates Shu'fat refugee camp from the rest of the city. Nearby where Israelis live looks pristine in comparison. The neighborhoods separated by so much more and a valley. As we live the Shu'fat refugee camp we're going from Jerusalem into Jerusalem and yet we still have to cross through this checkpoint within the city. The camp is an island of isolation in a city hailed by its leaders as united. Oren Liebermann, CNN Jerusalem.

CHURCH: A Palestinian teenager faces charges including assault after she was seen on video two weeks ago punching an Israeli soldier. Her cousin was also arrested and her mother is charged with incitement. The 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi is shown confronting two heavily armed soldiers on her family's property in the West Bank. The video has gone viral and she's become a symbol for the Palestinian cause. She's set to appear in court again on Sunday.

The White House is promising new details on its Pakistan strategy in the next day or two. On Monday President Trump threatened to cut off all aid to the country because of what he called its lies and deceit in the fight against terrorism. That led to protest in Karachi and Lahore. Demonstrators burned American flags and effigies of Mr. Trump. So let's head now to Islamabad and CNN Producer Sofia Saifi for more on this. So Sofia, what is the latest on this anti-Trump, anti-American protests and what's the Pakistan government saying about that Trump tweet on U.S. aid to the country?

SOFIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary we did see some organic protests breakout yesterday. There hasn't been something very big and widespread yet. We might see that on -- in the coming Friday after Friday prayers.

[02:35:02] But there is a widespread anti-U.S. sentiment, especially amongst the extreme parties of Pakistan. The more Islamic parties and that's obviously going to flare up when such statements come out. With regards to the Pakistani government though, there was a National Security Council meeting yesterday with the prime minister. And late last night there was a statement released a rather long and somber statement, you know, saying that the Pakistanis will not act in haste. They have also reaffirmed their commitment to the United States and its war in Afghanistan. But they also said that these kind of statements from President Trump are quite insensitive.

They also reiterated that over 60,000 lives have been lost in Pakistan's own fight against terrorism and by being involved in this war in Afghanistan. They spoke about the 144 children that were killed by militants that were according to Pakistan based in Afghanistan. So it's a very long statement. It's very somber. It took a while to come out. It took around 24 hours to come out after President Trump's -- after President Trump's tweet. We also know that last night, you know, the United States officially decided to withhold that $255 million of aid that was supposed to be given to Pakistan. Now when it comes to that aid there's a lot of, you know, discussion whether that is aid or not. The Pakistanis -- a lot of policy analysts here in Pakistan are saying that' not aid at all that it is part of the coalition support fund which is just a reimbursement for the expenses incurred by Pakistan for its assistance in the war in Afghanistan. Rosemary?

CHURCH: What would be the impact of those sorts of funds being withheld ultimately further down the track for Pakistan?

SAIFI: Well, if you look at the geostrategic position of Pakistan, there's been a lot of conversation in the past 2017 about how -- because of this kind of pressure that the United States is putting on Pakistan that's pushing it towards China. China has already invested billions of dollars in infrastructure into Pakistan. This withholding of $255 million of aid was already expected. I mean even though the timing of that tweet by President Trump might have come as a surprise the wording might have come as a surprise but this aid had already been up in the air. And some other money had already been up in the air so there had already been preparations made and there's a definite push towards other countries with regards to Pakistan's alliances.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to Sofia Saifi reporting there from Islamabad where it is 12:37 in the afternoon. A former Taliban hostage has been arrested in Canada. Joshua Boyle returned home in October after he and his family were freed from five years of captivity in Afghanistan. Now he is facing 15 charges all in the months since his return. The accusations include assault, sexual assault, unlawful confinement and ushering death threats. Boyle is scheduled to appear in court in just a few hours. Well, some of Hollywood's elite are joining forces and raising big money to combat sexual harassment outside of their industry. The details on their new movement. That is next.


[02:40:43] CHURCH: Welcome back. The MeToo movement is gaining more momentum, thanks to a new initiative by prominent actresses and Hollywood elite. They're pledging to combat sexual harassment across more industries. And Chloe Melas reports n the new time's up campaign.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Hundreds of celebrities including Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Alyssa Milano, Natalie Portman, the list goes on and on. A joint force is to create time's up. Now, this is an initiative to eradicate harassment in the workplace b not just in Hollywood. In an open letter that was published in the New York Times on Monday, they said that they want to give a voice to men and women who work in more low-wage industries who have a harder time fighting back against their employers or co-workers or anyone who is discriminating against them. Also along with this organization, they have launched a legal defense fund in order to subsidize, you know, lawyers and attorneys fees for people that can't afford it in order to fight for equality. They have raised over $13 million in just 12 days. They're just shy of their $15-million goal.

Now, along with this, these celebrities also want to make sure that there's equal parity when it comes to Hollywood with top film companies and T.V. studios to make sure also that they bridge the wage gap and to also go to Washington to fight for legislation make it illegal for companies to push nondisclosure agreements o people in order to silence them. And also create legislation that makes it wrong for companies to allow discrimination and harassment to happen in their companies knowingly. Lastly, the celebrities are urging one another when they attend the Golden Globes this weekend to wear black in support of this MeToo movement. It looks like change for Hollywood really is happening. Back to you guys.

CHURCH: It looks that way. Thanks so much. And we're already seeing some changes involving the treatment of women in the workplace. NBC is announcing that two women will now lead its popular morning program. Hoda Kotb has been named a permanent co-host at the today show alongside Savannah Guthrie. Kotb had been filling in on the program since long time. Today show host Matt Lauer was fired. He was dismissed late last year and made complaints about inappropriate sexual behavior at work.

And Coming up in the next hour President Trump threatens to cut off aid to the Palestinians. We go live to Jerusalem for reaction. Thanks so much for watching CNN NEWSROOM this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. World sport is up next and then I'll be back at the top of the hour with more world news. You're watching CNN. Just stay with us.


[02:45:01] DON RIDDELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello there. It's time for WORLD SPORT. I'm Don Riddell at CNN Center. Manchester City are on course to break all kinds of records in the Premier League this season, they are just crushing it. A record points total as well within their grasp and since they're now a whopping 15 points clearer than anybody else, they might wonder if they can wrap up the title quicker than Manchester United did in 2001.

Then, United did it with five games to spare, five games can be represents city's margin of dominance. That is the situation of to Tuesday three-one home win against Watford. Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero among the goals.

Incidentally, injuries to two key Man City player over the festive period prompted Manager (INAUDIBLE) to declare that arguably the most popular time of the Premier League calendar is a disaster for the players. We could certainly have a debate about that, what is not a disaster is Man City season, 22 games played, 20 wins and no defeats.

Meanwhile, Tottenham are putting a nice little run together, beating Swansea, make it five wins out of six in the Premier League. Fernando Llorente, was perhaps a bit lucky day, scoring from apparently in offside position. But there was nothing fortunate about Dele Ali, instinctive reaction to score on the rebound there late in the game to nail the score, Swansea are rooted to the foot of the table.

Whether they we know, whether they lose Premier League managers are very well paid for their troubles but there is no doubt that it must be a very stressful job at times even for those who are the most experienced.

At the age of 68, Arsene Wenger must have thought he'd seen it all. He's won three league titles and he's now managed more Premier League Games than anyone else. But, he has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association for his comments in the wake of Arsenal's draw against West Brom on New Year's Eve. He was living hat referee Mike Dean had awarded a late penalty resulting in a 1-1 draw. When Wenger spoke to the media on Tuesday, let's just say that he was on repentant.


ARSENE WENGER, MANAGER, ARSENAL: It was very disappointing in the way that it happened, and I must say what is more frustrating for me is that it happened to many times you see and it was at Stoke, at Watford, at Man City, at West Brom. And that is a concerning coincidence for me, you know and that's why I was not as well happy at all with what happened.

You know, so, on that front, it's a bit worrying. He saw what he wanted to see, you know, and we have to deal with (INAUDIBLE) to put that in behind us and focus on that one the next game. We have to not to dwell on it.


RIDDELL: It is all about the playoffs in the NFL now. And for those teams who did make it to the postseason, it's time to pack your bags. And I'm not just talking about going on vacation. Once the regular season over, this is a time of year in the NFL that resembles an avatar with many teams firing their coaches?

The day after the regular season ends is known as black Monday, and since the season came to a finish, four coaches have been fired. Oakland have dumped Jack Del Rio, just six months after signing a four-year contract extension. And the Lions have canned Jim Caldwell, despite a winning record this season.

Also on the casualty list, Ben McAdoo who left the Giants a month ago. Our own NFL stars, Hines Ward and Coy Wire have been chewing over the dish of the day.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Here's the thing, when I was in Buffalo, ^ seasons there, we had three head coaches during my six years in Buffalo. And I have to say, the star players are going to be fine, they're going to be there, but guys like myself and most of the roster, you're nervous every time a new head coach comes in because you get in the good graces of the head man and next thing you know a new person comes in who doesn't know you, that didn't draft you, didn't bring in through for instance now, you have in to prove yourself all over again. And head coaches often like to bring in their own guy in their own system.

So, I got nervous way too often in Buffalo alone. And now, unlike myself, Alex Heinz, 14 seasons in the NFL, only had two coached, well, you did go through a change.

HINES WARD, CNN STUDIO ANALYST: Yes, I did. But I only had three coaches since 1969. When you talk about stability in Pittsburgh, that's the reason its starts sometime having three coaches. But, you know, I went from the transition from coach Cowher to coach Tomlin and everybody was little worried because a lot of people didn't know who coach Tomlin was.

So, I was kind of like were on pins and needles because who is this coach? Where he is going to came in. He is very militant, but the mindset was similar between coach Cowher and coach Tomlin. And we kind of regaled, we mash and we end up one in another Super Bowl. So, things are good on Pittsburgh, we talk about stability.

[02:50:03] WIRE: Let's hope these team bringing in new coaches, bringing in a new coach, bringing a new life, and new energy where it is most often needed especially in Cleveland. Now that the playoffs are set, we know which teams are in. What's one storyline you're looking for to as we start that?

WARD: Of course, maybe in homer with Pittsburgh, I'm on go with Ben Roethlisberger, really cementing his legacy in the game of football. How many quarterbacks do you know can sit there and say that they want three Super Bowls? So, for him, I think he has a great -- probably his best chance of winning a Super Bowl is now because of the weapons that they have with Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant. I mean, so my things around him. So, I think this is key for Ben Roethlisberger to put his name up there with the elite quarterbacks in this game.

WIRE: The game is good, do we have on a conversation, a great point. Two-time Super Bowl champ, and he seems to be on a collision course to be right back in an AFC Championship Game this year, with perhaps, between the Patriots. And rematch of last year's game, 36-17 victory for New England.

And one interesting can be out here, should that happen, one Steelers great, a legend, defensive player James Harrison posted this recent photo on Instagram, and it shows him with joining forces with Tom Brady.

WARD: That's the dark side.

WIRE: That's the dark side. And I wanted to ask you, some are saying he's joining the dark side, would you ever -- I've heard some former Steelers players say they would never be caught dead in the Patriots uniform as a Steeler.

WARD: Yes, that would be tough for me, that's a hard chance. But then I look at it, actor sees for both ways. For me personally, I would never want to put on uniform or Baltimore Raiders uniform. I would just be in comfortable being that --

WIRE: Some Steelers teenage uniform again?

WARD: No, probably not. But there for James Harris on me, well got, look at this perks Steelers, they released him.

WIRE: Right. Yes.

WARD: You know what your services are no longer here, so, for him, he just wants to play.

WIRE: Now he wants to play, he wants revenge and another Super Bowl here. He has two of them, and he's a five-time pro --


RIDDELL: It was good to hear from Coy and Hines, that's terrific insight. OK, if tennis players have an Achilles heel, you'll find it somewhere else on their body, it's their hips. Andy Murray is out for the next major tournament and he's contemplating major surgery. We'll tell you why that's hopefully not going to be the case.


[02:54:25] RIDDELL: The Australian open is the first big sports event of 2018, and tennis fans can't wait for it to start in just 12 days' time. But that may be too soon for some of the world's top stars, many of whom haven't been able to shrug off injuries from last season. Andy Murray has pulled out of Brisbane because of his injured hip and he wrote on Facebook, "Continuing rehab is one option in giving my hip more time to recover. Surgery is also an option, but the chance of successful outcome are not as high as I would like, which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that. However, this is something I may have to consider, but let's hope not.

The reason he's so hesitant about surgery is because tennis players know that it is very, very difficult to come back successfully from a hip operation. Tennis players get injured all the time, it's a grueling support with a lot of wear and tear on the body that hips for athletes aren't necessarily that easy to fix properly.

Take for example, (INAUDIBLE), a former world number one. We've broken down his career for you before and after surgery at the age of 28. The top line represents his ranking, the bar graph equates to all the titles that he won.

Now, the Brazilian won 20 tournaments including three majors, but after surgery, indicated by this yellow line here, his ranking plummeted. And he never won anything again. It was a very similar story for Magnus Norman, just 25 when he underwent hip surgery. A former world number two amassed 12 titles before going under the knife. Look at that, nothing afterward.

Murray is 30 years old, older than all of this guys but perhaps the two-time major champion, Lleyton Hewitt, would be an inspiration. The Australian was never quite as good after surgery, age 27, but he did at least win another four times, no majors, though.

Murray is a popular player and one of the good guy on tour. So, let's hope he can get himself back on the court soon without having to undergo anything too drastic. In the meantime, all right, this Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is one of the great sporting occasions at Christmas time and this year was no exception with more on that, it's time for our "ROLEX MINUTE", I'll see you soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A race that is synonymous with passion, excellence, and weathering the extremes. The 2017 edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race saw a turbulent narrative unfold with its astonishingly quick pace, race records and line on this controversy.

But nothing could take away the overall honors from Australian Sailing President Matt Allen and his Ichiban team, who steered the newest boat in the entire fleet to victory on corrected time in just one day and 19 hours.

MATT ALLEN, FORMER PRESIDENT, AUSTRALIAN SAILING: The Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race is just the most difficult race to win you could ever imagine, and it's every sailor's dream to win this race.

It was just an incredible moment for me to come across that finish line, I'm thinking finally after so many years, we've got it in the bag.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As well as lifting the celebrated Tattersalls Cup, the 52 foot Ichi Ban, also claimed two long-standing course records to become the fastest yacht on 55 feet and the fastest fixed kill yacht in the race's history.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We go as President tweet atoll to Kim Jong-un, while northern --