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Shocking Interview; 37 Dead, Dozens Missing in Siberia Mall Fire; Former Catalan President Due in German Court Monday; Former KGB Spy Blames Russia for Chemical Attack in U.K.; Egyptians Head to the Polls; Asia Markets Reopen amid Fears of Trade War; First Australia to Britain Direct Flight. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 26, 2018 - 00:00   ET


[00:00:11] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: And we'll be starting with that interview. Adult film star Stormy Daniels telling the world all about her alleged affair with U.S. President Trump.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Also this hour, outrage in the streets of Barcelona as a major opposition leader is detained in Germany.

VANIER: And campaign posters plastered all over Cairo as Egyptians get ready to vote.

Hi everyone. Thank you for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier in Atlanta.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

In a highly anticipated interview, an adult film star says she was threatened into keeping silent about an alleged affair with Donald Trump before he became president. Stormy Daniels says she's speaking out now to set the record straight.

She told her story to Anderson Cooper on the CBS program, "60 Minutes.

VANIER: In her first encounter with Mr. Trump, she said he asked her if she'd consider being a contestant on his reality show.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And you had sex with him.


COOPER: You were 27, he was 60. Were you physically attracted to him.


COOPER: Not at all.


COOPER: Did you want to have sex with him?

DANIELS: No. But I didn't -- I didn't say no. I'm not a victim. I'm not --

COOPER: It was entirely consensual?

DANIELS: Oh, yes. Yes.


VANIER: Daniels first brought her story to a magazine five years after she maintains it happened but the story at the time never came out.

ALLEN: As CNN's Brian Stelter reports, she's telling it now to a huge television audience.



Yes, a porn star breaking her silence about an alleged affair with now President Trump. This allegation dates back to 2006 when Trump was the star of NBC's "The Apprentice".

A woman named Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, described the alleged affair in a sit-down with CNN's Anderson Cooper. The interview was broadcast on CBS' "60 Minutes", the highest rated news program in America which means tens of millions of people are likely to see this interview.

Now Daniels talks about having sex with Donald Trump. She said she was not attracted to him. She did it as a business deal. She says at first she kept it a secret.

But in 2011 when she spoke to the magazine, "In Tough", a tabloid magazine, the story was buried. And then she says she was physically threatened. Here's how she described the incident to Cooper.

DANIELS: I was in a parking lot going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. I was taking a seat facing backwards in a backseat with the diaper bag, you know, getting all the stuff out.

And a guy walked up on me and said to me, "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story." And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, "A beautiful girl -- it would be a shame if something happened to her mom." And then he was gone.

STELTER: So that alleged threat dates back to 2011. And then in 2016, in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election, Daniels accepted a payment of $130,000 from one of Trump's personal attorneys. It has been described as hush money, essentially buying her silence.

But now Daniels says that was inappropriate. It was invalid. The contract is not legal. She says she should be able to speak freely to defend herself.

So now there's lawsuits and countersuits, questions about campaign finance and in the middle of all this, the U.S. President and a porn star. Now we don't know fro sure if President Trump tuned for the interview even though he's a frequent TV watcher. But we do know he was at the White House while wife, Melania Trump, the first lady was at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

We have not heard from Melania Trump either but we did hear from her spokeswoman on Sunday night after the interview aired. The spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, tweeting the following, quote, "While I know the media is enjoying speculation and salacious gossip, I'd like to remind people there's a minor child whose name should be kept out of news stories when at all possible."

Daniels also has a child, a daughter -- adding the question that's raised by these interviews now broadcast on television first with a woman named Karen McDougal who alleged an affair with Trump in the mid-2000. Now with Stormy Daniels who's making similar allegations, the question is, what will people tell their children about the U.S. president and his apparent sex life?

These are stories that are actually in some ways reminiscent to the 1990s when Bill Clinton was in the news. There was a lot of sympathy back then for Hillary Clinton. Now the same is true for Melania Trump.

And we head into a work weak here in the U.S. with questions of whether the President will say anything more or whether his lawyers will say anything more about Stormy Daniels.

Brian Stelter, CNN -- New York.


VANIER: So what does our panel think? The usual suspects are here. Ellis Henican, a columnist at "Metro Papers"; Ben Ferguson, CNN political commentator -- good to have you both.

[00:0:57] Stephanie Clifford -- that's Stormy Daniels' real name says that she was threatened in order to stay quiet. So could that eventually be a problem for the President -- Ellis

ELLIS HENICAN, COLUMNIST, "METRO PAPERS": Sure. I mean listen, let's don't confuse this lady with Mother Theresa. I mean she can trash, you know, someone who Ben says, you know, explaining out her various faults and motives. That may all be true.

But there's only one person in this drama who's the President of the United States. So he has hugely mortal wounds than she does.

Even if the whole world thinks that Stormy is half-true or selfish or might be lying about some of it, it doesn't matter that much. I mean all these icky details just stick all over the President.

VANIER: Ben -- what do you think of that particular detail that somebody --

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well -- VANIER: -- someone that she described as some kind of henchman comes

to her when she's in her car and tells her to drop this Donald Trump affair story?

FERGUSON: Yes, I have a hard time believing it because if you have a child as I do and someone comes and threatens you and threatens the well-being of you and possibly your child. You call the police.

You've done nothing wrong, to quote her, then you absolutely would call the police and to protect yourself --

VANIER: Or you just stay quiet if you buy the threat.

FERGUSON: I don't think you stay quiet. Yes, I don't think you stay quiet. But I also know that this is a woman who clearly decided to take $130,000 and decide to go against a nondisclosure agreement. That's the part of the story when I was watching that I said, I don't believe her right now.

I don't believe that she's telling the truth.

HENICAN: But Ben -- why is it --

FERGUSON: She also didn't the truth when she signed the nondisclosure agreement.

HENICAN: -- look, why is it too important to trash her? I mean --

FERGUSON: I'm not judging her. You asked the question did I believe her and on this one part of the story I do not believe her and I think that most --


FERGUSON: -- I think that most people out there, this sensationalizes the story. How you prove one way or the other this happened, six, seven years ago. It's a he said, she said. But man, does it not make for a great conversation which clearly we're now having right now which makes Stormy Daniels even more famous and makes her more money.

HENICAN: Fair enough but I mean welcome to modern pop culture. You know, when you have the story -- and frankly it's a pretty credible story. I think Ben, even you believe probably most parts of it. I mean she didn't make this whole thing up.

FERGUSON: Here's what I said. The one thing tonight that stood out to me and I was watching. I said I don't believe this was when she talked about this person that came up here.

Here's my thing. She talked about being a mom and her child. You go to the police. You had no reason not to go to the police. I do not believe -- I think that she's sensationalizing the story.


VANIER: Guys -- there's something I want to -- there's a lot of layers to this. So I want to get to the next one.

There's something -- this is what Stormy Daniels had to say about why she signed that nondisclosure agreement. Listen to this.


COOPER: If it was untruthful, why did you sign it?

DANIELS: Because they made it sound like had no choice. Yes, but no one was putting a gun to your head. Not physical ones, no.

COOPER: You thought that there would be some sort of legal repercussion if you didn't sign that.

DANIELS: As a matter of fact, the exact sentence used was "They can make your life hell in many different ways."

COOPER: They being?

DANIELS: I'm not exactly sure who "they" were. I believe it's Michael Cohen.


VANIER: That's Michael Cohen, the President's personal lawyer. Now, he says he never threatened Stormy Daniels, just to be clear. Stormy Daniels' lawyer says that he's actually out to expose the thuggish tactics that were used and this is just one of them, intimidating his clients in his words. Ellis.

HENICAN: Here's the reason that's so believable -- Cyril, is that it's exactly the ways the President has behaved time and time again and the people around him, his aides. They try and bully opponents to try and threaten them, to suggest bad things -- you know, not every detail is always clear in every single case.

But I mean, you know, the President's side of this has never been presented in any kind of vocal (INAUDIBLE) way. Did the lawyer really pay $130,000 of his own money to keep this person quiet?

VANIER: Well, he said he did. He admits as much. He admits as much.


HENICAN: -- did it really come out of his pocket? None of that stuff is very believable, I don't think.

FERGUSON: Here's what I'll say about this. Stormy Daniels says that she was, you know, told that these tactics would be used against her. Oddly, it's the exact same tactics that Stormy Daniels is now using against Donald Trump.

So if you're going to tell me that I need to believe her, why would I believe her? She signed a disclosure, broke the disclosure; brings up things that she was not supposed to bring up because she took the money. She took the cash, cashed the check and is making, from what we understand, a massive amount of money --


FERGUSON: -- becoming the most popular, most well known porn star in the history of this country.

VANIER: But Ben -- it doesn't matter -- I don't think anybody cares what happens to Stormy Daniels and her career and whether she becomes an even more successful --

FERGUSON: She does. She does.


FERGUSON: She actually -- I don't care.

VANIER: Yes, but this is not --

FERGUSON: I know she does.

VANIER: -- Ben, this is not an interview about the future of Stormy Daniels. This is an interview about the future of this presidency.

[00:10:03] So ultimately, do you think there was anything in that interview? That's what interests me and I think that's what interests viewers and certainly what interests voters.

Do you think there was anything in all of this that hurts or affects this presidency deeply?

FERGUSON: Honestly, from what I -- I literally did my radio show right before we came on here, talking to people all over the country calling in. And the mass majority of them that were Trump supporters said they would vote for him again.

They knew they weren't voting for a boy scout. This happened years before he was running for President. It didn't happen in the White House. Many of them use the Clinton comparison of they'd never seen this in Clinton. Clinton did happen while he was in the White House.

This happened years before Donald Trump even though about running for the White House. So most of those individuals said this is exactly what I knew before.

Stormy Daniels said she slept with the President. Stormy Daniels took money to keep quiet about it. Now, she's using that and exploiting that opportunity because he is the President to make more money. They say they don't really care.

VANIER: Ellis, last word -- quickly though, we have to run.

HENICAN: Well, among the hard-core no. Apparently they don't care if he had any sexual impropriety unless it involves Democrats. I would take a look though at Independent women. Some of them are not going to like the idea of a married president with a young baby, sleeping in the whole room with a porn star. It may not fly as well on those circles.

VANIER: All right -- guys. Thank you for joining us on the show. Glad to see you. Thank you.

HENICAN: Good to see you guys.

FERGUSON: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: Contentious there. We will have more analysis on that interview as we push on here on CNN International over the next hour and two.

At least 37 people have died in a fire at a shopping mall in south central Russia. Officials say almost 70 people are missing including 40 children in the coal mine city of Kemerovo in Siberia.

VANIER: And we don't know what started this fire yet. The flames caused the roof of two movie theaters to collapse.


YEVGENEY DEDYUKHIN, KEMEROVO EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT (through translator): At 4:10 in the afternoon, we received information about smoke in the shopping mall on the fourth floor where children's playing rooms and cinemas were situated.

Currently 20 psychologists are working with 17 relatives, I mean those who have called us and said that they cannot contact their children or some adults who, according to their information, were in the shopping mall.

ALEXANDRE EREMEYEV, RUSSIAN EMERGENCY SERVICES MINISTRY (through translator): The Siberian Regional Center has sent a group of rescuers to reinforce the group in Kemerovo which is liquidating the aftermath of a difficult fire accident in the shopping mall. The group consists of 40 rescuers and necessary equipment.


ALLEN: The shopping center was packed when the fire broke out. More than 100 people were evacuated from the mall.

VANIER: And witnesses say some people jumped from the windows to escape the flames. Officials have now opened a criminal investigation to find out how all of this happened.

Catalonia's ex-president is reportedly set to appear before a German judge on Monday. Carles Puigdemont was arrested in Germany on a European warrant after crossing the border on Sunday. He's been living in exile from Spain since the Catalan independence referendum last October.

ALLEN: The Spanish government accuses him of sedition for his role in the vote. Puigdemont's supporters clashed with police in Barcelona after the news of his arrest. Not happy about that. Let's get some insights, excuse me, from CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas. He joins us now from Los Angeles. Dominic -- thanks for being with us.

So here we are, the man who helped lead the move for independence for Catalonia is in jail in Germany. What will Germany do with Mr. Puigdemont and where does this development take this saga. Europe hasn't acted to get involved so far.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: right. And for him to have ended up of all places in Germany where Chancellor Merkel has just sort of going to establish her new government is actually quite extraordinary.

And first of all, it was symbolic that he was himself exiled in Brussels, of all places. And even though this is a juridical matter, something that must be handled by the court beginning on the Monday, it is very hard to imagine that Angela Merkel will not get involved in this.

On Friday, just to step back a little bit, the Spanish Supreme Court announced that 25 of these separatist independents and leaders were going to be charged with some, you know, very serious matters ranging from rebellion to misuse of public funds.

And six of those individuals are already in, essentially in self exile and are now wanted by the authorities. And one of them is Puigdemont who was traveling and the warrant had been cancelled but then reissued and he found himself traveling by land, in a vehicle, crossed into Germany and that's when he was picked up.

ALLEN: So when you say Angela Merkel will likely get involved, how so? Will Germany play as a moderator of sorts?

THOMAS: It's possible. I mean what's interesting though -- and this would not obviously go very well for Puigdemont is that Merkel's Party the CDU-CSU sits at the European Union with Prime Minister Rajoy's People's Party. They're all part of the European People's Party so there's some kind of solidarity there. But this is really a matter for the courts to deal with.

[00:15:08] But of course, throughout this process the Separatists and Puigdemont in particular have been very skillful at using international attention in order to draw some sort of -- shed some light on their particular questions and issues in Catalonia.

And so one could imagine Angela Merkel, as this crisis develops further, and trying to step in and act as a kind of mediator with Rajoy to try and encourage them to find a way finally after six months of this crisis to sit down at the table and to try and find some kind of solution to this before it spreads even wider than it already has.

ALLEN: Why has Spain been so aggressive in pursuing Puigdemont and his colleagues? He is charged with rebellion. He could face 30 years in prison. THOMAS: Right. These are very serious charges. So what's been so interesting in this is the way that Prime Minister Rajoy has been absolutely unyielding from the beginning, arguing very simply that the Spanish constitution which states that Spain is indissoluble. It cannot be broken down and that everything that the Catalonians have done from the very beginning is unconstitutional and illegal.

When they pursued their bid for independence, he declared Article 155 and took over control of the region. He forced a snap election which backfired because it essentially produced the same result and has been unwilling to go to the negotiating table.

I think what has shifted in the last six months actually is that now attention is increasingly on Rajoy himself as prime minister and people increasingly question the way in which he just handled this crisis.

His political popularity is waning. There are other parties that are emerging on the scenes. And the big question here as this moves along is whether or not Rajoy is in fact the best person to bring Spain out of this crisis.

And it might be possible that if early elections are called and new leaders come to the table for a kind of discussion to take place between Catalonia and Madrid that is less riddled with the kind of tensions and divisiveness that have been there since this crisis started six months ago.

ALLEN: Absolutely. And we saw all the people that took to the streets in protest when he was arrested. It's certainly added impasse (ph).

Dominic Thomas -- thank you for your expertise. We appreciate it.

THOMAS: Thank you -- Natalie.

VANIER: A former KGB agent is joining the growing list of people blaming the Kremlin for poisoning a former double agent.


NIC ROBERTS, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: What you're saying is that the state has a system of disposing its enemies by murder overseas.



VANIER: And this man says he is also a target. We'll have his story after the break.


ALLEN: And welcome back. The Trump administration could decide in the coming hours whether to expel a group of Russian diplomats from the United States. Sources say the National Security Council recommended the expulsion in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England.

VANIER: Last week the U.K. ordered 23 Russian diplomats to leave after blaming Moscow for the attack. Meanwhile the Kremlin has issued a statement urging the U.S. to show restraint.

The statement says this in part, "Russia and U.S. relations are so multi-layered, strategic stability of the entire world depends on it. They should not be taken hostage by such clearly staged stories.

The chemical attack in England has prompted a former senior KGB agent to come forward.

ALLEN: He says he was warned that something bad would happen to him and Sergei Skripal just weeks before Skripal and his daughter were poisoned.

CNN's Nic Robertson digs into this one.


ROBERTSON: Three weeks before Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent, this man Boris Karpichkov, a former senior KGB spy got a warning his life and Skripal's were in danger.

KARPICHKOV: First time, when I was communicated, I took it as a joke.

ROBERTSON: One week after the poisoning, he told the U.K.'s premier breakfast show he didn't bother telling the police because his live had been threatened before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're watching this interview, I would imagine they would want to talk to you as a matter of urgency.

ROBERTSON: Now three weeks after the poisoning, he says police have yet to contact him. He's telling us more details about the warning.

KARPICHKOV: I received a phone call from only one person who could call is in (INAUDIBLE)

ROBERTSON: Somebody you know and trust.

KARPICHKOV: Yes. Yes. He's still deep undercover. Senior field officer of Russian secret service called FSB.

ROBERTSON: What's his job?

KARPICHKOV: Sorry, not even a hint because, you know, just because man would be killed because if I give slight indications I can't do that. You can put me on electric chair, I will not reveal his name even there.

ROBERTSON: However, he says he was uniquely placed to get the call.

KARPICHKOV: What is their reason?

ROBERTSON: Because he's your friend.

KARPICHKOV: No, no. It's much more simple. Once, (INAUDIBLE) I saved his live. His friend --

ROBERTSON: You saved his life?

KARPICHKOV: Yes. That's it. That's it. It's understandable. Is it not?

ROBERTSON: Karpichkov says he spied for and against the CIA before Russia's intelligence service, the FSB, turned against him, planned to kill him. He fled to the U.K. 20 years ago.

Twelve years ago, on a trip to New Zealand, he says, he was poisoned by Russian agents. Since then, he says, he's investigated hundreds of others killed by the Soviet and Russian state over the past hundred years, including the murder of Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko in London by Russian agents in 2006.

[00:25:04] KARPICHKOV: We've written an inquiry. I ran my own investigation and the result of this investigation clearly states that Putin didn't give an order but Putin was aware that Litvinenko is going to be taken out.

Some senior (INAUDIBLE) and they put this much attention. He doesn't care. He just expressed, you know, ok if he deserves, it should be done.

ROBERTSON: So do you believe Sergei Skripal's poisoning would have been something that Putin was aware of in advance?

KARPICHKOV: Yes. It could be the case.

ROBERTSON: So he could have stopped it?


ROBERTSON: And he didn't.

KARPICHKOV: I know Putin.

ROBERTSON: What you're saying is that the state has a system of disposing of its enemies --


ROBERTSON: -- by murder overseas.

KARPICHKOV: Yes. It's --

ROBERTSON: And can that possibly be without Putin, do you believe?

KARPICHKOV: It's not Putin. It's about system.

ROBERTSON: But then they seem not responsibility for the system.

KARPICHKOV: He is responsible. He's creator of system.

ROBERTSON: Karpichkov says he is ready to help U.K. investigators. He has knowledge of how Russian spies use nerve agents.

You were trained in these --

KARPICHKOV: I was instructed, not trained, instructed because you know, just to carry out some precautionary measures -- that's it.

ROBERTSON: British officials tell us "We are unable to discuss who we may or may not have spoken to in the course of any ongoing investigation." And they've given no hint whether Karpichkov can expect a call from them in the near future.

Nic Roberts, CNN -- London.


ALLEN: Very interesting story there.

Egyptians will soon head to the polls to vote for president but it's essentially a one-man race. That story coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM.




VANIER (voice-over): Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier.

ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories:


VANIER: So polls are going to open in just a few hours for the first day of Egypt's presidential election. Voters have three days to cast their ballots. There's little doubt though that President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi will win a second term.

ALLEN: His campaign posters are plastered all over Cairo and you won't find many posters of Sisi's only remaining rival, Mousa Mostafa Mousa. Critics say his candidacy is a sham, that he's a puppet of the government, simply meant to legitimize the election after other contenders quit the race out of fear.

Mousa says his campaign is for real.

VANIER: Let's see. We're joined now by Prom Doha in Qatar, by Adel Abdel Ghafar, a fellow at Brookings Doha Center. Adel, let's first get this out of the way.

Is there any scenario where the incumbent, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, does not win this election?

ADEL ABDEL GHAFAR, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: No, there is no scenario. This is not a reelection, it is more of a show for domestic and international audiences to show that Egypt has some semblance of democratic politics.

But the reality of it is since 2011 there has been a retreat towards authoritarianism and of course President Sisi is expected to win.

VANIER: Can you tell how much support there really is for Sisi in the country?

GHAFAR: Well, actually, Sisi, when he won in 2014, he was very popular and he won with 97 percent of the vote. And he came on a platform of security, stability and economic prosperity.

However, four years later, the president has yet to deliver on these promises and has definitely become less popular.

VANIER: Egyptians have been through so much in the last decade and you alluded to some of that: a revolution, a brief, brief taste of democracy and now back to a strongman who doesn't share power.

How do they feel about having come full circle, about where they are now?

GHAFAR: I think the politics have taken a background seat now and that focus is on the economics. And increasingly every day, Egyptians are feeling the pinch of the austerity measures. At the macroeconomic level the economy has indeed improved and is back growth.

But because of the austerity measures there's less of a room for maneuver for everyday Egyptians. So people are feeling the pinch. So I think over the next period, if President Sisi will be able to deliver on the economy, people will be satisfied with him.

If he is not able to deliver on the economy, then unhappiness with him will increase.

VANIER: But what can he do that he hasn't already done?

GHAFAR: There is ongoing economic reforms which have actually bounced the economy back. So they're working very hard on that front. But effectively, over the next four years, there will be more of the same.

VANIER: And on the security front, because just -- I think it was just 24 to 48 hours ago there was an attack in Alexandria against the local security chief there. And that is just one of many attacks that --

[00:35:00] VANIER: -- there have been either against civilians -- often it's been Christians and churches -- or also against security figures. And you mentioned that this had been one of the big promises made by Sisi, on which he hasn't delivered.

GHAFAR: Yes, the security situation, the government has been working on for four years especially in Sinai and the Nile Delta. But yet there are these terrorists; attacks still occur against the army, against the civilian populations, against the Christians in the country.

So the government has tried to work hard on this but has yet to bring full security. And the Egyptians, of course, are complaining about this. So in an environment where there is less economic security and there's less security on the streets, definitely there is -- people's perceptions of Sisi are not as they were when it was 2014.

VANIER: Before I let you go, I have to ask you one last question on Sinai, which has always -- for a long time been the thorn in the side of Egyptian rulers, just this part of the country that they find very, very difficult to get any form of real control on.

Is there anything they can do in Sinai to stabilize that region?

GHAFAR: There is -- the culmination of hard power and soft power is very necessary here. What the government has done well is the hard power side of things, going in with full military force.

However the Sinai residents feel disconnected from the mainland of Egypt, have less economic opportunities and access to medical care or access to education and so on. So they don't really feel part of the mainland.

So in addition to the hard power approach, there has to be a longer- term developmental approach for the Sinai Peninsula that takes into consideration the residents of the Sinai and to improve their livelihoods.

This is the only way forward for Sinai, for permanent stability there.

VANIER: Yes. This story from Sinai has been repeating itself over many years and over numerous Egyptian leaders.

Adel Abdel Ghafar, thank you so much for joining us today. Thanks.

GHAFAR: Thanks for having me.

VANIER: Now fears of a trade war are weighing on markets in Asia. Last Thursday U.S. President Trump announced tariffs on at least $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. And in retaliation, China announced tariffs on its own, of its own and the markets went tumbling.

ALLEN: Trading opened in Asia a few hours ago and, as you can see, everything down right now; the Nikkei down 0.48 percent; the Hang Seng down 0.56; Shanghai composite down 1.64, Australia S&P down 0.54 percent. So same old same old from last week, not looking good there. For a

closer look at the markets and what we expect this week as more and more open and which industries to suffer the most in a trade war, here's our Andrew Stevens, live from Beijing.

Andrew, hello.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: Hello, Natalie. If you look at those numbers, actually they could've been a lot worse, especially if you consider that, on Friday, the Dow and the S&P both closed at their session lows. There was a lot of selling pressure right at the end, which was expected to roll on into Asia.

There has been to a much lesser degree than many would've expected. And one of the reasons for that may be a story in "The Wall Street Journal," actually. It's quoting unnamed sources but it says that Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, has actually written to China, to Yu Hua (ph), who's the new economic czar here, outlining a list of what the U.S. would like to see China do to ease the tensions and release the pressure on this threat of tariffs.

And we're talking here about cutting the taxes and tariffs on U.S. all tows (ph) going into China. We're also talking about China buying more U.S. semiconductors and allowing the U.S. to take a bigger stake in financial services, the companies in China.

So all those together is seen as steps that China could take in this negotiation stage before we get to actual tariffs being applied by the U.S. -- Natalie.

ALLEN: So if we get there, which industries would suffer the most?

STEVENS: It's a bit of a (INAUDIBLE) at the moment. Now we've still got 15 days before the list of those tariffs is published and then they've got another month or so of consultation before they go into effect.

But it does seem to be aimed at the -- at the industries that Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, has chosen as sort of national champions or the future of Chinese manufacturing if you like.

There's a plan here in China. It's called Made in China 2025 and it basically promotes high-tech industries, particularly communications, aviation technology, Marine technology, high-tech instruments, that sort of thing, artificial intelligence, robotics, all those sorts of things.


STEVENS: Now it's -- the Chinese government is going to be subsidizing a lot of these industries at home, creating national champions, if you like. So it's these sorts of industries that are seen as the targets, if you like, for U.S. tariffs.

So any of those Chinese high-tech goods going into U.S., like the -- encountering those sorts of tariffs -- Natalie. ALLEN: Andrew Stevens for us, thank you, Andrew. We'll talk with you again about it.

VAUSE: Stay with us. We're right back after this.




VANIER: Welcome back. Seventeen hours and just shy of 15,000 kilometers, Australia's first direct flight to London is now complete with a colorful entourage greeting the Boeing Dreamliner passengers at Heathrow Airport.

Some of the fliers on board this first Qantas flight described a smooth ride.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excellent, really good, yes, it's a big difference going all the way through, nonstop. (INAUDIBLE) backwards and forwards and that's (INAUDIBLE) stay on the plane (INAUDIBLE), beautiful plane. (INAUDIBLE) really good, really comfortable, biggest economy seat we've ever had on a plane.

So (INAUDIBLE) good sleep as well. So we were really refreshed. So big difference.

ALLEN (voice-over): Think of the movies you can watch.

VANIER: Good sleep --


ALLEN: -- officials say the direct approach to London flight plane kept throughout, as we just heard from that traveler, three hours off the usual route, which requires stopovers in either Singapore or the Middle East.

Let's hope look happy to be on their feet again.

VANIER: Must be at least seven movies.

ALLEN: Yes, I think so. That's a lot of cookies.

That is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier. It's probably closer to eight or nine movies. Not very good at math. "WORLD SPORT" up next. We will be back at the top of the hour with more news from around the world. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.

ALLEN: See you soon.