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North Korea Military Parade; Osaka Upsets Williams in Controversial Final; Florence Heads for Florida; Far Right Populism on the Rise in Sweden; Obama Unleashed. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired September 9, 2018 - 03:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): North Korea stages a massive military parade. But this time there were no long-range missiles in sight.

Plus controversial calls at a U.S. Open that had Serena Williams crying foul.

The U.S. braces for a storm that could become a major hurricane.

Live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. It is great to have you with us.


VANIER: Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are celebrating the day 70 years ago when their country was born. The celebrations include a military parade featuring the usual trappings, military hardware and goose-stepping soldiers. But as Will Ripley reports from the parade, it's what's not on display that's noteworthy.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: North Korea's military parades to celebrate its 70th founding anniversary left no doubt that this is still a military state. It has a standing army of more than 1 million and there were thousands of soldiers marching here along Kim Il-sung Square.

But one dramatic difference that I've seen, this parade versus the previous parades I've seen in this very square, the nuclear program was not included.

You didn't see the nuclear symbol and you certainly did not see the intercontinental ballistic missiles that are believed to pose a threat to the mainland United States. Those were kept away. The focus was on the soldiers themselves.

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, did not give a speech. But his right-hand man, Kim Yong-nam, did speak. One thing he said that I thought was particularly striking, he told soldiers they needed to be prepared to fight a war but they also needed to be prepared, simultaneously, to fight an economic battle, to build things like roads and bridges and buildings, to grow this country's economy, something that Kim Jong-un has said is his priority moving forward, something that he hopes that the United States will be able to help with as he continues to work towards diplomacy with President Trump.

Denuclearization talks have been very difficult. Just because North Korea's not displaying its nuclear weapons doesn't mean it's getting rid of them. In fact, U.S. intelligence has stated that they don't believe North Korean leader Kim Jong-un intends to fully denuclearize anytime soon.

He was standing here alongside a special enjoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping and in less than two weeks he'll be meeting with South Korean, President Moon Jae-in. There was a letter exchanged from Kim to Trump, indicating that the two leaders, the U.S. and North Korea, want to keep the denuclearization process moving forward.

And this parade, certainly the imagery here suggests that North Korea is making a change when it comes to its nuclear program -- I'm Will Ripley, reporting at Kim Il-sung Square, Pyongyang, North Korea.


VANIER: Let's bring in Paula Hancocks, she is in Seoul, South Korea.

Paula, no intercontinental missiles on display, no nuclear technology on display, how significant is this?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, it is significant because it shows that Kim Jong-un and Pyongyang is going in the direction it said it would. There seems to be more focus, not just today but at a concert Saturday night, more focus on the economy.

Now obviously it is a military parade so there's a military arsenal on show. But I think if the ICBMs had been part of this, it would have been seen as very provocative at a time when talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalling somewhat.

But in recent days we have seen once again some warming relations between the two. According to a South Korean envoy that went to see Kim Jong-un just last week, he said that he has unwavering faith in President Trump.

And that message got through. President Trump tweeted about it, saying he and Kim Jong-un would work this out together. So certainly I think if we had seen some overt displays of nuclear facilities or nuclear infrastructure, that would have been seen as provocative.

And, of course, we're just over a week away towards that summit between the North Korean and South Korean leaders. And the groundwork is being laid at this point. There will be working-level meetings for that as well.

Certainly the trend is towards dialogue at this point. And North Korea has been very vocal in saying that its trend and its theme is focusing on the economy. Most notably we've heard from Kim Jong-un because he said he has done what he needs to when it comes to the nuclear and missile.

VANIER: Live from Seoul, South Korea, great to talk to you, Paula, thank you.

Now to the U.S. Open tennis championships, where 20-year-old Naomi Osaka won her first grand slam title. She is the first Japanese player ever to accomplish the feat. And she did it in decisive --


VANIER: -- style, upsetting the heavily favored veteran Serena Williams. However, the match will be remembered for Williams' repeatedly clashing with the chair umpire, calling him a thief. Our Andy Scholes reports.


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolute chaos breaking out at the U.S. Open women's final on Saturday. It's going to go down as one of the most controversial matches in tennis history.

Serena Williams had already dropped the first set to Naomi Osaka. In the second set, chair umpire Carlos Ramos issued her a warning for receiving coaching from her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, from the stands. That's when Serena approached Ramos the first time.


SERENA WILLIAMS, U.S. TENNIS PLAYER: I don't have any coaching. I know you don't know that and I understand why you may have thought that was coaching. But I'm telling you it's not. I don't cheat to win. I'd rather lose. I'm just letting you know.


SCHOLES (voice-over): The match continued. After Osaka broke Serena, she smashed her racket in anger. Serena was then hit with a point penalty for abuse of equipment.

Then during a changeover, Serena went at Ramos again.


WILLIAMS: I don't cheat, I would rather lose.


SCHOLES (voice-over): Ramos then penalized Serena again. And since this was her third offense, she was penalized a game for verbal abuse. When Serena realized the penalty, she went at Ramos again and asked for the referee and supervisor, saying, in tears, the treatment was not fair.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAMS: That is not right, ma'am, that's not right, this is not fair.


SCHOLES (voice-over): Serena would go on to lose the match 6-2, 6-4 to Osaka. The fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium booing throughout all of these exchanges. And after the match, Serena said she was proud of the way she handled things.


WILLIAMS: I can't sit here and say I wouldn't say he's a thief, because I thought he took a game from me. But I've seen other men call other umpires several things. And I'm here, fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff.

And for me to say "thief" and for him to take a game?

It made me feel like it was a sexist remark. I mean, like how -- he's never took a game from a man because they said "thief." I mean, it blows my mind. But I'm going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equal -- like Cornet should be able to take her shirt off without getting a fine. Like this is outrageous.

And I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions and that want to express themselves and they want to be a strong woman.

And they're going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn't work out for me but it's going to work out for the next person.


SCHOLES: After the match, Serena's coach admitted that he was coaching; everyone does it, he does it all the time and has never been penalized for it in his career. This time he was. And it turned into one of the most controversial endings to a tennis match we've ever seen -- at Flushing Meadows, Andy Scholes, CNN.


VANIER: Let's talk to CNN Sports analyst Christine Brennan, she's also a sports columnist for "USA Today."

Christine, obviously I want to go back to the whole Serena episode because this is what will be remembered. You say and you wrote in a piece that's very interesting, that I just read, that, yes, this was sexism.


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Because tennis, if we know anything about tennis and umpires and players arguing, Cyril, we know that there's quite a history to it. Think of John McEnroe. Think of Ilie Nastase, going all the way back, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi. These men all berated chair umpires, famously so. Commercials have

been made, McEnroe has done, you can't be serious and all the other tirades, top of his lines over the years.

And none of them received a game penalty. The thought -- I think that it's a very valid question that Serena is asking.

Why does a woman get that kind of attention, get that kind of a penalty?

Billie Jean King just tweeted out, when a woman is "hysterical" when she's doing that and a man is "outspoken."

And while I don't think any of us are in favor of tirades and maybe Serena would take some of these things back, I don't know, the point remains that, in the sport of tennis, which has such a history, to take away that moment from Serena Williams, the chair umpire inserted himself, I believe, in such a manner, in this important match, historic, going for 24 grand slam titles, and changed the course of that match potentially, certainly changed the ending.

And he would -- would he have done that with a man?

And history has said, no, he would not have done that with a man.

VANIER: Let me introduce a counter argument. Full disclosure, I'm not a tennis guy, so I come to this cold.

When I look at the whole sequence of events, all of this starts with the umpire giving a penalty --


VANIER: -- to Serena Williams because her coach was coaching, which he is not allowed to do and which he then admitted that he was doing.

So that all seems like good umpiring, doesn't it?

BRENNAN: Except for the fact they don't call that on anybody else but that coach and Serena at that moment.

So I agree with you; if they were calling that 15-20 times during the two weeks of the U.S. Open or during the two weeks of Wimbledon, absolutely, I'd agree with you.

But they don't call it on anyone. The great Billie Jean King says that they should allow coaching; this is ridiculous, everyone does it.

So again, it's very interesting. I don't disagree with you --


VANIER: By the way, Serena's coach is a man, I should point out. Serena's coach is a man.

BRENNAN: Oh, yes, right. But Serena is the player and is a woman and she's the one that's talking about it. So the point is it's the player who gets the violation. Obviously the coach doesn't; the coach doesn't get a point taken away, that was Serena that got the point taken away.

Again, I'm with you if it's -- why isn't it consistent?

Why is only one person -- I got to give Serena her due on this one, Cyril. They don't only call it on Serena, at this most important moment?

And then again, the game for Serena?

You know John McEnroe, you remember those stories.


VANIER: But on the McEnroe thing, let me push back a bit, because that was the early '80s. So my question would be just, are you telling me that if a man did what Serena did today, he would not be treated the same?

BRENNAN: He has not been treated the same. You can go back and all kinds of outbursts and things over the years. Absolutely. That's what Serena is saying, that's what Billie Jean King is saying --


VANIER: How do you fix it, then?

How do you fix it?

BRENNAN: How do you fix it?

Well, either you decide, as Billie Jean King is saying, that you just let them coach. Again, if anyone sees those hand signals, that's ridiculous, let it happen, that's what Billie Jean King's saying, I think her word is pretty good on the sport of tennis.

And then on the other one, I think at the moment that she's saying -- she's in the heat of the battle, we all understand that. My goodness, and I covered NFL games for years. Things are said, probably a hundred things are said every hour that are worse than what Serena said at that moment.

So my sense would be that chair umpire should have stepped back and said, no, no, no, I'm not going to insert myself; this is way too important a moment. I'm going to let Serena go ahead with that, she's understandably angry.

Because we've let John McEnroe for years and Jimmy Connors for years and Agassi and all kind of other players get away with that, I'm not going to take a full game away from her at this moment.

VANIER: Christine Brennan, thank you so much. And there's going to have to be some thinking, I think, in tennis circles because multiple accusations of sexism recently, you think of Alize Cornet, you think of Serena Williams just recently with her catsuit at Roland-Garros.

Christine, thank you very much.

BRENNAN: Cyril, thank you.

VANIER: The U.S. East Coast is keeping a wary eye on tropical storm Florence. It's getting stronger over the Atlantic and it's forecast to become a hurricane in just a few hours and a major hurricane on Monday.

If it keeps on its current path, the storm will cause some big problems for the U.S. East Coast. The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia already have declared states of emergency.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are preparing for the worst and, of course, hoping for the best. But being prepared, being prepared is always the best strategy.




VANIER: The rise of right-wing populism in Europe is gaining ground in a bastion of liberalism. Recent polls show the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats Party is set to expand its footprint in the national parliament. We'll explain what's at stake in Sunday's election.




VANIER: More airstrikes reportedly hit the Syrian province of Idlib on Saturday. They're just the latest sign of a looming Russian and government offensive. The White Helmets say at least four people were killed. The volunteer rescue group released video of it, trying to save people trapped in the rubble.

One woman was reportedly rescued. Three other people didn't make it out alive. Idlib is Syria's last major rebel stronghold but is also home to some 3 million people. Turkey, Syria and Russia failed to reach a cease-fire deal at Friday's summit.


VANIER: A landmark election is now underway in Sweden. Voting places opened about an hour ago. Sweden traditionally is a very liberal country. But polls show the far-right Sweden Democrats gaining strength, echoing the rise of right-wing populists across Europe. CNN's Atika Shubert explains what's at stake in this election.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're in Goteborg, Sweden, second largest city. It's the day before the vote. And parties are out campaigning. But there's one party in particular that stands out, not always in a good way.

SHUBERT (voice-over): The far right Sweden Democrats, once a fringe party, they are nationalist and anti-immigration. They're also doing really well in the polls. And that frightens voters like Zia (ph). He's an Iranian refugee and a medical researcher.

ZIA TABOR (PH), IRANIAN REFUGEE: These people don't want people like me to be here. If they say they are not racist and (INAUDIBLE), then they should think twice.

SHUBERT (voice-over): But the party insists that they are simply stating what others are too afraid to say, that Sweden's welcomed refugees more per person than any other country in Europe, has increased crime and strained the country's generous welfare system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the segregated suburbs with the high crimes and the low results in the schools and gangs stealing with drugs and shootings.

SHUBERT (voice-over): With music and flowers in Sweden's national colors, the party hopes to give a wholesome image. And party leader Jimmie Akesson takes the stage here in Goteborg. He tells the crowd here to take back control of the country; wild cheers despite the rain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That guy is a born leader. And he will bring Sweden back to the people.

SHUBERT (voice-over): But they are competing with the chance of counter protesters, who shout "No racists in Goteborg." It's clear that this is one of the most heated elections Sweden has had in decades. And voters will be going into the polling booths polarized and divided -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Goteborg, Sweden.


VANIER: Brazil's far-right presidential front-runner Jair Bolsonaro is recovering from the stab wound he received while campaigning earlier this week. His son tweeted this photo of his father in hospital. The tweet says Bolsonaro's condition continues to improve and that he has started physical therapy.

State news agency Agencia Brasil says a 40-year-old man has been charged in connection with that attack.

Turning to the critical midterm elections in the United States this November, former U.S. president Barack Obama was at a rally in California on Saturday, campaigning for Democrats, hoping to take over control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Unlike his sharp critique of Donald Trump the day before, Mr. Obama never mentioned the current U.S. president by name. But he didn't need to. Everyone knew exactly who and what he was referring to, as he stumped for seven Democratic candidates in districts that are currently held by Republicans.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fact is that if we don't step up, things can get worse. The good news is, in two months, we have a chance to restore some sanity in our politics.


OBAMA: We have the chance to flip the House of Representatives and make sure there are real checks and balances in Washington.


VANIER: Joining me now is Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst, historian and professor at Princeton University.

Julian, as we watch Barack Obama jump back into the political fray, there are two things I want to understand from you.

First of all, is it normal?

And, two, is this wise for the Democrats?

Let's start with normal.

How often do you see a previous president campaigning for the midterms a year and a half after he left office?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's rare. Most former presidents have stayed out of the political fray. Bill Clinton was one of the exceptions. He jumped in early on in 2001. He'd do it again in 2006.

But usually you don't hear much from presidents. And he's not just entering the political competition and fray; he's doing it with total zest and enthusiasm. So this is an unusual moment.

VANIER: Yes, he's doing it with gusto and also clearly with an eye to defending his record and his place in history, that was quite apparent from his speeches.

Is it wise for Democrats to use Obama?

Because it also seems to me that it underlines, they haven't found somebody to fill his shoes.

ZELIZER: I think it's still wise. I think he brings a lot to the table. He's a very eloquent speaker. He's been able already to frame the threat that the nation faces, not just Democrats and why you need a check and balance. He remains enormously popular.

And I think someone like Barack Obama can actually help generate -- [03:25:00]

ZELIZER: -- enthusiasm and interest in the other Democrats who are going to be coming forward in the next months for 2020. So I don't think it's mutually exclusive. I think he's a particular figure who can help the Democrats right now.

VANIER: Don't you think he's also going to generate enthusiasm on the other side for Republicans, who were happy to see the back of him?

ZELIZER: He will but I think one thing we've learned about the Republican Party in 2018 is they're already energized. They already have many people that they focus on as enemies, so to speak, political enemies.

So I'm not sure that Barack Obama adds that much to it. It was like when he was president. He always thought if he stayed out of the mix a little bit, if he was quiet, the other side would be more tame. But that never happened. So I think he brings a lot more than those risks threaten for the Democrats.

VANIER: One thing about this campaign ahead of the midterms that I find counter intuitive is using and who's using impeachment as a political argument. It turns out Republicans are using it more than Democrats. Listen to President Trump in his latest rally.


TRUMP: What you're going to have, you'll have a country that's going to turn into a third world country, because if the opposite party becomes president, every time before it even starts, before you've even found out whether or not he or she is going to do a great job, they'll say, we want to impeach him!

And you'll impeach him. It's so ridiculous. But we'll worry about that if it ever happens. But if it does happen, it's your fault because you didn't go out to vote.


VANIER: "If it does happen, it's your fault because you didn't go out to vote."

It turns out the Republicans feel that this is a strong campaign argument for them.

ZELIZER: That's true. The Republicans are warning, if you have a Democratic Congress, impeachment is inevitable. While Democrats, many of whom feel that impeachment might have to be on the table, don't want to talk about it. They'd rather focus on issues.

They'd rather focus on their general opposition to the president rather than a process of removal.

We'll see. We'll see how that works out; it's probably a pretty effective tactic for President Trump. The only problem is, polls show that more and more people support the investigation. They support the possibility of impeachment.

So he might find that a lot of the public really isn't on his side. And in the House, it's suburban independent voters who are going to really determine the outcome of the House, not the red, red parts of those states.

VANIER: Julian Zelizer, always good to see you. Thank you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

VANIER: All right, thanks for watching. I'm Cyril Vanier, I've got the headlines for you in just a moment. Stay with us on CNN.