CBS ’60 Minutes’ Episode Guide (March 5): French Presidential Candidate Marine Le Pen Interviewed

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CBS ’60 Minutes’ Episode Guide (March 5): French Presidential Candidate Marine Le Pen Interviewed

It was a happy ending for 33 circus lions that lived lives of beatings and confinement according to the animal rights advocates who rescued them in South America. “60 Minutes” cameras followed the big cats as they were prepared for their flight to a comfortable, peaceful retirement in a sanctuary in South Africa. Bill Whitaker reports on this journey to freedom, believed to be the largest airlift of lions ever undertaken, on the next edition of “60 Minutes,” Sunday, March 5 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

The lions gained their freedom through the efforts of Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips, who started Animal Defenders International to rescue animals from circuses. The team recruits circus workers to secretly record beatings and other cruel treatment of the animals. Their work has helped lead to local laws passed in 15 U.S. states and 20 countries prohibiting the use of wild animals in circuses. The airlift was the result of animal rights laws enacted in Peru and Colombia.

Some circuses claim they train animals with food and positive reinforcement, but Creamer and Phillips say circus tricks are unnatural acts animals only do under threat of pain.

Whitaker spoke to them in Peru before the flight. “Using violence is the way that these animals are made to do things that they don’t want to do,” says Creamer. The videos they offered show animals being whipped, kicked and punched. Phillips says the images can really capture the public’s attention. “The reaction was instant. I mean it really was just outrage. And then the politicians were starting to hear about it and say, ‘Well, we should probably have legislation here,’” he tells Whitaker.

Animal Defenders International often facilitates the relocation of the animals because local authorities do not have the ability to do so. “60 Minutes” cameras were there as the group got 24 of the lions into traveling crates for the flight.

Cameras were also there for the happy ending, inside a lush preserve in South Africa. While there, the cats could experience simple things they never knew in their caged existence, like the feel of grass, trees and the freedom to roam some thirty acres. “Seeing these animals when you’ve taken them to as close as we can give them to freedom really is what it’s all about,” says Phillips.

Then, later in the “60 Minutes” broadcast, could a controversial French politician promising, much like Donald Trump did, to rein in immigration win the French presidency? Populist politician Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right National Front party, speaks to Anderson Cooper for a “60 Minutes” report Sunday, March 5 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Like President Trump, Marine Le Pen takes a hard line on immigration and champions the unemployed workers of France, who she says have been harmed by globalization. Her views have resonated within the French electorate. She wants to drastically reduce legal immigration and deport all illegal immigrants, and she says she would also like to ban the wearing of conspicuous religious garb in public, including Muslim headscarves and yarmulkes.

One thing Le Pen and some other French conservatives are upset about is a full-body swimsuit called the Burqini, which French Muslims have been wearing to the beach. Le Pen mentioned the Burqini to make a broader point about immigration and assimilation in France, enlisting a French film star of the 1960s and ‘70s to help illustrate it. “[France] isn’t Burqinis on the beach. France is Brigitte Bardot. That’s France,” she tells Cooper. Is she trying to “make France great again,” just as Donald Trump promised during the campaign to “make America great again?” asks Cooper. “Of, course,” she replies. “I’ve been saying so for many years.”

She is also like President Trump in her attitude toward Russia. Calling the notion of a Russian threat a “scam,” Le Penn says, “I’ll tell you what the danger is for Europe. It’s carrying out a cold war against Russia and pushing Russia into China’s arms. That’s the threat.”

President Donald Trump does not condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin either, despite Russia’s military incursions into Ukraine. But Le Pen insists her intention is not to champion Putin, but rather to look out for France. “Look. I’m not a fan in a rock concert, you see. I am a political leader in a great nation of the world. What interests me are France’s interests,” she tells Cooper.

Marine Le Pen is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, a French politician who co-founded the National Front and became infamous for anti-Semitic remarks. He was repeatedly found guilty in court of questioning the Holocaust. She has denounced her father’s extreme politics and says the two are now estranged, but his reputation still casts a shadow over her career.

The above press release was issued by CBS.

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