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Recapping The Mandela Memorial; Bracing for a Wintry Repeat; Threat to Iran Nuclear Deal; NSA Snoops Video Games

Aired December 10, 2013 - 08:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: There's so much here, so much to talk about. Let's recap for you with a piece from Errol Barnett.


ERROL BARNETT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In front of a packed stadium here in Johannesburg, President Obama delivered his very personal thoughts on the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And while I will always fall short of Madiba's example, he makes me want to be a better man. He speaks to what's best inside us.

Nelson Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done. South Africa shows that it's true. South Africa shows that we can change, that we can choose a world defined not by our differences, but by our common hopes.

It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with the punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.

What a magnificent soul it was.

BARNETT: Those words spoken minutes after an unprecedented sight, Obama sharing the stage and shaking hands with Cuban President Raul Castro, an image most people never thought they would see happen and won't soon be forgotten.

The festivities started hours before the ceremony even began. There was singing, dancing and celebration. The wet weather not dampening spirits.

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA: We were not able to stop the rain. When it rains when you are buried, it means that you're God is welcoming you.

BARNETT: Tens of thousands of mourners listen to the mass choir sing the South African national anthem. This, followed by prayer.

Leaders and public figures from 19 different nations, including President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama waved to a roaring crowd. And Mandela's grandchildren, who ignited the cheers of the entire stadium.

MBUSO MANDELA, MANDELA'S GRANDDAUGHTER: Tower over the world like a comet, leaving streets of light for us to follow.

BARNETT: In fact, those overwhelming cheers forcing a good-natured plea for order.

RAMAPHOSA: Can we appeal those behind the stage to please tone down their singing?


CUOMO: And it has been such a memorial morning for us here, this memorial, joined by Christiane Amanpour.

Let's unpack two very important things. The first is the handshake. Now, we know this is going to be a topic of discussion. I believe it should be dismissed as respect for the occasion, respect for Nelson Mandela, not a statement about political play between Cuba and the United States.

But what do you think?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that is what it is. We've been able to see the president come up these stairs and go past basically a diplomatic line. You have the president of Cuba and you also have him embracing the president of Brazil, on whom he is not on very good terms right now because of the NSA scandal, because the president of the Brazil was very upset about being spied on, et cetera.

So this is a diplomatic occasion with all these people but not to do politics, but to admire and pay tribute to the great conciliator. And I think that's what everybody understands that was.

CUOMO: And sometimes the humanity must rule. When you go to a memorial, when someone has passed, you treat their friends with respect even if they are not your own and to the extent that politics at play, the president shook his hand but also gave Raul Castro and other leaders a little slap during his comments saying, there are those here who say they follow Madiba, Nelson Mandela's words, but don't allow their own people to speak their dissent.

AMANPOUR: That's right. Another thing I thought was so touching was when President Obama thanked the people of South Africa for sharing Nelson Mandela with the world.

And Jacob Zuma, the current president who's speaking now, also paid tribute not just to the people of South Africa, but to the family of Mandela, who had to share this great man with the rest of the world. And, you know, this has been full, this stadium, but you might be able to see behind Zuma right now, you can see the orange seats.

Basically a lot of the stadium is emptying right now. It's the end of the ceremonies and the rain and the security concerns played some part in a slightly thinner crowd than what was expected.

CUOMO: Behind President Obama, however, it was full.


CUOMO: And people were dancing. There was a lot of revelry going on.

AMANPOUR: There was.

CUOMO: Is it too much? Are we overstating that when somebody passes you want to lionize them, make them even greater than they were? Do you believe you can do that with nelson Mandela?

AMANPOUR: Here is the thing. There will be people who say it's too much, both in South Africa and around the world, in the United States, et cetera. But I think this is what we're reflecting is what South Africa is doing, which is saying good-bye in a very prolonged and dignified way.

They want to record in full honor, so to speak. Obviously, television does this for many, many, many figures, people of less much stature than Nelson Mandela. People may have their opinions, but everybody has said this is really the example of the ages.

And I think when people in the United States look at some of the conflicts that are still out there, not least between the Israelis and Palestinians, that his example is really the one that can bring reconciliation. It's about forgiveness. It's in the about a zero sum game. It's not about domination. That is not just a personal thing. It's a political ingredient for conflict resolution.

CUOMO: I think that if there were to be closure here today, not just for the family of Nelson Mandela and all of those who loved him in South Africa, the closure just come on, even if you wanted to mitigate the importance of the man, the message -- there was a word in South Africa that President Obama used that I learned today, Ubuntu, I am me because of you, interconnectedness, interdependence.


CUOMO: If you want to mitigate the strength of the man, and I would say history dictates that's going to be difficult to do. That message is needed now in South Africa and in the United States and around the world as much as ever, if not more so. So for only that reason, Kate, back in New York, as we were here and I got to learn from Christiane all morning, so, it was great for me to be here and witness this.

But that message should resonate not just in this stadium but back home as well. The president brings it with him as he returns to the United States there. You surely know as well as anyone that he's got plenty of reconciliation to do right back in the United States.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And as you've both been talking about really wonderfully throughout the morning, let's hope that message resonates and returns here to the United States with the president when he returns back here.

We'll get right back to you, guys. It's been a great conversation to watch from here. But back here in the States, another big story that is unfolding right now in the Northeast that we're tracking for you, extreme weather. After several grueling days, battling ice, sleet, wind and snow, another storm is now battering the region.

It's already causing pile-ups on roadways and big delays on the runways. It's so bad in the nation's capital that it forced the federal government to shut down for the day. We're tracking the storm minute to minute to bring you all the information that you need right now.

Let's begin with Chris Lawrence in Washington.

Good morning, Chris.


Yes. We're getting a steady stream now of thick, wet snow here on the national mall. Just up the road a ways at the White House as well. Look, this storm is going to affect the 50 million Americans, and it's coming just a day after the East Coast really headed into the first round of wintry weather.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): The skidding, the pile-ups, the bitter freezing cold. And it's not over yet. Monday's commutes were nasty. The snow and ice snarling traffic on the ground and the air. Drivers resorted to pushing their cars over slippery overpasses and bridges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The roads are in terrible shape, slippery, sliding and very slow.

LAWRENCE: In New Jersey, thawing ice and rain created major flooding problems in Seaside Heights, causing school closings and delays.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm panicking. I mean, it's coming in under the condo and I'm on the bottom floor. And that's the last thing I need, is to have my duct work and everything else shorting out.

LAWRENCE: Power lines covered in ice left thousands without power. putting utility crews out in full force, trying to restore service before the upcoming storm.

More than 1,700 flights were canceled on Monday, further aggravating travelers, some stuck in airports for days.

Road crews working overtime at this hour to keep the streets safe for commuters, in hopes of preventing more deadly accidents, like this massive pile-up in Yonkers, New York. Forty people were hurt when slick roads caused 20 cars to collide late Sunday night. And near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a traffic camera captured this horrifying 30-car pile-up as it happened with car after car crashing into each other, shutting down the highway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would see them go southbound and see their taillights disappear in the snow and all of a sudden I would see the brake lights come on or jump off to the side and spin. You knew it was happening. I was just praying to God that nobody was going to die.

LAWRENCE: Same highway, another pile up, just a few miles away, one person died when dozens of vehicles rear-ended each other.


LAWRENCE: You always hate to see that. Here in Washington right now, the snow is still steadily coming down. Not really sticking so much on the roads just yet. It's always tricky when you shut everything down in anticipation of the storm rather than dealing with what's already on the ground.

I mean, if you're at home right now, hustling your kids off to school you can certainly emphasize with a lot of parents at home who all of a sudden get an unexpected snow day and have to come up with some backup child care options at the last minute -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right, Chris. And as your talking about parents, parents are wondering, Chris, where is your hat? You're out in the snow.

LAWRENCE: I know. I sort of dressed for what it was at about 6:00 in the morning when we got out here, which was clear and no problem. Not really dressing for what it was going to be now. I'm kind of caught out there, so to speak.

BOLDUAN: You sure are. We'll check back in with you in a little bit. But let's give Chris what he needs to watch out for, coming up, as the storm starts moving through.

So, let's check in with meteorologist Jennifer Gray, keeping track of the latest forecast for us this morning.

Good morning, Jennifer.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning to you.

And poor thing for Chris out there because he is on the thick of it right now. We are going to continue to see the snow track up to the Northeast. This system is not going to last very long but it is going to give one last push of winter weather before this pesky system gets out of the way, which will be good news for a lot of you.

As we take a peek up towards Philadelphia, you are already seeing snow as well as New York, getting some light snow in the city right now. We could see anywhere from one to two inches of snow in the city. Surrounding areas could see as high as three to five inches. We are going to see problems on the bridges and overpasses as we go through the next 12 to 24 hours.

This system is not going to last very long. It is going to get out of here by this afternoon. The other big story, of course, lake-effect snow across areas around the Great Lakes. I want to show you this. This is December 9th, 2012. This is the snow cover over the U.S. and this is yesterday.

So we have 60 percent to 70 percent of the nation covered in snow right now. What a difference a year makes, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right, Jennifer. You're going to be busy today. We'll check back in with you. Thank you so much.

GRAY: All right.

BOLDUAN: So on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to be heading there today. He's expected to clash with Congress over the fragile Iran -- interim Iran agreement. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is now preparing a possible vote on new sanctions against Iran. This is a very big deal for that fragile agreement.

Senior national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is in Washington with the very latest.

Good morning, Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Kate. This puts Congress on a collision course with the White House, the administration. The White House has been lobbying hard against the sanctions. Secretary of State Kerry even recorded a video appeal for lawmakers over the Thanksgiving holiday, but it appears that that effort has fallen on deaf ears.

And remember, this as you say is a bipartisan push. Sources telling CNN that Republican and key Democratic senators nearing agreement on a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran, six months from now. Now, this bill would impose these penalties unless Iran does three things. It would have to move its enriched uranium out of the country under international supervision and dismantle its heavy water plutonium reactor and its entire uranium program. These are basically two separate possible paths to nuclear bomb.

You know, the trouble is, the administration is calling for none of these steps, at least in this interim deal, and the key thing there, keeping an enrichment program going on in Iran this weekend, President Obama once again said he could live with what he called a modest enrichment program there. This is something that his lawmakers even within his own party on Capitol Hill saying they cannot live with.

Senate aides telling me it's their view these new sanctions would only strengthen the administration's hand in these nuclear talks. That's frankly not the White House position, Kate.

CUOMO: It sure isn't the way the Iranian foreign minister sees it. He sees it as killing the deal. They're still in this fragile six- month period. We'll see how this goes.

Jim Sciutto, great to see you. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's get a look at your headlines right now.

We begin with some breaking news.


PEREIRA (voice-over): We're following three Miami police officers have been shot overnight in northwest Miami in a series of shootings. All three of them have been sent to a trauma center. Their injuries, we're told, are not life threatening. It's unclear what led up to these shootings. There are reports that suspects involved were killed.

The partisan battle over the president's nominees is consuming the Senate this week. Senate Democrats planning to push confirmation votes for several nominees who were blocked by Republicans under the old 60-vote majority rule. Today, they'll likely vote on Patricia Millett, who's nominated to be a judge for the D.C. circuit.

U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visited the Japanese City of Nagasaki this morning. This is where an American atomic bomb was dropped in 1945, killing 70,000 and prompting Japan's surrender in World War II. Kennedy toured the atomic bomb museum and met with survivors. She also planted an American dogwood tree, one of 3,000 offered as a sign of friendship to the nation of Japan.

George Zimmerman's girlfriend says she does not want charges filed against him and wants to be together with him. Samantha Scheibe is also asking a judge to lift an order that blocks her from seeing Zimmerman. He was arrested, you might recall last month, after the two had quite a heated fight. According to a police reporter, Scheibe said Zimmerman broke a table with a shotgun, then pointed it at her for a minute. She now says police misinterpreted her.

And you know, just when you were complaining about how cold it is where you live, get this, the coldest day ever recorded in Antarctica, an insanely low 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit. That's minus, people. It is so cold, scientists say it would actually hurt to breathe. This actually happened more than three years ago. We're only getting this data from the satellite from NASA just now. Took three years for it to defrost.


BOLDUAN: I would suggest, you would not be breathing at that temperature.

PEREIRA (on-camera): It feels sometimes. What's the coldest temperature you think you've ever felt? Like minus what?

BOLDUAN: Oh, good question.

(CROSSTALK) PEREIRA: Even then it hurts to breathe.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

PEREIRA: Add another hundred on there.

BOLDUAN: Sure thing. No, we won't.

PEREIRA: No amount of hot chocolate is going to help.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on "NEW DAY", new leaks suggest the NSA and British intelligence have been going undercover in the gaming world, spying on gamers around the globe. So what are they looking for? Details on that ahead.

PEREIRA: And outpouring of love, affection and dance for Nelson Mandela. We're going to take you back to South Africa for more on the joyous memorial for the anti-apartheid icon.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Leaked documents suggest that the NSA and British intelligence have been spying on gamers across the world. Government spies spent time undercover in fantasy games like "World of Warcraft," according to document's released by the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden. CNN's Brian Todd has more on this very unusual case from Washington. Hey, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate. Good morning, Kate. They can already track us online. They can pinpoint our locations through our cell phones, and now, we find out, as you mentioned, the NSA can track us through the video games that kids and young adults are playing.


TODD (voice-over): Anyone playing the game "World of Warcraft" as druids, death knights, war logs (ph) could also have another designation, surveillance targets. According to newly disclosed classified documents, the NSA and its British counterpart have been infiltrating "World of Warcraft," another online game called "Second Life" and the Xbox live console.

They've gathered metadata, according to the documents, but also used human spies to go undercover and create their own avatars, make- believe characters so they could interact with possible terrorists playing games. The documents were obtained by "The Guardian" newspaper from NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, and shared with the "New York Times" and pro (INAUDIBLE) Why would the NSA do this?

E.J. HILBERT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, KROLL CYBER: In the online gaming world, you can communicate openly between two characters. And this is not something that goes over the line. It's in a smaller group. You can also gift money in the form of gold or characters or online currency.

TODD: And conceivably, terrorists could plan real attacks through these fantasy games.

(on-camera) Experts say the fake identities, voice and text chat capability, the ability to speak to others in real time are all features of game play that terrorists find attractive.

(voice-over) But the NSA spying program raises privacy concerns.

MARC ROTENBERG, ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER: If it turns out that, in fact, the government is routinely storing all of that activity, analyzing it, linking it up to actual individuals with known identities, then I think people would be concerned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the knife blood of this world.

TODD: And according to the "The Guardian" and "The Times," with all those elves, trolls and gnomes being surveilled, there's no indication of any terrorists caught or plot foiled.


TODD (on-camera): The NSA wouldn't comment on those reports or on the privacy complaints. It did say that its foreign intelligence mission is centered on, quote, "valid foreign intelligence targets." A spokesman for the NSA's British counterpart would not confirm or deny the reports but said that agency's activities are necessary and legal.

Xbox maker, Microsoft, and the maker of "World of Warcraft" say they're not aware of any surveillance and they wouldn't have given permission for it. The maker of "Second Life" has not commented -- Kate and Michaela?

BOLDUAN: Compounding. Brian, thank you so much.

PEREIRA: What's amazing is behind him, you can really see that snow coming down there in the nation's capital. Obviously, something we'll keep an eye on. Look at that, the White House is literally white.

Up next on "NEW DAY", was it an accident or murder? Both sides in the trial of the Montana Newlywed accused of killing her husband agree on what happened, just not how. We'll explain, ahead.

BOLDUAN: And we, of course, will continue to follow the Mandela memorial. Tens of thousands, just look at the celebration of his life. Tens of thousands of South Africans. A long list of dignitaries and world leaders are there with a worldwide audience watching.


CUOMO: We are here at the Nelson Mandela memorial in South Africa. You're watching Bishop Ivan Abrahams. He's giving the sermon here toward the end of the memorial. Very interestingly, Nelson Mandela, he's being treated as if he was a saint here and many would say with good reason. He, himself, would say he is no saint, unless, you define a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.

And that was the theme that was very important for U.S. president, Barack Obama. He was here, one of many world leaders, to speak on the stage here, united by the common respect for Nelson Mandela, regardless of their own political differences, somewhat in that spirit of what forgiveness and reconciliation is all about, has lived through the struggle of Nelson Mandela.

Of course, for you in the United States, hearing President Barack Obama here was the highlight of the day. And there were some moments surrounding it as well, messages for the people here in South Africa also back home in the U.S. Take a listen.


OBAMA: His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and your hope found expression in his life and your freedom. Your democracy is his cherished legacy.

It is hard to eulogize any man, to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person, their private joys and sorrows, the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone's soul are much harder to do so for a giant of history who moved a nation toward justice and in the process moved billions around the world.

Born during World War I, far from the corridors of power, a boy raised herding cattle and tutored by the elders of his Thembu tribe, Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century. Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement, a movement that at start had little prospect for success. Like Dr. King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed and moral necessity of racial justice.


CUOMO: He would reference Gandhi. He would reference Abraham Lincoln, the United States president, when discussing Mandela. He showed the audience here, as I'm joined by Robyn Curnow, South African, but also obviously, great international correspondent for CNN. He was trying to impress on this audience here that he knew the life of Nelson Mandela. He knew the high points, but more importantly, he knew the message.

And he used the word in South African that Robyn taught me today, it is ubuntu. Explain what it means.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ubuntu is a very African word in the sense that that means, I am me because of you. So, it really speaks to the collective nature of our world and how you really can't be a Nelson Mandela, unless, you have all the people, these people to support you along the way.