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Judge Denies Stay on Utah Same-Sex Marriage; Last-Minute Shoppers; Top-10 Business Stories;

Aired December 24, 2013 - 11:30   ET


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: Why didn't he say let's see how this plays out in court.

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: It's long journey and it's been a long journey for members of the gay and lesbian community and been long time coming. As you mentioned, 18 states now, 32 that don't. Just the issue, I mean the judge was relying on equal protection. It's big. It's the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment has historically been used for many things that relate to equality, whether gender, race, and now, of course, whether it affects same-sex marriages. And so what the judge is doing is saying, look, the time has come, he refused to stay the ban which of course would have been a big win for the state to say identify analyzed this and as I read the Constitution and 14th Amendment this is wrong, it's improper and there's going same-sex marriages in Utah.

FEYERICK: Ohio also. You can't underestimate the impact of the Ohio ruling. A federal judge there issued a major ruling that states have to recognize same-sex marriages even if it's banned, and that really does have major implications going forward because, if you're married in Utah, but you go to Colorado, you still get the same rights you would otherwise have.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In the United States, different states have recognized marriages in other states for a long, long time. And it's important to understand the Ohio case is really a narrow issue. It's not really the right to marry. It's, if you're already married in another state can another state divest you of that marriage? It really doesn't implicate any fundamental right to marry except as it relates to if you've gone to another state does Ohio, is Ohio obligated to recognize that marriage. For example, if you're married and you're below the age of minority Ohio would recognize, Ohio will recognize that marriage even if celebrated in another state.

FEYERICK: Right. Which is really extraordinary. So got 18 states now that have said, OK, same-sex marriage legal. Your predictions gentlemen for what will happen to the other 32 states based on the legal cases that are now pending. What do we see a year from now? Is the balance the same or does it shift?

JACKSON: What do you think, Danny?

CEVALLOS: I think from a constitutional standpoint this argument, the Ohio judge's ruling is compelling because it's a very easy conclusion to draw. You avoid getting to tissue of whether or not there's a fundamental the right marry. Instead as long as people have celebrated legal marriage in at least one other state they can't have that taken way from them when they go state number two. I think that makes it a much easier path these courts will have to follow suit.


JACKSON: I do think that the tide is turning here. And while I'm loathe to give predictions, because a year from now you'll play the tape.


But the reality, predicated, if you look at the equal protection clause and the trends and the way this has been going and the way different states have been identifying this issue and really overturning proposition and the like I really do think there will be more states added to that list based on court rulings not necessarily legislative action.

FEYERICK: We'll certainly see a lot more marriages even if people living in other states possibly.

Gentlemen, Joey Jackson, Danny Cevallos, thank you so much.

JACKSON: Pleasure and a privilege.


FEYERICK: Happy, healthy and a good relaxing, easy Christmas.

JACKSON: Thank you very much.

FEYERICK: Thanks, gentlemen.

Well right now astronauts, we're going pause, are floating outside of the international space station for a spacewalk this Christmas eve. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Hold it. OK. Guys, we're going try something here, Hopper would like to you get into position to hold the button with your thumb, depressing it and rick back off all o of the force on the screw.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, copy that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's fine. That's fine, hopper. Copy that.



FEYERICK: I bet they've got a pretty good view of the North Star from there.

Well, if you waited until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping, first you're not alone. But you better get on it. We'll show you what last minute shoppers are up to just ahead.


FEYERICK: Calling all procrastinators. It's Christmas Eve and last chance to grab Christmas gifts. You'll have a lot of company in the stores.

Stephanie Elam is out in Burbank, California.

Stephanie, is it calm? Is it frenzied? What's going on?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deb, it's orderly. We've been here since before the store opened. It opened at 7:00 a.m. We saw them do their morning cheer.

KIMO CANO, GENERAL MANAGER, BEST BUY: Today, we'll be opening up in three minutes so let's make sure we welcome our customers, let's make sure we offer them the complete solution. Let's give them a positive shopping experience and it's all about having fun, OK. Thank you very much. Happy holidays. We'll open up shortly.

ELAM: All right. So you see they are excited and I'm joined by the general manager, Cano, here.

What's the strategy for opening up early, how do you attack the whole plan on the day before Christmas?

CANO: We're trying to take care of our customers. Make sure we're open. We're here. Open until 6:00 tonight ready for them. Those last minute shoppers, a lot of them.

ELAM: Right now, it's been pretty orderly. You almost don't know it's the day before Christmas. But you have the line going around. When do you expect to it build up?

CANO: Within the next hour to two hours, it will get busy. That's how it's been through the weekend and through yesterday. So, you know, it's going to be pretty crazy but a fun crazy.

ELAM: You used to close at 5:00. Why are you staying up later?

CANO: Our customers want us to stay open later but we're working that balance with our associates.

ELAM: Which it is really all about.

Cano, thank you. ELAM: As you can see people are here. They are shopping. Looking for gifts, deb. It might get crazy around here. We'll keep our eyes on it.

FEYERICK: I know you've already done your Christmas shopping. I'm sure they were wrapped at least in November. Me, not so much. All right.

Stephanie Elam, happy Christmas to you.



Nothing has changed. OK. Well, thanks.

Once everyone finishes their shopping, it's time to take the road to go see family for Christmas. What's the weather going to be like for today and tomorrow?

Jennifer Gray, live with forecast.

Jennifer, who will be happy and who not so much?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Most people will be happy. We have a little bit of snow fall but a white Christmas is a good thing. It won't slow many folks down. We have snow in places like upstate New York and rolling through Pittsburgh. New York City could see a couple of flurries. We also have a couple of snow showers in the northern plains and this could actually be anywhere from two to four inches of snow in places like Fargo, Minneapolis, even towards Green Bay, Milwaukee, and on the outside of Detroit. Detroit could see a couple of flurries there's as well. The big engineer story is the temperature. Current wind chill, Cedar Rapids, 19 degrees below zero is what it feels like. Kansas City feels like five degrees below zero. Along the east coast the big story the past couple of days has been the warm weather. Not the case any more. Definitely feeling like the holidays with temperatures running about 20 to 30 degrees cooler than yesterday.

FEYERICK: All right, Jennifer Gray for us there in the "Weather Center". We'll check back with you later.

Time to play "what is wrong with this picture." Take a close look. If you think it's the man that's hanging out the second story window, you would only be half right. That's not the real man. It's a mannequin. If you think it might alarmed neighbors and passer by. The homeowners were surprised somebody called 911 to their home outside Atlanta. Police cars, fire trucks and paramedics all showed up. Firefighters urged the owners to take the man down. They did for a while. Our affiliate WSB said they then put it back up by popular demand.

From Bitcoins to Facebook to big airline mergers, they all made headlines this year. We're counting down the top-10 business stories right after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: It was a short day on Wall Street. The markets closed for Christmas at 1:00 p.m. eastern, an hour and 15 minutes from now. Overall, a very merry year for stocks. If you sock your money into Bitcoins, you're celebrating, too, for now.

Business was big in 2013, so big, in fact, that we need two correspondents to re-cap it. Here's CNN's Christine Romans and Richard Quest.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Number 10, Jeff Bezos. The Amazon chief executive is taking on print media. He paid $250 million for "The Washington Post". He's invested in cutting-edge technology too, pitching a plan to deliver your Amazon purchases, oh, yes, by drone.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Number nine, Marisa Meyer, one full year on the job so now we can see what kind of a leader she is at Yahoo!. Her goal, to make Yahoo! cool again. Her strategy a shopping spree. $1.1 billion for the blogging website Tumbler Meyer picked up Katie Couric and David Pope.

QUEST: Number eight, the Blackberry not dead yet, according to the company at least. Smartphone granddaddy taken drastic measures to keep itself alive. Yet put itself up for sale. Laid off around 40 percent of its workforce before canceling plans to sell it self. Even that may not save the company.

ROMANS: Number seven, tech winners. Facebook stock higher than where it started and Twitter launched on the New York Stock Exchange making its co-founders very wealthy. Now Facebook and Twitter, can it match Google when it comes to share price. Google's share price topped $1,000 a share.

QUEST: Number six, in Bitcoin we trust. Now Bitcoin, which is the electronic cash, shows the world that it's real at least for now. Some even are calling at any time safe-haven investment for the 21st century. Despite massive volatility on the way, the little virtual currency that could surge. Up $14 at the beginning of the year. It closes around $1,200 at the end of November.

(on camera): Number five, U.S. Airways and American Airlines, the merger that's taken off, creating the world's largest airline. The carrier has given up some takeoff and landing slots at Washington Reagan and New York LaGuardia. The Justice Department says that will bring in low-cost carriers and help travels. But with ticket prices on the rise, consumers may still lose out.

ROMANS: Number four, the government shutdown. Parts of the federal government shut down after Congressional Republicans tried to defund Obamacare. That shutdown lasted 16 days. Government office, national parks closed, 800,000 workers sent home.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This isn't some damn game.

ROMANS: Final cost to the economy around $24 billion.

Number three what the president initially called glitches turned into a political catastrophe. The government called an outside expert. Sign ups have picked up but too soon if the site will ever be a success.

QUEST (voice-over): Number two, JPMorgan, America's biggest bank, will pay $30 billion to settle charges it misled investors about the quality of the mortgages it sold leading up to the financial crisis.

(on camera): It is the biggest settlement to date. Justice Department says it won't be the last.

ROMANS: Number one, stock market record. The Federal Reserve pumping so much money into the economy, stocks launched to new highs --

(on camera): -- home prices moving higher, but Main Street isn't feeling so good.


ROMANS (voice-over): Fast-food workers across the country on strike protesting what they call poverty wages. They are calling for a $15 minimum wage. That's a debate that won't end with a new year.


FEYERICK: Thank you very much, Richard and Christine.

So what do you think was the biggest story of 2013? Tell us because we want to know. Voting is under way, for year in review. If you click on the page, you'll see a list of 20 stories and the ones that had us talking.

And what would you do if you saw flames shooting out of a building? Well, wait until you hear what one of our own CNN staff members did to save lives.


SAMANTHA WIGGINS (ph), U.S. MILITARY: Hi. I'M Samantha Wiggins (ph).

ELLEN LASCO (ph), U.S. MILITARY: And I'm Ellen Lasco (ph). We're here with the 451st Intel at Kandahar Airfield.

WIGGINS (ph): We wanted to wish our family and friends a very merry Christmas.

LASCO (ph): And a happy new year.

WIGGINS (ph): We'll see you in 2014.

LASCO (ph): We love and miss you.



FEYERICK: Well, from risking your life in space to risking it here on earth, we're bringing you some of the bravest men and women of 2013 this holiday week and next week for New Year's. Today, CNN's stage manager gets the prize. Bruce Dunkins, also known to us here as Bruce Almighty, risked his life last month to rescue people from a burning building in Brooklyn.

So, Bruce, this is video that you shot yourself. You raised the game with this rescue. Tell us what happened. Had you just dropped your daughter off and walking back and what do you see out of the corner of your eye?

BRUCE DUNKINS, CNN STAGE MANAGER: I see sparks and I see sparks, I see a lot of smoke on the roof of a building. And I wasn't sure if it was an actual fire, maybe people in New York do funny things. Sometimes they're barbecuing on the roof. But it got to be a little bit too much smoke. Too many sparks.

FEYERICK: So when did you realize you need to get in and start warning people.

DUNKINS: You know what, I called 911 running across the street and said I'm seeing a fire on the roof of the building. And there's people inside the building I can see in the windows and they were just kind of milling around. They had no idea there was anything going on on the roof of their building at all. I banged on the doors, everybody get out. You've got a fire. People came running out, a lady with two kids comes out, a couple come out. The people come running out of the building. Fire department comes. They got there so fast, the fire department. They're the heroes really.

FEYERICK: Look, does it -- do you ever pause and stop for a moment and say had I not been walking by that building and alerted everybody to tell them of the danger to tell them of the risk, that they won't have been here for Christmas? Has that sunk in?

DUNKINS: Not exactly. I guess I think the right person the right place at the right time. That's what I want to say.

FEYERICK: How many people were in that building?

DUNKINS: I would say about ten people in the building. It was a four-story building, five-story building, maybe you know, half a dozen apartments or something like that.

FEYERICK: You're so modest about your accomplishments. But at the same time, you look at the images of that fire and just how fast and intense it's burning on the roof there. Firefighters, did they realize it was you who had placed the original 911 call?

DUNKINS: I don't think so although I did stick around. My daughter was across the street. So this is me filming after the fire department came and I ran back across the street, knocked on my daughter's door, got her mother and said listen, you guys have a fire across the street. Then I thought to myself, maybe I should film this a little bit. I was like.


FEYERICK: What's a fire without video?

DUNKINS: I was like, oh.

FEYERICK: Exactly. Do you -- after this was all said and done, a lot of us sort of there's that moment when you make that decision that I can change things. I can help. Did you ever hesitate? Did you ever think, oh, it's just the barbecue? Because your mind was processing information.

DUNKINS: You're absolutely right, deb. I actually I saw orange glow and smoke. And I took another one or two steps. And I see a couple of sparks. And I start thinking to myself, OK, so what could this be?


DUNKINS: And I don't want to say, oh, it's a fire and notes a fire and people are like what are you talking about?


FEYERICK: Then you'd have another set of issues.

But it's amazing. Clearly, the families so grateful for what you did. And you know, it makes us think sometimes it's better to err on the side of caution.

Bruce Dunkins, that's what you did. Bruce Almighty, thank you. Merry Christmas.

DUNKINS: I appreciate all the --


FEYERICK: You're so modest.

DUNKINS: Merry Christmas.

FEYERICK: and humble about it so it makes it all the more powerful.

Thank you.

DUNKINS: Thank you, Deb.

FEYERICK: Well, a British code breaker credited with personally changing the course of World War II, he's just now receiving a posthumous royal pardon. Alan Turing was chemically castrated after being convicted of homosexual activity, which was illegal at the time. Two years later, he killed himself at the age of 41. For more than half a century, his supporters have fought for more acknowledgment of his role in the war and official acknowledgment that his punishment was wrong. Turing was considered a mathematical genius, and British Prime Minister David Cameron said his work saved countless lives. Recognition there.

Greenpeace says Russia has dropped the case against an activist detained in Russia's Arctic while protesting at an oil rig in September. He was on the Greece Peace ship Arctic Sunrise. Most were released from jail last month but they weren't allowed to leave the country because of these pending charges of hooliganism.

And a former executive at Tiffany's has been sentenced to a year in prison for stealing jewelry worth over $2 million. Federal prosecutors say the vice president of product development would check out the jewelry, pretending she needed for a presentation, and then she sold it. And she pocketed the cash. Apparently, she didn't even need it.

These reunions with soldiers coming home from combat never get old, but a recent reunion in Florida was truly touching. Roberto Vasquez had been deployed since May and came home without telling his girlfriend of two years, Anna Lisa Bosco (ph). This past Sunday she went to a mall to watch a Christmas show and was told she won gift carts. She goes up to the stage where she got not one, but two surprises of a lifetime.



ANNA LISA BOSCO (ph), GIRLFRIEND OF SOLDIER: Oh, yes. Yes. Oh, my god.


FEYERICK: Well, Roberto and Anna Lisa will be able to spend the holiday and a few months together. He's being deployed against in March. We wish this couple very, very well.

Thank you so much for watching. A happy Christmas to all of you and a good new year. AROUND THE WORLD starts right now.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, leaks new details about his life in Russia, saying he raised concerns to his superiors before he went rogue. Now how he is living off Ramen noodles, and why he says I already won.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: More than 200 miles above your head right now two astronauts are dangling over the earth, a critical repair job being done to the international space station. The space walk under way.



(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: And heading into the holiday with divine popularity. The pope gets ready for his first Christmas mass and his approval ratings are soaring.

Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

HOLMES: AND I'm Michael Holmes. Happy Christmas Eve for those who mark the occasion.

We're going to start at the Vatican, fittingly perhaps, where Pope Francis is getting ready to celebrate his first Christmas as leader of the Catholic Church. How much do his followers love this man? Have a listen.