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Top 10 of 2013

Aired December 29, 2013 - 19:30   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN's "Top 10 of 2013." I'm Don Lemon.

Over the next half hour, we'll bring you shocking scandals, the international triumphs and tragedies, the major sports headlines on and off the field, a farewell to those we lost.

We start with a cycling champ who finally comes clean while the queen of southern cooking loses her thrown amid a racial controversy. We can't leave out Toronto's crack-smoking mayor. Those are just some of the standout scandals of 2013.

CNN's Joe Johns has a look back.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Number 10, beam me up, baby. It's seldom you get the crack question of the year and the crack answer of the year in the same place. But it happened to the now notorious star of his own crack-smoking video.

MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: Am I an addict? No.

JOHNS: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford when he got put on the spot in an open forum with the whole world watching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you purchased illegal drugs in the last two years?

FORD: Yes, I have.

JOHNS: Ford was a trendsetter in 2013 -- leader of the pack in the category of "mayors gone wild", with honorable mention to number 9, San Diego's Mr. Smooth himself, Bob Filner, who resigned as mayor facing a tidal wave of sexual harassment allegations, charges of unwanted advances including a former female employee who filed suit.

Irene McCormick Jackson alleging that Filner asked her, "Wouldn't it be great if you took off your panties and worked without them on?" He was eventually sentenced to 90 days home confinement and three years probation for assaulting women.

Number eight, also in the runoff for worst mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, the former hip hop mayor of Detroit convicted of racketeering and extortion so pervasive that prosecutors said it helped pushed the Motor City into the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. Kilpatrick finally got the term he wasn't elected to serve; 28 years in federal prison.

And speaking of elections, number seven on our list isn't a mayor, but he could have been. New York's former congressman, Anthony Weiner, a hit performer on the list from past years for the sexting controversy that made him leave Capitol Hill. Weiner made an encore running for the Big Apple's top job.

But when more explicit pictures surfaced that were sent to a 22-year- old woman under the alias "Carlos Danger", Weiner, who is married, lost the primary with less than 5 percent of the vote.

Magnanimous as always, Weiner gave the media the universal "We're number one" hand signal as a parting shot.

While we're on the subject of popularity, number six on our list is that agency everybody loves to hate -- the Internal Revenue Service. And in keeping with the season what might be described as one of the most notorious naughty list in recent U.S. history. It seems somebody at the IRS got bright the idea of singling out conservative groups, especially Tea Partiers, for extra special attention.

The practice attracted outrage from coast to coast. And an investigation by the other federal agency that gins up fear and anxiety everywhere, the Justice Department.

And speaking of spilling the goodies, there are some non-government players that must be mentioned for outstanding performances in 2013.

Number five on our list is the former man of steel, Lance Armstrong. Here is a guy who was master of the cycling world and the big lie, winning the Tour De France seven times, claiming repeatedly that he wasn't doping to enhance his athletic performance.

But after being banned from the sport, he gave a tell-all, sort of, interview with Oprah, where else? He confessed and offered what may be remembered as the biggest understatement in the history of sport.

LANCE ARMSTRONG, CYCLIST: I'm not the most believable guy in the world right now.

JOHNS: Number four on our list was another kind of credibility problem -- that phony sign language interpreter who crashed the Nelson Mandela memorial service. It would be funnier if it weren't so creepy. This guy got within arm's length of the president of the United States, making meaningless gestures. It later came to light that he had once been accused of rape and murder but was found not guilty.

Number three is Paula Deen.


JOHNS: What would possess a host of a popular cooking show that get herself embroiled in a lawsuit where somebody was actually going to ask her under oath whether she ever used the "N" word when she knew she did? Can you say settle the case already?

And speaking of legal problems, number two on our list is the not so secretive anymore NSA, the National Security Agency. Who would have thought that one government outfit that was supposed to be stealth city could manage to embarrass or anger just about everybody in the U.S., by letting a rogue former contractor named Edward Snowden download a busload of secrets, so-called signal intelligence, from its computer system, splash some of it to the media and then run off to Russia, of all places, while the goodies continue to be spilled item by item for maximum effect.

And finally on our list coming in dead even: tied for first place for the broken government award of the year, Congress, for the absolutely inexplicable government shutdown crisis of 2013 that featured an absurdist dramatic reading of a Dr. Seuss classic in the midst of a 21-hour Senate talk-a-thon.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I am.

JOHNS: And not to be overlooked, the Obama administration for the utterly disastrous bungled rollout of the Web site.

Which debacle was worst is entirely in the eye of the beholder. The futile attempts by a congressional minority to dismantle a law of the land upheld by the Supreme Court, with the stated aim of getting rid of the President's signature achievement or the video replays of the leader of the free world promising that his signature achievement would allow anyone to keep the status quo only to find out, that -- well, it just wasn't true.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.


LEMON: Up next, the year's most memorable event from around the globe. One of the 20th century most memorable events from around the globe, one of the 20th century's most influential figure says laid to rest as we our countdown of 2013's biggest news stories.


LEMON: In 2013, the world welcomed a new British heir and said good- bye to a leader who inspired the world with his courage and strength. Those are just two of the top international stories we witnessed together this year.

Here is CNN's Michael Holmes with the rest.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Number ten -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're getting word of a deadly shooting involving international sports icon, Oscar Pistorius and his model girlfriend.

HOLMES: The Olympian admits to shooting Reeva Steenkamp in his lavish South African home on Valentine's Day. But he says it was all an accident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oscar Pistorius appearing before the magistrate. He was clearly upset, at times sobbing, crying.

HOLMES: Pistorius, nicknamed "Blade Runner" for the prosthetic legs he uses for sprinting, was charged with premeditated murder. He's fighting that charge, saying he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

Number nine, the royal announcement heard around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4:24 p.m. local time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God save the queen.

HOLMES: The fountains of Trafalgar Square illuminated in blue light.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The new royal heir in the United Kingdom.

HOLMES: Baby George was born in July to Prince William and his wife, Kate.

Number eight --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tens of thousands of people have poured out on to the streets in what is another demonstration against the government.

HOLMES: About a year after the Arab spring ushered in Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi is the ousted in a military coup. Many Egyptians frustrated by what they saw as the slow pace of change and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

Number seven, after decades of distrust and a diplomatic gridlock, there's a thaw with Iran.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The phone call that's making history. President Obama called Iran's new president, Hasan Rouhani.

HOLMES: And in November, a breakthrough in Geneva.

BLITZER: A deal has been reached, a deal involving Iran and six world powers.

HOLMES: The preliminary deal limits Iran's ability to work towards a nuclear weapon and loosens some international sanctions. Critics say it doesn't go far enough.

Number six -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All around us you hear the sounds of windows breaking. You hear the sounds of large objects falling and crashing to the floor.

HOLMES: Typhoon Haiyan wiped out entire towns in the Philippines, one of the strongest storms to hit any country ever.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The smells in Tacloban are overwhelming, the smell of death, the smell of decay.

HOLMES: More than 5,000 people killed.

Number five, terror at a mall in Kenya, gunmen opened fire, killing dozens and taking many hostages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone here in Nairobi is on a razor's edge. I'm standing just a short distance away from the Westgate Mall that's under siege in its third day.

HOLMES: Surveillance cameras captured this chilling video of gunmen shooting their way through a supermarket in the mall and al Qaeda affiliate al Shabaab in Somalia claims responsibility.

Number four, grief and gratitude as the world says good-bye to Nelson Mandela.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's now at peace.

HOLMES: The former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate died at the age of 95.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Behind me you can see a crowd. They've been dancing and singing almost nonstop since the news came.

HOLMES: His life celebrated for ending apartheid and creating a democratic and inclusive South Africa. For 10 days, South Africans and dignitaries from around the world honored the man who taught the world about compassion, patience, reconciliation and freedom.

CURNOW: Now we see Nelson Mandela making that final journey.

HOLMES: Number three --

LEMON: A person who says he leaked top-secret information about a U.S. government surveillance program has emerged from the shadows and identified himself.

EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: My name is Ed Snowden.

HOLMES: The U.S. manhunt for Edward Snowden turns into an international game of cat and mouse.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: The man who's been spilling U.S. intelligence secrets is on the move. But where is his final destination? HOLMES: First, Hong Kong lets him go then Russia refuses to extradite him. Snowden's leaks were a major embarrassment for the NSA, revealing the extent the agency was spying on Americans as well as international leaders and citizens.

Number two --

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The pope resigns, the leader of the Catholic Church stepping down at the end of the month.

HOLMES: Pope Benedict becomes the first head of the Catholic Church to resign in 600 years. The 86-year-old said it was because of poor health.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR The bell is ringing here in Rome -- the campanone, the big ring. That means one thing, John Allen. What does it mean? It means --

JOHN ALLEN, CNN ANALYST: Habemus papam, Chris. We have a pope.


HOLMES: The first pope elected from South America.

CUOMO: The curtains are open. The cross bearer is coming out and there he is.

OLMES: Dubbed "the people's pope", Francis has laid out a vision of a more inclusive Catholic Church, focusing on compassion for the poor and afflicted.

Number one, the civil war in Syria -- more than two years of fighting, some 100,000 have been killed, more than 2 million are refugees.

In August, a chemical weapons attack kills hundreds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's absolutely horrifying. We've seen a video showing the bodies of lifeless children.

HOLMES: Syria denied responsibility.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.S. is making the case for military intervention in Syria.

HOLMES: The U.S. on the brink of military action. But a last-minute deal brokered by Russia averted an international crisis. The agreement dismantles Syria's chemical arsenal but left Bashar al-Assad in power, a civil war raging and a civilian population still suffering.


HOLMES: Still to come, NBA player Jason Collins comes out. But there were plenty of big stories on the field as well. Our Top 10 of 2013 continues after a quick break.


LEMON: This year's top 10 sports stories are as much about bad behavior off the field as terrific play on it.

"Bleacher Report's" Vince Cellini takes a look.


VINCE CELLINI, BLEACHER REPORT: The year in sports included the gruesome, as in the horrific leg injury suffered by Louisville's Kevin Ware, and the gullible, as in Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and his fake Twitter girlfriend.

But our look back begins with the plug being pulled on Super Bowl XLVII.

Not long after Beyonce amped up the crowd at half time, the Superdome in New Orleans was blanketed in darkness when a sensor monitoring the electrical load cut off power.

For 34 minutes, the Ravens and 49ers were put on hold.

With one second remaining, it appeared as though number one Alabama and number four Auburn were headed to overtime. What happened next is a play for the ages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifty-six-yarder, does not have the leg.

Chris Davis takes it in the back of the end of the end zone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There goes Davis!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Davis is going to run it all the way back. Auburn's going to win the football game! Holy cow! Oh, my God! Auburn wins!


CELLINI: LeBron James has separated himself as the greatest player in pro basketball and a worldwide brand as evidenced by appearances like this one in China,

Back home, James made good on the promise of multiple championships for Miami when the Heat won a second straight titles with James winning back-to-back league and finals MVPs.

They were both Miami Dolphins, yet one felt more tortured than teammate, when Jonathan Martin accused Richie Incognito and other teammates of bullying, a voice mail from Incognito which used a racial epithet and the words "I'll kill you" surfaced.

Incognito remains suspended. A probe continues. And more importantly, we're re-examining the pro football work place.

Intimidation and aggression are a fabric of the sport, but where does the locker room end and real life begin?

He was an American hero, cancer survivor, a seven-time Tour de France champion, but Lance Armstrong could no longer deny the allegations of a doping scandal.

OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: In all seven of your victories, did you take banned substances or blood dope?


CELLINI: Armstrong was stripped of his titles, lost endorsements and was banned for life from cycling.

Gay athletes have long participated in major team sports, but did so in silence. Jason Collins, though, has emerged as a voice.

The 34-year-old center said he spent a lifetime in secrecy but had to be true to himself and others.

A free agent, Collins may never again play in the NBA, but his announcement is a contribution far more important than points and rebounds.

It's been a stain on America's pastime, the steroid era. Former MVP Alex Rodriguez was among 14 players linked to a clinic which dealt in performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodriguez has denied the accusation and has appealed an unprecedented 215-game ban, while fighting for tens of millions in future salary.

While baseball judges A-Rod today, time will ultimately determine his place in history.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: The troubled past of Aaron Hernandez.

COOPER: Aaron Hernandez charged with first-degree murder today.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Oscar Pistorius, he's a South African Olympic star, accused of murdering his girlfriend.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: The man known as the Blade Runner wiping away tears.

CELLINI: How does a successful athlete get charged with murder?

The "Blade Runner," Olympian Oscar Pistorius, claims he mistakenly shot his girlfriend in his South African villa and will stand trial in March.

And former New England tight end, Aaron Hernandez, who not long ago signed a $40 billion contract, is also awaiting trial. Prosecutors say he orchestrated the execution-style shooting of an acquaintance, an accusation Hernandez denies.

A $765 million settlement between the NFL and ex-players over concussion-related injuries was a good first step. Next is saving the game. The league hopes committing millions to research and implementing new rules promoting safety will ease concerns about head injuries in a sport that will always be violent and never risk-free.

In April, a Boston tradition turned tragic.

The bombings challenged a city and a baseball team to move forward, and they did. The slogan "Boston Strong" was a rallying cry. And five days after the bombing, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said what many were thinking.



ORTIZ: And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.

CELLINI: A World Series victory showed us all just how strong.


LEMON: Moments of joy and moments of pain, cooperation and conflict, births and deaths. 2013 in three minutes as seen through the lenses of CNN's cameras. That's ahead.

But first, some of those we lost this year.


NELSON MANDELA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: The people of South Africa have been victorious. They have won.

ANNETTE FUNICIELLO (singing): The way we get to see, a cartoon for you and me --

GEORGE JONES (singing): He said, I'll love you until I die --

PAUL WALKER, ACTOR: You can only sit back and pray, you show up, work hard, have a good time doing it.

JEAN STAPLETON: Songs that made the hit parade --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys like us we have it made --

JAMES GANDOLFINI: If you're lucky, you'll remember the little moments.



LEMON: We saw the election of a new pope, the deaths of political icons, a Super Bowl that went dark and lights that streaked across the Russian sky. There were times of joy and moments of anguish. It was all a part of the year 2013 and CNN was there.

As the year comes to a close, we give you a final look at the most memorable moments.


ARMSTRONG: Do I have remorse? Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pentagon is eliminating its ban on women in combat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fire threat in Southeast Australia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Popes don't step down, they remain in office until they die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Iran's saying it's successfully sent his monkey into space.

BLITZER: Gas field at eastern Algeria.

BURNETT: Manti Te'o was conned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: View of a meteor.

LEMON: The night the lights went out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The manhunt over -- shooting took place.

BLITZER: Worse budget cuts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the bottle of water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cure the two year old of HIV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reject the armistice.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jorge Mario Bergoglio.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The baby monkey brought to Germany by Justin Bieber.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two huge explosions that happened there --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police officers treating people --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are listing photos --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer was killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Second bombing suspect is in custody. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: West fertilizer plant --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The latest disaster to hit the Bangladesh garment industry.

COOPER: Found after years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First degree murder, guilty.

BURNETT: Two-mile wide tornado.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: IRS treated Tea Party groups.

BLITZER: Just as department secretly obtained --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thrown-ups (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voted to allow gay youth to be scouts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: NSA, the National Security Agency.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nine leading Internet companies.

SNOWDEN: My name is Ed Snowden.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On a tear down --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Syrian regime used chemical weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ravaged this spot of north India.

AZUZ: Hassan Rouhani.

PAULA DEEN: Inappropriate hurtful language.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's Aaron Hernandez.

COOPER: In violation of the Fifth Amendment --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Filibuster by a Democratic state senator.


BLITZER: Detroit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Largest municipal bankruptcy.

BLITZER: Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deadliest wildfire in American in decades. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) town in eastern Quebec.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears to strike the sea wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new president has been sworn in --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Baffled over the word "coup."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Zimmerman, not guilty.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bradley Manning found not guilty on the charge of aiding the enemy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Blast from the past.


ALEX RODRIGUEZ, NEW YORK YANKEES: If I don't defend myself, no one else will.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Antigay propaganda law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I won't let you define me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never, ever give up!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First Miss America of Indian descent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voyager has entered interstellar space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Castro is found hanging --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Frightening site in northern Colorado.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Crime scene at the Washington Navy Yard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Westgate Shopping Mall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They rotate the ship aside --

BARD YLVISAKER (singing): What does the fox say?

TAPPER: Government's closed.

BLITZER: Shutdown, day one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Internal server error --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reopen the government.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mysterious barge.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Twitter is worth about $25 billion.

TAPPER: A car chase that started near the White House and ended on Capitol Hill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So many of these shipwrecks --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: School shooting in Nevada.

BURNETT: First ever TSA officer to be killed in the line of duty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mobster James Whitey Bulger was sentenced.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tacloban was struck by super typhoon Haiyan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God, knockout game.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First step towards preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Metro North train was traveling much too fast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gathered in the capital Kiev.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Under siege by the (INAUDIBLE) militias.

LEMON: There has been a shooting there.



LEMON: A quick reminder for you. Your votes will decide CNN's top 10 stories of 2013. They will be revealed on Monday live at 9:00 Eastern on CNN TV and Just log on to our Web site, to see the finalists.

I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for watching "The Top 10 of 2013."