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Second Deadly Bombing In Russia Leaves 14 Dead; Cold Blast For New Year; Obamacare's "Welcome Surge"; Benghazi Debate Rages; Report: Specialized NSA Hacking Unit; Suspected Cop Killer Dies; Cruz To Denounce Citizenship; Another Rocky Rollout; Trapped in Ice

Aired December 30, 2013 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if we don't see one an attempt on the Olympics, I'd be very surprise.

MICHEALA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, another suicide bombing in Russia. More than a dozen killed one day after this bombing left 17 dead. Fears of an attack on the Olympics now just weeks away.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: New year's freeze. A brutal arctic blast set to put a chill on celebrations across the east. Will your New Year's toast be not so toasty? We're tracking the forecast.

PEREIRA: Going deep. Watch this long toss onto the porch. The FedEx deliveryman out of a job this morning. Customers now fighting back with surveillance cameras. You won't believe what they caught.

Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


PEREIRA: We'll strike that. That's partly right --


PEREIRA: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY this Monday, the 30th of December. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east. Chris and Kate are both off, well-deserved days off, and guess who's here. John Berman.

BERMAN: Happy New Year!


PEREIRA: It's not quite there. A couple of --

BERMAN: I'll keep saying that over the next two days until I get it right.

PEREIRA: Exactly. We'll get there eventually. We are starting this morning with breaking news out of Russia. Another deadly explosion in Volgograd, the second in as many days. This morning, a trolley bus was blown up during the busy commute, killing at least 14 people, just a day after 17 people died in a blast at the main train station there. This raising concerns for the security of the upcoming Olympic games and here's why. Look at this map. Sochi is just a few hundred miles away from those bombings. More now from Diana Magnay live in Moscow -- Diana.

MAGNAY: That's right. It's 39 days and counting until the Winter Olympics. And now, the Russian president has ordered a massive heightening of security across the country and especially in the Volgograd region after a massive terror onslaught on that southern Russian city.


MAGNAY (voice-over): Two deadly terror attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd in less than 24 hours. This morning, it's attack on crowded trolley bus in morning rush hour. More than a dozen killed. Authorities say the blast work of a suicide bomber, possibly detonating his device towards the back end of the bus where the damage seems worse. Many on board were students. This is exam time in Russia, among the injured, a baby in serious condition.

This follows another attack noon on Sunday in Volgograd main railway station. The moment of the explosion caught on CCTV. Seventeen people were killed in that blast. Authorities saying that was also the work of a suicide bomber. These attacks come less than six weeks before the start of the winter games if Sochi, which is around 400 miles southwest of the city.

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin has bowed the highest possible security around the games themselves from the town of Sochi, but it is clearly hard to police the whole of Southern Russia to the same level. Russia is fighting an Islamist insurgency in the north caucuses, not far from Sochi.

In July, Russia's most wanted man a Chechens extremist, a leader of an Islamist faction in the north caucuses threatened to unleash, quote, "maximum force" to prevent the games from happening. The U.S. State Department has a $5 million reward out for him. Former intelligence officials believe further attacks are entirely possible.

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: I think if we don't see one, an attempt on the Olympics, I'd be very surprised.

MAGNAY: Even if the high security around Sochi means terrorists may not be able to strike there, they are proving themselves more than capable of spreading maximum fear ahead of the games themselves, targeting other cities in the region with deadly results.


MAGNAY: And, John, we've just had an update from the health ministry of the 27 people injured in today's blast, three are in extremely serious condition, one of which is that little baby boy, who we are hearing is in a coma with multiple skull injuries -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Diana Magnay for us in Moscow, a huge concern area of concern just weeks away from the Olympics. We will be speaking to Fran Townsend about this in just a little bit.

Meanwhile, for many of you in the Midwest and northeast, you may want to stay indoors to ring in the New Year. I have a sobering map to look at here. This is an arctic blast that is set to blanket a huge part of the region for New Year's Eve. That's like over half the country. It's really, really cold, temperatures could take a huge tumble and snow may even be in the picture.

Jennifer Gray is in for Indra Petersons keeping an eye on the forecast for us. Jennifer, it looks cold.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it is very cold. In fact, there are wind chill advisories in effect all across the northern plains. Look at this, international falls feeling like 36 degrees below zero. This is the wind chill. When you have the temperature, you factor in the wind. So folks are urged to stay indoors. This is a dangerous cold where frostbite could set in, just in a matter of minutes so very cold across the north.

That cold air really isn't going to go anywhere any time soon. We will see temperatures at 15 to 16 degrees below normal even in Chicago with a high temperature today of 17 degrees, New York City at 37 today, only about 2 degrees below normal. But then as we get into the second half of the week, that very cold air is going to push into the northeast.

So if you are ringing in the New Year, here in New York City, temperatures will be around 36 degrees by 9, 32 by midnight. But when you factor in the wind chill, those folks standing in Times Square, it is going to feel like 14 degrees here in the city so a very, very cold New Year for not only the north but also the northeast.

BERMAN: You can snuggle up to a million of your closest friends.

PEREIRA: I think we always want a white Christmas, but we are very particular about not having a white New Year's Eve. It's a very interesting conundrum. Jennifer, thank you so much. We'll talk to you more about the upcoming forecast.

Right now, we turn to insurance cover coverage beginning Wednesday for those of you who signed up for Obamacare. The number could be a lot higher than expected. Officials announcing a welcome surge since October 1st, good news for the White House, but still quite a long way from where they need to be.

CNN's Athena Jones is in Honolulu. She is up very late or very early. I can't decide. Good to see you, Athena. Tell us the latest.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela. Health officials say this welcome surge was possible because the federal exchange,, is now working a lot better after that disastrous rollout in October. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONES (voice-over): may be finally be hitting its stride. Health officials say more than 1.1 million people enrolled in health plans through the federal exchange between October 1st and December 24th with a nearly a million of those coming this month alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It changes my life.

JONES: People like Lauren Reisig, a 27-year-old marketing director from McLean, Virginia who suffers from Crohn's disease. She enrolled with the help of a government call center after running into trouble on the web site. Starting January 1st, her premium is dropping from there are $1,300 a month to $400.

LAUREN REISIG, ENROLLED IN HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN: It gives me the option to possibly finally move out of my parent's house at age 27.

JONES: The government will release more complete numbers including figures for Medicaid and state-run markets places next month, but this latest surge of activity puts overall enrollment on pace to meet this bold prediction made before Christmas.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I now have a couple million people, maybe more, who are going to have health care on January 1st and that is a big deal.

JONES: What is not clear is just how many people still may not have coverage starting January 1st due to problems with the site the government has worked overtime to fix. Not everyone is celebrating the numbers. California Republican Darrell Issa says too many people will be getting government subsidized care.

REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL ISSA (R), REPUBLICAN: There's 318 million Americans, 1 million getting on subsidized health care in many case, probably another million getting on Medicaid as a result of Obamacare and 6 million people who had plans they liked were thrown off of it, I don't think there is anything to celebrate.

JONES: While the surge in enrollment is good news for the Obama administration, it will likely still fall short of the goal to sign up 3.3 million people by January 1st. Those who missed last week's deadline for coverage starting in January have until January 15th to sign up for plans that start February 1st. Open enrollment ends March 31st.


JONES: Now this week the White House will be working with Congressional Democrats and allies from outside organizations to collect and share the stories of people who are going to be getting health coverage because of Obamacare. We are also going to be hearing from high profile supporters of the law, people like Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. They will be writing op-eds and tweeting about the benefits of the health care law. Back to you, John.

BERMAN: All right, Athena Jones for us. Ocean front in Hawaii, I appreciate it.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are firing back over Benghazi. In a block buster new report the "New York Times" says al Qaeda was not behind the brazen attack that killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador last year. This report contradicts what many have claimed about the attack, both in Congress and at the White House.

CNN's Jill Dougherty is at the State Department. What's the latest here, Jill?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, you know, this controversy has been boiling for more than a year and now this "New York Time's" report has sparked another round of accusations from the GOP.


DOUGHERTY (voice-over): The "New York Times" investigation calls into question claims made by both Republicans and the White House about what happened in Libya on September 11th a year ago. The newspaper finds fault with the Republican case saying, there is no evidence that al Qaeda had any role.

That the local militias and looters were to blame, that an anti-Muslim video did play role motivating the attackers, at least in part and that the attack was not meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous nor without warning signs. A top Republican insists the intelligence shows al Qaeda was involved.

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE ROGERS (R), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: There was aspiration to conduct an attack by al Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya. We know that. The individuals on the ground talked about a planned tactical movement on the compound.

DOUGHERTY: The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee agrees, but says it's a complex picture.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Intelligence indicates al Qaeda was involved, but there were also plenty of people and militias that were unaffiliated with al Qaeda that were involved.

DOUGHERTY: The "Time's" also says, however, it was not a copycat of street protests in Egypt against the American-made anti-Muslim video as then U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice suggested on Sunday talk shows.

SUSAN RICE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Our current assessment is what happened in Benghazi was, in fact, initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo.

DOUGHERTY: The Obama White House isn't commenting or disputing the "Time's" report, which doesn't mention then Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: What difference at this point does it make?

DOUGHERTY: But former White House national security spokesman blasted Republican demands for Benghazi hearings and for their claims that the Obama administration was lying, tweeting, they were wrong and we could have avoided months of disgusting demagoguery.


DOUGHERTY: This report uses the word murky saying that it's not the black and white picture that was depicted either by Republicans or by the White House. And of course, that only guarantees that this controversy is just going to keep going -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: For the complicating an already complex issue. Jill, thank you so much for that. We appreciate it.

Well, there are certainly many other stories making headlines. Ana Cabrera is here with us this morning taking our headlines this morning.

ANA CABRERA, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Good morning, guys and good morning to all of you. Lots going on this morning, making news right now, the NSA reportedly using a specialized team of hackers to break into computer hardware and exploit loopholes in the software. Now, this is according to a news magazine.

The report reveals a unit called "Tailored Access Operations" and apparently uses James Bond like methods to collect the data. The magazine did not reveal the source of the documents, but has previously published reports based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

A serial bank robber suspected of killing a police officer in Mississippi died in a shoot-out with police in Arizona. The 40-year- old Mario Edward Garnett was gunned down by plain clothes officers during a shoot-out after Garnett robbed a bank there in Phoenix. Now officials say Garnett shot and killed Sergeant Gail Stopper last week in Mississippi.

Some incredible pictures out of Mexico this morning, a picturesque highway used by tourists to travel between Insonata and Tijuana collapsed over the weekend. Take a look. It fell apart. The cement truck got stock as the ground started to give way then tumbled into the ocean. The driver of that truck managed to get out. What caused that collapse, still unclear.

Senator Ted Cruz has started the legal process to officially renounce his Canadian citizenship. Now, Cruz says he hopes to complete the process sometime next year. The freshman senator was born in Calgary to an American mother and a Cuban father. Cruz has denied that this decision to renounce his citizenship has any implications for his political future, of course, a lot of speculation about 2016. And we know the rollout of has been a bit rocky to say the least. Here's something you may not heard. Now many doctors are worried another change could mean they don't get paid. New billing codes will take effect next fall and those billing codes are so specific they even include being injured by a spacecraft or hurt by an orca whale.

You never know, right? Guess what, using the wrong code could mean insurance companies don't pay the doctor. So the new codes, those are set to take effect in October. Doctors are saying can we take a step back and take another look at this because what if I type in the wrong code? I didn't know some existed.

BERMAN: What could possibly go wrong with this?

PEREIRA: I'm trying to imagine the meeting they came up with the codes.

CABRERA: It's so simple, right?

PEREIRA: So simple.

BERMAN: What if you are riding an orca whale and get hit by a spacecraft?

PEREIRA: We don't have a code for that. That won't happen, John Berman. Ana, thank you so much for that.

Moments ago, we are talking about this deep freeze that's coming for New Year's, Jennifer Gray is back though. I want you to give you an idea of what you can expect today as you walk out the door.

GRAY: Yes, most of the country, very, very quiet. I mean, the big story really the temperatures in the north. We are going to have a couple clipper systems roll through. Most of the snow today is going to be lake effect snow around the Great Lakes. This low is going to continue to push-off shore. It's going to roll through the northeast as quick as New Year's Eve and be out of here by New Year's Day.

Most of the snow will be in the interior section. This will be the main front. This is the main event. It's going to be pushing to the east coast as we go to the second half of the week. So that's going to really drop temperatures in the northeast. For New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, snow accumulations where we could see a white New Year's Eve is going to be in the north. We could see three to six inches of snow in the northern plains.

We will see possibly about two to four inches of snow even around Chicago for New Year's Eve. So you could be looking at that as we go through the northeast. Two to four inches of lake effect snow primarily for New Year's Eve through New Year's Day, really not much happening besides very cold temperatures, most of the country very, very quiet. It will be cold.

PEREIRA: Well, this is a good time for it to happen. We are snuggled in for the holiday. We will have hot chocolates. Now I see how your New Year's is going to be.

BERMAN: Thanks, Jennifer. We have been talking about the ice around this country. What about being stuck in ice in Antarctica? They have been stuck there for days. Now another rescue ship has had to turn back. We'll have the very latest on the scientist, the tourists, and the crew forced to spend another day stranded.

PEREIRA: And marijuana is about to become legal in Colorado, but it's not quite as simple as you might think. Those who want to sell it and use it are running into a little thing called "the government." We'll have more when we come back.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Now to new developments in that epic effort to reach and save 74 people whose research ship is stuck in Antarctic ice, bad weather conditions and poor visibility have forced an Australian icebreaker to turn around.

Senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is in London with the very latest. I can just imagine has disappointed it was to see -- disappointing for them to see that ship have to turn around.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's certainly been a white Christmas for them, though, on the other side of things, but, yes, they have been trapped there for nearly seven days since Christmas Day, 74 passengers and crew are on board that research vessel. And yet again, hopes of their rescue have begun to fade.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The weather's a bit today it's minus one and blowing snow.

CHANCE (overnight): Overnight, another setback for the latest rescue mission. The Australian ice breaker ship Aurora Australis forced to turn back to open water after worsening blizzard conditions made it too dangerous for the ship to continue.

It came close within 10 nautical miles of the stranded research ship before having to retreat back to 18 miles. Research expedition leader Chris Turney had expressed concerns about harsh weather, working against them.

CHRIS TURNEY, PROFESSOR AND EXPEDITION LEADER: Unfortunately, the weather forecast has these sort of conditions to continue for the next few days.

CHANCE: All rescue efforts including air-lifting passengers by helicopter on hold until visibility improves.

The research team set out to study climate change in Antarctica and retraced the steps of explorer Douglas Mawson who studied life on the frozen continent a century ago.

On Christmas Eve, just 100 miles from where they started, their ship came to a halt, stuck in 10 foot high ice and they haven't budged since.

UNIDENTIIFIED MALE: What's that on the horizon, Chris?

TURNEY: That's the ice breaker coming to rescue us.


CHANCE: The crew spotted the first rescue ship from China known as the Snow Dragon in the distance, but their hopes were quickly dashed. The highs breaker which was only about 6 nautical miles away from the trapped vessel couldn't get any closer due to the unusually thick ice.

A French icebreaker also en route to assist, but the mission became clear the ship wouldn't get farther than the Chinese boat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in the ice. All the well, happy Christmas from AAE.

CHANCE: Still, spirits on the boat remain high. Crew members and passengers channeling their energies in posts on social media, creating video diaries for family members and telling everyone that they're having a great time.

NICOLE DE LOSA, EXPEDITION MEMBER: It's my birthday today. It could be a better day to have a birthday with my 80-something new friends. We're going to have some singing on the ice, which should be fantastic as well. But it's absolutely spectacular here. It's like this magical winter wonderland.

TURNEY: The team spirit has been fantastic. It really has. And we carefully chose the people we had together we thought would get on well. We weren't expecting such a severe test of the community spirit, but everyone's kept really good morale.


CHANCE: They're keeping their spirits up at least. They say that even though the rescue effort ended prematurely today, as soon as the weather clear, they'll be at it again trying to get those people off the boat.

PEREIRA: All right. Matthew, thank you so much for that. We're actually going to speak live with the leader of that expedition, Chris Turney, coming up in our next hour. We're going to check on the status of that morale and see how their spirits are holding up.

BERMAN: Yes, I wonder how you keep your spirits so high after a week of being stuck there and seeing the rescue ships within sight.

PEREIRA: Turn around, turn around. That's two now. So, we'll talk to them coming up.

BERMAN: I would not like that one bit.

PEREIRA: You will not be a happy camper. That's why you're here.


All right. It is now money time. Are you coming down on the wire on a very good year on Wall Street. It's all because of chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

PEREIRA: Single handedly.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I'm serving champagne this week because Wall Street is getting to pop the cork, guys. The Dow had another standout week last week, gaining 267 points, 1.6 percent.

Drum roll, please? Berman knows I love to tell these numbers.

This is the yearly number. The Dow is up 26 percent. NASDAQ, 38 percent, S&P 500, 29 percent. If you have a 401k, this is the best year since 1996/1997. It's been a very good year.

We've got markets making new highs, but this is the other big business story of the week -- 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans won't be getting a check this week. On Saturday, they lost federal benefits because Congress did not extend its recessionary program that kicked in when state benefits ran out. The average weekly benefit check was $300.

And imagine this, imagine buying a painting and being told it is worth a thousand times what you paid for it. That's exactly what happened on the British version of "Antique's Road Show."

Look at this, the owner paid 660 bucks for this -- a portrait that turned out to be the work of 17th century Flemish artist Anthony Van Dyck. It is considered a masterpiece -- 660 bucks but it's valued now at $660,000.


ROMANS: The owner, a priest, says he wants to sell the painting now to buy new bells for his church were.

PEREIRA: Oh, I think they can get bells and then some.

Or gold bells, a little bling on them.

BERMAN: Some bling bells for the priest there. That's awesome return on investment right there.

ROMANS: It absolutely is. Much better than the American side.

PEREIRA: Very upbeat. I like this whole report. This is very good.

Thank you so much, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

PEREIRA: Coming up next, Colorado is very latest state to legalize marijuana. It starts on New Year's Day, but it is not as simple as lighting up in public. We're going to have a preview of what made be standing in the way, coming up.

BERMAN: And this is not what you want to see happen to your holiday packages. Look at that. Is that breakable, folks, after all the anger directed at UPS and FedEx after missed deliveries. Should their workers really be throwing your stuff around? Yikes.

PERERIA: Where do you stand on the issues?


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY, on this second to the last day of 2013.

Let's get to Ana Cabrera. She's got today's top stories.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, guys.

Making news right now:

At least 14 people are dead after the second terrorist bombing in Russia in as many days. The bombing raising serious security concerns with the Olympic, of course, now just over a month away in Sochi. That's about 400 miles to the southwest of where these attacks happened.

Diana Magnay has have the latest from Moscow.

MAGNAY: Ana, a second deadly explosion in the southern Russian City of Volgograd in as many days. This was on a crowded trolley bus in morning rush hour. At least 14 people killed in that blast. It follows close on the heels of another explosion in the main railway station around noon on Sunday, where 17 people were killed.

Authorities are telling us that both were the work of suicide bombers. And this is, of course, very close to the start of the upcoming winter Olympic Games in Sochi. That's around 400 miles away.

And also in this region of southern Russia is, of course, the volatile North Caucuses region where Russia is fighting an Islamist insurgency, and where terrorists promise to try and unleash maximum force to disrupt the Olympic Games -- Ana.

CABRERA: Diana Magnay reporting, thank you.

Obamacare enrollment has topped the one million mark. The White House says more than 1.1 million Americans signed up for health care using the federal insurance exchange. Now, almost a million enrolled in December alone to meet that deadline to begin receiving coverage on January 1st. Officials say the surge was, in part, due to the fixes made to the Obamacare website. A man on the run suspected of killing three people and setting a house on fire in Colorado was captured by police in Oklahoma. A nationwide manhunt came to an end when police arrested 59-year-old Harry Carl Mapps in a motel room in Roland. Now, Mapps had been on the run for more than a month after he was suspected of killing a family of three and setting their house on fire to cover up their murders.

A missing autistic teenager who spent the night lost in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon is safe at home this morning. Sixteen-year-old Alex Irvin was hiking with family and friends o Saturday when he became separated. That prompted an 18-hour search and rescue operation. But Alex was able to hike to safety himself, finding some campers at a remote lodge who called 911.

And listen to this -- this wasn't the first time he went missing. In 2008, he was lost for three nights in the woods, that time near Mount Saint Helen's.

He just met her? This is kind of crazy. But Carly Rae Jepsen is going to Broadway. The Canadian songstress best known for her hit single "Call Me Maybe" is set to make her debut as Cinderella in the Rodgers and Hammerstein Production. Now, her 12-week run starts February 4th. Jepsen will star alongside actress Fran Drescher who is set to play Cinderella's stepmother.

PEREIRA: I see a NEW DAY outing.

BERMAN: You're smiling. Another Canadian made good.

PEREIRA: Proud Canadian, exactly. Exactly. I love it.

BERMAN: Solidarity.

PEREIRA: Thanks so much, Ana.