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First Snowstorm of 2014; Rescue Mission Underway; NYT: Time To Give Snowden A Break; President Wishes Barbara Bush Well; Kerry Heading to Israel; Obamacare Is Here; Jahi McMath Family Obstacle; Colorado's "Green Rush"; Fiat Reaches Deal to Buy Rest of Chrysler

Aired January 2, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The storm is something else.



PEREIRA: State of emergency. The Midwest and northeast bracing for a monster storm. More than a foot of snow in major cities. More than 2,000 flights already canceled. What comes after may be even worse.

BERMAN: Breaking news. Going home. The rescue of those aboard that stranded ship in Antarctica is finally under way. They're being air- lifted out at this moment, but the complicated task of getting them to safety has only just begun.

PEREIRA: Lighting up. The New Year recreational pot officially legal in Colorado. Lines have formed. Purchases have been made and the weed presumably smoked. So, who's buying?

BERMAN: Presumably?

PEREIRA: Your NEW DAYstarts right now.

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


PEREIRA: Happy New Year! Good morning and welcome to NEW DAY. I'm going to say it until well into February. I won't. It's January 2nd, and it is 6:00 a.m. in the east.

BERMAN: 2014, January 2nd.

PEREIRA: 2014. It's important to note, because you might still write a check on occasion and you need to put that 2014 on the line.

BERMAN: Be very careful, please. PEREIRA: Chris And Kate are off. We're happy to have John Berman and Ana Cabrera. You guys lost the bet again, didn't you? You got stuck with me.

CABRERA: I'd gladly sit in your seat, though.


PEREIRA: We all share these chairs. We have the weather models are any indication many of you -- many of us aren't going anywhere for a while. A really major storm is moving from the Midwest right through to the northeast, and it's going to bring the first significant snowfall of the New Year. Big cities are expecting pretty big disruptions.

In fact, the city of Boston has already declared a snow emergency. Schools there have canceled class for tomorrow. Massachusetts is one of 18 states with some sort of weather -- winter weather advisory in effect.

BERMAN: This is a big storm, folks. The impact already being felt with about 2,200 flights canceled since yesterday, leaving so many people in limbo as they try to get home from their New Year's getaways. And if the snow is not enough, the temperatures, they are low and they are going lower taking a dive tonight. They're going to hover right around zero in some spots throughout the weekend.

We're going to have full coverage of the storm this morning from where it's starting and where it's going. Let's begin with Ted Rowlands who just looks cold in Chicago right now. Good morning, Ted.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Actually, John, it's not that bad. It's hovering in the mid-20s and as you said, it's going to get much, much worse. It's a winter wonderland here.

It started snowing New Year's Eve and it has not stopped.


ROWLANDS (voice-over): Throughout the night, snow continuing to pile up in Chicago. Millions from the Midwest to New England will be impacted by the New Year's first major snowstorm, bringing with it blizzard-like conditions and dangerously cold temperatures. Some parts could see more than a foot of snow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like it's been snowing since winter got here.

ROWLANDS: Boston already declaring a snow emergency and planning to close public schools on Friday. More than a thousand flights canceled on New Year's Day, the massive winter storm already wreaking havoc.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay off the road. ROWLANDS: More than 200 spinouts reported in Minneapolis alone as ice blankets the roads. Frigid temps complicating rescue efforts in the twin cities as firefighters had to be rotated in and out of the front lines of this raging apartment fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our nozzles have a tendency to freeze up.

ROWLANDS: In upstate New York, lake-effect snow is the story, more than two feet of the white stuff on the ground already.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was hard on the businesses last night because people had reservations to go out to New Year's Eve and they couldn't get out.

ROWLANDS: The deep freeze will have parts of the country feeling temps that are well below zero.


ROWLANDS: If you think that's cold, take a trip up north to Winnipeg, Canada, where the temps hovered around 40 below zero, colder than the surface of Mars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This storm is something else.


ROWLANDS: And Michaela, the storm is continuing. The biggest problem in Chicago at least for today in the next few days will be the roads. It just keeps coming. They are plowing but the snow keeps coming. And of course, at O'Hare they're seeing flight cancellations. People traveling home for the holidays are going through O'Hare may feel the brunt of this -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: As pretty as it is, we know it can really make getting around near impossible. Thanks so much. We'll check back in with you. Let's talk about the forecast in terms of what you can expect from this snow dump. How much snow can you expect on your door step tomorrow morning?

Jennifer Gray, we've sent her to Boston. It wasn't cold enough in Times Square. We sent her right into the heart of it, a lot of snow there. Tell us about the forecast for the next couple of days.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Michaela, that's right. Snow already in Boston. Not much of it, though, but we did get a blanket of snow. You can see about an inch or so piling up on the cars. It's very, very powdery. This is going to be the concern as we go through the next 24 to 36 hours. You see how fine it is. It's very, very dry.

What we'll be dealing with is that blowing snow and those winds start to kick in, that's what creates those blizzard-like conditions, the whiteout conditions and that's what folks are really concerned about. We are seeing snow on the radar already, everywhere from the Midwest. You see the swath that's going through New York, upstate New York and even Boston. That's what's creating the snow this morning.

It's basically phase one, these two areas of low pressure will converge, cause rain to the south, snow to the north and we are talking about huge amounts of snow is expected to intensify as we go through the late evening hours into tomorrow morning. That's going to be the worst of it and we're talking about anywhere from a foot of snow in Boston, 6 to 10 inches of snow in New York, maybe 1 to 3 inches in Washington, D.C.

Of course, temperatures are going to be a big factor as well. With temperatures in the single digits and blizzard conditions, Long Island and the cape now included in that. We could see winds of 45 miles per hour with about a quarter mile visibility or less. Look at those winds. We could be gusting at 32 miles per hour in Boston this evening as we go through tomorrow, the winds will start to die down just a little bit as we get into later in the day.

But it is going to be a mess here in Boston. Folks are just urged to stay indoors. The wind chill is going to be in the single digits as we go through tomorrow morning and most of the weekend, John. So we'll be here, start to finish and we could see quite a wintry mess up here in the northeast. If you're traveling, good luck.

BERMAN: Good luck. You make it sound so pleasant, Jennifer. It's in Boston. They've given up in Boston, canceling school for Friday. They did that yesterday. They're planning ahead. Jennifer Gray is in Boston. Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

The long awaited rescue mission for those 52 passengers stranded on the ship in Antarctica, that rescue mission is happening right now. The research vessel has been stuck in the deep ice since Christmas Eve. Since then, three ice breakers have failed to reach the ship, but now it is all systems go for a helicopter rescue.

CNN's Poppy Harlow here with the latest. They're on their way out.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good for them. We got a tweet from Professor Chris Turney. He's been sort of the face of this and he said we made it to the Aurora Australia safe and sound. A huge thanks to the Chinese and everyone else for all their hard work so good for them. This is a rescue mission that has finally commenced.

Forty eight of the 52 passengers made it safely to the rescue ship, but the stranded passenger saga not exactly over. They estimate it could take until mid-January for them to finally get back to Australia.


HARLOW (voice-over): Rescue efforts are finally a go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The helicopter to take us home. Thanks, everyone!

HARLOW: By air and sea, teams are commencing a complex operation to air lift the 52 researchers and journalists stranded aboard a research ship off the coast of Antarctica. The ship stuck since Christmas Eve in ten feet of ice.

CHRIS TURNEY, EXPEDITION LEADER: If all goes well we'll be off in about an hour's time.

HARLOW: Stranded passengers seen here stomping on the snow and ice, arm in arm, preparing a landing zone for the Chinese rescue chopper. The helicopter will transport 12 passengers at a time, flying them to the Australian ice breaker "Aurora Australia." The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says it could take at least five hours and seven flights to get the passengers with their luggage and equipment.

The stranded research ship's 22 crew members will stay aboard. In the last week, three ice breaking ships failed to reach the stranded research ship, those missions unsuccessful because of bad weather and ice.

TURNEY: The wind is quite intense, not ideal for helicopter operations, unfortunately.

HARLOW: But being trapped at sea for more than a week didn't put a damper in ringing in the New Year.

ALL: Five, four, three, two, one!

HARLOW: Breaking out in song.

HARLOW: They shared their cheer all the way across the globe with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin in Times Square.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a little bit of champagne, I think, actually. Just a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want to tell tales, but there has been alcohol on the ship.


HARLOW: And the BBC just reporting that all of the scientists and journalists, all 52 are safely off that ship. You know, the crew will remain on board. The master of the ship said they have plenty of food, supplies on board, originally intended it feed 74 people for a long time. It will tie over the crew of 22 until they can make it out. Good for them. I might be raising my hand to get on the chopper.

BERMAN: I've been more worried than they have. They've been smiling and partying. They had three attempts with the ice breakers to get through. That didn't happen, days and days of trial and failure with the helicopters. I'm glad.

HARLOW: Mind over matter, proves what that can do. They'll be OK. They're off.

PEREIRA: Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: Sure. PEREIRA: A surprise editorial "New York Times" is sure to stir up controversy this morning editor saying, NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, did the country a great service and that he deserves a deal or even clemency. CNN's Athena Jones is in Honolulu where President Obama is taking his holiday break, any response yet to this editorial -- Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela. No response from the White House to this yet, but in that strongly worded editorial from "The New York Times," editorial board says that Edward Snowden was a whistle-blower for exposing the extensive surveillance operations of the National Security Agency and says it's time for the U.S. to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency.

Of course, Snowden's revelations about the NSA's tracking of Americans' phone calls and even listening in on the calls of world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel sparked an uproar here at home and abroad and opened this big debate we've been having about privacy.

"The New York Times" writes when someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. President Obama should tell his aide to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden's vilification and give him an incentive to return home.

The editorial goes on to note that two federal judges have said the NSA has violated the constitution and that that special panel that was appointed by President Obama has recommended major changes to the way the agency operates -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Athena, we know that the president has heard these calls for amnesty for Snowden before. What was his response in the past?

JONES: Well, this is interesting. The president was asked about this right before he left for Christmas break. You'll remember he had that press conference right before leaving to come here to Hawaii. He addressed this issue -- he was asked about Rick Ledgett who is heading up the NSA's task force on the Snowden leaks. Ledgett told CBS news it's worth having a conversation about granting Snowden amnesty as long as Snowden would stop additional leaks.

The president didn't respond very directly when asked about this, but he said as important and as necessary as this debate about privacy issues that Snowden's revelation sparked, as important as this debate has been, it's also important to keep in mind that Snowden's revelations have done unnecessary damage to U.S. intelligence capabilities and U.S. diplomacy.

But in the end, he said he is going to leave it up to the courts and to the attorney general to weigh in on the specifics of Mr. Snowden's case publicly -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Well, we're eager to hear how the president reacts to this. Athena, thank you so much for that. BERMAN: This morning, former first lady, Barbara Bush, remains in a Houston hospital. The 88-year-old is reportedly suffering from a respiratory issue. Doctors have not released exact details on her condition or when she might get out but well wishes are pouring in from, as you can imagine, all sides of the political aisle. Alina Machado has the latest.

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We still don't know what is the diagnosis or what prompted Barbara Bush to go to the hospital in the first place. What we do know is that she's been there since Monday and has received visits from her husband and her family.


MACHADO (voice-over): Barbara Bush, the matriarch of the Bush family is back in the hospital, recovering from a respiratory related issue. A family spokesperson is saying, quote, "She is in great spirits and is receiving fantastic care at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas." It's the same hospital where her husband and former President George H.W. Bush spent almost two months battling a bronchitis-related illness in 2012.

PETER ROUSSEL, BUSH FAMILY FRIEND: I have known Barbara Bush since 1969. That is 44 years. Having known her as I have, I have total confidence in her, period, exclamation mark.

MACHADO: This is at least the fourth time the 88-year-old has been hospitalized in recent years. She had heart surgery in 2009 and was hospitalized for abdominal pain in 2008. She's also been dealing with Graves Disease, an auto immune disorder that affects the thyroid since 1988. Her husband suffers from a form of Parkinson's and has been seen using a wheelchair or scooter to get around.

Despite her ongoing health issues, the edgy former first lady hasn't slowed down. Here she is in July in the White House and just last week she spoke at a ceremony honoring a Houston philanthropist for his volunteer work.

BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: You deserve every bit of it and much, much more. All Houston, all of Texas is grateful to you.

MACHADO: Well wishers are flooding social media, former President Bill Clinton among them, tweeting, quote, "I'll be rooting for Barbara Bush's full recovery while she's rooting for Baylor," a reference to Wednesday game.

CHASE UNTERMEYER, FORMER BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL, FAMILY FRIEND: Barbara Bush is a tough old gal who will outlive us all, but our love is with her because she's not just the former first lady of America, she's the first lady of our hearts. We know that she'll pull through.


MACHADO: President Obama is also sending some good thoughts. He released a statement saying in part, "Michelle and I send our best wishes to Mrs. Bush for a speedy recovery. Barbara is blessed to have both a loving, supportive family by her side and a vibrant spirit that we hope will have her feeling better soon," -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Thank you so much for that, Alina. We add our well wishes as well for her speedy recovery.

All right, there are plenty of other stories making headlines right now. Let's turn to Ana Cabrera for a look at those.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a busy January. Good morning. Secretary of State John Kerry headed back to Israel this morning. He'll meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he tries to persuade the Israelis and the Palestinians to agree to a framework for peace. This is also the first time Netanyahu is meeting with a top American official since the leak that the NSA spied on Israeli leaders several years ago.

Americans are now receiving health coverage under Obamacare. Even after the botched launch in October, more than 2 million people have signed up. Though it's still unclear how many of those have actually paid to ensure their policies take effect. Some conservative groups are still moving forward with challenges to parts of the law, notably the requirement for companies to provide birth control or face penalty.

The family of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old California girl declared brain dead after tonsil surgery, facing yet another obstacle. The Children's Hospital in Oakland is unwilling to allow an outside doctor to fit Jahi with a breathing and feeding tube that the family has requested. Now, the McMath family has been receiving advice from a family who's been in their shoes, the Terri Schiavo Foundation is trying to help move Jahi to another facility.

Check out what heavy rains have been in Hawaii. What a mess. A huge sink hole has opened up on the big island. It swallowed a truck that you can see there. The driver is OK. She managed to climb out through the window. But these rains have set records in some places, triggering some landslides as well.

This morning, fans are remembering an iconic TV dad, James Avery, who played Phillip Banks or Uncle Phil on the hit TV show "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". He died Tuesday in California, following complications from open heart surgery. He was 68 years old. Avery had dozens of other roles in other TV shows as well, including "L.A. Law" and "Grey's Anatomy."

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: As somebody commenting on social media, you grow up with this man. You identify with him.


CABRERA: You do, and they're endearing to us. And so, when they -- when somebody passes, you almost feel like you know them.

PEREIRA: An accomplished stage actor. A good man, a really good man. He'll be missed. Thanks, Ana.

Coming up on NEW DAY: open for business. Legal recreational marijuana shops in Colorado have people from all over lining up to purchase pot legally. But will the supply be able to keep up with demand.

BERMAN: And speaking out, the stars of "Duck Dynasty" saying they're looking forward to getting back to work in 2014. But family patriarch Phil Robertson is still raising eyebrows, another of his comments now sparking controversy.


PEREIRA: Twenty minutes after the hour. Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Colorado's marijuana retailers are open for business. That business is booming. Smokers lining up before dawn Wednesday to score some of the first licensed, legal recreational weed. In the world but with a limited number of dispensaries opening in many spots, demand is far outstripping supply.

CNN's Casey Wian is in Denver -- Casey.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela.

All these marijuana plants you see surrounding me are being grown for a business called Evergreen Apothecary. That's where we saw consumers buy recreational marijuana legally for the first time in Colorado history.


WIAN (voice-over): This married couple rang in the New Year by waiting outside the Evergreen Apothecary at 2:00 in the morning, six hours before recreational marijuana sales began in Colorado.

(on camera): Why was it important to be first in line?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we're pioneers.

WIAN (voice-over): Some 800 people took a number at this store on day one alone, some waiting in the show, to select their prepared strain of pot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is going to be across the O.G. Kush, Vanilla Kush and Sweet Tooth.

WIAN: And the first legal deal was done. It's been a long time coming, since sale of alcohol resumed after the end of prohibition 80 years ago, marijuana has been on the target list of authorities. "Reefer Madness", a propaganda film from the 1930s portrays the descent of high school pot smokers into crime and insanity.

But attitudes and laws have since changed. Colorado first allowed medical marijuana in 2000. It took 12 years before voters here approved Amendment 64 legalizing recreational pot use and sales over the opposition of the state's governor.

MICHELE WOLD, CUSTOMER: I mean, this is the forefront, and to be a part of history and to -- prohibition has ended.

WIAN: Colorado residents age 21 and over can purchase up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Out-of-staters can buy a quarter ounce.

MIKE OWENS, CUSTOMER: I'm excited. I've been dreaming about this since I started smoking.

WIAN: There are other rules: no taking marijuana out of state. No consumption in public and the main concern for law enforcement, no driving stoned.

JACK FINLAW, CHIEF COUNSEL COLORADO GOVERNOR'S OFFICE: If someone is drinking and driving, they're driving too fast or aggressively, if you're under the influence of marijuana, you're likely to be slow. But frankly we've had medical marijuana in Colorado for about 13 years. So, we're used to dealing with people who are driving and consuming marijuana.

WIAN: For new recreational retailers, the biggest concern is demand exceeding supply and possibility of shortages and higher prices.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Candy-like taste to it.

WIAN: Here, it's already going for $50 per eighth of an ounce.


WIAN: And despite those high prices, demand definitely outstrips supply. And time yesterday as we mentioned in that piece, more than 800 people took numbers to get their recreational marijuana, Evergreen Apothecary was only able to service about 425 of those folks. The other 400 are going to be lining up outside the store, we expect, later today.

In terms of the long-term supply, the owner of the company says he expects that he will have enough to service all of his customers. These plants about 60 days away from being ready to be sold. But other distributors say they're very concerned about the supply drying up and prices going even higher -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Yes, history being made there in Colorado. And one would argue, too, probably the first time Casey Wian has done a live shot from a sanctioned area selling marijuana.

BERMAN: As far as we know.

PEREIRA: As far as we know. We don't know that for sure.

Casey Wian, thank you so much. No sampling the merchandise.

BERMAN: From pot time to money time now. Are we finally saying arrivederci? Is the U.S. arrivederci to Chrysler?

Alison Kosik saving me from my Italian is here for money time.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, not exactly arrivederci wholeheartedly here. But Chrysler, John, is no longer going to be an American car company as we know it. Italian carmaker Fiat, which already owns a major chunk of Chrysler, says it's going to buy what it doesn't already own for $3.6 billion.

Now, this agreement comes 4 1/2 years after the Obama White House brought Fiat in to keep Chrysler in business, as part of a packaged bankruptcy proceeding.

The first day of trading in the New Year. I want to take a quick minute to go over Dow milestones -- for 2013, the Dow gained 3,472 points. Whoo! Or 26 percent. For the fourth quarter, the months from October through December, the Dow gained 1,147 points or almost 10 percent. Just for the month of December, the Dow gained 490 points or 3 percent. Those are big numbers.

And speaking of big, big donors were feeling particularly generous last year with their favorite charities. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg made the biggest single donation, $990 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Nike's Phil Knight gave $500 million to the Oregon Health and Science University Foundation. And Michael Bloomberg gave $350 million to his alma mater, John's Hopkins.

You know, don't feel bad, though. Even if you give just a little bit, it's still OK.

PEREIRA: Every little bit helps.

KOSIK: It is.

PEREIRA: Nice making (INAUDIBLE) zero.


PEREIRA: Exactly, you'll be back. We'll talk other interesting topics, Target and Snapchat as well.


PEREIRA: All right. Thanks, Alison.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, as I mentioned, millions of Snapchat and Skype user names have been hacked. At least partial phone numbers have been leaked online. Now, but the question is, could the company have avoided being hacked?

BERMAN: And moving forward, the stars of "Duck Dynasty" saying they're ready to move past the controversy. But what did patriarch Phil Robertson say this time that has a lot of people up in arms?


PEREIRA: Well, welcome back to NEW DAY.

We want to get right back to our top stories. Millions of you in the Northeast getting ready this morning for a brutal blast of winter. We can't underscore that enough.

2004 is really getting under way with blizzard warnings, snow emergencies and wind chills well below zero. Meteorologist Jennifer Gray wanted to feel it for herself. So, she went outside to Boston. In fact, Boston could get as much as 14 or 15 inches of snow.

GRAY: It's true. You know, their average for this month in January is about 12 inches. So, they could see more than their average for the entire month with this one storm. In fact, folks in Boston already waking up to a blanket of snow on their cars. And it is so fine, you can see -- I mean, it's very, very fine.

So this is the concern as we go through the late evening hours into the morning hours tomorrow, very, very heavy snow is expected, very gusty winds.