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Times Square Security for New Year's Eve; 2016 Sports Highlights; Update on Case of Michael Skakel; Supreme Court Justices; Police Shooting in Pennsylvania; Report on Climate Change; Report on Hong Kong in the 21st Century; Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 13, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:31:10] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: So good to have you with us. Thirty-one minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN HOST: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell. And it's already 2017 down under. It is a celebration so nice, it's worth looking at twice. So, here it is again in that beautiful harbor.


SAVIDGE: (Inaudible) the best fireworks so far of 2017.

PAUL: Oh, very nice.

SAVIDGE: The best -- not going t0o far out on that limb.

PAUL: Since they're the first, but they are going to be hard to counter, certainly, when you look at that show. We want (inaudible) some of the recent terror attacks in Germany and France right now. They have New York City, obviously, on high alert as we head into New Year's Eve celebrations because there are so many people that are going to be down there.

SAVIDGE: Two million people, I believe is what they are projecting, or at least expected to fill Times Square for that big countdown. And that's where we find Correspondent Jessica Schneider. And, Jessica, what's the beefed-up security measures that you're seeing down there, so far?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martin, the NYPD stresses that this -- Times Square -- will be the safest place in the city to be tonight, and that's because of those increased security measures. The NYPD has the numbers to prove it. In fact, take a look at these states: new this year, there will be 65 sanitation trucks in the perimeter of Times Square. They'll be filled with sand, and that's all to prevent any sort of truck-style ISIS-inspired attack like we saw overseas. The NYPD does stress, though, no credible threat here in New York City or Times Square.

Also, 100 blocker vehicles -- that's double the number from years past. Seven thousand NYPD officers will be around the city; that includes 550 new graduates. And, in addition, 65 viewing pens. NYPD hopes to actually fill those pens -- each one of them with 3000 spectators. So, you can see things back here in Times Square, still a bit empty out here. The crowds start arriving in probably the next hour or two. And, yes, they do arrive that early, even though the ball drop, of course, isn't until midnight.

But, when they do get here, they'll be going through bag searches; they'll be going through security screening; also, radiation screening. There will be very visible heavy weapons team here and, throughout the night, we'll see helicopters up above; watercraft is patrolling the waterways around Manhattan. And, in addition, just downtown at 1PP, the headquarters for NYPD, there will be 30 representatives from various city and state and federal agencies. They'll be keeping an eye on all the cameras here that will be watching all of the spectators that will be flooding in here to Times Square -- one of the -- one of the best places in the world to watch the ball drop and see -- ring in the new year. Martin and Christi?

SAVIDGE: Yes, it absolutely is. We hope it's a safe, wonderful, healthy and prosperous new year for all. Jessica Schneider, thanks very much.

PAUL: That included you too, Jessica. Thank you.

You do not want to miss our CNN special tonight either, because you know who else is going to be down there. Our New Year's Eve extravaganza. (Inaudible). You can expect the unexpected from Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. New Year's Eve live, beginning at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.


PAUL: (Inaudible) Rhonda Rousey's UFC comeback.

SAVIDGE: Yeah, Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report", although it's really less of more.

PAUL: Did my face give it away too?

SCHOLES: Yeah, well, you know what guys? We hadn't seen Rhonda Rousey in the octagon in more than a year. She lost to Holly Holm last November. And, you know, after last night, we might not ever see her in the octagon again. You know, leading up to this fight, Rousey -- she did not speak with the media at all. Instead, she said she was spending all of her time training for this comeback. But, this comeback was short-lived. Rousey got pummeled by Amanda Nunes from the start in this one, just taking multiple shots right to the face. The ref had to jump in and stop the fight just 48 seconds in.

[08:35:09] Rousey -- she was guaranteed $3 million for this fight, compared to just $200,000 for Nunes. So, for Rousey, that means she made about $63,000 a second to stand there and get punched in the face. And Rousey, once again, not speaking with the media after the fight. UFC President Dana White said he doesn't know if Rousey will ever get in the octagon again.

All right, unless you're Rhonda Rousey, 2016 was an amazing year in sports and here's a look at our top 10 moments from this year. (BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

SCHOLES: Basketball's March Madness living up to its name and then some, this year. The final coming down to Villanova and North Carolina. They're championship game coming down to the final seconds.

UNKNOWN MALE SPORTS ANNOUNCER: Two seconds to go. Jenkins, three, right wing to win it -- he made it. He made the three for the right wing at the buzzer. Cats win it all! Cats win it all! Cats win it all.

SCHOLES: Chris Jenkins the hero as the Wildcats win their first championship in 31 years. In 2016, we saw one of the biggest underdog stories of all time.

UNKNOWN FEMALE REPORTER: We are in the heart of the storm here, in the very middle of Leicester City, and you can see behind me that hundreds of fans have congregated here.

SCHOLES: The Soccer Club Leicester City's odds of winning the premier league was 5000-to-one when the season started. And they not only won it, they won it easily, being called the greatest sports upset of all time and a movie is currently in the works to tell the story of Leicester City's incredible championship season.

Team USA had an amazing run at the Rio Olympics, but it was nearly overshadowed by Lochte-gate.

UNKNOWN FEMALE REPORTER: The story of a gun-point robbery that police there in Brazil say was a lie, made up by Ryan Lochte and three other of his swimmers.

RYAN LOCHTE, OLYMPIC SWIMMER: The guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead.

LOCHTE (LATER INTERVIEW): I overexaggerated that story.

SCHOLES: And Lochte lost many of his endorsement deals and was suspended 10 months by U.S Swimming, but he did compete on season 23 of "Dancing With the Stars", finishing in seventh place.

2016 finally saw the end of deflate-gate. New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season and decided against appealing his case any further. Brady's suspension not slowing the Patriots down. They are, once again, the favorites in the AFC and Brady seems to be over deflate-gate, having some fun with the whole thing in a recent Foot Locker commercial.

TOM BRADY, NFL QUARTERBACK: Just because something's great year- after-year doesn't mean anything's going on. Why can't some things just be great?

UNKNOWN MALE: It's just a question.

BRADY: It starts with questions, and then questions turn into assumptions, and then assumptions turn into vacations. SCHOLES: In 2016, we saw the final chapter of the Brady/Manning rivalry. Manning's Denver Broncos beating Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. It reached Super Bowl 50. The Broncos beat league MVP, Cam Newton, and the Carolina Panthers 24-to-10. And Manning would do what few quarterbacks have been able to do -- go out on top.

PEYTON MANNING, NFL QUARTERBACK: I fought a good fight. I've finished my football race. And after 18 years, it's time.

SCHOLES: San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, began a nationwide discussion by kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest social injustice in the U.S.

KAEPERNICK: People are realizing the injustices and the oppression that's taking place in this country and it's something that needs to be addressed.

SCHOLES: Some NFL players and other athletes, like U.S. Women's National Team star, Megan Rapinoe, joined Kaepernick in his protest. And Kaepernick captured attention again in November when he revealed that he didn't vote in the Presidential election, saying it would have been hypocritical.

Leading up to the Rio Olympic Games, much of the talk was about security concerns, dirty water and the Zika virus, but the attention quickly turned to the dominant performance by the United States. Gymnast Simone Biles living up to the hype, winning four gold medals, including one with her teammates dubbed "the Final Five". In the pool, the U.S. was unstoppable. Nineteen-year-old Katie Ledecky blowing away the competition, winning five medals. And the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, rode off into the sunset with five more gold medals.

In June, we lost the greatest of all time. Muhammad Ali passing away after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. And, unfortunately, he was not the only sports legend to pass away in 2016. Golfing great, Arnold Palmer, died at the age of 87; Mr. Hockey, Gordy Howe, passed away at the age of 88; and legendary Tennessee women's basketball coach, Pat Summitt, died after a battle with early-onset dementia. She was 64-years-old.

In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors breaking a record few thought would ever fall. The team going 73-and-9 in the regular season, topping Michael Jordan's '96 Bulls record of 72-and-10. The Warriors, then, had a 3-1 lead in the final over LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers, but LeBron and Kyrie Irving would lead the Cavs to three straight wins, becoming the first team to ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals.

UNKNOWN MALE SPORTSCASTER: Believe it, Cleveland. Savor it. Soak it in. The kid from Akron has come home. The Cavaliers are NBA champions and the impossible dream has come true.

[08:40:10] SCHOLES: LeBron making good on his promise to deliver Cleveland its first championship in 52 years. LEBRON JAMES, NBA BASKETBALL PLAYER: My one mission was to bring a championship back to Ohio, back to Cleveland and back to Akron. And look up there -- it's right there.

SCHOLES (VIDEO CLIP): This is what a what a 108-year drought celebration looks like and for the first time in a lifetime, the Cubs can call themselves champions.

UNKNOWN MALE: It's unbelievable. Go Cubbies. Go Cubbies. Let's go.

UNKNOWN MALE 2: It's the best. I can't even move, but I don't care. This is unbelievable. This is what you dream for as a kid.



SCHOLES: And you know what, guys? I don't want to be a downer, or anything, but 2017's going to have a hard time living up to 2016 sports-wise. I mean, with the Cubs drought going away, the Cleveland winning a championship.

PAUL: Yes.


SCHOLES: I don't see it happening. I --

PAUL: Pretty extraordinary.

SCHOLES: 2016 is going to go down as one of the best sports years ever.

PAUL: That means all you athletes -- you've just got to --

SCHOLES: Step it up, right?

PAUL: -- step it up a notch.

SAVIDGE: Bring it up.

PAUL: We're counting on you. Andy Scholes, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

PAUL: All right.

SAVIDGE: On a more serious note, a member of the Kennedy family could be headed back to prison. The Connecticut Supreme Court reinstated the murder conviction of Michael Skakel. The question we look at is what has changed?


SAVIDGE: A Kennedy cousin could be headed back to prison for murder after a Connecticut judge overturned an earlier ruling that freed him. In 2002, Michael Skakel was convicted of killing Martha Moxley, a 15- year-old neighbor, back in 1975. Skakel is the nephew of Ethel and Robert Kennedy. He was released in 2013 when a judge ordered a new trial. The ruling said Skakel's lawyer had not represented him well. Now, that decision has been overturned by a judge who disagreed. Mr. Skakel has always maintained his innocence.

His current lawyer sent this statement to CNN:

"We haven't fully had time to fully digest the opinion at this juncture; but, of course, it's a setback. We're going to be dealing with other legal procedure that are available to avail Michael of any and all his constitutional rights."

[08:45:01] PAUL: So, let's talk about it with criminal defense attorney Page Pate. He is the forensic -- we're talking about the forensic evidence here; first of all, because there was a lot of it, Page, but none of it pointed to Skakel in the first place. It was all witness testimony, right -- that convicted him?

PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Exactly. It was a very circumstantial case; yes.

PAUL: So, were you surprised that he was convicted or surprised that he was let go in 2013?

PATE: Well, it's a great question. I was a little surprised at the conviction, because it was all based on testimony -- no solid, hard evidence that linked him to the crime. But, I was also surprised that it was overturned. When you overturn a conviction based on ineffective assistance of your lawyer, you don't just have to show that your lawyer made mistake, or even a really ridiculous mistake. You have to show that the lawyer did something that no reasonable lawyer would have done and that that made significant difference to the verdict. And, so, it took many, many years, but, eventually, his lawyers proved to a judge in Connecticut that his lawyer was ineffective, he set aside the conviction, and released him from prison.

PAUL: So, what do you think will happen from this point on? If you were his defense attorney, what would your strategy be?

PATE: I think the first thing I would do is ask the Connecticut Supreme Court to reconsider its decision. It was a close call. It was a 4-3 decision just -- overturning the judge's decision, which overturned the conviction. So, I would ask them to reconsider, number one. Number two, they still have a federal claim that they can pursue. They put that to the side while they focused on this appeal, so their appeals process is not done. There's still a lot more they can challenge.

PAUL: Can that -- can that appeals process be exhausted, though? Can they go too far with it?

PATE: Well, eventually, yes. The case has already been to the United States Supreme Court once. They turned it down. They had the opportunity to ask again if that court will accept it. But, eventually -- perhaps 50, 60 years down the road -- the case will finally be over.

PAUL: Oh my goodness. All right, I want to move on to the Supreme Court as we look ahead to 2017. They are at reduced strength. You know how --

PATE: Oh, yeah.

PAUL: In a sense. I mean, there's eight of them. Based on what we know and the political landscape, how expeditious do you think the confirmation process could be?

PATE: I think we're going to see something very shortly after inauguration. We know that President-Elect Trump has been thinking about this, even during the campaign. He released a list of about 21 people that he thought would make good Supreme Court Justices. That list -- I think the Federalist Society, a very conservative legal organization, helped him put it together. We see some names coming to the top -- Judge William Prior, who practices here in Atlanta on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals -- I think well-connected to the Trump administration. So, I think we're going to see an appointment very soon after the new year.

PAUL: There are a lot of things on the docket that are very sensitive. We've got immigration they're going to be dealing with, transgender issues. They're going to be dealing with a lot of things that revolve around race that are just very delicate. How do you anticipate that's going to move further without dividing this country more? Is that even possible?

PATE: I don't know that it is possible, but I think we see the same divisions now at the Supreme Court that we do among everyone else -- among politicians, among congress -- even the voters. Right now, as you mentioned, not only are they short staffed, they're at a deadlock. They literally have four that were appointed by a democratic president, four appointed by a republican president. They have been turning down the more -- the higher profile cases because they were concerned they couldn't reach a decision.

PAUL: And they're waiting.

PATE: Absolutely.

PAUL: They're waiting for a new colleague.

PATE: They're waiting on that next vote. They're waiting on that next vote. So, this next person -- the next justice will make a tremendous difference in how they look at the cases that are currently before them, the cases they decide to accept. And that's going to continue on, not just during the Trump administration, but for a generation or more.

PAUL: What -- is there any one particular case that you're looking forward to seeing them adjudicated this year.

PATE: Well, on this term, in 2017, they're going to be looking at voting rights cases, which are very important -- usually very politicized because, obviously, one side is trying to gain an advantage over the other. They've handled some of those cases last term, but they've really kept them sitting in the background; you know, on the table, waiting for the next Justice. We're also going to see issues about transgender rights. And I also expect some religious liberty cases that are percolating their way up there. I doubt we're going to see much on the abortion front. I mean, we can remember Trump saying "it's automatically gone -- we're going to overturn Roe v. Wade." That's not going to happen, because even with another conservative Justice, you have enough votes to preserve Roe v. Wade and abortion rights.

PAUL: All right. Good to know. Page Pate, always appreciate your insight. Thanks for coming in.

PATE: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Day before New Year's -- Happy New Year to you.

PATE: Happy New Year to you.

PAUL: Absolutely; thank you. Martin?

SAVIDGE: Let's take a look at some of the other news today. A massive manhunt underway in Pennsylvania this morning after a state trooper was shot and killed in the line of duty. Authorities are searching for this man, Jason Robison. He is considered to be armed and dangerous. State Trooper Landon Weaver was responding to a domestic-related incident when the suspect opened fire. Pennsylvania's governor issued a statement saying, in part, "I have full confidence that the person who committed this senseless act of violence will be captured and brought to justice."

[08:50:00] Two people were shot and killed this morning after Meek Meek's (sic) concert -- Meek Mill's, excuse me -- concert in Connecticut. Two other people were injured. It happened in the parking lot outside the Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford. That's Connecticut. Police are still investigating. The victims have not been identified as yet.

And ISIS claiming responsibility for a pair of suicide bombings in Baghdad in a statement that was posted on Twitter. At least 28 people are dead, more than 50 others injured. Police say two bombers detonated their vests on busy street near a market earlier today. The blast destroyed business in a historic part of that Iraqi capital.

PAUL: Well, you know, millions of people are already ringing in the new year. We're behind the times here, so to speak. 2017 kicking off first in New Zealand. Fireworks there at the sky tower in Auckland -- there they are. And down under, an incredible show over the Sydney Harbor Bridge as a centerpiece -- that was just a few minutes ago.


SAVIDGE: I don't know if you felt it, but it's true. 2016 has been the hottest year on record.

PAUL: Yes, CNN's John Sutter with -- in Alaska to take a look at how climate change has affected the world this year.


JOHN SUTTER, CNN REPORTER: In 2016, it became stunningly clear that we are warming the climate and there are dire consequences. I'm in a tiny village in Alaska, about 30 miles from the arctic circle, and I'm sure it looks cold out here, but locals are actually complaining about the heat. The arctic is warming about twice as fast as the rest of the planet. And, in mid-November, this entire region was 35 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. It's not just here. This is happening all around the world and 2016 is actually expected to be the hottest year on record.

[08:55:03] This spring, a drought in India was so intense that it reportedly led some farmers to commit suicide. In May, monster wildfires forced 88,000 people in Canada to flee. In July, a city in Kuwait hit a stunning 129 degrees Fahrenheit, or 54 degrees Celsius. That month was named the hottest ever, until August tied it. Scientists are getting better at tying these events to us. A flood in Louisiana killed 13 people in August. Scientists say that event was made 40% more likely because of climate change.

Here, in Shishmaref, locals voted that same month to abandon their village, which their ancestors have lived in for 400 years. The permafrost is melting and the coast is crumbling. Are we causing all of the bad weather? No, but we are burning fossil fuels, which is heating up the planet and that puts our fingerprints on the extreme weather more ever before.


PAUL: All right. Well, Hong Kong -- it's changed in the 21st century. They've got the skyscrapers, the high-end stores. But there are some parts of the city that are still unchanged and they're quite unique.

SAVIDGE: Alan Lowe is a restaurant entrepreneur and art supporter. He takes a look at the past and the future of the city in this week's edition of "Around the World".


ALAN LO, RESTAURANT ENTREPRENEUR: Welcome to Hong Kong. So, we're in the M+ Pavilion. The art scene in Hong Kong is changing so rapidly. It's amazing to see how, in a short four years, how M+ has, you know, accumulated such an amazing collection. It's practically the one major institution that kind of encompasses art and design from all of Asia. It's almost like Tate and Pompidou combined, but very much set in the Asian context.


So, we are in the fabric market in the heart of Sham Shui Po. As you walk down these streets, it feels like nothing has change in the last 30-40 years and Sham Shui Po is probably one of the last remaining neighborhood that still has kind of that old Hong Kong quality that is still largely untouched.


We are in Wanchai Market, one of the best wet markets in Hong Kong. As much as we are living in the 21st century, I think that there's still kind of that tradition going where there's -- there's still kind of that joy of -- like, that routine of going to the market and buying your food. You still have this kind of crazy food street, but in the middle of this whole urban gentrification with, like, luxury apartments a block away. I think that's part of the charm of Wanchai.


SAVIDGE: That is another city I love.

Well, don't you go anywhere -- and I don't mean that as threatening.


PAUL: He's got that voice, doesn't he? It sounds like it, but Newsroom is going to start right after this short break. Have a lot to talk to you about in terms of politics, what's happening with Russia and the U.S. Do stay close.