tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN December 26, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST
hello and thanks for joining me. i'm deborah feyerick in for fredricka whitfield. 15 million people are facing severe weather threats across the nation today. the south still reeling from tornados and widespread flooding. in alabama, a day of epic rainfall has residents bracing for the worst as a river swells just inches away from protecting a levee. in the western u.s., both fire and ice, with blizzard conditions bearing down on the southern rockies and plains states. this fresh blanket of snow covering parts of northern california. but in the south, well, a raging wildfire that shut down parts of two major california highways
and forced people from their homes. but first, the severe weather that's refusing to let up in the south. heavy rain, devastating flooding, and tornadoes. overnight, the death toll going up. at least 15 people now confirmed dead. cnn's nick valencia is following this latest weather system and the damage that it's done. and a lot of damage that we're looking at, nick. >> hey, there, deb. it's been absolutely devastating for portions of the southeast united states. atlanta, actually, got hit pretty hard christmas eve with some torrential downpours. it brightened up on christmas, but the front end of the states did get the brunt of the damage, especially alabama which is still under a state of emergency. >> severe weather batters several southern states. heavy rains hammer parts of alabama. the water made some roads impassable. rescue crews helping residents trapped in their homes and the national weather service said a potential tornado touched down in birmingham, causing damage to
several blocks. >> the damage was done, it was confined to approximately one square mile. we had three structures, three houses that collapsed. we transported one patient from there were two others that were removed from the structures, but we reported no injuries. >> reporter: alabama's governor declared a state of emergency because of widespread flooding. at least 117 homes overcome by water. in georgia, the rain damaged roads and made driving treacherous. and in mississippi, flood warnings and relentless rain add more misery to areas already devastated by tornadoes, that killed at least eight people in the state. many roads are flooded and some people are dealing with rising water in their homes. in rent, mississippi, victor and tameka hail watched as their home of ten years was overtaken by water.
>> the trailer just floated away. garbage cans, everything gone. >> we had to get out of here. the rain was coming way too fast. >> the couple and their 9-year-old son now homeless and staying with relatives. >> it's discouraging. we lost everything. my child, he didn't get none of his christmas items. >> here's some good news from the storm prediction center. they say the risk has dropped dramatically for violent weather, but the threat is still out there. 15 people have had their lives claimed by this storm. another two people are still unaccounted for, deb, in mississippi, so this death toll could still very well go up. deb? >> it's just crazy to watch the various weather across the nation. nick valencia, thanks so much. appreciate it. and we are now looking at live pictures of that wildfire burning in southern california. it's forcing mandatory evacuations and scorching more than 1,100 acres so far. officials have shut down parts of two major highways. the 101 and the pacific coast highway. more than 500 firefighters are battling these flames. they know they are in for a
tough hall. the fire captain saying, quote, we are seeing embers all over the place. sara sidner is following the story from new york. and sara, you're usually in los angeles. how significant is it that they're closing these parts of the highway in terms of their ability to fight it, their ability to contain it, and their ability to keep people safe? >> for the firefighters, it's good news, because they can get in and out much easier, they're not going to be blocked by traffic. there is always traffic, as you know, in southern california. ventura county, though, a little bit less. it's about 800,000 people, which sounds like a heck of a lot of people, but this is burning in the hills. and so when you have u.s. 101 closed and when you have pacific coast highway closed, which is absolutely the most beautiful thing that people like to do on the holidays, kind of drive slowly. it's a beautiful view. people tend to take their time, believe it or not, in los angeles, this is significant. because those two highways feed so many other areas. this is happening, basically, ventura county is between santa barbara to the north and malibu
to the south. this is a place where people want to go, go to the beach, and enjoy themselves. and they simply are being told to stay away from this area, but it is not the whole of u.s. 101, which is really a workhorse. a lot of people use this road throughout southern california and beyond. and pacific coast highway is more of a pleasure center for people. they like to go down there during the holidays, but a lot of people live up and down there. the great news is, this is not a highly populated area where the fire is burning now. if you look at the pictures, you can see that. you can see it's in the hills. i think it's threatened about 35 structures, burned a couple, and they have said that there are evacuations now for some people in the area, because, like you said, the embers are all over the place, and that's what we're hearing from fire officials. >> it's crazy, you're from california. when you think about the fire, here in new york, the thought of a fire raging that close in your state is a little bit disconcerting. and the people under there now, is this an ordinary part of their life or what is the sort of mood?
>> it is and it isn't. if you're close to it, it's a life-changing event. you suddenly think, what am i going to take out of my house. how am i going to get my kids out of the house. if you have animals, what are you going to do with them? what are you going to bring with you? because so many times this has turned into disaster in california. and we are told, because it is such a terrible drought, this is probably going to happen a lot more going forward than less. >> absolutely. sara sidener, thank you so much. it is frightening to watch and clearly frightening to be in the center of. we really appreciate it. thanks so much. and snow and ice could be causing a travel nightmare in a different part of the country. cnn meteorologist allison chinchar joins us. tomorrow people will be heading home from the holiday. what can we expect? >> you could be dealing with snow in some spots or you could be dealing with heavy rain with flooding and severe weather in other spots. the big question is, where are your travel plans to and from? here's a look at the national map. we have very heavy rain that could cause some flooding in the
eastern half of the country. the central portion of the country will be dealing with severe storms, including tornadoes. but on the backside of that, we have blizzard conditions. let's start with today. we have severe weather, stretching from san antonio, all the way up towards cincinnati. the bull's-eye, being right over top of dallas. and that does include an enhanced threat for tornados and damaging winds. that means if you have travel plans in, out, or around dallas, be careful, be patient, and be prepared to deal with some delays today, especially with flights. tomorrow, that system begins to push a little farther east, so now cities like little rock, memphis, and new orleans are now also added into the mix, again, with the threat for tornados and damaging wind. we still have the flood threat in about a dozen states going on right now. you can see flood watches, flood warnings, and even flash flood warnings in some areas. more rain expected on top of some areas that have seen too much. o oklahoma, missouri, also into arkansas. we're talking 6 to 10 inches of rain. mississippi, alabama, georgia, and tennessee could pick up an
additional 4 to 6 inches. but keep in mind, they've already had areas already get 5 to 10 inches. that's on top of what they've already had. then we look at the winter side of this storm. we have winter storm watches and warnings for minnesota, south dakota, and also into nebraska. then we're talking about the blizzard warnings along i-40. again, that's going to cause huge travel delays down there. this system, again, as it pushes east will push through its way into texas. now we're talking winter storm weather, including snow and ice, stretching from texas all the way up towards chicago by monday. and again, the severe weather threat begins to push a little farther east as well. so we've got several different types of weather scenarios on one of the busier travel weekends of the year. mother nature did not plan this very well. >> i have a feeling we'll get a lot of reports from airports having trouble getting people in and out because of this weather.
allison, thank you so much. we appreciate it. and coming up, a fugitive known as the affluenza teen is still on the run. did a mistake by law enforcement give this teen a head start? we'll talk to a former director of the fbi, coming up straight ahead. in a german dance group. i wore lederhosen. when i first got on ancestry i was really surprised that i wasn't finding all of these germans in my tree. i decided to have my dna tested through ancestry dna. the big surprise was we're not german at all. 52% of my dna comes from scotland and ireland. so, i traded in my lederhosen for a kilt. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story. get started for free at ancestry.com. okay! fun's over. aw. aw. ♪ thirsty? they said it would make me cool. they don't sound cool to me. guess not. you got to stick up for yourself, like with the name your price tool.
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bringing our total donations to over sixty-five million dollars. and bringing love where it's needed most. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. and this now breaking. several european cities are being warned of a possible terror attack. that is coming from police in vienna. they received a warning from a
friendly intelligence service and they are now taking the necessary precautions to make sure that nothing happens. there's increased vigilance in terms of empty suitcases and bags. a lot of people traveling, obviously. and they are making sure that high public events, a lot of people, are also being monitored closely. we want to talk more about this and the possibilities of these implications with our cnn analyst, tom fuentes, formerly of the fbi. and tom, clearly, we're going to be getting a lot of these warnings, especially during the holiday time. but how much credence should people put in this? especially law enforcement. >> well, the problems is that it depends on how many of these come. if you cry wolf every single day, there's a warning here, a warning there. after a while, the public will tune them out and just say, okay, it's just more false alarms. and i think that's the problem. we don't know the source of this warning. they say a friendly intelligence service. well, none of the services in
europe or in the united states or the western world would be considered hostile services. so they're all friendly. and if any one of them received any kind of source information or intercept, you know, phone messages, or other messages, indicating that some type of attack is going to happen, they'll alert the other services to put out the warnings to their people. so, at this point, we don't know the source of it. we just know that it was enough for them to go ahead and put a warning out. >> and i'm sure you feel the same in terms of these kinds of warnings. this is sort of the new normal. everybody's going to be high alert from now until indefinitely. all right, we do want to switch gears a little bit to a different story. there's new information, tom, on the search for a privileged teen who's on the run, along with his mom. this is a story you may recall. ethan couch was 17 when he drove drunk and killed four people in 2013. but instead of prison time, a judge gave him probation, because of something called
affluenza. the affluenza defense, meaning that he was a rich kid, his parents didn't set any limits for him, he was indulged. well, now he's 18, his case is about to be transferred to a different court and that could have meant jail time. so before the hearing in which he was supposed to appear, he failed to check in with his probation officer on december 10th. new reports now saying that the probation office wasn't notified of this lack of appearance until five days later. now, texas police are trying to make up for lost time. at a news conference this week, police revealed couch's house had been emptied and his mom's truck was gone. tarrant county sheriff's office is offering $5,000 for any kind of information leading to ethan's arrest. and tom fuentes, back with us again. tom, it's interesting, why, when the probation office notify headquarters that he simply had failed to show. especially given the timing of
the hearing. >> well, i think that's a great question. and you know, they may have been just become come pl complacent , figuring for the last two years while he had been on probation, he had checked in or kept in touch. they may have felt, you know, it's just no big deal, he'll turn up pretty soon. and maybe were very lax in doing it. and i think they'll be investigating that aspect of it and try to figure out what happened. >> you know, it's interesting, because he got off, basically, given probation after killing four people, because of this affluenza defense. now his mom is basically driving him away, again, from his responsibilities, so he doesn't have to face potential jail time. this case has clearly sparked so much outrage in the community. could the lack of action really have added fuel to the fire. you know, is law enforcement -- are they a little bit at fault for not putting more pressure, more heat on this kid? >> well, law enforcement didn't
make the decision to put him on probation. you've heard the sheriff has been outraged since day one in this particular case. you know, it's bad enough that law enforcement deals, oh, the poor kid had such a tough childhood, he can't be responsible. now we have, the poor kid had such a great childhood, he's not responsible either? who is? and i think law enforcement is really not, you know, it's not their fault. now, maybe an individual probation officer who's part of the court system, not part of the police, you know, may have been lax, may have caused this, but certainly the sheriff's office, from day one has been outraged by the fact that this kid was put on probation and for the reason, that he just had it so good, he can't be responsible. >> and police are always, you know, talking about this, the fact that the courts are too lenient on criminal defenders. they let them out too soon, they don't enforce the sentences that prosecutors want. so it's sort of a revolving door that law enforcement simply can't win against. all right.
so many different roads to pursue on this conversation. tom fuentes, thanks so much for your time today. happy holiday. >> happy holidays. thank you. and coming up, tension remains high in the holy land during the christmas weekend, after several attacks. we're going to be going to jerusalem for a report, straight ahead. toto the nation's capitalut to support an important cause that can change the way you live for years to come. how can you help? by giving a little more, to yourself. i am running for my future.
tension remains high in the holy land this christmas weekend. the israel army says that a palestinian rammed his car into security forces who were manning a checkpoint just north of jerusalem. an israeli soldier was injured. the suspect also hurt after being fired upon. the incident follows several recent stabbing attacks targeting israeli citizens and one today against a police officer. the violence has left many people in the holy land on edge. now more from our jerusalem bureau. >> reporter: it is a subdued christmas in the holy land this year, in the biblical birthplace of jesus christ, the beginnings of christianity, festivities next to manger square not as big or as crowded as they have been in previous years. but there was still very much an effort to hang on to a celebration of christmas eve, to forget if only for a moment the violence and tension surrounding the holiday in israel, jerusalem, and the west bank. and you could feel it. there was a very large security
presence in and around manger square, but it still felt very much like christmas eve. the faithful coming out to celebrate and to take part in midnight mass. but the violence continues here. since the beginning of october, some 20 israelis have been killed and more than 130 palestinians have been killed, approximately 70 of which israeli authorities say were killed while carrying out attacks. because of that number, some palestinian christian communities in the west bank have scaled back their christmas festivities, as a show of solidarity with all palestinians. that, unfortunately, is the reality that hangs over christmas in the holy land. and it is a reality that does not seem to be on its way to ending anytime soon. orrin lieberman, cnn, jerusalem. and coming up, model beverly johnson has accused bill cosby of drugging her and trying to sexually assault her. but now the embattled comedian is turning the tables and suing johnson. our legal guys weigh in, straight ahead.
and you may be among them. 15 million people facing severe weather threats today. tomorrow, more than 22 million at risk of bad weather. heavy rains are soaking the south, causing widespread flooding in some areas. overnight, the death toll from this week's storms went up. 15 people, at least, now confirmed dead. in the western -- in the western part, blizzard conditions are bearing down on the southern rockies and plains states. this fresh blanket of snow, good for skiers, but it's covering parts of northern california. in the southern state, a different problem. raging wildfires shutting down parts of two major highways, forcing people from their homes. in another part of the country, record-high temperatures. so what is behind this unseasonably warm weather? cnn meteorologist jennifer gray helps us break it down. >> reporter: it's the topic so many people are talking about this holiday season. where is the winter? you're not going to find the
chilly temperatures in the east. in fact, there have been over 2,600 record-high temperatures this month alone. on contrast, less than 150 record lows. incredibly, new york city has not dropped below freezing this season. christmas eve will be in the 70s for philadelphia, new york city, d.c., all of those records. and these warm temperatures are not just for the u.s. all over europe has been warmer than normal, as well. in fact, moscow hit nearly 50 degrees this week. and look at this ski resort in austria, this year compared to last year. barely any snow. many spots in the northwest have been well above normal for snow. in fact, the sierra and california, that has been drought stricken over the last few years is finally getting back to normal with the help of a little snow. so why is it so warm in the east? well, el nino is partly to
blame. the phenomenon that pools all of the warm water on the east side of the pacific near the equator changes weather patterns all over the world. and this year, we're experiencing one of the strongest el nino ever recorded. but will it continue? our best guess is yes. january and february are typically warmer months than normal. during an el nino year in the east and the midwest, but that doesn't mean we won't see snow. weather patterns can change. we can see storm systems that will move up the east coast and bring snow during the first part of 2016. we will just have to wait and see. >> all right. put those winter coats away, at least for a little while. well, bill cosby is now firing back, filing a defamation lawsuit against one of his sexual assault accusers, supermodel beverly johnson. he alleges that she lied about her accusations that he tried to drug and rape her in his new york home in the 1980s.
cosby's suit claims that johnson lied to promote her career and sell her memoir. let's talk about this more with our legal guys, joining me now, avery friedman and richard herman, a new york criminal defense attorney and law professor. gentleman, happy holidays and thanks for being here with us. this is really interesting, although she has not necessarily sued him, she's not joined one of these suits against him, he is now going after her. is this to send a message to those who do want money for what happened to them, allegedly. let's start with you, avery. >> well, it might very well be. because if he prevailed in his defamation case, he's not going to get squat. the reality is beverly johnson has been making these allegations against bill cosby for 40 years. i'm not sure who has been advising her, but she publishes it in august of this year, which
falls within the statue of limitations. if he's concerned that debora johnson will be a witness in the scores of other cases remains to be seen. but i think there's some chance he can prevail in this if she can't prove it. and what good can it do him? it makes very little difference given the other pending litigation. >> richard, do you see this as strategic? it's fascinating, somebody makes an accusation at somebody and they make an accusation back. sort of tit for tat. what do you think about this strategically? >> it's he said/she said. and litigation, practice is strategy. this is now the defense strategy from the cosby camp to be on the offensive and go after these people. the bottom line here, deb, is that in defamation cases, they are very, very difficult to prove. in fact, in the uk, which is the foundation of our legal system, the only way you get a jury trial is a criminal case and a civil defamation case.
>> you get one here. >> defamation is very difficult to prove. you have to prove it. it's done with malicious intent. and when you're dealing with celebrities, and you have to prove damages. here, beverly johnson, by invoking the name bill cosby, is only going to make her money, because her book is coming out and her sales will probably go through the roof now. >> the book is out. >> and back and forth, back and forth, opinion evidence is protected under the constitution. you can have your opinion about certain things. this is just beyond ridiculous. this whole thing -- >> it's not ridiculous. >> all right, jump in, avery. >> you've got to be fair. you know, beverly johnson, bill cosby claiming her career is sagging, the book is sagging, everything is sagging, apparently, but the reality is that she published the book, i mean, let's assume that the allegations are true. she has an obligation.
she claims that bill cosby slipped her a mickey in her cappuccino back in the 1980s. well, actually, camille, his wife was there. debora, beverly's manager will come out and testify on behalf of cosby. yeah, there are problems with the case. but she has an absolute right to break it. >> so do you think -- >> go ahead. >> everyone has a right to buy an index number and bring a lawsuit. but the point is, this whole thing is absolutely bizarre and absurd. do you know what you had for dinner 2 1/2 weeks ago on a tuesday night? >> but if someone sexually harassed you, that's a big difference. >> events that happened multiple times. they kept going back to him. it's so ridiculous. everything should be dismissed. >> avery, last word on this. who comes out ahead? or does this just linger on indefinitely? >> i think everybody's a loser in the beverly johnson bill
cosby case. he will get nothing out of it. she's not going to get vindication. maybe it will help the book, i don't think so. but at the end of the day, it's a lose/lose for both parties. >> avery friedman, richard herman, thank you for your advice on this rather peculiar story. thank you. >> happy holidays and happy new year. >> to you, too. >> happy new year. >> and coming up, presidential politics. whether democrats or republican, something nearly all of the candidates have in common, outside donors. but who's putting the big money behind them and to what end? cnn investigates, next. when cigarette cravings hit, all i can think about is getting relief. only nicorette mini has a patented fast-dissolving formula. it starts to relieve sudden cravings fast. i never know when i'll need relief. that's why i only choose nicorette mini. players celebrate with rings, teams celebrate with trophies, and now you can celebrate with the bud light super bowl series.
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at the lexus december to remember sales event. this is the pursuit of perfection. the iowa caucuses are just weeks away, and political adds are in full swing, attacking some candidates and supporting others. many are paid for by big money donors to political action committees. cnn investigations correspondent chris frates joins me with a look at who's giving their money and why.
chris, fill us in. >> reporter: yeah, so, deb, big-money donors are increasingly giving to so-called super pacs, which can take unlimited amounts of money. and it's rare for super pac donors and politicians to speak about their relationships and what that money actually brings them. but we recently talked to a top gop money man who's given millions to politicians and to the presidential candidate who's benefiting. >> hi, i'm foster friess. >> reporter: foster friess has written his biggest checks to support his good friend, rick santorum. in 2012, the retired billionaire money manager threw santorum a lifeline, when he gave the super pac supporting him more than $2 million. >> i think he's a champion little guy. he's very presidential. >> reporter: in his heyday, he was making $10 million a month. he explains why he donates. >> i get a sense of satisfaction that i'm continuing the process that created my success. >> reporter: friess prefers to
give to super pacs, which can take as much cash as he's willing to give, instead of giving directly to campaigns where the limit is $5,400. >> when the super pac came along, i realized that i could just write a check. it's a lot more effortless and that seemed to work. >> reporter: santorum doesn't believe that friess is trying to buy influence. >> if he was in it for access, he wouldn't be supporting one guy four years ago who was at 1% in the polls. >> reporter: veteran gop fund-raiser henry barber says passionate donors like friess are outgunned by those seeking influence. >> there are a lot more that are giving because they believe in something. they far outnumber the people who give for access. yet the people who give for access give much larger dollars. >> reporter: according to a nonpartisan watchdog, so far this election cycle, super pacs have raised $315 million and spent almost 100 million. much of it on ads. but those ads still leave
republican candidates far behind the front-runner, who hasn't spent a dime on television advertising. >> super pacs are a disaster. they're a scam. they cause dishonesty and you better get rid of them, because they are causing a lot of bad decisions to be made by some very good people. and i'm not blaming these folks, but i guess i could. >> reporter: some experts say big check writers are driven by a mix of business and ego. >> they're giving to people they think will support what they want. and they're giving to people that they know will answer their phone calls if they win. and they know will give them access and listen very carefully to what they want on a public agenda. >> reporter: so those gop presidential political ads you see on tv, more than 80% of them so far have been paid for by super pacs, that's according to a recent report from a nonpartisan watchdog group. but how successful those ads are still is an open question, with many candidates supported by super pacs doing poorly in the polls. for example. the report says jeb bush and the
super pac backing his campaign has spent almost $26 million airing 15,000 ads. yet bush is polling in the single digits. though with the first contest just over a month away, now is the time that money could be a game changer for many of those candidates, deb. >> and chris, is it agenda or is it also position? have there been positions that are given to big donors, for example, an ambassadorship? >> reporter: well, certainly, when you have big donors, they are often rewarded with ambassadorships. but you have kind of two different kind of donors, by and large. you have folks who give for fashion, because they really believe in a candidate, believe in a cause. and folks who are looking for more access and they want to get their calls returned if that person would be elected. a couple of different ways they're rewarded there, and a couple deferent things they're looking for, deb. >> all right. chris frates, great piece. thanks so much in washington. we appreciate it. and the headlines in 2015 dominated by international stories.
amazing stories across the globe. from the daring prison escape of kingpin joaquin "el chapo" guzman to raging wars in syria and iraq and the raising of the american flag in cuban. in our top ten of stories in 2015, anderson cooper looks back at some of the top ten stories. >> a shocking prison escape in the mexican jail cell of whjoaqn "el chapo" guzman. he disappears into a shower cell and then disappears into this. >> a lot of debris down here. >> reporter: el chapo remains at large and the question still lingers, who helped him escape. and cuba and america back on speaking terms and americans boarding planes bound for havana thanks to a momentous thawing of
relations between the two countries. >> a year ago, it might have seemed impossible that the united states would be raising our flag over the embassy in havana. >> reporter: number eight, a massive shake shifted nepal's capital kathmandu 10 feet in 30 seconds, triggering an avalanche of mt. everest. days of aftershocks followed. more than 8,000 people died. very few stories were more divisive than number seven on our list. >> relations between the united states and iran are poised to enter a new era after decades of hostility. >> reporter: in the historic agreement to stop iran from developing nuclear weapons. some hailing it as a major victory for diplomacy. >> there's a reason why 99% of the world thinks this is a good deal. because it's a good deal. >> reporter: others calling it a deal with the devil. >> this deal doesn't make peace more likely, it makes war more likely. >> reporter: powerful words from the leader of israel. even more powerful, this moment on the floor of the united states states. 44 seconds of uncomfortable
silence. >> at number six, the bloody war rages in syria and iran, sprawling mess and a dangerous proxy war. the u.s.-led coalition air strikes pound isis targets in syria. russia says it's bombing isis targets as well. >> the russians are not attacking isis. they are conducting strikes in areas where there are anti-regime militias. those strikes will bolster bashar al assad. >> reporter: on the sidelines, turkey fiercely protecting its borders. >> reporter: turkey shooting down a russian war plane. >> a russian war plane crashed in the mountains of syria near the turkish border. >> the russians are understandably absolutely furious. >> president putin speaking out, calling the incident a, quote, stab in the back. >> this year, the world watched the biggest escalation of the american military campaign against isis to date. >> i will not put american boots on the ground. >> the u.s. stepping up its
presence on the ground. >> president obama putting combat boots on the ground in iraq and syria. >> for the first time, officially spending special forces into syria to fight isis. >> rounding out the top five, a rock star welcome for pope francis as he toured the united states in cuba. the masses before millions. >> this man is playing extraordinarily well on the new york stage. >> reverend, i want to listen in a little bit. the crowds are so excited. >> reporter: off the cuff moments and tiny glimpses into the life of the catholic leader so many have come to love. >> god bless america. >> reporter: he then went to a war zone, the central africa republic, part of the pontiff's historic visit to africa. number four, a city under siege. >> a manhunt is underway for the gunman that perpetrated this heinous attack on the offices of "charlie hebdo". >> the editor of the newspaper is among the dead, as well as one of the cartoonists who was responsible for the very famous mohammad cartoon that got the newspaper in trouble back in
2011. >> two islamist terrorist brothers forced their way into the offices of the satirical magazine, "charlie hebdo," opening fire and killing 12. >> we walked in and it was obviously a very disturbing scene to see bodies on the floor. some people were crying out for help. >> reporter: chaos filling into the streets. muslim police officers executed on camera. a police car tries to flee as the manhunt for the killers intensifies. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula claims responsibility. meantime, shoppers at a jewish grocery store hold hostage, not by the brothers, but a man working apparently in concert with them. after three intense days, 17 innocent people are dead and three terrorists killed. number three, a germanwings commercial airlines crashes, killing everyone onboard. the co-pilot of now considered a culpri culprit. andreas lubitz locks the pilot out of the cockpit and steers the plane into the ground.
>> the screams are in the last instants, and i'd remind you that death was instantaneous. >> lubitz flying this plane into the side of a mountain, obliterating it and everyone onboard. >> cnn learning lubitz re-programmed the plane's auto pilot in flight, changing the setting from cruising altitude, 38,000 feet, to just 100 feet. a premeditated plan, condemning everyone on board. >> senseless killings sparking a question that sparked fear around the world. can you trust the person piloting your plane? >> and number two, 2 million syrians run for their lives. a refugee crisis on a scale not seen since world war ii. >> running from their lives, syrian refugees crossing the border by the thousands, trying to escape the war and violence. >> reporter: syria's president bashar al assad drops barrel bombs on his own people and isis terrorists carve a bloody path through the country. terrified syrians flee. >> hey, hey! >> reporter: they've fired more tear gas, so people are sort of
panicking. >> reporter: at borders across europe, men, women, and children are pushed back. tens of thousands more with nothing but the clothes on their back, desperately cram into boats, destined for unknown shores. some would never make it. >> the photos are very disturbing. >> a 2-year-old was found facedown on a turkish beach. he drowned while crossing the mediterranean with his family. >> reporter: this picture of a toddler's lifeless body seen across the globe, becoming the symbolic issue of the human suffering. but still, in many countries, fear of the unknown prevails. >> we have some breaking news for you out of paris, france. >> reporter: and number one, isis terrorizes the world, spreading the brutality bond the borders of iraq and syria. an explosion rings out, outside a soccer stadium in paris, the first of three suicide bombers to detonate outside the stadium, marking the start of a series of terror attacks, the likes of which paris has never seen. >> the whole time, he said,
don't run, just stay. and those words saved my life, because the people who ran were shot. >> reporter: people flee for their lives. a pregnant woman so terrified she hangs from the side of a building to escape the gunfire. at several restaurants, innocent diners were slayed as terrorists unload round after round. >> we are at war. a war against terrorism. >> reporter: the unimaginable slaughter of 130 people in paris happening just 24 hours after this. in beirut and lebanon, a pair of suicide bombs, the blasts so powerful, as the smoke clears, 34 people are left dead. isis' ability to incite terror and fear across the world made clear when they do the unimaginable. >> new u.s. intelligence suggests the plane was most likely brought down by a bomb. >> reporter: isis is holding this photo up as proof that it downed metro jet 1968. >> isis says they detonated it in mid-air. and as you know, 224 people were killed. >> then an attack on u.s. soil.
>> husband and wife drop off their little baby, drive to a holiday party, and kill 14 people. >> reporter: a pair radicalized and at least partly inspired by isis carry out the deadliest terror attack in the united states since 9/11, leaving many to wonder and worry where isis could strike next. >> and we'll be right back. ♪ (vo) some call it giving back. we call it share the love. during our share the love event, get a new subaru, and we'll donate $250 to those in need. bringing our total donations to over sixty-five million dollars. and bringing love where it's needed most. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. when i went on to ancestry, i just put in the name yes, we are twins. of my parents and my grandparents. i was getting all these leaves
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and this past april, we saw violent riots in west baltimore after freddie gray died while in police custody. cnn's victor blackwell grew up in that same neighborhood, and while reporting on the riots, he met three teens who shared their stories about the tough choices that they face every day. because of victor's reporting, those three high schoolers got the surprise of a lifetime. >> our future brightened. i seen the sunshine. >> reporter: for the first time in a long time, these boys are excited about what's next. >> i just hit a whole 180. i turned my whole thing around. >> in my west baltimore neighborhood, surprises rarely bring good news and most happy
endings are reserved for fairy tales. >> this opportunity don't come to just anybody. >> you'll hear more about that opportunity later, because to truly appreciate it, you first have to listen to their stories. >> my name is terry brown. >> how old are you? >> 17. >> reporter: stories they first shared cnn in april when the world's attention was focused on the rioting and looting just blocks from their home. crowds clashed with police and buildings were burned in the wake of the death of freddie gr gray, a west baltimore man who died while in police custody. at the time, these three 17-year-olds were students at carver vocational technical high school and understood the realities gray and many others have faced. >> going, you get certified in a certain trade, but once you get out of high school, you have no exposure, no experience. that's freddie gray. he didn't have a job as a carpenter. he went to college too.
alumni. certified in carpentry. where was his job? >> reporter: and here, to make money, some sell drugs. >> it's easy to just go out there and start selling drugs. it's easy. it's the easy route. >> my father the only one working in the house. my father can't do it by himself. so the first thing came to mind, hit the block, do a little something. but got to stay away from that. >> reporter: all of the boys have stayed away from the drug game, in part because some of their friends have been killed playing it. >> the whole baltimore city is like, what they call it, murder lane. murder lane. >> body or murder lane. >> say that again? >> body morgue murder lane. >> and the number of homicides is surging. in the three months since that interview, there have been at least 116 homicides in baltimore. a total not seen in at least 45 years, according to the baltimore sun. >> do you want to leave west baltimore?
>> yes. >> of course. >> yes. >> what about you? >> i mean, i dream about leaving. not going to say it's a reality for me right now. >> how do you have hope? >> i have hope, like, you can have as much hope as you want. it doesn't mean it's going to change. >> reporter: that initial interview was april 30th. the school year here was nearly over. jahmell was a junior, but terry and kyriq were weeks from graduation. and they knew once they crossed that stage waiting for them were seemingly unbeatable odds and few opportunities. i know, because i grew up here in west baltimore. that's unfortunately the case for too many young black man here. but some get their chance at success. and that's where our story and their lives take a wholly unexpected and extraordinary turn. >> it was, to me, defiivinely ordered that i would see your show and be touched and moved by
the conversation in your interview. >> reporter: dr. edison jackson is president of bethune cookman university in florida. >> these young men have potential, but not opportunity. and the comment that struck me was, "there's no way out." i mean, they felt trapped. and so, question, jackson, what are you going to do? >> reporter: well, terry and kyriq graduated the may. the next day, jackson flew all three boys to daytona beach for what they expected to be a meeting. he offered each to admission to bethune university and any costs not covered by federal grants would be paid by the university. a free education. >> i didn't even know what to say. like, he hit me with that. and i was just like -- i couldn't talk. >> it was just like, surreal. it didn't feel real. like, i was going to wake up at any second.
>> it was an easy thing for me. i mean, i didn't have to think about it. i saw promise. i saw opportunity. and any young man that we touch and help to become successful is one less young man that becomes a statistic. >> terry and kyriq are now roommates, members of the freshman class of 2019. jahmell will enroll next fall. they've been given mentors and academic coaches and an order from president jackson, simply stated. >> don't you mess up. this is a golden opportunity for you. >> an opportunity, albeit daunting, these boys acknowledge is their chance to escape the drug trade and the gun violence and take a shot at a better life. >> it's real now. you've moved out of west baltimore? >> yes, yes, we did. >> how do you feel about your
futures? >> i've been given an opportunity to do what i'm supposed to do and i'm going to do my best. >> and cnn's victor blackwell recently caught up with kyriq and terry. both of them have completed their first semester and they're looking forward to their second semester. terry will major in early education. kyriq is leaning towards a psychology major. and the next hour of "cnn newsroom" begins right now. hello, everyone. thanks for joining me on this holiday weekend. i'm deborah feyerick in for fredricka whitfield. we begin this hour with breaking news. police in vienna, austria, say they've been named by an unnamed intelligence service of a possible terror attack on some european cities between christmas and new year's. tom fuentes joins me now. this was a fairly nonspecific threat, except to say it could involve guns or explosives. what does it tell you