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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  December 20, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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our viewers in the united states and all around the world. we're live in los angeles. >> i'm max foster live in berlin with the very latest on the investigation on the terror attack in the space behind me, the truck has been taken away, but an intense very much underway for the person who drove a truck into the crowded market. police arrested a man but later released him for lack of evidence. 12 people were killed. dozens more injured.
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angela merkel attended a memorial here. new york stepped up their security at markets and israel also. now, germany remains on alert as they search for a suspect. fred pleitgen as the most. >> a man hunt underway across germany. isis now claiming to have inspired the attack. the suspect or suspects still at large and armed and considered dangerous as investigators release the man arrested after the attack. captured on cell phone video, the immediate aftermath of the attack that left 12 dead and more than 45 injured. a truck with polish registration and loaded with 25 tons of steel plowing into the outdoor market dragging some pedestrians 50 to
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80 meters stopping only after knocking over a christmas tree. >> the truck jumped the curb and barrelled through the crowd. >> inside the truck the body of the truck's polish driver. berlin police say he was not at the wheel during the attack and appeared to have been shot to death. the truck company's owner said his driver appeared to have fought with the attackers. within an hour of the attack police arrested a 23-year-old pakistani immigrant. and a somber chancellor angela merkel addressing a stunned nation seized on the suspect's nationality. >> we must assume that this was a terrorist attack. i know that would be especially hard to bear for us if it was to be confirmed that a person committed this act and was given protection and asylum in germany. this would be especially disgusting. >> reporter: but police released the pakistani man if he wasn't
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linked to the truck or scene. merkel has faced a political backlash after accepting refugees. now investigators in r in a race against time fearful whoever is on the run could launch another attack. fred pleitgen, cnn, berlin. our correspondent for the financial times joins us via skype. there must be a massive operation going on in berlin and around germany. and possibly poland as well right now. but we're not hearing anything from the security services. >> no. there were interviews with police officials yesterday on german television who were saying basically that they're confident they can make breakthroughs in this investigation because there is a lot of evidence. they have loads of witness statements and fingerprints from inside the cab. they have dna evidence from the truck. they also have evidence from the
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gps system of the vehicle as it was traveling between poland and germany, so there is a lot to work with. so they're pretty confident they can make progress on this investigation, but it could be also like finding a needle in a hay stack. the guy just slipped away, and obviously all the attention was focussed on the pakistani man arrested in the immediate aftermath, and now he's been released. >> reporter: and so they're on the back foot, because they're interviewing him for hours and hours, they thought they had their man. it's pretty clear from angela merkel's press conference as well that the information she had seemed to indicate that this pakistani asylum seeker was the man as well, and they were sitting there while the guy got away. there will be operational reasons for them being quiet, but perhaps they've learned
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about saying too much too soon yesterday. >> exactly. i think there was a lot of embarrassment yesterday, i think, in the press concerns of the various security officials and police officers as they sort of really admitted that they got the wrong man. so i think they are on the back foot at the moment. one of the problems that they're encounters now is the fact that there's so little video surveillance in berlin, so there's not too much footage to work with. germany is not like britain where there are cameras almost on every street corner. germany just lacks that kind of tradition. there's been a lot of calls to toughen the rules on video monitoring since the terrorist attacks that we saw over the summer, and those calls will now, i think, intensify, and of course we'll see a bit of a political backlash now against
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angela merkel and her refugee policy. i think that's now going to creep back to the top of the political agenda after being in abeyance for a few months and she'll have a lot of explaining to do. but it's early days. we don't know if this was carried out by a refugee or something or perhaps it was someone who was born and grew up in germany. who knows? at this stage it's too early to tell. >> reporter: well, isis claimed responsibility, but they provided no evidence, have they, that this was a soldier of oh isis or directed by isis or just inspired by isis. so they could just be being opportunistic on this one. >> right, and there's no so far video confession. normally when isis claim responsibility, they also release a video that shows the terrorist admitting it and
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making a final video sort of appeal, but we haven't seen anything like that yet. as you say, this could be entirely opportunistic. after nice we saw it's wrong to jump to conclusions about these isis statements. so we'll see how the investigation goes. but so far officials are not ascribing too much importance to that statement from isis. >> reporter: the other thing that we often have when -- it's one of those military style operations is the security services across europe go into highly alert. we don't have that. it feels more low key than we've had before. >> yes. that's definitely the case. although, it does appear that intelligence services in germany and elsewhere in europe are cooperating on this.
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german media reports suggest there's a high degree of cooperation on this particular case. i suppose because germany's borders are open, and the perpetrator could have slipped across into one of the neighboring countries, so germany is definitely going to be needing help and cooperation from the sort of intelligence services in other parts of the eu. >> okay. thank you very much for joining us. we're following every step of this. we're just hoping that the fact that the security services are being very quiet at this moment and not giving us information is because they're onto something and they're being quiet for operational reasons. okay. max, thank you. max foster, we'll catch up with you later this hour. joining me is steve, a retired
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special agent with the fbi. steve, thank you for coming in. >> thank you for having me. >> detaining and then releasing the wrong man is a pretty big slip up. how big of an impact will this have on the man hunt? what did not get done when they thought they had the right guy? >> think of evidence like sushi. it doesn't last very long. you don't want four hour old evidence. so while they were interrogating this person, evidence was spoiling. evidence was going away. that cost them. >> if you're looking for this driver right now, where do you focus the search? could he be in germany or left the country? >> all the options are on the table. this is what's concerning for me as an investigator. i wouldn't know really where to center it. but you know that this driver was polish, and that he was dead inside the truck. so you might be looking clear
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over to poland, and what you're going to want to do is follow that truck. there's going to be cameras. there's going to be stops it would have to make for regulatory reasons. you're going to look at the cameras and see who was driving it. at one point you're going to say he was driving either at the german boarder or he wasn't. you'll have to find him somewhere between poland and germany. >> they say they're going through the tv footage and asking for anyone with cell phone video from the scene to come forward. it has been effective in the past. they did this in boston after the boston bombing. isn't that how they identified the tsarnaev brothers? >> i believe so. i've done this where you get the film. it's painstaking. you may have for every street corner, you might have ten cameras on it. so to look at an hour is going to take ten hours because you have to look tat each one.
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it takes forever to do that. >> in the meantime would you suspect the driver of the truck, would we have gone to ground or have a support network in germany? there's also suspicious he may not be around. >> my hurcnch, and it's only a hunch -- >> that's why we have you here. >> my hunch is this isn't one person. one person gets their own truck or car. several people would be needed to overpower a driver, stop him somewhere, find a way to get it, and get it on the first time, because we don't hear any other drivers saying somebody tried to hijack me. they got it the first time. i'm guessing there are several people involved in this, and whatever country you see this happening in, where the truck was taken over, i would start looking there. that's where your cell at least most likely is.
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>> let's get to the claim of responsibility or inspiration by isis. is it possible to know if it's just an opportunistic claim? they haven't put forward any evidence. >> they don't have any evidence. isis, whenever there's an attack, isis is watching cnn. they're trying to figure out did somebody do that in your claim. they're going to see what they've done in that area, see what kind of information they pushed out. lately they've been pushing out information on truck attacks. they looked at it. they probably are saying on the basis of everything we know, this was probably us. or people doing this in our name. therefore, we're going to consider it inspired by us. >> thank you for talking with us. 12 minutes past 11:00 on the west coast. time for a break. when we come back, we'll learn more about the police officer who assassinated
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a huge fireworks market has been reduced to rubble.
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a series of explosions tore through the crowded market on tuesday causing a dash as people ran for their lives. cnn reports. >> reporter: the video images of the fireworks explosion in the town in mexico north of mexico city are staggering and horrifying to watch. the video images showing the area where these explosions and a series of explosions went on and on, nearly three dozen people killed. more than 70 others injured. the governor of the state where this town is tells cnn that three young children will be transported by plane to a hospital in texas where they will be treated for their extreme burns. so you can imagine many of the other victims dealing with these same types of wounds as well. the burns could be a serious issue for many of the victims and survivors of the explosions. but the video images really capturing the drama and the
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intensity of the moment as people rushed to the scene to try to help what they could. video images from the ground showing the scorched fireworks stand. this is a town that is basically known as the fireworks capital of mexico. this is a huge industry in this town, and extremely popular, especially this time of year heading into the holiday season and new year, and that sort of thing. it would be common for thousands of people to be walking through this open air market to see the elaborate fireworks displays that were on display. themembers.
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>> reare learning more about another attack. that's the as is nation to the russian ambassador to turkey. his body arrived in moscow. seven people have been detained for questioning including the shooter's relatives and friends. russian investigators are in turkey, and they say books on al qaeda for found in the man's home. they say the group behind the
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assassination. gullen is condemning the attack. this report contains graphic images. >> i heard shots, very loud. >> bam, bam, bam. i said, look at this. horrible. so the people standing in front, they disappeared. they show them on the floor. and then they try, they were trying to hide them to take shelter. >> were you afraid? >> i was shocked. but i fled. but not much. not panicked. >> but you're not afraid. you have a camera. he has a gun. >> well, i'm very sensible in
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difficult situations. i'm calm. i have a responsibility to record it, this event, and i'm better to watch lying on the ground, not moving, and the guy was making a political motivated speech. but i couldn't understand. i think maybe he's speaking in russian. people were screaming, crying, i could not hear well. then he turned around the buddy, and from very close range, he shot one more time. >> on the ambassador? >> yes. >> just to make sure he was dead? >> i think so. when i learned he was killed, i was really shocked. why they killed him, he did nothing. take anybody hostage. he was alone. they have to capture him alive. i don't know. i don't know what is reason.
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>> an inkebl mome-- incredible moment there. despite the ambassador's assassination, the three countries with the most influence in syria met in moscow. the morn ministers from russia, turkey and iran said they will work on finding a solution to the syrian war. they pledged to have a wider cease fire. russia's foreign minister says the plans will be most effective in dealing with the crisis. >> translator: i am sure that as we reach success in fighting terrorism as we start the political process between syrians with our help as we reach success at these directions, we will be able to formulate our common approach which will be based on declared goals. to win over terrorism, to
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restore territorial sovereignty, independence, we are united in this. >> turkey says evacuations from aleppo will be completed by wednesday. earlier i spoke with our cnn contributor jill about the foreign minister's meeting over in moscow. >> when it comes to russia it's solidifying their role in the middle east. this is very interesting, because you note who is not at that meeting, and that's the united states. it's iran, russia, and turkey, not the united states. and that's very significant. they're moving forward. they are putting up a united front, that is turkey and russia, and they're making it, the russians are making it very clear they don't feel they need the americans or maybe even want the americans and are just moving forward on some type of
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resolution. what that will be is not clear, but you're right, max. i mean, diplomacy is moving fast. and the russians solidifying whatever means they have. >> and how are the americans viewing this? is it a move away from or distancing, perhaps, from the united states, or moving more closely with a longer term relationship with russia? >> you know, there's not a lot, i think that the united states can do right now. president obama has made it clear, and he only has now a few weeks left in office. that he is not going to take any type of major action in syria and they have a new president coming in who has -- this is mr. trump, who made clear he feels he can possibly work with russia and possibly even work with president bashar al assad, which seems unthinkable when you talk about unthinkable things, that certainly is, that the united states or of this president
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incoming would think of working with bashar al assad to fight terrorism, and that's the way donald trump looks at it, very black and white. he feels that the russians have taken the fight to the terrorists. he wants to fight with the terrorists and defeat them. and that means that he can align himself with russia. when he comes into office, the details of that, how that would be done and precisely what would happen, would russia will leading the like turkey to have closer relationships? >> well, yes, although i think
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that this thing between turkey and russia really was in train before donald trump entered the picture, but certainly if the person president is friendly with russia, then it gives encouragement to other countries who see which way the wind is blowing to move in that direction. i think you might see it most significantly on the issue of sanctions, economic sanctions against russia which were introduced by the united states and by europe. as a reaction to what russia did in ukraine and also the annexation of crimea, and so if, let's say, donald trump decided not to uphold the sanctions, to weaken them or even get rid of them, that would give free reign to any other country, especially some of the europeans who wouldn't mind doing that, to simply go along. so his relationship with russia
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could be kind of a bellwether for other nations. this is not something traditional american foreign policy would necessarily accept, that this is the way with mr. trump. >> jill, following the attack in turkey. still ahead here, the german chancellor horrified and saddened by monday's berlin attack. now, her fellow citizens are trying to come to terms with the deadly rampage. plus u.s. president obama moves to cement his legacy ahead of the trump administration. ♪ if you've got the time welcome to the high life. ♪ we've got the beer ♪ miller beer
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christmas market. and police arresting a man near the scene but he was later released for lack of evidence. an official says there could be more than one suspect at large. 12 people were killed and dozens injured. thousands of people attended a memorial for the victims of the church, isis claiming it inspired the attack. shocked germans still trying to make sense of the attack. cnn has more on that. >> reporter: at the scene of unimaginable horror, a 25-ton tool of terror is drifing away leaving behind unanswered questions and a country in shock. nearby, a makeshift memorial grows by the hour. young and old, people of all faiths gather to mourn. >> all over 2016 we heard of all the terrible attacks that happened all over the world, and yesterday was a black day for human history. it's depressing. >> and people go here to have a
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good evening, to have -- they drink wine and eat something and stay here and with friends or family. and then they're dead. after five minutes. it's shocking, it is. >> what remains of the christmas market is quiet. children's rides standstill and there's a heavy police presence. >> reporter: normally this christmas market would be full of shoppers drinking wine and looking for gifts but these places are closed as authorities look for answers. a show of solidarity. at the church people gather to honor the dead as officials prepare the country for the worst. >> i know it would be especially hard to bear for us if it was confirmed that a person committed this act and was given protection and asylum in germany. >> reporter: german officials
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set free the asylum seeker they first arrested. the chancellor visited the church tuesday. it's christmas week and the country has been shaken. and with it, her political future. cnn, berlin. we don't know whether it was an asylum seeker. we don't know anything about this attacker. isis claimed responsibility but no evidence provided by them as to who their soldier is in their words, and nothing from the security services either. presumably because they're looking at it as an operational matter and they don't want to give anything away about their investigations. >> all we know is he is out there and on the run and would be dangerous and may not be alone. a spokesperson says the president-elect is closely monitoring the aftermath in germany and turkey but will not say if he's receiving regular
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updates. mike pence is taking the daily briefings. and the spokesperson says trump will -- >> i think it will be swift and fierce. mr. trump understands the threat that radical islamic terrorism imposes to our nations and friends and neighbors around the globe. we have to be able to call it what it is and root it out by the bottom. we cannot be politically prot t correct. we have to understand the threat we attack and attack it straight on. >> a couple held hostage by the taliban by 2012 begging president obama and donald trump to help free them. the woman is american. her husband is canadian. a new proof of life video which the taliban says it released shows them with their two young children. they say their captors will retailuar
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retaliate against them. >> president obama seems he's spending the final days in office trying to defend as much of his legacy as possible. while the incoming president has promised to dismantle as much as he can. cnn athena jones has more. >> reporter: president obama moving to prove his legacy before he hands the presidency to donald trump. tonight new measures to bar offshore drilling indefinitely in parts of the arctic and atlantic oceans. >> i share people's concerns about offshore drilling. i remember the bp spill in the gulf of mexico too well. >> reporter: it's an issue front and center for the president who sees climate change as the greatest threat facing future generations and believes u.s. and the world must do more to combat it. >> we're not moving fast enough, and we have to keep going for the sake of our kids. america has to lead the world in
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transitioning to a clean energy economy. >> reporter: his last minute move is based on a 64-year-old law, not an easily reversible executive law. a the incoming president vowed to pull out of the climate accords and increase energy production. >> every energy dollar that isn't harvested here in america is harvested instead in a foreign country. often foreign countries, not very friendly to us. >> reporter: and the president isn't just taking action on the environment. it's also preparing to transfer an additional 17 or 18 inmates from the u.s. prison at guantanamo bay to other countries according to new york times. slashing the remaining population there by nearly a third. though stopping short of fulfilling his 2008 campaign promise to close the prison. >> it will be judged harshly by history, and i will continue to
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do all i can to remove the blot. >> president-elect promised to not only keep the prison open but to fill it up with bad dudes. obama also granting clemency to the most ever people in one day bringing the total number to a new record for any presidency. the white house signaling there are more acts of clemency to come. all part of a broader criminal justice reform effort. these final moves aimed at solidifying his agenda. >> they're issues he's talked about and attempts to get action on, but all three are issues where he's been extraordinarily frus ratrated and unable to mov congress. >> reporter: the president running through the tape and presenting a series of direct challenges to trump. our thanks to athena jones for that report. we'll take a short break. when we come back, gunman behind
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the deadliest shooting in history. it's going to court.
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a families of the victims of the orlando nightclub are suing for facebook and twitter and social media for providing material to isis. let's look at the legal holes first here. the communications decency act shields computer services for liability for content. how does it work and that's a pretty big hill to climb in this case. >> i would like to say it's
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insurmountab insurmountable. when i heard about a lawsuit being filed as a result of the orlando nightclub shooting, i thought these families were going to be suing maybe law enforcement for not going in more quickly to get -- to shoot at omar mateen or even the gunshot owner or even possibly the fbi for not investigating. when i heard they were suing internet companies, i thought of one thing, the titanic. these cases are sinking fast. >> this law essentially gives a free pass to social media sites. >> there's a federal law from 1996, basically it says if somebody else posts information on the internet, the internet provider is not responsible for that data. and they cannot be sued and be held civilly liable for that. one exception is where there's federal criminal activity, and i think that's what these families are trying to do.
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they're trying to say that the internet providers were materially supporting isis. >> and with that, this is the twist. the lawsuit is arguing by matching user content with targeted advertising, somehow the social media site is providing its own novel content. so explain the technical aspect. >> i have to say all our hearts go out to the families. we all feel that way, but that doesn't mean a lawsuit is going to solve that problem. and i think what google, they're taking the lead on this. they're saying, look, if you are looking for isis content, maybe you're somebody who might get recruited, there's advertising that comes up that takes you to places that you can get help or at least even, for example, see content of what happens when isis attacks such as what happened in the berlin christmas incident just two days ago, or yesterday. google is doing that. twitter is actually doing a lot of things, and the companies are getting together and saying we're going to ban forces and try to solve this problem not by
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ourselves but together and working with law enforcement. >> but the families are saying the searches, be it on google or facebook is what is essentially bringing all oh of this together which seems to be a novel legal approach. >> the only way i think these families can prevail in this case is if they've got some information, for example, that twitter, or facebook was aware of some really nefarious postings that might incite terrorism and they didn't do anything to remove those, because when you're possibly facilitating this. you're on notice. bear in mind, these internet providers don't have a duty to canvas the internet to find the postings. >> this is also alleging the sites don't do enough to shut down. when an account was shut down it started at another one. when it was shut down it got another one. this naming convention adding one digit to a new account after
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the last one is suspended does not seem as if it would require artificial intelligence to spot. each of those accounts also used the same user photograph. would it be easy for twitter to stop the accounts from popping up. >> first, let's give credit to twitter for deleting 350,000 account in the first place knowing these people will try to come back and do a cat and mouse ga game. with that said, there's a new initiative where they're going to be fingerprinting parts of an isis account and using it by sharing it among themselves in a database and saying there's a new account coming up. it has the fingerprints of these other accounts, and i think you're going to see those accounts disappearing. >> there's no -- is there a legal responsibility for these companies not to just mow the seeds but pull the roots?
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>> if they're notified of some of the accounts, they have a due toy remove them the accounts, but i think the point i'm troubled with here is is this really the cause of a guy like omar mateen going into the a club and shooting up people. people in the united states need to pay attention to red flags. he got a gun where he shouldn't have gotten a gun. >> but just because omar mateen may have seen these videos online, it doesn't mean testifies influenced by it. >> not at all. he could be talking to 10,000 other people in offsetings. a lot of times isis recruiters may target one individual and then immediately go into an app conversation, a cell phone conversations, other things. so this is one of those where making the causal connection is never going to happen, and at the end of the day, what i think the world needs to know is you got lawyers here who are filing
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lawsuits giving false hope to families who have already been tragically hurt, and now they're going to say wait a minute, nothing is going to happen? that's because you went down the wrong hope. >> do you think it's false hope? >> i do. you have to prove causization. was this a substantial factor in cause omar mateen to do what he did? i doubt it. thank you. >> four officials linked to the water crisis in flint michigan are causing charges. they will face felony charges. it's alleged they misused millions of dollars in state funds and conspired to run the water treatment plant for more than a year when it wasn't safe for flint residents to drink. many residents later tested positive for lead poisoning blamed on the contaminated water. next up, a tennis player shaken but lucky to be alive after a knife attack. details ahead.
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two-time wimbledon champion has a long recovery ahead. petra kvitova was stabbed in her apartment. world sports anchor don riddel has details. >> reporter: by the sounds of it, petra kvitova is lucky to be alive. it remains to be seen how it will affect her ability to continue playing the game she loves. kvitova is one of the best players in the world. she is one of the most respected athletes on the tour and echoing
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the left-handed star of her com can patriot, navritlova. on tuesday morning she was eating breakfast at home when a man tricked his way into her apartment. according to a police spokesman the man was masquerading as a mains nance man. she suffered cuts to all five fingers on her left hand, sustaining damage to her tendons and nerves. her assailant fled the scene. she was able to update her condition on social media, saying in my attempt to defend myself i badly injured my left hand. the injury is severe and i will need to see specialists, but if you know anything about me i'm strong and i will fight this. thank you all again for your love and support. late on tuts day night, petra's management team released an update on her surgery, and the details frankly are pretty
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sobering it. reads, petra has undergone surgery for three hours and 45 minutes. considering the extent of the damage, the surgery went very well. doctors repaired damage to tendons in all five digits of the left hand as well as two nerves. petra will wear a cast on her hand for six to eight weeks and will be unable to bear weight for three months. the circumstances are very different, but it is hard not to think about monica selas right now. she was in the prime of her career when she was brutally knifed in the back during a match in germany. she recovered two years later and, in fact, she won another major title, but honestly she was never the sane of same again. today's news has sent shock waves through the tennis community. wrote on twitter just finding out about petra kvitova and the awful stabbing and injury to her hand, pulling for you, petra. just heard what happened, all of my thoughts with her today. so scary.
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one of the nicest people i know. for sure the tennis community and sports fans worldwide are sending their best wishes to petra kvitova. it remains to be seen how serious this is going to be, but we do wish her the very best. back to you. >> don riddel, thank you. tributes are being left around berlin to honor the victims of monday's attack. one of berlin's iconic landmarks lit up with the colors of the german flag. in one vigil dozens held hands to form a human chain, and at the scene of the attack mourners left flowers and candles at makeshift memorials. more from berlin with max foster in a few moments. i'm john vause. thank you for watching "cnn newsroom" live from los angeles. known for its perfect storm of tiny bubbles,
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and i am a senior public safety my namspecialist for pg&e. my job is to help educate our first responders on how to deal with natural gas and electric emergencies. everyday when we go to work
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we want everyone to work safely and come home safely. i live right here in auburn, i absolutely love this community. once i moved here i didn't want to live anywhere else. i love that people in this community are willing to come together to make a difference for other people's lives. together, we're building a better california.
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naf . manhunt, police in berlin search for the driver behind the deadly attack on a christmas market as isis says it played a role in the attack. a powerful explosion at one of mexico's most popular fireworks markets kills dozens of people and injuries many more, and barack obama uses an obscure law to permanently block drilling in parts of the atlantic oceans. hello and welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm max foster and this is "cnn newsroom." ♪ here in germany authorities are hunting for the person who drove a truck into a crowded christmas market. the man police arrested near the scene on monday night was later released for lack of evidence. isis claims a soldier of the islamic state carried out the attack. chancellor angela merkel joined thousands of

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