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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  December 21, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PST

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. 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 mourners honoring
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the 12 people killed here. police are urging berliners to be alert. >> translator: it is possible that there is still a dangerous perpetrator on the run, and of course people are worried. i believe people who live in this city should be vigilant. >> reporter: fred pleitgen now has details so far of the investigation. >> reporter: a massive manhunt under way across germany after the horrific truck attack on a christmas market in the heart of berlin. 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 cellphone 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,
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dragging some pedestrians 50 to 80 meters, stopping only after knocking over a christmas tree. >> the truck just jumped the curb and took a wrong turn and barrelled through the crowd. >> reporter: 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 says 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. >> translator: 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 who was given protection and asylum in germany. this would be especially disgusting. >> reporter: but police released
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the pakistani man after prosecutors could not link him to the truck or the scene. merkel is facing a political backlash after germany has taken in nearly 9,000 immigrants this year even as terror attacks are on the rise. now investigators are in a race against time, fearful that whoever is on the run could launch another attack. fred pleitgen, cnn, berlin. >> as mentioned, the attack has put chancellor merkel in a difficult position. political reporter joins me now. do you think she jumped the gun a bit yesterday when she was talking about this idea of an asylum speaker when that person was effectively released without charge, causing a bit of a storm when not necessary. >> i think she was trying to face criticism. let we forget, we have a big election year coming up.
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there are three regional elections leading up to the fall election. merkel is preparing herself for political opponents, particularly on the far right, to capitalize on this. >> which they were doing yesterday, saying that these people were merkel's dead. >> yes, that's true. i mean if you look at the far right anti-immigrant alternative for germany, afd, from what we know of their strategy for next year's campaign already ahead of this attack was really to stir provocations that will trigger nervous reactions in the other mainstream parties, and this is something we already could see yesterday. >> that political damage has almost been done because they're jumping on any moment like this and it will stick with people until they have new information about a new suspect? >> i guess you could say-so, and what merkel democrats are discussing now, what i hear from the parliaments and ministry, how can we react to this, how can we sort of make sure this is nopg happening. >> how is she managing to counter this narrative she
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hasn't put people at risk by allowing lots of refugees in. >> to be fair, she has tough ened up on security issues since the onset of the refugee cries canis here. i'm sure she is going to stress this. at the same time i am fairly certain her christian democrats will push for even further, tougher laws on security such as better information exchange between the police and the security apparatus, the secret services, or more video surveillance. >> in terms of how this affects the election that you were mentioning there, i don't think any of the polling suggests the far right are going to get into power, but they are being empowered through this process. they have a bigger say, aren't they, in the next government inevitably if the trends continue? >> yeah, well, i mean from everything that we see now in polls they're at around 12%, which means they will get above the 5% threshold necessary in germany to enter the parliament, which means they will enter the
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national government. this is the first time we have a far right party on the right of merkel's own conservative bloc that is on the german parliament. this will change the political landscape basically from bottom up. >> and if angela merkel is weakened, it weakens the europe union, doesn't it? she is de facto head of the european yennon, a great believer in it and it will be weakened in some way. >> i guess that's the fear of a lot of people. yes, i guess you could say-so. >> so we'll find out today, possibly some more details about the new suspect. if it does turn out to be a refugee is one thing, we've seen how that played out yesterday, but if we found out it is someone from a neighboring country or a german, how does that affect angela merkel's messaging do you think? >> well, think today is really going to be about discussing political consequences. yesterday was very much about the stark mourning after the tragedy of monday evening, but today it will be discussing
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political consequences. you know, i don't want to speculate on who could be that perpetrator who is apparently on the run now, but no matter what, her party, her own party and the political, sort of like scene in germany will remand for tougher security measures in germany and i think this will dominate the debate. >> there's lots of talk about cctv footage and whether or not it played in. actually berlin doesn't have that many cameras compared to other capitals around europe, so that might be something that comes out of this? >> yes, absolutely. we have already had a regional state interior manager from merkel's own christian democrats demanding more video surveillance. i am sure it will play a roll in the next days. >> thank you for your insight today. meanwhile, a huge explosion tore through a crowded fireworks market north of mexico city, shooting plumes of smoke in all directions and sending people running for their lives.
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with that blast on tuesday killed at least 29 people and injured dozens in the town of tultepec. this is the third time an explosion rocked the market since 2005, and cnn's ed lavandera has more details for you. >> reporter: the video images of the fireworks explosion in the town of tultepec, mexico, which is just north of mexico city, are simply staggering and horrifying to watch. the video images showing the area where these explosions and the 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 that many of the other victims still grappling and dealing with these same types of wounds as well.
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the burns could be a very serious issue for many of the victims and survivors of these explosions. but the video images really capturing the drama and the intensity of the moment as people rushed to the scene to try to help where they could. video images from the groundless showing the scorched fireworks stand. this is an open air market in the town of tultepec, in a town basically known as the fireworks capital of mexico. it is a huge industry in this town, an extremely popular especially this time of year enviabling to sboo the holiday season and new year's festivities and that sort of thing. it would be common for thousands of people to be walking through the open air market to see all of the elaborate fireworks display. the governor of the state tells cnn they are looking to determine whether or not this was deliberately set. the exact cause has not been determined as emergency crews are still trying to sift through the scene, looking for any kind of survivors and perhaps more victims of this -- these
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explosions that just seemed to go on and on. a horrifying scene in mexico. ed lavandera, cnn, dallas. now a russian team is now in the turkish capital investigating the assassination of russian's ambassador to turkey. the body of andrei karlov arrived in moscow on tuesday. a slem ceremony held to honor him. his widow and foreign members of russia and turkey were there in attendance as well. rob has more on the investigation into the 22-year-old attacker. nick also spoke with a photographer who captured the horrific shooting. we have to warn you, his report contains graphic images. >> new video shows an apparent stunning security lapse. ambassador andrei karlov's killer standing behind him, unchallenged for several minutes before he pulls his gun. >> the very first photo, the
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gunman was standing behind ambassador like he was part of ambassador's staff or somebody from the art gallery. but very calm. >> reporter: that's arj belichi, moments before the attack taking photos of the attacker. seconds later this, ambassador car can love dying on the floor. the gunman shouting defiantly, god is greatest and do not forget aleppo, do not forget syria, but chose not to shoot anyone else. >> people were screaming, crying. asking people to go away, people were -- they were rolling in panic. >> reporter: according to turkey's interior minister, the lone gunman is a 22-year-old police officer born in turkey. state-run news agency reported his parents, sister and other relatives and some close friends have been detained. and state media is also
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reporting that he had books on al qaeda and the group the government blames for last summer's coup at his apartment. russian investigators accompanied by turkish counterparts visiting the murder scene to check evidence for themselves. meanwhile, ambassador car love's body driven to ankara airport for a brief ceremony before repatriation to russia. his assassination unprecedented in recent turkish history. leaders of turkey and russia are uniting calling it a provocative terrorist attack. >> translator: i describe this attack on russia's embassy as an attack to turkey, turkey's state and nation. after the incident, during the talk with mr. putin we agreed it is provocation and there isn't any dispute. >> reporter: nevertheless, the kremlin spokesman says it is turkey's responsibility to protect russian diplomats and they want more guarantees going
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forward. even so, russia's foreign minister hosted his turkish and iranian counterparts in moscow to discuss the conflict in syria, unthinkable when russian/turkey relations were at boiling points, on opposite sides of the syrian civil war. for now it seems russia and turkey have their eyes far down the road as outrageous and regrettable as the assassination of the ambassador undoubtedly is, they are joining forces to freeze the conflict in syria and lock in gains for themselves. nic robertson, cnn, ankara, turkey. >> despite the assassination, the three countries met in moscow. they said they will try to find a political solution to the brutal syrian civil war. for that to happen, they pledged to first secure a wider ceasefire so that aid can be
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delivered. russia's foreign minister says their 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 definitely be based on declared goals. to win over terrorism, to restore territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence and unity of syria arab republic. we are united in that. >> a glimpse of hope meanwhile for thousands of syrians trying to save their lives. turkey says evacuations from aleppo could be completed sometime on wednesday. its ate been a painful week for those stranded in freezing temperatures and with almost no food. evacuations have been suspended multiple times this week. turkey now says around 37,000 people have been rescued so far.
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now, donald trump is being forced to confront some tough foreign policy changes. we'll see who is giving him advice on how to handle things. and a two-time wimbledon champ say she is lucky to be alive after a knife attack. just ahead details on doctor's efforts to save her ability to play. olidays at verizon, and the best deals are on the best network. with no surprise overages, you can use your data worry free and even carry over the data you don't use. and right now get four lines and 20 gigs for only $40 per line. you'll even get the iphone 7, the samsung galaxy s7, the pixel phone by google, or the motoz droid for only $10 per month. no trade-in required. hurry, these offers end soon. get the best deals and the best network, only on verizon. (ee-e-e-oh-mum-oh-weh) (hush my darling...)
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♪ the gate symbolic of course here in germany and there washed in the colors of the german flag in solidarity for the victims and families of those killed in the terror attack which struck just behind me. the truck has been taken away now, and there are big efforts being made to get the market back up and running again, try to get back to some sort of normalcy here in the city. just going -- just past 9:00 in the morning, people back at work, trying to be as normal as they can. the terror attack here in berlin has major u.s. cities stepping up security as well, especially at public places like malls and outdoor holiday events like the one behind me. police in new york are getting ready for new year's eve
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celebrations, and in washington donald trump's inauguration is just a month away. cnn justice correspondent evan peres explains what police are doing there to secure soft targets. >> reporter: critical response teams in new york, the new york police department as well as police departments here and around the country have been moved to these locations of these public markets, these festive christmas markets and other big public gathering places around the country. look, these are very hard places to secure. i took a walk around the christmas market, and i noticed there was more police, but i did -- but you didn't see any additional barricades. these places are located around transit points, in places where people are gathering for a reason, so they can atrack shoppers and so on. so it is really hard to secure them. we keep hearing from law enforcement, look, we have increased security, we want people to come and enjoy these places but keep an eye out for things that are unusual. well, donald trump's
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response to this week's attacks in germany and turkey is a telling sign of how he might handle at least a global crises. cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr has more on that. >> reporter: the quick detention of a suspect in the berlin christmas market attack had all the hallmarks of terrorism. soon after, donald trump issuing a statement blaming islamist terrorists, saying they're regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated. trump reacting to the assassination of the russian ambassador to turkey and an attack on a mosque in switzerland, tweeting, it is only getting worse, the civilized world must change thinking. >> mr. trump made it very, very clear he understands the threat that radical islamic terrorism poses to our nation and frankly to friends and neighbors around the globe, and we have to call it what it is and root it out. >> but hot spots facing trump may only grow, and there are
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questions if he is ready for it. trump spokesman says he's getting briefed by his, quote, national security team but will not say if he has agreed to start briefings from government intelligence officials. >> this is not the business world, and, you know, he is going to get that call at 3:00 in the morning with a crisis and he's going to have to act. he's the president of the united states. >> reporter: trump now getting the sense of what it means to deal with the taliban. on a disturbing new video an american woman and her canadian husband held hostage by the group since 2012 appear with their children, begging both trump and president obama to free them. some say as threats grow the president-elect needs to consider turning down his rhetoric because terrorists can appear to win with little effort. >> is fact is there's nothing the united states can do to prevent one guy from getting in
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one truck once a year and trying to kill people. >> reporter: and in another potential hot spot, china now returning that drone to the u.s. navy that it took out of the water several days ago. many analysts we're talking to say they believe china is still sending a message to donald trump that it will remain a player on the world stage and a power broker in the south china sea despite trump raising the prospect of changing the long-standing u.s. one-china policy. barbara starr, cnn, the pentagon. donald trump hitting back at bill clinton meanwhile after the ex president told a new york newspaper trump doesn't know much except how to get angry white men to vote for him. trump responded on tuesday tweeting, bill clinton stated that i called him after the election. wrong, he called me with a very nice congratulations. he doesn't know much. especially how to get people even with an unlimited budget
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out to vote in the vital swing states and more. they focused on the wrong states, he said. now, a two-time wimbledon champion has a long road to recovery ahead. petra kvitova was stabbed during a robbery in her own home. she underwent hours of surgery in her main playing hand, her left hand, on tuesday. world sport anchor don riddel has the details. >> reporter: by the sounds of it petra kvitova is lucky to be alive, but it remains to be seen how this 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 the left-handed style of her com patriot martina navratilova, she was the wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014. 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
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maintenance man. once inside he went on the attack. she suffered cuts to all five fingers on her left hand, also sustaining damage to her tendons and nerves. her assailant fled the scene. remarkably, she was able to update her condition on social media saying, in my attempt to defend myself i was badly injured on my left hand. i'm shaken but fortunate to be alive. 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. well, late on tuesday night petra's management team released an update on her surgery, and the details, frankly, are pretty 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
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for three months. the circumstances are very different, but it is hard not to think about monica celas right now. she was in the prime of her career when she was brutally knifed in the back during a match in germany, celas rekofrld two years later, and in fact she won another major title, but honestly she was never the same again. today's news really has sent shock waves through the tennis community. martina navratilova who kvitova idolizes wrote on twitter, just finding out about petra kvitova and the awful stabbing and injury to her hand. pulling for you, petra. caroline wazniacki said, just heard what happen. all of my thoughts are with her today. so scary. one of the nicest people i know. for sure the tennis community and sports fans worldwide sending best wishes to petra kvitova. it remains to be seen how serious this is going to be, but we do wish her the best. back to you. yeah, we wish her well. just ahead, u.s. president
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barack obama moves to preserve his legacy on the environment. plus, a nation in mourning. germans come to grips with violence in berlin just days before christmas. ♪ take one.
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♪ welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm max foster live in berlin. isis claims a soldier of the islamic state carried out the deadly truck attack at a berlin christmas market. police are now searching for the
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driver who plowed into the crowd, killing a dozen people. a suspect was released on monday because of a lack of evidence. at least 29 people have been killed and dozens injured in an explosion at a fireworks market north of mexico city. authorities are investigating if the blast is deliberate. it is the third big explosion at this market since 2005. anti-terror police in indonesia killed three suspects in a raid. a fourth person is being detained. police say the suspects had an active bomb described as quite big. cnn indonesia reports they were planning a new year's eve attack. now germany is in mourning as its shocked citizens try to make sense of monday's deadly rampage. erin mclaughlin has more from berlin. >> at the scene of an unimaginable horror, a 25 ton tool of terror is slowly driven
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away, leaving 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 of the terrible attacks that happened all over the world, and yesterday was a black day for human history. it is just depressing. >> yes, and people go here to have a 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 is -- it is shocking, yes, it is. >> reporter: what remains of the christmas market is eerily quiet. children's rides standstill and there's a heavy police presence. normally this christmas market would be full of shoppers drinking spiced wine and looking for gifts, but as you can see, these kiosks are closed as authorities look for answers and berliners mourn their dead. in the capital, a show of
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solidarity. at the memorial church people gathered 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 to be confirmed that a person commit canned this act who was given protection and asylum in germany. this would be especially disgusting. >> reporter: german officials set free the asylum seeker they first arrested, no longer suspecting he was responsible for the attack. chancellor merkel visited the church tuesday, visibly shocked. the country is shaken and with it her political future. erin mclaughlin, cnn, berlin. >> they are increasing security at christmas markets across europe. in italy police reinforcement it have been ordered to christmas events and any areas expected to draw crowds of people, the czech
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have also ordered protection for markets. except for security, this village in nice, france was mostly empty, the city still recovering from july's deadly terror attack. a large truck there plowed through a crowd celebrating bastille day, killing 86 people. technology on board the truck here in berlin that attacked the crowd behind me as they stood is providing some information about the hours leading up to that deadly assault. tom informationman has been looking at the timeline around that. >> reporter: this is the truck that was used in the attack. it is owned by a polish shipping company. it was on what should have been a routine run delivering steel from italy up into germany when authorities believe it was highjacked on the out skirts of berlin between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. the driver killed, his body later found inside that cab. how do they know it was this period of time? the shipping company back in
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poland says the truck was outfitted with a sophisticated gps system, they told the newspaper that basically they saw odd behavior in this period of time, someone trying to start the truck twice and failing and then when it got rolling again erratic driving up toward berlin, as if somebody else was behind the wheel, not the regular driver. by 5:00 they say, nonetheless, it had reached the christmas market up here near berlin. they tried to call the driver numerous times, no answer. what happens next is also a mystery. for a few hours it simply goes missing as it gets darker here, the foot traffic gets bigger, and then the truck reappears down in here, the holiday markets highlighted up here in red, and according the eyewitnesses it begins accelerating up to about 40 miles an hour, jumping the curb. this is where all of those stalls and all of those people would have been, and plowing through people for about 250 feet before finally coming to a stop down there.
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why did it stop? we don't know. it didn't hit any kind of major barrier we don't think, the police don't seem to have challenged it or rammed it and there are no witnesses saying they saw somebody get out and run away as far as we know at this point, only the murder victim found inside the cab and a lot of questions for the investigators. well, there really are a lot of questions. i want to bring in a director of the german marshal funds berlin office. you look at trans relations, don't you? but what has been interesting to you i know is the lack of cameras here in berlin, the sort of evidence we were just talking about there. it is actually quite hard to gather in this city. >> right rite. >> what is the background to that? >> as you know, because of historical reasons germans are skit issue when it comes to privacy and security because of the ddr pass and the nazi regime. but i think more and more germans are starting to realize surveillance is important
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because the authorities here need to provide order and security for its citizens. >> and this is something the security services no doubt have been pushing for in recent years. >> i'm sure that thomas demaziay, the interior ministry, would like to have more powers but it is a democracy, and it is a sensitive issue finding the correct balance. >> what this attack has done, as it does in any country where it occurs, is make people look at themselves, particularly when you look at a traditional event, it is an attack on the culture and the people. but then you have to consider these issues as well and balance them. something so integral to our city, but it is more of a berlin issue as i understand it than a national issue, the cctv footage. >> i think it will possibly -- i'm sure it is particularly a city issue. this is a federal country, of course, and there are difference ns between the different states and regions within germany. but i think all together there is a national sentiment where people here are proud of their
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way of life and they want to have freedom in society, and part of the freedom is the right of privacy, but they realize there are threats getting closer and closer to the german borders and within the borders as well. >> these are common threats to western society, these islamic-related threats. and as we understand it, the line of investigation now after the isis claim of responsibility. so how are the western nations coordinating on dealing with the ideology? >> correct. i mean i think this is one of the big challenges here for the west, to preserve the liberal order. it seems to be under siege both in europe and the united states and also becoming not just from, you know, extremists from other -- outside of europe and the u.s. but also within societies in europe and the united states. >> and heightened levels of nationalism as well. >> correct, populism on both
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sides. >> what is interesting, right wing up rising in the u.k. can and france are quite different from the one you have here in germany, because you're talking about the far right doing extremely well out of this and potentially in the election next year. >> yes, i mean the afd, the alternative for deutsc can eland probably will make it into the parliament next year, but i don't believe they will be in government because they don't have the votes to form a coalition, and none of the consensus or the established parties would form a coalition with them. >> but they'll have a voice, a formal voice. >> certainly, they would be a strong opposition and then institutionalized, but i see them as a disruptive force, because, you know, a famous politician from the german conservatives once said never allow a party to form to the right of the csu and this has happened. >> as you say, you alluded to the nazi past and it is something that haunts germany, and whenever they're making these sorts of changes it is something they consider. just describe how that sort
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of -- the sort of privacy issues play into so much of the policy debate here. >> they do. and i mean it is not perhaps the right verb. i think germany has come a long way and certainly the country does not forget its past, the history is all over. even where this horrible incident happened in front of the memorial church which stands as a symbol for the atrocities of war, right. >> i guess it haunts defense policy in many ways, doesn't it, this apprehension? >> this is true, but even then germany has come a long way and realizes it is a power that is a responsible power in europe and beyond, and, for example, the green party voted to give arms to the peshmerga most recently, which is kind of a first. >> thank you so much indeed. there are so many bigger issues coming out of this attack, focused very much right now on finding the culprit.
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president obama moving to protect his legacy. apple a review of their futuristic ear buds coming up. p protect his legacy. apple a review of their futuristic ear buds coming up.
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. barack obama's days in office are winding down, but he's still wielding the power of the presidency to make changes that a successor may not like all that much. cnn's athena jones reports on that. >> reporter: president obama moving to secure his legacy on the environment and beyond before he hands the presidency to donald trump. tonight, new measures to bar off-shore drilling indefinitely in parts of the arctic and atlantic ocean, in part to prevent environmental disasters like the bp oil spill. >> i share people's concerns about the off-shore drilling. i remember the bp spill in the gulf of mexico too well. >> it's an issue that has been front and center for the president who sees climate
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change as the greatest threat facing future generations and believes the u.s. and the world must do more to combat it. >> we're not moving fast enough, and for the sake of our kids we've got to keep going. america has to lead the world in transitioning to a clean energy economy. >> reporter: president obama's last minute move is based on a 64-year old law, not an easily reversible executive order, creating a legal hurdle for the incoming president. a climate change skeptic, who vowed to pull out of the paris climate accords and to increase domestic 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. he's also preparing to transfer an additional 17 or 18 inmates from the u.s. prison at guantanamo bay, cuba, to other countries according to the "new
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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 do all that i can to remove this blot on our national honor. >> reporter: president-elect trump has promised to not only keep the prison open but to fill it up with, quote, some bad dudes. obama also this week granting clemency to 231 people, mostly drug offenders, the most ever 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 all issues that he's talked about a lot and that he has attempted to get action on, but all three are issues where he has been extraordinarily frustrated and unable to really move congress. >> reporter: the president running through the tape and
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presenting a series of direct challenges to trump. cnn correspondent athena jones reporting for us. nearly two dozen cities in china are choking on extreme smog for another day, but there could be relief in site. meteorologist is at the international weather center with more on that. >> hello, max. we take a look again. it has not just been a short-term problem. this has been a long-term problem. look at some of the images coming in out of beijing. again, it looks like incredibly dense fog that we've been experiencing in many of these areas. protests also taking place. you can see placing masks on a lot of statues in and around the region as kind of a symbol for this area. numbers are finally starting to get better in the southern regions, and that's because we've had not only some rain move into this area but the wind direction is changing. that's been a big improvement. take a look at some of the numbers south of beijing.
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we are talking somewhere between 50, up to the 200 range, which, again, is still high, we're still talking the very unhealthy range in that purple color, but it is an improvement upon where some of the numbers have been which in a few areas exceeded 500. again, that's going to be the trend going forward. in fact, if we look at the forecast for beijing, not only once that system moves through, it will drop temperatures back but it changes the wind direction to more of a westerly flow, allowing more of the cleaner air to be arriving into not only beijing but a lot of the surrounding areas. again, we have already started the see it along the southern edge of china. now, also we're keeping an eye on the states because we're watching a very close eye on a system that will be moving in to the south western region. not only could this region use the rain, they like to have it, but unfortunately we are going to be seeing a lot of rain when this system finally makes its way through. we're talking the potential to have 1 inch, maybe even as much
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as an inch and a half of rain. it may not sound like much, but in the region where they don't get much rain it is enough to cause flooding and mud slides. most of the rain farther south, cities like phoenix, san diego, flag staff, stretching as far east as albuquerque. while the rain is needed, we don't like to have all of the rain all at once move in. max. >> absolutely, alison. thank you very much. an olympic gold medal doesn't come easy and wearing them can be tough when you have 23. another olympian feat from michael phelps just ahead. no headphone jack, no problem. just ahead we look at apple's new futuristic ear buds. ♪ you can use your data worry free and even carry over the data you don't use. and right now get four lines and 20 gigs for only $40 per line. you'll even get the iphone 7, the samsung galaxy s7,
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the pixel phone by google, or the motoz droid for only $10 per month. no trade-in required. hurry, these offers end soon. get the best deals and the best network, only on verizon.
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well, the wait for apple's wireless ear buds is over. air pods as they're called were announced in september, but the company pushed back shipment dates until now. "cnn money's" burke check them out for you. >> to try apple's new air pods let's listen to the most dream songs of the year. this is really what they've all been waiting for after an
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unusual two-month delay from apple. as soon as they went on sale though they sold out quickly. so good luck getting your hands on any. these wireless ear buds stay in my ears fine, but not all ears are created equal so they could fall out and leave you like number nine by 21 pilot, stressed out. ♪ now we're stressed out ♪ wish we could turn back time >> when it comes to maintaining a connection though, they don't let you down. ♪ don't let me down >> they stay synced to your phone or tablet better than their competitors. number seven, justin bieber, love yourself sneet to you like the way you look that much ♪ ♪ you should go and love yourself ♪ >> with a price stag of $159, you should go and love yourself, treating yourself might be the best option because who knows if someone wants to spend that much on you. ♪ baby, only going >> you want to keep them closer because without a wire they're easy to lose and apple charges
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you $69 to replace just one. number five, lucas graham's hit seven years. ♪ once i was seven years old >> the airpods charge won't definitely last you seven whole years, not even seven hours. five hours is more like it, but the case does charge them while you're on the go. ♪ >> play the music too loud, too soft, it doesn't matter. the quality is pretty much like the wired headphones before. nothing spectacular, but good enough. number three, rihanna, headphones with a wire got all twisted and made us -- ♪ work, work, work, work >> airpods are tangle free. number two, can't stop that feeling, justin timberlake says he has that sunshine in his pocket ♪ i've got that sunshine in my pocket ♪ >> but you won't have to reach into your pocket to use it anymore, just tap the airpods to talk with her and there's a microphone built into the ear buds. the most dream song of the year,
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drake's one dance ♪ baby, i like your style >> but not everyone likes your style. memes say they look like an electric toothbrush ♪ >> samuel burke trying them out in his unique way. if you have been lucky enough to hold an olympic gold medal you will know they're pretty heavy. imagine holding 23 of them. only one man in the world gets to do that, and that's michael phelps, the american sensation retired after the rio games last summer and "sports illustrated" magazine asked him to pose with all of his medals to mark the occasion. total weight, more than 18 pounds, eight kilos, a lot of tugging from your neck, isn't it? but a price worth paying probably. that is it for this edition of "cnn newsroom." thank you for joining us. reporting from berlin. "early start" is next for our
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viewers in the united states, but for everyone else there will be another edition of "cnn newsroom" after this short newsroom" after this short break. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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♪ a manhunt for the berlin truck attacker. isis claims one of its soldiers carried out that assault. and who's behind the assassination of a russian ambassador? i'm miguel marquez. >> very nice to see you. i'm christine romans. it's december 21st, wednesday, 4:00 a.m. in the east. good morning, everyone. in that attack that k

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