tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN December 31, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PST
they're looking for. >> andrew yang, we wish you the best in the race and we wish you and your family a very happy 2020. >> happy new year. thanks so much, jim. >> he says he's going to be on that debate stage. we'll see. >> he's been on every one. we'll see. great interview. thank you all for being with us this morning. we're all over this breaking news of the protests at the u.s. embassy in baghdad. our continuing coverage starts right now. good morning. i'm alex marquardt. welcome to our holiday edition of "newsroom." we're following that breaking news this morning out of iraq. protesters attacking the u.s. embassy in the iraqi capital of baghdad. there are hundreds inside the heavily guarded greenzone as you can see there. angrily demonstrating against american air strikes that killed 25 fighters from a militia that is backed by iran.
now right now that u.s. embassy in baghdad is on lockdown. security personnel from inside the embassy have been firing tear gas as protesters tried to storm the compounds today. breaking through gates and climbing over the outer walls. look at this video that's just come in. protesters trying to break down doors. president trump is directly blaming iran, warning that iran will be fully held responsible for the attacks that he expects iraq will use its forces to protect there at the embassy. let's get to arwa damon who knows iraq so well. arwa, this is the biggest u.s. embassy in the world. remarkable scenes coming out of there. what do we know about the states of those protests right now? >> well, look, first of all, we should point ought these are not ordinary protests. the vast majority are members of what's known as the popular
mobilization force. this is sort of a paramilitary force that came to be during the fight against isis that is mostly made up of former members of a variety of different shia militias that many of whom have very, very close ties to iran. if you look at the scenes from the beginning of the protests, you saw three top leaders there. three top leaders among the three most powerful of all of these entities that make up this paramilitary force, but it's a force that is in theory part of the iraqi security forces. they were able to walk straight up to the u.s. embassy that's inside an area where normally you need either a badge to get through or some sort of escort. while they were out there, we heard anti-u.s. slogans being chanted. they spray painted the walls, threw rocks. they broke security cameras. they tried to scale the walls.
fires were set. so u.s. so far has not led to an evacuation of personnel. it is on lockdown. the ambassador himself has been away for about a week on a previously schedule d vacation. this is a very tense, very concerning situation. the iraqi prime minister has asked the protesters to back down, and the iraqi security forces are not necessarily on the scene but are beginning to arrive to a certain degree to try to bring this situation under control. of course, the concern is, alex, if this escalates any further, that could have very, very serious consequences. >> arwa damon, that's a very important point. these are not the kind of protests we've seen of late in baghdad. these are different in response to the u.s. air strikes and
protests that could fundamentally alter the relationship with iraq which is a key u.s. ally. let's get into this more with cnn military analyst retired lieutenant general mark hertling. you spent years on the ground in iraq. i want to get your initial reaction to these incredible scenes we're seeing out of baghdad today. >> it's quite chaotic. i want to comment on what arwa gave in her very good report. these popular mobilization forces aren't a collective group. each one of them, battalion or brigade represent a different shia political party within iraq and they have a different shia leader. that's been part of the turmoil within domestic affairs within the iraqi government as of late. recently the parliament asked for the resignation of the prime minister, and the president of iraq who is a kurd has basically been weighing which political
party he should allow the prime ministry to come from. many of them that have been offered have come from different shia groups. all of those right now are competing for the potential to be the leaders of iraq. he's pushed those down and said we don't need any more sectarian leadership in our group as the key driver. this has turned literally the protest against iran which has been occurring for the last several months. now has turned it within the capital against the united states because of the act of bombing the five different targets within the last week. arwa also mentioned the ambassador is on a long-scheduled vacation so he was not there to coordinate with the iraqi government once those strikes took place. i'm sure that incurred the ire of many people within the iraqi government to have u.s. forces striking iranian targets on their soil. and some of thosetarget
s consisted of iraqi citizens. it's the most confusing situation you can imagine. very complex. but what we've seen in the last couple of days is the ire of the iraqi citizens have changed from countering iranian influence inside of iraq. many people were against that but now countering american presence within iraq. as you know, we have about 5,000 troops there. >> general, of course, very important to clarify. and thank you for that. for our viewers, these are iraqi militias that have been sanctioned by the iraqi government. but they are backed by iran. and as you just mentioned, they have some iranian elements among them. and that is why they were the targets of the u.s. air strikes. i want to ask you, the trump administration is saying these air strikes which, as you mentioned, there were five of them taking place in iraq and syria, would serve as a deterrent. now that we're seeing this very violent response in baghdad, do
these protests suggest that they have not been deterred? >> well, there's always the right of self-defense of u.s. forces and continuing attacks against both u.s. and iraqi security forces by elements of these popular mobilization forces. the iranian militias. so they have been troublesome for the last six months and even beyond that. there were some of these forces there the last time i was in iraq in 2008. the problem is the requirement is to collaborate and coordinate with the iraqi government to counter these iranian militias. and what the problem is, some of these very militias were instrumental in destroying isis. so they were brought in as part of the iraqi security forces, not formally condoned, but they were very helpful in destroying isis. now they are looking for their credentials, if you will, within the iraqi government. to get back to your question, is
this causing further degradation of cooperation between the iraqi government and the u.s. government? absolutely it is. there have been several things insulting to the iraqi government, first of all, when many of our forces were repositioned within iraq. some of that took place without requesting permission of the sovereign government of iraq when we dislocated from the kurds in northern syria. there's a huge kurdish population in northern iraq. that was a contentious issue with many of the kurdish population. so you can see there has been a gradual declination of the relationship between the u.s. government and the iraqi government over the last couple of months. and this attack the other day really turned the tide on that. and i think most of the government officials, which are attempting to be partners with the united states, were furious about this attack without -- that the u.s. conducted without
seeking their permission first. >> and that relationship between the u.s. and iraq so key when it comes to dealing with a whole range of issues, not the least of which are syria next door and iran. >> and saudi arabia. >> as well as saudi arabia. dramatic events in baghdad today. lieutenant general mark hertling, thank you. >> happy new year, alex. there are new charges for the man who was accused of a hanukkah stabbing spree at a rabbi's home in new york state. the suspect is expected back in court on friday to face federal hate crime charges after investigators revealed an extensive trail of online searches and journal entries about hitler, synagogues and american companies that were founded by jews. brynn gingras has the latest from monsey, new york. >> reporter: grafton thomas, the man accused of stabbing five hasidic jews at a hanukkah
celebration now charged with federal hate crimes. the suspect remains in custody after being charged with obstructing the free exercise of religion and an attempt to kill. thomas already pleaded not guilty to state charges sunday of five counts of attempted murder and one count of first-degree burglary. according to a criminal complaint, prosecutors say thomas' internet history on his cell phone included searches of, why did hit lear hate the jews and german jewish temples near me. there was a search for prominent companies founded by jews in america. the criminal complaint against thomas also says a journal found by authorities shows that he expressed anti-semitic sentiments with some entries referring to hitler and nazi culture with drawing of a swastika and star of david. one reference a reference to the black hebury israel ite movement. that group has been linked to a
terror attack at a kosher market in jersey city three weeks ago. it also details the events leading up to the hanukkah attack. he entered the rabbi's home with his face covered by a scarf and proclaimed to those inside no one is leaving, and then used an 18-inch machete to start stabbing and slashing people. >> everybody move away. everybody run. go, go go. the guy is coming. and he said, hey you. i'll get you. that's the only thing that -- that's the only exchange that he had with anyone. >> thomas was apprehended by police two hours later in new york city. he was found with blood on his clothes and a smell of bleach in the car with a machete and another knife that had apparent traces of dry blood on them. his attorney and family say he's a former marine who suffers from mental illness. and they claim he had no history of anti-semitism. >> there is no suggestion any of those ramblings and pages of writing of an anti-semitic motive of any anti-semitism.
>> reporter: thomas is currently being held in federal custody, but he's going to head back to court this friday on those state attempted murder and burglary charges so we'll learn more there in court on friday. alex? >> brynn gingras, thank you. joining me to discuss this is retired fbi supervisory special agent james gagliano. great to see you. happy new year. you and i were on the air just over a year ago during the massacre at the tree of life synagogue. we've seen a spate of anti-semitic attacks since then. is this what this looks like to you, an anti-semitic attack? >> absolutely, alex. let's define what anti-semitism is. it's hostility or prejudice against the jewish faith. in these instances, especially this weekend, where this attack occurred, not on the street, but actually inside a rabbi's home,
it was just a grotesque manifestation of hate. new york city, as well as places across the country, obviously, synagogues, are steeling themselves, looking forward to this and figuring out how to prevent these. how to get in front of this. for law enforcement it's always about interdiction. before the incident happens, before the attack happens, what can be done to keep us safer? >> grotesque is absolutely the right word. of course, anti-semitic attacks, it's not mutually exclusive with mental instability either, is it? >> the fbi has done a number of studies on lone attackers. grafton thomas fits that mold. lone attacker. 52 cases since 1972. 83% of the folks that cause these type of attacks have exhibited aggressive behavior in the past. and look at thomas' rap sheet. seven arrests since 2001.
assault, resisting arrest, menacing police, killing or injuring a police animal. 96% of the folks that do these are inclined to do these have posted some type of online or written manifesto or hateful screed. at least one of them, 25% of them, somebody prior to the attack noticed something in the research, planning or preparation that the suspect was engaged in prior to the attack, alex. >> james gagliano, thank you for your expertise. >> thanks, alex. coming up -- the top senate democrat is now demanding witnesses in the upcoming impeachment trial of president donald trump. but will republicans budge? plus, good-bye 2019. hello, 2020 election. pete buttigieg's days as south bend mayor may be coming to an end, but are his recent attacks on joe biden just beginning?
and we are live in new york city's times square ahead of the massive celebration. miguel marquez is live on top of all of those celebrations. that's coming up. >> yeah, we've got 14 hours and change to the ball dropping here. the stages are set. the crowds are starting to pack in. i'll have details coming right up. robinhood believes now is the time to do money.
as hundreds protest outside the u.s. embassy in the iraqi capital of baghdad, we've just learned secretary of state mike pompeo has spoken with the iraqi prime minister. ryan brown is at the pentagon. ryan, what do we know about this call between the two leaders? >> according to a statement from the state department spokesman, secretary pompeo spoke with the iraqi prime minister and iraqi president to talk about the protests. secretary pompeo made clear the united states will protect and
defend its people. he asked the iraqi officials to step in to help safeguard the u.s. embassy and according to the statement, they have received assurances from the iraqi leaders that this would -- that they would, in fact, help safeguard u.s. facilities and u.s. personnel. we've also seen a statement from the iraqi prime minister's office saying while they condemned the u.s. air strikes targeting these militia groups they warned iraqi citizens to stay away from u.s. embassies and diplomatic posts as part of their protests saying they've been warning them to stay clear of this diplomatic corridor there in baghdad. there does seem to be some response from the iraqi government here, but despite billions of dollars the united states has provided to iraqi security forces we aren't seeing much of an iraqi security force presence to dispel some of those protesters. many of which we're hearing reports are tied to some of
these same bimilitia groups. >> the embassy has been on lockdown. staff has not been evacuated, and the u.s. ambassador there is not present. he's actually been away for a preplanned vacation. we'll continue to watch all of that. the top senate democrat chuck schumer is demanding witnesses appear at the upcoming impeachment trial of the president after a "new york times" article laid out new details surrounding the white house's move to withhold that military aid from ukraine. here's what senator schumer had to say about that report. >> simply put, in our fight to have key documents and witnesses in the senate impeachment trial, these new revelations are a game changer. >> a game changer says senator schumer. ross garber teaches impeachment law and aneat anita kumar. ross, you heard schumer talking
about how these new details in that report are a game-changer. that includes a scene that was described in the oval office where the president's top national security officials were basically pleading with him to release the $400 million in aid for ukraine. what does this change about what we know in the ukraine saga? >> so it does change things, i think, on the margin. remember, the trump administration blocked testimony from the president's senior advisers. and so it's not surprising that right now information is continuing to trickle out. the house kind of did as thorough an investigation as they could but they put time limits on themselves before they passed the articles of impeachment. now additional information is coming out and senator schumer saying, well, that's another reason we should have witnesses testify, witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the senate proceeding. i think in the real world,
though, it's probably not likely to change very much. senator mcconnell, the republican leader of the senate, has said, look, let's do this the same way we did clinton where we have long opening arguments first and then later we'll decide on witnesses. i think schumer right now is trying to use the current news to bolster his position that, no, let's have a deal on witnesses now before the trial starts. >> of course, democrats had called for mick mulvaney, the acting chief of staff and john bolton to be among those witnesses. republicans have pushed back. anita, do you agree with schumer that this is a game-changer, the new details? >> i think it provides more pressure. it gives the democrats something else they can say here. look, we don't know all the details but it might backfire because, remember, they can say republicans can say, hey, the democrats were in control of the investigation on the house side. why didn't you come up with this. why didn't you have a more thorough, lengthy investigation. in the end, though, the senate
majority leader is going to fall back on what he's been saying, which is we pretty much know how almost every single person is going to vote. all these jurors, the senators. it's a political process. and if it doesn't change anything, why should we go through this ordeal. and that's what he's going to argue. he's been arguing that with president trump who i have been told is still -- he understands the need for not having any witnesses but still kind of wants some of them. he wants to sort of be out there and having, you know, joe biden and other people testify but he's listening to senator mcconnell and understanding that it's probably best for both sides to get this done quickly. if the reality is he's not going to be removed from office. >> so most republicans are saying we don't want witnesses. we just want to have the opening statements and then go to the trial go to a vote. democrats are saying we need to hear from these witnesses and get these documents. one of the senators that
democrats are hoping to pull over is republican susan collins. ross, she gave an interview to maine public radio in which she said she was open to hearing witnesses but she said it was premature to decide who should be called. ross, is it premature? >> well, so first of all, you know, it's not surprising to hear senators talk like that. even though in the real world, you know, pretty much all of them have made up their minds here. what they're doing is they're supposed to be fact finders and essentially jurists in this trial. so they're trying to -- many of them trying to sort of telegraph that they're going to be fair and impartial. but i think what she's really getting to is this two-phase approach. it was the case in clinton. they heard long opening arguments first.
and then and only then did they decide on witnesses. senator mcconnell and some others are saying that's the approach here. now they are also saying in some cases we don't want to hear witnesses at all, but they're saying let's take it in this two-phase approach and decide on witnesses after we've heard all the opening statements. >> let's talk about the politics of this. of course, one of the things that makes democrats nervous about the impeachment trial is it could galvanize republicans. we've heard from congresswoman tulsi gabbard. she was a 2020 presidential candidate saying the impeachment has greatly increased the likelihood of a trump re-election as well as republicans retaking the house. of course, house democrats picked up nearly 40 seats in 2018. do you think republicans are going to be so galvanized by this impeachment trial, so angered by it that they could take back the house and also retain the white house and see president trump re-elected? >> well, i think that all sort of experts, observers are seeing
the republicans taking back the house is a long shot. but what you are seeing on the republican side is that enthusiasm that you're talking about. when you talk to the people at the president's re-election campaign, they've seen record numbers of small donors. they've seen during the impeachment hearings, they saw tremendous numbers, millions of dollars pouring in. they feel like it's gotten people very excited. it's doing the job for them. they don't have to advertise campaign rallies. people are just wanting to come. and so i think that there is some enthusiasm there. it's the question of whether it will translate to the house or not. but the president feels very good about it. he doesn't feel good about impeachment, of course, but he feels good that people are excited, enthusiastic. he feels he can use that momentum. and people i've talked to have said this has really energized him. that he is so angered by this house vote and impeachment that he's even more driven to work on his re-election in that we're going to see that after the new year where he's going to be out
on the road. he's going to be campaigning on this and feels very good about his re-election. >> all right. folks, we have to leave it there. ross garber, anita kumar, thanks very much and happy new year to you both. speaking of which, just hours until we celebrate the dawn of 2020. how new york city police are working to secure tonight's festivities. and we're also moments away from the opening bell on wall street. the last trading day of the decade. futures are flat. that's after the dow closed down 183 points. the s&p and nasdaq also fell. in fact, it was the worst one-day percentage drop for all three averages since the start of the month. as we enter the new year, investors are going to be keeping a close eye on trade and the 2020 election. what this means for you. that's coming up. ♪
the biggest new year's eve bash in the united states is just hours from now. the iconic new year's eve crystal ball tested, ready to go. soon those streets of times square will be packed with millions of partygoers. new york police say times square will be the safest place on earth tonight because, in part, new security measures are being used, including for the first time surveillance drones. miguel marquez joins us live
from times square with more. miguel, what are you seeing? are people out there yet? >> oh, it is already on. this thing is kicking off. the people who actually press the button that will drop the ball tonight will be science teachers and science students in sort of honor of science basically. this is what times square looks like now. they've not blocked off times square yet but there will be thousands of police officers here tonight, some in uniform, some out of uniform. they'll have helicopters in the air, boats on the rivers, entire areas around times square blocked off. and they'll have drones up, weather permitting. they'll also have a special team that will keep in check rogue drones. so people flying their own drones over the crowd, which is not allowed, they will not be allowed to fly those drones. they have some way to mitigate them. these are the infamous pens. once you go in, you cannot go out. and you think people already lined up? of course they are. these are the brave people at
the head of the line and these brave canadians here, what is your name? >> erica. >> you are from toronto? >> yes. >> you're here to see the k-pop band bts go on at 10:30. >> how long have you been here? >> we've been out here taking shifts. some 10:00 a.m., 8:00 p.m. >> are you insane? >> just a little bit. >> and what is your bathroom strategy? >> well, the bathroom was open at starbucks. drinking a bit of water and diapers just in case. >> we're all doing it. >> oh, my gosh. once you go in those pens you can't get out. >> from 10:00 a.m. yesterday you were here. >> are you excited? >> very excited. >> happy 2020. and let the puns begin. 2020 will be hindsight in a year. clear as 2020 optometrists. it's going to be good for puns. back to you. >> diapers. that is dedication.
all right. 14 1/2 hours to go. our thoughts remain with them and with you. miguel marquez, thanks so much. while we count down to 2020, the new decade has already arrived on the other side of the world. those fireworks erupting over auckland's sky tower as the clock struck midnight in new zealand. australia welcomed the new year despite pressure to cancel the new year's display because of the ongoing incredibly destructive brushfires there. stunning fireworks taking place there in sydney harbor. of course, we'll have our own celebration here on cnn. ring in the new year with anderson cooper and andy cohen. cnn's new year's eve coverage begins at 8:00 eastern time tonight from times square and all around the world. we'll be right back. ♪
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president trump is saying he's preparing to sign a phase one trade deal with china. the president tweeted the announcement just moments ago saying that a signing ceremony would be taking place at the white house on january 15th. cnn chief business correspondent christine romans joins me now. phase one, what does that mean? what can we expect from it? >> well, this was elusive and took a long time to get here. a year and a half of a trade war to get this phase one done. this is china promising soybean purchases and promising some changes to how it treats american financial companies inside china and this is the u.s. saying we're not going to put more tariffs on for now and we'll roll back some of the current tariffs. there still are tariffs on what are really strategic high tech
goods that come from china to the united states. but essentially this is a peace offering in what has been a very troublesome trade war between the united states and china over the past almost two years. >> we are moments into the trading day and yet the markets are seemingly not reacting. why do you think that is? >> they priced this in. the president has said for some time he wanted to get some kind of a win here and work on phase two, the rest of it. that's the hard stuff. that's the tough stuff that will come at a later date. that's been troublesome. when the chinese have gotten close to making some of these big concessions on how it does business the united states finds unfair, the chinese back away. they don't keep up that end of the bargain. that's going to be tough and the markets know that. what's important here is where we've come in the last year. the dow, nasdaq, s&p, 20%-plus gains. a year ago right now, we were talking about how it was the worst december in the stock market since the great depression.
and then 2019 you saw these big advances. the economy is growing, not gangbusters, but the economy is growing a little bit more than 2%. companies are still making money. there was a big hope this trade deal leaves some of the worst parts of it would get resolved. and the consumer is strong. manufacturing weak but the consumer is strong. i just think it's so important to look back over time and see how we've done here. last year the s&p down just a little bit. this is the best year this year since 2013, really, here. so in the context of ten years, you have seen a nice advance in the economy. improvement in the job market. record highs in the stock market and, of course, now we look to next year and wonder can that all follow through? it depends how much progress there is on the china trade war. how strong the american consumer stays and, really, i think political noise of impeachment not really a factor here for the markets. they are looking into next year. a steady economy. low interest rates. steady as she goes. >> and the president will be
trumping all that as he hits the campaign trail. >> yes, he will. >> christine romans, thank you. chicago police believe they have turned the corner and are expecting a drop in violent crime for the third year in a row. but do chicagoans feel the same? do they feel safe? that's coming up. will the hilton app help us pick the starters? great question, no. but it can help you pick your room from the floor plan. can the hilton app help us score? you know, it's not that kind of thing, but you can score free wi-fi. can it help us win? hey, hey! we're all winners with the hilton price match guarantee, alright? man, you guys are adorable! alright, let's go lose this soccer game, come on! book with the hilton app. if you find a lower rate, we match it and give you 25% off that stay. expect better. expect hilton. what's going on? it's the 3pm slump. should have had a p3. oh yeah. should have had a p3. need energy? get p3.
when you see the police talking about the city being on a better track and the numbers dropping, is that how the people of chicago feel, that the city is on the right track? >> well, alex, on one hand these numbers are encouraging. we're seeing double-digit declines in violent crime for a third year in a row. more than 30% drop from the spike on the other side of that streak. in conversations i've had with the mayor who told me the numbers are one thing. now it's about feeling the change. within the numbers are stories that have become all too familiar in a place like chicago. >> thanksgiving was the hardest because that was his favorite holiday. he loved eating his grandma's cooking. >> reporter: keith flowers' son was among the seven killed and more than 50 wounded over a single august weekend. >> it's not just about the numbers going down, but it's about feeling safer.
do you feel safer? >> you can't let your kids out to play because you never know when they drive-by shooting or shooting is going to take place. so, >> reporter: but citywide, the numbers also tell a story. in 2016, homicides spiked topping 750 killings in this single american city. since then, things have improved. deaths still in the hundreds but in 2019 finishing more than 30% lower than that spike with double-digit decline in homicides for a third year in a row. chicago mayor lori lightfoot points to factors like job training and support services as making a difference. >> we abandon the kind of law enforcement first and only strategy and really focused on not only aligning all city departments in the fight for public safety but also embracing our partners in the community. >> they're strategies that even extend to emergency rooms. >> in those years that were
really bad, 2016 and '17, it was as though it was summer all throughout the year and you never stopped. what we are trying to do is do outreach with a lot of these kids so that we can have an effect at the front end. i think we are also doing everything we can to improve our medical capacities. >> reporter: and for flowers, representative of the countless families permanently scarred by gun violence in chicago, he's grateful the numbers are down, but for him and many others there's still a long way to go before he can feel safe, before he can feel normal. >> what should a normal day look like for you? >> to see the police outside their cars walking the beats again. a normal day would look like having your kids being able to play in the park. >> reporter: and now as a full 2020 lies ahead, the goal is to continue this downward trend for the city, avoid getting back to the levels we saw in 2016 where there were more murders here in
chicago than in new york and los angeles combined and more importantly, get to a place where families like flowers can get, as he calls, that sense of normal. alex. >> within those numbers so many stories, very well said, omar jimenez in chicago, thanks very much. we are continuing to follow breaking news out of baghdad. that's where protesters have tried to storm the u.s. embassy. we will be bringing you a live update. you are - even hanging with your dog. so, what are you waiting for? download now and get your first stock on us. robinhood.
and stories as well. cnn's scott mclean takes a look at those stories that lifted people up this year. >> reporter: for a lot of people and a lot of places, 2019 was a tough year. there were protests and crackdowns, disinformation wars and conventional ones too. of all the words to describe the past year, uplifting probably isn't one of them, but there were a few reasons to smile. in lebanon, the biggest protests in more than a decade were a frightening scene for a 15-month-old baby, but not for long. a chorus of protesters near beirut gave the child and the country a brief respite from the political crisis. it was a different kind of crisis that inspired a swedish teenager to stage a weekly protest demanding action on climate change.
greta thunberg's message hasn't always been well-received but plenty of people found inspiration in a teen uniting millions around the world this year. >> we are around the world fighting and launching again, and we will keep on doing it until they listen. >> reporter: a giant tortoise was spotted in 2019, thought to be extinct for more than a century, the extremely rare member of the fernandina island species was spotted in february. researchers think she's not the only one. researchers in the lab made breakthroughs that gave hope to millions. for the second time ever an hiv patient went into sustained remission showing no active signs of the virus for 18 months. separately, scientists made progress in identifying the genetic variance associated with risk of alzheimer's. on the road, kenyan runner elliott kin cho guy did what no
human had ever done, finishing a marathon in less than two hours. >> i'm happiest to run under two hours, know that to inspire many people, to tell people that no human is limited. >> reporter: boundaries were also pushed in botswana after a court struck down laws criminalizing homosexuality. and it was the third world cup title for the former apartheid state but the first one with a black captain. a beacon of hope to young south africans became a global sensation trading poverty in the townships for glory on the pitch. >> we're grateful to see that we are able to achieve such a -- to touch a nation and touch the world with the power -- with doing what we love, playing sports. >> an historic win took place in japan where one city had to fire its tourism mascot after videos of a rogue imposter spread
quickly across social media dancing on poles and making a mess. the unsanctioned behavior prompted complaints in japan but gave the rest of the world a much needed laugh. scott mclean, cnn, london. good morning, welcome to our holiday edition of "cnn newsroom" the u.s. embassy in iraq under attack and on lockdown. hundreds of protesters enraged over american air strikes that killed 25 fighters in an iranian backed militia. demonstrators there are trying to breakthrough floors, climb walls, and set fires. personnel shot tear gas into the crowd to push them back. moments ago the secretary of state mike pompeo spoke with the iraqi president as well as the prime minister. during that call, the state department says that the iraqi leaders guaranteed the safety of u.s. personnel