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Gay Athletes to Represent U.S. at Sochi; Rodman Returns to North Korea; Male Versus Female in MMA Fight?; Facebook to Start Video Ads; Mega Millions Big Winners

Aired December 18, 2013 - 06:30   ET


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: A spokeswoman here at the White House says, "The U.S. delegation to the Olympic Games represents the diversity that the United States has and the delegation is distinguished not only by government service but civic activism and sport." So when they mention civic activism, that is clearly a message that's being sent to Russia's anti-gay policies.

But also keep in mind, this is a president who was asked whether or not the United States would boycott these Olympic Games. Why? Because of Edward Snowden, and those leaks over at the National Security Agency, the temporary asylum that Russia granted Edward Snowden, United States is still clearly steamed about that.

And you mentioned at the top of this that that this is the first time in about a decade that a president, vice president, first lady and so on has not represented the United States at an Olympic games opening or closing ceremonies. You know, the White House is not saying this explicitly, but when they say things like civic activism in statements being made by the U.S. delegation, they are clearly sending a message to the Russians, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Clear message being sent. We'll wait to see how the message is received in Russia.

Jim, great to see you. Thank you.

ACOSTA: You're welcome.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Important to distinguish with what they do with who attends in the leadership, versus messing with the athletes. I think that's always the concern for the Olympics, you play politics with the Olympics, and you affect the athletes and it's a problem. But it's interesting move now.

BOLDUAN: Sure is.

CUOMO: Counter move will be interesting.

Coming up on NEW DAY, former NBA star Dennis Rodman headed back to North Korea, just days after the execution of Kim Jong-un's uncle.

Question? Is this a bad time for basketball diplomacy?

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, you're about to get a let more video added to your Facebook. New video ads that will run automatically on the pages or anything you can do to stop it or maybe you like it? Details ahead.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

Let's go around the world now, starting in the Philippines. Secretary of State John Kerry traveling there to see the damage from Typhoon Haiyan.

Monita Rajpal has the story.


MONITA RAJPAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More money to help typhoon survivors. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has announced an additional $25 million in aid to the Philippines. It comes in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan which tore through large parts of the country last month, and killed at least 6,000 people.

Kerry surveyed the damage in one of the worst hit cities, Tacloban, saying the devastation was unlike anything he's seen before. The additional fund boosts the U.S. assistance to the Philippines to $86 million.

Kate, back to you.


BOLDUAN: All right. Monita, thank you so much.

And in Ukraine, a loan from Russia not sitting well with anti- government protesters there.

CNN's Diana Magnay has that.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, Russia's president throws cash-strapped Ukraine a much-needed life line. He's offering to invest $15 billion in Ukrainian government bonds and offer a 30 percent discount on their gas prices. Not just big money an opposition leader said but very big money.

The protesters here in the square in Kiev wanted Ukraine to sign deals with the European Union and not with Russia. They feel their president has sold them out and what sounds like easy money will cost them their political, their economic sovereignty -- Kate.


BOLDUAN: Diana, thank you.

Pope Francis is seems is on a roll, getting named person of the year again, this time by "The Advocate", a gay issues magazine. Here's Ben Wedeman with that.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is first an American LGBT magazine, "The Advocate" names a pope, in this case, Francis, Person of the Year. It ran a quote from the pontiff who earlier asked, "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?"

This is definitely a change in tone from the Vatican but the official policy remains the same. Homosexual acts are a sin.

Back to you, Kate.


BOLDUAN: Ben, thank you so much.

CUOMO: All right. Dennis Rodman is heading back to North Korea. And he will arriving amid turmoil because last week, leader Kim Jong-un executed his uncle, a top adviser. So, is Rodman needlessly putting himself and others at risk?

CNN's Anna Coren is in Seoul with the latest -- Anna.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, you're absolutely right.

Despite all this upheaval taking place in North Korea, Dennis Rodman appears undeterred to travel to the Hermit Kingdom, in the wake of Kim Jong-un's uncle's execution. He's currently in Beijing. He will be traveling to Pyongyang tomorrow. We know that the world will certainly be watching his every move.


COREN (voice-over): With his piercings, tattoos and at times outlandish behavior, there's no denying former NBA star Dennis Rodman loves attracting attention.

And where he's heading, it's certain the world will be watching, as the 52-year-old makes his third visit into a country ruled by one of the world's most repressive regimes.

DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I want to bridge a gap with North Korea. That's all I want.

COREN: It comes at a time of dramatic political upheaval in North Korea.

Just last week, the country's young leader, Kim Jong-un had his uncle executed in what some experts believe is just the beginning of many more purges to come.

A power struggle is believed to be the reason why he had his mentor and second in command allegedly killed by machine gunfire. And with all the instability, it would appear that the supreme leader could use a good friend.

RODMAN: I'd call him my friend. He's my friend. If you hate my guts, hate my guts but he's my friend.

COREN: Rodman is traveling with a documentary crew, that will film him training the North Korean basketball team. They are preparing for an exhibition match in January, against a group of former pro basketball players to celebrate the birthday of Kim Jong-un, a die hard basketball fan.

Many are wondering whether Rodman will raise the issue of 45-year-old American missionary Kenneth Bae, who was sentenced to 15 years prison in Pyongyang for what authority say was an attempt to overthrow the regime.

But Rodman says this trip isn't political, although in previous visits he has made himself available for basketball diplomacy, offering to be a mediator between his close friend Kim and U.S. President Barack Obama.

RODMAN: This guy wants to do one thing, have a conversation with you. That's it. So why, Obama, are you afraid to talk to Dennis Rodman?


COREN: Now, there's some people who wish that Dennis Rodman would make this a political trip. There was an open letter in "The Washington Post" by North Korean defector today who said that he would like Dennis Rodman to raise the issue of human rights with Kim Jong-un and make him hear the cries of his people.

But, Kate and Chris, I think that is unlikely to happen.

BOLDUAN: I think many people would like Dennis Rodman to do that when he makes the trip.

Anna Coren, great to see you. Thank you so much.

All right. Let's get back to Indra Petersons to take another look at the weather. What are we looking at?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's a lot better, depending on how you like it. We're talking about the system making its way out of the area today. So, just in Maine, we're left over with a few of those showers. But lake-effect snows, we know this, every time we see those winds over the lake, we still see those firing up another day or so.

Otherwise the stories, we're going to have to do a little bit with the temperature difference, notice in the Northeast, we're still seeing temperatures below normal. They will moderate but be on cooler side. Down into the Southeast. Look at them starting to climb.

I mean, Memphis by the weekend, starting to be near 70 degrees. This is key as another system is expected to make its way into the region. I'll get there. First thing you want to notice, there are two systems are out there. I labeled them, so you can see them. Keep in mind, this is good news. Number two, over Big Sur, a chance for rain today.

So watch it, the first system, this one goes pretty quickly. It's going to impact you really before the weekend, the second system, slower. It will be affecting each one as we go into the weekend.

Let's take each one, one by one. Here's the first one, and moves a little quicker. Some light showers over the Midwest. That would be snow showers turning into rain most likely for the Northeast by Friday or so.

Now, let's take a look at the second system, get slower moving. Right now, models differing on how much rain or snow will be getting. The big story here is really going to be how warm we talked about it being in the Southeast. Now, we have a cold system making its way near it. We have a jet stream in place. We have the threat for severe weather as we go into Saturday and Sunday.

We're talking about Paducah, Kentucky, really kind of down towards San Antonio, Texas. Saturday, straight line winds, heavy rain. Even a tornado cannot be ruled out. By Sunday, we'll see the threat shift from the East. The Carolinas, back in through Florida, we're still going to be talking about that threat for the weather in the Northeast is going to even be snow and rain. So really, a lot going on as the next systems make their way across. I'll be a busy little camper.

BOLDUAN: You definitely will be a busy. A tornado any time is horrible. Normally, it happens in the springtime.


BOLDUAN: In this weather, these temperatures, it just --

PETERSONS: You can get a peak this time of year but never a good thing come December.

BOLDUAN: Yes, thanks, Indra.


BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY: a new look for Facebook. The social network giant set to launch video ads that run automatically, but how will Facebook users react?

PETERSONS: Plus, the MMA, mixed martial arts. I love it but it's causing controversy. A battle of the sexes playing out inside the ring. They win, they got us talking about it but at what cost? Details ahead in the "Bleacher Report."


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Could we see MMA history Friday night? A man fighting a woman. Andy Scholes joins us now with details in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Remind our friends, Andy. This ain't the WWE Wrestling. I mean, I love that, too. Bur remind them what happens in the ring in an MMA fight.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, there's none -- there's none of this where, you know, they're missing each other. People get hit in the face and they get knocked out. And now the promoters in MMA, you know, they're always trying to get that shock value, get people's attention. And mission accomplished in this case.

This promotional banner has been making the rounds on the Internet. It's on It's been buzzing there. It's all over social media. It features Emerson Falcao on the left and his opponent, Juliana Velasquez, on the right.

Now Velasquez, she says she trains with men every day. She's ready for the challenge. But man this is a different animal. There's no word yet on if this contest is going to have any special rules.

And, guys, it might not actually happen. The Brazilian Mixed Martial Arts Confederation, the group that kind of polices the sport down there in Brazil, says, you know, there's no rules for a man fighting a woman but obviously, it's -- you know, it's not a fair fight.

CUOMO: Well, that's the question. That's the question.

Listen, Andy, I'm right there with you. We'll take the beatdown on this, you know, because really what you're thinking about here is safety. I mean, you know, what do you think the play is here for the MMA? Do you think they really want to see what happens, when this guy Falcao, who's no joke, by the way -- I think I mean it, you know,.

SCHOLES: Yes. Well, he was actually hurt and said he wasn't going to fight until next year. And so I guess this is -- well, they're saying he's hurt, he's going to try to fight so maybe that makes it more fair. But, you know, I'm not buying that. I still think that even though they weight the same, I think they both weigh about 135 pounds, the strength that Falcao possesses as opposed to Velasquez is -- you know, there's got to be a big, big gap.

CUOMO: I mean, what's the thought?

PEREIRA: She's no joke either, let's just say that. Let's be fair.

BOLDUAN: She's not being forced into the ring, though.

CUOMO: I don't know --


PEREIRA: She's no joke either.

CUOMO: I don't know that this is the time for that kind of political correctness, though, in terms of like she's a woman.

BOLDUAN: No, no, I'm not saying it like that.

CUOMO: She gets her respect.

BOLDUAN: No, no, no.

CUOMO: No question.

BOLDUAN: She's not being forced into the ring, though.

CUOMO: But this is no joke.

PEREIRA: Right. She has a choice.

BOLDUAN: She can --


CUOMO: I know. But, you know, you've got to say -- her mentality is I get lucky in that ring, I'm Billie Jean King. You know, I'll break all these boundaries. It's very tempting. But this ain't tennis. I mean, bad things happen in that ring. That guy would make me look different for the rest of my life inside in minutes.


BOLDUAN: Let the woman make her own decision.

PEREIRA: Which speaks to the larger discussion about MMA. Some might argue.

CUOMO: Look, I'm pro-fight. People want to watch it, we're a violent society. I'm OK with it. But, you know, what can -- what can happen? I mean, that decision has been made. You know, state by state, they're getting their approval, the people have spoken, but, you know, is this OK? What do you think? She says yes, she wants to do it.

BOLDUAN: Then let her do it.

SCHOLES: I'm sure she could whoop me but this still seems like a really, really bad idea.

BOLDUAN: Well, I can whoop you and that says a lot.


PEREIRA: Hey, wow. Wow.

CUOMO: And I'll tell you, I'd pay to see that, Andy.

SCHOLES: Yes. Not doing it.

BOLDUAN: Love you, Andy.

PEREIRA: So run while you can, Andy Scholes.

BOLDUAN: Love you, Andy Scholes. PEREIRA: Run while you can.

CUOMO: Anyway, thanks for telling us about it, pal. Got us talking.

PEREIRA: Let's talk about Facebook. Because I feel there'll be no fights on this topic because I think that we're all --

BOLDUAN: We'll find a way.

PEREIRA: -- on the same page. The social networking site is planning to start running video advertisements in your news feed that play automatically. It's a risky move that no do doubt is going to make advertisers happy, but my sense is that it could outrage millions of Facebook users.

So we're going to put this all on Brett Larson, host of "TechBytes."

First of all, let's --


BOLDUAN: Brett Larson.

PEREIRA: Let's talk about exactly what this is going to look like. All right. We know what our newsfeed looks like.

LARSON: We do.

PEREIRA: Are they going to be sort of little embedded ads that --


PEREIRA: There it is.

LARSON: There it -- it's going to -- as you -- you know, as you scroll through your Facebook news timeline, they'll just -- randomly things are going to start moving. And I mean the --


CUOMO: OK. Is it going to stop you? Is it going to be like when you want to watch a video --

PEREIRA: A forced to kind of thing?

CUOMO: -- and you have to watch this first?


LARSON: Surprisingly, no. You're actually going to be able to keep --


LARSON: Keep going.

BOLDUAN: So it's like Instagram?

LARSON: Right. My concern, though, is does your computer have the power to -- the processing power to let you scroll, and as the video plays as it goes by or is your computer going to kind of --

PEREIRA: Short jam, absolutely.

LARSON: -- choke a little bit so that you're stuck on the advertisement?

PEREIRA: Mine will. Everything chokes online.

PEREIRA: Here's another point, too.


PEREIRA: It is not going to have audio that automatically plays.

LARSON: Correct.

PEREIRA: That might be a deciding feature for some people.


PEREIRA: Because it won't -- that way you can kind of scroll past it and it won't be playing.

LARSON: Because initially when I heard about it, I thought, this is going to be like those annoying popunders, where -- and you're like where is that sound coming from? And you just close everything and mute your computer. It's not going to be that. It'll be kind of like the experience now when someone posts an Instagram video or a Vine video.


LARSON: That it just -- as you scroll by it kind of plays a little and catches your attention, and if you stop, it will --


CUOMO: That's not bad. I'm not as -- I'm not as angry as I thought it would be.

PEREIRA: You're like you went up here and then you came down.

CUOMO: Yes. Because, you know, it's not as bad to me as when, I want to watch Mick do this, and you click on it, and also I've got to watch this ad first.

BOLDUAN: Beforehand.


LARSON: It'll definitely be not as annoying. It's starting this week, too. BOLDUAN: Was this inevitable.

LARSON: It kind of is. I mean, Facebook, you know, now they're a publicly traded company with shareholders, who say --

PEREIRA: Try to monetize this all. Sure.

LARSON: You guys got to make some money off those billion users. And what better way than to start rolling out video ads.

PEREIRA: The idea that it's starting with a few users right now.

LARSON: Right.

PEREIRA: And over time or are they testing it? Are they testing the waters to see?

LARSON: I think they're testing the waters to see in the first couple of weeks. I would guess probably by the beginning of the year, most all of us will start to see it. We'll probably see one pop up here and there. They're probably going to get some premiere sponsor like a General Motors or a Ford.

PEREIRA: Right now there's a movie ad.

LARSON: Which makes sense. It makes sense to see a little 15-second trailer. But, you know, Facebook has been struggling with advertisements because people, they're not really that effective when they're on the side or they come up in your newsfeed. It's like so- and-so likes moo cards. You should like them, too.


PEREIRA: A writer actually made a really good analogy. Said it would be like a Vegas billboard going up outside your apartment building and every time you wanted to open up the curtains to look at the views, this noisy ad just kept, like, flashing.


PEREIRA: It's a bit like that.

LARSON: It is.

CUOMO: Also, Facebook has made a big push with the handheld market, second, third screen viewer.

LARSON: Right.


CUOMO: You made an interesting point about processing power. This thing --

BOLDUAN: It will suck up your data.

PEREIRA: It's different this time.

CUOMO: I wonder if -- that could choke on something.

LARSON: Very good point. And one thing that they did say is if you're not on a Wi-Fi network, so if you're on your mobile data network, you're not going to see video ads, which is good.

BOLDUAN: Really?

CUOMO: That's the key.

LARSON: Because video does kind of chew down on all the -- on the data.

BOLDUAN: That's a key point then.

PEREIRA: NEW DAY family at home, would you sound off on this? I feel like you might have an opinion about it. You can tweet us, you can get on Facebook with an ad.


BOLDUAN: But if it's a NEW DAY ad, please watch it.

CUOMO: Right.

PEREIRA: I want you to stick around for our "Must-See Moment."

BOLDUAN: Brett Larson.


PEREIRA: It's super, super, super touching. It's a Christmas miracle for some really special kiddos in Atlanta, patients at the Atlanta Children's Hospital got a huge surprise this month, a winter wonderland including snow. It's artificial snow but the joy on the children and on their family's faces is, oh, so very real.

The snowy surprise was dreamed up by the employees. The people that actually work at all three of the children's hospital locations in Atlanta. The hospital believes that every child deserves to experience the magic and wonder of the holidays. And to watch this, I'm telling you, it will change your day.

BOLDUAN: Oh, my god. That was a surprise fabulous.

PEREIRA: How about that? Beautiful. And they got to watch the snow being created, too. It's really -- it's really kind of cool. Look at that.

BOLDUAN: That is beautiful.

PEREIRA: A Christmas miracle in Atlanta.

CUOMO: Right. And who deserves it more?

LARSON: Good stuff.


CUOMO: It is indeed.

Coming up on NEW DAY, $636 million divided by two. We're live where the two winning Mega Millions jackpot tickets were sold. And we will hear from someone who's taking home a slice of the pie.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, a mother fighting for the right to keep her teenage daughter on life support after a routine tonsillectomy went horribly wrong. We've got the latest.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lottery called me and let me know, it will be a good one today.


CUOMO: The golden tickets. Two jackpot winners overnight. Who get to split $636 million. We're live where the lucky tickets were sold.

BOLDUAN: Shots fired. A gunman starts shooting at a Nevada medical center. One killed, others injured and an entire hospital put on lockdown. We're live at the scene.

PEREIRA: Miracle on the tracks. How did this blind man and his seeing eye dog survive as subway cars ran right over them? We have their amazing survival story.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.


ANNOUNCER: What you need to know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't even have tears no more because I'm all cried out. I'm so angry.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

This is NEW DAY, with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan And Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, December 18th, 7:00 in the East, and at least two dreams came true overnight on both coasts. Two winning Mega Millions tickets were sold, one in Atlanta and the other in San Jose. The holders of those tickets will split $636 million.

For the rest of us it's back to work. Jackpot isn't the only treasure, however. So here are the numbers for you. Are you ready? 8, 14, 17, 20, 39, Megaball 7.

BOLDUAN: You've got a future in that.

CUOMO: Right? Nah.


We've got reporters standing by live where both tickets were sold.

Let's begin with Dan Simon, he is at Jenny's Gift Shop in San Jose.

Dan, what's the scene?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. This is a strip mall in San Jose, California, mainly consisting of Vietnamese shops. I can tell you that the winning ticket here in San Jose was sold at Jenny's Gift Shop. The owner is a 37-year-old. Got the store just four months ago. He's got three kids and he's speaking out. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lottery called me and let me know, said, I come and take a look. You know? But everybody here. Whoa. It'll be a good one today.