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New York's New Mayor; Minneapolis Blast; Kim Jong-un Speaks; Obamacare Coverage Begins; Supreme Court Delays Contraception Coverage Mandate; Pope Francis and the Year Ahead for the Catholic Church; De Blasio Sworn In; Kerry Travels to Middle East; Russian Ship Still Trapped; Zappo's Tries No Bosses, No Manager

Aired January 1, 2014 - 12:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Mayor of the nation's largest city in two decades. Former President Bill Clinton, he is actually going to administer the oath of office. Our Susan Candiotti and our political analyst, John Avlon, joining us from New York.

It is a big day for a lot of folks. A lot of people are watching this for a number of reasons. We should point out that he already is mayor. He took the official oath just after midnight. And it was interesting to watch this. This is right outside his Brooklyn home.

And, Susan, the pictures last night, when you see it, it really paints the picture here of minutes after midnight, just outside the Park Slope Brooklyn home there with his wife, Chirlane, by his side, his son Dante is in jeans, daughter Chiara in their festive party hat. It says folksy. It says informal. So how is this hour going to look a little different?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think he - I think everyone's looking forward to him being a self-proclaimed populist mayor. For the first time, a Democrat in office for more than 20 years. And again, making that initial appearance, the private swearing in ceremony on the street outside his home in Brooklyn.

And now, we're about to see the huge public swearing in by none other than former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He worked for both of them years ago in Bill Clinton's administration and then headed, before she was elected senator, the Senate -- first Senate campaign for Hillary Clinton as her campaign manager in New York state.


And, John, let's talk a little bit about the role that he has here. He's the first Democratic mayor of the city in two decades here. And "The New York Times" calling him an assertive, tax the rich liberal. But he does need the governor, Andrew Cuomo, and state legislators to make a lot of the things that he wants to have happen. What does he have the power to do right away? Because a lot of people want to see this -- they see it almost as an experiment of New York City, a city of that size, and social policy, the kinds of changes he wants to making JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that's the key question. I mean happily for Bill de Blasio, he was Andrew Cuomo's deputy when they were - when Andrew Cuomo was housing and urban development secretary under Bill Clinton. So they have a relationship going a long way back.

But you really cut on the core issue for why Bill de Blasio's election is being seen as a national bellwether by some hopeful liberal Democrats. Not only the first Democrat in 20 years to lead America's largest city, but someone who campaigned explicitly as a progressive populist. So this is the beginning of a liberal experiment in New York City, the likes of which we haven't seen in decades.

The last two decades under Republican Rudy Giuliani and Independent Mike Bloomberg really saw the city's resurgence. So one of the real question is, can this liberal agenda be implemented by Mayor de Blasio, while also keeping in place the gains that have been made over the last 20 years, in particular with public safety.

MALVEAUX: And, Susan, I want to throw it back to you there, because we're looking at pictures of the family from earlier in the campaign and they're doing their - they're doing their dance, their family dance, where they all like to - you know, in victory there. And it really has captured not only the city's attention but the nation's attention when they take a look at this very close, interracial family. The kids playing a central role in the campaign. New Yorkers really seem to connect with this family. What do they bring to the table, do you think, that's different perhaps than the Bloomberg era?

CANDIOTTI: Well, I think it's just a matter of personality. This is the first time you'll see a family and actually living in Gracie Mansion, the residence of the mayor of New York City. So you have multi generations in play here compared to Mayor Bloomberg. And as you said, and by the way, I guess let's guess now, are we going to see the dance? Yes, I bet we're going to see the dance at the swearing in ceremony. Let's see who else joins in.

But, you know, it will be interesting indeed to see how the family plays into it, what kind of role his wife will play as the wife of the mayor and what causes she will take up. She hasn't said yet. But a lot of -- as John is pointing out, it's whether he is going to be successful in getting these populist ideas through. And one of them being to tax the wealthy to try to provide or implement some of the policies that he's talking about.

MALVEAUX: All right, Susan, John, we're going to wait. We'll see if we see that dance. We probably will see that dance just moments away from this ceremonial inauguration. Stick with us. We'll get back to you as soon as it starts.

I want to also talk about this developing story. This is out of Minneapolis. An explosion and a fire decimating an apartment building this morning. Thirteen people are hurt from this, six of them critically, actually, according to fire officials. They say it is possible that people are still inside. One of the obstacles for the firefighters is the brutal cold, the weather. It feels like it is 19 below zero. Our Ted Rowlands is covering the story from the Chicago bureau.

Is that true, Ted, are people possibly still inside?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what they are fearing, Suzanne. And you look at the pictures, they're very dramatic. This was an explosion that was reported at 8:20 Central Time this morning. And initially when firefighters arrived, they had difficulty fighting this fire, not only because of the immense flames and smoke coming out, but because of the cold temperatures, 20 below zero, with the windchill factor.

Hoses are freezing up. People jumped out of that building. In fact, medical personnel in Minneapolis say some of the injured that they are treating right now are -- they have sustained trauma injuries from jumping off of the third floor of this three-story apartment building.

They do not know the cause of this explosion, but if you just look at those pictures and you can only imagine how people were awoken by this and what they're going through. A lot of work still to be done on this developing story. You mentioned 13 people, some of them critically injured. They're being treated. And then the big thing is, they want to get this thing completely out, get in there and see if there are any other people trapped inside there. Those people, obviously, would be dead. But at this point, though, no fatalities, believe it or not. When you look at those pictures, hard to believe.

MALVEAUX: And, Ted, I can only imagine just the weather. I mean it is brutally cold. How is that impacting the ability just to try to figure what's going on inside?

ROWLANDS: Well, you know, this is Minneapolis. So they are used to cold weather there and fighting fires in cold weather. But specifically this morning, they have had trouble with some of the water freezing up as they're trying to get it onto this fire. It's something they have to deal with. It's also very dangerous for the firefighters. What they're doing is they're rotating in shifts, getting people in and out, so that they don't suffer from frostbite or hypothermia. And it just -- it adds another element to a very chaotic scene.

MALVEAUX: Sure. All right, Ted, we certainly hope that they are safe. We wish them the best there.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush, she is in a Houston hospital. A family spokesman says that the 88-year-old is getting treatment for a respiratory related issue. Says she's in great spirits, has already received visits from her husband and family. Former President Bill Clinton tweeted well wishes to her as well saying, "I'll be rooting for Barbara Bush's full recovery while she's rooting for Baylor today. All my best to her and George H.W. Bush."

Here's more of what we're working on for AROUND THE WORLD.

Pope Francis having quite the year. So, what does 2014 bring for the Catholic Church. We'll take a look at the possible changes up ahead. Plus, imagine this -- pretty awesome, actually -- going to work with no bosses. That's right. No job titles, no managers. Well, the online retailers Zappos trying all that out. We're going to explain how this works.


MALVEAUX: All right. Want to take you live here. You're looking at city hall. This is New York City, of course. And this is the ceremonial inauguration of the new mayor, Bill de Blasio. We just saw moments ago they were introduced. The whole family came out there at the steps of city hall. The mayor, his wife Chirlane as well as his two children.

Earlier today, we also got some pictures in. They actually took the subway in from their Brooklyn home to get to the ceremony earlier today. You see that there. And they ran into the outgoing mayor, Michael Bloomberg, there. And he actually tweeted something well wishes earlier this morning. Mike Bloomberg tweeting, "best of luck to the de Blasio administration. May the best days for our city be ahead of us."

We're going to be taking you live to that ceremony, the former president, Bill Clinton, is there, as well as former Secretary of State and New York state senator Hillary Clinton. They are both there, as well. You can see the color guard and the choir getting ready to kick off the ceremony. And as soon as it begins in earnest, we'll take it back live.

Here are also some stories making news around the world right now.

Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a new year's visit to victims of this week's suicide bombings. Thirty-four people were killed at a railway station on a trolley bus in Volgograd. That was on Sunday and Monday. No group has claimed responsibility for those attacks.

Now, Putin said Russia would continue the fight against terrorists until their, quote, "complete annihilation." The blasts come just six weeks before Russia hosts the winter Olympics, raising fears of terrorism at that event. The games will be held in the town of Sochi. That is on the western edge of the North Caucasus, which insurgents want to turn into an Islamic state.

In Grenoble, France, doctors say that racing great Michael Schumacher has shown some signs of improvement, but he is not out of danger yet. He is still in critical condition, but stable condition, after a skiing accident in the French Alps. The most successful Formula 1 driver in history is in a medically induced coma after suffering head injuries on Sunday. Schumacher hit his head on a rock when he fell, cracking his helmet on impact.

Kim Jong-un is now talking about the uncle he had executed last month. Now, this is the first time that he has really addressed the topic in public. Kim referred to his former mentor as filth and said the ruling party is stronger now that he's gone. Well, Kim also ranging in 2014 with more threats against South Korea, as well as the United States. CNN's Karl Penhaul's got the story.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a new year greeting combined with the North Korea state of the union address. In the televised speech, Leader Kim Jong-un sketched out economic plans for 2014 that included boosting food production with new livestock projects and growing vegetables in greenhouses. He also forecast that a series of hydroelectric power plants would be completed this year.

On the political front, he justified the purge of what he termed factionalist filth in order to strengthen the ruling workers party, presumably a reference to the execution of his uncle in December on charges of treason and corruption.

KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): We took the resolute measure of removing factionalists lurking in the party. As a party detected (ph) and pushed (ph) the contrarevolutionary (ph) factionalists, the party of revolutionary (ph) ranks were further consolidated and our single hearted unity was solidified.

PENHAUL: Early 2013 saw mentions soar on the Korean peninsula as the North appeared to threaten missile and nuclear attacks on the South and even on the U.S. In his new year's speech, the North Korean leader sounded more conciliatory. He said he regarded peace as precious and called for improved relations with South Korea. But he also blamed the U.S. and South Korean government for war mongering, particularly because they stage annual joint military exercises.

JONG-UN (through translator): The U.S. and South Korea war maniacs have deployed legions of equipment for a nuclear war in and around the Korean peninsula. This precipitates a critical situation where any accidental military skirmish may lead to an all-out war. That would result in a deadly nuclear catastrophe and the United States will never be safe.

PENHAUL: Earlier, state media published photos of Swiss educated Kim Jong-un and North Korea's first ski resort, which now seems to be open for business. Critics say the resort, complete with its Swedish made snow making machines, will be a playground for North Korea's political elite, not for ordinary people. But it could bring in much needed hard currency as North Korea says it will be open to foreigners.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Seoul.


MALVEAUX: And the pope gave a moving new year's message to tens of thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square today. We're going to have that for you up next.


MALVEAUX: Healthcare under Obamacare begins today. More than 2 million have actually signed up so far. The administration had hoped it would be 3 million enrolled by now, but the botched website rollout kind of slowed things down a little bit.

The administration is now saying that the system is working much better now, and the plan offers subsidies help low income folks get coverage, also sets minimum standards for care for insurance companies.

The U.S. Supreme Court actually has stepped in to prevent two Catholic charities from being mandated to provide contraception, at least for now.

The charities based in Denver and Illinois had filed a lawsuit saying the mandate violated their religious and moral beliefs.

Well, the Supreme Court order will also delay implementing contraception mandates for dozens of religious groups that filed separate appeals.

Now, churches and houses of worship are already exempt from that mandate.

And Pope Francis made an impassioned appeal to the world. His new year's message, he says, end the wars. He said too many people are indifferent to violence and injustice and, quote, "everyone must be committed to building a society that is truly just and caring."

The pope spoke before tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square. So what is the people's pope going to do to mark the Catholic Church, and how is he going to change it in 2014?

Erin McLaughlin takes a look at what's ahead.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nine months into his papacy, Pope Francis has transformed the Roman Catholic Church.

There were symbolic gestures and some reforms inside the Vatican. 2014 promises more change.

FRACIS X. ROCCA, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE: It's largely been a matter of style and words and gestures which have electrified people and excited everybody and drawn a lot of attention. But now we're going to start to see some concrete changes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Many hope that the first pope from Latin America will bring greater diversity to the body responsible for selecting the next pope.

In February, Francis is expected to appoint at least 14 new cardinal electors, and then new saints. Two popes are to be canonized on the same day in April, John the XXIII, seen by many as a liberal reformer, and John Paul II, seen as more conservative.

ROCCA: There's a lot of tension among some Catholics over these two figures. We can infer that he's saying, look, there's a continuity here. There isn't really a conflict. There isn't really a tension. This is all part of the same tradition.

MCLAUGHLIN: Then Francis will follow in the footsteps of his predecessors.

In May, he is expected to travel to the Holy Land with stops in Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Territories.

And possibly big news in October at the synod of bishops. They're expected to discuss whether it should be easier for divorced and remarried Catholics to take communion.

ROCCA: And the pope himself said last summer that this is a time of mercy. And we need to be merciful to people in that situation, which a lot of people took to mean he's considering making it easier for them to receive the sacrament.

MCLAUGHLIN: So Pope Francis already has a lot going on in 2014.

One of his biggest challenges ahead? Reforming the Vatican. His Christmas message to the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church -- cut back on gossip and focus on service.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Rome.


MALVEAUX: Well, the ice trapped them, but the weather is now holding them hostage.

The passengers who have been stuck in the Antarctic for more than a week will have to keep their spirits up for at least another day.

That story, coming up next.


MALVEAUX: We're watching live pictures here of New York City's liberal new mayor, Bill de Blasio, about to take the ceremonial oath of office.

There are four different religious leaders who are actually on stage for the invocation, for the blessing, there. We are monitoring this.

This is the steps of city hall, and later, we will see former President Bill Clinton who will actually administer the oath of office. But his wife former secretary of state and former New York Senator Hillary Clinton, she is also there, as well.

And the de Blasio family a lot of character there, people have been watching the race and it's captured international attention just because of the multicultural nature of it, the de Blasio family, that being Bill de Blasio, his wife Chirlane McCray, their 19-year-old daughter Chiara and son Dante, all prominent in the campaign.

De Blasio is the first Democratic mayor of New York City now in two decades. Secretary of State John Kerry off to the Middle East today. He's going to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

State Department officials say that Kerry is going to give them a rough draft of what a final peace agreement might look like.

Now, so far the two sides, they have not made much progress, but earlier in the week, Israel did make good on a promise it made over the summer when the peace talks first began.

Twenty-six Palestinians who spent decades in prison were released. Israel called it a goodwill gesture.

Those folks who've been stuck for more than a week in the Antarctic, it's really kind of amazing. They've been singing. They've been dancing, having a good time. At least that's what they've been showing us on the videos, right?

It's hard to believe they are trapped in one of the most hostile places on the planet. And they've still got to be rescued here. You've got to wonder how much longer all of this singing and dancing is going to last.

Looks like they're at least going to have to wait until tomorrow at the earliest to get out of there.

Anna Coren, she's got an update for us.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, finally some encouraging news for the 74 passengers and crew on board the research vessel stuck in ice in Antarctica since Christmas.

We've just off the phone with Captain Murray Doyle of the Australian ice breaker that's come to assist, and he believes that the rescue could begin as early as Thursday morning.

At the moment, they are 12 nautical miles away from the vessel, but only two nautical miles from the Chinese ice breaker that's also come to help.

The Chinese ship is in a holding position because the ice surrounding it is so deep. But once the Australian vessel arrives, it's hoped the two vessels can be together reach open water.

If that happens, a helicopter on the Chinese ship will fly to the research ship and evacuate scientists and journalists in groups of 12 to 15. They'll then be transported by barge to the Australian ice breaker where they will stop at Casey, an Australian base in Antarctica before heading back to Australia.

The 22 crew will remain on the stranded vessel until the ice loosens up. They have ample supplies and will also be restocked.

Despite the situation, everyone on board is in remarkable spirits. Their plight has, of course, attracted the attention of the world's media, including our Anderson Cooper, who spoke to them on New Year's Eve.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You guys are really keeping up morale?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're working hard to keep everyone going and everyone's been fantastic, been a great team spirit and just looking forward to getting home, really.


COREN: Bad weather has been the biggest obstacle in reaching the research ship.

But according to the Australian captain who, of course, is en route to their aid, the skies have now cleared, a promising sign for the rescue teams and those on board the stranded vessel.


MALVEAUX: All right. Hope so.

Wall Street had a banner year in 2013, closing out with record highs. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 26 percent for the year. The NASDAQ surged nearly 40 percent to highs not seen in more than a decade, but it was not a good year for bonds or gold.

For now, many analysts believe stocks can move even higher in 2014 with a strengthening economy fueling growth in corporate profits.

So, your resolution might be to look for a new job because you don't like your boss. Imagine a workplace where there just -- there is no boss, no managers.

The online retailer Zappo's is trying that concept -- that very concept out. Just because employees are not going to have a boss yelling at them necessarily doesn't give them a license to be slackers.

Alison Kosik, she can explain.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's a system called holacracy from the Greek word meaning "a whole that's part of a greater whole." Holacracy does away with formal job titles and managers, the traditional hierarchy you'd have in a workplace.