Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

One Million Refugees and Migrants Entered Europe in 2015; Black Lives Matter Protest Scheduled at Mall of America; No White Christmas This Year; Top Ten Trending Stories of 2015. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired December 22, 2015 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: It's a staggering figure. The number of refugees and migrants reaching Europe by land and sea has now passed 1 million. Last year, just 219,000 refugees crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Now we're learning President Obama will host world leaders at a summit on the global refugee crisis at the United Nations next year.

Diana Magnay is watching this for us. Hi Diana.

DIANA MAGNAY, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Hi Carol. Well, you're right. One million is a huge number. Half of them are refugees from Syria but around 20 percent come from Afghanistan, 7 percent from Iraq, and then many also from persecution and poverty, fleeing persecution and poverty in Africa.

The majority have come through to Greece, and just to give you an idea of the numbers, 4,300 arrived today. Over the course of this year, some 4,000 have lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean, which makes it the deadliest route on the planet. And it's a real test case for Europe. So far Europe has not been able to pull together a coordinated strategy. And in fact, it's a real test for the sort of liberal, democratic values that Europe is supposed to stand for, as right wing politicians start to capitalize on this crisis and push anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiment.

But of course when you compare the 1 million coming into Europe, it doesn't really compare to the numbers that are in Turkey -- 2.3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. Lebanon has something like 1 million. Jordan has 600,000. So this is a global problem.

[09:35:00] That is why the U.S. president will be hosting a summit of global leaders at the U.N. next year which will be on the refugee crisis to see how the world can handle this problem. Because the UNHCR says that this year there will be 60 million displaced. That's one in every 122 people this year forced to flee from their homes. Carol?

COSTELLO: Diana Magnay, reporting live from London, thank you. Still to come in the NEWSROOM, the Mall of America going to court to prevent another protest like this from Black Lives Matter. Supposed to happen tomorrow. Will it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: The biggest shopping center in America taking on Black Lives Matter. A judge expected to rule today on whether a temporary restraining order against protesters who plan to rally at the Mall of America tomorrow. Last year, more than 1,000 Black Lives Matter protesters took over the mall during one of the busiest shopping days of the year As for tomorrow's protest, it's in response to last month's police shooting death of Jamal Clark.

With me now is the attorney for Mall of America, Susan Gaertner. Welcome.

SUSAN GAERTNER, ATTORNEY, MALL OF AMERICA: Good morning.

COSTELLO: Good morning. You've publicly called this unlawful. How are they breaking the law?

GAERTNER: Well, Carol, I want to start by taking a little bit of issue with how you led into this story by saying Mall of America is taking on Black Lives Matter. We are not. We totally respect the message. We totally respect their free speech rights. Absolutely. It just doesn't belong -- a demonstration doesn't belong on private property, and specifically in this case, Mall of America.

[09:39:59] The demonstrators like Black Lives Matter have been told time and time again that under Minnesota law, and really under U.S. Supreme Court law, a private property owner has the right to say no, demonstrations no. Come here and shop. School choirs come and sing holiday music. That is what we're about. We're not about demonstrations.

COSTELLO: Well, some might argue that the hallways inside the mall are public. The individual stores inside of the individual stores (sic) are private property. What do you say to that argument?

GAERTNER: They may make that argument, but it's been resoundly (sic) turned down by, again, the Minnesota Supreme Court, specifically relating to Mall of America.

COSTELLO: Still -- actually, tell me what happened last year when they protested inside the mall.

GAERTNER: What happened last year was, despite being informed by Mall of America that demonstrations are not allowed, despite being informed by Mall of America that the mall has a specific policy saying we do not allow demonstrations on our property, no matter how righteous the cause, despite being told that, the organizers continued to organize, to exhort people come out to the mall on the busiest shopping day of the year. And it was chaos. There was not violence, which is great. But it certainly impeded the shopping experience, frightened guests, and had an impact of lots and lots of people. I'll give you quick example. My daughter was a server at a restaurant

in the Mall of America that Saturday. She was counting, as a student, on bringing home lots of tips that very busy day. And she went home with empty pockets because the mall had to be shut down in part during prime time.

So it isn't just about Mall of America. It isn't just about the tenants. It's about 15,000 people who work there and it's about people who want to come and finish their Christmas shopping.

COSTELLO: Your daughter, I'm just curious. I don't know how in tune she was with the cause behind Black Lives Matter, but since she didn't make any tips, what does she think of them now?

GAERTNER: My daughter was and is very supportive of the cause of Black Lives Matter. And you know what? You can be supportive of the cause without supporting the methods. And in this instance, the method of disrupting private property against the clear law of Minnesota is just not supportable.

COSTELLO: So if the judge grants your order and Black Lives protesters still show up, what happens?

GAERTNER: Our hope is that the judge making it clear yet again that demonstrations at the Mall of America are not welcome and are unlawful, our hope and expectation is that the protesters will go elsewhere. One of the many, many public places where free speech is welcome and demonstrations are welcome. If they violate the law, and in this instance a specific court order, then they can be held in contempt of court. Our hope and expectation is that it won't get to that.

COSTELLO: All right, Susan Gartner, thank you so much for being with me.

As I just mentioned, Black Lives Matter leaders have vowed to protest at the Mall of America despite any legal action. With me now is Miski Noor, an organizer for Black Lives Matter in Minneapolis.

Welcome.

MISKI NOOR, ORGANIZER, BLACK LIVES MATTER MINNEAPOLIS: Hi.

COSTELLO: Hi. So Miski, Black Lives Matter put out a statement calling the Mall of America steps outrageous and totalitarian. Isn't the mall just trying to protect business owners from losing money at the busiest time of the year?

NOOR: No, not in this case. There are many different avenues that the mall could pursue to try to limit our freedom of speech, and to force us to post certain messages to the media on social media and while speaking to the media is a complete overreach and is unconstitutional in our opinion.

COSTELLO: OK, explain that for me. So Mall of America wants Black Lives Matters to take posts off of social media promoting this protest tomorrow. Is that what you're talking about?

NOOR: Yes, they are -- they want us to specifically send a message, campaign for them, to tell people to not go to the mall in support of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis. And we're simply not going to do that.

If they wanted to just keep us off their property, they're right.

[09:45:01] The State of Minnesota in Wicklund said that it is private property. We view that differently obviously. So they could essentially just give us trespassing charges if they really wanted to, to just keep us off their property if that was case. The fact that they're going for a civil suit and pursuing all this action is yet another example of them trying to persecute peaceful protesters by bringing a civil action against us.

COSTELLO: Well, I just want to make it clear for our viewers. So whatever the judge's decision, you guys still plan to show up at the Mall of America to protest.

NOOR: Yes. We are still going to be showing up. You know, we showed up last year and the court sided with us and the actions that we took for black lives. So we have a different view. The Mall of America receives billions of from the State of Minnesota to -- like in tax breaks and so on and so forth to function. They take plenty of public money so we view it as a public space.

COSTELLO: Well, here's the thing. Last year, when you guys protested, there were arrests, stores were shut down to protect shoppers and their children. Children were riding the merry-go-rounds and the roller coasters; they became fearful. That doesn't sound like a peaceful protest. It sounds like intimidation.

NOOR: Right, so I was at the mall last year and I didn't see any of that intimidation. There were families, there were children who are part of the protest. Honestly, a lot of the fear came from the overreaction of the mall of America when they called in several police forces from the surrounding suburbs, where police showed up in riot gear and the police blocked store entrances.

COSTELLO: But I'm looking at the picture there. That looks like you are blocking an entire hallway in the Mall of America. That would be kind of intimidating, don't you think? Or am I reading this wrong?

NOOR: Well, yes, it was in the rotunda area there. People were singing Christmas carols. I mean, it was peaceful. Nobody got hurt. The fact that nobody got hurt, no property was damaged, that is a prime example of our commitment to nonviolence. Because that could have gone -- Susan is completely right. That could have gone very, very badly and it didn't. And it is because of Black Lives Matter's commitment to nonviolence.

COSTELLO: But here's the thing, you heard Susan Gaertner. She said that business owners lost money. Her daughter, who support yours cause, lost money. Why should they lose money for this? Why can't you guys just protest outside the mall on a public space? NOOR: Well, because we're losing lives. People are literally being

killed. And yet again that is a perfect example, that line of thinking that Susan has, that the Mall of America has, that money is more important than people. It is not. And that is exactly what we're saying by returning to the Mall --

COSTELLO: I don't -- in fairness to Susan I don't think that's what she was saying. She wasn't saying that money is more -- she's just saying that you're affecting people's livelihoods at a time when people need the money, on one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Why not just move your protest outside? People can see you're protesting as they pull into the parliament by the parking lot by the thousands. What's wrong with that?

NOOR: Well, it also brings -- Carol, it also brings to mind the idea that Martin Luther King, Jr., even put out there, that Dr. King said, about people who agree with your message but not with your tactics. We don't need anybody to agree with our tactics, right? We're disrupting business as usual. That is the whole idea. We're not going to stand in a corner and protest, because nobody pays attention to that. We are going disrupt your life. You are going to know that business is usual in America and the world is not going to continue while black people -- unarmed black people -- are literally being shot and killed by law enforcement in the street every day.

And the mall is -- I know people get caught up in this idea about the mall not being the right venue, but the mall itself is this coliseum of capitalism. The mall practices -- the mall participates in this anti-black racism and white supremacy. The Mall of America has been investigated --

COSTELLO: But wait.

NOOR: -- by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights for violations for the way they treat people of color in the mall. So these same issues that we're seeing in police departments are manifesting in the mall, and people of color and black people are being affected negatively because of the way the mall decides to act. So that is why they are an appropriate target.

COSTELLO: All right, I have to leave it there. Miski Noor, thank you for being with me this morning.

NOOR: Thank you. I appreciate it.

COSTELLO: You're welcome.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, if you're dreaming of a White Christmas, you're in for a big letdown. Especially if you live on East Coast. It's nearly 60 degrees in New York right now. Crazy.

[09:49:47]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Oh, you can forget about a White Christmas. It's going to be a really, really Green Christmas here on the East Coast. In fact, you might want to head to the beach. Go to the Jersey Shore. What a difference from last winter when people were shoveling -- Look at that. Isn't that crazy? Temperatures are expected to soar into the 70s in New York by Thursday and stay close to that on Christmas Day.

What is up with that, Chad Myers?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: El Nino. I don't know if he's on the naughty or nice list, Carol. What about you?

COSTELLO: He's on the nice list in my book.

MYERS: I was born in Buffalo, I kind of like this. And I know when you're a kid, you want the snow, but Santa has little skateboard wheels on his sleigh. It's not big deal. He can land on all the roofs, no problem.

It has been very warm and it's going to continue to be warm for the next couple days and I think all the way through probably the end of the year. But this is what we'd expect. This is what we expect on an El Nino year. This is a typical strong El Nino pattern. Everybody in the northern part of the country should be warmer than normal. And that is what we have right now. We've called it Godzilla El Nino, it is so strong, one of the strongest we've seen.

So, January and February is going to be above normal. But that doesn't mean 60, because if normal's 20 and you're above normal, that's 25. So you could still see snow. This isn't going to be a snowless winter for sure.

(WEATHER REPORT)

It is going to be warm everywhere. In fact, I'm going to the beach. As you said I should, I'm going to Tampa, but I'm still going to the beach because it is going to be so nice. No reason to go to the mountains and try to go skiing because there's no snow. You have to go to Colorado for that, and that's just too far to drive.

COSTELLO: You know what's really funny? My husband got a job in Los Angeles and so he's living there and I'm living in New York City. And he was bragging about the warm weather out west. And it's like, huh, you got nothing on New York City.

Chad Myers, thank you so much.

MYERS: Merry Christmas, Carol. See you.

[09:55:00] COSTELLO: Merry Christmas to you, too.

In these days of rampant social media, current events can often be summed up in one pithy hashtag. Brooke Baldwin counts down the biggest trending stories of 2015.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Social media's role in breaking news is undeniable but sometimes it's the hashtags that start a movement. Here are the top ten trending hashtags for 2015.

Number ten, #guacamolewithpeas. When "The New York Times" tweeted a recipe that included peas, the Internet was skeptical. People jumped on Twitter not exactly showing love. Even the President of the United States even jumped in. But I have to tell you, I did a taste test. It was kind of delicious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really good, huh?

BALDWIN: Number nine, a little girl's body washed shore in the Boston Harbor and so the Massachusetts State Police jumped on social media, trying to get help in identifying this little #BabyDoe. More than 50 million people viewed this composite image of this little girl. After 85 days, she was identified as Bella Bond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This child, whose very name means beauty, was murdered.

BALDWIN: Her mother was charged as an accessory to murder; her boyfriend charged with murder.

Number eight, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohammed was detained at school because his teacher thought his homemade clock was a bomb. Less than six hours later, the hashtag #istandwithahmad emerged. Cue the more than 370,000 tweets all focused on the discrimination of Muslim- Americans, including one from President Obama himself inviting Ahmed to the White House.

Number seven, #welcomeCaitlynJenner.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: "Call Me Caitlyn", Caitlyn Jenner's first public appearance as Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner.

BALDWIN: The reality TV star in June introducing herself on the cover of "Vanity Fair" and with a new Twitter handle. @caitlynjenner reached 1 million followers in Guinness world record time -- four hours and three minutes.

Number six, a refugee crisis spread through Europe in 2015 as people from Syria and other countries fled war and persecution.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENRIO INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: People reach such a point where they physically, emotionally, mentally can't take it anymore. And so they eventually end up deciding to take matters into their own hands.

BALDWIN: Thousands of people used the hashtag #refugeeswelcome to call for European countries to grant them sanctuary.

Number five, Pluto may no longer be a full-size planet, but as NASA released these close-up images of the dwarf planet from its New Horizons spacecraft, Twitter users took notice. The hashtag #plutoflyby generated more than 1 million tweets on July 14, as the stunning images were transmitted back here to Earth.

Number four, choose your answer wisely. What color is this dress? Is it #blueandblack or is it #whiteandgold? The great dress debate of 2015 all started when a woman posted this polarizing garment t Tumblr. The dispute raged on Twitter, with more than 4.4 million tweets in two days.

Number three, social media celebrated the national recognition of same-sex marriage with rainbow-colored profile picture and the hashtag #lovewins.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: No state can ban gay marriage after the decision cast today.

BALDWIN: Twitter registered more than 6.2 million tweets and counting.

Number two, the hashtag #blacklivesmatter started in 2014 but it became an equal rights movement in 2015. Other hashtags were used alongside #blacklivesmatter to bring other controversial race incidents to light, one being #assaultatspringvalleyhigh, where a video showed a school resource officer violently removing a student right out of her desk.

Number one, 2015 started and ended in the shadow of horrific attacks in Paris. After terrorists attacked the offices of the "Charlie Hebdo" magazine, the world showed support by using the hashtag #jesusischarlie.

COOPER: Tens of thousands of people wearing black, black stickers proclaiming, "Je suis Charlie," I am Charlie.

BALDWIN: Ten months later, people united on Twitter with the hashtag #prayforparis to show their solidarity for the City of Light.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Thanks to Brooke Baldwin. The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO (voice-over): Happening now in the NEWSROOM -- Ted Cruz is cruising towards Trump in the polls, but the billionaire still focused on one target.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary, that's not a president.

COSTELLO: But he didn't stop there.

TRUMP: She was favored to win, and she got trumped. She lost.

COSTELLO: Even criticizing her bathroom break.

TRUMP: I know where she went. It's disgusting.

[10:00:02] COSTELLO: Also, one of New York's finest killed by a suicide attacker in Afghanistan. What kind of guy was Joe Lemm?