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German Authorities Were Aware of Suspect Previous Discussing the Attack; Russian Ambassador Mourned in Moscow; Above Average Arctic Temperatures Cause Wild Weather in Other Parts of Globe; Trump Names Beijing Skeptic to Trade Post. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired December 22, 2016 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:21] ANDREW STEVENS, HOST: I'm Andrew Stevens in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream. German police launch raids across the country to search
for this man, who's believed to be behind the terror attack at a Christmas market in Berlin.
The Russian ambassador killed in Turkey is laid to rest in Moscow with Vladimir Putin among those paying their respects.
And another sign that Donald Trump has hardened the U.S. stance towards China as he selects a critic of China to join his administration.
Police in Europe are right now on an urgent mission to track down a man they believe was responsible for Monday's terror attack at a Christmas
market in Berlin. Anis Amri, a Tunisian national, is considered armed and dangerous. A reward of more than $100,000 has been offered for any
information leading to his capture.
We've just received new information that German security services were previously aware
of Amri discussing the attack.
In the past hours, raids across Germany. Police have checked a refugee shelter where Amri lived before moving to Berlin. And we're learning about
his violent past as well, including serving jail time for arson and assault, not to mention his involvement with an ISIS recruitment network.
Well, Chris Burns has more on the suspect's criminal history, details that are just beginning
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): German authorities under scrutiny this morning, amid the search for their country's most wanted man,
24-year-old Anis Amri, the fugitive walking free months ago despite concerns about his connections to extremism.
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE), SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: One of the questions we're going to be sifting through to make sure that we understand
how German intelligence failed to intercept this particular radicalized individual.
BURNS: Amri, a native Tunisian, arrived in Germany a year and a half ago, his father telling a radio show in Tunisia that his son headed to Cologne
after spending almost four years in an Italian prison.
Italian authorities say he was convicted of damaging state property, assault and arson in September 2011. But they note he was considered a
In Germany he was quickly placed under surveillance, believed to be in touch with radical Islamists. In June his request for asylum in Germany was
denied, even as he was unable to return to his native Tunisia, because he didn't have a valid passport.
Two months later Amri was arrested after being caught with fake papers but was released. He was still considered a risk by authorities, with known
links to a radical preacher.
REP. WILL HURD (R-TX), HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: The Germans are a very good service, and they're going to put all their resources to find
this person and this killer and bring him to justice.
BURNS: Now police warning that Amri could be violent and armed, and offering an over $100,000 reward for any information leading to his arrest,
after finding his I.D. in the truck that killed 12 and injured nearly 50 this Monday.
Authorities believe Amri is part of an extensive extremist network inside Germany recruiting for ISIS. Authorities say the ring leader of the network
is this man, Abu Walla, arrested in November on terrorism charges.
STEVENS: Chris Burns reporting there.
Now, Paul Cruickshank is a CNN terrorism analyst. And he told CNN's Nina Dos Santos why it's so important that police track him down and fast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: A resounding fear that he could strike again. This is somebody very committed, they believe, to the cause,
animated by this jihadist ideology who will want to kill again and be killed in an attempt so that in his eyes, he can go to heaven.
I mean, this is incredibly powerful motivation for people like this suspect. So they're worried that just about at any time up until he gets
apprehended, he could move forward with an attack.
Now somebody clearly who knows he's cornered in the sense that his picture is all over Europe,, his name is all over Europe, there's very little
places he can now go, and so his options are basically to either hide and hide and hide, basically for a very long time, or in his eyes to go out in
some kind of blaze of glory and authorities are going to be very worried about that, but also very worried he's going to be hidden by members of
this same network that he was part of who may have addresses, which are not on the radar screen of security services, and who may be able to furnish him with either explosives or weapons, another vehicle, you know,
for follow-on attempts.
And also, there's concern that other members of this significant network in northern Germany could themselves strike.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[08:05:26] STEVENS: Paul Cruickshank there.
Now let's go to Chris Burns. He joins us live in Berlin with the latest. And Chris, I want to start with this new information that German police
were aware of Amri discussing the attack.
BURNS: Well, Andrew, this is what we're seeing on tabloids today. They knew him, they did nothing, which is not exactly right. Yes, they had
information on him. They were tracking him to a certain extent, but they were also had their hands tied legally. They wanted to deport him back to
Tunisia. He's not a refugee. He's a repeated criminal. He's a hardened criminal, very dangerous, armed and dangerous, as authorities are saying,
and they wanted to send him back, but they couldn't. They didn't have the right papers to send him back, and they finally got those papers yesterday,
two days after the attack, Andrew.
STEVENS: And just bring us up to date on the manhunt itself, just how many people are now involved? How wide is it?
BURNS: It's pretty wide. It's a massive manhunt. There are hundreds of German police involved in this, one of the recent searches was of a
refugee house in western Germany where Mr. Amri was believed to have stayed. We don't have any results from that.
German authorities are keeping things very, very close to their chest about what they are finding, who they are finding. All kinds of reports that
are swirling around that we're trying to confirm, many of them denied, so that's where we stand right now, Andrew.
STEVENS: And just coming back to that earlier point about what was known about Amri, what has been the general reaction in Germany to the fact that
this man was known to have links to ISIS, was a criminal, had been denied asylum, et cetera, but still disappeared off the radar? How is that being taken by Germans?
BURNS: Well, we're seeing in the papers this morning, there's a lot of outrage in the papers. We saw, you know, protests last night outside of
Angela Merkel's chancellory by the far right, the Alternative for Deutschland. They hope to make some political points and gather maybe some
more votes in the spring elections and the fall elections next year.
As far as the other parties, as far as the people on the street, you know, we're not seeing major
demonstrations yet. So, a lot of people just here on the street, the Christmas market is open again, people are there. A lot of security with
concrete blocks around it.
But people are getting on with their lives. So this is a big question. Angela Merkel faced four other terrorist attacks earlier this year. She
went down in the polls and bounced back up again.
Will it be the same scenario this time? That's a big question, Andrew.
STEVENS: And on the same point, will Angela Merkel have to take some much tougher decisions on surveillance, a level of intrusion if you like, into
normal Germans' lives in the name of security? Because at the moment, these liberal values, which they keep referring to, does mean that private
lives are protected, perhaps to the point where security is less affected.
BURNS: That's exactly right. I mean, a lot of Germans' minds, they have the ghosts of the Nazi past, the ghost of the Communist past, of the Stazi
here. They don't want to see this come back again. They don't want to see another police state. But at the same time, officials are saying, look, we have to do something. So yesterday,
yes, video surveillance was approved -- increased video surveillance in public places as these was approved by the cabinet. That is controlled by
Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Union. And they have approved that.
But will it get through the parliament? We're already seeing debate. Even the mayor of this part of town says, look, we've got to discuss this.
So we're going to see some resistance by the Social Democrats, by the Greens, by the Pirate Party, who staunchly defend the privacy of Germans.
It's going to be a fight up ahead, Andrew.
STEVENS: Indeed it will be.
Chris, thanks very much for that. Chris Burns joining us live from Berlin.
And on that topic of privacy versus security, we're going to be discussing that throughout the
Now let's turn from Berlin to Russia. And Russia's ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, is being laid to rest today in Moscow.
President Vladimir Putin paid his respects today in memorial. A Turkish policeman shot and
killed Karlov at an art gallery in Turkey's capital on Monday.
Well, for more reaction to that assassination, and how it could affect relations between Russia and Turkey. Here's our senior international
correspondent, Matthew Chance, in Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a very somber day of mourning here in Moscow as Russia's assassinated ambassador, Andrey
Karlov, is laid to rest after he was gunned down so publicly in the Turkish capital.
All morning we've been watching a farewell ceremony at the Russian foreign ministry with officials, including the Russian President Vladimir Putin,
paying their last respects to the ambassadr.
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, delivered the eulogy, Ambassador Karlov, I said, had the highest human qualities and made a great
contribution to the development of relations between Russia and other countries.
Well, this killing, which was caught on camera so dramatically, has shocked many Russians, it
reminded them that Russia's intervention in Syria does have consequences beyond that country's borders both Russian and Turkish leaders have vowed
that the killing will not derail efforts to improve their relations, which were only just starting to recover after Turkey shot down a Russian war
plane over Syria last year.
If anything, in fact, it seems to have pushed the two countries who support opposing sides in
the Syrian war, even closer together. Russian and Turkish foreign ministers meeting in Moscow earlier this week alongside their Iranian
counterparts, said they're now working on a road map plan to end the conflict in Syria, a new diplomatic initiative which apparently excludes
the United States.
And as I say, the killing of this ambassador to Turkey on Turkish soil may prove to be a catalyst
to that political alliance.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
STEVENS: Turning now to Syria, and heavy snow and strong winds are hampering evacuations out of eastern Aleppo. The International Committee
of the Red Cross says some 4,000 rebel fighters left on Wednesday. Efforts to get people out will likely go
on with thousands still inside the former rebel stronghold.
In Iraq, more than a dozen people are feared dead after a series of bombings near the city of Mosul. Officials say two car bombs and one
suicide attack hit a village just east of the city. Several people were wounded. ISIS has claimed responsibility for those attacks.
Nnow, the village was freed from the terrorist group last month as part of Iraq's military offensive to take back nearby Mosul.
Stay with us. More in-depth coverage on the manhunt for Germany's lead terror suspect. Now we're learning police knew he had talked about
launching an attack in Germany.
And Donald Trump taps a prominent Beijing critic to join his team. We'll get reaction from the Chinese government.
STEVENS: Welcome back to News Stream.
Now, in the past few minutes, we've learned that the suspect in the Berlin market terror attack had spoken about committing an attack in Germany
before, that's according to German investigative files CNN has looked over.
They reveal just how close his ties were to an ISIS recruitment network that had been operating inside Germany.
Now, a police informant told investigators, according to these files, that two members even offered him a place to hide.
Meanwhile, a multinational manhunt continues. Police warn 24-year-old Anis Amri is violent and could very well be armed. Now, police are forging
ahead with raids right across the country, one of them at a refugee shelter where Amri lived before moving to Berlin.
Now, as the manhunt intensifies, we're now hearing from survivors of the attack. An Italian man who is among those injured, spoke about the moment
the truck hit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIUSEPPE LA GRASSA, ATTACK SURVIVOR (through translator): We were at the market, and I just remember the sound of the truck speeding up. I turn
around to look for my wife, and I suddenly found myself on the ground. The truck hit me.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE (through translator): What did you see around you?
LA GRASSA (through translator): I saw so many people on the ground motionless. We managed to go to the exit. A paramedic took us to a hotel
and rescued us. He treated me, and then a hotel car brought us to the military hospital.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEVENS: Now, a key element that seems to be missing from this investigation is any security camera footage. Like other attacks, or in
other attacks, like the one in Brussels, or Paris, or even Boston, each frame of video was crucial to finding out who was responsible.
But because of their history, Germans have been resistant to the idea of giving the state more surveillance tools. And now some lawmakers are
starting to rethink that.
Well, joining us now with more on that is Raphael Bossong. He's a research associate at the
German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
Raphael, thank you so much for joining us. Just before we move on to that specific question about security cameras, on a broader issue, Anis Amri was
known to police. He had ties with ISIS that was known about. We are now learning he had been speaking about an attack in Germany, which police also
He had been denied asylum. He then disappeared from radar.
This is a major, major failure of intelligence, isn't it?
RAPHAEL BOSSONG, GERMAN INSTITUTE FOR INTL. AND SECURITY AFFAIRS: Well, in hindsight, it's always easy to tell a different story. I mean, there is
intense discussion on whether this person really should have been let loose from surveillance and whether they should have been detained longer,
but as far as what I know and what has been available, and information, the police and intelligence services acted according to the law. They couldn't
detain the suspect longer than they did, and that the evidence they held against him at this stage wasn't enough to charge him.
You have to remember that in Germany, we don't have detention for people with infractions
against immigration laws more than two days, and that's what actually happened.
SEVENS: Raphael, if you could just stay there for a second, we just need to move quickly to London. We'll come back and finish this interview in a
I just want to now go to Max Foster, who's standing outside Buckingham Palace in London,
where the queen and her husband Prince Philip are due to get on a helicopter soon to head on
their Christmas holiday.
The royals had to delay their Christmas plans after both of them came down with heavy colds.
Now, let's go to Max now.
Max, you're looking behind you, what's happening?
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, so the queen's helicopter is coming to land. It's my understanding he's going to up with
Prince Philip and taken off to Sandringham.
We'll have to confirm that once we see the helicopter go. But we're not going to get to see
them personally as we would have done if they'd taken the train. But they're obviously well enough to
travel, that's my understanding from this. So it does seem as though this sort of very bad cold that made them delay last minute yesterday their
travel plans up to Sandringham.
It's bad enough to make them delay the trip, but actually not as bad to keep them here for Christmas. Sandringham is an annual event for them.
They've been going every year for decades. And the whole family gathers around them, so that was part of tradition. It was quite concerning
actually that their colds were so bad that they couldn't go yesterday.
But obviously they've made adaptions to the plan. Helicopter is a solution they've come up with, and they're going to fly them all the way up to
Sandringham, so they can continue with their Christmas.
But they will be watched very closely, Andrew. They're in their 90s. They've got bad colds. They have to be very cautious in that state, but
actually, it hasn't got worse than yesterday, I think we can assume from this.
STEVENS: OK. All right, Max.
And because of their age now and obviously susceptibilities grow, are they pulling back a
lot on their public activity, their public profiles?
FOSTER: Well, they are, but I think that was part of a planned sort of deescalation, if you like, of engagement. So earlier this week, we heard
about them -- the queen decided to pull back from various charities and organizations, handed over those patronages to other members of the family.
She doesn't do long-haul travel anymore. And also, she's having to get handrails installed at events, when she's going up steps, for example.
She's still doing as much. She just isn't traveling as much. So, I think the message there is that there are no plans for abdication here, but
certainly as she gets older in her 90s, and she's incredibly active to a 90 year old, she is coming back on the workload a bit and she's handing over
more and more.
But we can hear the helicopter whirring away. They'll be getting on board and setting off to Sandringham.
So, I think it's just a case of being very careful these days. And this is really an example of
that. They're in their 90s. They're getting on. and they're under a lot more pressure in terms of health.
STEVENS: And the good news is that they're on their way, or they're soon to be on their way, to enjoy their Christmas break with their family.
Max, thanks for that update. Max Foster outside Buckingham Palace.
OK, let's return to our top story, the manhunt in Germany for the Berlin terror attacker Anis Amri and that interview with Raphael Bossong.
Raphael, thanks very much for bearing with us on this.
You were talking -- we were talking about how the German police acted according to the law, which was one of the reasons they could not hold on
to Anis Amri and he left and slipped off the radar, which brings me to the question, will the law, do you think, have to change now? Will they have
to meet a more intrusive security legislation in Germany, perhaps, to match what we've seen in the UK or in France because of this attack?
BOSSONG: Well, the discussion is going on at the moment. I would be very surprised if we
got all the way like the UK has had with this detention without being charged. I don't think that will be standing up in German constitutional
However, there is a different parallel discussion about electronic bracelets for sort of known
suspect of terrorism, or sort of (inaudible) the people who are short-list. And this has been already debated before this attack. And I think it's
going to be pushed further down the agenda.
While I can't predict whether this is going through, but I would first look into this before thinking for sort of real detention longer period.
STEVENS: And another issue that's cropped up as well is the lack of surveillance cameras in Berlin. So there's no pictures, there's no
recording of the truck smashing through the crowd or indeed the driver getting away.
I know there is now legislation being pushed through to get more surveillance. Is that likely to pass through parliament now, do you think?
BOSSONG: Well, first of all, Germany, everything is questioned also. Like in the U.S., a federal division of competence. So, yes, the federal level,
the cabinet, now sort of as one of the first reactions to the attacks forwarded legislation or the proposal to expand the use of CCTV in public
And it's not unlikely this will make it through.; however, this still doesn't necessarily mean that Berlin will take the same decision. On the
first day after the attack, Berlin state legislature -- or the mayor, decided against (inaudible) in this direction. Of course things can
change. But Berlin itself may because also of a different political government here, resist that change for a moment.
May I just say, of course there's always debate. Could it have prevented the attack? I mean, probably not. And we know also now that the sort of
perpetrator has been identified by different means. It have been faster if we had an image. But in principle, the fact that he's been identified may
take away some of the strength of the argument now for people who would be pushing for it.
STEVENS: OK. Well, just on that point, and he has been identified, but Angela Merkel is
already under attack from the right wing. They basically blame her policies for this attack.
Is she likely to move at all in a specific direction to counter that? Or will she continue to push the policies that she's now instituting?
BOSSONG: Please apologize, but I think for most sort of mainstream commentators, or the ones who have actually been encouraged not to exploit
the attacks for their sort of preset political agenda.
Everybody's been saying let's wait a little longer before we know all the facts on the table. And what I would say is that the debate in Germany has
been already shifting quite a lot in the last year. I mean, this is obviously not the first terror attack in Europe. And also in Germany, it
may also be of a smaller kind, but the concerns and the security questions have been raised before. so, it doesn't come as a shock, and in that
sense, maybe it's more a question of are we reprioritizing, are we giving acceleration to certain agendas that are already there, but not necessarily
I also would say that, you know, the elections in Germany are still several months away, and I really would sort of be surprised -- it's perhaps a bit
too early to say this is a real significant turning point yet. I mean, let's give it a few more days at least.
What will, I think, happen is we're already seeing a debate to reinforce efforts for repatriation of migrants that have no title to stay here. And
whether that's personally connected to Merkel or not, I think this is going to be the main line of political debate at the moment.
[08:25:20] STEVENS: All right, Raphael, thank you for your patience, bearing with us, and it's good to have you on the show. Raphael Bossong
there who is with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
Now, Donald Trump is doubling down on his hardline stance against China, tapping a prominent Beijing critic to head up his new White House trade
Peter Navarro has produced a documentary called "Death by China" detailing how the U.S. lost its manufacturing base to the Chinese.
He's also referred to the world's second largest economy as, quot, "the biggest trade cheater in the world."
Well, China's foreign ministry is says it's paying close to the president- elect's moves. It says the two countries share a wide range of common interests and adds that cooperation is, quote, the only right choice for
Well, CNN's senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is following the Trump transition., and he joins us now live from Palm Beach, Florida.
So Jeff, with the appointment of Peter Navarro, is this a clear indication that Donald Trump
plans to turn all this campaign talk against China actually into hard action?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it is. This is the clearest indication yet that we are getting about what Donald Trump is actually
going to do with his so-called America's first agenda.
And Peter Navarro really is at the forefront of this for all the reasons you just mentioned. The Death by China, which first was a book then became
a documentary, really became an anthem, a sound track if you will, for Donald Trump's campaign as he campaigned across Rust Belt states here in
the U.S. And he's going to name him -- the president-elect is going to name
him to lead the new office of trade inside the White House.
And it is going to be front and center in his positions and policies here, but a question here is there are also many pro-trade officials and people
who Donald Trump is appointing as well, including the ambassador to China, the governor of Iowa here, Terry Branstad, very
pro trade. Other people inside the administration pro-trade as well.
So, Andrew, it seems to me that they are setting up a so-called team of rivals on trade specifically, on China specifically, and that will be a
fascinating debate once Donald Trump takes office some 29 days from today.
STEVENS: Absolutely. I wonder how much of that debate will be aired in public.
Just on the point, let's -- we got to take a speculative approach to this. That if Peter Navarro does get his way, is it clear what he would actually
want to do?
ZELENY: It's not exactly clear what he would want to do. And of course, we know his record well. He's an economist, a professor at the University
of California at Irvine. And he has talked, of course, a lot about the loss of manufacturing, et cetera.
But so far, no specifics about what, you know, he would do to change that. But the Trump administration is at least discussing an executive action
early on, trying to put a 5 percent tariff on any foreign imports into the U.S.
Now that, again, will be very controversial among pro-business, pro-trade Republicans. So this is all going to have to be sorted out here, often
governing and the actual policies so, so much more difficult than actual campaign rhetoric here.
And that's what Donald Trump will have to reckon with.
STEVENS: Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
Now, still to come here on the show, we've got more on the manhunt for the suspect in
Monday's terror attack in Berlin. You're watching CNN.
[08:32:31] STEVENS: In the aftermath of the Berlin attack, a crucial piece of evidence appears to be missing and that is surveillance footage.
In recent decades, Germans have been resistant to the idea of giving the state more surveillance tools. Now some lawmakers are rethinking that.
Brynn Gingras shows us how cameras have helped catch terrorists everywhere.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When a bomb exploded during the 2013 Boston Marathon...
GINGRAS: ...surveillance cameras showed the smoke rising over the finish line. But that wasn't all they revealed. For investigators, footage from
street cameras exposed critical information, the faces of the Tsarnaev brothers, who set off the explosion, and the backpack they used to carry
the bomb to the race. Those pictures wallpapered the city and aided the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. His older brother, Tamarlan, was killed in a
gun battle with police.
While footage obtained from closed-circuit television sometimes depicts difficult moments to watch, each frame can be invaluable to investigators.
It often leads authorities to the suspect, as it did in Boston.
GINGRAS: In Brussels, twin explosions at the airport and a train station in March were documented by passengers.
GINGRAS: Cell phone video revealed devastated wreckage through thick smoke. But it quickly centered around this image, taken by airport cameras. Three
men pushing luggage carts, two of them suicide bombers who police believe wore gloves to conceal the detonators. After a manhunt, authorities
arrested the third man, in the hat.
On a New York City street in September, closed-circuit television shows window store fronts shattering and people running for their lives. NYPD
investigators were able to rewind the footage from street cameras and spotted Ahmed Khan Rahami (ph) in one location where a pressure-cooker bomb
Law enforcement officials say surveillance video helps to create a time line of suspect's movements before they take action. Terrorists buying
supplies in London before committing a series of attacks on the transit system in 2005. And camera footage obtained by thedailymail.com, shows
terrorists taking control of a Paris cafe during a series of attacks in 2015. One of those cameras revealing a dramatic moment when a woman's life
was spared because a suspect's gun seemingly jammed.
Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.
[08:35:12] STEVENS: Now, grieving families in Mexico want answers after Tuesday's deadly fireworks explosion. The blast killed at least 33 people.
The popular fireworks market is now just a charred graveyard where teams are combing through the rubble looking for remains.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a community still searching for answers and not just law enforcement and investigators who spent much of
the day sifting through debris, trying to figure out what led up to this explosion, but also for family members growing with the devastation and
anxiety because many still can't find their family members, their loved ones, their friends who may have been in the area at the time of the
Now, we understand that in 2005 and in 2006, there were two incidents here. That said, just a few days ago, the state government here called it's one
of the safest firework markets in Latin America. This is a market known not only across Mexico but across Latin America for the magnitude.
This is about 10 football fields big and about 300 vendors, all of which, we're told, had permits.
Leyla Santiago, CNN, Tultepec, Mexico.
STEVENS: This year is set to be warmest on record. And the North Pole is heating up faster than the rest of the world. Now, that's leading to some
pretty strange weather in several places. More on that in just a moment.
STEVENS: Welcome back. We have new information about the suspect in Monday's terror attack in Berlin. Documents show German investigators
were aware that he had previously discussed launching an attack in Germany. According to investigative files, a police
informant told authorities that Anis Amri spoke several times about carrying out an attack.
The documents also reveal how close his ties were to an ISIS recruitment network. There's a multinational manhunt now to find Amri. And police are
warning the 24-year-old Tunisian is violent and could very well be armed.
The North Pole may be experiencing its warmest Christmas this year. Scientists say temperatures in the region have shot up on Thursday, going
close to melting point.
Now, this following a worrying trend as global warming and climate change becomes more severe.
A recent U.S. federal report shows the arctic is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the
world, and there's been a massive decline in sea ice and snow.
And the arctic isn't the only place suffering from freak temperatures either. Let's get more on the strange changes we're seeing from our
meteorologist Jennifer Gray and shejoins us, of course, from the CNN weather center -- Jennifer.
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Andrew. You're right. This cold air that is normally bottled up around the North Pole is now shifting. And
so it's moving in other places. One of the reasons is because we've had a big storm around Greenland, and so it's basically shifted a lot of that
cold air over to Siberia, Russia. We are running 28 degrees above normal in the North Pole. In fact, that air is going to sink down.
Look at these temperatures across Russia and Greenland, 13 below zero, 30 below zero when the North Pole is not even a degree below zero Celsius.
And so that is a huge concern.
Look at this, from November 2016, the North Pole has run about 10 degrees above normal, but it's not just the North Pole, the Antarctic has been
running above normal as well. You can see this red blob down there, that's about 7 degrees above normal, between mid-October through mid-November.
And for this time of year, we have seen the lowest amount of sea ice ever recorded. And it's a huge problem because the less sea ice you have, the
warmer temperatures are going to be because you have more water around it. You need a good pack of sea ice to keep temperatures up there very cold.
Without it, temperatures will warm.
And so with the decline of sea ice, as you can see, from 1978 to 2014, a steady decline. So it is alarming scientists because Arctic sea ice, of
course, moderates global temperatures. Small changes can have huge effects, like I was talking about. With it shrinking, it can actually warm
the temperatures around. Melting exposes ocean surfaces. The thickness of ice is important and could accelerate climate patterns all over the
STEVENS: It's not just alarming for scientists, it's alarming - it should be alarming for just
about all of us, Jennifer.
GRAY: You're exactly right. I mean, everyone should be concerned about this because basically the Arctic is sort of a pulse for the entire globe.
And so with the melting of sea ice, of course it does bring huge concerns for areas all over the world with rising sea levels.
Also, this will create more extreme weather patterns, much more cold winters in some places
that aren't used to it, also stronger storms around places in the world, and even more ferocious typhoons, cyclones, and hurricanes as well.
STEVENS: And all this with the Paris climate accord under pressure now. Jennifer, thanks very much for that rather grim news.
On that note, we'll have to say farewell for this edition of News Stream. Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Andrew Stevens.