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Russian Military Plane Crashes with 92 Aboard; Trump to Dissolve Charitable Foundation; Illness Keeping Queen from Christmas Service; Twins Defy Odds After Complicated Surgeries; Top 10 Health Stories of 2016. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired December 25, 2016 - 07:00   ET




[07:00:33] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, what a voice. Thank you so much for making us part of your Christmas morning. We are privileged to be part of it and so grateful to have you with us. Merry Christmas to you. Happy holidays. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Merry Christmas to you.

You are listening to the Spelman College Glee Club right here in Atlanta. They're going to be with us throughout the morning. You're going to love what they have for you a little later.

PAUL: Their voices.


PAUL: We also have the very latest news for you, of course, and a look at some of the biggest stories of 2016.

I want to start with Alison Kosik with today's top stories.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi and Victor, and merry Christmas to all of you.

We've got some developing news overnight. Debris from a crashed Russian military plane has been found in the Black Sea. The plane disappeared from radar shortly after taking off from Sochi. Russia's defense ministry says 92 people including 8 crew members were aboard. It's unclear what caused the crash but one Russian official is ruling out terrorism.

For more on this, let's go to CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance who's joining us live from Moscow.

Good morning.


That's right. This aircraft, which is a Tupolev 154 model aircraft, which is an old type airliner, which used to be the workhorse of the Soviet fleet, but it's now used almost exclusively by the Russian defense ministry for VIP transports, supposedly.

This flight was on route for Moscow to Syria, and it was -- it stopped in Sochi on the Black Sea for refueling, but it was carrying, interestingly, the Red Army choir. The Alexandrov Ensemble, as it's called, which is the official choir and dance artists of the Russian military. And they were en route to Syria to stage a performance for the Russian troops stationed there.

We understand from the defense ministry that 64 of the people on board, 92 that were killed, were members of the choir and/or were dancers with the choir. So, you know, complete tragedy for them, obviously. But, already, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president has sent his condolences.

But let's take a listen to what Igor Konashenkov, the Russian defense ministry spokesman, here in Moscow had to say.


IGOR KONASHENKOV, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): Now at a distance of 1.5 kilometers off the Sochi coast, at the depth of about 70 meters, parts of a TU-154 aircraft body have been discovered. A search operation is underway. Four boats and five helicopters are currently operating in the plane search area, as well as drones. Reinforcement has been dispatched to the area.


CHANCE: Well, the Russian officials at the moment are sort of ruling out any possibility of this being a terrorist attack, although they're doing that before the investigation has been completed. They said they're focusing right now on the possibility of mechanical or pilot error to try and understand why this Tupolev 154 aircraft plunged into the sea off the Russian southern coast.

KOSIK: Certainly, a devastating event, especially happening on Christmas.

Matthew Chance -- thanks so much.

President-elect Donald Trump's controversial foundation is going away. Trump says he's doing away with the charity to avoid potential conflicts of interest once he enters office, but shutting it down may not be so simple. The foundation is under investigation in New York state for alleged misuse of donations and can't be dissolved until the investigation is over.

DNC deputy communications director Eric Walker said the move was a wilted fig leaf to cover up his, quote, "pitiful record of charitable giving." The Trump Foundation has no employees and $1 million in assets. The man who was going to be communications director in the Trump White

House has changed his mind. Jason miller who was named to the post just days ago says he's declining the job to spend more time with his family. Miller's wife is due to have the couple's second child next month. Miller's joined the Trump campaign in June.

President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania celebrating Christmas in Palm Beach, Florida. They're celebrating today but last night as you see the Trump's attended a midnight church service. They were greeted by a standing ovation from the congregation.

Buckingham Palace says a bad cold will keep Queen Elizabeth from attending a Christmas Day service. A statement put out by the palace a short a time go said she was staying home to help her recovery but will still take part in the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day. Her grandson Prince William went to church on Sunday morning with his wife Catherine and their children Gorge and Charlotte.

[07:05:07] At the Vatican, Pope Francis delivered his annual Christmas blessing before the crowd at St. Peter's Square. The pope offered his thoughts and prayers to victims of terrorism around the world. He also urged an end to fighting in Syria saying far too much blood has been spilled.

Christmas has returned to one Iraqi town after years of ISIS domination. The terror group seized Bartella in 2014 but was driven out in October.

Muhammad Lila has more now on how Christians there are celebrating.


MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a moment that many at this historic church thought they would never see. Celebrating the birth of Christ in a place once desecrated by ISIS.

ARCHBISHOP TIMTHAWES AL-SHAMANI (through translator): Even if it's ISIS, the Lord taught us to love and forgive our enemies and to pray for them. The most important thing is for us to live in harmony and peace.

LILA: ISIS overran this town more than two years ago. Everyone fled. Look closely. Bullet holes on the walls are scars that remain. ISIS broke the church's glass but not its heart.

RAIDA SHMOUN, BARTELLA RESIDENT (through translator): Happiness and sadness at the same time. This town used to be full of life but now look at it, such a desolate place. We can't live here now.

LILA: The town was recaptured by Iraqi forces in October this year. Thousands of ISIS fighters are just a few kilometers away. This is now a place of razor wire, broken buildings, and the reality of war.

NORI YOUNANI, BARTELLA RESIDENT (through translator): I could never imagine this would happen. We have lived here for more than a dozen years. We never thought we would be displaced. Our houses are destroyed. Will it be able to come back?

LILA: In town, the green of a single plastic Christmas tree breaks up the misery surrounding it. This is a place guarded by the army now. Just holding this mass requires armed soldiers at the door.

REV. PAULIS MATI, PRIEST (through translator): We need the guarantee of international protection. If there is no safety, we cannot live in this area. Today, we have no dignity. We are displaced in our own country.

LILA: Displaced but not disheartened.

YOUNANI: We have to have hope in this life. If we don't have hope, then we are finished.

LILA: The ancient hymns of one of the world's oldest Christian communities are being sung here again. A small act of life in a country that's seen so much death. Muhammad Lila, CNN.


KOSIK: All right, Muhammad. Thanks very much.

Let's check in on the Christmas forecast and also update you on the super typhoon that's bearing down on the Philippines.

Our Karen Maginnis is at the weather center live. Good morning.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And good morning and merry Christmas.

We do have quite a bit of weather to tell you about all around the globe. If you're looking for a white Christmas, it can be found, but a good portion of the United States is looking at some exceptionally warm temperatures, 15 to 20 degrees above where it should be for this time of year. But the snowfall from the four corners region of the United States, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, extending up towards the south provinces or the central provinces of Canada and into the Dakotas.

But there's quite a bit of fog, also some ice. And that's going to be very problematic from folks who are going to try to get some plans for Christmas Day. If you are not ready in place, it is going to be slow going on some of the secondary roads and certainly the interstates where you might see some whiteout conditions, especially all the way from grand forks to Bismarck to Rapid City, where wind gusts could be as high as 55 miles an hour.

But just to give you some indications just how varied these temperatures are across the U.S., we've got teens in Billings, Montana. We've got 30s and 20s across the northern tier. But look at this, 70s across the Deep South, and if you think that's exceptionally warm, it certainly is.

Some areas will come close or even beat their record high. Huntsville, Alabama, could make it to 75 degrees. Tallahassee, Florida, 82 degrees on Christmas Day. The old record goes back to just last year. They were 81 degrees last year.

Here comes some of that wet weather even in places where you would normally expect some snowfall. We're looking at rain in the forecast from Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., all the way down towards Memphis.

Now for the typhoon, it is super typhoon intensity. It has already made landfall. Winds associated with this put it at just near category five intensity.

Let's go ahead and show you some of the statistics associated with this. It has made landfall right around the Catanduanes region. It is moving towards the west. As it does it is going to weaken a little bit but not before plowing across the region.

[07:10:03] And over the past 70 years, there have been about seven Christmas Day super typhoons that have made landfall. Right now the winds associated with it at 155 miles per hour with higher gusts. Back to you, Alison.

KOSIK: Wow. Karen Maginnis, that is one monster storm. Thanks very much.

And merry Christmas to all of you. I'll throw it back to Victor and Christi.

PAUL: So, in today's fast-paced, modern world, it takes a lot more than enthusiastic reindeer to get all of the gifts to the right people in all the right places.

BLACKWELL: So, when we come back a look at all that it takes to get your presents where they need to be on time.


PAUL: Think about this: millions of packages to sort. Thousands of trucks lined up. Drivers across the country. It's a big job. Somebody's got to do it.

BLACKWELL: Our Richard Quest goes inside one of FedEx's New York sorting facilities to show us how one of the biggest shipping companies in the world gets those gifts delivered on time.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: So, all the ingredients are here. Everything is ready. Now, where are the packages?

And so the containers arrive from the airport and enter the sorting system, where, remember, everything is designed to be accurate and fast.

Within FedEx's system, this is New York. This is -- this is big stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is. Yes, it is.

We handle over 100,000 packages a day. It starts with Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. Those will -- that will be our heaviest four Mondays before peak.


At Christmas time --


QUEST: -- or at holiday time, versus a normal day, how much does your volume increase?

[07:15:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twelve million packages in the network. We're looking at over 25 million packages in the network for peak.

QUEST: If you're going to be carrying a lot of parcels over large parts of New York, you'd better be fit and ready for the battle ahead. After all, what they are carrying is the economy in motion.

The packages are now making their way down the final sorting line. The drivers are identifying the yellow stickers that tell them which packages go on their truck.

Tell me where are you going to put everything? Just throw it all in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we don't just throw it all in. We don't throw, first of all. The first thing we do, we have everything labeled up --

QUEST: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By streets and avenues, and we set it up according, going high and low.

QUEST: And also what about in terms of time of delivery?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We put our priority packages in the middle here so that we can get them all done. And when we empty out these shelves, we start hitting our standard services.

QUEST: Good. Good. Don't let me stop you. You've got -- you've got packages.


QUEST: Is this one of yours?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not. It goes down --

QUEST: That's yours. That's yours.

To say it is impressive is an understatement. The ability to double the number of packages being handled during the holiday period is outstanding. But as you can see, they have all gone, that is until tomorrow, when they'll do it all over again.

Richard Quest, CNN, at FedEx in the Bronx, New York.


PAUL: And next, a conversation with some extraordinary young people who are being honored for their efforts to save the planet. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: 2016 has just flown by.

PAUL: Oh, my gosh.

BLACKWELL: It's over already. We talked a lot about the election, of course.

[07:20:02] But some people did some really good work this year, especially when it comes to the topic of climate change.

PAUL: Yes, and not only are there resources all over the world that people are working on, but they're also working to get the younger generation involved in the whole process. Take a look.


XIUHTEZCATL MARTINEZ, CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVIST: As human beings we have a great amount of power to affect the world around us. Therefore, we have a responsibility to the care takers of our land, of our earth.

PAUL (voice-over): Wise words coming from a 16-year-old Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, an indigenous climate activist and hip-hop artist leading the way for youth to get involved in environmental sustainability.

MARTINEZ: We live in a world with so many problems that we need to rise up and meet them with just as many if not more solutions.

PAUL: He was one of five recipients awarded by the Captain Planet Foundation, an organization sparked by Ted Turner's 1991 animated series and carried on now by his daughter, Laura Turner Seydel.

(on camera): What do you think your dad would say? Do you think he really absorbs what he has birthed here in Captain Planet and the movement itself?

LAURA TURNER SEYDEL, CHAIRPERSON, CAPTAIN PLANET FOUNDATION: This for him was one of his passions, making sure that children were part of the -- they were educated and got it so that they would be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

PAUL (voice-over): Xiuhtezcatl is the youth director of Earth Guardians, it's a movement of more than 1500 global members working to combat climate change. He's starting a petition for the rights of the protestors at Standing Rock, who are fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

MARTINEZ: Not only do we have to cut our energy consumption but change the way we use it. When we look at a pipeline, it's not like let's stop this pipeline. We have to look at the other end, where are we going to go if we don't have pipelines, you know? If we get rid of the other pipe lines in the country, we do have to have another system to turn towards.

In the United States, we do not need fossil fuels to sustain our economy. We do not need fossil infrastructure projects to sustain jobs. We can do and create just as many solutions by transferring to a renewable energy infrastructure.

PAUL: His message was received by a star-studded crowd and echoed by other honorees including Ian Somerhalder and Prince Charles. Accepting the award on behalf of Prince Charles was his sustainability advisor, British environmental Tony Juniper.

(on camera): Give me, say, the causes when it comes to the environment right now that you really want to see changed?

TONY JUNIPER, SUSTAINABIITY ADVISER TO PRINCE CHARLES: One is the energy we're using in our homes and the energy we're using that's been used to make products. Another big heading is transportation and getting on airplanes and using vehicles and the other really big heading is food.

PAUL: A message to and from the future generation, failure is not an option for this front line activist.

MARTINEZ: Because each and every one of us is helping write the legacy that our generation is going to be remembered for. I say be aware of your contribution to this legacy.


BLACKWELL: Up next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta counts down the top ten health stories of 2016.

PAUL: It includes antibiotic resistance, one of the biggest health threats facing us today.



[07:25:38] PAUL: You know it is a Christmas edition -- special edition of NEW DAY when you hear voices like that.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it is.

PAUL: It is pretty spectacular. I'm Christi Paul. Thank you so much. And thank you to Spelman College Glee Club here in Atlanta, sharing their lovely voices with us.

BLACKWELL: Very talented. I'm victor Blackwell. Merry Christmas to you. They are with us throughout the morning. We've got a lot of news to get to this half hour. So, let's go right to Alison Kosik.

Alison, good morning.

KOSIK: Good morning, Victor and Christi, and merry Christmas to all of you. Let's get a check on the top stories right now.

Russian military officials say no survivors were found at the scene of a military plane crash near Sochi today. 92 people were aboard the plane. Some wreckage was found in the Black Sea. State media reports it was carrying a military music group on its way to perform at a Russian airbase in Syria. President Vladimir Putin now ordering an investigation and declaring tomorrow a day of mourning.

President-elect Donald Trump's controversial foundation is going away. Trump says he's doing away with the charity to avoid potential conflicts of interest once he takes office. But shutting it down may not be so simple. The foundation is under investigation in New York state for alleged misuse of donations and can't be dissolved until the investigation is over.

DNC deputy communications director Eric Walker said the move was what he calls a wilted fig leaf to cover up his, quote, "pitiful report of charitable giving." The Trump Foundation has no employees and has about $1 million in assets.

Israel says it is now re-evaluating its relationship with the United Nations after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is now canceling millions of dollars of contributions to U.N. organizations.

This morning, Pope Francis delivers his annual Christmas blessing before the crowds at St. Peter's square. The pope offering his thoughts and prayers to victims of terrorism around the world. He also called for urgent assistance in Aleppo and an end to fighting in Syria saying far too much blood has been spilled.

Christmas has returned to one Iraqi town after years of is domination. The terror group seized Bartella in 2014 but was driven out in October. Members of the city's displaced Christian community returned Saturday to celebrate mass inside their war torn church. The priest's message to worshippers: Christians are an inherent part of the country and we are staying.

Buckingham palace says a bad cold will keep Queen Elizabeth from attending a Christmas day service.

Our Ian Lee is in London right now.

Ian, good morning. What else are you hearing from the palace?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison.

We learned about this cold several days ago when the queen postponed her trip where she has her traditional annual Christmas vacation with other members of the royal family. We heard that it was not only her but also her husband, Prince Philip. We were expecting to see them today. This is their first public appearance since that cold was announced.

But Buckingham Palace did release this statement saying that "her majesty, the queen, will not attend church service this morning. The queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery. Her majesty will participate in royal family Christmas celebrations during the day."

So, she isn't going to be attending church but she still is going to be attending family functions.

KOSIK: Do you have anymore details, Ian, about what other members of the family are doing? Have they canceled plans to be with her?

LEE: Well, so far it seems like it's business as usual. Prince William is with his in-laws there in Berkshire up there celebrating Christmas and other members of the royal family went to church as well.

But we need to remember, the queen is 90. Prince Philip is 95. So people are watching her health quite closely.

KOSIK: All right. We are wishing her well.

Ian Lee reporting from London -- thanks very much.

And 15-month-old twins Jadon and Anias McDonald capturing the world's hearts. The boys were born conjoined at the head.

And CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, he has been following their story exclusively from surgery through separation and rehab.


[07:30:04] DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Jadon and Anias, Jadon means "God has heard", Anias, "God has answered". And for mom and dad, Nicole and Christian McDonald, their prayers have been heard and answered.

NICOLE MCDONALD, MOTHER OF JADON AND ANIAS: I never doubt that they are a miracle, not just that they were miraculously separated, it's been the miracles that took place every step of the way.

GUPTA: Miracles like Jadon's first taste of peas.

CHRISTIAN MCDONALD, FATHER OF JADON AND ANIAS: Are you excited for peas? Say, hey, we're learning. There we go.

GUPTA: Or first words.

And the simple miracle of the entire McDonald family, mom, dad, 3- year-old Aza (ph) and his two little brothers Jadon and Anias being able to spend time together as a family. Conjoined at the head, Jadon and Anias were born sharing 1 1/2 centimeters of brain tissue fused together.

But they've defied the odds. They've endured four different operations, the most recent lasting 27 hours to separate the two of them.

I came to visit them one last time at their hospital before they moved to a children's rehab facility.

(on camera): Hey, guys.

C. MCDONALD: Dr. Gupta.

Good to see you.


N. MCDONALD: For sure.

GUPTA: You guys have changed a lot already. Just a few weeks.

So, Jadon was starting to talk, babble before the operation. I remember you mentioning Anias used to like to look at the read books and things.


GUPTA: Do you think they're sort of back at that level from before the operation?

N. MCDONALD: Yes. I mean, Anias has become my talker. He talks all day.

GUPTA: It is two months to the day --


GUPTA: -- they've been separated. Does that surprise you? Did you -- Christian, did you have any expectations to how long that part was going to take?

C. MCDONALD: I -- I didn't have any expectations. You know, I knew it was just going to kind of depend on them and depend on God. Dr. Goodrich said they have, you know, came back from this quicker than any set of twins.

GUPTA: I heard that.

C. MCDONALD: They've all recovered quicker than any set of twins. He said they've defied all the textbooks. You know, he said thankfully they didn't read the book so, you know, they are doing -- they're flying. You know, they're doing really well.

GUPTA: Are you nervous to leave?


GUPTA: Excited.

N. MCDONALD: I'm excited. There are different things. There's different things, you know? A new set of people to teach all their nuances, you know? I know that they're going to take care of them, you know, but I just have to reinforce the trust with a whole new group of people.

GUPTA: And now this.

N. MCDONALD: Now this.

GUPTA: Separated, doing well, breathing, interacting.

N. MCDONALD: Yes, poking each other in the eyeballs.

GUPTA: Poking each other in the eye.

N. MCDONALD: Poking each other.

GUPTA: They're going to be true brothers. I love how Jadon smiles after he gives his brother a little poke.

N. MCDONALD: Yes. Can I pick you up?

GUPTA: Don't tease me, mommy.

(voice-over): When the boys were first born, Nicole and Christian would take them for rides around the hospital in a red wagon. And now, they're leaving side by side in another red wagon.


GUPTA: For the McDonald's, good-bye is bittersweet.

C. MCDONALD: Thanks for everything. I'm sure we're going to see you again. It's been great. Y'all have been doing a great job.

GUPTA (on camera): The whole world is watching you guys. The whole world. I know that for a fact.

N. MCDONALD: Hi. Hi, little Jayden.

GUPTA (voice-over): And now, it is time to say good-bye to their adopted family and adopted home.

N. MCDONALD: Are you ready to go for a ride?

GUPTA: But it's also hello to a new home.

N. MCDONALD: Do you see your new home?

GUPTA: And hopefully to some more miracles.

N MCDONALD: What's in here? Look. Your eyes are everywhere.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, New York. N. MCDONALD: It's OK.


BLACKWELL: Brandishing a scraper, nail polish remover and a can of red spray paint. A 70-year-old grandmother in Germany is out on the streets of Berlin vowing to stamp out hateful graffiti. We have her story next.


[07:37:40] PAUL: So, despite threats, a 70-year-old grandmother in Germany has made it her mission to fight hateful graffiti. She is doing this one at a time.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Atika Shubert went to meet her on the streets of Berlin.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventy-year-old Irmela Schramm scours the streets of Berlin armed with a scraper, can of spray paint and nail polish remover.

Then, she sees it, a Nazi swastika amid the graffiti, she gets to work. Schramm calls herself "Pulit-Putze" a political cleaner of neo- Nazi and racist graffiti and every week, Schramm spends up to 17 hours scraping off racist stickers and painting over swastikas with hearts.

"I could look at that swastika and say, 'oh, that's awful' and walk by," she says, "but no one would dare to do anything. Well, I don't want to wait for someone else to do something about it," she says.

At home, Schramm shows us her catalog of work. It started 30 years ago when she spotted a flyer supporting convicted war criminal Rudolph Hess plastered to her bus stop. Disgusted, she took her house keys and scratched the flyer off.

"I just scrubbed it away until it was all gone," she says. "It was a fantastic feeling afterwards. The mind pollution was gone."

It has become a personal mission and has taken her across Germany and six other countries. She says she has cleaned more than 130,000 neo- Nazi symbols and racist graffiti, and the amount she sees on the street is increasing, she says, especially against refugees.

"People tell me I am intolerant, that I don't respect the far right's freedom of speech", she says. "But I say, freedom of speech has limits. It ends where hatred and contempt for humanity begins."

Neo-Nazi groups have sent her death threats. Police had warned that her work is too provocative and that she could face thousands of dollars in fines for defacing public property. On a day we tagged along, a Berlin cleaning crew was annoyed.

"I like what you're doing says the cleaner but not the way you're doing it." Well, Schramm dismisses the cleaners with a laugh as she does with most of her critics.

[07:40:05] Just as about she called it a day, Schramm spots a big one across the street, Nazi Kiez or Nazi neighborhood. She whips out her can of red spray paint and gets to work.

This graffiti war is a never ending battle, but Schramm seems happy to continue the fight one heart at a time.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.



BLACKWELL: Secret Santa, let's talk about it. Tradition for a lot of people and actually something our team is embracing this year, although we're having some trouble deciding how to interpret the rules. Is the secret Santa supposed to reveal him or herself? When they hand over the present or is it always a secret?

PAUL: OK. So, let's take this to the next level here. Imagine opening a box and finding out, hmm, Bill Gates is your secret Santa.

BLACKWELL: Good Christmas.

PAUL: All right. I'd be freaking out, too. It is a very, merry Christmas though, for this lucky lady.


SUBTITLE: A Louisiana woman got the Secret Santa package of a lifetime from Bill Gates.

Aerrix, the gift recipient, was selected through Reddit's Secret Santa Gift exchange.

Gates sent her a freakin huge box of goodies, including Zelda mittens for her and her dog, the Minecraft edition Xbox One, Harry Potter slippers, husband and Gates in a Zelda frame, and a photoshopped picture o Aerrix, her husband and Gates in a Zelda frame.

Gates has been participating in Reddit's Secret Santa since at least 2013.


PAUL: So, I tried to do some extreme Christmas lights, it never works, because they're always burning out. Like there's a whole string that's out and then a whole string that's not.

BLACKWELL: And then they never really match string to string. I was given 200 lights. You get two strings, make the most of it.


[07:45:01] BLACKWELL: Really wasn't that extreme when I was a kid. PAUL: Good luck with that. Yeah.

But this time in southwest England, want to take you here. Two brothers, they covered their mother's house with thousands of lights every year. They do it for a good cause.


PAUL: They give her some money.

BLACKWELL: They do. Take a look.


LEE & PAUL BRAILSFORD, CHRISTMAS LIGHT ENTHUSIAST: Christmas in Bristol, we decorate every year. Our mom's house. She lends it to us.

We started back in 1994. We brought our first little -- it's like the Christmas tree.

Yes. What do you call, a silhouette.

Silhouette of a Christmas tree.

Christmas, we wanted the tradition.

We have had Americans visit in Bristol.

We got into the Australian newspaper.

We did. I think that was last year we got into the Australian newspaper.

Some people travel a good few miles to come see a decent set of Christmas lights.

We just had a little bit of an easier task.

A couple of hours.

We do get problems with the wind. Stuff up on the roof blowing like reindeers off the roof.

You see what you can do to fasten it down.


My favorite, everybody asks us are we renting?

The nativity is my favorite.

That's our number one question.

The electric.

How much does it cost?

We used to do a big turn on ceremony of the lights. Just a few neighbors come out and family. It got so big we've done a main event.

We have burgers, hot dogs.

We've been raising money for some children's hospital for about, what, eight, nine years now?


They're able to do what we can do. This is our hobby. It's like our hobby is raising money for children's hospital.

We stand by their side and some people don't necessarily know the display. You hear the lovely comments.

There's a look in it. You know? It's like really warm now when you see it. It's not just for kids, it's for all ages, you know?


PAUL: Next, we have more music from Spelman College Glee Club. But first, their Christmas concert this year along with Morehouse College Glee Club.

BLACKWELL: Great music as we go to break. Stay with us.




BLACKWELL: Well, I'm sure you remember these, the skyrocketing cost of EpiPens, that risky operation of separating two boys joined at the head.

PAUL: Yes. I mean, we couldn't stop talking about them. But Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the top 10 health stories we're all going to remember from 2016.


GUPTA: I'm kicking off my list this year with a bit of deja vu.

This could be the biggest health threat facing us today, antibiotic resistance. Sure enough, in May, the United States saw its first bacterial infection, resistant to everything we know, all antibiotics of last resort. The CDC called this rare strain of E. coli a warning sign, more than a catastrophe. But caution, we're likely to see more super bugs if we don't cut back on overuse of antibiotics.

Move over Martin Shkreli. In August, Americans got angry about the skyrocketing cost of EpiPen. Drug maker Mylan has hiked the price 15 times since 2009. It's now up 400 percent to $609 for a two-pack. The company responded to the outrage by offering severe allergy

sufferers, saving cards, coupons, even promising a generic version of the life-saving drug in a matter of weeks. But it didn't hit the market until four months later.

In October, we introduced you to two beautiful boys, craniopagus twins, Jadon and Anias McDonald, joined at the head. Their brains fused together.

[07:55:00] Without undergoing a risky operation, their chances at long term survival were slim.

CNN was there inside the operating room for the entire complicated and risky 27-hour procedure.

The boys pulled through. And we're going to follow their story as they enter rehab and continue on their remarkable road to recovery.

ANNOUNCER: And lift-off, the year in space starts now.

GUPTA: March 27th, 2015, astronaut Scott Kelly blasts off for his historic mission aboard the International Space Station.

Station, this is CNN, how do you hear me?

SCOTT KELLY, ASTRONAUT: I hear you loud and clear, welcome aboard the space station.

GUPTA: Along with his brother mark back on earth, the Kelly brothers are subjects of NASA's twin study. The goal? Measure the impact for long space flight has on the human body, physically and mentally, in anticipation of years-long missions to Mars and beyond.

Scott Kelly landed back on earth in 2016 after spending a record- setting 340 days in space.

In July, I traveled to Palo Alto, California, for an exclusive interview with Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes who had been laying low for months following damning reporting by "The Wall Street Journal" and ultimately federal investigation, sanctions and multiple lawsuits revolving around its mini lab, a proprietary blood testing device. In 2014, Forbes had valued the company at $9 billion.

It's probably the most important question I think anybody who's watching has about this, does it work?


GUPTA: You're confident in that?

HOLMES: I am confident in that.

GUPTA: As 2016 comes to a close, Theranos is valued at zero. It has shaken up its operations and its board of directors.

For years, we've been reporting on the country's opioid epidemic, but it wasn't until this April 21st that the nationwide crisis finally grabbed everyone's attention.

ANNOUNCER: CNN breaking news.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has confirmed that the artist, Prince, is dead.

GUPTA: Prince died of a fentanyl overdose, a synthetic painkiller 50 times more powerful than heroin. Overdoses are now the most common cause of unintentional death in America.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're here to talk about an epidemic that kills 78 Americans every single day. That's one death every 19 minutes from an opioid overdose.

GUPTA: Anderson Cooper and I hosted a town hall to bring to light this epidemic quietly killing people in the shadows. We need solutions, and that begins with doctors cutting back on excessive painkiller prescriptions.

In January, I travelled to Flint, Michigan, a town still reeling from an April 2014 decision to switch its water supply to the highly contaminated Flint River, levels of lead in the water were testing off the charts?

Five parts per billion would be cost for concern. Five thousand parts per billion is associated with toxic waste. This home, 13,000 parts per billion.

In October 16, 2015, Flint switched back to the Detroit's water supply, but the damage was already done. Many residents still need to boil their water before drinking it and pipe infrastructure needs to be replaced. At an estimated cost of $55 million.

2016 was the first time most Americans heard of the Zika virus.

An outbreak began last year in Brazil, and saw the heartbreaking pictures of babies born with microcephaly, abnormally small heads and brains. It wasn't long until the virus invaded the United States. Anyone exposed needs to practice safe sex for a full six months.

2016 presidential campaign was truly unprecedented. From a health perspective, neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump released as much medical information as past candidates for commander-in-chief. But the single document that invited the most scrutiny was a bizarre letter written by Dr. Bornstein, Donald Trump's physician.

It was riddled with typos, Trumpian language and medical terminology no doctor I know would ever use.

One of the cornerstone's of Donald Trump's successful presidential campaign was his promise to --

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Repeal and replace Obamacare.

GUPTA: So, no surprise -- the supporters were shocked when after he was elected -- INTERVIEWER: Let me ask you about Obamacare. Are you going to make

sure that people with preconditions are still covered?

TRUMP: Yes, because it happens to be one of the strongest assets.

INTERVIEWER: You're going to keep that?

TRUMP: Also for their children living with their parents for extended, we're going to --

INTERVIEWER: You're going to keep that?

TRUMP: -- very much try to keep that.

GUPTA: But will what change with your health care once Trump takes office? We'll be watching in 2017.