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Russian Military Plane Crashes with 92 Aboard; Trump to Dissolve Charitable Foundation; Super Typhoon Bears Down on the Philippines; Spreading a Message of Hope After a Tumultuous Year; Celebrating Christmas Across the Globe; Illness Keeping Queen from Christmas Service; 2016 Top 10 Moments in Media; Santa University. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired December 25, 2016 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:20] 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 to you. 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: Oh, the voices, yes.


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

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

Good morning, Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi and Victor.

And we've got 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 eight crew members were on board.

Now, it's unclear what caused the crash. But one Russian official is ruling out terrorism.

CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has the latest.


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: Matthew Chance, thanks very much.

And President-elect's Donald Trump's controversial foundation is going away. Trump said he's doing away with it to avoid conflicts of interest. 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 dis0 solved until the investigation is over.

DNC deputy communications director Eric Walker said the move was what he called a wilted fig leaf to cover up his, quote, "pitiful record of charitable giving". The Trump Foundation has no employees and has about $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 joined the Trump campaign in June.

President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania celebrating Christmas in Palm Beach, Florida, today. Last night the Trumps attended a midnight church service to celebrate the holiday. The congregation greeted the president-elect with a standing ovation.

A bad cold kept Queen Elizabeth from attending Christmas day service for the first time in almost 30 years. A statement put out by the palace this morning said she was staying home to help her recovery, but will still take part in the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day. A short time ago her husband, Prince Phillip, attended the traditional Christmas day church service without his wife for the first time in decades, along with other members of the royal family.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis delivered his annual Christmas blessing before the crowds at St. Peter's Square.

[08:05:02] The pope offering 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.

New pictures this morning of U.S. troops in Iraq taking a moment to enjoy a Christmas meal. And we want to extend our best wishes and our sincere thanks to all of the U.S. service members keeping us safe around the world this holiday. Thank you.

All right. Let's check in on the Christmas forecast right now. An update you on the super typhoon that's bearing down on the Philippines.

Our Karen Maginnis is at the weather center.

Good morning.

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

If you're looking for a white Christmas, it can be found across the interior west and the northern tier, but a sharp contrast in temperatures keeps those single digits and teens in the northern tier states away from the near record-high, a record-breaking temperatures in the Deep South. This is a very vigorous storm system that treks towards the east over the next several days and Monday, if you're headed back, it is going to be slow going. If you're going through the interstates across north and South Dakota from Minneapolis, blizzard warnings and ice warnings as well as very poor visibility associated with the frontal system and storm system moving through the Great Lakes region. Some wind gusts could be as high as 55 miles per hour.

But take a look at these afternoon temperatures. Billings, Montana, may make it to 12 degrees, but Tampa may make it to 85 degrees. If you're traveling towards Salt Lake City looking for powder in the higher elevations, a couple of feet of snowfall is expected. One to three feet across the higher terrain, but it's going to be buffeted about by some of those gusty winds.

Right now in Minot, North Dakota, it's 9 degrees, very treacherous driving conditions extending from Bismarck into Minneapolis, the ice is going to be problematic with power outages and downed trees, and very slippery roadways. As we take a look across many portions of the northern tier states, about 13 million people under various advisories and warnings issued with record high temperatures certainly possible.

And our typhoon across the Philippines, very strong. Super typhoon, it's almost a category 5 equivalent. It is going to move across southern Luzon and the potential for loss of life is great.

Back to you, Alison.

KOSIK: All right. Karen Maginnis, thank you.

And I'll be back in 25 minutes with more news headlines. Meantime, back to Victor and Christine.

BLACKWELL: So what was your favorite Christmas toy?

PAUL: Don't ask me.

BLACKWELL: I won't, I won't. Well, I can't --


PAUL: I had a Wonder Woman doll and I had all three Charlie's Angels dolls.

BLACKWELL: OK. All right. Did you have like the headband and the cuffs?

PAUL: You know I did.

BLACKWELL: I know you did. Mine was the He-Man big wheel. I loved that thing.

PAUL: You were in. And do you have a picture of him in the big wheel?

BLACKWELL: Just that riding, loved it. There are a lot of kids who loved the bikes. There are kids now who love the rechargeable cars and trucks. You know for some children with disabilities, many of those toys are off-limits.

PAUL: The kids with physical challenges, they struggle to operate them for one thing and there's some toys that are designed for their needs. But the thing is, the toys are so expensive.

BLACKWELL: They are. And this Christmas, some talented students in Florida are changing that. They're tricking out some toys for a few very special kids, offering them one-of-a-kind play with a purpose.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BLACKWELL (voice-over): It's a Christmas toy workshop, thousands of miles from the North Pole. There's no snow, no reindeer, just sunshine and palm trees.

This is the campus of the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville. And these students are crafting presents for children that they say no one else, not even Santa's elves are making. Presents for children like 4-year-old Lucas, in most ways he's like any other preschooler. He watches Peppa Pig, he cares for his turtle, squirt and there's one more thing --


BLACKWELL: Cars, trucks, trains, anything on wheels, especially flashing toys that vibrate. You see Lucas has polymicrogyria. It's a brain malformation, and he's missing a chromosome, so toys have to work double time to stimulate him. Around Christmas, those toys are hard to find and they are very expensive.

Mom Caitlan Bathhurs said she learned of this college toy team from one of Lucas' doctors.

CAITLAN BATHHURS, LUCAS' MOM: His physical therapist a year ago said I want Lucas to have a car.

BLACKWELL: And as you might expect, it's not just any car. This is UNF's adaptive toy project. Students are customizing popular kids' rechargeable sports cars and SUVs to suit children with developmental challenges.

[08:10:02] And Professor Mary Lundy says the toys play two roles.

MARY LUNDY, PHYSICAL THERAPY PROFESSOR: Children that have developmental disabilities can't always explore their environment and play. So, you know, that's one piece. At the same time, through this increased mobility, they learn cause and effect, they learn object permanence, they learn balance. They learn mobility.

BLACKWELL: Juan Azareos (ph) is a professor and he said teaming up students from very different disciplines he says has not been easy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have engineering students speaking physical therapy, physical therapy students speaking engineering.

LUNDY: It's kind of a clash of cultures. It's a different world for sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They work in groups. We give them one single problem. That is, they are supposed to provide power mobility to children with movement impairments.

LUNDY: And hopefully we're teaching a lot of those soft skills in addition to technical hands-on skills. Teamwork, altruism, compassion, self-sacrifice.

BLACKWELL: Senior engineering major Juan Mara's passion for this Christmas project stretches back to his childhood in Venezuela, but it's not rooted in the nostalgia for his car, although he loved it.

JUAN MARA, SENIOR MECHANICAL ENGINEERING MAJOR: I had one that had a hole in the bottom and look like the Flintstones.

BLACKWELL: Instead, it's driven by the neighborhood boy in this old blurry photo. Nomito (ph), who could not ride with him.

MARA: Has born without any limbs, he only had a couple of fingers on his elbow area.

BLACKWELL: Nomito was limited to a skateboard but it was one of just a few limitations.

MARA: I moved out of Venezuela. And then when I came back, he had actually become an electrical engineer.

BLACKWELL: Juan says Nomito inspired him to study engineering.

MARA: Just seeing this car makes me begin to imagine what he was would have been able to do with a little push like this.

BLACKWELL: A little push that mom Caitlan says Lucas now needs.

BATHHURS: I think this will get him a good confidence boost and open him up to more social situations. That he kind of avoids other children right now.

BLACKWELL: And just days before Christmas --


BLACKWELL: The students delivered their cars and trucks to nine children and what does Lucas think of his SUV with the flashing lights and the music?

BATTHURS: He loves riding in it. It might take a little while for him to figure out how to drive it. Once he does -- he's going to get all over the place.

BLACKWELL: For the students, what was just another college elective became a life-changing experience. They hope the gift they built delivers not just a good grade, but a fresh start this Christmas for their new friend, Lucas.

KELSEY LEADER, PHYSICAL THERAPY GRADUATE STUDENT: Hopefully, to improve his quality of life. That's going to be the real reward of all of this.




[08:16:29] PAUL: A lot of people are looking for healing from an election that oozed divisiveness and anger and hostility from all sides. Add in the crisis in Syria, Brexit, terrorist threats around the world and hope is hard to find. So, can you find it through your faith?

We're going to talk to a few people who are hoping to get through to you. Canon Phil Ashey, CEO of American Anglican Council, Pastor Kimberly Jones-Pothier?


PAUL: All righty. Senior pastor Church of the Harvest.

And Raphael Warnock, senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Good morning. And thank you all so much for being here.


PAUL: We're so honored to have you.


PAUL: Being that it's Christmas, we're wondering -- and, Reverend, let me start with you, what is your message going to be this Christmas Day to your congregation?

REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK, EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH: Well, I'm always excited when Christmas comes around and I think that the message is as powerful as ever. I think it helps us most when we're honest, about the larger context of Christmas, it is a message of hope and healing and love and light.

But the message of Christmas is not that we're in denial about the darkness, it's that the light penetrates the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. So, I'm always excited when this time comes around, because it gives us a chance to recommit ourselves to the work and the message of Christmas, which is a message of peace, a message of justice, a message of love.

PAUL: Kim, what do you find people need to hear most? What do they say to you that resonates with you and makes you say, OK, let's address this?

JONES-POTHIER: Yes, they say they just want to give up. I hear that a lot, I feel like giving up. My question to them always is, what does that look like?

Giving up is not even an option. As long as you have a pulse, God's still got a plan. And so, man, you woke up this morning, which means that your best days are ahead. Ephesians 3:20 says, he's going to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ever ask or think. So, from here, it's up, it's up.

So, stop looking in the rear-view mirror, look forward. Look at that big old windshield ahead of you and realize that God woke you up for a purpose.

Now, where are we going? Where are we going? One foot in front of the other. Come on!

PAUL: And that's the truth, one foot in front of the other. Yes.

Canon, what about you? What are you finding that people in your congregation are saying to you and what do they need to hear most especially after the last, say, 18 months, that we've seen here in this country?

CANON PHIL ASHEY, CEO, AMERICAN ANGLICAN COUNCIL: Oh, I think there's just a tremendous amount of anxiety, sometimes fear. Worry about the future. And, you know, I think the message of Christmas, it's all about Jesus.


ASHEY: He is the one, Luke says, who is the sign for all of us. He is the baby who's in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and the message at Christmas is, what child is this? What do you say about this child? What do you say about God who -- you know, a God who loves us so much that he enters in to our own lives, our flesh and blood, takes it upon himself and says, I've come this close to you, so that all you have to do now is the habits, hurts and hang-ups, and I'm here to love you out of those and into abundant life.

PAUL: But, Reverend, how hard is it, for people who have no hope? Who are feeling that anxiety that you're talking about? To make that baby as he's talking about, Baby Jesus, to make that baby real for them? Because we know the story.

WARNOCK: Well, that's the power of the story, is that Jesus enters into turmoil.

[08:20:01] So, we're not in denial about how difficult it really is. It was difficult that first Christmas. I mean, we talk about silent night, it was a holy night. I'm not convinced at all it was a silent night.

PAUL: We all know babies are rarely silent.

WARNOCK: We're talking about the massacre of infants. Herod is on the loose, even though hope is in the air and the holy family becomes a refugee family, seeking asylum in Egypt from the abuses of a despot who is insecure.

So, you see this fear and hope and tension in the story. And so, what we're encouraged to do is to embrace our hope and resist the fear and really embrace the message of the angels who said peace on earth, goodwill toward all.

I submit that the reason why we're still struggling to have peace on earth is we have a hard time with all. Goodwill toward all.

And so, this message is for all people. But I -- it's no accident that it comes to the most marginalized of the members of the human family, a poor, homeless couple, for whom there was no room at the inn. When we embrace those on the margins, we embrace God's vision for all humanity.

PAUL: Isn't fear the underlying universal feeling that we all have, and that's what drives so much of it, insecurity and some of the hate we're seeing and we're watching what's happening in Aleppo with these people. And what's even happening with the divisiveness in this country.

How do you talk to people to let them know there's hope?

JONES-POTHIER: Yes. Well, you know, fear is paralyzing.

PAUL: Yes.

JONES-POTHIER: So, everywhere you look around the world you find fear. Fear, it can cripple you and it make you feel like that is the biggest thing in front of you. What you have to realize, and I tell people this all the time, my messages is so simple. My message is, you know what, you're here, God's got you here.

Romans says he's working all things together for your good. And so, you're here for a reason and where can you be in your world, where can you be in your world that will help other people find hope? Be able to crawl out of their place of depression. Where are you in your life that you have something that can say, I've been there, I've done it, now let's do this together? If we all come together as a team.

PAUL: What do you think is the biggest obstacle this year going into 2017?

ASHEY: I do think it's fear.


ASHEY: And I want to build on what my brother and sister have said here. What was the message of the angels? It was, to the shepherds, don't be afraid.


ASHEY: Don't be terrified.


ASHEY: Go and look and find this child. And the message of Christmas is be intensely curious about Jesus.

Who is Jesus? What can he do for you? The angels said he is the Christ, the anointed one, what does that mean?

PAUL: And it's OK to have doubt, it's OK to have questions, right?

ASHEY: Yes, yes.

PAUL: Because some people --

(CROSSTALK) ASHEY: Yes, it is.

JONES-POTHIER: It's human nature.

ASHEY: It is. But that's, the shepherds I'm sure, they have their doubts. They're wondering, what he heck just happen to us out here in the middle of this field, all right?


ASHEY: We're just on the job and God has done this incredible thing. But what did we really see? But they went.

See faith is not the opposite of fear. Faith is what you do with your fear.


ASHEY: And this is what these guys did, they went and -- and the magi, they went and found Jesus. I think that's the message. We want all people to have.

WARNOCK: That's right. It's a message that resonates from Aleppo to Chicago. There's a reason why we're still here, because the story continues to resonate. And God still shows up in the midst of that, it's not obvious, sort of away from the cameras, forgive me, away from the satellite trucks.

God is doing this great thing. God shows up in a barn. God tiptoes down the back stairwell of human experience and enters into our turmoil. Our job is to continue to spread the message.

PAUL: We thank you all so much for being here. I'm sorry, we're out of time. But I know you need to get to go and you get the message out even more this morning. So, thank you for taking time to be with us.


WARNOCK: Merry Christmas.

ASHEY: Merry Christmas.

PAUL: Merry Christmas to you as well.


BLACKWELL: Christmas cheer all around the world. When we come back we'll give you a glimpse of what some countries are doing to celebrate Christmas.


[08:26:55] PAUL: So, from dazzling Christmas trees adorned with decorations to gift-giving and, of course, a quick kiss under the mistletoe. Here in the U.S., we have plenty of traditions, don't we, to help celebrate the holiday season. What about the rest of the world, though?

CNN editorial producer Nadia Bilchik is here.

Give us the glimpse of what the rest of the globe is doing this morning. Merry Christmas.


PAUL: Good to see you.

BILCHIK: I thought we would start off in Japan.

PAUL: Oh, let's. OK.

BILCHIK: Because due to some brilliant marketing, in Japan, Christmas has become synonymous with Kentucky Fried Chicken.

PAUL: What?

BILCHIK: And in fact, so much so that it's Kurisumasu wa Kentucky. Brilliant, brilliant marketing because in the '70s, foreigners couldn't get turkey, so they had chicken. And now on Christmas, people will line up for their Kentucky fried chicken. They may even order the Kentucky Fried Chicken two months in advance, bearing in mind most Japanese are irreligious or Buddhist or Shinto.

So, kurisumasu wa Kentucky, Christmas with Kentucky.

PAUL: Who knew Christmas with Kentucky was being celebrated in Japan? That's something totally new.

All right. And where are we going next?

BILCHIK: South Africa.

PAUL: Well, let's go to South Africa, because that's your heritage.

BILCHIK: South Africa, we have Christmas in the sun, on the beach, having what we know as a barbeque to cook meat and some people might roast a lamb and have home-brewed beer.

PAUL: So, do you feel when you're in the U.S. and it's cold and maybe you're somewhere where it snow, it feels a little out of place?

BILCHIK: I think we should be basking in the sun. There's no white Christmas in south Africa or Australia for that matter. But fascinating and I know your husband is from the Czech Republic, right?

PAUL: Yes.

BILCHIK: So you've got some interesting traditions to share. I wanted to share the one about let's say you're a young woman and you think this year you want to get married. What you might do is take a cherry tree twig, put it in some water. If the twig blossoms, it's a good omen, you probably will get married. If it doesn't, bad news. Another thing you might do is throw a shoe at a door and you hope the

toe hits the door, not the heel.

PAUL: Because that means -- that signify marriage again?

BILCHIK: Marriage, yes. A good omen in general, but particularly focused on marriage. So, the beginning of the month and by Christmas, particularly if your flower has bloomed. That's the omen and it's by Christmas Day.

PAUL: Are there any omens that just mean good or bad, that aren't connected to marriage? Maybe for people who are already --

BILCHIK: Well, I think we should try the shoe thing, you and I. If it's going to be a good year, let's use our shoes, you've got a lovely Christmas tradition from your husband.

PAUL: We don't do this, but he is from the Czech Republic, there's a fellow there named Jezisek. He brings gifts as well. But before you get to open the gifts, he brings a list of grievances of everything you've done wrong all year and you have to read through that list before you're allowed to open your gifts.

And my husband said, growing up, there are many years that his list was quite long.

[08:30:00] And he was sitting there -- and his mother was sitting there with her brandy in one hand, her cigarette in the other and a big old smile.

BILCHIK: So what is something that people put on the elf on the shelf? So would it be like your elf on a shelf?

PAUL: No. No. But we do have obviously elf on a shelf, which has grown and evolved into this whole -- you can dress yourself on the shelf. But you can --

BILCHIK: But you can do well but I also wanted to take you to Italy where the Pope is and the Vatican and beautiful Christmas celebrations. But there you might not have a traditional Christmas tree, you would have wooden blocks and then on the wooden blocks you would put candy or fruit, so something a little different. But of course, Christi, what is the one Christmas tradition that is universal? And that is -- gift-giving.

PAUL: Gift giving.

BILCHIK: So I have a gift for you and by the way, Christmas gifts only became very popular in the late 1800s. So I say Merry Christmas. It was Hanukkah, the first night of Hanukkah last night, so you might say to those people Happy Hanukkah.

PAUL: Happy Hanukkah, Happy Hanukkah.

BILCHIK: Or Merry Christmas. Or Merry Hanu-Kwanzaa-kkah.


PAUL: And there's a reason she said that and not. Merry Christmas.

BILCHIK: Merry Christmas and just beautiful holidays to all and celebrate with good cheer.

PAUL: No doubt about it. And here's to a stellar 2017.

BILCHIK: A stellar 2017.

PAUL: Thank you so much, Nadia. We appreciate you. Victor?

BLACKWELL: When we come back, more of the big moments of 2016. There were a lot of big media stories, too. Brian Stelter counts down the top 10 when we come back.


PAUL: You know it is a Christmas special edition, special edition of NEW DAY when you hear voices like that.

BLACKWELL: Yes, there is that.

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

BLACKWELL: Very talented. And 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.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi. And Merry Christmas. Let's get a check on the top stories right now.

Russian military officials, they say that no survivors were found at the scene of a military plane crash near Sochi today.

[08:35:01] Ninety-two people were on board the plane. Some wreckage was found in the Black Sea and state media reports it was carrying a military music group on its way to perform at a Russian air base in Syria. President Vladimir Putin now ordering an investigation and declaring tomorrow a national 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 that 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 called a wilted fig leaf to cover up his, quote, "pitiful record of charitable giving." The Trump Foundation has no employees and has about $1 million in assets.

Israel now says it is 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 in contributions to U.N. organizations.

In Bethlehem, the Church of the Nativity celebrated Christmas mass in the West Bank town. That is where Christians believe Jesus was born. Thousands of people are expected to visit sites in Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nazareth over the holiday.

Buckingham Palace says a bad cold will keep Queen Elizabeth from attending a Christmas Day service.

Our Ian Lee is in London right now live for us.

Good morning, Ian. What else are we hearing from the palace about this?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison. We learned about this cold last Wednesday when the palace announced that both the queen and her husband, Prince Phillip, had this cold and it delayed their trip to Sandringham. Today was going to be the first time we saw her in public since that announcement, but it didn't happen. The palace released this statement saying, "Her Majesty, the Queen, will not attend church at Sandringham 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 the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day."

We did see Prince Phillip, though, attend church today. So it seems like he is on the mend. And people are paying close attention to this because the Queen is 90 years old and Prince Phillip is 95 -- Alison.

KOSIK: What about the other family members? Have they actually canceled plans to be with her at this point?

LEE: So far it doesn't look that way. We saw other members of the royal family at church. At Sandringham. Also Prince William is with his in-laws, Kate Middleton's family, today celebrating Christmas as well. So we're not seeing anyone rushing to be by her side. But everyone is watching this closely.

KOSIK: OK. Ian Lee reporting live from London, thanks very much.

And thanks for watching. Merry Christmas. I'm going to throw it back to Victor and Christi.

PAUL: So we've got megamergers.


PAUL: We've got onscreen break-ups. We've got bitter social media battles. It's all in a year, right?

BLACKWELL: Yes. Especially for the media. CNN's Brian Stelter counts down the top 10 media moments of 2016.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Debates, downfalls, feuds and failures. A presidential election that challenged the media like never before. Culminating in an unprecedented outcome.

Here are the top 10 media stories of 2016.

(Voice-over): Number 10, an emotional homecoming. "Washington Post" reporter Jason Rezaian freed in January after 545 days in an Iranian prison.

JASON REZAIAN, WASHINGTON POST REPORTER: To my colleagues at "The Post," you guys are all awesome.

STELTER: His imprisonment, a stark reminder of the dangers journalists face every day around the globe.

Number nine, the Kelly Ripa-Michael Strahan feud. Blindsided by news her "Live" co-host was leaving from "GMA," Ripa skipped work for four days.

KELLY RIPA, HOST, "LIVE": Guys, guys, guys. Our long national nightmare is over.

STELTER: She returned after a personal apology from Disney and ABC execs and Strahan left the show weeks earlier than planned.

(On camera): Number eight, corporate media maneuvers. Longtime Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman squeezed out by Sherry Redstone, the daughter of 93-year-old Sumner, the ailing patriarch and controlling shareholder. The two were estranged for a while, but Sherry is again heir to the corporate throne.

And the biggest media merger of the decade. AT&T seeking to buy Time Warner, the parent of CNN, in an $85 billion marriage of content and distribution. Donald Trump slammed the deal while on the campaign trail. Whether he tries to block it now remains to be seen.

[08:40:05] Number seven, the role of leaks, from WikiLeaks exposing hacked Clinton campaign e-mails to the bombshell "Access Hollywood" tape.


STELTER: Secrets spoofs rocked political journalism this year. Someone even mailed Trump's 1995 tax return to the "New York Times." But what never leaked? Raw footage from "The Apprentice."

Number six, good-bye, Gawker. A jury ruling that the gossip site invaded Hulk Hogan's privacy when it published parts of a sex tape featuring the former wrestler.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The $140 million sex tape. STELTER: A multimillion-dollar judgment forced Gawker into bankruptcy

and the flagship site was later shut down. A warning to journalists everywhere.

In a surprise twist, Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed he had been secretly bankrolling the lawsuit. His revenge for what he believed was Gawker outing him in 2007.

Number five, fake news stories, hoaxes on the Web, polluting Facebook Timeline and Twitter streams. Some now wondering if it helped tilt the election for Trump, although Facebook says no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't think it swayed the election, but we take that responsibility really seriously.

STELTER: Facebook and Google did announce steps to halt the flow of ad dollars to the creators of these totally fake sites. But this new age of information warfare is just beginning.

Number four, alt-right media out of the shadows. When Trump named Steve Bannon, the head of Breitbart News, as his campaign CEO, critics say it brought fringe conspiracy ideas into the mainstream of politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Trump, Bannon and Breitbart were real champions of Trump --

STELTER: Bannon once called Breitbart the platform for the alt-right. A movement linked to white nationalism, racism and misogyny. Now Bannon will be the president's chief strategist stoking fears the alt- right will have a more powerful platform right inside the White House. A charge Bannon denies.

Number three, the stunning downfall of FOX News CEO Roger Ailes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news --

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're back with some breaking news, a media bombshell.

STELTER: In July, former FOX host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes. Two weeks later he was out. Although Ailes strongly denied the allegations, multiple women inside FOX, including Megyn Kelly, came forward with similar stories. It was a shocking end for the controversial GOP kingmaker and mastermind of the country's highest-rating cable news channel.

Number two, one of the biggest media miscues in decades. Donald Trump winning the presidency. Something most of the press never believed would actually happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't do our job as well as we could have and should have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a complete failure at every step of the process. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think polling has to get better about describing

the uncertainties.

STELTER: Trump's win was a thundering wakeup call. But the limits of polling, the limits of data and a reminder that national news outlets need to do a better job of covering race, class, and inequality or else risk losing even more public confidence.

Number one, running against the press. The most anti-media campaign in modern history. It started in 2015. But Trump doubled down in 2016.

TRUMP: I'm running against the crooked media. You have to put up with some of the most dishonest people in the world, the media.

STELTER: His very personal feud with Megyn Kelly simmered down by midyear but Trump still called out other journalists by name.

TRUMP: Katy, you're not reporting it, Katy. But there's something happening, Katy. This sleazy guy right over here from ABC. He's a sleaze in my book.

STELTER: He fired off angry tweets at news outlets, treating them like enemies and got his crowds chanting.

Trump declared war on the press and the campaign was just the first battle. It sets up a colossal challenge for the media in 2017, covering President Trump.

Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.


PAUL: You know, you can imagine Santa Claus might be a little too busy sometimes to reply in person to all of the letters that he gets this time of year.

BLACKWELL: So like a lot of businesses he gets some help. But he has so many elves that are available, he gets the thousands of elves to help him spread the holiday cheer. We're going to take you to New York.


[08:47:23] BLACKWELL: Santa responds to as many letters as possible. He's responding all day. But there's some letters that do not get to the North Pole. Instead they end up in New York. At the 32nd Street Post Office.

PAUL: Because that's where postal workers and local residents help Santa out. CNN went to take took a look.



CARMELO QUINONES, POSTAL WORKER: She didn't want it for herself. She actually wanted it for her father. She wanted her father to be happy.


BLACKWELL: We all know that Santa is a busy man. Right?

PAUL: Yes, he is.

BLACKWELL: But Santa's helpers, I mean, do not think for a second that it's just milk and cookies and posing for a few photos, spreading Christmas cheer is serious business.

PAUL: You know, there's a Santa university.


PAUL: For all of the Santa's helpers. You know why? Because they need to learn how to do it the way Santa does it.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: So aspiring Santa's helpers go every year. And you might be surprised by what they study.

CNN Money gives us a glimpse.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to the ultimate Christmas in July. Santa University. A four-day training camp in Colorado where professional Santas come to hone their craft.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's more of a calling than it is a job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a little boy with no hesitation said, that's Santa Claus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said your nose, your nose is like a cherry. That's when I knew that I probably was Santa Claus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Spreading holiday cheer is serious business, it takes the right look, months of dedication and more hair care products than you'd expect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The miracle stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But aside from some extra-hold hair spray, what does it take to be the perfect professional Santa? The experts all had the same answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to have that Christmas love.

[08:50:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having a caring heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First, it's the heart. And then all of the other things, they will fall into place. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heart is something that can't be taught. But

the rest of it, that's why Noerr program put Santa University together in the first place. Every year the Santas come together to train at the company's headquarters called -- you guessed it -- the Noerr Pole.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are amazed that there are four days' worth of Santa classes at Santa University. But it's true. We have everything from the ethics of Santa. How to dress and look your best. How to stay healthy as a Santa and many, many more things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Classes teach everything from beard grooming to suit fitting to sign language. There are charity toy drives and sing- alongs. It's four days of fun and festivities. Then when the holidays roll around, these guys are all Santa, all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I work at Orleans Square Mall about 30 miles southwest of Chicago. And I'm from Duluth, Georgia, that's about a 750-mile trip every year. It's a very demanding job, if you do it like you should do it. We're on the set many hours a day. So you pretty much sleep, eat and work, and you want to stay focused, so that you can be all you can be when you're on the set and be there for the children.

And if you're home you allow too many other distractions. And so by traveling I feel like I can stay focused at what I'm doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For these Santas, the months of preparation and work are worth it. For them, being Santa Claus in the eyes of a child is the ultimate gift.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get far more than I unfortunately can give.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you can say anything every day to try to uplift a child and their family, then you go home at night with some accomplishment.



[08:56:57] BLACKWELL: Well, thank you for spending Christmas morning with us here on NEW DAY. I'm Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: Yes. I'm Christi Paul, we hope that you make some great memories today. We are so grateful that you spent some time with us. CNN Special Report, "The Legacy of Barack Obama" coming at you next. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. See you next weekend.

BLACKWELL: Merry Christmas.