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COVID-19 Cases Rising Among Children; Skyrocketing COVID-19 Cases Worldwide; Funeral For Desmond Tutu; U.S. And Ukrainian Presidents To Speak Soon; Opponents Hope For Bolsonaro's Reckoning In 2022; Severe Storms In U.S. Southeast; UAE'S Prospects As Mediator In Volatile Region; 2022 Financial Checklist; Meme-Worthy Events Of 2021. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired January 02, 2022 - 05:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A warm welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.

Ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM, more U.S. school districts opt for remote learning, as child COVID hospitalization soar. We will look at what it takes to be safe while in class.

And we're live in the CNN Weather Center on the severe weather threatening millions of people across the United States at this hour.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This can't be real. It's just so surreal to be able to even fathom everything you own is just gone.

NEWTON (voice-over): Heartbreaking stories from Colorado, where wildfires reduced hundreds of homes to ashes in a matter of hours.


NEWTON: And we begin right here in the United States, where the latest COVID surge is shattering records. The U.S. is now averaging more than 394,000 new cases a day, the fifth day in a row a new high was set.

Now most states, the ones you see there in dark red, have seen daily case counts rise by 50 percent or more in the last week. Now so far, thankfully, hospitalizations and deaths are lower than the peaks we saw in 2021.

But unfortunately, that doesn't mean the danger is over here. The CDC estimates more than 44,000 people could die from COVID-19 in the next four weeks.

Meantime, millions of children are headed back to the classroom on Monday. It comes as a record number of children are at this hour hospitalized with COVID-19.

And some school districts are announcing at least a partial transition to online learning. And that's the approach several school districts here in Georgia are taking. CNN's Nadia Romero has the latest.


NADIA ROMERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The dramatic rise in pediatric cases for COVID-19, cases and hospitalizations, is forcing some school districts to go back to remote learning. And we're seeing that here in the state of Georgia.

At least three Atlanta area school districts say they will be back to remote learning starting this week, when they're supposed to head back to the classroom.

Instead, those students will be heading back to their kitchen tables, to their basements, to their bedrooms, to dial in virtually to learn, be in the classroom, because they're not able to physically go into the school building, because of the skyrocketing cases we're seeing here in Georgia.

And let's take a look. When you just look simply at the number of pediatric cases for COVID-19 in Georgia, it is alarming when you compare the end of November to the end of December.

We also see that skyrocketing of cases of hospitalizations for pediatric kids in Georgia, kids ending up in the hospital. Just take a look at that steep incline. And that is why so many school districts say they will be going back to remote learning. They, of course, are hoping to go back to in-person learning, the second week of January.

But it all depends on the cases and how they're doing within the school district and within the surrounding community. For Atlanta public school teachers, this is interesting, they are supposed to report to their school buildings, back to their primary locations, to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing.

The school district says they'll used that data for their future plans. This is something that many school districts were hoping to avoid. But because of the skyrocketing numbers, we are back to remote learning for many of the school districts here. And you can expect that to have an impact across the country -- Nadia Romero, CNN, Atlanta.



NEWTON: Dr. Jill Garripoli Pedalino is a pediatrician and the author of two children's books, "The Universe Is Listening: A children's guide to happiness through positive and mindful thinking" and "You Are Abundant: A children's guide to fulfillment through the power of gratitude and appreciation."

And Dr. Jill joins us now from Sparta, New Jersey. And thank you so much for joining us. I think all of us could use a

lot more mental health through all of this. And parents are really starting to get worried. We know that for whatever reason, this variant is now spreading quite rapidly and to children. The hospitalization real. The numbers may be low but they are record- setting.

What can you tell us about why children are susceptible to this virus?


NEWTON: Is it just because it's so much more contagious?

DR. JILL GARRIPOLI PEDALINO, PEDIATRICIAN AND AUTHOR: I can tell you, over the past couple of weeks, my colleagues and I across the United States have been seeing an incredible uptick in positive cases in the children.

And 7.5 million children have been positive to COVID since the pandemic began; 2.5 million of them over the past three months. So it's been incredibly different with this Omicron variant.

You know, with the variants mutating and having more mutations to them, it's causing, you know, more effect on the children. And although, as you said, the children are getting more affected, there are more hospitalizations, thankfully, the cases in healthy children are relatively mild, with fever, upper respiratory symptoms.

And they're recovering nicely, thank goodness.

NEWTON: And are you seeing any longer-term effects, because, when we talk about kids being sick with these viruses or perhaps even hospitalized, are most of them recovering 100 percent?

GARRIPOLI: Yes, and thankfully most of them are recovering, again. For most healthy children, they're handling this virus very well.

However, there is the rare but very dangerous multisystem inflammatory system of children. That can happen weeks to months after a seemingly mild infection. And the complications long-term can really happen even after an asymptomatic infection. So yes, we are seeing some children have very devastating effects from this virus.

NEWTON: And you know the next question here. Parents have their kids in the house. They want them to go back to school. They want them to do in-person learning.

What is your advice to them in terms of how to keep children safe, especially in some environments, where masks aren't mandatory?

GARRIPOLI: Yes, and if you think about it, these families want their children to go back. They need them, for the children's physical and academic and mental health to go back. The parents need to go back to work, so there are a lot of variables here.

But other families have elderly or immune-compromised family members at home. Sometimes the children themselves are more prone to illness. So there is that very difficult balance that parents, the decisions that parents and school administrators and health experts have to make.

The advice is that, of course, we want children to be in person. We know the devastating effects of the children not being in. So we want them to be in. So there have to be a few things that we do, in addition to masking; if that's not possible, then, of course, the distancing, the hand washing protocols and vaccination.

There are tools that we have to help the children go back safely.

NEWTON: You know, I know it's hard in terms of -- I don't mean to put you on the spot but parents will look to you, a pediatrician, to tell them, if you have two perfectly healthy children, even if you're uncertain about what the safety protocols are at school, because you can't guarantee it, would you send them back to school next week?

GARRIPOLI: We have to weigh the risk and benefit. The CDC and the AAP (ph) have declared a mental health crisis in our country, in the United States. And that's some serious business. We're seeing more suicide, more severe depression and anxiety.

And really the only thing different in the past year or two was that children were learning remotely. So I would. And I have a stepdaughter who's 12 and she's vaccinated and she is going on Monday to school.

And I have to say that the biggest thing that I tell my patients -- and they all know this -- is that beyond the regular masking and distancing protocols and vaccination, I highly recommend all the time, what they can do each day is get nutritious food into their body, get quality rest at night, move their bodies, intention movement, exercise every day, and vitamin D.

Those are things that children can do to build their immune system, to keep them healthy while they are exposed at school.

NEWTON: Dr. Jill, that's excellent advice. And I'm sure it will make many parents feel better and it feels like they can perhaps take more control of the situation, in a situation that has been so out of control for so long now.

GARRIPOLI: It has been.

NEWTON: Dr. Jill, happy new year to you. Thank you so much.

GARRIPOLI: Happy new year, Paula. Thank you so much for having me.


NEWTON: And this probably wasn't the start to a new year that Europe was looking for, either. As you can see from the map, much of the continent looks like a COVID hot zone, with case numbers going only one way, up.

France is adding the United States to its COVID travel red list. Under those new rules, unvaccinated travelers from the United States will be required to quarantine for 10 days. All travelers from the U.S. will need a negative antigen or PCR test conducted less than 48 hours before departure.

Now if we cross the Channel, England began the new year with another daily case record. More than 162,000 cases were reported Saturday in England alone. And that's because updated case numbers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were not available, due to holiday reporting.

Despite the record, the U.K. health secretary says introducing new restrictions would be a last resort.


NEWTON: For more on this, I'm joined by Barbie Nadeau, she's standing by for us in Rome.

That's the question, Barbie. The records continue to fall; Italy, no exception, by the way.

Is there a sense that some European countries will opt to put in new restrictions?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think every country is really trying to determine whether they need to do that. And that's going to be guided by hospitalizations, intensive care and things like that.

We don't have the sort of hospitalization overload that we did in the previous wave. So that doesn't mean that might not come. You know, nothing happens in a vacuum with COVID, as we've learned. So there's always a little bit of a delay.

You see these spikes in cases and eventually you might see more hospitalizations and of course, tragically, you'll see more deaths.

So each government is looking at what they can do to try to keep the economies open, try to get the kids back in school but still try to keep people safe because, of course, the concern is that so many workers are out, you know, if you've been -- if you have been in contact with a positive case, you have to self-isolate.

You know, a lot of governments are looking at shortening that self- isolation to keep people in the workforce. So much of this is much more this time around about the economy than just trying to lock everybody down again, Paula.

NEWTON: It's difficult to navigate this. Some European countries, including Italy, have said, look, we need to continue with this booster program and be more aggressive about it.

Do you have any sense of the progress, especially there in Italy?

NADEAU: Well, here in Italy, you know, they're looking at shortening the expiration of the health pass. Now this health pass is what gets you into a restaurant, into a theater and, in some places, into certain work entities.

And if they shorten that expiration health pass, that means people will have to get their boosters. If it only lasts six months after your last vaccine, people have to get their boosters. The booster program is alive and well here. You know, they were giving boosters even on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

And, you know, they're just trying to get people to get as many shots in their arms and they're also vaccinating young people now to try to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

But there is always resistance. There are always those people who don't want to do it, who maybe felt sick after their first or last vaccine and don't want to deal with that again. But the health care systems here across Europe are trying to convince people that, whatever side effects they felt, it's worth it. Vaccines are the only way out of this.

NEWTON: None of us like them, right, Barbie, but they are life-saving at this point. And that is what the science shows. Barbie Nadeau for us in Rome, appreciate it.

Now last hour, I spoke with Oksana Pyzik, a professor in London. And given that South Africa's cases have already peaked, I asked her when places like the United States and Europe are likely to reach their peaks and this is what she had to say. Listen.


OKSANA PYZIK, GLOBAL HEALTH EXPERT, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: I think we definitely need to be cautious about applying what has happened in South Africa and other countries in the global north, also because of the levels of exposure to previous variants and the age of that population means we could experience something very different.

We're also very early in these waves in the U.K. and Europe as well as in the U.S. So we will really only see the impact of hospitalization. And even if the theories that Omicron is milder, again, play out in real time, when we hit population level infection, that could, in this case, be seeing it in the U.K., where hospitalizations are on the rise; whereas, one in 10 health workers are currently off sick.

So there's also disruption in terms of health care service delivery. And that's going to be a huge problem, as well as many more patients having to split up COVID wards. So we're already planning, much like in previous waves, for care outside of hospitals, in sort of pop-up venues, to deal with overflow of patients.


NEWTON: Thanks, there, to Oksana Pyzik, a global health expert at University College London.

We are learning new details about the fire that broke out at parliament building in Cape Town, South Africa, earlier this morning. An official provided an update just a few minutes ago. And he described the fire as now quarantined, adding that it is still

being fought. Crews are dealing with a roof collapse in the old assembly chamber. So far, no injuries have been reported. The cause is under investigation.

And once again, you are looking at pictures there of that fire at the South African parliament building in Cape Town. And we will keep you updated on the latest information as we get it.

Now the leaders of the U.S. and Ukraine are expected to speak today about upcoming talks, aimed at easing military tensions with Russia. The latest from Moscow is just ahead.

And opponents of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro say they're hopeful for 2022. Why this year could see a political reckoning for the far-right leader.





NEWTON: The remains of Desmond Tutu are back in the cathedral where he once preached to a nation. The former archbishop's ashes were laid to rest under a memorial stone in front of the high altar at St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa. That's where his funeral was held on Saturday.

The archbishop leading the service called on South Africans to commit to the revolutionary change that Archbishop Tutu fought for in his lifetime, including fighting for freedom, equality, justice and peace for people around the world.

Ukraine president Vladimir Zelensky will speak with President Biden in the coming hours. As much as 100,000 Russian troops are camped out near Ukraine's border and the possibility of an invasion remains quite real.

U.S., NATO and European officials will meet with Russia next week in an effort to defuse the crisis. CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is standing by for us in Moscow.

You know, these issues are quite urgent at this point in time. We know that this phone call is going to happen. In terms of what it will take to have any kind of a breakthrough, I mean, the timeline is actually quite -- you know, it is quite tight. They're going to be meeting in a little over a week.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I don't think there'll be any breakthrough before the talks start. And even then, the talks are multi-layered. You know, January 10th for a talk, one on one with Russia and the United States.

There'll be components there; you'll have the foreign ministry from Russia, the State Department from the U.S. You also have U.S. representatives from the Pentagon, representatives from the Russian military ministry of defense here; national security on the U.S. side, as well, likely the same on the Russian side.

So these are not very straightforward or quick resolution talks. So you have those on the 10th.

Then on the 12th, in Brussels, expected in Brussels, Russia will speak with NATO. Now that's a whole another multi-layered level organization.

And then after that, the day after that, with the OSCE, the chances of a breakthrough here, because the issues are so thorny and President Putin has set a very high bar for what he wants, these legally binding guarantees from the United States, that NATO will not accept Ukraine as a member and also NATO will ultimately roll back its forces on the borders of Eastern Europe, these are very, very high bars.

So in advance of those talks, you know, the conversation with President Zelensky today is really going to lay out the groundwork, perhaps refresh President Zelensky on what President Biden heard from President Putin and reassurances -- and from the Ukrainian side, you know, a call for more weapons.

But it doesn't really change anything going into these upcoming talks.

NEWTON: Yes. You know, I would argue, Nic, that Vladimir Putin has gotten everything he wanted out of this so far. And he certainly got the attention of the Biden administration, which is no small feat right now.

Having said that, he's also managed to deflect from some really urgent issues of his own and his own country. And some of that has to do with human rights issues. Alexei Navalny is still incarcerated. And now his associates are saying that they fear for his life -- for their lives, pardon me.

ROBERTSON: Yes, look, undoubtedly. If Russia didn't have a big troop buildup and -- along the border with Ukraine and created the momentum and pressure to have these urgent talks beginning in January and to have the phone call with President Biden, then, you know, the news of those days would have been -- that phone call with President Biden on the 30th of December, the day before the supreme court in Russia closed down Memorial International, which is sort of one of the biggest human rights NGOs and the most sort of significant, still standing organization that works for human rights here in Russia, an independent voice, if you will.

That Memorial International looked at the effects of -- and the repercussions of Stalin's rule in Russia. But it was the human rights center that was shut down. It was the same day with President Biden's call with President Putin or the day before. That deals with political -- with perceived political abuses here in Russia. That was shut down. The news of the day was all about the tensions with Ukraine. So that

is missed. Navalny's being in prison, he's still there. He's not out for some time. Independent journalists here. Barely a day or a week goes by, where an independent journalist or two feels that that they need to leave the country because they can't work in Russia anymore.

So you know, under the discussion about Ukraine and NATO and Russia's concerns, much else about domestic politics and the situation here for Russians and Russia gets missed, at least in the international medium.

NEWTON: And the Biden administration, they release statements and certainly say that they can walk and chew gum at the same time. But it does not have the urgency, given what's going on with Ukraine. Nic Robertson, again, happy new year to you, my friend.

For many in Brazil, 2021 was a heartbreaking year. The pandemic devastated families, leaving more than 600,000 people dead, the second highest toll in the world. Thousands of fires accelerated the destruction of the Amazon, oftentimes ignited by humans clearing the land for industry.

Many in Brazil blame president Jair Bolsonaro for both catastrophes. As Isa Soares reports, opponents and even some former Bolsonaro supporters are hoping that 2022 will be the year of reckoning for the president.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): Who's mommy's little girl?

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Little Sara (ph) Gois was born this January in Brazil, in the midst of a ravaging pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Portuguese).

SOARES (voice-over): But even an abundance of love wasn't enough to stop her daughter from contracting COVID-19.


SOARES (voice-over): And despite all her pleas, little Sara (ph) died. She was only 5 months old.

SAMEQUE GOIS, SARA'S (PH) MOTHER (through translator): When she died, when they give us the news, I was able to hold her. I was able to feel her one last time.

SOARES (voice-over): Loss and grief like the one experienced by Sameque Gois became an all-too common sight this year across Brazil, more so than many other countries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People have been dying more in Brazil since the original variant was here.

SOARES (voice-over): One research group says misconceptions about COVID's impact on children, as well as inequality in access to health care, make Brazil a COVID hot spot for the young.

But other age groups suffered as well. Almost two years since Matthew (ph) lost a son to the virus, the pain continues to bring him to his knees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

SOARES (voice-over): His 25-year-old son, Ul (ph), one in a sea of more than 600,000 lives lost in Brazil. His indignation and anger became harrowing testimony, one of many witnesses in forming a parliamentary report, on how the Brazilian government handled the pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

SOARES (voice-over): The parliamentary committee blamed president Jair Bolsonaro directly for Brazil's massive death toll and recommended he be charged with crimes against humanity, as well as other charges for reckless leadership.

Bolsonaro dismissed the parliamentary report as politically motivated and having no credibility.

JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT: (Speaking foreign language).

Throughout the pandemic, the Brazilian president continued to promote alternative treatments, refusing the vaccine and forging ahead.

BOLSONARO: (Speaking foreign language).

SOARES (voice-over): Bolsonaro was also criticized for his alleged attacks on the Amazon rain forest. CNN flew over some of this year's hardest hit areas to see the devastation for ourselves.

From above, our cameras captured the damage of these increasing fires, the demarcated lines a sign of human destruction at work as the forest is cleared for agriculture or mining.

There have been nearly 30,000 (ph) fires in this same area, roughly a 50 percent increase from 2020 to 2021.

Now compare these images with these, over a five-year period.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

SOARES (voice-over): Homul Batista (ph) is a spokesman for Greenpeace Brazil. He and other activists say the blame falls squarely on Bolsonaro.

Back in Brasilia, the president's policy also saw him lose of some of the key popular support that got him elected. Alecravi Raph (ph) thought the right wing leader would be Brazil's savior. But 2.5 years after Bolsonaro swept to power, this former fan is full of regret.

ALECRAVI RAPH (PH), BOLSONARO FAN (through translator): It was a mistake. It was the biggest mistake of my life. SOARES (voice-over): Raph (ph) is one of many to lose faith in the

country's leader, putting pressure on Bolsonaro ahead of presidential elections in 2022.

With less than a year into the presidential election, Bolsonaro, who's been called the Trump of the tropics, got a reelection boot from the man himself. In a recent statement, former U.S. president Donald Trump calls him "a great president, who will never let the people of his great country down."

And taking a cue from the Trump playbook --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bolsonaro will win unless it's stolen by, guess what, the machines.


SOARES (voice-over): Bolsonaro has been sowing doubt on the integrity of Brazil's entire electronic voting system, calling for printed ballots to supplement electronically cast votes. And in doing so, he has eyes fully on the presidential prize.

BOLSONARO (through translator): I have three alternatives for my future, being arrested, killed or victory.

SOARES (voice-over): A fight for political survival that may indeed continue into the new year -- Isa Soares, CNN.


NEWTON: Here in the United States, severe storms have battered parts of the Southeast again and it's not over. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us next with a full report.

Plus, a few hours from now, rescuers will resume their search for people missing after a horrific Colorado wildfire. We'll have that story after the break.





NEWTON: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton and you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. And back to our top story.

The Omicron variant is fueling a record-breaking COVID surge in the United States. The country now averaging more than 394,000 new cases a day, the fifth in a row, that has set a new high.

Nearly all U.S. states have seen daily case counts rise by 50 percent or more in the last week. Just take a look at those charts. More people are also ending up in hospital. The number of COVID

patients rose about 20 percent in the last week alone. Now even more unsettling, a record number of children are now being hospitalized with COVID-19.

And it comes as schools right across the country are preparing to welcome students back to class after winter break.

Right now, we are following as well severe weather in the United States. This is a satellite image at this hour, highlighting the current conditions. There are some advisories from the U.S. South to the mid-Atlantic states and heavy rain and severe winds threaten the Southeast.



NEWTON: Now Colorado officials will bring in cadaver dogs today to search for three people missing after a massive wildfire. Officials initially thought no one was killed when the Marshall fire tore through Boulder City on Thursday.

But now they now say those three people are unlikely to be found alive, because homes associated with them have burned to the ground. Natasha Chen has more.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not a lot of details about which area they're from but two communities here, Superior and Louisville, have experienced extreme loss, with hundreds of homes, up to a thousand of them, potentially destroyed.

Some families are just now discovering that their home and everything they owned is gone. Here's one family describing what they saw as the flames quickly approached and how they felt when they came back to the rubble.


PRESCOTT DELAWARE, FIRE SURVIVOR: We saw flames and they were probably, I want to say, 2,000 feet, while they were on the open space but with a hundred-mile-an-hour winds.

And as we were coming down from the open space, we were driving down from Davidson Mesa. And we saw flames probably 400 feet from the car, as we were trying to get back home and get the dogs and get the stuff.

JUDY DELAWARE, FIRE SURVIVOR: It felt like -- like, like, I don't even know how to say it. I don't know how to get it out. It just felt like a punch to the stomach. And this can't be real. It's just so surreal to be able to even fathom everything you own is just gone.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHEN: Judy Delaware tells me that home was filled with love. They are going to rebuild in that spot, she tells me. A total of 35,000 people had to evacuate in a hurry on Thursday, when those flames approached, many of them just having minutes to grab whatever they could from their homes.

2022 is going to be a year of rebuilding for these communities. Back to you.


NEWTON: Our Natasha Chen there. It's extraordinary, right, to see that they had the wildfires and now that.

OK, the UAE is looking to increase its influence in the region. What officials say is their new approach. That's ahead.





NEWTON: The UAE says it wants to increase its influence in the Middle East. So officials are trying a new approach, moving away from firepower and to soft power. CNN's Sam Kiley has more.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a little bit out of date now. Then dubbed Little Sparta, the United Arab Emirates took a muscular approach to foreign policy, supporting NATO in Afghanistan, making war in Yemen, backing rebels in Libya.

And it didn't work. Criticized by human rights groups and the U.N., the Emirates is out of Yemen and out of punching its way to recognition. It is a move from war to jaw (ph).

H.E. ANWAR GARGASH, DIPLOMATIC ADVISER TO UAE PRESIDENT: So he said that began in 2018, in our final days of presence in Yemen, that he said that was influenced by the whole COVID ordeal.

And I think from that reset, we realized that the challenges of the next decade are not necessarily the same challenges of the past decade. Now the past decade was unusually problematic and unusually polarized.

KILEY (voice-over): The Emirates' shift is from taking sides to bringing opposing sides together.

GARGASH: We are going to be an influencer in the region. But our influence is going to be through different tools, through this sort of diplomatic navigation, through keeping this balance between all of these different relationships that we have. KILEY (voice-over): That has already meant snubbing U.S. appeals for

more sanctions on Iran, controversial outreach to Syria's dictator, Bashar al-Assad and warming relations with Turkey. The Emirates has met an American request to halt construction of what the U.S. says was a secret Chinese military intelligence facility inside a seaport.

But it ignored U.S. appeals to cancel Chinese tech giant Huawei's installation of 5G networks.

The U.S. is still the Emirates' most important ally but it is seen as an unreliable friend after the sudden evacuation from Kabul and years of chaos in Iraq.

And now the Emirates have suspended talks over buying $23 billion worth of F-35 stealth fighters from the U.S., citing technical issues and concerns that American restrictions on future use eat into Emirati sovereignty.

The loss of the aircraft sales is a blow to U.S. arms exports. But not to the Emirates air force, which has done a $19 billion deal for 80 French Rafale fighters. And now that the Emiratis are opening their arms to friend and foe, they may not need America's stealth fighters anyway -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Abu Dhabi.



NEWTON: And we will be right back with more news in a moment.




NEWTON: So the new year is a perfect time to review your personal finances. I know it sounds like homework but it's much more satisfying than cleaning your closet, trust me. You can figure out what you need to do to achieve your goals. CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans provides these guidelines for 2022.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Your house, your job, your retirement. Time to tick through your personal finance checklist for the new year. First, your home. Likely your biggest investment. The Fed has signaled interest rates could rise in the coming year, likely three quarter-point rate hikes.

The Fed moving from stimulating the economy to fighting inflation. That means that your borrowing costs could rise. The window is closing to refinance your mortgage at super low mortgage rates.

If you're in the market to buy a home, it will likely cost more in 2022 than in 2021. Home prices on fire; it has been a seller's market in real estate. Higher interest rates would make it more expensive to finance a home but could help cool down red-hot prices.

It promises to be an exciting year for workers, who have the upper hand in the labor market.


ROMANS: Wage growth is higher than it has been in years. Employers offering perks and bonuses and flexible work schedules to keep their workers happy and attract new talent.

Workers, you have leverage.

And for investors, time to check in on your risk tolerance and asset allocations. It's been a banner two years. The S&P 500, the Standard & Poor's 500 index, rose more than 20 percent. Stock markets recording record highs dozens of times, leading to record high retirement account balances, creating so-called 401(k) millionaires.

If the strategists at JPMorgan are right, the economy and the stock market have favorable prospects in the new year.

Quote, "Our view is that 2022 will be the year of a full global recovery and end of the global pandemic and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the COVID-19 outbreak," predicting more stock market gains for the benchmark S&P 500.

And for those receiving Social Security, expect 5.9 percent more in your checks, thanks to the government's annual cost of living adjustment. Inflation, of course, the wild card in the new year, higher prices eat into wage gains and strain household budgets, especially for low-income earners -- in New York, I'm Christine Romans.



NEWTON: Now we have been saying hello to 2022 but not before saying goodbye to some of the funniest, weirdest and most meme-worthy moments of 2021. And you've got to know that our Jeanne Moos has been following all of it.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How time flies, not to mention seagulls. We all took it on the chin again in 2021. But no one more literally than this teenager, riding the slingshot on the Jersey Shore.

Still, there was plenty to celebrate. And Tom Brady did it by daring not to go deep underwater with the Lombardy Super Bowl trophy.

Another guy also known for his hands was Bernie Sanders, whose mittens at the inauguration became one of the first big memes of 2021.

In fashion, Balenciaga combined comfort and torture with $625 high- heel Crocs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fashion is about a double take. You want people to look and look again.

MOOS (voice-over): A Massachusetts man looked and looked again for his missing AirPods after he fell asleep using them. Eventually an X-ray located it in his esophagus and it was extracted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The audio works perfectly but, sadly, yes, the microphone is a bit glitchy.

MOOS (voice-over): At least he didn't glue his eyes shut, like this Michigan woman, who meant to reach for eye drops but used fingernail glue instead. This contact lens may have saved her vision.

Maybe you think you are seeing double. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson fans were rocked by this Alabama patrol lieutenant, who even sounds like The Rock.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Rock is cooking.

MOOS (voice-over): And this Secret Service agent protecting the Bidens went viral just for being hot.

A dead ringer for Tom Cruise.

The pope needed no protection from Spider-man, an Italian guy who dresses up to entertain kids in hospitals.

Nicole Richie avoided the hospital, even though she managed to catch her hair on fire. Forget the candles, blow out Nicole.

A Burger King manager and eight staffers blew off steam by quitting very publicly with this sign.

While Rudy Giuliani wouldn't quit shaving in public at Delta's JFK lounge. The guy who shot the spectacle said:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was delighted and horrified.

MOOS (voice-over): The same can be said of combination foods, from Froot Loops pizza to popcorn salad to candy corn bratwurst.

Of course, animals stole the show. Noodle, the pug prognosticator predicted good or bad days by his willingness to get up.

JONATHAN GRAZIANO, PET OWNER: Oh, my gosh, there are bones, there are bones today --

MOOS (voice-over): Decreeing either bones or no bones days.

GRAZIANO: Oh, a soft collapse. MOOS (voice-over): Doggy makeover of the year goes to this guy, found

wandering in Kansas City, Missouri. They removed 6.5 pounds of matted fur. He had to re-learn to walk and his new owners say all that hair even affected his tail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It basically wags one way.

MOOS (voice-over): Then there is the tale of a deer in Virginia, that leaped onto a school bus, landing on a sleeping student. They made an unscheduled stop to drop him off.

2021 saw some unusual Guinness records: biggest mouth, 5.7 inches; the most M&Ms stacked on each other, a measly five.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got to admit, I did eat them all.

MOOS (voice-over): The longest dog ears. Lou the coonhound's ears measure 13.38 inches each.

All through our interview, she kept staring off to the side --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is staring at herself.

MOOS (voice-over): -- in a glass door.

MOOS: Of course, the end of the year is a great time for self- reflection.

How do others see me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you hear me, Judge?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can hear you. I think it's a filter.

MOOS (voice-over): A Texas lawyer, using his assistant's computer during a hearing, heard himself coming out of a feline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here live. That's not -- I'm not a cat.

MOOS (voice-over): At least the cat didn't get his tongue -- Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


NEWTON: And I am Paula Newton. For our viewers here in the United States. CNN "NEW DAY" is next. For everyone else, "Forgotten Forest: Deforestation" is next.