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Connect the World

International Football Legend Pele Dies at 82; Several Nations Impose Restrictions on Travelers from China; U.S. Lawmakers Release Six Years of Trump's Tax Returns; Putin Invites China's Xi to Moscow as War in Ukraine Drags On; Death Toll Rises in Cambodia Casino Fire; Punk Fashion Queen Vivienne Westwood Dead at 81; Southwest Airlines to Resume Regular Service Friday; The Year in Entertainment. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 30, 2022 - 10:00   ET




PELE, FOOTBALL LEGEND: Football is a gift from God. Second, I think it was a lot of work. Hard work and training.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Brazilian soccer legend Pele both mourned and celebrated around the world. We'll be live in Sao Paulo in Brazil for you.

Plus six years of Donald Trump's tax returns are now public. What the release reveals about the former president's personal financial situation.

And relations between Russia and China are the best in history, according to President Putin. What else was discussed in a video call with President

Xi is coming up.

Well, hello, and welcome to a special two-hour edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. These are the last shows of this year. It's good to have you on

board, and we do hope you'll join our journey in 2023 as well. I'm Becky Anderson, of course.

Well, let's start this hour in Brazil. A country observing three days of national mourning for Pele. The football legend died on Thursday of

complications from colon cancer. He was 82 years old. Well, FIFA honoring Pele today, lowering its flag to half-staff at its headquarters in Zurich.

Back in Brazil, a public wake will be held on Monday at the stadium of the Santos Football Club which Pele helped lead to six national titles.

Pele's Brazil teams won three World Cups as he became the global face of football and one of the most recognizable figures in the world.

"WORLD SPORT's" Don Riddell now gives us a closer look at Pele's remarkable life and legacy.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT HOST (voice over): When the world knows you by just one name, you have truly succeeded. Pele is regarded by many as the

greatest footballer of all time, his humble demeanor and generous spirit have guaranteed his legacy as a global icon.

PELE: This is a big responsibility, you know? I feel very comfortable because something I cannot answer WAS why God gave me this, you know, this

gift. This was a gift from God. Then I tried to be my best, I had to respect people. I tried to prepare myself, I try to be always in good

shape. You know, the most important, respect for people.

RIDDELL: Raised in the slums of Sao Paulo in the 1940s, Edson Arantes do Nascimento discovered football at a young age. He made his debut for Santos

at the age of just 16 and within a year he was scoring goals for the Brazilian national team. By this time, he was better known by his nickname,

Pele, and in 1958, at 17, he became the youngest man to play in a World Cup Final, scoring twice as Brazil beat Sweden. It was the first of three world

titles he'd helped win for his country.

He electrified audiences with his fancy footwork and ability to score seemingly impossible goals. So it was something of a disappointment that

his 1000th goal was a penalty.

PELE: A friend of mine, he's a comic guy in Brazil. He said, listen, God stopped the game because everyone has to see your 1000th goal. That's the

reason it was the penalty kick.

RIDDELL: After his goal, the game against Vasco da Gama was stopped for several minutes to celebrate his landmark achievement. In 1967, Pele

learned that he and his team had the power to stop other things, too, when their visit to Nigeria prompted warring factions to call a 48-hour

ceasefire in the country's civil war.

PELE: We stopped a war because the people were so crazy for football, they love football. They stopped the war to see Santos play in Africa. This is

fantastic. It is something we cannot explain.

RIDDELL: By the time Pele retired as a footballer in 1977, playing his final years for the Cosmos in New York, he had amassed a career total of

1,281 goals. For Pele, that was half a lifetime ago. But his infectious love of the game ensured that he remained relevant. He served as a U.N.

ambassador for ecology and the environment. He rubbed shoulders with state leaders all over the world, and he received an honorary knighthood from

Queen Elizabeth in 1997.

Who could forget his appearance in the cult movie "Escape to Victory."


PELE: To go, you have to give me ball here, I do this, this, this, this, this, this, this, goal. Easy.


RIDDELL: When he starred alongside Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone playing a prisoner of war who scored a spectacular morale boosting goal in

a game against the Germans.

PELE: First of all, it is a gift from God. Second, I think it was a lot of work. Hard work and training. And I have to say, thanks to God, because my

father was a football player. He was a center and then my father was very perfectionistic and then everything who I used to do, I try to do, he used

to say, "Listen, I know you must do better than that."

RIDDELL: He has always been a global icon, but in his native Brazil, he will always be regarded as a national treasure. His passing is cause for

national mourning, and as he has so humorously put it himself, there will never be another Pele.

PELE: To be the new Pele will be very difficult because my mother and my father, they close the machine.


ANDERSON: CNN producer Julia Vargas Jones is with us from Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo where Pele passed away yesterday.

And Julia, we rather over use the term icon these days. But Pele really was just that, widely admired, loved around the world. Not just for his huge

influence on the game of football, but also for his warmth and his humanity. I met him, and that's how he struck you, a fabulous, fabulous

man. How would you describe what he meant to the people of Brazil?

JULIA VARGAS JONES, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, Becky, it's hard to describe it. And it's hard to not overstate, but it's truly, he transcended the sport. He

transcended football. And football is so big here in Brazil, and yet he went beyond that. He was really a founding father of Brazilian culture. He

was our ambassador. Seeing Brazilians excel like he did, that is so special for Brazil.

I cannot tell you how special was to see Pele in the world stage being himself and getting all of that attention, and having that charisma,

bringing the world's eyes to Brazil. And also, to do that as a black man in the 1960s, he became an icon and someone -- a role model for young black

poor children in Brazil. They now could look up to someone and say, hey, I could be like this man one day. I could have that kind of success, that

kind of recognition, we can succeed.

I say he was the first Brazilian to show our excellence to the world, and that is how he is being remembered today. That is why it's such a shock.

You know, over the past 30 days, we've been following updates on his health slowly deteriorating, but still yesterday here at the hospital, we saw

people coming in and saying, I didn't think Pele would die. I was praying for him to stay with us and have Christmas at home with his family and new

year's together. But now, that is gone. And that's why it's so sad, so profoundly sad for Brazilians to watch this legend go.

ANDERSON: And he joins of course the pantheon of sporting greats. I was just considering who else around the world would mean so much to so many

people. And there is very few people at all. Not just sporting greats, but people, but of course Muhammad Ali would be one of those that so many

people of so many generations loved. Neither the incoming president nor the outgoing president will be in attendance at his memorial. Do we know why?

JONES: Well, we do know for one of them. Bolsonaro will no longer be president on Monday when his funeral will be happening at, as you

mentioned, at Santos FC Stadium. So he already said that he is going to Miami on Sunday, unclear if he'll even be president for Lula's

inauguration. And Lula still hasn't confirmed whether or not he'll be coming, but it is his state. You know, and they both did a post tributes to

Pele at a time where Brazil is going through this political transition and coming out of four years of political turmoil.

Pele's death has kind of overshadowed it all. So I would be surprised if Lula's inauguration takes as much space as they've probably planned that

they would. But Brazilians really are focusing on their grief, right?


They're focusing on remembering Pele and perhaps this is a moment, the perfect moment for it, to come together and to bring in the new year in

unity -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Wonderful, thank you, Julia.

And more on Pele, his life, and is passing as we move through the next couple of hours. More countries are placing restrictions on travelers

arriving from China admitted a surge in COVID case there. It comes as Beijing eases its own strict COVID policies of course. South Korea now says

it will stop issuing most short-term visas from its consulates in China for the time being at least. Flights coming from China will be partially

reduced and passengers must present a negative test before entering.

Spain also requiring a negative test for vaccination. And after imposing mandatory testing on travelers coming from India, Italy is now asking the

entire European Union to follow suit. But E.U. health officials said this point, the restrictions are, quote, "unjustified."

We're covering this story on two continents. Barbie Nadeau is in Italy for you in Rome. Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul.

And I want to start with you, Paula, because South Korea has now stiffened its policies on travelers coming from China. Just explain how and why.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I'll start with the why. Back in February 2020, South Korea became one of the very first countries

after China to really be hit by this pandemic. And people remember that very well here. We are seeing now from this government restrictions have

gone really further than anywhere else in the world at this point. They are requiring the pre-boarding COVID test showing you're negative. You also

need another one within 24 hours of arrival.

You mentioned the short-term visas will be put on hold. There are some exceptions to that. But beyond that, if a foreign national who is here on a

short-term visa test positive, they have to go to a facility to quarantine. The residents, they can quarantine at home. And also any flights coming

from China regionally around South Korea will all now land at Incheon airport, this is the main airport here in Seoul, so that they can make sure

that it is all coordinated.

And also, the number of flights will be partially reduced until the end of February. So South Korea is really going one step further than many

countries who have said that they will check there is no COVID coming into the country. They are effectively trying to limit the amount of people able

to come into the country from China.

ANDERSON: Let's get to Italy. Thank you, Paula, important stuff.

Barbie, the European Union's CDC, the health authority, says that E.U. wide, mandatory testing of travelers from China is unjustified. Italy is

being encouraging on the European countries, the E.U. itself, to follow its suit. I wonder whether there's been reaction in Italy to that announcement

from the European CDC and whether that changes anything for Italian authorities.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, I don't think it will change anything at all. The Italians of course had a very different experience with COVID,

especially early on at the beginning of the pandemic almost three years ago. They were the first ones then to restrict some of these flights and

the rest of the European Union said no, don't do that. It's not necessary. So I think, you know, just like, as Paul is saying, South Korea, it really

depends a lot on the experience that people had here.

People lost a lot here, a lot of people died, the economy was ruined. We were locked down. You know, Italy was one of the last countries to lift the

testing requirements, too, not so long ago. And I think that Giorgia Meloni right now, the new prime minister, wants to make sure she keeps her country

safe, as safe as possible. And I think she really fears that there's going to be some new variant more than anything that appears perhaps because the

vaccines in China aren't as effective, and perhaps there's going to be some news like that.

And I think she just is looking at what happened three years ago and saying, we're going to take this our own way, we're going to not listen to

what everybody else says, we're going to protect Italians as best we can. But they can't do it unless everyone else in Europe also requires at least

some sort of testing or proof of vaccination, or full vaccination, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. Fascinating, we'll do more on this as we move through the next couple of hours. And for the time being, to both of you, thank you

very much indeed.

Well, the leaders of Russia and China are acting like besties having what looks like a friendly chat. What that could mean for the war in Ukraine,

that's coming. Also ahead, rescue workers are still searching for survivors after a huge fire tore through a casino complex in Cambodia. The latest

details from there are after this.



ANDERSON: U.S. lawmakers have just released a treasure trove of information about Donald Trump's wealth and his tax returns. Material that the former

president fought to keep hidden for years. Well, the information spanning six years was obtained by a Democratic-run committee after a legal battle

that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Trump is already slamming the disclosure in a statement.

He said, and I quote, "The Democrats should have never done it. The Supreme Court should have never approved it. And it is going to lead to horrible

things for so many people." The release comes days before Republicans, who won a slim majority in November's midterm elections, take control of the


Let's bring in U.S. national correspondent Kristen Holmes. She joins us now live from Washington, D.C.

The release of these documents, only about an hour or so ago, I know CNN is sifting through these returns. They total thousands of pages. What have we

learned so far?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So there are thousands of pages, we're breaking it down. Obviously this is complex material. Those

people do not know all the details and intricacies of the tax system, but here is what we've been able to confirm so far. We've looked at his income

tax and understood, confirmed, that he has made -- he paid very little amount of income tax in both his first and last year as president.

I want to give you those numbers to show you just how low I'm talking. In 2017, he paid only $750. In 2018 and '19, a combined $1.1 million, and in

2020, zero dollars. Now that is because he claimed large losses that carried over multiple years, which eliminated and in some points as you saw

there, in 2020, completely knocked out his income tax. The reason why this is so interesting is the whole of what we are looking at in these


I have talked to a number of tax experts who say that it's not going to be what we see in just the wrong numbers, it's going to be what we see in

these additional documents. Those are going to have the details. And what they will shed light on is first, what his business success actually is.

Becky, we have to remember that Trump is somebody who, his entire life, has built a brand, a narrative on the fact that he was a successful, wealthy

businessman. He even ran for president on the idea that if he could successfully run a business, he could successfully run the country. Now we

are going to see if he could actually successfully run these businesses. When you look at that zero dollars, I talked to a number of tax experts who

say that there's likely some actual business failings.


We have to remember that some of this, some of these giant claims of losses is going to be considered strategic accounting. Carrying over millions and

millions of dollars on losses every single year to offset what you pay in taxes. But when you look at a number like zero, that could indicate real

business failures. Particularly if you look at the year there, 2020, that was the year of COVID. A lot of businesses experience that.

The other thing that we're going to be looking for as we comb through these documents is foreign entities, foreign bank accounts. Are any of his

company's foreign owned? As we know, his foreign entanglements in business were a huge narrative during his administration. So what exactly do these

returns show, particularly in terms of payments or accounts with Russia or Saudi Arabia? That is what several people are going to be looking for.

Now one other thing I want to point out here, because we talk about what does this mean, why does this matter? Well, when it comes to criminality,

it is unlikely, and this again is from a number of experts, that he will face any kind of serious legal trouble because of these taxes. The reason

why they believe that is because we know the Manhattan district attorney has had these taxes for over a year and not charged him.

But the bigger question is, what are the consequences here politically? He has spent his entire life hiding these documents. He became the first

president in modern history to not share his tax returns. He has shrouded this with secrecy. And there is a reason for that. And this is going to

shed some light into the reason for that. Now whether or not it's going to affect him politically has yet to be seen. But it is something that he

cares deeply about, that people believe him to be a successful businessman and a wealthy one.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Well, we will get back to you as CNN gets through the hard work of sifting through these thousands of documents. But for the

time being, excellent stuff. Thank you very much indeed. Well explained.

Well, Vladimir Putin is talking about military cooperation with China. The Russian president speaking with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, by

video link earlier today. Have a listen.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Pride of place, in the entire complex of Russian-Chinese cooperation, and our relations is

held by military and military technical cooperation, which helps ensure our countries' security and maintain stability in key regions. We intend to

strengthen cooperation between the armed forces of Russia and China.


ANDERSON: The Russian leader also saying that relations between Moscow and Beijing are, quote, "the best in history" and can withstand all tests.

Russia-China partnership could well be tested by Putin's grinding war against Ukraine.

We're live in Ukraine's capital Kyiv where CNN's Ben Wedeman is ready to tell us more about what has been this sort of big chat as it were that

certainly Vladimir Putin wants the world to know about and the Russian president certainly suggesting that he and his Chinese counterpart are very

much getting on, are mates, and are sort of in lockstep as it were when it comes to their visions of a future together.

How much of this chumminess is real and why should we care?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the chumminess, it's a partnership of practicality more than anything else.

What we see is that, for instance, go back to February of last year, just weeks before the outbreak, or rather the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they

met at a summit in Uzbekistan and said that they have a partnership with no limits.

But the fact is, in Ukraine, we have seen what the limits of that partnership are. China, which is one of the biggest arms producers on

earth, has been a very hesitant to provide Russia with any weapons or ammunition. It doesn't want to violate Western sanctions and perhaps impact

its economy. Even though, you know -- so what has happened is that the Russians have had to depend on others like Iran and North Korea for weapons

and ammunition.

Now, both of these men, a year ago appeared to be two strong men. But a year later, we've seen that Putin's military has suffered serious defeats

in Ukraine. It has not been able to defeat the Ukrainians in any sense. And the Chinese president is suffering from the aftermath of -- rather the

consequences of its Zero COVID policy, which has now been lifted after mass protests and is causing disruption to the Chinese economy.


So both men have been weakened and it's not clear where their partnership is going to have any utility here with the war in Ukraine -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben, we heard Putin saying, and I quote, "We intend to strengthen military and military technical cooperation with China." Given Russia's

performance on the battlefield in Ukraine, what would Beijing make of closer military relations with Moscow at this point? What would the impact


WEDEMAN: Well, on one level, let's keep in mind that both Russia and China see the U.S. and the West as a political threat or a challenge. So they are

united on that, but as a partnership, it is definitely clear that Russia is the weaker partner, economically, militarily, and politically. Now, it's

isolated except for a few friends. Of course, China is a big friend to have. But, you know, wars are sort of a marketing vehicle for weaponry


And certainly, this has not been a very good advertisement for Russia's military capabilities. And also the capabilities of its weaponry. It's

weaponry has proved to be fairly substandard, certainly compared to the Western military hardware that has been provided to Ukraine. So it's a

partnership that is showing strains or limited utility at this point -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. Limited utility is a good line. Thank you, Ben.

Well, the death toll from the massive fire that engulfed a casino in Cambodia has risen to 25 people. Dozens were injured in what was a fast-

moving blaze that tore through the casino hotel complex near the Thai border. Cambodian rescue teams using heavy machinery to dig through the

rubble. They expect to wrap up their efforts by Friday evening.

Journalist Manisha Tank picks up the story for you.


MANISHA TANK, JOURNALIST: Search and rescue teams at the Grand Diamon City Hotel and Casino complex in the town of Poipet have had the rather ominous

task of searching for the missing over the course of the last day or so. This is really a difficult job. We know that during the blaze, the

electrics went out and the key card systems for the rooms were not working. It meant that elevators were out of action.

The big fear was that people would've been trapped in those guest rooms. And even if the fire didn't reach them, the smoke would've done it. We do

know that dozens of people have been affected by smoke inhalation. We know that people have lost their lives in this blaze to that. Others jumped from

windows in their desperation.

Now, in terms of the search and rescue, what happens next, we know that all Thai rescue teams have wrapped up their operations. They have now withdrawn

from the site and the Cambodian authorities have said that remaining parts of the building will require heavy machinery to be brought in. But for now,

rescue teams have been everywhere that they can go, searching for the missing on foot.

Perhaps a more disturbing element of this is they are keeping freezer trucks running for the bodies, those who have not yet been identified. Now

for the families that would have lost loved ones, they will want questions answered. The Cambodian government has said that it's set up a committee

that will investigate the cause of the fire. And no doubt, those answers won't come soon enough.

Manisha Thank, Singapore.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson.

Still ahead, the life and legacy of football legend Pele as tributes pour in from around the world. We will hear what he told CNN about his favorite

football moments. Plus, the fashion world is paying tribute to the style icon known as the high priestess of punk and the queen of extreme, Vivienne




ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi and you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD from the UAE.

Europe's top football leagues are planning weekend tributes for football legend Pele who died on Thursday of complications with colon cancer. The

English Premiere Clubs will hold a minute applause and wear black armed band. Spain's La Liga will observe a moment of silence over their matched.

FIFA lowered their flags to half-staff at their headquarters in Zurich today. In Brazil, where Pele burst on to the football scene as a teenager

and catapult to stardom, a three-day national mourning period is now underway.

Pele's legendary career including many monumental achievements. Years ago he shared with CNN what he considered to be the top four moments of his



PELE: The first one when I was selected for the national team of Brazil. I was in Santos, I was 16 years old. It was like a dream.

No doubt, no doubt. It was the World Cup in Sweden. Very few people know about this. I was 18, 17 to 18 or so. Then I was selected to do the army of

Brazil. I said, listen, why don't you take -- why do you take me? They said, no, you have to do it. So then I went to the army, and then we won

the tournament. This was very important to me.

In the '70s in Mexico, I said, in Brazil, Santos, you are champion, my team, I said I'm going to retire, then I decided no, I'm going to play one

more World Cup. It was in Mexico, 1970. That was the most important moment in my life. My God, it will be my last World Cup. I said, oh, God, give me

one more time, the gift to play good. Then we won the World Cup.


ANDERSON: This is how big the man was. The U.S. space agency, NASA, paying tribute to Pele, posting an image of a spiral galaxy in the constellation

sculpture which includes the colors of the Brazilian flag, green, yellow and blue. That post included the message, "We mark the passing of the

legendary Pele, known to many as the king of the beautiful game."


Well, fans of fashion everywhere are honoring the latest style icon, Vivienne Westwood. She was a provocative trendsetter who changed how the

world viewed the punk subculture.

CNN's Anna Stewart has more on her life and her legacy.


ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The queen of punk fashion. Dame Vivienne Westwood's runways never failed to be

provocative. Her designs inspired countless trends -- underwear as outerwear, unisex collections and outrageous heels. Her clothing also a

vehicle to promote human rights and sustainability.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD, FASHION DESIGNER: You've got to buy less, choose well, make it last.

STEWART: Westwood's decades-long career in fashion began almost by accident in the '70s, when she tapped into the subculture of Britain's youth. She

never went to fashion school but rose to fame designing clothes worn by the Sex Pistols.

A group managed by her then-boyfriend Malcolm McLaren, praising what became the look for an emerging punk scene.

WESTWOOD: It's true that I and my then-boyfriend are responsible for punk fashion, definitely. I don't particularly want to talk about punk, I want

to talk about the punk attitude.

STEWART: The couple rebranded their London boutique. They called it SEX, and broke taboos by selling rubber and bondage clothing.

WESTWOOD: The thing is I wasn't even trying to shock people. I was -- I don't know. I was angry. Yes. I mean, just like all the young people. They

always want to be rebels, the young generation. And so they should be.

STEWART: Years later, the Westwood brand went global, also landing a starring role on the silver screen.

SARAH JESSICA PARKER, ACTRESS: And finally, Vivienne Westwood. A dress so special it could bring a wedding tear from even the most unbelieving of


STEWART: Her designs ended up in museums around the world, but for Westwood, culture was a give and take.

WESTWOOD: I don't follow things, and I get all my ideas from the past. From culture, from paintings.

STEWART: Ideas that also inspired her to design 12-inch platform heels made famous by that fall.

NAOMI CAMPBELL, MODEL: There's a trick to walking in those shoes.

WESTWOOD: Let me tell you, stop. The reason you fell is because you had these rubber tights.

CAMPBELL: Yes. Right.

WESTWOOD: I'm just saying.

STEWART: A rebel with many causes. Westwood seamlessly blended haute couture with activism.

WESTWOOD: We can end poverty. We can have a paradise. We can have a green economy.

STEWART: Anti-establishment views did not prevent her from receiving the Queen's honors, although the establishment she fought against sometimes hit

back, with others questioning how eco-friendly her fashion was.

WESTWOOD: Don't extradite Assange.

STEWART: In her senior years, she led protests against the extradition of Julian Assange, as well as climate change and fracking.

WESTWOOD: It's one of our last fights before we hit complete disaster.

STEWART: Among many in British society, the fashion industry and the green movement, Westwood was adored.


ANDERSON: That was CNN's Anna Stewart reporting. Wow. What a generation.

Well, just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, a warning to one of America's biggest carriers. Chaos plagued Southwest Airlines is being told to follow

through on promises to passengers. We will explain. And courtroom dramas are popular with audiences, but the battle royale between Johnny Depp and

Amber Heard was something else entirely. Where do you think that that landed in the top 10 of entertainment stories for 2022. Stay tuned.



ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Welcome back.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has warned Southwest Airlines that it will face consequences if it fails to compensate passengers that were

stranded and inconvenienced. And that is an understatement. But it is too little, too late, for some of those customers.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov reports.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight days in, and finally, Southwest is planning to return to normal operations Friday, issuing a

statement saying, "With another holiday weekend full of important connections for our valued customers and employees, we are eager to return

to a state of normalcy." But today, it's still chaos for Southwest passengers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The anxiety level is -- has become crazy.

KAFANOV: One of the country's biggest carriers canceling nearly 2,400 flights Thursday, capping a week of travel misery that stranded thousands


KATIE DEMKO, STRANDED SOUTHWEST CUSTOMER: It is very devastating. Southwest actually booked me on a flight for January 2nd. My wedding is tomorrow,

December 30th.

KAFANOV: Soon-to-be-married Katie Demko was scheduled to fly out of St. Louis with family for her own wedding. But Southwest's cancellations meant

she had to miss meeting her fiance at the altar in Belize. But for some customers, the most emotional reunion seen at airports have been between

people and their bags.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just haven't had this bag in a week. I've been wearing other people's clothes.

KAFANOV: Southwest first placed all the blame for stranded flyers, their lost bags and its inability to get people new flights on bad weather. But

airline CEO Bob Jordan admitted the company's systems were too outdated to deal with any big disruptions.

BOB JORDAN, CEO, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: The tools we used to recover from disruption serve as well, 99 percent of the time, but clearly, we need to

double down on our already existing plans to upgrade systems for these extreme circumstances so that we never again face what is happening right


KAFANOV: Southwest pilot and flight attendants union say, they've been ringing the alarm about the outdated system for years.

MICHAEL SANTORO, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES PILOT ASSOCIATION: We've been harping on them since 2015-ish. Every year, we've seen some sort of meltdown


LYN MONTGOMERY, SOUTHWEST FLIGHT ATTENDANTS UNION: These executives should've committed to ensuring that our IT infrastructure would be able to

-- growth and change in the way we operate our flights.

KAFANOV: Southwest has promised to reimburse customers, but good luck reaching an agent on the phone, let alone in person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we're still in lane. And nobody is giving us any direction.

KAFANOV: Southwest is busing some passengers from airport to airport in order to bring some relief amidst a total meltdown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm still stranded. I need to drive nine more hours. My feet are swollen, I'm upset, I'm stressed, I'm tired, and I hate them.

KAFANOV (on-camera): Southwest operated roughly a third of its schedule on Thursday. The airlines says it's planning to return to normal on Friday

with minimal disruptions but the cascading effects are still being felt.

Take a look behind me. This mountain of luggage, mount of suitcases here at Denver's airport. Now I have friends who are in town who have yet to be

reunited with their bags. Now, Southwest did hire extra staff to help sort through all of these pieces of luggage, but of course even though the

airlines is planning to return to normal by Friday it's probably going to take days for all of these bags to be reunited with their rightful owners.

Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Denver.


ANDERSON: Well, in a sing out contest, it is hard to predict who will win, isn't it? Both Taylor Swift and Queen B have legions of fans. But where do

they stand in the top 10 of the biggest entertainment stories of 2022?


More after this.


ANDERSON: Well, reboots, "Renaissance," and a slap heard around the world, here are CNN's biggest entertainment stories of 2022.



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Stranger Things" time travels to the '80s, while Beyonce's "Renaissance" skyrockets to the top.

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: This is your captain speaking.

ELAM: And the triumphant return of blockbuster movies.

(On camera): Hollywood forged full steam ahead into 2022. And it was a wild ride from start to finish.


Here's a look at the top entertainment stories of the year.

(Voice-over): At number 10.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Hollywood stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have finally said I do.

ELAM: Second time's the charm for this love story 20 years in the making. The pair met in 2001 on the set of the rom-com "Gilly."

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: Hello. I'm sorry, do we know each other?


ELAM: They got engaged one year later, but after a whirlwind romance, they called it quits three years after that. But the couple found their way back

to each other last year and exchanged vows at an intimate ceremony.

At number nine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The one thing they ask of us is to stay here.

ELAM: Drama on the set of "Don't Worry Darling." Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Florence Pugh, the all-star cast generated a lot of buzz for its

behind-the-scenes gossip. It started when Shia LaBeouf, the thriller's original male lead, left the project and was replaced by Styles, who was

reportedly in a relationship with director and co-star, Olivia Wild. Then there were tensions between Wild and lead actress Florence Pugh. And video

seemed to show Styles spitting on Chris Pine during a press tour, which his spokesperson denies.

But will the very public off-screen chaos hinder or boost the film's numbers at the box office? It turns out there was nothing to worry about.

"Don't Worry Darling" won the box office on opening weekend.

At number eight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See on the other side.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the other side.

ELAM: Small screen hits dominate pop culture. "Stranger Things" took audiences into a time machine fast forwarding to 1986. The show's fourth

season brought back Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," Metallica's "Master of Puppets" and paid homage to '80s trends and style. On ABC, critics

credited breakout series "Abbott Elementary" for bringing back the TV sitcom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These new keys I made must be too thick.

ELAM: While "The White Lotus" on HBO traveled to exotic locations and brought home 10 Emmy Awards. And over on Netflix, "The Adams Family" reboot

"Wednesday" proved to be a huge winter hit with audiences logging over one billion hours of screen time.

Number seven belongs to the Queen Bee herself. Beyonce smashed records with her seventh studio album "Renaissance." Things got off to a rocky start

when the tracks released online. But her fan base came to her rescue. The BeyHive rallied fans on social media to wait for the official release so

everyone could enjoy it together. And that they did. "Renaissance" blasted to the top of the charts giving us house music, Afro beats and nods to jams

of the past.

Number six.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Tom Cruise's new "Top Gun: Maverick" had the biggest Memorial Day opening weekend of all time.

ELAM: Blockbuster movies are back.

CRUISE: This is your captain speaking.

ELAM: The summer blockbuster raked in nearly $1.5 billion worldwide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going into combat on a level no living pilots ever seen.

ELAM: And "Black Panther" fans turned out for "Wakanda Forever." Marvel's iconic superheroes led the charge at the holiday box office. But another

epic release is nipping at its heels. "Avatar: The Way of the Water" is set up for the next big wave.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Foot Locker is joining the growing list of companies cutting ties with Kanye West.

ELAM: At number five, Kanye's controversies. After making a series of antisemitic remarks and wearing a shirt with the slogan linked to the Ku

Klux Klan, Ye's business partnerships ended. Balenciaga and Gap also pulled the plug, and Adidas ended their longtime flagship deal. Meta and Twitter

suspended his accounts, and Ye announced he would be acquiring conservative leaning social media platform Parler. But that deal went bust, too.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Isn't it possible they're both guilty? Isn't it possible they both said defamatory things?

ELAM: Number four, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's courtroom battle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you find that Mr. Depp has proven that Miss Heard acted with actual malice? Answer, yes.

ELAM: Amber Heard stoic as a jury finds she did defame Johnny Depp in a 2018 op-ed in "The Washington Post." The jury awarding Depp millions in


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As against Amber Heard, we, the jury, award compensatory damages in the amount of $10 million.

ELAM: As Depp fans cheered outside the courtroom, another $5 million in punitive damages was awarded. On Heard's counterclaim, Depp was found

liable for a statement by his lawyer claiming Heard set up Depp. The jury awarded Heard $2 million in damages. In December, Heard and Depp reached a

settlement on the defamation case but Heard said this is not an act of concession.

Number three, saying goodbye to Hollywood legends.


ELAM: It started with the sudden death of one of TV's most beloved stars. And then Olivia Newton John lost her battle with cancer.


And sadly, the list of entertainers we lost this year grew to include some of our favorites.

Number two, Taylor Swift's Ticketmaster fiasco, a concert for the eras. Millions of fans queued up to buy tickets for Swift's highly anticipated

worldwide tour. As soon as Ticketmaster's presale began, the heavy demand snarled Ticketmaster's Web site. Thousands of Swifties were in line for

hours, and many left empty handed when Ticketmaster suddenly canceled the presale. Swift blamed Ticketmaster for the snafu, saying it's been


But nothing stopped her ultra-loyal fans from supporting the pop star. She became the first artist ever to claim all 10 spots on the Billboard Hot

100, following the release of her latest album, "Midnight."

At number one, the slap to the jaw that had jaws dropping. A showdown on stage at the Oscars as Smith confronted Chris Rock for making a joke about

his wife.

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Jada, I love you, "G.I. Jane 2," can't wait to see it. Oh, wow. Wow. Will Smith just smacked (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me.

ELAM: The audience inside the Dolby Theater and around the world stunned.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Let me say this, there are consequences.

WANDA SYKES, COMEDIAN: I physically felt ill and I'm still a little traumatized by it.

ELAM: Smith resigned from the Academy, and he was banned from attending any of their events including the Oscars, for the next 10 years. He apologized

to Rock and is trying to move on. He's currently seeking redemption in Apple TV's "Emancipation" already getting some 2023 Oscars buzz.

WILL SMITH, ACTOR: I will fight them.

ELAM (on camera): There are big things to come for our newsmakers on our list. Beyonce says "Renaissance" is act one of three she recorded during

the pandemic. And the cast of "Stranger Things" is poised to start shooting their fifth and final season.

In Los Angeles, I'm Stephanie Elam.


ANDERSON: Good job, Steph.

Right. Do you recognize the song?


ANDERSON: I mean, of course you do. That is Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," the top single from the number one album on "Rolling Stone's" new list

of the 500 greatest albums of all-time. "Rolling Stone" just published a new book with the full list along with new poll results from some of the

industry's most celebrated artists, producers, and journalists. Their top five also includes the Beach Boys, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, and the


Amazing classics. One and all.

What's your top five? Let me know at BeckyCNN. CNN continues with CONNECT THE WORLD after this short break. Stay with us.