Return to Transcripts main page


Top 10 Of 2014

Aired December 31, 2014 - 15:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

And welcome to CNN's top 10 of 2014.

We're taking a look back at the many stories that captured the world's attention this year. Quick, do you remember who won the World Cup? The tournament was one of the biggest, most gripping news stories of 2014, definitely for that month.

You know, so much happened around the world. It was nearly impossible to whittle down the top 10 news stories that played out on the international stage, but we did it.

So let's count them down. And, yes, we will remind you who won that World Cup match.

Up first, here's Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Number 10: pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Demonstrators occupied the downtown financial district in what became known as the Umbrella Revolution.

In late September, police fired tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd, prompting thousands more to take to the streets. After more than two months, police clear away the protest sites, the demonstrators vowing, "We will be back."

Number nine: World Cup fever, the eyes of the world on the games in Brazil. Host country crashes out in the semifinals. In the final, Germany meets Argentina 1-0 in a dramatic overtime win.

Number eight, freedom for two American citizens held in North Korea, Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller. Bae had been held for ten years.

KENNETH BAE, RELEASED FROM NORTH KOREA: I just want to say thank you all for supporting me and standing by me through this time.

COOPER: Freedom for Bae and Miller came less than a month after the release of American Jeffrey Fowle.

All this follows a bizarre disappearing act by Kim Jong-Un, the reclusive leader not seen in public for more than a month. It turns out he may have had ankle surgery.

At number seven, tragedy and heartbreak in South Korea. A ferry capsizes off the coast killing more than 300 people, 250 of them high school students on a field trip. Adding to the family's anguish, images of the captain abandoning ship. He is now serving a 36-year prison sentence.

At number six, a mass kidnapping that started a movement. More than 200 Nigerian girls snatched from their border school by the terror group, Boko Haram. The twitter hashtag bring back our girls becomes an international rallying cry. But months go by and in November the leader of Boko Haram says the girls converted to Islam and have been married off.

Number five, Middle East tensions erupt. Hopes for peace fade. Three Israeli teens are kidnapped and killed. A Palestinian boy is kidnapped and killed possibly in retaliation. In July, Israel launches operation protective edge in response to Hamas rocket attacks.

After weeks of clashes and deaths of more than 2,100 Palestinians and 70 Israelis, a cease-fire. But the bloodshed didn't end there. On November 18, two Palestinians with butcher knives and a gun attack a synagogue killing four rabbis and a police officer.

Number four, cold are animosities heat up. Russian Vladimir Putin stuns the west by annexing Ukraine's Crimea region. Moscow is also accused of sending troops and equipment to help pro-Russian separatists.

Then, tragedy in the skies. Malaysia airline flight 17 shutdown over eastern Ukraine, all 298 people onboard the plane killed. The west and Ukrainian government blame pro-Russian fighters.

Number three, Ebola ravages West Africa. The CDC announces the first cases in late March in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. By July, officials call it the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. The World health organization says more than 6,000 people have died. Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan became the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. Ten cases have been treated t U.S. with two deaths including Duncan.

Number two, without a trace, the disappearance of Malaysian airlines flight 370. The plane with 239 people onboard was heading from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished. Planes and ships scoured the initial search area but there's no sign of the missing plane. Then, new satellite data takes the search in a different direction.

NAJIB RAZAK, MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER: According to this new data, MH-370 ended in a sudden Indian Ocean.

COOPER: Pings believed to be from the plane's black box raise hopes but don't pan out. Under water searches come up empty and the effort to solve commercial aviation's biggest mystery goes on. In late December, another air tragedy in the skies over Southeast Asia.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Breaking news. An AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya is reported missing.

COOPER: AirAsia flight 8501 with a 162 people onboard vanishes from radar over the stormy java sea during a flight from Indonesia to Singapore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: AirAsia confirming that debris found overnight off the coast of Borneo is indeed the wreckage of 8501.

COOPER: And our number one international story of 2014, the rise of ISIS. It started as an Al-Qaeda splinter group emerges as a major threat. ISIS launches a brutal campaign to create an Islamic state across Iraq and Syria. Militants take control of key Iraqi cities.

In August, U.S. fighter jets start bombing ISIS positions in Iraq part of targeted air strikes authorized by President Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We intend to stay vigilant and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq.

COOPER: The strikes also aimed at protecting minority groups like Yazidi refugees left stranded and starving on a mountain top. All the while, the extent of the barbarism by ISIS becomes more apparent. The group posts a You Tube video showing beheading of James Foley and another video shows the decapitation of Steven Sotloff. Then British aid workers David Haynes and Alan Henning and American Peter Kasich. America's top general has not ruled out the return of U.S. ground troops to Iraq three years after the last troops pulled out.

Anderson Cooper, CNN, New York.


BALDWIN: Here's a late add to the list of monumental news stories of the year, Cuba. President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro, you know together. They absolutely shock the world by announcing they are putting this 50-plus year of mutual animosity behind and will open up travel and business diplomacy. And perhaps someday soon they may end that long embargo. Now, not everyone thinks this is a good thing with the debate and the thawing of an ice cold history between the U.S. and Cuba, will be no doubt be one of the biggest stories we hear at CNN. We will be watching in 2015.

You know, it is hard to believe a few simple words can inspire a movement, give voice to millions and bring about lasting change. Coming up is top 10 trending hashtags of 2014.


BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

You know, social media's role in breaking news is undeniable. But sometimes it's the hashtag itself that starts a movement whether serious or hilarious, here are the top ten trending hashtags of 2014.




BALDWIN: Number ten, Alex from Target. It was trending for days. No one could figure out why including Alex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My manager came up to me and she showed me the actual picture.

BALDWIN: There was a text startup firm that tried to claim responsibility for how this picture went viral. No word yet as to whether or not this firm deserves the credit.

Number nine, remember that news conference where President Obama was serious and he was talking about Russia and ISIS but really all anyone on twitter could talk about was his tan suit? Thank goodness the president didn't wear white after Labor Day.

Number eight, do you remember back in May, 22-year-old Elliott Roger went on this killing spree near the University of California, Santa Barbara claiming cruelty of women. Well, women responded on twitter saying not all men turn romantic rejection into murder. Women, yes all women experience discrimination and harassment.

Number seven, pro-democracy protesters occupied Hong Kong's financial district for nearly two-and-a-half months. Their hopes, being able to freely choose their leader in 2017, the cause known as the umbrella revolution because all of these demonstrators use umbrellas to try to protect themselves from the teargas and the pepper spray from police.