Stocks Drop Sharply; Town Hall on Guns; Miners Rescued in New York; Mass Sexual Assaults in Germany Spark Criticism; Chipotle Under

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York; Mass Sexual Assaults in Germany Spark Criticism; Chipotle Under

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[09:30:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Have to leave it there. John (INAUDIBLE), Ron Brownstein, thanks to both of you.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, investors bracing for another wild day on Wall Street. What you need to know, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: All right, let's take a look at what's happening on Wall Street. Don't you know it, the Dow is down 260 points. Of course, these losses started because of what China did early this morning. It kind of like stopped all of its action on its own stock market and that sent everything into a tailspin. Alison Kosik is following the story live from the New York Stock Exchange.

Good morning.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol.

And as you said, this is because of China, because for the second time in four days, China suspended trading because stocks there fell so much so fast. And there are new indications that China's economy is slowing even faster than we thought.

And then you've got the Chinese government devaluing the yuan to try to make its exports cheaper. But the way investors read it is that the move is sending this message that China could be in worse shape than we realize. And because our economies are so interconnected, that's making investors around the world very nervous. And as you can see, they're hitting the sell button with the Dow down 307 points.

OK, so what does this mean for a correction? Well, we are less than 100 points from correction territory, meaning 10 percent down from the recent high. But, Carol, it's really going to depend on where the markets close today. But before you freak out, I just want to say, a correction is really a normal part of the markets. You don't want the indexes to go just straight up because that could create a bubble.

[09:35:02] Think of it this way, the markets actually had a correction in August. I don't know if you remember that. But now we see it falling back into a correction again. But something to consider as you're having your morning coffee and watching all these numbers fall this morning, corrections, once again, are a natural part of market movement. It's kind of like tapping the brakes on a bike or a car. Sometimes you've got to take a breather.

One more thing to keep in mind. We are a long way off from a bear market. That would be when the market drops 20 percent from a recent high.

Carol.

COSTELLO: OK. I'm soaking it in of what you said and I'm feeling more calm. Thank you, Alison Kosik.

KOSIK: OK, that -- that was the intention.

COSTELLO: I appreciate it. Thanks, Alison.

KOSIK: Sure.

COSTELLO: Hours from now, President Obama sits down with CNN's Anderson Cooper for a live town hall even on gun control. It's all part of the president's push to make gun safety a top priority during his final year in office. But as you know, not everyone is on board. The National Rifle Association, the NRA, the nation's largest gun rights organization, is snubbing the event, declining an invitation, calling it a "public relations spectacle" by the White House.

With me now is Jillian Soto. She will be at tonight's town hall with the president. Her sister Vicki was a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary the day a gunman entered the building. Her sister was killed trying to protect her students. Twenty-six people, as you know, died that day, including 20 children.

Welcome, Jillian, and thank you so much for being here.

JILLIAN SOTO, SISTER VICTORIA SOTO WAS KILLED AT SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY: Thank you for having me.

COSTELLO: Thank you. So, as I mentioned, CNN is hosting this town hall, not the White House. Still, the NRA declined the invitation to take part in this town hall. Why do you think it did?

SOTO: I think that they're honestly scared that, you know, the president has stepped up and is doing something. And I think they're finally realizing that, you know, there's actions that are being taken that, you know, there are plenty of people who are willing to fight the NRA and go up against them and demand change because nobody wants to join this group. Nobody wants to be a gun violence survivor, whether you lost somebody to gun violence or you are a survivor yourself. No one wants to join that group. So everyone wants to stand up and the NRA is scared of that I honestly think.

COSTELLO: If the NRA had accepted the invitation, you're in the audience of that town hall, what would you want to ask the NRA?

SOTO: Would they still be on the same side that they are, would they still feel that nothing needs to be done if their loved one was in a classroom and brutally murdered in front of their students? Would they still feel the same way? Would they still feel that nothing needs to happen, that our nation is safe and that we should just put more guns in people's hands and that's going to make it a better place to live?

COSTELLO: Well, they probably would say, had your sister been armed, she might have survived.

SOTO: Even if my sister was armed, I know her better than anyone. She would never have thought to grab a gun to protect her students. Her -- she would have done exactly what she did that day. She would have tried to hide as many of her kids as she could. She would have been going to that door to lock the door and keep her kids safe. A gun is a distraction. Having a gun on her while she would be teaching would be a distraction. I don't even think she would have taken a teaching job if it was a requirement to carry gun because it's a first grade classroom. You -- there is no place in a first grade classroom, let alone any classroom, even in a college campus, a gun should be.

COSTELLO: The issue over guns, it's become so partisan. Some might say hopelessly partisan. So I'll ask you a tough question in light of what happened to your sister. Why bother with this town hall?

SOTO: To me it's not hopeless. To me I look at how much has changed in the past three years. You know, we've come so far. We've had so many states pass such amazing gun laws. And we're still fighting. And with -- thanks to the president for taking executive action and keeping -- narrowing the loopholes that keep guns out of dangerous hands we have some hope that we will get this fight done and we are going to continue to fight. We're going to vote for Congress members that are going to help us make it a safer country. And the ones who aren't going to help us, we're not going to vote for them and we're just going to continue to ask people to join us in this fight until we have a safer nation and we know our loved ones are safe whether they're going to the mall, going to school or they're just on the streets and hanging out with their friends. We're going to make this nation safer one way or another. So it's not a hopeless dream for me.

[09:40:02] COSTELLO: And I'm glad -- I'm glad you brought up that last part because a lot of people say that the president's executive order would not have saved people who died as a result of a mass shooting. But we're talking about many other kinds of deaths caused by guns. Thirty thousand plus died in this country last year alone because of gun violence. You're talking about all kinds of gun violence, not just the kind of gun violence that happens in mass shootings.

SOTO: Yes, it's -- gun violence isn't just mass shootings. Gun violence is an everyday occurrence. Eighty-eight Americans are killed every single day to gun violence. And what the president did will narrow down that number. We hopefully will have less Americans killed every day to gun violence because of what the president did. Because with what he did, he's keeping guns out of dangerous hands. There will be background checks that will have to be done and lives will be saved. It may not save everyone's life, but it will save some. And that's what matters. And we're going to continue to fight until we save everyone's life from guns.

COSTELLO: Jillian Soto, thank you for being with me this morning.

SOTO: Thank you. COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, 17 miners trapped 900 feet underground and rescued. We'll have all the details for you, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: All right a story with a great ending to tell you about right now. There was a mine rescue in central New York today, in New York state. Seventeen miners trapped underground for more than nine long hours. They were 900 feet underground, trapped in an elevator. Jean Casarez has been following this story.

[09:45:00] COSTELLO: She has more now.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, as we were sleeping in our beds last night, this was going on. This was a ten hour rescue, they are saying at this point. They are all safe. But it started out very simply that they were just going to work down the mine shaft in an elevator. It took 15 agencies to come on board to try to help rescue them. We do understand from the Ithaca Fire Department that they -- that Auburn Crane and Rigging brought the basket, to just let you know how this rescue happened. It brought the miners to the surface. They are saying it was one of the most difficult rescues in recent memory.

We want you let you listen to some sound from the mine manager of the Cayuga Salt Mine in Lansing, New York, Shawn Wilczynski. Let's listen to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHAWN WILCZYNSKI, MINE MANAGER: At 10:00 last night we had 17 employees that started their journey under the -- to their work area via our typical elevator that they use every day. During that trip the elevator became stuck in the shaft. Again, at approximately the 900 foot level.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CASAREAZ: And the original 911 call said the cage is stuck. We need rescue for a rescue for a rope rescue on all of this. So Carol, the governor of the State of New York is calling on the Department of Emergency Management for a full investigation to see how this happened. But the mine itself is a salt mine, and they produce and distribute two million tons of salt a year to 1,500 entities around East Coast. So as you are driving and the salt is helping you stay safe, it's these miners that have helped get that salt on the roads.

COSTELLO: I just can't imagine going down 900 feet to do my job every day. So to me that's courage. Courage. Jean Casarez, thanks so much.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, dozens of sex assaults reported during a new year's eve celebration in a German city. The mayor's advice to the victims? Keep men at arm's length.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [09:50:10] COSTELLO: A string of new year's eve assaults in Germany is putting the country edge and sparking harsh criticism of its open door on refugees. Police of the city of Cologne says they've now received more than 100 reports from women who claim they were either sexually assaulted or mugged during the end of year celebrations. They described their attackers as gangs of Arab or North African men.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has more for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A day after the allegations of mass sexual assault were made public, Cologne continues to search for the perpetrators and for answers. How could things get so out of hand? More victims are coming forward and describing their harrowing experiences.

MICHELLE, VICTIM (via Translator): Suddenly we were surrounded by a group of between 20 and 30 men. They were full of anger and we had to make sure that none of us were pulled away by them. They were grabbing us and we were trying to get away as quickly as possible.

PLEITGEN: Police and witnesses speak of a group up to 1,000 men, groping and often robbing women at Cologne's main railway station on new year's eve. More than 100 criminal complaints have already been filed.

Germany's Interior Ministry criticized the police's slow response to the violence and said authorities must do better in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): We still do have not have a clear picture as to who may be behind the crimes. All we have are some clues. The actions of the perpetrators are not acceptable.

PLEITGEN: With Germany announcing the country took in about 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015, the new year's even incidents are causing many to criticize Angela Merkel's open arms policy. But authorities say there are no indication refugees are involved.

Meanwhile, Cologne's mayor is under fire for suggesting women need to be more careful.

MAYOR HENRIETTE REKER, COLOGNE, GERMANY (via translator): Women would also be smart not to embrace everyone that you meet and who seems to be nice. Such advances could be misunderstood and that is something every woman and every girl should protect herself from.

PLEITGEN: As the search for perpetrators continues, questions still remain as to how this night of celebration turned sour so quickly.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: I'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:55:49] COSTELLO: Checking some top stories for you at 55 minutes past.

(HEADLINES)

COSTELLO: All right, this just into CNN. We can confirm our own Mike Rowe did not rob a bank. He just looks a lot like a guy who actually did rob a bank. The mix-up happened after a Oregon police department posted these pictures of the suspect and people actually called in saying it looked a lot like Mike Rowe. Rowe himself even agreed so he -- so much that he had to provide an alibi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE ROWE, CNN HOST, "SOMEBODY'S GOTTA DO IT": I can't deny there's an uncanny resemblance so I JUST fired off a quick little missive saying, hey, for what it's worth, I'm in Kansas so be on the lookout for somebody who's shorter and less attractive. My first thought was I know what the next call is going to be, and it was, it was my mother. Just please, say you didn't do it, Michael. Say you didn't do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: After learning Rowe was in Kansas at the time, the police department posted on their Facebook page, "This is a real bummer. Back to the drawing board."

See, police have a humor. They went on to say, "We are now looking for a suspect wearing a Mike Rowe mask, which is brilliant."

Oh gosh, I love that story.

This story I don't so much love: Chipotle, let's talk about that. Because Chipotle is facing a criminal investigation. The chain announcing it has been served with a federal grand jury subpoena as authorities investigate an outbreak of norovirus that sickened more than 200 people at one of its restaurants in southern California.

Cristina Alesci is following this story. Strange.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, what the subpoena is doing is the FDA's office of investigation is trying to get more information about how 200 people got sick from this one restaurant in Simi Valley. But we don't know the target of the investigation yet. In other words, it may be Chipotle; it may be another part of the supply chain. We don't know the answer to that.

But one thing for sure, this is yet another negative headline that's going to have a negative impact on sales. People are pulling back their Chipotle purchases. We see it in the numbers. It's very obvious, right? And it's not just the fact that this company has -- or had food safety problems. It's because of the way the news is trickling out. It seems like week after week we're covering another bad headline for this company. And the CDC three more people got sick, two more people got sick. And that's what's really killing Chipotle sales right now.

Now, this crisis is striking Chipotle at the core. This company prides itself in empowering its staff to cook, to cook fresh ingredients. Now instead of chopping the vegetables in the restaurant, they have to do what other fast food chains do and outsource that to a commissary that has FDA inspectors, that's very much policed. And this, like I said, really is about the philosophy of the company changing because it has to get safer food safety standards.

COSTELLO: Just unbelievable. Cristina Alesci, thanks so much.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[10:00:03] COSTELLO: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you very much for joining me.

(Byline: Carol Costello, Alison Kosik, Jean Casarez, Frederik Pleitgen, Cristina Alesci)

(Guest: Jillian Soto)

(High: Stocks drop sharply on China troubles. CNN hosts a town hall with President Obama on guns. Seventeen miners were rescued after an elevator became stuck. A string of new year's eve assaults in Germany is putting the country edge and sparking harsh criticism of its open door on refugees. Chipotle is facing a criminal investigation. The chain announcing it has been served with a federal grand jury subpoena as authorities investigate an outbreak of norovirus that sickened more than 200 people at one of its restaurants in southern California.)

(Spec: Stock Markets; China; Guns; Barack Obama; CNN; New York; Miners; Safety; Germany; Sexual Assault; Crime; Police; Chipotle; Food & Beverages; Business)

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