hello and welcome to al jazeera america. i'm tony harris in new york, our top stories. ♪ >> holy night the pope delivers his first christmas eve has as the faithful celebrate around the world. double jeopardy, the millions hacked at target could be victims of another scam. the rare and risky space walk to repair the space station. and michelle obama on the phone as she talks to kids about santa. ♪
and we begin in be beth -- bethlehem where it is christmas day. nick is there, and he joins us live. nick if you could what is it like for you. you have been there for years but for people who have never been there to bethlehem to take in christmas day in that particular city in >> tony it is such an amazing and special space. and thousands of people came here from all over the world, and it is the largest turnout in years, and that is boosting peace in this tiny town of bethlehem. here is bethlehem, a solemn celebration of one of chris
-- christianities most sacred moments. after 12:00 the sounds of midnight mass filled st. katherines chapel. politicians, pilgrims palestinian christians all marking christ's sacrifices. >> hope and reconciliation, on your homelands and families through the new year. >> reporter: archbishop blessed the crowd in six languages he told palestinians to stop infighting and prayed for all in the holy land including palestinians and israelis. just a few feet away, this man is praying for the future. he is overseaing the church's
facelift the first in over 600 years. >> this is water. >> it is all water damage. >> reporter: parts of this church are 1500 years old. >> we were all worried about the situation of the church. . water comes down throughout the walls and most -- mosaics and all over. >> reporter: repairs will begin on the roof's wooden beams they were last restored in 1498. >> this is our -- our determination to protect the -- this holy church for -- for the coming generations. >> reporter: he is christian his family has lived here for as long as anyone can remember, he jokes that his ancestors
witnsed jesus's birth. >> we are deep rooted here. >> palestinians arguy they can't bring the church to its full splendor while under occupation. >> we can't have the best atmosphere for developing and also protecting our -- our history and our -- our -- >> reporter: heritage. >> heritage is to end occupation. >> this is an endangered world heritage site. >> our history, our dignity, our future, your aim is to live in peace and dignity. ♪ >> reporter: it's a christmas wish from this holy land and
from this sacred shrine. and it's one of the thing that it took 600 years because the catholic, armenian and greek orthodox leaders don't get along. but they came together for these renovations and they came together tonight. >> it wouldn't be the middle east if they all got along, nick good to see you thank you. at the vatican pope francis is holding his first christmas eve mass. his message tonight, choose light over darkness. it has been quite a year for pope francis who continues to make a huge impact on the church and beyond. claudio has our report. >> reporter: in st. peters square it may look like any ore
christmas. the tree is towering of the basilica, but there is a growing sense of anticipation, because there is one special pope. there was a whirlwind year for the few pope. he went from being a little known bishop from argentina to time magazine's person of the year. when he appeared on the balcony after election, only few recognized him. everyone, however, recognized his chosen name as pope francis. from day one he proved to be just as humble as his namesake. the became known as the people's pope. he was especially interested in the well-being of the displaced, disabled and children. on his first trip back to south america as pope, he received a hero's welcome.
3 million people came to see him. francis became officially a worldwide icon. but an accessible one. he spoke freely to reporters answering tough questions on homosexuality and the role of women in the church. many catholics around the world will look back at 2013 as an eventful your when a church marked by scandal was a rememberable one. >> st. catholic's church is one of the most famous in the weird. what is happening at that church right now? >> reporter: well, tony there are thousands of people filing by here. you can imagine what the scene
is like. just an hour ago, thousands of people poured out of the church for a 5:30 mass. but the big mass here tonight is happening in just a few hours. the nypd is out here in hundreds. this is one of the most important date for christians and catholics all over the world. it's less about christmas trees and presents, and people are remembering the real reason for the season, which is the birth of jesus christ. >> and what is the theme of tonight's mass? >> tonight it's about remembering the things that are the most important to you. and the church wants you to know that is about your family, faith, and church. that is what christmas is about, and for so many people it is children, but what the pope and so many people are saying tonight is remember this is the
season why christ is born and that's why we're celebrating. so for all of the chaos that might happen from the shopping season until now, they are saying of all the nights to have a quiet and silent night is tonight. >> all right. we're talking about the message tonight, but a little later in this program, we're going to turn our attention to shopping, and you are going to help us, right? oh, did we lose you. okay. we'll join you later in the program. this evening michelle obama answered calls from children wondering when he, santa, and the reindeer will arrive at their house. it is part of a kind of tongue and cheek tradition that uses military radar to track santa around the world. in europe christmas arrived with a severe winter storm
becausing blackouts and travel delays for thousands. with travel making flooding extremely hazardous, and there are major delays in canada, and the northeastern region of the united states. over 500,000 homes are without power and it is no holiday here at home either. kevin corriveau is here with your holiday forecast. kevin. that's right, tony. if you are traveling on thursday as well as next sunday, expect two more very, very bad days. another storm is coming on thursday, and another storm is coming on sunday a lot of people traveling from the states over there, you will have delays. here in the states we have no delays, but we have snow across
parts parts minneapolis. but we're more concerning as the system is moving across. if you are travelling tonight you could be seeing problems because the snow is bring visibility down. and we are looking at winter weather advisory. we do expect to see two to four inches of snow across that area. tomorrow when it will be snowing will be here across parts of michigan, and the rest of the area you will see a white christmas, but most of the area it will be snowing. chicago will be 12. when you factor in the winds with that storm it is going to feel below zero. things will be warming up pretty well across the south. miami at 79, but here in new york temperatures will be in
the 29 degree range. >> 77 in miami looking good. target shoppers may have a new reason to worry. last year the store said a security breach has exposed ta millions of customers. now the customers are beginning to get emails. the data breach is still under investigation. in oklahoma, california, a judge ruled that a 13-year-old will be taken off of life support. his family has been fighting in court to keep her on a ventilator, but the hospital wants to remove her from life support. she suffered complications from a tonsil ex-tommy, if you can
believe it. 150 u.s. marines are on standby to evacuate u.s. citizens from south sudan. thousands have been killed and thousands more have been wounded. this evening the unsecurity council addressed the crisis. >> reporter: no surprise at the un security council. 15 votes say yes to sending more troops and police into south sudan which is descending into chaos. these troops will be coming from peace coming missions. they will be coming from nearby areas such as the democratic republic of congo. other countries have also been approached to see how they could
also help support south sudan. they said this is only a temporary measure. they will not come overnight, and once they are place we cannot protect every civilian there. the un said this is not the answer to the crisis, but this will helpfully reinforce the un facilities where 45,000 are now seeking shelter. earlier i talked to tim crockett about the increased military support to south sudan and what u.s. marines can expect. >> they are not new. they are planned for a each mission around the world has plans in place for a crisis situations. so these missions are planned
for, and they are planned around various different types of scenarios, one that is a permissive environment. so it's sort of stable, but a developing, deteriorating situation. and that will go through to a host isle environment. >> what are your thoughts on the trend line so far in south sudan. >> the situation is fairly volatile and it will not be resolved any time soon. what we have seen so far from spain to the base is part of the preliminary phases where they will move assets, troops into a forward-operating base where they have move quickly in to
secure the embassy and secure evacuation points. >> so should we get to this place where u.s. military have to go in to help evacuate u.s. embassy personal and citizens out of the country, how sensitive of a situation are we talking about here. after all they would be foreign troops in a sovereign country. >> of course. this is something they have trained for and they are used to. but adding foreign troops into a already volatile situation has the potential to make things worse. they would certainly be a target of interest on one side or the other. but something they are pretty prepared for. >> again, that was al jazeera, security contributor. edward snowden has a special christmas message for the british. he will deliver channel 4's
alternative christmas message. in it he calls for an end to the kind of surveillance programs he revealed six months ago. a lawyer for an indian diplomat who was arrested and strip searched is accusing u.s. authorities of mishandling the situation. two weeks ago now india's console general was arrested in new york. the incident has drawn angry responses from officials in india. christmas eve astronauts complete a tricky repair. plus climb aboard for an incredible train show.
only on al jazeera america here is more. >> beneath the fluorescentsun in a former meat packing plant is the latest trim in farming. they call it "vertical farming." these fields grow on floors on at industrial park and farmer john adel and his staff agrees user. >> my shipping proceed did you say 1500, 2,000 miles to get are. >> the plant of the indoor -- as the indoor formers call it doesn't grow corn or soybeans but mustard, high end micro greens on the plates of white-napkin restaurants. these fish supply the vert liser that number issues the
repairing the cooling system on the space station. joining me now to discuss the successful mission to fix the international space indication is leroy chow. he has completed six, count them, six space walks. it's good to see you sir. let's start with today's objective what was the mission today? >> sure. well today was the second part of the repair mission today nay had actually already on the previous space walk they had gone ahead and removed the faulty unit, and today they basically reversed that. they took the good unit and then reconnected all of the fluid in the electrical lines. >> the space walk on saturday lasted 7.5 hours. today's space walk was anywhere from 5.5 to 7 hours.
that's a lot of time in space. was this mission more difficult than i was, and maybe others were lead to believe based on some of the briefings leading up to the mission? >> the procedures are fairly straightforward, you have this module that has failed. so the astronauts had to disconnect the lines and then they had to unbolt the faulty unit and pull it out. that's what they did saturday. and today they basically reversed the process. but they ran into some snags here and there. saturday went very smoothly, but today they ran into some snags with one of the high-pressure connectors, and they spent a little over an hour trying to get that thing off, and when they did they had some ore
issues. >> let's talk about those other issues. >> sure. >> there was an issue with ammonia flakes. what was the problem? and how potentially dangerous was this problem? >> right. the working fluid on this side of the loop is high-pressure pneumonia. it gets exposed to the vacuum of space and it basically freezes. so it comes up looking like little snow flakes. it was frozen ammonia crystals coming out. and the certain is this stuff gets on their suits. what happens is what you don't want to do is carry these crystals on your suit back into the air lock, and introduce all of the pneumonia into the cap
bin of the space station. so they had to basically lay out in the sun, and let these crystals turn back into a gas and dissipate into space before they got back into the air lock and make sure they were all cleaned off before they did that. >> we have some pictures of you on the space station. >> right. >> i know you have been asked this question a million times, and i'm going to ask it again, what is the biggest challenge for an astronaut living on the space station. >> of course you miss your family and friends. i was on a 6.5-month flight, so that's probably -- there's no one particular part that is hard. i guess it's the sum of the whole. you are working pretty much more or less 12-hour days, which is not too bad, but you are looking
down at the earth and that's what makes up for it. the colors are much more bright and vivid than you might imagine. >> leroy chow it is a pleasure. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. sending your mail will get more expensive soon. the $0.03 increase will become effective in late january and last about two years. the postal service will use the money to recoup $8.2 billion in losses. a train display is running through the botanical gardens and it is quite a display. >> reporter: these structures are one of a kind. there are no other structures
like them because they are made with plant parts. many of these plant parts are gathered from the woods. things like the acorn caps, and tendals from grapevines, and leaves from the forrest floor. they are gathered and used to make these amazing structures. we have been doing this exhibit for over six years and we now have a regular following. and each year we change the theme. and this year's theme is the word fair. we have the globe which was shown in the 1964 word fair in new york city. and we have the bow tannic garden on exhibit in 1976.
it really reaches all ages, even though people might say, oh, it's for the children, that's not true. i feel it is a gift to the nation. it gives people a place to come where we're not selling anything. we're not a shopping mall. we're really here for the people to make them excited about the holiday season, but also inspired about the importance of the plants in our lives. >> it was the night before christmas and by the look of retail sale prices you would think it was the day after. plus the nba christmas tradition.
sales for christmas are down more than 3%. retailers usually take about 40% of their annual revenue at this time. ray lynn joins us now. ray lynn, take a look around that street there, the church is located on one of the major shopping streets in new york. what are you seeing around you? >> reporter: that's right. well, it's 5th after. we are here a block away from sacks 5th avenue.
and tons of people are going to be there for that midnight mass, but tons of people are still here carrying shopping bags. people are filing in looking at the window and store displays. but to say people are home enjoying christmas night, on 5th avenue they are shopping still. >> i'm curious as to what the pope's message has been during this holiday season? >> well, in true fashion the pope is saying look, let's strip down what people have come to think christmas is. he is saying, look, the world is still in a huge financial crisis. the markets have been very, very tough on people. and the most important people we
don't want to forget are the poor. please don't forget the poor this season. and stay out of the darkness, coming into the light in your life. there are so many people who wake up tomorrow and it won't be about gifts, but having a place to eat and live. >> well today. ray lynn thank you. and tonight the meaning of christmas in an aging country as america becomes more diverse. roxanne is here to explain. >> the pugh research center say they celebrate christmas. many view it as a cultural holiday, but others are fighting to keep the christ in christmas.
tis the season of giving, shopping, and dodging crowds. >> my name is noel, so i'm big on christmas, and just everything about it. >> reporter: polls show for around half of americans who celebrate christmas it's about faith. >> i'm an elder in the church so tomorrow i'll be most of the day at church. >> reporter: but for one-third of celebratants is it a cultural holiday. adults under the age of 30 are less likely this attend religious services. the president of american atheists thinks the real number of americans who sees christmas as cultural rather than
religious is higher. >> it's sleep in or do charity or do something productive. do something fun or festive. you will have a better feeling. >> reporter: but for shoppers at this christian gift shop, the season is largely about jesus christ. the owner says customers bought 600 of these magnets this year, three times more than last year. >> they want people to understand what it is all about, and that's a good way to know of letting them know keep christ in christmas. >> reporter: these gifts share the same message that christmas is about more than santa claus and vacations for shoppers it's about the religious meaning of the holiday. >> it has become more about faith and the birth of jesus as i got older. >> reporter: with increasing
numbers of americans viewing christmas as a shared cultural experience outside of church. ♪ >> and joining me is a scholar of religions and the author of the best-selling book "zealot: the life and times of jesus." so the meaning of christmas has changes for many americans. how has it changed in your opinion? >> well, we are told that we are maybe a decade or so away from becoming the first nation that will be a majority minority, and that is remarkable for a whole host of reasons. and that will effect a number of institutions. the way we even think about our customs and traditions. >> when was jesus's actual
birthday, and if it wasn't december 25th why do we celebrate it on that day? >> no one knows the date of jesus's birth. there is some consensus about the year of his birth. but birthdays aren't important the way they are now. but it is the roman winter solstice, it's the last day of a month-long festivity that the romans celebrated in honor of the god of wine and revelry. >> so celebrating the birth of jesus on christmas is a misconception. what is the biggest misconception about jesus, and what is your favorite misconception to disprove? >> i would say the most common is that he was founding a new religion. it is true that his teachings
and his actions did ultimately launch the largest religion in the world, but if you really want to understand the christ and jesus of history, was the korea sis of history was a jew preaching to other jews. my favorite is much more sinister and that is the question about jesuses birth but jesuses death. and a lot of misconception people have is the jews killed jesus. it was the romans who killed jesus not the jews. this has been the most unhistorical aspect of the gas sell story and one that has had a devastating consequence. >> have you considered criticism
on christians who have considered this heresy. >> sure there are a lot of christians who have a problem about thinking even after the historical jesus. taking away jesus is for them simply out of the bounds. the truth is the overwhelming response from christians to this book has been positive. i get dozens of emails saying the book has actually strengthened their faith. >> how do you celebrate christmas? >> by wife is a christian. my in-laws are deep devout christians, and i celebrate it with them. so as soon as i'm done with you, we're off to church. >> thank you for taking the time to speak about the historical content of the life of jesus christ and happy holidays.
>> and merry christmas. >> and merry christmas. >> that man has had a very interesting path through faith and religion, hasn't he? >> he has. his family moved from the iran to the u.s. as a kid. and when he was a teen he turned to christianity and in college he converted back to islam. interesting. thank you. >> thank you. >> merry christmas. >> merry christmas to you. >> christmas means something different for every person who celebrates. a time for a trip around the world to see how people are celebrating the holiday. many take the time to commemorate the day they believe jesus was born. in afghanistan american troops marked the way with a candle lit
ceremony. >> i just want to say that i love everyone. i miss you and hope to see you soon. >> so it is difficult, but they -- they love me, and they understand that i'm here serving our country and so it's really not very easy, but, you know, it's not easy being away from my family. >> reporter: syria is another war zone with muted celebrations. >> we're trying to bring joy to our children. we don't wish them to carry only bad memories. >> reporter: in china a crowded christmas mass. >> translator: so i say christmas will be merry. why? because our savior jesus christ has come. >> reporter: christmas joy is expressed in numerous ways including a unique festival
called radish night in mexico. it is a tradition handed down from priests. now people commemorate christmas creating radish cull - cull -- sculptures. now mark morgan is here to explain the basketball slate on christmas day. >> yeah, i will be celebrating christmas with my two sons and we will keep more than one eye on those games. it has become a tradition for 66 years. the nba showcasing many of its best teams on christmas day. there are 35 international players on christmas day rosters, and tomorrow's games will air in 215 countries in 47 languages. the nba has averaged more than
33 million u.s. viewers each of the last three years during its total coverage on christmas day. mark joins us live to discuss the holiday extravaganza. why does the league go all in on christmas day? >> well, with baseball it's during 4th of july. with football it's the super bowl with college football it's the beginning of the year. this is their big day. from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep, there is basketball on. so this is their big showcase. and it's a day when a lot of new fans are born. >> how much thought was the league put into placing outstanding players on christmas day. tony mentioned the heat and lebron james. >> we talked to the indiana
pacers, and they are pretty upset about not being on christmas something i don't understand. but they do this -- you know, during december when they are putting the schedule together. and i heard that abc was upset when kobe went down, canceled the kobe-lebron match up, and wondered if they could change games. but that will be their marquee game. but the games are put so far in advance there's no way to tell who is going to be playing and who is not. >> we mentioned all of the viewers in the united states who watch these game. what is the intent of the nba in scheduling so many high-profile games? >> just to keep the interest going. it's like a big buffet on christmas day.
obviously soccer is the most globally popular sport in the world. but the way that the nba is promoting themselves, i think they are number two now. it is shown in 215 different countries. fans are born not just in the u.s. but all over the world, and today is one of those days where everybody gets to see something. >> and we'll all be seeing kind of a different wardrobe vibe as well. all of the teams will be wearing special christmas day uniforms. >> it's like ugly christmas sweaters turned to basketball. i think they are horrible. look like a valuable game or something. i think they need to get rid of them. the heat don't seem to be a fan of them. i don't see anybody buying them on the street, but they keep pushing these god-awful things, and maybe you will buy one for your son. >> i will probably be forced to
do that, mark. >> they are like batman jerseys. i should get one. >> absolutely. mark have a great holiday season, man. >> happy holidays. >> did you see how he did that? he forced me to buy at least one of those. >> for your son. and you not buy one for one and not get the other -- >> and i think you need a lebron uniform -- >> yeah, i have a couple of purchases to make. next up, fake eggs and ham. researchers have found a new way of cooking up the dish. plus santa doesn't always use a sleigh to get around. hello! clear
we're going to take a quick look at your weather for christmas day. we are going to be seeing a lot of people recovering from a storm. lows tomorrow across the country will be quite low. minneapolis a low of 8 degrees. new york at 21. as we go down towards the southeast that is probably where some of the best weather is going to be. the rain has exited. so if you have clouds it is going to be clearing up. down towards miami at 77. key west a beautiful day at 78.
in southern california the santa ana winds are picks up. that means gusty conditions and a risk of wildfires in the area. san francisco you will be seeing about 63 degrees there. across the northeast you are looking at snow showers. those will linger, but we don't expect to see any accumulations in that region. albany at 22 degrees, down towards new york we expect to see a high of about 29. middleton. >> ross shimabuku is here with sport. >> dennis rodman is in north korea to train basketball players for an upcoming player. he wants everyone to know he's not a joke. this is the same guy who dressed up in a wedding gown and will rite a book with his bff, kim jong un. the 52-year-old rodman, who never shies away from the
spotlight arrived in north korea >> start with one issue education... gun control... the gap between rich and poor... job creation... climate change... tax policy... the economy... iran... healthcare... ad guests on all sides of the debate. >> this is a right we should all have... >> it's just the way it is... >> there's something seriously wrong... >> there's been acrimony... >> the conservative ideal... >> it's an urgent need... and a host willing to ask the tough questions >> how do you explain it to yourself? and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5 eastern only on al jazeera america so take a look at this number. right, 250 eggs, eaten by americans each year.
so here is the deal. nearly 2 trillion eggs are eaten every year. a few company has come up with an alternative. it is called -- well, they are fake eggs. jacob ward has our report. >> reporter: there is nothing quite like the good egg. >> a good egg is fresh and it has a rich-colored yolk, and it tastes almost like chicken if you really think about it. i worked in france for a couple of years and made thousands of omelets. as does any cook that works in france you make thousands of omelets. personally, i don't see any reason that i would ever need to replace an egg with anything but an egg. with 7 billion people eati
eating -- eggs this company says it is make a fake egg that tastes as good and costs less. >> 99% of the 1.8 trillion eggs come from places that aren't too good. they consume a lot of resources and we think like the horse and buggy that we can do better. and it's not fit for a better world. >> reporter: they are the first company looking for plants that can replace eggs in all sorts of foods. the company's first product is a plant-based mayonnaise called just mayo. >> it has the whole arc of mayonnaise. brightness and smoothness, and i
feel slightly sick at the end of it the way i'm supposed to. if you were to crack mayonnaise what does the market look like? >> $11.2 million. >> reporter: the company has isolated plants like yellow peas or sorgon which has replicated behaviors. >> we are working on the plant that can scramble up. we found one that when you put it in the pan it actually scrambles. >> reporter: we let our professional chef try it. straight out of the pan with a little salt it wasn't bad. >> it really tastes like egg. there is a little bit of a
top news stories of the year typhoon haiyan. thousands are spending christmas in a shelter. here is that story. >> reporter: this man holds the most precious possession he has left the wing he gave his wife 32 years ago. >> translator: we were still courting when i gave it to her. she never took it off.
>> reporter: she died along with 21 other members of his family, four of his children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters and cousins. he is the only one left together with his son. most of his family members were found here, washed away hundreds of meters from their home. and still the search for the missing continues. there are six more family members left, he says, and he will not stop until they are buried. the number of bodies in this mass grave keeps growing by the day. in many cases nobody knows who they are. his story is a story that is repeated a hundred times over. but the most difficult questions now, where do they go from here, and how can they rebuild their lives back again. over 6,000 people were killed
when typhoon haiyan struck the region. millions of homes have been destroyed. the lives of the people here will never be the same. the philippine government says efforts to rehabilitate the community are still underway. but not for the hundreds of people here. ♪ >> reporter: these are communities shattered by an unprecedented loss and one month on the grieving has not eased. >> the most important thing is sense of direction. no? the sense of direction, why we're still here? no? we have been given another chance. no? we can all testify that we have been given another chance. no? so god must be telling us something, no? so don't waste this life again. >> reporter: it's a future that is hard for many to envision.
accepting that a loved one has passed on is difficult. for many there can be no closure when they don't even have a body they can bury. >> those moments were also captured in still photographs. jonathan klein shares the story behind some of those photos. >> every year unfortunately there are a number of natural disasters, and this one in the philippines was enormous. i think it's one of the largest of its type to hit land. this photo is very strong. it says it all. having just one person in the photo, i think is also very powerful. he has captured the light just perfectly. and the light and the smoke, i would have thought a few minutes or seconds later just wouldn't have been as good of shot. it really shows in my mind the
devastation. although what dan said coming back from there, he said what surprised him most of all is people were optimistic, and there was hope and people were looking forward, even though as you can see from the photo there was just carnage. it couldn't be more dez -- desolate. this photo taken by a russian photographer who spents a lot of time with putin. i always think he must have a very interesting life. in this particular case he is taken by surprise. here is a topless woman demonstrating in favor of women's rights. it is a funny photo. angela merkel is also taken
aback. so you can look at it in two ways. hah hah. or you can say this has brought attention again to the suppression of not just women's rights, but pretty much everyone's rights in russia. it makes us think about the increasing importance of russia in the world, increasing power of russia, and the fact that i think their values and principles are significantly different from our own. there is a lot of skill and tiny little bit of luck in getting a photo like this. and finally the sleigh was packed and ready, and sanity did a little unwinding before the big night. he took part in the santa ski on the potomac river. headlines in just a moment. ♪
hello and welcome to al jazeera america. i'm tony harris here are tonight's top stories. a judge has ordered that a 13-year-old be taken off of life support, but he is allowing time for an appeal. the teenager was pronounced brain dead after suffering complications after a tonsilectomy. the cooling station on the international space station was repaired today. a message of love and forgiveness from pope francis tonight. he told church members to choose