tv The Situation Room CNN November 29, 2013 2:00pm-3:31pm PST
sciutto, filling in for wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, china confrontation. fighters jets take to the sky after u.s. military planes enter disputed territory. can tension be defused before the crisis escalates? international nightmare. an american man arrested and jailed in dubai on shocking charges. what was his alleged crime? and biden in 2016. some say the vice president is positioning himself for his own white house bid, but will he really run? wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim sciutto. you're in "the situation room." long simmering tension over disputed territory has suddenly heated up. china's military scrambled fighter jets today after u.s. and japanese planes entered an air defense zone beijing unilaterally declared just last week. it's over the east china sea in a cluster of small uninhabited
islands claimed by both china and japan. cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr is following developments for us. barbara, we had china declare the zone, u.s. planes flew through it, china warned again, u.s. planes flew through again. what's to keep this from escalatin escalating? >> reporter: right now, joe biden. the vice president is headed to china next week to sit down and talk to them. but this is all happening in the middle of war games between the u.s. and japan in the region, and escalating tensions here at the pentagon, what u.s. officials, the line they are trying to push is that they routinely fly through this international air space, that these are reconnaissance flights, nothing unusual they say. they're not trying to poke china in the eye, they are not trying to escalate tensions. but the question now is can china keep this up. has china overplayed its hand. does it have the midair refueling capability to keep sending its fighters into the air. does it have the radar coverage to keep looking for these planes.
what if the u.s., japan and south korea just keep sending larger and larger numbers of planes into this zone? what are the chinese going to do about it, are we headed to an incident of potential miscalculation? nobody thinks there's going to be a shooting war. no one is talking about that. but miscalculation in tight air space, planes come close to each other, they miscalculate, perhaps they crash. nobody wants to see that happen. jim? >> so you mentioned vice president biden's going to be there next week. what is his message? is it a conciliatory message? is it a tough message? how does he get that balance right to bring an end to this? >> reporter: well, he is the one that's being sent to deal with this. it was a preplanned trip to actually talk more about trade and the economy, but now this is on the agenda. biden will sit down with chinese officials, we are told by administration officials, and say basically what's up, what are your intentions, what are you trying to do here, what are you trying to accomplish. the chinese know by now several
days into this, they are facing overwhelming opposition, of course, not just from the u.s. but japan, south korea, all the other u.s. allies in the region. so biden will say to the chinese what are you trying to accomplish here, and maybe, just maybe, everyone might look for a way to dial some of this back. but right now, that is not happening, at least not with the chinese rhetoric. they still appear to be really determined to enforce this zone with their new restrictions. jim? >> we'll be hoping that both sides find a way to rachet this down. thanks very much to barbara starr at the pentagon. we will get more now from cnn's renee marsh to explain exactly what this air defense identification zone is, how does it work. renee, walk us through what they have actually declared here. >> reporter: you probably know that u.s. sovereignty doesn't end at the coastline, it extends 12 miles beyond that. but what we're talking about today is different. the air defense identification zone extending hundreds of miles beyond that 12 mile limit.
so this is the united states and that zone extends some 200 miles beyond the borders. that's what we can tell you here. so this all comes down to national security, essentially allowing nations to protect themselves from approaching threats. so here's how it works. if you are an aircraft and you're coming into the united states, you have to identify yourself. you also have to report your flight plan and you also have to report your exact location. now, just last week, china announced that it was creating this new air defense zone and this is exactly where they are marking that zone there. well, here's what the conflict is. this is japan's air defense zone and this is south korea's air defense zone. you can see that there is an overlap there. and what the problem is now, because of this overlap, the other countries are not essentially honoring china's
request for notification when flying in this area because they simply don't recognize this as a legitimate zone. this is also a route for commercial aircraft. japan air carriers are flying through this space but we are not seeing chinese fighter jets approaching commercial planes. the focus has been on military aircraft and when those fighter jets do intercept, it doesn't mean that they're preparing to shoot down an aircraft. they are simply sent up in this area so that they can i.d. that plane. >> a lot of overlapping interests there and now a lot of overlapping air planes, military planes, ships, you name it, all in one tight little area. thanks very much. coming up this weekend, you can expect lots of finger crossing and breath holding at the white house tomorrow. that's the administration's self-imposed deadline to fix the malfunctioning obama care website which badly scarred the rollout of the affordable care act. cnn's jill dougherty is at the white house for us. jim, less than 24 hours to go, is there a sense at the white house they are going to make
this deadline, it will be a good day tomorrow? are they nervous there? >> reporter: they seem pretty confident that they can at least, the website can handle about 50,000 people at any one given time, but hhs secretary kathleen sebelius is urging customers to shop healthcare.gov at off-peak hours, that would be mornings, evenings and weekends, and the idea of course is not to overwhelm that site. withering criticism of the initial rollout of healthcare.gov has intensified the pressure on the administration to get this fix right for saturday. the white house hopes it can do that, at least for the vast majority of users. >> and this website is going to get fixed. >> reporter: healthcare.gov opened for business october 1st and it's been a disastrous two months. the site crashed, unable to cope with people trying to sign up. small businesses still won't be able to use the site for another
year. insurance industry insiders tell cnn some customers' personal data is getting mangled or even lost. the white house says the site will be able to handle 50,000 users at one time, but they admit there will be times after saturday when healthcare.gov does not function properly, and they're bracing for another possible huge surge in volume that could force some people into virtual waiting lines for call-backs. officials say consumers who pick a plan by december 23rd and pay their premiums by december 31st will have coverage effective the 1st of january. and this may be a holiday weekend, but you can bet republicans and a lot of other people are going to be watching that site very carefully to see if the white house can actually keep its promise. jim? >> we'll be watching as well. thanks very much. coming up next, a parity video lands an american man in
jail in dubai. we have details of the shocking charges he's facing there. plus, brawls at the mall. unbelievable scenes as shoppers go wild, trying to get the best bargain. sfx: oil gushing out of pipe. sfx: birds chirping. ♪ by the end of december, we'll be delivering ♪ ♪ through 12 blizzards blowing ♪ 8 front yards blinding ♪ 6 snowballs flying ♪ 5 packages addressed by toddlers ♪ ♪ that's a q ♪ 4 lightning bolts ♪ 3 creepy gnomes ♪ 2 angry geese ♪ and a giant blow-up snowman ♪ that kind of freaks me out [ beep ] [ female announcer ] no one delivers the holidays like the u.s. postal service. priority mail flat rate is more reliable than ever. and with improved tracking up to 11 scans, you can even watch us get it there. ♪
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sfx: birds chirping sfx: birds chirping protesters are targeting walmart on this black friday. this rally in ontario, california was one of at least hfl half a dozen across the country. protesters are calling on walmart to pay its employees what they say would be a living wage. all the demonstrations were peaceful. it wasn't necessarily the same inside some walmart stores. look at this shopping melee at the walmart in elkin, north
carolina. incidents were also reported at stores in texas, tennessee and iowa. not where you want to be when you're doing holiday shopping. we will get more now with cnn's margaret connelly. what do we know about the walmart fights going on, several of them around the country. how did they happen? >> reporter: jim, all of that violence, all for a better deal. there was a shooting, there was also a stabbing and it was all over shopping. those were mainly isolated incidents and we spoke more about this with an executive from walmart. >> we served as i said over 22 million customers yesterday. we have over 4100 stores and actually, we had quite a safe environment across the country last year. unfortunately, this one incident is being talked about across the country and it's unfortunate for the customers and the folks that were around that incident last night. >> reporter: now, things at macy's are pretty calm right
now. definitely busy jim. >> they kept the stores open to boost their shopping numbers. you get a sense black friday is going well for retailers? it's a big indicator of the economy going forward. >> reporter: they're saying [ inaudible ]. >> we're losing margaret there. bad connection in new york. we are going to go on now to las vegas, where a man was shot carrying a television outside a target store there. according to reports, the suspect took the tv and tried to load it into a car where another suspect was waiting. the victim then tried to get it back when the shooting occurred. he was hospitalized with nonlife threatening injuries. no description yet of the suspects. and at a walmart in virginia, two men were arrested and jailed after what appeared to have started as a fight over a parking space. when police arrived at the scene, they found one man with a rifle and a knife and the other with a severe knife wound on his
arm. charges include malicious wounding and branding a firearm as well as disorderly conduct and assault and battery. all that shopping on a holiday. now we go overseas. a developing international crisis. an american man now being held in jail in dubai. his alleged crime, creating a parody video. ted rowlands has been following this. walk us through how this happened. >> reporter: well, i will walk you right through it. it's pretty simple. a guy and his buddies make a parody video they think is funny, they post it on youtube and now an american citizen is sitting in jail in dubai. >> the art of fighting. >> reporter: this 20-minute video about fictitious crime fighters in suburban dubai may have landed this 29-year-old american citizen from minnesota in prison. >> it's like someone in the united states making a parody video of a brooklyn hipster and then getting thrown in jail for it and being held in jail for months without bail.
that's what's going on here. >> reporter: in the video which begins with a disclaimer explaining that it's fiction, you can see as he and others pretend to use shoes and cell phones as weapons while supposedly patrolling the streets of an affluent neighborhood. >> very dangerous area. where are you going? >> reporter: he has been working in dubai for seven years as a business consultant and has been in jail since april. >> what i think we need to do is call attention to this so that the united arab emirates steps back and looks at this again and expedites his case so that there's justice for this young man and his family. >> reporter: cnn has not confirmed the exact charges he is facing in the united arab emirates. his family says they have no idea how long this will go on, and they're worried. >> it's just a straightforward silly comedy video and he's being treated like some sort of dangerous criminal they have to keep under high security, maximum security conditions.
>> reporter: the state department is obviously aware of this. they issued a statement to cnn, it says basically that the u.s. government is troubled, it says in part, the u.s. embassy and consulate general have engaged with the uae counterparts there to urge a fair and quick trial or judgment in this case. bottom line is the family is very upset and confused because if you watch this video, it is clearly a parody and the fact that he has been sitting in prison since april, it's just shocking, really. the family is very, very concerned, saying that they have a member of the family taking turns always in dubai and they say his mental and physical health is deteriorating. >> looking at this film, i'm sure a lot of our viewers had the same reaction. i don't see what's egregious about it. what's so upsetting? >> reporter: they're asking questions what is it specifically in this film that made them pull the trigger and
arrest him. it's 19 minutes and i tell you, it's horrible, if you're going for comedy. it's not a great comedic endeavor here. but there doesn't seem anything that is critical of the government or anything that would really stand out as being egregious. the family says they have so many questions and they really want their loved one back. >> 19 minute film, now seven, eight months in prison. thanks very much, ted. coming up, growing signs vice president joe biden wants to drop the vice. what are his prospects if he runs for president in 2016? plus we will show you why one of mitt romney's sons is smiling at the scene of this horrible car accident. a subaru...
president. a new cnn poll suggests democrats all but assume that hillary clinton will be the party's standard bearer in 2016. but with joe biden heading to asia sunday at a key moment in u.s./china relations and a quiet support raising campaign now under way for him, some are wondering if biden might have some presidential joe-mentum of his own. brian todd has been looking into that today. anybody who has met vice president biden knows he's not a guy who will rest on his laurels. you get the sense he's running already for 2016? >> he could be. as you mention, he will need momentum, anything he can get to overtake hillary clinton in all these speculative races that we're riunning right now. still, joe biden has enough experience and political skill to bear in this whole thing. we have to take his potential candidacy very seriously. he's a natural handshaker and back slapper, evidenced on inauguration day. that common touch combined with decades of experience in the senate, an impressive portfolio
as vice president, and some recent subtle political moves have analysts talking about a potential joe biden presidential run in 2016. >> he is reaching out, keeping in contact with key democrats in states such as iowa, south carolina, new hampshire. that is critical because if he does decide to run in 2016, that's the support he is going to need. >> reporter: he's also about to head to china, japan and south korea for key strategic talks. what biden's not doing, fund-raising. that would be poor political form this early in president obama's second term, and before the midterm elections. analysts say there are two other things biden hasn't done that may help him. he was sidelined by senate majority leader harry reid during stalemated talks over the government shutdown and debt ceiling. and he was almost nowhere to be seen during the disastrous obama care rollout. >> he can look back at the obama administration and point to the initiatives that he's been involved in, stimulus, foreign policy, things that actually went pretty well, and i think he can point to a record of
accomplishment. being involved in the affordable care act rollout would be a blot on that record. it would taint that record of accomplishment. >> reporter: joe biden's awkward public moments and speaking gaffes like this one on c-span are inescapable -- >> you cannot go to a 7-eleven or dunkin' donuts unless you have a slight indian accent. >> reporter: then there's the most obvious impediment to a successful bid from joe biden or just about any other democrat. a potential hillary clinton run. she's 51 points ahead of biden, who is in second place in the latest cnn/orc poll of potential candidates. >> is the only way he can win in 2016 if she doesn't run? >> look, at this moment in time, if hillary clinton runs, nobody can win. she's clearly the front-runner. she will be the democratic presidential nominee. >> from the obama camp, there seems to be some ambivalence over joe biden. he is said to have built good relations with the president and some of his key advisors, but one analyst says the obama team
is still seething from last year's moment when biden overstepped on gay marriage, voicing support for it before the administration was ready to make an announcement. jim? >> long memories in washington. what about age, brian? is that considered a disqualifying factor for biden? >> it could be. i asked about all of that. he's going to be 74 years old on inauguration day 2017. if he is being sworn in as president, he will be the oldest person ever to take office in a first term. but many analysts now say he's in good enough health and age is no longer as big a factor as it was back in the day. also, you have to remember, hillary clinton is going to be 69 years old on that day. she's -- that would be about the same age ronald reagan was when he took office. >> that's right. he served two terms after that. thanks very much, brian todd. more now on the vice president's chances, other political news, with our great cnn team here. we have john stanton from buzzfeed, l.z. granderson in new york, cnn political commentator and mark preston, cnn political director, to talk 2016.
start with you, mark. is it a hillary/biden race? what are the numbers telling you right now? >> i think at this point, it's hillary clinton, hillary clinton, hillary clinton. if she decides to run, she's so far ahead right now. she's at 51% lead over anybody else. her closest person is joe biden. remove hillary clinton from the equation, you get joe biden as the leader. however, everything will get scrambled up at that point and a couple names we have to look at is elizabeth warren. liberals want to see her run. andrew cuomo is chomping at the bit, governor of new york, dying to run. martin o'malley can't hide the fact that he is already laying the groundwork right now to run in 2016 if hillary clinton doesn't. >> i want to ask john and you, l.z., as well. do you agree, because it's early. we have three years to go. if we were here in 2005 thinking about 2008, or in 2009 thinking about 2012, we might have thought differently about how the race would turn out. do you agree that she's a lock? >> oh, i do at this point.
i think there are a number of things could happen. she may not want to run or the progressive wing of the party has been pushing hard, this idea of elizabeth warren or somebody like her running to run to the left of her. if they are able to build a campaign around warren or someone else or even around the notion that hillary is not as democratic as she should be, that could open up the door for biden to be more of a challenger to her. even then, i agree with mark, i don't see how anybody fits in if she's in the race. >> l.z., i want to ask you in new york, is hillary definitely going to run? people make the assumption it's an automatic. maybe it's not. >> you know, everyone i have spoken with and just watching her moves, her very smart moves, by the way, it seems she's positioning herself to run as far back as 2008, even after the president was being inaugurated for the first term. i don't see anything in front of me and i haven't talked to anyone in d.c. or even in new york to suggest that she wouldn't run. she's just being very cautious and respectful of president
obama. he just got inaugurated a few months ago. let's get another year under the belt. >> sorry i put you in new york. you're in michigan. you mentioned the president, abc's barbara walters did an interview with him today. they released some quotes and i want to read the first one. he said i have gone up and down pretty much consistently throughout but the good thing about when you're down is that usually you've got nowhere to go but up. i suppose that goes without saying. but do you agree that he shouldn't be -- sounds like he's not worried. should he be more worried than he sounds? >> he's got to be worried at this point. the fact is, you know, his approval rating has been a roller coaster but at this point, he's closing in on the final three years of his term at this point, and the bottom line is, the obama administration will hate me saying this, he is a lame duck president at this point. he just changed the rules in the senate. he was the puppet master behind the idea they were going to change the rules in the filibuster and the bottom line is that he needs the support of
his grassroots activists to get behind him if he wants to get any other major accomplishments done. >> wait a second. to be fair, lame duck at this point but say tomorrow, 80% of users can get to healthcare.gov, they rescued the website, he's just negotiated a historic deal with iran, you got the syria deal, it's not all falling apart here. can we turn it around a month, two months, if he has some successes? >> his personal ratings, sure, could probably go back up pretty substantially if that were to happen. the reality is the house is not going to flip. even if the health care problems for democrats to take control of the house at this point. therefore, the house will block everything he wants to do. there is zero interest amongst anyone on capitol hill or at the white house of working together at this point. they don't really like each other very much. i don't see how he gets much in the way of a marquee piece of legislation through in the next three years. >> the president clearly thinking about his second term. another quote from the interview with abc news, every president in their second term is mindful
you've only got a limited amount of time. you want to make sure you're squeezing every last ounce of energy you have to try to deliver on the commitments you made to the american people. if i could ask, l.z., he squeezes all the last ounces of energy out. you think he can turn it around? >> i think it's way too early in his second term to talk about him being a lame duck president, first of all. americans have very short term memories. very, very short term memories. so something as simple as the obama care website actually functioning as it's supposed to function a couple weeks ago, next thing you know he's the greatest thing since sliced bread until the next disaster comes around. i know if he showed up in michigan right now he'd have a great deal of support. it's also one of the factors about president obama that's really important, especially coming in 2014, that is the fact he's still an incredible fund-raising machine. so even if democrats may feel a little queasy about being near him because his poll numbers are low, the fact is he's still popular among voting democrats,
still able to draw dollars. they use those dollars to help secure seats in the senate. i agree, the house is a no-go but they have three democrats who are very vulnerable that need those dollars to help fight off any challengers for them to keep the senate. >> you disagree? >> look, the bottom line is that he needs the support from the grassroots to try to put pressure on washington, but the fact is he needs support in washington and you have democrats who are frustrated that the obama administration really bungled the rollout of the health care website. the bottom line is on health care, is that a majority of americans are in favor of it or don't think it goes far enough. what we've seen is that the rollout in the past month has taken his approval rating, it has dragged it down and if you talk to democrats on capitol hill, they will tell you right now that barack obama is really hurting them at this point. >> look at iran. a lot of democrats were much more willing to come out against the president and much more clear-cut terms than they might have been otherwise because they
feel they have been sort of burned by being so close to him. >> let's talk about the hill for a moment. if we were at this table a month ago post-shutdown, people were pronouncing the gop dead in 2014. now the pendulum has swung and for good reason. the signature legislative achievement of the president's second term, first and second term, having all this trouble. can it flip as quickly? >> yeah, but let's just look at the mathematics of it all. he doesn't have the house of representatives so he won't get any major piece of legislation through the house and he's got several democrats who are vulnerable that come from states that aren't necessarily obama friendly, alaska, arkansas, louisiana. these democrats will be a little more careful about supporting president obama on some controversial issues than perhaps they would be if they weren't up for re-election. >> we're lucky because we will have all three of you back after the break. hold your thought, we will come back very soon. we are going to talk about republicans next and whether chris christie can be considered the front-runner. also, the amazing new technology
that could get your plane in the air faster. plus, one of mitt romney's sons comes on the scene of a terrible accident, find out why he's smiling. i started part-time, now i'm a manager.n. my employer matches my charitable giving. really. i get bonuses even working part-time. where i work, over 400 people are promoted every day. healthcare starting under $40 a month. i got education benefits. i work at walmart. i'm a pharmacist. sales associate. i manage produce. i work in logistics. there's more to walmart than you think. vo: opportunity. that's the real walmart.
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we're back talking about the 2016 white house race with our all-star panel, john stanton, l.z. granderson and mark preston. as we begin, i want to get a look at another poll which shows the republican side of the race. chris christie increasing his lead by seven percentage points since september. he now has an 11-point lead over paul, rand paul and a few other candidates, ryan, cruz and bush. as we look at those numbers, i want to ask you first, l.z., if i can, does he keep this lead? is he a clear front-runner? how solid is his support? >> you know, talk about too early to say. one thing we do know about chris christie is when you look over that list, in terms of personality, he is the most compelling figure in the list. i think that's what you're really seeing, is that people are drawn to his strength or bullying depending upon your perspective, but they're drawn
to him personally and because of that, he registers above all the others. one of the big disappointments from i think paul ryan is the fact that when he joined the romney ticket, he wasn't a compelling figure that they thought he would be, and that people weren't attracted to him and voters didn't show up for him. he lost his own district on election night. that's what you're seeing from christie, a compelling figure with some solid appeal in terms of bipartisanship but mostly it's about his personality. >> you agree with that? he has some smart political positions, right? he's elected overwhelmingly in a democratic state, new jersey. there must be something more there than personality. >> i do think personality goes a long way. he's clearly this bombastic character, people are drawn to that. he's also shown a tendency to be able to work with democrats, whether he's praised president obama, i think that clearly signaled to other people even outside the republican party, and his handling of gay marriage, a lot of people say he understands when he's lost a fight and is willing to sort of move on from there.
you know, i think yeah, i don't think it's just his personality but i think it is an issue. >> you're from political consultants at every level of politics, there's a big drive among voters to get the bums out, right, to get the folks out of washington, they are open to a different kind of candidate. mark, do you think he's too different, maybe? people see too much of him, will they not like him anymore? >> you know, yes, i think a little bit too much chris christie is like eating a little too much cake. i think that's with any politician. i think in those terms. what's interesting about chris christie is a couple things. one, he crushed his opponent in a democratic state on election night just a few weeks ago. he won women. his opponent was a woman. he won hispanics. republicans are doing terribly with hispanics. chris christie has this crossover appeal at least at this point that john's talking about. but what is really interesting about our poll is these numbers right here, he is seen as a blue collar conservative, somebody who would do well with the reagan democrats type or really
blue collar republicans. look at these numbers right there. he doesn't even win the blue collar republicans at this point. that goes to rand paul, which really fascinates me, because rand paul doesn't seem to have that connection, i think, to blue collar republicans. something chris christie obviously needs to work on. but he's doing pretty good right now. >> also, he's a new jersey guy. he's almost stereotype walking around. if you go down south, i'm not sure how well that plays in south carolina or florida, places he's going to need to be able to win certainly early primaries. that kind of character sometimes rubs people in the south the wrong way. >> is there an element of folks getting more excited about him than voters are? we love to cover this kind of candidate and have a tendency to talk about, of course, us in the media, to focus on the most interesting next thing. >> well, he's also in the new york hemisphere. we can't overestimate the power of being around new york and
being sort of an appealing character when you're based in the northeast like that. but you know, just one other point in regards to paul and his numbers with people who are actually blue collar, i think those numbers show that if a republican making 50 grand or more vote christie. making 50 grand or less, they're going towards paul because i think paul is always talking about cutting taxes, about spending less, whereas christie is someone who took in all this obama money and talking about more, more, more funds. i think if you're making less than 50 grand you have a candidate talking about cutting taxes, that's money in your pocket. that's appealing to them. >> thanks very much, covering it all in 2016. l.z., mark, john, thanks very much for joining us. with a pre-thanksgiving rush out of the way, the next potential nightmare for travelers comes quickly on sunday, when people across the country head home for the holiday weekend. and for airline passengers, that could mean delays not just at the airport but also on the tarmac. but there's new technology that could potentially put an end to
some of that in the future. let's bring in cnn's rene marsh with the details. >> reporter: we all know, we just saw what bad weather can do to the highly coordinated task of getting planes to take off and land on time. that's one cause of delays. but it really comes down to coordination and the system is all about precision. so that when a plane gets the green light to leave the gate, it's not stuck in a traffic jam on the tarmac. sitting on the runway, a frustration for flyers ready to take off but instead, they wait for sometimes what seems like hours. >> you look out the window and you see a long line of planes ahead of you. >> i think i'm never going to get home. >> it's horrible. it's simple, if they had ways to fix this and you're in line to take off and it takes an hour to take off. >> reporter: now nasa, the same agency responsible for this -- >> liftoff! >> reporter: -- has developed software to help controllers make delays go away.
it takes perfect coordination for air traffic controllers to get them in the right place at the right time to avoid passenger delays. nasa's software will make the choreography smoother. >> it's going to reduce your delays in bad weather by as much as 10 or 15 minutes, maybe, and in not so bad weather, you're going to feel less delay on the ground and a little bit less delay in the air. >> reporter: nasa's research center in silicon valley created the new technology called precision departure release capability. think of it as a car pulling on to the roadway. the software says precisely when to pull out of your spot. it knows you have to drive down a road and through a light, merge on to a highway and it would get you to your designated spot between this bus and this honda on time. and that precision in the control tower means shorter lines of planes waiting to take off, a test at dallas-ft. worth
airport last year showed a dramatic improvement. >> the aircraft were able to merge into en route streams and hit their targeted slot in the overhead streams about over 80% of the time, which is up quite a bit from today's capability where they're able to hit it only about half the time. >> reporter: nasa's $5 million program is estimated to save $20 million a year, mostly in fuel costs. it will cut pollution and help get you where you're going on time. for now, the faa says it's too early to know when the system could be deployed at airports around the country, but after what we just saw this holiday week leading up to thanksgiving, i'm sure passengers want that to be in their airport asap. jim? >> can't come quickly enough. when we come back, mitt romney's son tweets a photo of himself smiling in front of a car wreck. find out why, next. plus, new video of a truck that plunged into a sinkhole. we'll tell you exactly how it happened.
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here's a look at some of the other stories we're monitoring in "the situation room." this news just coming in to cnn. a commuter ferry has collided with a pier in jersey city, new jersey. there are reports of four minor injuries, according to officials, one of those people was taken to the hospital. there was minor damage to the boat and to the pier. the cause of the accident is under investigation. a thanksgiving rescue for one utah family courtesy of josh romney, the son of former presidential candidate mitt romney. he tweeted this picture of himself standing in front of their car after it plowed through a home. the message reads quote, was first on the scene of a big accident. i lifted four people out to
safety. all okay. thankful. police say the driver appeared to have suffered a seizure and veered off the road. his wife and two children were not seriously hurt. look at this video. a truck that fell into a sinkhole on chicago's south side, the only person in the vehicle was able to get out safely. police say there were two water main breaks in the area and described the area now as a complete washout. lucky there. their stories are always riveting. people who survive a brush with death who then talk about seeing something they couldn't quite explain, maybe the afterlife. this sunday, cnn's anderson cooper brings us the extraordinary stories of three such people, including this cancer survivor who talked with cnn's randi kaye. >> but you could still see your husband and how was he reacting to the fact that you were in this coma and he thought he was losing you? >> he was very distraught. he was there by my bedside.
he was holding my hand and i could feel he was willing me to come back. >> and you had a choice to make. >> i had a choice as to whether to come back or not. at first, i absolutely did not want to come back, because why would i want to come back into this sick and dying body? but then it was as though in the next moment, i understood why i had the cancer. all the years of beating myself up, feeling flawed, had turned my own energy against me and manifested as cancer. >> fear in a way poisoned your body. >> yes. it did. and i understood that now that i knew this, my body would heal. >> you had this huge revelation and your father affirmed what needed to be done.
>> both of them said to me go back and live your life fearlessly, and it was around that time that i started to come back. >> so how long were you in the coma? >> about 30 hours. i was in the intensive care unit but within four days, they were able to take off the oxygen, they were able to take out the food tube and the tumors shrunk by 70%. >> and the doctors, they kept testing you, right? they kept looking for cancer, they kept treating you. >> they were saying there's no way that cancer disappears like that. >> check out anderson cooper's special report "to heaven and back" sunday at 7:00 p.m. eastern and pacific right here on cnn. it's really worth checking out. coming up in our next hour, millions of americans suffer from migraines. now there's talk of a possible cure. dr. sanjay gupta is here with the details. and newborn twins cuddling
make bathtime an internet sensation. jeanne moos is next. there are seniors who have left hundreds of dollars of savings on the table by not choosing the right medicare d plan. no one could have left this much money here. whoo-hoo-hoo! yet many seniors who compare medicare d plans realize they can save hundreds of dollars. cvs/pharmacy wants to help you save on medicare expenses. talk to your cvs pharmacist, call, or go to cvs.com/compare to get your free, personalized plan comparison today. call, go online, or visit your local store today. i started part-time, now i'm a manager.n. my employer matches my charitable giving. really. i get bonuses even working part-time. where i work, over 400 people are promoted every day. healthcare starting under $40 a month. i got education benefits. i work at walmart. i'm a pharmacist. sales associate. i manage produce.
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these twin newborns cuddling in a bath are now officially an internet sensation. who better to tell the story than cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: rub a dub dub, twins in a tub. make that newborn twins in a sink. cuddling while taking a spa bath only a week out of the womb. the cuddling is what has the internet swooning. french newborn nurse sonia rochelle developed this bathing technique. she says she first got the idea for a baby spa about 15 years ago while she was taking a shower. she loved how the water felt streaming down on her head. she figured it would make a newborn feel right at home. >> translator: i tried to
reproduce the memories that the babies still have of life in the mother's belly. >> reporter: to relieve the trauma of birth, she started streaming water on babies' heads while massaging them and playing soothing music. now she's graduated from single babies to the twins, a boy and a girl. sonia warns that some of the head handling moves shouldn't be attempted by untrained parents. for instance, when she cradles the baby with nose and mouth just above the surface, the eyes submerge. a doctor we talked to didn't seem too worried about the spa bath, saying babies have good reflexes to avoid drowning. we also wondered if this would have any long-term benefits. not since spanish twins held hands moments after a c-section has the internet been so smitten with newborns. though there are always naysayers. please, people, stop waterboarding your babies and
omg, world, stop sharing this creepy video. but sonia likes sharing. she credits the twins with spreading a wonderful technique. this is neither here nor there but does the baby with that much hair remind you of anyone? looks an awful lot like putin, posters noted. russian president vladimir putin. while sonia scoffs, they do both like water, not to mention being undressed. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. happening now, drone debacle. the u.s. apologizes to afghanistan for mistakenly killing a 2-year-old child. but a sensitive deal affecting american forces may be in jeopardy. plus, nightmare before christmas. the crowds, the brawls and the bottom line for the economy. is black friday worth it? and migraine relief.
a new surgery may actually cure the horrific headaches disrupting the lives of millions of americans. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim sciutto. you're in "the situation room." the president of afghanistan is warning that the united states will pay a price if another innocent person is killed in a drone attack. the u.s. coalition says it has apologized for a strike that mistakenly killed civilians, including a child, while targeting terrorists but that does not seem to be easing tensions between the u.s. and afghanistan at a sensitive time when a long-term security deal is hanging in the balance. other pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is here. chris, how serious a threat is this to the relationship and crucially, to this security deal? >> if you believe hamid karzai that it's very serious, but that is the key, how much can you believe anything that he says at any one particular moment. look, even the top general in afghanistan reached out and
apologized almost immediately for this latest casualty. that doesn't seem to be enough for the president of afghanistan. a young afghan child is dead. two women, wounded after u.s. officials admit a drone strike missed its target. the second air strike did take out a taliban commander. >> show respect to the afghan people. >> reporter: but that did nothing to pacify afghan president hamid karzai, who lashed out at u.s. officials and said for as long as such arbitrary acts and oppression of foreign forces continue, the security agreement with the united states will not be signed. >> he sees this as something we want, which is true, but he should want it even more. >> reporter: analyst michael o'hanlon says karzai's refusal to sign the deal is a bad call, but not a complete surprise. >> my belief all along has been that he would draw this out for the fundamental reason that he wants leverage. >> reporter: the deal allows
u.s. troops to stay in afghanistan another ten years to help afghan forces and target suspected terrorists. >> the negotiation is done, but now the question is whether the president is prepared to sign. >> reporter: national security advisor susan rice issued that ultimatum to karzai face to face. u.s. officials insist this deal get done by the end of december. >> failure to conclude by that point would make it impossible for the united states and our allies to plan for a presence post-2014. >> reporter: but some say that's just a mix of posturing and pressure. >> we can wait if we need to. there's no doubt that it makes life harder. it makes life harder on military planners. it makes life harder on diplomats. >> reporter: for that matter, really, the afghan people as well, who would have to live with that uncertainty. but again, hamid karzai is gone next year and most of the candidates who are vying to replace him, they support this deal. they want u.s. troops to stay,
as do a lot of tribal leaders in afghanistan. >> technically, if you don't have a deal signed, it's possible u.s. troops, all the troops would leave next year in 2014. can the u.s. really live with that uncertainty leaving the troops in limbo? >> it would be tough but doable. if you look at president obama's surges and then draw-downs in afghanistan, it's been about 30,000 troops and it's taken about six to nine months each. so you could see a scenario where they could leave 8,000 to 10,000 troops in there until fall, and then if they had to, probably could pull all of them out by the end of the year or leave a residual force. >> really low chances of that. you think they'll work it out. >> exactly. >> thanks very much, chris lawrence joining us here today. now, far away from the battlefield in afghanistan, to a very different kind of tension in, if you can believe it, stores across america. shoppers turned out in droves today to take advantage of black friday discounts and in some cases, it looked more like a barroom brawl than holiday
ritual. cnn's margaret conley is keeping tabs on the crazy crowds in new york and beyond. tell us how bad was it today? >> reporter: jim, there were massive crowds of shoppers across the country. wait until you see some of this video. but with those crowds, there were also sporadic outbursts of violence. chaos as stores opened earlier than ever and shoppers rushed in for black friday deals. there were swarms of shoppers from puerto rico to nashville to here in new york city. and in some places, it got ugly. there were fist fights in north carolina, a stabbing in virginia, and brawls in texas. there was even a shooting just outside a store in las vegas after a man tried to steal one successful shopper's deal. stores opened early on thanksgiving night. walmart welcomed shoppers as early as 6:00 p.m. and attracted more than 22 million people. there were also those who refused to set foot inside the nation's largest retailer. instead, protesting worker wages
in what they say are illegal firings. macy's, toys "r" us and best buy also opened early and reactions were mixed. >> you can't get anything if you don't come early enough. >> a hot guy walked by and said that's pathetic. i thought you don't know what we're doing it for. you don't know it's fun. >> i would never shop on thanksgiving. no. you're with family and you eat on thanksgiving, then you shop on the day after thanksgiving. >> reporter: the earlier store hours do seem to have paid off for many companies. >> i think the fact that 15,000 people versus 11,000 who were here last year at midnight is an indication that people want to be here when we opened our doors. >> reporter: as for next year, these new hours seem to have paved the way for the new black friday normal. so jim, this does seem to be working out quite well for the retailers. >> when you talk to the macy's ceo there saying it worked out for them, are they already noticing a jump on the bottom line from these sales?
>> reporter: yes. they are saying there is definitely an increase in numbers, not record-breaking. that macy's ceo said the decision to have the earlier start was really, really popular and also, we should say that we talked to a walmart executive and he said those violent outbursts, they were minor incidents and they were just a few of them. generally things were pretty calm out there. >> that's good to hear. most people just getting good bargains, not getting into trouble. thank you, margaret conley in new york. on this day after thanksgiving, an unusual outing for the first couple. they visited with protesters who had been on a hunger strike for more than two weeks. cnn's jill dougherty is at the white house today. this seems like a rare thing for a president to do. incredible to see both him and michelle sitting down next to the hunger strikers. what led to this? >> reporter: yeah, it is. it is, jim. there are a lot of protests in this city every single day, but not all of them get a visit from the president. the obamas took a short drive to
the national mall to visit with activists from the group fast for families. members of community and faith groups as well as labor organizations, some of whom have been on a hunger strike drinking water only since november 12th. they're calling for a comprehensive immigration reform, and criticizing republicans for delaying a vote on it. monday, the president praised the group on a trip to san francisco. >> i'm seeing brave advocates who have been fasting for two weeks in the shadow of the capitol, sacrificing themselves in an effort to get congress to act. and i want to say to the fasters who are there as we speak, i want them to know we hear you. we're with you. the whole country hears you. >> reporter: other top administration officials have taken up the group's cause, including vice president joe biden.
friday, president obama thanked the hunger strikers for their sacrifice and dedication and told them the country is behind them on immigration reform. but chances for comprehensive immigration bill are slim. the senate passed its version in june. the house has failed to take it up, and in recent weeks, president obama has said he's open to individual bills. that's the republican approach. but this year at least, it doesn't seem there's enough time to get it done. jim? >> thanks very much, jill dougherty. still ahead, high tensions at sea after the u.s. challenges china. we'll take you inside a dangerous dispute that's raising fears of a new conflict. and did the u.s. miss an opportunity to win the release of an american held prisoner in iran? a family member joins us live to talk about his fate and plea for his freedom. first cnn looks at ways you can impact your world. >> hi.
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space in a direct challenge to china. our aviation correspondent rene marsh is here to explain the dispute and why it could be very dangerous. >> well, jim, you probably know u.s. sovereignty doesn't end at the coastline. it extends 12 miles beyond that, but what we're talking about today is different. an air defense identification zone extending hundreds of miles beyond that 12-mile limit. this is the u.s. here. this is a map of the u.s. this red zone that you're seeing there, that extends hundreds of miles beyond that 12-mile limit. now, essentially, this all comes down to national security. allowing nations to protect themselves from approaching threats and this is exactly how it works. there are some rules in place. if you are flying through this zone, you have to identify yourself. also, you have to say what your flight plan is going to be and you have to report your specific location. just last week, china announced that they were creating their
new air defense zone and it was right in this area here that you see highlighted in the red. so here's the conflict. this is japan's zone which is already established, and this is south korea's zone, also already established. so you can see that all of these here, they intersect and herein lies the problem because these countries are now refusing to grant china's request of notification when flying through this area because they don't recognize this as a legitimate zone. this is also a route for commercial aircraft and we know that japanese air carriers fly through this space, but we're not seeing chinese fighter jets approach commercial planes. the focus at this point has been military aircraft. we should note that when these fighter jets intercept, it doesn't mean they're preparing to shoot the aircraft down but they are sent up to get that i.d. information. jim? >> lots of overlapping interests and aircraft there now. so could this dispute with china
lead to a full-fledged conflict? let's get insight from our military analyst, retired major general james "spider" marks. thanks very much for joining us. you look at this situation, you know none of the sides want to go to war, but do you today have the ingredients for a potential armed conflict? >> jim, you do, and we've seen that before about ten years ago. you know the ep-3 had a midair collision with the chinese fighter and the ep-3 went down and they were held prisoners for about two weeks. the u.s. crew. so the opportunity for miscalculation is always there and has always been there. what's different now is that the chinese unilaterally have declared this into the existing japanese region and what had been accepted and had been the norm is now different. so you're going to have all these nations, the japanese
certainly, the chinese, united states, taiwan, probably we would expect, and the south koreans are going to challenge this declaration. so all the ingredients are there. >> no one's backing down. the u.s. has now sent a second round of flights through there, at least one after doing the b-52s a couple days ago. what should the u.s.'s next move be? do you keep doing that until the zone is withdrawn? is that the strategy? >> you do. what happens is the united states does not want to escalate and run this thing up to a point where the chinese now feel like they have to act. unfortunately, they might act kinetically and they have done that in the past. >> which means? >> you are going to shoot something and something's going to blow up and something's going to fall out of the sky and there's going to be a miscalculation and there will be an escalation, possibly. you want to avoid all of that. clearly, the united states and its partners in the region cannot allow the chinese to do this unilaterally. it must be challenged and the chinese right now are dealing with, as you well know, a
face-saving period where they can't allow themselves to be pushed back. well, they created this problem for themselves. >> you've seen that there's local political force there, right, that says hey, don't back down, and chinese leaders are listening to that. no question, you see that in some of the chinese papers. what are the outlines of a face-saving draw-down, then, for china? if you were on that side today, how would you pull this back without losing face? >> i think the chinese might just allow this to remain in effect. clearly, it doesn't exist but it exists in their minds so they don't have to withdraw it, they don't have to apologize, nor would we expect that to occur. but they could just simply allow this new norm to be established. they have established a new adis, the japanese, south koreans, the united states, are all going to challenge it. the chinese are going to respond and put aircraft in the new air defense identification zone. i don't think, and i would hope
that it would not be an escalation that would occur but i think the new norm is simply we are going to challenge this adis and the chinese are going to accept that challenge. >> so no one backs down, in effect, but it doesn't get worse. >> it doesn't explode. >> still, you do have those assets, we've had this on the surface already. you have a lot of ships running around the islands which gives the potential for nasty interactions. now you have it happening up in the ether and that presumably continues. >> oh, it will. i fully expect that all dimensions will continue to be challenged by all parties. >> we have vice president biden going to china next week. good timing or bad timing, depending on how you look at it. >> depends what he says. >> exactly. what do you think he is going to say? >> i think his message will be look, that was a foolish move on your part. you can continue to hold on to this adis as long as you want. we will continue to challenge it. let's not allow this, let's not delegate authorities down to the very lowest levels, where we
have independent commanders on the chinese side potentially doing something that might be dangerous and might lead to an escalation. the united states certainly won't allow that to happen. so let's have this new dance, let's establish this as the norm. >> what's at stake for this relationship, for both sides to get this right? at this point, to avoid conflict and find a way where both sides can back off without firing off their weapons? how much is at stake here? >> i think a lot is at stake. the united states has always tried to establish a relationship with the chinese in a meaningful, fulsome way, using diplomatic, infrastructural, military, and financial, powers to interact in a deep, meaningful way so you can become a partner in the region. we have never really done that. we can pick and choose our areas to engage and i think we have done that. this is simply another one of those. how this eventually turns out i
think is not anybody's guess. i think what's going to happen is the chinese are going to continue to kind of hold this, they may back it up a little bit, but the united states and its partners will continue to exert itself in this new unilaterally declared adis, a new point of confrontation. >> you make a good point. it is with our partners, because you got to get japan, korea and the united states on the same page coordinated as they formulate this response. thanks very much, general. great to have you on. we have breaking news now. we are getting reports of a helicopter crash into a crowded bar. we will have details and a report from the scene in just a moment. hihihihihihihihihing, helicopters buzzing, and truck engine humming. sfx: birds chirping sfx: birds chirping
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helicopter has crashed into the roof of a popular pub and music hall on stockwell street. this is a very popular area. it's 11:00 at night, peak time there. these are photographs just coming in to "the situation room." you can see a helicopter here on the roof of the building. again, we do not have a lot of details. it is very early but there are reports coming through on twitter right now that there have been injured pub goers pulled out of the bar. i can read you some of the tweets. an eyewitness tells me she has seen a helicopter on the roof, a number of ambulances and fire engines here. another person tweeting police setting up an exclusion zone around the pub after reports helicopter crashed there. we are scrambling the resources of cnn right now and will have more details as soon as they come but again, to recap, reports now and pictures coming in that within the last 30 minutes or so, a helicopter appears to have crashed into a pub in glasgow, scotland. this is a very popular area and
a very crowded time of the evening there, 11:00 at night. we will continue to follow this story as more pictures and more eyewitness accounts come in. please do stay with us. meanwhile, as we wait, relatives of an american captive in iran are holding out hope that he might be freed after two years behind bars. we saw a historic thaw in tensions between the u.s. and iran in recent days when a landmark deal on iran's nuclear program was reached but so far, there's no evidence that the deal will lead to the release of the 30-year-old who describes himself as a hostage. amir is all american, born in arizona, raised in michigan and after high school, a u.s. marine who served in iraq. the son of iranian immigrants, two years ago he decided to visit their home country to meet his relatives. >> he said mom, i didn't do anything. i just want to go see, you know, iran, my relative, my grandma.
i'm not afraid of anything. >> reporter: in iran, he told his parents he had the time of his life, but after calling to say he was on his way home, he never made it, and disappeared. it was only after three agonizing months that his family found out he had been imprisoned by the iranian government, convicted and sentenced to death as an american spy. that sentence was later commuted. but he remains in jail, including 16 months in solitary confinement and a month-long hunger strike. throughout his family has pled with the u.s. and iranian governments for help. >> we just hope that we are reaching the ears of especially now with this new transition in government in iran, the ears of the right people. >> reporter: now with the election of a more moderate iranian president, rouhani, they have new hope that amir will finally go free. we are joined by amir's brother-in-law who is in michigan along