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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  December 21, 2013 8:00am-10:01am PST

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january, we'll see the chilly temperatures at the start of 2014. >> that's going to be fun. >> i know. >> way to go, jennifer. >> helping you to get the cold healed and then the cold weather comes again. >> all right. jennifer gray, thank you for that. really interesting stuff there. that will do it for us. thank you so much for being a part of the saturday morning with us. >> we've had a lot going on. we'll continue to look at -- through the morning and the early afternoon to this space walk. >> yeah. >> if we have the live pictures from nasa, i just want to put those up if we have them. i want people to see, here we are, this is mission control. they've got two astronauts who are out working today. here's a live helmet cam. they're working to replace a pump -- >> cooling pump, yeah. >> cooling pump at the iss. it's about the size of a refrigerator. don't think it's something coming out of your car. it's about 700 pounds. this is the first space walk for one of these guys. so we're going to continue to watch this throughout the day.
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>> because we have several hours still left on the space walk. >> yes, yes. >> whew! >> our wonderful colleague will be keeping an eye on that. >> thank you so much. thank you for giving us the prelude all morning long. good to see you guys. happy holidays. >> same to you. >> you have on your red. >> i was feeling santa-like this morning. >> love it. >> i had a black belt on, i thought, i'm going way too far. >> yeah, yeah, that might have been too much. >> now i'm back to santa's helper. >> the red heels are a great touch. >> you wear the red well, too. all right, the "newsroom" begins right now. roads now ice rinks, a dangerous winter storm hits the u.s. at the rush of holiday travel, again. ice, snow, even tornadoes threatening tens of millions of people. the severe weather threat and its impact on your travel plans coming up. and right now, 220 miles
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from earth, nasa astronauts are taking a walk in space. they're trying to make a critical repair to the international space station. hear why their attempts are so important to the fate of the iss. and u.s. troops come under fire while trying to evacuate americans from the south sudan. several are wounded. we have details of the harrowing mission in a live report from the pentagon. we begin with a nightmare scenario that's playing out for more than 94 million americans who are on the move for the holidays, a dangerous storm is barrelling across the u.s. right now threatening multiple states with snow, ice, and, yes, even tornadoes. in the south, the tornado risk became a reality last night. a twister touched down in mississippi, leveling trees, but so far, no reports of injuries. and in the midwest, snow and ice are creating treacherous
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conditions on the road, and forcing airlines to cancel and even delay some of the flights. our nix valencia is in the icy city of kansas city right now, missouri. good to see you now wearing a hat, nick, because i was shivering foshiver ing for you. it's cold where you are! >> reporter: it's gotten progressively colder, too, fred. it feels like 12 right now. freezing rain and snow set to hit much of the country's midsection. from cars skidding on frozen roads and some flips over, to flight delays at the nation's airports, and expected power outages, it's beginning to look a lot like a holiday travel nightmare. >> it could indeed actually be the perfect storm with an increase in travelers, an increase in the amount of distance travelers are going. >> reporter: ice storm warnings in oklahoma. severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes across the south. heavy snow and flooding in the nation's midsection. who's going to be impacted?
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more than 94 million americans traveling this week. already dangerous driving conditions this morning in kansas and iowa. >> just try to stop, it's far to -- the safest, but my car just would not -- >> reporter: if you're flying, watch out for possible flight cancellations in the midwest, and up to two-hour delays in kansas city, chicago, and dallas, with more delays expected up the east coast on sunday. travel experts say it's best to check ahead before leaving home. >> we recommend travelers be smart, take advantage of smartphone technology, being up to date on travel conditions. >> reporter: while the weather can be a pain for millions, for some football fans in green bay, wisconsin, it's provided a $10-an-hour job to sweep lambeau field. >> you get the chance to get out and meet people. you get some good exercise and enjoy the cold.
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[ audio documents ] >> reporter: -- checked in with the airlines here. no cancellations or delays to report now. if you are traveling on the road or by air, smart of you to check the road conditions. of course, check in with your airlines. fred? >> absolutely, great advice, nick. thank you very much. we'll check back with you later in the afternoon. hopefully, things look up. let's go to the cnn weather center and find out from jennifer gray how things might be looking in the coming days. why is this happening, one more time -- >> i know, here we go again. >> -- huge holiday travel season. yes. >> yeah, here we go again, again on the weekend. we are going to see the ice start to taper off in oklahoma city, and that's going to continue to be the trend over the next little while. we actually have a picture from oklahoma city. we have -- we've had reports of about a quarter inch of ice. we've got power outages over areas like tulsa, in northern oklahoma, and so, conditions have been pretty bad throughout much of the morning. but it is going to start to improve in the coming hours. but what is going to become more unsettled, the weather in the south, and that's where we're
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seeing a tornado watch that has just been issued until 6:00 p.m. you can already see some lightning strikes starting to fire up in some of these thunderstorms. this includes shreveport, lake charles, houston, beaumont, southeast texas, and then this is going to spread to the east as we go into the overnight hours tonight into tomorrow. we have an area that's included in that tornado watch, including shreveport, places like jackson, just to the east of little rock, memphis, nashville, you're included in this, as well, and then, this orange, the wider picture is showing a slight risk of severe weather. so we could see isolated tornadoes, we could see damaging winds as we go through the overnight hours tonight into tomorrow. so taking this storm hour by hour, this is 9:00 p.m. eastern time. you can see that line of showers and storms stretching from memphis, through northeast louisiana. it does kind of get itself together just before it reaches atlanta, say, and portions of alabama, northwest georgia. we think that during the
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overnight hours tonight into the early hours of tomorrow, we could see some pretty nasty storms in those areas, and then it just kind of sets up shop as it gets on the east coast. so this is mainly a rain event. we do have some ice and snow, but for the majority of folks, the big story will be the rain and the possible severe weather and flooding. >> all right. bottom line, roads are slick. so people be careful. >> right. >> you know, just take it easy out there. thank you so much, jennifer. okay. now to a developing story out of africa. a u.s. aircraft in south sudan came under heavy gunfire during a mission to evacuate american civilians. four service members are injured. the country has been in turmoil since the president accused the former vice president of attempting a coup last week. and a lot of people have been killed in those clashes since. pentagon correspondent barbara starr joining me now from the pentagon -- washington, rather, with more on this. what can you tell us about how these events unfolded? >> reporter: well, fredricka, new nfgsz -- information in just a few minutes ago, it turns out
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military officials are telling us three u.s. military aircraft came under fire when they attempted to make this landing in south sudan. they were all v-22 aircraft. they were going into a place called bor to try and evacuate americans working for the united nations. this is the very heart of the violence that is wracking south sue done. thousands of civilians are trying to escape. u.s. citizens trying to get out. the military was going in to get them out when the aircraft approached the landing strip, they came under small arms fire. all three u.s. military aircraft, all three of them, took damage from the gunfire, from those incoming rounds. four personnel were hurt. what we are also told is all three aircraft made it out of there. they got out of there very fast, obviously, made it to nearby uganda, landed, and the wounded
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were then taken on to nairobi, kenya, where, at this hour, they are in stable condition and getting medical treatment. but this raises a lot of questions about the continued safety of this mission, obviously. >> all right. barbara starr, keep us posted on any new developments. thank you so much. meantime, secretary of state john kerry is sending a special envoy to south sudan. let's bring in nema. give us context here. what is exactly causing the violence, and is this related to this so-called attempted coup? >> reporter: well, there's definitely a sense that others have had access to wealth and resources in south sudan, and that's what's underpinning all of this. it's a nation that's very oil wealthy but very, very poor by any other measure. you know, it's interesting, speaking about secretary of state john kerry there sending a special envoy. the u.s. has always had a very, very close relationship with south sudan. it was a big part of the south gaining independence from the north. and when we went to -- when we
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went to south sudan, fully independent celebration, we found susan rice at that point the u.s. ambassador to the u.n., we also had secretary of state for defense, former secretary of state for defense, colin powell was there. a sense of the two nations very, very close. and you can see that disappointment now playing out in u.s. citizens that are caught in such a difficult situation. there's some 30-odd u.s. citizens that are going to be waiting tonight to hear if this evac is still possible. just to give you a sense of what the border is like, it's up in the north of south sudan, very limited infrastructure, given how violent the situation it is. it was always going to be a very difficult decision to go in aerially, because it makes you vulnerable from any kind of actors on the ground, any of the rebels present around that makeshift airfield. but there were very few other options. one u.n. compound has already been overrun. there are a lot of humanitarian
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workers in south sudan that tonight are under threat, and the u.s. has said that they're going to continue to reassess any and all options to get in and get those people out. fredricka. >> all right. nema, thank you so much. a risky mission, not just for the humanitarian aid workers but those making their ways in, in which to extract them from that part of the country. thank you so much. we'll check back with you. in the meantime, four men have been arrested in connection with a deadly carjacking here in the states at a new jersey mall. the prosecutor announced this morning the four are facing charges of murder. investigators say it appears they were targeting a certain type of car, not necessarily a specific person. officials say the victim, doug friedland had just opened the car door for his wife last sunday when he was confronted. he was shot in the head and killed. and right now, a nasa astronaut is conducting the first of three emergency space walks to repair the international space station.
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they've been out there for a few hours already. two astronauts were scheduled to spend about 6 1/2 hours outside the station today, but that has been extended. they're working to fix a critical cooling system. nasa is also taking special precautions today after an italian astronaut almost drowned on a space walk when his helmet filled with water while back. john zarella is following the space walk. what kind of progress is being made, john? this is painstaking, isn't it? >> reporter: it's unbelievable progress, though. first of all, no issues with the flooding of the helmet like luca parmitano had back in july. that's good news. they did a helmet check. you can see spectacular pictures right now from the space station. and the end of the shuttle's robotic arm there, almost center of the picture, you can see astronaut rick mastriaccio, and he is holding and pulling out very slowly, that is the cooling
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pump. it weighs about, if it were on earth -- weightless up there -- 780 pounds. he's going to pull that out, and they are going to relocate it to a storage platform. now, what's so -- what's great about this is they are so far ahead of the timeline, getting the work done, that what you're seeing them do now -- and that's the helmet cam video right there from -- that is the other astronaut, mike hopkins' helmet cam -- but they're so far ahead, fredricka, that they're doing monday's work today. so it looks like now, if they can keep up this pace, nasa is saying there may not be the need for a christmas day space walk at all. they might be able to wrap everything up with the monday space walk, which obviously would probably be about seven, seven and a half hours, as well as this one. but that's -- it's fascinating. it's great news, and some spectacular pictures from space, and they may be able to get all
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of this done in two, not three space walks. fredricka? >> john, while this is fairly routine, meaning these astronauts do train for this, you know, to be able to do these space walks, whether it be repairs or just readjusting of the iss, why is it that every time that it happens it is that much more fascinating, as if it's happening for the first time? >> reporter: yeah, i know, and they've done this before. in fact, in 2010, they had to replace this very pump, so the pump that they're pulling out now is a replacement for one that failed back in 2010. so they've had a lot of practice with this. so they know how to do it, and that's why they have been so fortunate to hit it bang, bang, bang, getting it all gone, replacement pump will be in on monday, and again, they may wrap this thing all up by monday. >> so efficient. all right. john zarella, as are you, thank you so much for joining us. appreciate it. >> reporter: sure. >> all right. coming up in the "newsroom," he's not with the state department, he doesn't work for
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the white house, but former nba star dennis rodman is back in north korea. can his basketball diplomacy free a detained american? plus, target is saying sorry to its customers this weekend. i'll tell you how the company is apologizing for massive security breach involving credit and debit cards.
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target says it's offering customers a 10% discount on all of its stores all weekend long. the offer comes a day after the company confirmed 40 million customers had their credit and debit cards information stolen. there are reports that some of the stolen cards are already for sale on black markets around the world. target says that no personal information was impacted, and the security breach has been fixed. the breach is being called the second largest in u.s. history. so if no personal information was stolen, then what information can be taken in this kind of breach? here's lori segal. >> reporter: hey, fredricka.
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well, we've heard about the target hack at this point. 40 million customers affected. pretty widespread. now, we don't know exactly how it happened, but security researchers are speculating that hackers likely hacked the software behind those card readers at the register. now, target says the issue's been resolved, but we've actually got another alarming hack that shows major retailers are still at risk. >> i'm connected to this phone wirelessly right now, so in realtime, i'm stealing credit card data. i have to log in. i could make a selection here, and then i can do a credit card swipe. i now have all your credit card data right in here. >> these stockings for grinch are the first things to go. >> when grinch-like hackers literally steal christmas. they're security researchers here, with trustway. their job is to find flaws in technology to protect users, or in this case, shoppers. >> and then click pay. nothing seems untoward. >> reporter: yeah.
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>> you're paid, you get your receipt, you move on. >> reporter: bypass the cash register and swipe your card on the smartphone. >> this is an iphone. >> an ipod, iphone, and also works with an ipad. you've gone into a big-box retailer, made a purchase, employee is here to help, you know, and you hand them your card, and they run the card through. >> reporter: and that's where shoppers are at risk. >> once a credit card transaction is run through, we're able to steal them off, steal the credit card transactions before they're encrypted, if they're not encrypting in the hardware. >> reporter: the problem isn't in the card swiper attached to the phone. it's in the software retailers use to process your payments. in some cases, that software doesn't hide or encrypt the personal information. they can manipulate the device in a way that allows them to track the activity. >> as technology advances, and as it advances at a very rapid pace, security is often slow to catch up. >> reporter: retailers are told
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to test their security. break into a system before it's deployed to find the weak points. and while it's up to retailers and banks to ensure you're protected, consumers should always be on the lookout. >> if the cash register attendant, point of sale attendant, is entering your credit card number with fingers rather than a swipe, there's no way it's encrypted. >> reporter: they recommend customers keep tabs on their transactions, especially during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. using this hack, how long would it take someone like you to get hundreds of thousands of people's credit card information? >> legitimately, you can get credit card information as quickly as the clerk or clerks, if you were to compromise multiple point of sales, can swipe credit cards. >> reporter: exactly what it would have looked like if the grinch went high tech. pretty eye-opening, fredricka. security researchers say beware of manually entering your p.i.n. number into the mobile checkouts, and, of course, especially now, can't emphasize this enough, during the holiday
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season, be vigilant and checking the bank statements for any irregular activity. fredricka? >> all great advice. thank you so much, lori segal. he made a winning move on the court as a star nba player. now, dennis rodman is hanging out with kim jong un. what's rodman's end game in north korea? that's next in the "newsroom." it's donut friday at the office. and i'm low man on the totem pole. so every friday morning they send me out to get the goods. but what they don't know is that i'm using my citi thankyou card at the coffee shop, so i get 2 times the points. and those points add up fast.
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tensions are rising between north and south korea with a new threat as late as thursday between the two nations. but that has not stopped former nba star dennis rodman from making a third trip to the no h north. he called north korean leader kim jong un his friend, and says he's on a mission to help develop a basketball program there. but some want rodman to help free a detained american. here's cnn's anna coren. >> reporter: after years of sitting on the sideline, former nba star dennis rodman was back in the game, seen here in new photos on the court playing and later posing with members of the north korean national basketball team in pyongyang. at times the often outrageous 52-year-old smoked a cigar watching the team practice their moves. >> hello. >> reporter: rodman's tour is part of an effort to help repair the north korean for an embig game, to be played there against a dozen former nba stars from the united states.
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the former chicago bull arrived in north korea with a documentary crew in tow. the same day, north korea sent a threatening message by fax machine to its southern neighbor, telling south korea it would strike mercilessly without notice if recent protests held in seoul against the brutal dictatorship continue. rodeman is the only american granted access to kim jong un, who he calls, quote, a close friend. but this trip, he's third to the isolated regime, couldn't come as a more awkward time. north korea appears to be going through its serious political upheaval, after kim executed his uncle and mentor last week. in a statement, the state news agency called his uncle a despicable human scum who was worse than a dog. analysts believe the very public purge was the result of a power struggle. >> he has power, and he's willing to use it, and there's no limit upon it. no one should question basically him at the top of the helm.
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he is to be respected, even if he has to kill for that respect. >> reporter: rodman says he's not concerned about his safety. he's just there to teach basketball. and that he's not planning to discuss the imprisonment of american missionary kenneth bae, who was sentenced to 15 years hard labor for allegedly attempting to overthrow the regime. >> if it happens he wants to talk about it, great. if it doesn't happen, i won't bring it up. because i don't want him to think, you know, i'm over here, you know, trying to be an ambassador and trying to use him as that -- i've been his friend, and all of a sudden start talking politics, and it's not going to be that way. >> reporter: the u.s. government insists dennis rodman is not carrying a message for kim jong un on its behalf. the two countries haven't spoken for almost two years as a result of north korea's desire to develop its nuclear weapons program. but analysts believe both washington and seoul will be closely watching rodman's trip to learn whatever details they can about north korea's young
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dictator. anna coren, cnn, seoul skblch. >> what do you think of his visit to north korea? share your thoughts with me on facebook or tweet me. everybody's getting ready to celebrate the holidays, including president obama. he's now vacationing in hawaii. but he's still got plenty of stuff to work on. we'll go live to honolulu. but next, reports that a 17-year-old suffocated accidentally at school, raises big suspicions. so cnn pushed for answers, what the school surveillance camera showed and why the fbi is now involved. next. my dry hands used to give away my age.
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[ female announcer ] gold bond intensive hand cream. now my hands look great. [ female announcer ] gold bond intensive hand cream. this stuff really works! new developments in the mysterious death of a teenager whose body was found inside a rolled-up gym mat at a georgia high school. kendrick johnson was found dead in january. well, this week, the fbi was expected to seize the original hard drives from the school's surveillance system, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation. victor blackwell is joining me now. you've been following the story from the very beginning. the school did provide surveillance video to cnn, but were most questions answered? >> reporter: very few questions answered. actually, it was the video from the sheriff's office, and that gets to the point of why the fbi is getting involved.
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you know, this was supposed to give the family answers. you know, the johnsons, the parents of the 17-year-old, they were hoping this would show something. but in the hours, hundreds of hours of video, it did not show kendrick johnson going into this mat, reaching for a shoe, and an accident, as the state says, which is supported by state autopsy, nor did it show kendrick johnson being beaten by someone in and rolled in the mat, which is supported by independent autopsy, paid for by the family, and that's the family's theory. -- >> at the very beginning. >> reporter: at very beginning. instead of asking the school to give us the video, they should have taken the video. >> seized it. >> reporter: yeah. >> when we look at the video,
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some of the clip, we're seeing one angle in the gym, and another angle in the hallway. in the gym, is there more than one camera? are there other angles that might be revealed on this hard drive if it ends up being a complete picture, or is it still just one angle, and the hope is any suspicious activity taking place in the view of the one camera? >> reporter: we've got four angles we know inside the gym. we have video from them. but the question is, and then you get to the point of it, is there more that was not supplied by the sheriff's office? and that's what the fbi is going to do. they're going to look at what the sheriff's office has, what the school district has. quite possibly, maybe not an additional angle, but more video from those cameras recorded through the cameras and that could possibly fill the whole of an hour, where we'd know there was activity in the gym, but no video recorded through the motion-activated cameras, possibly that will lead to some information. but the fbi, according to the source we have, now has that video, and they'll start to look through it, as well. >> all right.
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thank you so much, victor blackwell, for bringing us the developments. appreciate it. >> reporter: sure. the u.s. winter olympic team could be missing one of its stars, skier lindsey vonn was seen crying after a recent competition. what could happen to put her gold medal hopes in jeopardy? smoke?
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oh, those packer fan also do anything to help their fans, including manual labor.
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>> it is nice. it's good considering some of them have ownership stake in the team. >> well, they know it makes sense. >> i like that, too. we do this story every year, where the public comes out to help clean up lambeau field, you know, it snows so much in green bay. and they're actually paying people 10 bucks an hour, so they can be involved in this. they shovel snow, get it out of the aisleways, and get it off the stairs. >> and they're having fun. >> it's like a bonding experience maybe between father and son, maybe brother and brother. the packers play against the steelers, and they want it to be clear. the seats, the -- >> look at that whole system. yeah, the little runners. >> green bay got a few inches of snow earlier, and an estimated 600 fans showed up to clear this. if you want to go, in the lom bow area today, and you want to earn cash, 10 bucks an hour, you need to be at least 15 years old, and you have to be in good health. >> yeah. >> shoveling snow is hard work. >> i grew up in colorado, it's
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hard. >> yeah, i didn't grow up in colorado, but the northeast, so i get it. yes, go ahead. >> lindsey vonn, her injured knee, yeah, the olympic gold medallist, and she said her knee gave out on her, and after the race, she was clutching her knee. she said that basically she had wished she could have performed better, but she'll be ready for the olympics, she says, which are in six weeks. can you believe that? >> how in the world -- how could that repair, you know, take place, or could there even be taping sufficient enough for that kind of velocity and speed? >> the original knee injury is not bad enough to require surgery now. she says if anything, she'll have the surgery after the olympic games, so she feels like this is a setback, and she'll be ready in six weeks. >> bold and courageous, go, girl. >> speaking of theolympics, two olympic teams. the united states and canada ice hockey teams, and two of the world's best are female hockey
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teams, if you believe that. >> yeah! >> yeah. and get this, they do not like each other, as you can tell from the video. >> isn't that usually the case on hockey rink? >> they have a history. the first thing, when i told the story to friends, whoo, fighting in women's hockey? yes, it happens, too. last night, 10 fighting penalties in all were handed out. there's a history. the u.s. women won last night for an exhibition match, and we'll see these two teams obviously again. >> wow. >> by the way, former american hockey player katelin caehop will represent the united states in the closing games, and brian boitano, as well as billie jean king. you know, obviously all three of the people are openly gay athletes, which people say is sending a message to anti-gay laws in russia, because this is the first time in over a decade, we're not sending a political figure -- a president, first
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lady, a delegation to -- >> yeah, a lot of reasons for that not to happen. >> yeah, not sending a political figure head sends a political message to them. >> yeah, it doesn't help involving the whole ed snowden affair. >> yeah. >> seeking, you know, asylum, or getting assistance in russia. so we'll talk to greg louganis, an olympian, and some thought he would been the short list of members to be on the delegation. he's a little disappointed, but he has a whole lot to say about the sochi games and what it all symbolizes. and he's going to comment on some of the most latest words from billie jean king, so he'll be joining us next hour, as well, so don't miss that. >> like the other three, openly gay athlete. and very strong opinions about the anti-gay laws there. obviously, the rest of the world is becoming more tolerant, more accepting to that, whereas russia seems to be taking more steps backwards. >> we'll see more of you later, too. great. thanks, joe. that's the 3:00 hour we'll see you. >> okay. i'll be back then. >> set your clock. we'll talk about the latest on racing driver dario
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franchitti and what he's saying about his decision to retire. you remember, there was a pretty nasty crash that took place. he had a head injury, so it comes together now. we'll talk more about that and fill you in on the details. also, in today's "american journey," we're taking to you a barbecue joint in washington, d.c., with a sauce that goes well beyond your taste buds. it's called inspire, and that's exactly what it does for some young people in the state. here's tom foreman. >> reporter: where there is smoke in d.c., there is inspire barbecue, a small restaurant that is making a big impact, by teaching struggling young people the basics of working life. how to show up on time, balance a checkbook, take and give fair criticism -- >> we're not giving all our secrets, tim. >> reporter: jeff, who grew up here, cooked up the idea. >> how do you get out of poverty? you get out of poverty to do work. you get out of poverty through doing a good day's work every
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day, and looking at the goodness of what you produce rather than what you don't have. >> reporter: over the past three years, inspire has taken in hundreds of young folks, ages 16 to 23, to work and learn for a period of time. some have trouble with the law, some with drug abuse, some, like daniel gaskin, with education. he graduated high school, but quickly failed out of college, and by the time he found insp e inspire -- >> all the money i've earned, it was kind of wasted, so it was just, like, where do i go from here now? where do i go next? do i find a job? do i try to go back into school? >> reporter: this place had to be like a godsend. >> it was. >> reporter: today, he talks confidently about his future and his ideas. >> they're learning how to do everything so you can transition into a permanent employment. >> reporter: these are life skills. >> these are life skills. >> reporter: so in the end, the food is not just fantastic. it truly is inspirational. tom foreman, cnn -- i better try another taste. [ laughter ] -- washington.
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president obama and his family are vacationing in warm and sunny hawaii. they're spending the next 16 days there. time for a little r&r after what's been a rather tough year for the president. everything from the obamacare website problems to the government shutdown to getting a new budget passed. athena jones is traveling with the president and is joining us from a beautiful hawaii. good to see you. this is a working vacation for him and for you. >> reporter: good morning, fred. that's right. it will be a working vacation for the president. the white house would say every vacation is a working vacation. the president is expected to spend some time looking closely at these 46 recommendations for changing the nsa surveillance programs. those are recommendations that came in a final review of that program that came out this week, so he'll be looking at that, but also fit in time for some sun and some surf, going to beaches,
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some of his favorite restaurants here. he may also fit in a trip to a basketball game. michelle obama's brother, craig robertson, his team, oregon state university team, is playing in a basketball tournament starting here on sunday. so they'll definitely fit in some fun. fred? >> that's fun and convenient. all right. so the president was in his last, final white house news conference yesterday, and he admitted that not everything, you know, was done as he'd planned. what about the extension of the unemployment benefits and the next big deadline, the debt ceiling in february? what were his thoughts about that, or what are his worries potentially? >> reporter: well, on unemployment insurance, he made the case that this needs to be done very, very quickly. he said it should be the first order of business for congress, because more than 1 million people are going to be without these benefits, and so, he expects to see congress get that passed early in january. as for the debt ceiling, our own brianna keilar asked him if he's willing to have a fight with the
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republicans, and he said what he's said often, the debt ceiling is not something to negotiate over. this is the nation's full faith and credit. they raise the debt ceiling to pay for bills already incurred. he also talked about the agreement reached over the budget, the bipartisanship reached over the budget. let's listen to what he had to say. >> we've seen this possible daylight breaking when it comes to cooperation in congress that folks are thinking actually about plunging us back into the kinds of brinksmanship and governance by crisis that has done so much harm over the last couple of years. i've got to assume folks aren't crazy enough to start that thing all over again. >> reporter: so he's saying he hopes the bipartisanship seen on the budget battle, and the battle fight, agreeing on a budget there, can translate into agreeing to raise the debt ceiling. fred? >> all right, athena jones, thank you so much. we'll check back with you later on. all right, new york city passes a controversial ban on smoking e-cigarettes indoors.
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mayor bloomberg is expected to sign the bill, which would place the same nonsmoking rules on e-cigarettes as regular cigarettes. but e-cigarette users say the dangers are not the same. here's poppy harlow. >> reporter: hey there, fredricka. the e-cigarette market is booming, projected to reach $1.8 billion this year with users getting a nicotine fix without smoking. but what exactly is an e-cigarette, and do we really know if they're safe? remember these long-banned cigarette commercials? >> what cigarette do you smoke, doctor? >> reporter: they're back on the airwaves, kinda. >> you know what the most amazing thing about this cigarette is? ♪ it feels like the first time >> i can whip out my blue, not worry about scaring that special someone away. >> reporter: they're electronic cigarettes, and they've become nearly as controversial as the real thing. >> this is how i ended up quitting smoking. >> reporter: no question about
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it? >> absolutely, yeah. >> reporter: aaron david ross smoked for 10 years. we met him at henley, a new york city vapor lounge. >> i haven't had a drag of a cigarette since then, it was about two and a half years ago. >> reporter: here's how they work. liquid nicotine is heated up by a battery-charged coiled. there's no tobacco burned. users so are ecigarettes safe and perhaps the greatest invasion yet to stop smoking or an addictive health hazard? >> with a product like e-cigarettes, you're guilty until proven innocent. we need to know these things are safe and okay to use. >> reporter: they've been in the u.s. less than an a decade and increasingly big tobacco companies are manufacturing them. the health impact and conflicting studies on whether or not nicotine alone is harmful. >> i would like the science to catch up with what we're doing here. >> reporter: but you're still willing to do it. >> but i think the alternative to just smoking all day, i think
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this is a better alternative. >> what we gain is far greater than what we had the potential. >> reporter: amy fairchild of columbia university school of public health co-authored this op-ed making the case for e-cigarettes. a lot say there's not enough science. >> there is never going to be enough science. there is always going to be room for another study and what i would say to them is the need is so great now, you have so many tobacco death now. the dire urgent public health need. this is one of the most important public health. >> reporter: they must be federally regulated and not marketed to kids. i wish you could smell it in here, it doesn't smell like smoke, it smells a lot like candy. no surprise given all the flavors they sell, but when you sell flavors like cotton candy or gummy bear, that could attract children. some states have age requirements on sales, but not all.
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cdc data show nearly 2 million middle and high school students tried e-cigarettes last year. more than double the number in 2011. >> e-cigarettes can potentially help some people, but they have serious potential harms that we know about. if they get kids to start smoking, that is really bad. if they get smokers that would have quit to keep smoking, that's really bad. former smokers to go back to smoking, that's really bad. if they reglamourize the act of smoking, that's bad, as well. >> the other side of that equation, a gateway to not smoking. >> reporter: e-cigarettes are not regulated by any federal body and not a method to quit smoking. critics point out they could keep users hooked on nicotine. ross is still addicted to nicotine and uses e-cigarettes at his desk. i wouldn't want to be sitting next to this. >> a public stigma against it. >> reporter: he and others worry
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now that many in america are so opposed to smoking they're stigmatizing some say could save lives. you get angry when people try to fight this. >> because it worked for us. we saved our lives with this product. >> i wouldn't be so angry if people took the time, our elected official took the time to get educated. they're not, they're reacting. >> reporter: so after decades of fighting big tobacco, what does the american cancer society think? >> cautious optimism with a number of caveats. anyone right now using an e-cigarette does not know what they're inhaling. >> reporter: but there's this -- >> what we don't want to do is take something out of the hands of people which could, in fact, help people stop using the traditional burn cigarette, which is the enemy. >> reporter: the fda is expected to announce a proposed rule to regulate e-cigarettes as early as this month. but until then -- >> it's time we take our freedom back.
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come on, guys. rise from the ashes. >> reporter: we'll have to wait and see what the fda decides to rule. as far as the question of whether nicotine alone is safe, many experts believe that nicotine, although highly addictive, is only dangerous to one's health in very large quantities. but there is a new study in its very early stages from brown university and it suggests that nicotine can cause direct harm to cells in your body's blood vessels, including the heart. so, bottom line, more research is being done to determine that conclusively. fred? >> thank you so much, poppy harlow. a boycott of seaworld. well, it's spreading after the cnn document "black fish" exposed the treatment of animals there. several big stars are canceling conscerts and schools are canceling trips. seaworld is firing back. we'll explain how, next, in the "newsroom."
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in business, reputation and image count. just ask seaworld. after the cnn documentary "black fish" aired some big stars canceled their concerts there and their call for a boycott seems to be spreading. here's cnn's martin savidge. >> reporter: a parade of performers, including heart, bare naked ladies and trisha yearwood said they're troubled by what they saw in "black fish." >> i don't agree on how they treat their animals. >> reporter: as far as impact, this voice may be much more powerful. >> i felt sad how they treat
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them. >> reporter: after seeing the film "black fish" she told her dad she never wanted to go to seaworld, again, which was a problem since her fifth grade field trip in a few weeks was to seaworld. >> she said, i'm not going. i don't want our money going to seaworld. and that was pretty loud. >> reporter: as this picture posted on the web shows, the marine science elementary school but dad and daughter backed by other parents lobbied to go somewhere else. it worked. announcing the decision, the school's principal credited their protest for the change. "i am pleased to model for our students the importance of speaking up to express your views and voice." seaworld downplays the decision saying, "this is the only instance of a camp cancellation that we have experienced." it may not be the last. >> dear seaworld -- >> reporter: students at point loma high school put together
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this video that starts off by thanking seaworld for the memories. >> but after watching the documentary "black fish" on cnn -- >> all those memories have been cheapened. >> reporter: then, the real punch -- >> there will be no more admission tickets. >> mow more rides. >> no more teddy bears. >> reporter: what is the impact of something like that? >> it's especially damaging. a cross section of the population, if you notice, very clean cut, well-spoken children. i mean, talking in a very moderate language. talking about how much they enjoyed seaworld but now they just can't continue supporting seaworld until they change their policies. >> reporter: pr crisis expert david johnson says seaworld can get by without music performers but a real problem when kids feel this way about not going to seaworld. >> like i did something that was actually something that was really amazing. >> reporter: martin savidge, cnn, atlanta.
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much more straight ahead in "cnn newsroom" and it all starts right now. hello, again, everyone. i'm fredricka whitfield. here are the top stories we're following in the "cnn newsroom" 94 million americans are on the move this weekend and so is a brutal winter storm. coating parts of the midwest and across the south, tornados are the big threat. what you need to know before heading home for christmas. and u.s. troops come underfire while trying to evacuate americans from south sudan. we're learning more about the attack and the condition of the injured service members. and making a critical repair 220 miles from earth. nasa astronauts are doing that right now p. we'll show you live pictures of the spacewalk and tell you why their work is vital to the future of the iss.
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first up, that dangerous system that is barreling across the u.s. right now. it's threatening multiple states with snow, ice even tornadoes and it's hitting on the same weekend that tens of millions of americans are heading home for the holidays. in the south, tornadoes are rare in december. but right now, it's the biggest threat. and that risk became a reality last night in mississippi. a twister touched down there leveling trees, but so far no injuries have been reported. and in the midwest, snow and ice are creating treacherous conditions on the road and even threatening to cancel flights. nick valencia is in the icy city of missouri. how bad are conditions there. >> just in the last few minutes, fred. started to sleet pretty steadily here. 23 degrees, but feels much more,
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a lot of the country's midsection seeing severe weather this weekend. it's going to make the brunt of the severe weather is going to hit the midsection. from cars skidding on frozen roads and some flipping over to flight delays at the nation's airport and expected power outages. beginning to look like a lot like a holiday travel nightmare. >> could, indeed, be the perfect storm with an increase in travelers and an increase in the amount of distance travelers are going. >> reporter: here's the wild forecast. ice storm warnings in oklahoma, severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes across the south. heavy snow and flooding in the nation's midsection. who's going to be impacted? more than 94 million americans traveling this week. already dangerous driving conditions this morning in kansas and iowa. >> just try to stop. i mean, safest, but i couldn't, my car just would not.
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>> reporter: if you're flying, watch out for possible flight cancellations in the midwest and up to two-hour delays in kansas city, chicago and dallas. with more delays expected up the east coast on sunday. travel experts say it's best to check ahead before leaving home. >> we really recommend that travelers be smart. they plan ahead, they take advantage of smartphone technology by being up to date on travel conditions and road conditions. >> reporter: and while the weather can be a pain for millions around the nation, for some football fans in green bay, wisconsin, it's provided a $10 an hour job to sweep lambeau field for sunday's game. >> you get the chance to get out and meet people and get some good exercise and enjoy the cold. >> reporter: and we just checked win the airlines, fred. no cancellations or delays just yet. but conditions here are expected to worsen throughout the afternoon. we're expecting freezing rain and snow. so, bundle up out there. >> like that last gentleman said, enjoy the cold, nick.
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are you enjoying the cold? >> yeah. i'll try. it's really cold out here for california. i'm progressively adding more and more layers. it will be okay, though. >> keep adding those layers. you're making it look really easy. thanks, nick, appreciate it. let's go now to the cnn weather center where jennifer grey is keeping an eye on the dangerous storm system. we laugh, but it is potentially dangerous. >> it is. especially the severe components. this is affecting millions, especially people in the south. not something on the top of their mind as they're heading out doing christmas shopping but a tornado threat this afternoon. something you really don't want to let your guard down. we do have the ice, as well. that's stretching from oklahoma and missouri and even portions of illinois. the tornado watch, though, has been issued this morning and this goes into effect central time and this affects places like shreveport, lake charles and beaumont and houston you're in this, as well. we're already seeing some pretty
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strong storms starting to fire up. we have seen some severe thunderstorm watches, as well. here's where the severe threat is. we have a slight risk stretching anywhere from houston all the way to pensacola, pretty much. that stretches up into portions of ohio. the moderate risk is more centered around the arklatex and that heads into jackson, memphis, you're included in this, as well. isolated tornados a and damagin winds, as well. track the storm system late this evening right around memphis, jackson, little rock you'll see the showers and storms a little earlier, as well. then just continuing to track to the east as we go through the overnight hours. atlanta, we could see some pretty strong showers and storms during the overnight hours tonight into tomorrow, as well. and then it just sort of sets up along the east coast. this is mainly a rain event. we have seen a lot of winter storms already this year. but this is mainly a rain event. the reason is, very warm air has been pumping into the southeast and over the east coast.
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washington, d.c. has already set a record for today and they set that around 11:00 this morning. >> a warm record? >> a record. >> wow. oh, my goodness. >> very warm. 62 degrees around 11:00 the the record was 61. >> something tells me people were excited about hitting the roads and nothing standing in the way of them getting in the shopping in the mid-atlantic. thanks, jennifer, appreciate that. to this developing story out of africa. a u.s. aircraft in south sudan came under heavy gun fire during a mission to evacuate american civilians. four service members are injured. the country has been in turmoil since the president accused the former vice president of attempting a coup last week and a lot of people had been killed in the clashes since then. pentagon correspondent barbara starr joins me now from washington. barbara, this was, was this like an attempted evacuation, not necessarily a rescue mission,
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but just to lift many of these americans out of this hard to get place in sudan? >> that's right, fred. about 30 americans or so are in this town in southern sudan mainly working for the united nations. three u.s. military aircraft were trying to land at the airfield and they were going to evacuate these americans. there is no other way for them to get out of this area right now because of the violence, because of the ongoing war that has erupted in this region. so, they start to approach the airfield. they are flying low and slow on that final approach and they come under fire. three v22 aircraft flown by u.s. troops took gunfire. one of the aircraft we are told was seriously damaged, possibly with a fuel leak. four u.s. troops wounded by this gunfire from the ground. thankfully, all three aircraft made it back to to uganda.
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but make no mistake, this is a very serious situation because those americans that they were trying to get out of there, they are still there. so, the military now reassessing, we are told, how to go back in there. how to evacuate these american citizens out of this region. the feeling is that the american aircraft were definitely targeted. mainly perhaps, perhaps by the rebel forces in the region. this is a town that just fell to the rebels a day or so ago. so, this is a very tense situation. >> indeed, it is, barbara starr, thanks so much. let's find out more on how this is shaping up on the ground there in sudan. secretary of state john kerry sending a special envoy to south sudan. let's find out if that could make a difference in any way. so, what is next? realistically.
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>> well as you said, not being called a rescue mission yet. but that does not beline the seriousness of this situation. a second town slightly further south from there also falling to the rebels. this isn't one unified rebel faction. this is a number of different groupings that seem it be taking the opportunity that's been posed by the recent disarray in the past few days. the concern has always been with south sudan. was there enough infrastructure. to stand independent of north sudan and the u.s. at the time believes very much, yes, there was some very definite champions. susan rice, former ambassador to the u.n. put out a very emotional message on friday. she is someone who has been very much at the forefront of the u.s.' very close relationship with south sudan. this is a relationship that has spanned the entire 21-year civil war between north and south.
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she is calling to choose peace. she says that they have their independence, they should try and keep their country together. but at the moment, no one is particularly hopeful. we don't even really have a sense of how many people have died on the ground. even aid agencies don't really know. the u.n. says they believe it could be between 500 and 600 people. this is a very, very tense situation and the attempted evacuations. aide workers saying that's not going to help the situation, the civilians on the ground, fredricka. >> nima, thank you so much. keep us posted on that situation there. back in this country, four people arrested in connection with a deadly car jacking at a new jersey mall. a man was killed last sunday after shopping with his wife when he was allegedly confronted by the suspects with a gun. alexandra field is following this case for us out of new jersey. what is the latest now? >> well, this morning, fred, prosecutors are saying all four men are being charged with murder and carjacking. it was a busy night for
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investigators. overnight they made four arrests both in new jersey and pennsylvania. these arrests come less than a week after dustin freidland was shot and killed outside a new jersey shopping mall. police say that the suspects were after his silver range rover. prosecutors spoke this morning saying that carjackings reach e epidemic levels. since then law enforcement officials fighting to try to stop the problem. >> you have the right to be safe and the expectation that you should be safe in this county in the state of new jersey. and, in particular, you shouldn't have to worry that wherever you go, whether it's in downtown newark or the short hills mall or anywhere else that someone would put a gun to your head and take your car. >> the four suspects are all between the ages of 29 and 33. along with murder and carjacking charges, they also face weapons charges.
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if convicted of all charges, they face a maximum sentence of life in prison and, fred, each of the four men are being held on $2 million bail. >> and what more was revealed, if anything, by investigators about the weapon or how this went from a carjacking to a shooting. what words may have been exchanged? any more details? >> sure, fred. what we know is that freidland just finished shopping at the mall with his wife. he helped her into the passenger seat, opening the car door for her. investigators believe he walked around the back of the car and believe there was some sort of struggle before shots were fired. his wife jumped out of the car. the other two suspects took off in another car and at this time investigators say they have not recovered the murder weapon. >> so sad. all right, alaxenedria field, thanks so much. way up in space, what's it like to float weightlessly and be a repairman, so to speak, at
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the same time. we'll ask someone who has actually done that, quite a few times, next. otem pole. so every friday morning they send me out to get the goods. but what they don't know is that i'm using my citi thankyou card at the coffee shop, so i get 2 times the points. and those points add up fast. so, sure, make me the grunt. 'cause i'll be using those points to help me get to a beach in miami. and allllllll the big shots will be stuck here at the cube farm. the citi thankyou preferred card. now earn 2x the points on dining out and entertainment, with no annual fee.to apply, go to citi.com/thankyoucards where their electricity comes from. they flip the switch-- and the light comes on. it's our job to make sure that it does. using natural gas this power plant can produce enough energy for about 600,000 homes. generating electricity that's cleaner and reliable, with fewer emissions-- it matters. ♪
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and our giant idaho potato truck is still missing. so my dog and i we're going to go find it. it's out there somewhere spreading the good word about idaho potatoes and raising money for meals on wheels. but we'd really like our truck back, so if you see it, let us know, would you? thanks. what?
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right now, as we speak, nasa astronauts are at the final stages of a seven-hour spacewalk. look at the live pictures right now. that looks like frightening stuff but exhilarating, too. they are trying to fix a critical cooling system pump on the international space station. without that system, they've had to turn off some important electronics on the station. quite a vulnerable situation to be in. the two astronauts were scheduled to spend 6 1/2 hours outside the station today, but that has been extended. nasa says the astronauts are making more progress than expected. how critical is today's spacewalk. let's ask someone who has actually done a few of these walks himself. so, michael is a nasa astronaut and also a visiting professor at
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columbia university engineering school. professor, what, they're having so much fun and going so well that they just decided why 6 1/2 hours, let's go beyond. maybe even make it eight. >> well, you don't get paid any overtime, so not much advantage in that area. but, no, they're doing really, really well. i know boat of those guys are both good friends of mine and doing a really good job. the control team down on the ground has been very, very busy and, again, doing a great job working with the astronauts. they're doing so well. try to be conservative. you don't want to plan for too much, but at the same time, you want to make sure you're getting what you need done. they've done so well that it looks like that they might be able to be ahead of where they want to be. >> when in a situation like that, they're clearly kind of calling the shots. they're seeing it and making the progress and things are going along swimmingly and they figure, let's go ahead and ride this momentum and why stop now? let's go as long as we can. not an issue of weighing the
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vulnerabilitie vulnerabilities. can you spend too much time, you know, doing this kind of work outside the space station? >> yeah, you can. in fact, you've got to look at a few things. one is looking at what we call consumables. making sure their oxygen is in good shape and carbon dioxide scrubber is working. that they're feeling good. and you don't want to get into a situation where you start a whole new thing and then get into doing the new thing and then you don't have time to finish it. it's a very, kind of a fine line you want to walk here. you want to get ahead and ride the good work. at the same time, you don't want to go overboard and get too tired, as well. these guys have to come back in a couple days. if you're lisening to the transmissions they're discussing with the crew what else could they do? they take the crew's input on whether or not they thought they could get extra tasks done. so, we work together. you look at how the astronaut is feeling and how the
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consumeerables are doing and how things are working and what you want to try to get done the next day. a lot of people are working to make the right decision. >> i mentioned at the top as we look at the live picture it's exhilarating. you've actually done it. what does it feel like to do this? are you thinking about, you know, how potentially vulnerable you are? people think of the movie "gravity" and you can't help to think of those things but at the same time, this is what you trained for. how exhilarating is it really? >> very exhilarating. the movie "gravity" is a good movie, but you probably don't want to watch it when you're in space. but it's really a great experience for the astronauts. they would rather not have to go out to fix a problem because they'd rather have everything working fine, but once you make the decision you're going to go out there, you're in a position where you can do something to affect the space station and keep it going and at the same time, probably, i think, the
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best experience that any person could ever have which is getting a chance to work in a space suit with some really cool tools on a magnificent machine and magnificent spaceship, the space station and get a chance to view the earth at the same time. can't beat that. >> i bet. >> just incredible experience. >> and the close second is that we get to watch it live as it happens. unbelievably hundreds of miles away. that's extraordinary. thanks so much. good to see you. >> my pleasure, thanks for having me, fredricka. it's been a pleasure. >> thank you. it is one of television's biggest hits and millions of people have been watching. you know what i'm talking about, but could a racially insensitive and home ophobic remark by the star of the show mean the end to star of the show mean the end to a cable tv dynasty? e gallon of s is also enough to keep your smartphone running for how long? 30 days? 300 days? 3,000 days? the answer is...
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all right. the feathers are ruffled on thousands of fans on "duck dynasty" rallying behind the star of the hit cable tv show phil robertson is known for speaking his mind on the backwoods a and e program but what he said off camera has him in hot water and suspended. >> the back woods of louisiana is now home to a new breed of millionaire. >> reporter: the robertson's west monroe, louisiana, who made a fortune off products for duck
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hunters. >> 40 years ago my father phil robertson invented a duck call that changed the duck in the industry. and our way of life forever. >> reporter: the patriarch and star of the show, phil robertson. >> my idea of happiness is killing things. >> reporter: robertson is plain spoken, religious, traditional sort of guy. >> here's the deal. cell phones -- not for me. shut it down. turn it off. >> reporter: and the four seasons the show has been on the air, he has never been afraid to express his opinion. >> men are cooking, so it's not going to be ladies watching. >> reporter: that kind of unfiltered opinion that made "duck dynasty" the most popul,"d off camera that landed him in hot water. described in what he finds sinful "start with homosexual
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behavior behavior and just morof out from there." "neather the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the drunkards, the landerers, the swindlers." his personal views no way reflect those of a&e networks who have always been strong supporters and champions of the lgbt community. not the only ones raising eyebrows. talked about his upbringing in the south before the civil right era. he told gq, "i never with my eyes saw the mistreatment of any black person. not once." "preentitlement, prewelfare, you say, were they happy? they were godly, they were
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happy, no one was singing the blues." but robertson has plenty of defenders. sarah palin who spent time with the robertsons calling it a free speech issue on her facebook page. and louisiana governor, bobby jindal issued a statement calling the robertson family, "great citizens." a petition to bring her back to the show has more than 19,000 signatures so far. >> you stay married to one for 40 45, 50 years, you learn to go with the quirks. >> reporter: though a&e says he's in hiatus not clear if he'll be in the premiere episode of season five. anderson cooper, cnn, new york. >> the robertson family called into question the show's future. in a statement the family said, we're disappointed that phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is constitutionally protected
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right. we have had a successful working relationship with a&e but as a family we can't imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm." not the only popular tv show facing legal troubles these days. the guy that helped create the "walking dead" is suing amc. getting pretty ugly. i'm not talking about the zombies. they are next. [ male announcer ] this is the age of knowing what you're made of. why let erectile dysfunction get in your way? talk to your doctor about viagra. ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain; it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. side effects include headache, flushing, upset stomach, and abnormal vision. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours.
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amc's "zommy apocalypse show" is a huge success but behind the scenes of this tv show an ugly fight playing out right now and our a.j. hammer explains. >> well, fred, if you think the zombie battles you see on "the walking dead" are bloody listen to this monster lawsuit filed against amc. filed by the show's creator that claims amc cheated him out of tens of millions of dollars in profits from the smash show. best known for writing and directing "shaw shank redemption" and a tv series which has been a huge smash for amc ever since it went on the air back in 2010.
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right after the successf fuful t season amc fired him not often you see the creator of a hit show just dropped like that. amc canned him so they wouldn't have to pay him. he also claims that amc engaged in pretty tricky accounting to make sure "the walking dead" never turned a profit which the network would have had to share with him. all very complicated but one thing is clear. with the show as big as the walker dead and the tens of millions of dollars at stake, this fight could actually be nastier than anything we see on the show, and that's pretty nasty, fred. >> nasty is it, thanks so much, a.j. you can catch "showbiz tonight" at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. eastern monday through thursday. let's talk more about this big fight over big bucks. bring in our legal guys, avery friedman, good to see you. >> hi, fredricka nice to see you, too. >> good to see you, as well. >> hi, fred. did you say we were zombies?
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>> as the words left my mouth, i was like, let me clean it up. no. you're not zombies. okay, well, let's talk about this case. this is very interesting. it's very complicated, as well. we're talking about frank and his agency, caa accusing amc of setting up this sham transaction specifically he says to deprive them of tens of millions in profits. avery, you first. even if amc or if darabont was fired, wouldn't he still, as the show's creator, still be owed prof snts wouldn't that be in the paperwork, in the contract somewhere? >> yeah, this is an amazing thing. happened kind of quickly. started out in 2005, 2009 the first contract and second contract 2010 and then another one in 2011. this is really kind of inside entertainment baseball. at the end of the day frank daramont is a hero, you may not know the name.
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"shaw shank redemption" super star. at the end of the day, the question is licensing fees. instead of working out a separate company, amc created its own licensing entity and fancy accounting and, so, what amc is saying is there isn't one nickel of profit when, in fact, this is generating tens of millions of dollars. >> he agreed to that, but he didn't know it or caa wouldn't have done it. >> he had caa, which is an enormous agency negotiating this. so, if somebody is walking dead, we're going to find out who it is and it's not the zombies in this case. >> so, richard, is there some precedence to this? would this kind of agreement be commonplace in hollywood? >> it is, fred. we've seen instances with the cases "smallville" and "will & grace" where they try to pull similar shenanigans.
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this show has taken on tremendous popularity. i mean, one of the highest rated shows on television, that includes some of the football, the weekly football that are making a lot of money here. they never anticipate they'd be making this much money and they're getting fat and playing games with the accounting. it's all going to come out in the wash. this case will be settled. there's no way they're going to go to a full-blown trial and take a verdict on a case like this. they will resolve it. they will pay him. you're right, he is the creator and contract law will apply contract law is so important, fred. the most important area of law. >> there it is. a contract dispute. >> going to be in for a big pay day, frank. >> you're in agreement on this? >> we're actually, we're actually agreeing, we're agreeing. >> different ways about going about it. >> yes, right. it's all accounting and all contract interpretation. why this issue wasn't addressed in the original contracts about how much for licensing, frankly, is going to be an issue in the case.
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but, again, people aren't going to care. just like duck dynasty, they're looking for the entertainment, they don't care about these disputes and they don't care about what's going on in the background with walking zombies, either. >> frank darabont cares because when the principal plays rules with the accounting, you have problems like this. it is all going to come out with forensic accounting and we know a very good forensic accountant. there will be a big pay day, not only the talking dead, walking dead, anything that will arise from these series. >> anything dead is soon to be living. hey, so, in your neck of the woods, or something like that, whatever. in your neck of the woods there, richard, not where you are right now in las vegas, but in new york. smoking is banned in all public places, restaurants, et cetera. now with these e-cigarettes some are feeling that that has a place in these public places, but we know mayor bloomberg is likely to sign this legislation
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that's been passed. what, what, if any, recourse do smokers have, what is the argument that perhaps e-cigarettes should not be considered the same ast astroditional cigarettes? >> we don't know the medical effects of this. so, it's vaporizing. it's not smoking. you know. it's nicotine. and does it cause harm to anybody around you? i don't know if it does or it doesn't. but it can be confused with real cigarettes and that's the ban they're trying to enforce. and i don't know, could children get excited about this? i don't know. the nanny state is coming to an end in new york city. mayor bloomberg is leaving, things will change. >> avery, why does it not matter? what do you mean? >> a public health issue. we saw obesity and we saw guns and we saw -- >> what is the detrimental effect of this? >> city council had hearings on it. good for mayor bloomberg, he has 11 days left. i know a lot of people disagree,
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but we're dealing with public health issues. good for him, i'm glad they're trying to get it through. >> there is no articulated detriment. >> maybe the argument is it's not clear there is any detriment. >> that's correct. >> still it be resolved on that. all right, gentlemen, thanks so much. hey, have a great holiday season. our legal guys you can catch them every weekend about this time every saturday. we always love seeing them. zombies, no way. they are living. living, handsome and very smart men that we love to have every weekend. thanks, gentlemen. good to see you. >> thanks, fredricka. we have this case closed to tell you about. a jury says actor ryan o'neal can keep that andy warhol painting of his one-time love, farrah fawcett. it's actually one of two paintings that warhol did back in 1980. faucwcett died in 2009 and left one of the portraits to the university of texas. the school sued ryan o'neal trying to get the other one,
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which was hanging over the bed in his home, but the jury sided with o'neal, agreeing that he is the rightful owner of that other warhol painting, which ryan o'neal says will go to his son, their son. another celebrity legal fight, casey kasem's kids say they're not being allowed to see their own dad who suffers from parkinson's disease. hear their emotional story when we come right back.
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the children of radio legend casey kasem are still fighting to see their father and they're talking to cnn about it. kasem is 81 years old and suffers from advance parkinson's disease. his kids say they're being blocked from seeing him by his wife, jean kasem. they reached a visitation agreement, but the details are confidential. two of casey kasem's other children talked to our piers morgan about the pain of being kept away from their father. >> this is an awful story.
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i have four kids. i'm one of four kids. my mom is one of four kids. big family. the idea that somehow i wouldn't be able to see my father if he was as ill as your father is would be heartbreaking and, yet, that is the position you find yourselves in. carrie, what is going on here? why does your stepmother, jean, have such a resistance to you seeing your father? >> there has been a resistance for so long. ever since my father married her. so, it's been a very long time. we saw this coming. this isn't, we weren't blindsided by this. this is a man we saw every single week, talked to him every single day on the phone until he lost his voice. we are extremely close knit family. extremely. his family means more to him than anything. why she is blocking us is it's the only -- >> it's dumbfounding, really. >> utterly cruel. your father is suffering from parkinson's, is that right? he's been deteriorating and having treatment and so on.
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you were allowed to see him briefly last week. your stepmother, jean, arranged for at a location. we're not allowed to say where it was. part of this absurd legal barriers we face here. how was your father when you saw him? >> we're not allowed to say that also. visitations could get pulled. >> you're his children. >> it's so important for us to see him and especially, you know, i just came in from singapore where i worked and i didn't know if i would be able it see him again. i was so happy to justine get that 20 minutes i got. and, so, to see him was just the most special thing to me because i was able to quickly, actually, i only got five minutes at that point and i was able to tell him all the things that i needed to say just in case that was the last time i'd ever see him. so, that was very special. but just to only get that much time -- >> it's horrendous. now, kerri, in terms of the law,
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the law protects your stepmother in her home, which is where your father predominantly spends his time. therefore, you can't actually go inside her house without her permission, is that right? >> that's right. we'll be arrested. and we did try, we tried everything to get her to let us see him when she stopped bringing him over to the house. she had an assistant bring him over to the house so we could see him every weekend. she stopped. my sister went there and knocked on the door and he was escorted off the property. >> and you have grandchildren, as well? any children between you? >> our sister has children. >> and they can't see their grandfather? >> they will probably never see their grandfather. >> if she's watching tonight, what would you say to her? >> wow. i mean -- >> it's so tough because when you know somebody or know them just a little bit you know how to approach them. i don't think she knows us. >> giving her nothing has worked so far. now is your chance.
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you're live on cnn. what do you want to say to this person to try to make her see sense and let two, obviously, loving children see their father. >> piers, we said everything we need to say to her whether it's to a camera or whether it's to you or to a judge or to our lawyers. >> what it is about, more than us, our dad. and him having just some stimulation and love and care around him provided by, you know, everybody. including us, his children. >> it's not just us. we need to say this, we need to say it loud and clear. >> it's not just the kids. his brothers, his cousins, his best friends. everybody has been blocked from seeing my father. >> we are talking about people he has known since the '40s. >> jean kasem's lawyer said wanting to bring peace and was quite "toxic." remember president obama's promise if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. well, for many people across the
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country, that's just not the case. some insurance companies are dropping doctors. who are the doctors blaming? find out next in "the newsroom." just by talking to a helmet. it grabbed the patient's record before we even picked him up. it found out the doctor we needed was at st. anne's. wiggle your toes. [ driver ] and it got his okay on treatment from miles away. it even pulled strings with the stoplights. my ambulance talks with smoke alarms and pilots and stadiums. but, of course, it's a good listener too. [ female announcer ] today cisco is connecting the internet of everything. so everything works like never before.
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all right. put yourself in this situation. serious health issues, but your insurance company says you can no longer see the doctor who has cared for you for years. some doctors are blaming obama care. here's cnn's chris. >> i'm decorating.
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>> reporter: jody is like many seniors. she sees multiple doctors and takes lots and lots of medication. how many prescriptions do we have here? >> one, two, three, four, five, six. >> reporter: last month the 79-year-old got some draw drjaw dropping news. her insurance company, united health care, is cutting four of her six positihysicians includir most trusted doctor, dr. mitch to patients like jody. the cardio metabolic specialist will be dumped from united medicare advantage network january 1st with little explanation. or, as united put it in a letter. >> amending your agreement referenced above to discontinue your participation in the network. this does not require your signature. >> reporter: but the doctor thinks united is trimming because under obama care harder to drop patients.
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>> let those high-cost patients move out of the united health care medicare advantage plan over to humana and let them pick up the cost. >> reporter: united decision left jody and her 94-year-old husband, nick, facing a tough choice. do they stay with united and find new doctors or try to keep their doctors by finding a new insurance plan? >> dr. mitch has been my doctor for 20 years. no one knows me any better than he does and it's silly not to continue to go with him. >> reporter: so jody went shopping. >> this was expensive. >> reporter: and the plan she bought is going to cost her much more. do you have any sense of how much more that will end up costing you? >> these will be double. >> reporter: jody is not alone. the american medical association says united and other insurers have taken similar action in at least a dozen states. in connecticut, for example, united cut 20% of its doctors
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and here in ohio, the insurance giant dropped hundreds of doctors affecting thousands of patients. >> the patient costs a lot and united is going to those patients' doctors and dropping them and therefore getting rid of the patient. >> reporter: united concedes it is reducing the size of its network. but declined an on-camera interview request. in a statement to cnn united said, "many health plans are making changes to their networks to improve quality and keep health insurance affordable. these changes are necessary to meet rising quality standards in an era of medicare funding cuts." the insurance industry trade group argues that they're a direct result of obama care to help pay for health care reform, lawmakers included $200 billion in cuts to the medicare advantage program and a new tax on health insurers. >> washington can't cut and tax the medicare advantage program this much and not expect seniors in the program to be harmed.
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>> reporter: even though jody was able to find a plan that included dr. mitch, she is still going to lose two other doctors. >> we're walking away from people that we've known and trusted and counted on for over ten years. and that's hard. >> reporter: dr. sanjay gupta will look to the addiction to prescription in "newsroom" at 1:30 and then "sanjay gupta md" airs at 4:30. the role religion plays in medicine. all right, the smell of rich mahogany is back. "anchorman 2" of course that's what i'm talking about in theaters and you'll have to hear will ferrell's hilarious take on making the film. [ male announcer ] here's a question for you:
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president obama is in hawaii for a 16-day vacation. time for a little r and r. after what's been a rather rough year. he talked about it in his news conference yesterday. here's what he had to say about the health care website. >> the fact is, it didn't happen in the first month. first six weeks in a way that it was at all acceptable. and since i'm in charge,
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obviously, we screwed it up. >> the president's troubles have also hurt his approval ratings. cnn political editor paul ste steinhauser is here with a look at those numbers. >> hey, fred. 14 points. that's how much president obama's approval rating has dropped in cnn polling over the course of an especially tough year. >> that i will faithfully execute. >> reporter: at his second inaugural in january, soon after his re-election victory, mr. obama's approval rating stood at 55%. now, after the nsa and irs controversies and the deeply flawed rollout of the health care law, the president has is at 41% in our new cnn/orc poll, which matches the all-time low he fell to just last month. mr. obama's disapproval stands at 56% an all-time high which he first hit last month. while the president says there's been disappointments. >> if i look at this past year, there are areas where there have
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been some frustrations. >> he doesn't obsess over polling results. >> if i was interested in polling, i wouldn't have run for president. >> reporter: how does mr. obama's approval ratings compare to immediate two-term predecessors as they finished up their first year in their second terms. george w. bushed stood at 41% clinton was at 56% and reagan was at 63%. the president said polling isn't the best gauge of his presidency. >> if you're measuring this by polls, my polls have gone up and down a lot. >> reporter: the approval rating one of the best rating of a president standing with the public and clout right here in washington. fred? >> thanks so much, paul steinhauser in washington. one guy that has no trouble with his popularity hit the big screen this week. you know who i'm talking about. ron burgundy is back in "anchorman 2." opened on wednesday and doing pretty well so far.
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ju just edging out the hobbit. experts predict that "the hobbit" will probably win the weekend, but it just might be rather close. so, will ferrell has been everywhere in the character of ron burgundy to promote the movie. he's in commercials, on local tv new s sets and even appeared wih our own wolf blitzer. take look at wolf and ron. >> "anchorman 2" you are no longer in local news. >> no. >> you work for a 24/7 cable news network, is that correct? >> that's exactly right. we work for gnn. >> no relation to cnn. >> no relation to cnn. so, we find ron and his lovable team of misfits thrust into the world of 24 hours. >> the whole concept of ron burgundy. people associate you with ron burgundy. >> i'm ron burgundy. you stay classy, san diego. >> ron is getting more famous
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than i am. which that's okay. i can live with that. ron's thrilled. he's finally getting his due. >> he has that red jacket. very impressive jacket. >> the mustache. >> did you ever go with a fuller mustache? >> do you see any ron burgundy here, any similarities? i do have a little mustache. >> you have that, but you'd really have to let it go. >> i was going to wear a red -- >> but i think you have your established look. >> but you notice the red tie. >> i do. very nice touch. >> little ron burgundy. >> and your hair looks great. >> obviously, yeah. >> that's the most important factor. >> when i get my makeup and you know we all have to get makeup, they never touch the hair. you know that. >> don't touch the hair or you're fired. >> that's it. >> yep. >> very sensitive. >> wolf, you are untouchable. and we've got much more straight ahead, ron burgundy or
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not in "the newsroom." it all begins right now. hello, again, everyone. i'm frederica whitfield. here are the top stories we're following in "newsroom." people hitting the roads and the sky to get home for christmas but the first true blast of winter is creating an icy, windy mess to snarl those holiday plans. under fire in south sudan. u.s. service members take a hit as they try to rescue dozens of americans trapped in an outbreak of fighting. we're live from the pentagon. and "duck dynasty" star phil robertson anti-gay comments got him fired from the show but fans are fighting back between the network and the show. can anyone win this one?

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