tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 21, 2013 12:00pm-1:31pm PST
now, her challenge isn't her lungs, which work fine, it's hur muscles and her bones, which weakened while waiting for the transplant. >> now, here we are, climbing out of that. and she will. but she shouldn't have been in that position. she shouldn't have had to go through this much. >> reporter: sarah knows she has a long way to go. >> i told myself i can do it and i push myself. >> reporter: do you feel like you are getting better every week? every day? >> every day, i get a little stronger. >> reporter: and gets a little better, one step at a time. since the national policy was changed last summer, ten other children like sarah have also been approved to receive lung transplants. what they ultimately want is better policy that would benefit all children. fred? >> thanks so much, jason. appreciate that. we always like to hear what you have to say about the stories we
put on our air. you can reach us on facebook or tweet me. it's the top of the hour now. i'm fredricka whitfield. here are the stories we are following. three u.s. military aircraft come under attack trying to evacuate americans in south sudan. what happened to the service members and the deteriorating security situation inside that country. back in the u.s., a powerful winter storm is creating dangerous conditions on the road as tens of millions of people head home for the holidays. if you are flying, get ready to wait. the severe weather threat, straight ahead. plus, 220 miles from earth. a difficult mission with huge consequences. hear the outcome of a critical walk today outside the international space station.
now to the developing story out of africa. the u.s. state department warning of a deteriorating security situation after u.s. aircraft in south sudan came under heavy gunfire during a mission to evacuate american civilians. the country has been in turmoil since the president accused the former vice president of attempting a coup last week. a lot of people have been killed in the clashes since then. barbara starr is joining me now. well us what the u.s. plans to do to get the remaining americans out. >> well, this is now the problem, fred. 20 to 30 americans, perhaps, trapped in south sudan where the rebels have taken over. the u.s. military tried to go in today on an evacuation flight to get them out of there. all three u.s. military aircraft took small arms fire from the ground. all three aircraft damaged. one seriously.
four u.s. troops wounded in the attack. one seriously. they were now in nairobi getting medical treatment. back in south sudan, this now becomes a difficult situation. a short time ago, the state department said no more government sponsored evacuation flights out of there. that means no u.s. military flights for now. it is simply too dangerous, they feel, to go back in there right now. so, we are told that defense secretary, chuck hagel, general dempsey, all talking about this to come up with a plan about what to do next on how to get those american civilians out of there. they can't take them out by road, it's too dangerous right now. >> barbara, what was the situation that led to this evacuation of americans? we mentioned that, you know, attempted coup, but is that it or is there something else? >> well, once this attempted coup happened, basically what
you had was contingent infactions of going against each other, ethnic warfare. once again, it's a part of africa that suffered from genocide in the past and the fighting has only, especially around here, grown more violent, more dangerous, more simply unbearable in the last several days when the rebels took this town. the u.s. sent an envoy to sudan to try to talk to them about all of this. but, unless the violence eases and the people there who are trapped can get some aid and assistance, it's hard to see where this all ends. fred? >> barbara starr, thanks so much from washington. americans and other aid workers are waiting to be evacuated from south sudan. we are following that story, too. >> reporter: it is growing other the fate of some 30 american
citizens. they are stuck in the north of south sudan in a remote area. a u.s. evacuation after the aircraft came under fire. now, all options are on the table to consider how to bring the aid workers out. it's not just there where it is firing. in the newly independent nation, it's fallen to rebels. the u.s. national security is a big part of south sudan gaining independence from the north in agreement to end the 21 year civil war between the two countries recorded an audio message urging them to try to keep their nation together and to keep -- to choose peace. the worry is aid workers, including the u.s. citizens are forced to evacuate will continue to increasingly fragment. those who need the help the most
will not be able to find it. two nasa astronauts spent more than five hours on an emergency space walk today trying to fix a critical cooling pump on the international space station. without the system, they had to turn off some of the important electronics. nasa says they got more accomplished than expected today and the problem just might be fixed during the next space walk scheduled for monday. back here on earth, a holiday travel mess. just as tens of millions of people hit the road and head to the airport, a fierce winter storm is bearing down on the midwest and marching east. it's threatening multiple states with snow, ice and even tornadoes. in the south, the tornado risk became a reality. a twister touched down in mississippi leveling trees. no injuries reported. in the midwest, snow and ice creating treacherous conditions
and forcing airlines to cancel or delay flights. nick is in the icy city of kansas city, missouri. nick, earlier and through the day, we watched the layers pile on you. you had a hat on to a scarf. i said i wanted to see your foot gear, if you have boots on or heavier socks. what's going on with your attire? >> reporter: you have to have the boots. i wish i had leggings. when you see your breath, you start to put on the layers. that's time. >> i'll take your word for it. we don't want to see your leggings. or the socks. >> reporter: the flurries have continued throughout the day and morning and afternoon. the freezing rain is on the way for the midwest. they are dealing with freezing rain, sleet and a lot of snow. from cars skidding on frozen roads and some flipping over to flight delays at the nation's airports, expected power outages, it's beginning to look
a lot like a holiday travel nightma nightmare. >> it could be the perfect storm with increase in travelers and the distance they are going. >> reporter: ice storm warnings in oklahoma. severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across the south. heavy snow and flooding in the nation's midsection. who is going to be impacted? 94 million americans traveling this week. already dangerous driving conditions this morning in kansas and iowa. >> try to stop. safest but i couldn't. my car went like this. >> if you are flying, watch for flight cancellations in the midwest. 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, plan ahead, take advantage of smartphone
technology, being up to date on travel conditions and road conditions. >> the weather can be a pain for millions around the nation, for football fans in green bay, wisconsin, it provided a $10 an hour job to sweep lambeau field for sunday's game. >> get out, a chance to meet people, get good exercise and enjoy the cold. >> reporter: we talked about the possibility of cancellations and delays, it's a reality. delta cancelling flights from minneapolis and memphis. if you are trying to come into kansas city, check the airlines. be careful what you wish for. they are talking about atlanta being cold soon. it could be headed your way. >> i know. i have my gear ready. i'm going to be just like you. let's check in with jennifer. do i need to pull out my long johns and my thick socks and leggings and hat?
>> not yet. we are setting records across the east coast for warm weather on the first official day of winter. temperatures stabilize the next couple days. the major cold weather is still in the west. the wmidwest. we are seeing rain and ice transition into snow from kansas to missouri. the texas man handle is getting snow now. the big story has been the severe weather. that's what we are watching throughout the afternoon. we have tornado watches in effect until 6:00 p.m. for much of louisiana and southeast texas including houston, then places like memphis. that is central time. we have actually already started to see severe thunderstorms pop up. we have two active warnings right now in north louisiana. one is going to expire around 2:15 local time and another one about 2:45 local time. these are packing winds of 16 miles per hour. we have one in east texas as
well right around center texas. that is a big one. so, do plan on those damaging winds. we have reports of trees down, fred, so, this is something to take seriously. >> we are, indeed. thank you so much, appreciate that. the president has a big stack of homework over the holidays. one item. decide if the nsa needs to be reigned in. we'll tell you what he has said about that, coming up. next, beyonce is busy spreading holiday cheer the saturday before christmas. how she surprised hundreds of shoppers. all we do is go out to dinner.
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making homophobic remarks. we have what happens when they say things they wish they could take back. >> reporter: he's not the first celebrity whose mouth got him or her in trouble. >> get away from my wife and the baby with the camera. [ bleep ]. >> reporter: alec baldwin recently lost a program on msnbc when he had a run in with paparazzi in new york. >> get away from my kid with the camera. come on. [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> reporter: after those comments, baldwin was suspended from the show, then it was canceled in a mutual departing. paula deen was accused of using the "n" word and sued by a former employee. the food network said they would
not renew her contract. he lost many of her sponsorships. she went on the "today" show to apologize. >> i tell you what, if there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you are out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. please. i want to meet you. i want to meet you. i is what i is and i'm not changing. >> reporter: the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed. don imus got in hot water after saying this about players at rutgers. >> they are rough girls they got tattoos. >> he apologized later, but it wasn't enough to keep his radio
program or msnbc deal. he is back on radio and tv today. >> it's like i was swimming through a flabby armed spanking machine. >> reporter: kramer on seinfeld is called a racist after he said the "n" word seven times to hecklers at a comedy club. he was contrite on david letterman. >> i think it's important to make sure this kind of crap doesn't come about. i'm sorry that it happened. >> reporter: he maintained a low profile for some time following the incident. few have been exposed like mel gibson. incredibly profane and threatening messages left on his ex-girlfriend's phone mail. disploy, and [ bleep ] weak. a [ bleep ] slut. >> reporter: some careers can't
recover. others do. it comes down to how it's handled. >> the best way to recover from a mishap or words they didn't mean to say or words that fell on the public in a wrong way is to be honest, transparent and truthful about the way the words were shared. >> reporter: not all heed that advice. >> some say you are bipolar. >> wow, what does that mean? >> you are on two ends of the spectrum? >> what's the cure, medicine? >> reporter: winning or not, "duck dynasty" is not the latest member in the celebrity club. gary tuckman, cnn atlanta. attention walmart shoppers, forget the last minute christmas bargains. folks at a massachusetts walmart get a surprise from a megasuperstar. beyonce showed up, yep, she was
calling on that blue light special there spreading holiday cheer. guess what the message was? she purchased 750 $50 gift cards for everyone in the store. she picked up her new album on sale there and toys for her daughter. earlier this week, target refused to sell her self-titled album because it was released online first. the new album has sold more than 1 million copies. the nsa is in white hot spotlight as president obama considers possible limits on spying. one question coming to the surface, should edward snowden be granted amnesty? the director of central intelligence and a former whistle blower facing off next.
president obama says he knows people are still on edge about nsa surveillance and, in his end of the year news conference at the white house yesterday, he said he will take a closer look at recommendations from an independent panel. here is jim. >> reporter: under continuing fire at home and abroad for the nsa mass surveillance, the president signaled real changes to come. >> we may have to refine it to give people confidence.
i'm going to work hard on doing that. >> reporter: one possible reform, moving data on billions of phone calls from americans from the nsa back to the phone companies. >> programs could be redesigned to give you the same information when you need it without creating potentials for abuse. >> reporter: the nsa intelligence is proving bigger than is known. new documents shared with "the new york times" revuled they spied on the israeli prime minister, the u.n. and businesses including french oil giant total. this, after the administration is long insisted the nsa does not spy for commercial purposes. the nsa reaffirmed that saying we do not use our foreign capabilities to steal trade secrets on behalf of or giving
intelligence to u.s. companies to increase their bottom line. critics say the president should accept most of all the recommendatio recommendations. >> they have done this for a living and have made those decisions that are key to keeping america safe. >> the aclu is a strong critic of mass surveillance took a lighter look at the nsa. ♪ they know who would you call and who you write ♪ >> a youtube video timed to christmas. the president was asked about granting amnesty to edward snowden. he said he couldn't comment on it because he's involved in a legal proceeding. he didn't endorse the idea. he says he continues to believe snowden caused unnecessary damage to american intelligence gathering and diplomacy. >> thanks so much, jim. i'm joined by two experts on the issue of national intelligence.
let's talk more about this so-called amnesty, possibly extended to edward snowden. james, the former director of central intelligence joining me from nevada and kirk, a former whistle blower. good to see both of you. james, let me begin with you, you call snowden a trader and he deserves to be hung. under no circumstances should he receive amnesty from the u.s. in your view? >> i think amnesty for snowden is one of the most idiotic ideas filtered into the public debate in a long time. he's caused great damage to the united states and put a number of people at risk of losing their lives, intelligence officers and agents and others. he helped the terrorists figure out how to get around american protections and that's comfort to an enemy, which is the
classic definition of treason. he's shown himself to be a traitor and i would like to see him tried and convicted. if convicted by a jury of his peers, the jury and judge get to decide what the punishment is. this is severe enough it is worth serious consideration of a death penalty. >> kurt, given that argument, why would anybody support amnesty for snowden? >> jim, let me say, how do you do, sir. i have never met you before but it's my pleasure to do so. we need to understand the charter of nsa and the kind of constraints it's enjoyed over the past years until around the time period of 9/11. the nsa has had strict controls against monitoring the communications of innocent americans. that's without exception.
it has occasionally, accidentally taken up in its vacuum approach a few americans. those were minimized and gotten rid of immediately unless they were open to suspicion under probable cause. >> snowden has said he took it upon himself to say i don't like there is this kind of surveillance taking place. instead of making that complaint to the authorities, particularly while a contractor of the nsa, he decides to tell the world, take classified information. how do you support that, kirk? >> let's look at this, the events leading up to snowden's decision to do this. it was not an easy one, certainly. first of all, i, myself, along with four others blew the whistle on nsa both mismanagement leading to the trail blazer program under michael aiden, an utter failure
and also this business about bulk collecting data about communications of innocent americans. we tried to work within the system and utterly failed. we didn't even get a hearing. no one would seriously talk to us. if they did anything, it was to derail our efforts to enter other parts of the intelligence community and bring these capabilities that we were working on in, which were designed to, in their realtime, process bulk communications and, at the same time, afford the privacy rights to innocent people that are covered under the fourth amendment of the constitution. >> because there isn't the support within these federal agencies for someone to air their grievances, it is upon that individual to say i'm going to handle this the way i best see fit. so, james, if that's the argument, if that's what i'm
hearing here, is there a problem? is the system broken as it pertains to someone, whether a contractor or employee saying i'm uncomfortable and this is the only recourse they have? >> i can't speak to the personal issues that he raised, but we have had inspectors general and the intelligence community for a long time. we had one at the cia when i was director of central intelligence. people felt free to go to them with complaints about how the agency was being run and the u.s. intelligence community, nsa, cia and all the rest is the most heavily overseen regulated and scrutinized intelligence community in the world. it is scrutinized heavily by the court system, the foreign intelligence surveillance act courts. there are many judges who have,
over the course 15, anyway, approved the collection of so-called meta data, the phone numbers, not the content of telephone calls. this is something that we have worked on, many of us in the intelligence community for some time and this very particular thing that was raised about the meta data has been approved for government surveillance for decades. the government can look at, and this has been true since around the '60s or early '70s, can look at and keep a record of what's on the outside of an envelope of a first class letter. they can keep track of the postmark and so forth. they have been able to do the same thing with telephone calls for many years. under supreme court decisions and for mr. snowden or anyone else to decide they don't think the scrutiny by the house and
senate intelligence and they don't think all the limitations that take place are adequate, so they are going to send out classified information that can get americans killed all over the world. they are sending it to hezbollah, they are sending it to al qaeda because they cannot cut off those recipients and just send it to nice people sitting in their living rooms. they are sending it out. and i think it is a very, very traitorous thing to do. i don't think there's any other good word for it. >> kirk, why would snowden want amnesty after he has said that, you know, this country is wronged him and it's wronged all americans because of how he interprets intelligence gathering and collecting to have taken place. >> well, i don't think ed -- i can't speak for him. it's difficult to do so.
i've never met the man. but, i would assume that ed snowden was simply trying to inform the american people about illegalities committed by the united states government. at least in his opinion. >> then he ran away. >> he did. i think he's looked at what happened to me, bill benny, thomas gray and ed and diane. four of us are former nsa employees for years and years and years and received awards for service. diane served as a senior staffer on the house permanent on intelligence and she shared our concerns. but, all of our efforts to inform people in the oversight business failed utterly. when she went to porter with her
concer concerns about the constitution, he simply said talk to mike. there was no effort to launch any kind of investigation or to perform any oversight over this matter. >> all right. we'll have to leave it there. thanks so much for your time. to both of you gentlemen, appreciate it. >> thank you. how could this happen? an e.p.a. employee collecting a big paycheck for work he rarely showed up to do and ran up a million dollar tap before getting caught. how did the emergency space walk go? next. rom capital one. it's not the "limit the cash i earn every month" card. it's not the "i only earn decent rewards at the gas station" card. it's the no-games, no-signing up, everyday-rewarding, kung-fu-fighting, silver-lightning-in-a-bottle, bringing-home-the-bacon cash back card. this is the quicksilver card from capital one. unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase,
nasa's emergency space walk has wrapped up for the day. two astronauts spent hours outside the international space station trying to fix a cooling pump. earlier, i spoke with michael. he's a nasa astronaut and also visiting professor at columbia university. i asked him how the repairs were coming along. >> i know both of those guys, they are good friends of mine. they are doing a good job. the control team on the ground has been very, very busy and doing a great job working with
the astronauts. you don't want to plant it too much. at the same time, you want to make sure that you are getting what you need done. they have done so well, it looks like they might be ahead of where they want to be. >> when in a situation like that, i mean they are clearly calling the shots. they are seeing it. they are making progress. things are going along swimmingly and they figure, let's ride the momentum, why stop now? let's go as long as we can. it's not an issue of weighing the vulnerability. can you spend too much time doing this kind of work outside the space station? >> yeah, you can. in fact, you have to look at a few things. one is looking at consumables. making sure their oxygen is in good shape, their carbon dioxide scrubber is working, they are feeling good. you don't want to start a new thing, get into it and you don't have time to finish it and you
are in a situation you don't want to be. it's a fine line. 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. if you are listening to the transmissions, they were discussing with the crew what else they could do. they took the crew's information. it's how we work together. look at how the astronaut is doing and the consumables and how things are working and what you want to get done. a lot of people are working. >> i mentioned at the top as we look at the live pictures, it looks scary, but must be exhilarating. i'm saying it as an outsider looking in. what is it like? are you thinking about how potentially vulnerable you are? people think of the movie "gravity" and you can't help but think of those things now. this is what you trained for.
how exhilarating is it, really? >> it's very exhilarating. the movie "gravity" is a good movie, but you don't want to watch it while you are in space. >> good point. >> it's really a great experience for the astronauts. they would rather not have to go out to fix a problem, they would rather have everything working fine. once you make the decision to go out there, you are looking to affect the space station and keep it going. probably, i think, the best experience any person can have, which is getting a chance to work in a space suit with cool tools on a magnificent machine, the space station and view the earth at the same time. >> incredible. >> you can't beat that. it's an incredible experience. >> that's a cool job. nasa is hoping it can be fixed in the next week. another space walk is scheduled for monday. in less than a year, pope francis won the hearts of millions of people around the
world, catholics and non-catholics alike. what makes him different? hear what our expert says, next. [ male announcer ] this is karen and jeremiah. they don't know it yet, but they're gonna fall in love, get married, have a couple of kids, [ children laughing ] move to the country, and live a long, happy life together where they almost never fight about money. [ dog barks ] because right after they get married, they'll find some financial folks who will talk to them about preparing early for retirement and be able to focus on other things, like each other, which isn't rocket science.
"time" magazine named the pope the person of the year earlier this month calling him the people's pope. he has declined the red papal slippers and the mercedes for regular shoes and a small car. he's hugged so many people, including this disfigured man. getting off the pope mobile to kiss babies, taking a selfie with young people and shaking hands with each and every one of them. he's definitely the man of the people. let's bring in cnn senior analyst, john allen about this fascination with pope francis. he's doing something that is not always associated with the pap si. he's really made the pope very approachable. he's kind of disarmed people, hasn't he? i mean, i think a lot of people seem like they are behaving their forget he's the pope. he's like a regular guy, but a
holy one. itis working for him, isn't it? >> reporter: listen, fred, that is exactly it. i think the truth of it is that some of the magic of pope francis is that his appeal has relatively little to do with the formal powers of his office and everything to do with his personality. i mean people see this as a man who has risen to one of the loftiest positions in the world and yet lost none of his zest for ordinary people and ordinary experiences. i will tell you this, as a media professional, and i have been covering the vatican almost 20 years. i will tell you, prior to his election, the dominant story lines about the catholic church and global media were political scandals and pedophile priest scandals and financial meltdowns. none of it has gone away, but the dominant story line is rock
star pope takes the world by storm. if it's not a revolution, fred, i'm not sure we have ever seen one. >> it was no surprise to you and many that he was chosen the "time" person of the year. >> reporter: well, i mean, the truth of it is by the time calendar 2013 runs out, i'm not sure there's going to be a magazine left on earth that hasn't named him person of the year. the very first out of the gate, fred, actually was the italian edition of "vanity fare" back in june. it decided by june, two months after he was elected that nobody else was going to come close. they pulled the trigger on their person of the year award, including a tribute from the well known vaticanologist, elton john who said of pope francis, he is a miracle of humility in an era of vanity. it sums up the popular reaction
to the pope. >> is there a feeling that the pope is trying to reform the catholic church or is he doing what is most pom courtable to him and he's hoping people embrace him? >> reporter: fred, i think it's both. a lot of what he's doing comes out of his own personality. for example, in the early stages of his papacy, it was the gestures of humility and simplicity that took the world by storm. him choosing, forexample, not to live in the papal apartment, calling up his shoe maker to say, i'm not going to be able to come back to pick up my plain brown shoes, can you put them in a box and ship them here? i think a lot of that came out of who he is. i went there to spend time with people who know him. they will say this is who he is
as the archbishop. he lived in an apartment rather than the archbishop's residence that was so modest, he left his stove on so he didn't freeze to death. i think he's politically enough to realize it sets a tone for the kind of church he wants to lead. he said three days after his election his vision is a poor church for the poor. i think he knows that all of the personal choices he is making also send a message to those 5,000 catholic bishops around the world and everyone else in leadership in the church, this is the direction he wants them to move. >> fascinating and incredibly influential whether you are catholic or not. that's what makes him amazing. john allen, thanks so much from
rome. good to see you. happy holidays. every day people overcome odds to achieve their passion. that's what derrick coleman did. sanjay gupta has the story in "the human factor." >> derrick coleman is living a boy's dream playing for the nfl for the seattle sea hawks. he didn't start playing football until 7th grade. >> i was a normal kid. i wanted to play football. >> reporter: the dream of making it to the pros happened in high school. >> i didn't think about it so much until my senior year. then i was going outs there and playing hard. i just wanted to play. >> reporter: next stop, ucla where he was a runningback for four years. his college career ended with a degree in political science. now he's showing his versatility
as a fullback for the sea hawks scoring his first touchdown for the pros earlier this month. he overcame something only two other players in the entire nfl have. he is legally deaf. the result of a rare genetic disorder. >> basically, i lost my hearing when i was 3. i have had hearing aids ever since. >> reporter: he makes no excuses. >> no matter what your issue, it shouldn't stop you from doing what you want to do. find a way. >> reporter: his skull cap keeps his hearing aid in place. >> what i do is, you know, when i can't hear something, i go and make sure i'm looking at the person. the quarterback or whoever, they look at me. i'm just like all you guys. >> reporter: he tries to make time to speak to deaf and
you might not have noticed but today is the shortest day of the year and, of course, it's also officially the first day of winter, meteorologist jennifer grey explains why it has felt like winter for a while now in many parts of the country in this "science behind" winter weather. >> reporter: there's no doubt about it winter is not only officially here, it's been here for weeks. >> i drive ten miles an hour at
the most. >> got plenty of salt. the back roads are starting to stick a little bit. it looks like it's coming down pretty good right now. >> i'm going to stay in. >> because? >> stay out of the way. >> reporter: the winter storms have impacted tens of millions of people. what's the science behind all the extreme weather? >> in terms of the storms that we've seen in october, november, and december as i often tell people, you know, the atmosphere doesn't have an on/off switch that knows when winter actually begins. >> reporter: dr. marshall shepherd is the president of the meteorological society, he said there's a big reason for the wild weather, the jet stream. >> when we have the el nino neutral conditions, you'll get the strong dips in the jet-stream pattern and in those dips they get cold air and in the hills the warm air. and the jet stream is the governing function of the weather in the wintertime. >> reporter: case in point,
denver, colorado. in a matter of ten days, the mile high city went from negative temperatures to a balmy 70 degrees when it should be hovering around 40. we're talking about 30 degrees above normal. and in the big "d" an ice storm earlier this month took dallas from a high of 79 degrees to freezing in three days. and in philadelphia, december 8th winter storm dropped more snow in one day than the city received all year last year. >> it just illustrates that there's going to be quite a bit of vair ability this season because we don't have a strong sort of leaning towards one side or the other in terms of the scale. so, we will see an occasional storm. i think we have seen above-normal snowstorm activity for this time of the season. it's still interesting that we see the chance for tornadoes this weekend here in the united states, but indeed this has been a year of extremes. >> reporter: jennifer grey, cnn, atlanta.
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that soda breaks down tooth enamel. thankfully, she uses act restoring mouthwash. it rebuilds tooth enamel, making your teeth two times stronger. act. smile strong. a former federal employee is going to prison for an astounding scheme to get out of work and rip off taxpayers. chris lawrence has details. >> reporter: john beal walked out of court wednesday a man who took being lazy to legendary heights. now he's heading to jail after swindling the government out of
nearly $1 million. >> how does this occur in modern day society with managers that are trying to make ends meet and budgets are tight? >> reporter: beale was a climate change specialist at the environmental protection agency making $164,000 a year, but he rarely came to work. and filed thousands of dollars in fake travel claims. his bosses didn't question his frequent absence because beale said he was actually working for the cia. for ten years epa officials believed beale was at cia headquarters or on some secret mission overseas. he once claimed he had to go to pakistan to help a fellow agent in trouble. beale was actually here, hanging out at his home in the d.c. suburbs or hiding in plain sight at his vacation home in scenic cape cod. in 2008 he didn't show up at work for six months and apparently nobody at the epa batted an eye. >> what do you do for the cia?
where are you going? who is authorized it? at some point the managers at the epa should have been asking for some kind of proof. >> reporter: no one checked beale's story even after he took five trips to california and billed the government $57,000 claiming those flights were for, quote, personal reasons. and now beale will serve nearly three years in prison. he's also agreed to pay $900,000 in restitution and forfeit about half a million dollars in pay. the epa says it's upgraded its safeguards to do more thorough checks on its employees travel and attendance, fred? >> thank you so much for that one. hey, thanks so much to you for joining us all afternoon in the newsroom, i'm fredricka whitfield, and my colleague rosa flores will take it from here. are you doing? >> i'm doing good. how are you doing? >> we're in the same building and can't say hi, nothing like that. >> you'd have to stay late,
fredricka. >> my goodness, all right, well, have a great evening. >> thank you so much. the next hour of "newsroom" begins right now. hello, everyone, my name is rosa flores and i'm live in atlanta. thank you so much for spending part of your saturday with me. i want to tell you about two developing stories we're following right now. first, a rescue attempt gone wrong in south sudan today. u.s. aircraft came under fire and four service members were injured. they were trying to evacuate some three dozen americans from the violence-torn area, and on the first day of winter a storm sweeps across the nation at the worst time possible, rain, ice, and snow hit at the same time millions of americans hit the roads. let's begin with south sudan right now. the four u.s. service members wounded in that first rescue
effort are said to be in stable condition, but the fate of about three dozen americans working for the united nations in south sudan remains a question. for now the president is keeping an eye on things while on vacation. pentagon correspondent barbara starr is covering the operation to rescue those americans while athena jones is with the president in honolulu. and, athena, i want to start with you, how are they keeping the president in the loop in these conditions? >> reporter: hi, rosa. good afternoon. well, of course, the president is always president even on vacation, and we know from a statement put out just in the last hour that upon landing here in honolulu overnight, the president was briefed immediately upon landing about the status of those four wounded american service members. and this morning his principals, susan rice, his national security adviser, and his scepty national security advisers had a muting, and they called him, had a secure call with the president
to give him yet another update on the situation. he is urging the government, the leaders of south sudan, saying it is their responsibility to help secure the american citizens there and he's asked his team back in washington to keep him constantly updated and we're certain that he will. this, of course, comes as you mentioned as the american service members were trying to get about three dozen american citizens working for the u.n. out of south sudan. that went wrong. they're going to continue to attempt to do that and, of course, there's ongoing violence in that region. just yesterday secretary of state john kerry put out a statement saying that the u.s. strongly condemns attacks on the united nations mission there in south sudan, so this is in the midst of a lot of violence going on in that region. the president is keeping close tabs and directing his national security staff to keep him updated, rosa? >> and, barbara, now to you, did this attack by any chance take the military by surprise? >> well, you know, when they go into these situations, they
always know they're facing the possibility of violence and they're prepared for it. but what happened here does not happen that often. three u.s. military aircraft trying to land in this very remote area, very violent area of south sudan, and they came under ground fire, small arms fire from the ground. all three aircraft are hit. one sustaining serious damage, four service members injured -- pardon me, three service members injured, one seriously. so, this is -- this does not happen that often. the question now, if the violence is so bad, what do they do about it? how do they go back in there and get the american civilians out of there? defense secretary chuck hagel, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general dempsey, talking about this thut the day we're told, talking to their commanders, trying to look for a solution, and there's some potential options that might turn to the united nations, for
example. but the violence is so bad in this area that a short time ago the state department put out an advisory saying no more u.s. government sponsored flights will be going into this area to try and bring americans out. it's just too dangerous for now. rosa? >> athena, barbara, thank you so much. and now we move on to the other developing story dangerous storms could be a real grinch for people trying to start their holiday travel. more than 94 million people are expected to hit the highways over the next few days with ice and snow already causing delays on the road and on the air. a wintry mix falling in oklahoma city and ice storm warning is in effect until tomorrow morning. the deep freeze in the midwest expected to shift to the northeast tomorrow. but in the south, warm temperatures. corresponding severe weather watches, heavy rain, tornadoes and thunderstorms are also possible. this video from a violent storm that ripped through edwards,
mississippi, last night. we've got all of the angles of this potential travel nightmare covered. our nick valencia is live in kansas city, but i want to begin with meteorologist jennifer grey here in atlanta in the severe weather center. jennifer, it seems like the weather is really wacky right now. >> it is. it is really wacky. good word for it. and we are looking at a lot of flooding right now, not only the severe weather. we've had ice. we've had snow. and we're dealing with flooding right now, anywhere from portions of indiana to kentucky, even arkansas, through little rock, truman, paducah, even evansville, we've seen quite a bit of flooding anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of rain and an additional 2 to 4 inches are possible. it's what you call training showers which means they just keep going over and over the same locations and they're not making much forward progress, so the same areas are getting rain for several hours and so it's producing flash flooding in those areas. evansville has been one of the harder-hit areas where they've
received more than 2 to 4 inches of rain. and we're going to continue to see it come down in that area as we go through the next several hours. so, taking a look at the rainfall reports, first off, we've seen number 6 inches of rain and truman, arkansas, almost 6 inches as well and macon, arkansas, almost 5 inches of rain, so quite a bit has fallen and more is to come in the next couple of hours. rosa? >> jennifer, stay with us, we'll get back to you in just a moment. but let's head out to kansas city where they could get 3 to 6 inches of snow before this storm is through. nick valencia is out there, and, nick, set the scene for us. >> reporter: well, it's very cold right now. it's 21 degrees right now, rosa, but it feels more like 12 degrees. state officials we've spoken to say they prepared for this and long before we got here airport officials put out this salt in preparation for freezing rain,
i ice, sleet, snow in this area. we've seen states like iowa have issue use, oklahoma have issues and here in missouri as well interstate 44 is a big issue. let's talk about the flight cancellations. just a little while ago we spoke to delta and they canceled three flights impacting cincinnati, minneapolis and memphis. so, this weather although it doesn't look as bad as it could be, officials do expect it to get much worse as the day progresses, rosa? >> all right, nick valencia, live for us in kansas city, thank you so much. and i want to go back to jennifer grey. jennifer, a lot of people traveling for the holidays. will this impact their travel plans? >> of course. we'll see travel delays anywhere from oklahoma city all the way through chicago. we're going to see slowdowns all up and down the east coast as well as we go through tomorrow as well. most of the ground delays right now aren't associated with the weather. however, you can expect as we go through the afternoon today and especially into tomorrow, we'll
definitely see some travel delays, so just be patient. right now we do have tornado watches in effect. one until 6:00 p.m. central time. this one up on the top including memphis, that is in place until 8:00 p.m. central time. and so we are going to see the possibility of isolated tornadoes, damaging winds, and right now we have the threat of severe thunderstorms. in each one of these little orange boxes anywhere from east texas through northwest louisiana, into arkansas, those are all severe thunderstorm warnings. and so those storms are packing winds of about 60 miles per hour. they're all moving to the east at about 35 miles per hour. so, this is a dangerous storm system and we'll be watching the deep south all throughout the rest of the evening, rosa? >> jennifer, thank you so much. and we switch gears to this -- four men have been arrested in connection with a fatal carjacking at a mall in new jersey. local authorities worked alongside the fbi and u.s. marshals to track down the men that are accused of shooting and killing a young attorney while
his wife watched in horror. the incident occurred six days ago inside a mall parking deck. at a news conference this morning authorities applauded the public for helping in this particular case. >> you have the right to be safe and the expectation that you should be safe in this county and 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 shore hills mall or anywhere else, that someone will put a gun to your head and take your car. >> the men are charged with murder and could face life in prison if found guilty. and still ahead -- a 5-year-old boy disappears and it goes unreported for more than -- hear this -- three months. the details just ahead. plus, an emergency space walk outside the international space station. we'll tell you what the astronauts were doing. avo: the volkswagen "sign then drive
boy hasn't been seen in months but the search to find him didn't even begin until last week. police say 5-year-old jeremiah oliver has been missing since september 14th and now his mother and her boyfriend are in custody facing child endangerment charges, but how could this happen especially when this child was supposed to be receiving monthly visits from a state-provided social worker? well, turns out jeremiah wasn't getting those visits. here's the story from wcvb. >> reporter: he's been missing for three months. but authorities say whatever happened to 5-year-old jeremiah oliver is news to them only now. the worcester county da said the child's 7-year-old sister revealed disturbing information last friday. >> his sister, we believe his biological sister, disclosed this information to a teacher at school. >> reporter: relatives tell police they haven't seen the boy
since september 14th. police searched the child's home here on kimball street before arresting 28-year-old elsa oliver his mother and her 22-year-old boyfriend, alberto sierra. either is talking. next-door neighbors say they've noticed an odor for months. >> she say the -- the -- how you say, the basement right on the downstairs, it smell bad. >> yeah, yeah. >> reporter: jeremiah oliver's mother faces multiple charges and according to officials won't say where her son is. her boyfriend is charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a child, causing bodily injury. the d.a. says he believes both jeremiah and his sister are virk t victims of the alleged abuse. neighbors are horrified. >> i'm surprised it took so long for people to speak up. >> it's very upsetting. it's kids. who would want to harm a child? >> and in the next hour, who
should be held accountable in jeremiah's disappearance? i'll talk with a former prosecutor and a psychologist about what some say is a growing concern in many american cities. and now to this -- you may know him as the astronaut who re-created david bowie's space oddity from space, but commander chris hatfield also had a deal with an emergency space walk during his mission. next, we'll weigh in on today's efforts to fix the leak on the international space station. stay with us. this was the hardest decision i've ever had to make.
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a short time ago astronauts wrapped up a 5 1/2-hour space walk to make emergency repairs at the international space station. it's the first of three scheduled space walks to fix the cooling system. and today's session went quicker than expected. astronaut chris hatfield is very familiar with these emergency space walks. this past may he took this photo
from the space station as two of his crew members successfully fixed an ammonia leak. now, commander hatfield joins me from toronto via skype. first of all, commander, thank you so much for joining us. now, describe that experience. you're clinging to the space station as it moves at 27,000 miles an hour. what do you have to do to focus when you know that the backdrop is earth? >> it's one of the hardest parts, rosa, you have this really important job to do. i mean, you're there on behalf of so many people, you're fixing what is in effect the world's spaceship, the international space station, you're outside. the only reason we'd ever go on a space walk is for something critical, so you're all focussed on that. but meanwhile, if you just look off to the side, the whole world is going by at five miles a second. you cross the u.s. in about nine minutes from coast to coast. so it's just pouring by next to
you and it's so incredibly beautiful and distracting. and then if you look the other way, the entire universe is over your other shoulder and you're in the middle holding on with one hand. and the big difference is you're not on the world looking up at the universe. you're in the universe. it's under your feet. it's all around you. and that perspective of seeing the world sort of going around the sun with you, that's a real new one for humanity. you've got to take some time when you're outside on a space walk to honor that and to soak that up, too. >> oh, i bet. and just the way that you describe it is so incredibly amazing. now, you gained a lot of notoriety we should say for the photos that you shared on twitter from the space station, but also after actor william shatner, "star trek's" captain kirk, asked if you were tweeting from space. and you replied, this, question, standard orbit, captain, and we're detecting signs of life on the surface.
how phenomenal, you nasa types being all business we should say, you are enthusiastic and giddy about the entire experience. what fuels your excitement? >> well, gosh, wouldn't it make you giddy, rosa, to go around the world every 90 minutes and get a tweet from bill shatner, it's just kind of fun. i was up there with a crew of five tremendously capable people. and for the last half of my time up there i was the commander of the spaceship. there's an awful lot of work to do. we're running, like, 200 experiments on the space station. but at the same time we're just people. and we're there on behalf of everybody else, trying to really understand exactly what this means. some of the first permanent exploration away from our planet. and so we do our job. but at the same time we have a great time. we write about it. we sing about it. communicate with the world. i think i took 45,000 photographs in the evenings and
weekends and shared them via twitter with people all across the world. and millions of people came on board basically with us to see how we all looked together, to try to get a perspective on how we look and what our planet really looks like. it's a big human adventure that we're just starting to move away from the planet permanently and why wouldn't you share it? it's too good to keep to yourself. >> commander, do you miss it? >> well, i don't -- i try not to miss anything. i try not to -- it's been just i think a year and a day since i launched. but i'm not a big one for looking backwards. i'm really interested in today's space walk, in rick and mike doing that on monday and getting it fixed, on the things that are coming, on the opportunities that exist in the future. the stuff they just discovered on mars. the fact that china just landed a rover on the moon. there's so much new stuff going on and opportunity coming that i try not to spend much time looking backwards, you know, it's not where we're going. and there's so much interesting
stuff coming. >> it's very dynamic, commander chris hadfield, it's a pleasure to have you on the show today. >> thanks, nice to speak with you. and still ahead, a tweet caused an internet meltdown. now a pr executive is in hot water. it's a story you don't want to miss. all that and much more coming up next. and "sg md" is just moments away. sanjay? what do you have in store for us this week? >> rosa, ahead on "sg md," all your medical news plus pastor joel osteen, will talk about the power of prayer this holiday season. and we got the top five things you should absolutely do this week to make your holiday meals healthier. celebrity chef richard blaze will show us. hey there, i just got my bill, and i see that it includes my fico® credit score.
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we have breaking developments on a story that's taken the internet boy storm in recent hours. it involves a high-profile pr executive who sent out a tweet before taking off friday to a trip to cape cod -- cape town, rather, south africa. it was a tweet that would have very serious consequences. justin sacco an executive with iac interactive and i'm quoting here going to africa, hope i don't get aids. don't kidding, i'm white. the negative reaction to those words set the twitterverse on fire and it continues up through this hour. cnn's senior media correspondent brian stelter joins me by phone, what's the latest on this? >> iacc said she's no longer with the company and they've parted ways. i'll read the statement to you. i think it will be on screen as well. the offensive comments do not
reflect the views and values of iac. we take this issue very seriously and we have parted ways with the employee in question. they continued by saying, there's no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally. we hope, however, the time and action and the forgiving human spirit will not result in the wholesale condemnation of an individual who we have otherwise known to be a decent person at core. that's the statement from iac. i think what we're trying to say is they know this was terrible and inappropriate, but she is a human being and some of the vitriol online, some what i would call it a trial by social media might have been just as ugly as her initial message. >> and, brian, very quickly, are we just not learning about posting things like this on twitter or facebook? >> every time we think we've learned as a society that every single thing we write on the internet is public, we're reminded again of that danger as well as the rewards of the internet. >> all right, brian, thank you
so much for joining us. i'm rosa flores, i'll see you right here at the top of the hour. "sanjay gupta, m.d." begins right now. hey there, thanks for joining me. come to you from d.c. today, later in the program richard blais will be stopping by and the host of a new show on our sister network hln with deleshs healtl delicious holiday food. i found time to sit down together in person with pastor joel osteen. real pleasure to have you on the program. >> thanks for having me. >> happy holidays. >> same to you. >> i've been fascinated by the intersection between faith and medicine, as a doctor and a pastor. this time of the year for you in particular, do you re-evaluate your faith? what does it mean to you? >> you know, christmas, of course, as we celebrate the birth of christ as christians, i think, you know, we do in a