tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 24, 2013 11:00am-1:01pm PST
yet to come. >> now, that's it for me. i'll be back at 5:00 eastern on "the situation room." "newsroom" continues right now with keira phillips. >> good afternoon. i'm keira phillips in for brooke baldwin. last minute shopping, wrapping, getting ready for a holiday feast. now it turns out quite a few americans interrupted the holiday hustle and bustle to sign up for obamacare. we've just gotten new numbers. mark preston, what's the word? >> well, you know, kyra, after a poll yesterday that showed americans are not very happy with the health care law, they have released new numbers that showed just within the past 24 hours, nearly 2 million people visited that healthcare.gov website. they also received 250,000 telephone calls. this doesn't necessarily mean these folks signed up for health insurance, but it shows there's a realization among americans
that the time is ticking right now. deadline, kyra, to sign up for health care to ensure you get it by january 1st is tonight at midnight. >> let's be transparent. they're still playing catch-up in a big way to get to this goal. very lofty goal. it's not an arbitrary goal. one that could decide whether obamacare gets off the ground. what do they do next? >> well, certainly you're going to continue to see the president -- and he has enlisted the first lady out there trying to advocate for people to get health insurance. we saw just last week alone, they had mothers come to the white house. they also released a video out to parents to try to encourage their children, folks who were in their early 20s to get health insurance. you're absolutely right. at this point in time, kyra, they thought they would have over 3 million people signed up for health care. >> not even close. >> the president told us on friday before he left for hawaii that only 1 million people have actually signed up right now. so they are far off the mark at
this point. but clearly they need more people involved. >> yeah, otherwise this could not be a good thing. i think that's probably the delicate way to put it. mark preston, appreciate it. thanks. well, there's only ten hours left until the christmas shopping season is, i guess, retailers, bankers, last-minute shoppers got to boost their bottom line. a lot of stores have opened their doors around the clock in the last couple of days, slashed prices, hoping that all these power shoppers will rush in and be ready to spend because frankly, the state of the holiday retail season could use a huge boost. americans' outlook on christmas has taken a massive hit thanks to the sluggish economy. a new cnn poll shows that fewer people are giving gifts as well, and charitable contributions steadily dropping. in fact, the poll shows several years of tough economic times may have caused a shift in how people even view the holiday. in 2005, nearly half of all americans said that christmas was a great time or best time of
the year. three years later, just months after the financial crisis began, that figure dropped to 43%. now it's even lower. but is all of this enough to actually resist the last-minute deals? i don't know. let's check this with i know's stephanie elam. she's a business expert. also a great shopper. she's at best buy in burbank, california. still some traffic, right, steph? >> reporter: oh, yes, miss kyra. plenty of traffic out here. people are coming in here shopping. the store opened at 7:00 a.m. the other thing that people are doing because, you know, the brick and mortar stores, their sales are definitely down over this holiday period. what some people have been doing is buying online and some people are buying online but then coming to pick it up in the store because they are so late. so we've seen a steady stream of people coming in here to do some of that online shopping, picking up. it's kind of a combo. i want to introduce you to gussy. what are you doing in here today? >> i literally just got out of
the dentist's share. i'm trying to catch up on my christmas shopping. >> reporter: how many gifts do you have to get? >> technically three. >> reporter: so have you gotten any gifts? >> yes, i have. i have the children's gifts. i have to get that gift for the special someone. then a couple of, you know, kind of industry, i appreciate you gifts. >> reporter: are you doing that all in here? >> actually, i was at starbucks and met the google lady. she's like, you have to come see the blah-blah. i was like, all right. >> reporter: so you're about to hammer it home, get it done today. this is your day. >> maybe, like, two hours and i'm done. >> reporter: two hours and you're done and you're going to wrap them all and get them ready. >> yes, i have gift bags. holiday gift giving. quick - get the gift bags from the 99 cent store. >> reporter: i believe that. you know what else? if you're really crazy, you recycle them next year. thank you and good luck. kyra, i'm serious. i will hold on to a gift bag and use it again. >> oh, i know. i've received gifts from you. now i'm wondering, was that the
dollar store bag i gave stephanie two years ago and now she re-gifted it to me? >> reporter: i get good bags. i just use them again. i love uncle gussy, by the way. he's fantastic. i have an uncle gussy. on a more serious note, holiday sales generally looking, you know, pretty good compared to last year, better, worse? i mean, how do we put it all in perspective as we look forward to 2014. and, you know, we want to have more money to spend and be in a better position economy-wise. >> reporter: right. well, that's the thing. people have not been spending as much so far. obviously, we're going to wait to see what this week tells us. obviously this is a crucial week. and combining it in with those retail sales. the other thing you have to keep in mind is the day after christmas. retailers bank on that as well because a lot of shoppers want to get out into the stores and see what has been slashed down to 50%, 60% off and snag those gifts for their favorite person to shop for usually, themselves. >> stephanie, great to see you.
the number of lawsuits against target stores, it just keeps piling up because shoppers in at least six states now have filed federal class actions. it's all because of that massive credit and debit card security breach that happened. the suits allege that target was negligent and didn't protect customers' card information. 40 million credit and debit account numbers were stolen. now, corporate execs, they huddled yesterday in a bit of a crisis mode. the minneapolis-based company released these photos showing target ceo meeting with its entire team. now, target says it's working with the department of justice and the u.s. secret service on the investigation. we'll keep you posted. well, right now people are gathering at the vatican for midnight mass. it's pope francis' first christmas service. his message this year, as we look at these beautiful live pictures, avoid gossip and focus on serving those less fortunate. that message is working well for him too. a new cnn/orc poll shows that 88% of american catholics
approve of how he's handling the job. supporters are especially pleased with his very down-to-earth style. >> he tends to be a surprise because he does things that are normal but are very abnormal in terms of the papacy. he brought three homeless men into the place where he's living to have breakfast with him on his birthday. >> that's pretty remarkable. cnn's erin mclaughlin live in rome. what are we expecting from pope francis? >> reporter: well, we're expecting a celebration as well as powerful messages for the world's 1.2 billion catholics. final preparations are underway at the vatican for tonight's christmas eve mass. just a short while ago they unveiled the nativity scene there in st. peter's square to much singing and celebration. the pope's celebrations actually began on saturday, though, with his christmas message to the
governing body of the roman catholic church. he wants them to focus on serving others and cutting back gossip. then he practiced what he preached, spending three hours at a local church, cheering up sick children, meeting with their doctors. last night we saw history made. the two popes met to exchange christmas greetings for the very first time. francis met with benedict for a total of 45 minutes a sign this is not your usual papacy. as for his christmas gifts, well, those are already taken care of. 2,000 immigrants at a local shelter received special packs complete with christmas cards from the pope. they included everything they might need to be in contact with loved ones over the holidays, including international prepaid phone cards so that they could phone home for the holidays. the pope's christmas message already very clear that this holiday is about helping others.
kyra. >> and he has made that clear. serving the poor. and let me ask you, as we look at those pictures where he brings these homeless individuals to his apartment on his birthday. i mean, erin, how unique of a gesture is that? >> reporter: it's absolutely unique. what i've been seeing from talking to many pilgrims who come to the vatican for the festive season, they tell me that this has given them hope. that they're hopeful that the church is now moving in the right direction and they're inspired by what they see as well, kyra. >> erin mclaughlin live for us from rome. thanks so much. be sure to tune in for our live coverage of the pope's first ever midnight christmas mass. that special is tonight at 6:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. well, coming up, the women's punk rock band pussy riot set free and charges are dropped against greenpeace activists. what the heck is going on in russia? is this a pr push, or is
vladimir putin really making a change? also, bill de blasio, the next mayor of new york, releasing a moving video today of his daughter confessing her addiction to alcohol and drugs. so why now? and up next, working on christmas eve. live pics as two astronauts are going on a space walk to repair that cooling system. we'll check in live next. hi, we're the calendar family stationed at lodges field in portugal. we'd like to send our happy holiday greetings out to our friends and family in the indianapolis area. happy holidays, everyone.
>> it i had to work on christmas eve -- i mean, i really love workinged a cnn, but this would be a cool place to be, the international space station. two american astronauts have just entered the air lock for decontamination after about a seven-hour space walk. it was 14 years ago that was the first and the last time that there was a space walk on christmas eve. here we go again.
this time two astronauts in the international space station have been hard at work trying to repair that faulty cooling system. >> okay, guys. working together. we're working on the t-tech removal from the m-1, m-2 line. that should be the single t-tech. >> well, the work began early this morning just before 7:00 a.m. eastern. flight engineers had already made a lot of headway when there was this brief glitch in the plan, apparently. some ammonia flakes landed on their suits when they had to untangle a fluid line. now they'll have to air them out before actually going back into the station. it's a pretty dangerous mission, and no doubt there's a lot more work to be done. those space walkers aren't scheduled to finish until next tuesday, by the way. joining me from houston, former nasa astronaut leroy chow. were they ever in danger? i saw reports where nasa said,
no, they weren't. however, we're talking about a space suit that was filling up with water, right? now there's safeguards of a snorkel inside those space suits. >> right. well, the space walkers were never in any danger in today's space walk. of course, the previous space walk where the helmet was filling up with water, that was a dangerous situation. nasa came up with some work around, contingency plans in case that would happen again today. they had a bit of a stuck connector, trying to get that off of this temporary mounting place. as you could see, they were able to work with the problem with mission control center and got everything done. >> okay. give me a little layman's terms. i love space. i know a good amount, but kind of explain the technical part that you were just saying in addition to these ammonia flakes and why they have to go through
the decontamination. you know, explain -- >> sure. >> okay, good. >> okay. the outside cooling loop uses ammonia as the working fluid and at very high pressure. so when they replace the broken pump module with the new one, they had to reconnect those lines, those fluid lines to reconnect the ammonia to the box, to the pump module. so they were having trouble getting those connections made, and that's when one of the connectors started leaking ammonia out. those were the white flakes you saw. of course, the liquid ammonia under high pressure comes out into the vacuum of space and turns into a solid. it freezes. so that's why you heard them calling it snow. it's snowing. it looked like snowflakes kind of coming out of that connector. now, it gets on their suits. you know, needs to be baked out to make sure you don't bring that ammonia back into the cabin inside of the international space station and release ammonia inside. that's why they're taking the extra precaution in addition to baking out in the sun to kind of sublimate that ammonia away,
turn it back into a gas so it goes off into space. just as an extra precaution, inside the air lock they're taking a few extra minutes to stay at vacuum to make sure the last bit of ammonia that might have gotten on their suits gets out into space and not into the space station. >> all right. so overall impact, keeping equipment cool, keeping the iss intact, and also its impact of this mission and continuing our space program for where it is at this point. just to kind of bring things back at the end of the year as we entered 2014 and saw so many cuts made and changes to these space walks and to the nasa program, why is this important? not just internationally and for relations but, you know, remind folks why we care about this so much. >> sure. well, the space station is planned to be operated through at least 2020. studies have shown it can be operated through 2028. why would we do that? because as we start planning missions beyond earth's orbit to go out farther, maybe to an
asteroid, back to the moon and eventually on to mars, we've got to solve the biomedical problems. the biggest problem is how you keep astronauts healthy in space for that long of a period of time. we have to develop countermeasures or ways to deal with that using the space station to develop those methods and to test them before we can implement them on a mission to go to mars. we have to figure out how to keep people healthy. the space station is a critical part of that. without it, there's no way to develop and test these countermeasures. >> so many places we still want to go. that is for sure. leroy, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> you bet. the year 1968, america looked itself in the mirror and didn't really like what it saw at home. assassinations, a youth revolt, racial upheaval and of course the war in vietnam. then of all possible moments on christmas eve, america saw this.
our astonishing home in its other worldly grace. this is earthrise seen from the crew of the moon of apollo eight. just listen, if you would, for a second to the astronauts. >> in the beginning, god created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. and the spirit of god moved upon the face of the waters and god said, let there be light. and there was light. and god said, let the waters be gathered together in one place and let the dry land appear, and it was so. and god called the dry land earth and the gathering together of the waters called seas. and god saw that it was good. and from the crew of apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a merry christmas and god
bless all of you, all of you on the good earth. >> can't get much more spiritual than that. christmas eve, 1968, 45 years ago today. peace to you and yours this christmas. up next, just as new york city mayor elect bill de blasio is about to take office, a stunning revelation from his daughter. plus, a man whose pregnant wife lies unconscious on a ventilator is desperate to take her off life support. >> but the state of texas says, nope, we won't let her go.
well a 19-year-old girl is getting a lot of attention today after opening up about her drug abuse and depression. but this just isn't any teenager. it's the daughter of the mayor-elect of new york city. that's her right there in the fuchsia dress on election night. bill de blasio's office today released a five-minute video where his daughter talks about her substance abuse and her recovery. >> i've had depression, like clinical depression for my
entire adolescence. so that's been something that i've always dealt with or not known how to deal with. it made it easier, like, the more i drank and did drugs to share some common ground with people that i wouldn't have. it didn't start out as, like, a huge thing for me, but then it became a really huge thing for me. >> margaret conley following this for us out of new york. did the mayor-elect say why they did this and why now? >> kyra, new york's first daughter to be chose christmas eve to release a very personal message. the 19-year-old talks openly and honestly about the clinical depression she says she faced growing up in new york and before how it made it easier for her the more she drank and did drugs. >> i think it's just important for people to realize anybody who's watching this that if you're suffering and if you're
depressed or dealing with mental illness and you think that it might have something to do with your drug abuse or drinking or if you're just suffering from both of those at the same time and you think that they're completely unrelated to one another that getting sober is always a positive thing. >> now, she goes on to say it's not easy to get sober. she had the help of her therapist and an out-patient treatment center here in the city. she says getting sober was the hardest thing she's ever done. >> sure. you're talking 19 years old and all -- i mean, her entire life, right, in the public eye. the mayor-elect and his wife, they've been very supportive of this public message and their daughter, yes? >> right. she mentioned them in this video. she says her parents have both been very emotionally committed to finding ways to get her better. and remember, her father bill de blasio, he's a week away from being inaugurated as mayor. his family was a big part of his campaign. it appears they're going to be a
big part of the conversation. de blasio and his wife, they put out a statement about their daughter. they said her courage to speak out demonstrates a wisdom and maturity far beyond her 19 years, and we're grateful every day for her commitment to lifting up those who need to know that they are not alone. according to the national survey for drug use and health, over 3 million americans need treatment for substance abuse problems. there are websites like ok2talk.org that are there to ask for help. this is a reminder from the de blasios that though this season is a time for joy, it's also the most difficult time for those battling depression and substance abuse. >> yeah, it's perfect coming out this time of year where people are struggling. she's so eloquent and straightforward and genuine in the video. margaret, thanks so much. well, coming up, a pregnant woman being kept alive with a ventilator, even though her husband says that she never wanted to be on life support. we're going to tell you why the hospital is refusing to go along with his request.
the power tools introduce themselves. all the bits and bulbs keep themselves stocked. and the doors even handle the checkout so we can work on that thing that's stuck in the thing. [ female announcer ] today, cisco is connecting the internet of everything. so everyone goes home happy. when my son was born, i remember, you know, picking him up and holding him against me. it wasn't just about me anymore. i had to quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. chantix didn't have nicotine in it, and that was important to me. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you develop these, stop chantix and see your doctor right away, as some could be life threatening. tell your doctor if you have a history
of heart or blood vessel problems, or if you develop new or worse symptoms. get medical help right away if you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. use caution when driving or operating machinery. common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping and unusual dreams. i had to quit smoking to keep up with this guy. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor if chantix is right for you. it's a pretty heartbreaking story out of texas. it's raising all kinds of legal and ethical questions. a young husband and father wants
his wife taken off life support. he says it was her wish. but under texas law, he can't because she's 18 weeks pregnant. cnn's pamela brown has more on this story. >> reporter: it's a crushing decision texas paramedics hoped they would never have to make for one another. >> we talked about it. we were both paramedics. we've seen things out in the field. you know, we both knew that we didn't want to be on life support. >> reporter: but last month, he found his wife collapsed and unconscious on the floor inside their home. she was rushed to a hospital, but it was too late. doctors suspect she suffered from a pulmonary embolism. >> we reached the point where, you know, you wish that your wife's body would stop. >> reporter: but the hospital won't let him honor his wife's wishes and remove her ventilator. the reason, she's 18 weeks pregnant and texas law specifically protects the life of a fetus in its health and
safety code. >> texas has taken the approach of an expansive view of police power, specifically that the state has a compelling interest in preserving the life of its unborn citizens. and that interest is superior to even the interest of the remaining family that might be charged with raising an ill child. >> reporter: the hospital says it's just following the state laws of texas. >> we have a responsibility of making sure that we follow the laws, whether they are state or federal, when it comes to providing care to patients. that's what we're doing in this case. >> reporter: he says he wants time to grieve with their 14-month-old son. he understands his fight isn't popular but maintains it's deeply rooted in love for his wife. >> i can't say enough about her. everything i do will always be short of what she was. i can't do her justice. she's a great woman. >> reporter: texas is one of several states with this law that invalidates pregnant
women's do not resuscitate directiv directives. it could be several weeks before doctors make a decision about delivering the baby. pamela brown, cnn, new york. >> thanks to pam there. to help us navigate through the ethical land mines of this case, art kaplan. as an ethicist, when you read about this story, when you see that interview with the husband, what, if anything, here bothers you the most? >> i think that texas law is too restrictive. it doesn't make room for the situation in which the fetus isn't viable. at 14 weeks or 18 weeks, fetus can't live outside the mom's body. fetus may also have been damaged by this terrible incident that happened to this wife in terms of going without oxygen. so the law says you've got to put everything else aside and keep going in order to save the fetus, but when the fetus can't be saved or may have been
fundamentally damaged, i think that's too restrictive. i hope this guy challenges this law. >> yeah, that was my next question. does someone need to challenge it in order to get it amended? i'm curious, do you know the background on how this law even got on the books? >> basically, as states began to allow living wills or advanced directives, those documents we sign to say, this is what we want, some legislators said, wait a minute, what about fetuses? they were thinking more about 24 weeks, 28 weeks, even a baby about to be born. they didn't want to see a child die unnecessarily. here we're way earlier in pregnancy. we've got a circumstance that probably caused harm to the fetus. we've got two very informed parents, both paramedics. they talked to each other extensively. we know they're very uncertain about wanting to take a child to term under these circumstances. so i think the drive for the law was well intended but it's too broad. i think this gentleman, as unpopular as it might be, if he
says we wouldn't really want to keep going in these circumstances, that's not what my wife would want, i think he should be heard. >> well, could he be heard, and could he get what he wanted? is that possible? >> if a law firm or a lawyer would come forward and say, i'll represent you and let's take an appeal up to the u.s. supreme court and say, is this texas law constitutional, or is it too broad and invading too much the individual's right to decide what they want for themselves or to have their, in this case, husband act for them. i think he might have a shot. whether he's up to that given all the other emotional turmoil he's in, loss of his wife, he's got this tough decision to make about this fetus, plus he's got another child, i don't know. >> yeah, i mean, that's what we got talking about, sort of, you know -- we know what our biggest fear would be for this husband and father. how about you?
because he already has another child. he's got to move on without his wife. and then this baby, if born, could have so many serious problems. >> absolutely right. so i know many are thinking, look, isn't it better to have this child and in that way there's some memory of the mom, but some people don't see it that way. we all don't agree on what's best when a child or a fetus in this case could be compromised when, in fact, it may not be healthy to try and keep the child where it is. it may not be a good environment if the mom is severely compromised in terms of her own health with all of the life support. different people see it different ways. texas law is not making enough room for that. >> art kaplan, always good to see you. thanks so much. >> my pleasure. well, coming up, edward snowden has declared mission accomplished. he spoke to a reporter for "the washington post" saying that his leaks have spurred the public debate that he intended. he also says he lives life like
an indoor cat. we're going to have more from that interview. also coming up, an assistant professor received millions of dollars in grants to work on a breakthrough and a vaccine for a.i.d.s. just one problem, he was a complete fake. that story next. we're -- we'd like to wish a happy holidays to all of our family and friends back home. happy holidays!
an assistant professor working on a potential a.i.d.s. vaccine at iowa state university wasn't thrilled with how the research was going, so what did he do? he faked the results. actually spiking rabbit blood to falsely show that the a.i.d.s. vaccine was working. he has since resigned, but the fraudulent results helped the research team gain millions of dollars in federal money. joining me now, the global editor, director at med page today and co-founder also of retractionwatch.com. what was your first reaction to this story? >> well, you know, kyra, i wish that i could say, wow, i was terribly surprised. a case of terrible fraud. unfortunately, we see a lot of these cases. i will say, though, that the sort of brazen nature of what we
saw here, actually spiking rabbit blood, as you put it, with human proteins in order to make it look like their hiv vaccine was working, that's pretty brazen. you see people fake results in different ways, maybe fudge things a little bit. to actually spike blood, that's pretty impressive in a negative way. >> okay. so i'm surprised. i didn't think you were going to tell me that. so let me follow up with, aren't these researchers vetted? aren't these programs vetted? in particular, the researchers before they give them millions of dollars. >> they are. to be fair, i want to be clear, these are rare cases. the office of research integrity, who's charged with investigating these cases for the u.s. government, they find about a dozen cases where they clearly have evidence of fraud and make a ruling on that and institute sanctions as they did in this case. but what's unclear is sort of what happens between when someone applies for a grant and
when someone starts to use the grant. these are often big labs. the money here was given to iowa state university to another professor. this particular assistant professor worked for him in the lab. these labs can get pretty big. so it might be a little bit difficult to watch over everyone's shoulder as they're working. >> so how devastating is this? besides the loss of money, and it's obviously utterly disappointing this professor was so unethical, do we know what kind of legs this research even had? was there any kind of breakthrough on the horizon? >> i think that's always the question. in this particular case, i think they caught these fraudulent results early enough that they're able to sort of shift gears a little bit and move on with the work in ways that are obviously improper. this particular result, this particular vaccine was not being used in humans yet. i think that's important to sort of point out. obviously, it was being used in rabbits, which is why we're
looking at it. but $10 million actually went to this lab basically for these results. sort of because these results are promising. that's a lot of money. >> well, we'll definitely follow up on the program, see where the money goes and how they're going to sort of redirect the research. it'll be interesting to see what happens. thank you so much. >> thank you, kyra. >> you bet. well, coming up, the russian punk rock group pussy riot released. so is putin launching a pr campaign, or is this real change in russia? we'll explore that. 1ñp
mission accomplished. that's how nsa leaker edward snowden actually summed up his past year in an interview with "the washington post." snowden says that he wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. the reporter who interviewed him spoke to cnn and he says that snowden wasn't gloating but did feel he had done something very important. >> what he means by mission accomplished is he wanted the public to know what was being done in its name and what was being done to it in terms of surveillance, and he wanted it to be possible that decisions be made outside the secret bubble that they had been made since 9/11. to that extent, because he's had a lot of -- a great deal of public attention, because many of his concerns have been validated by, for example, a
federal judge, by the president's own study commission, he believes he has launched the public debate that he wanted. >> a little side note, snowden also says that his life now is like that of an indoor cat, that he doesn't drink alcohol but he lives on ramen noodles and chips. well, a month before the winter games, you'd think russian president vladimir putin is freeing all the opponents that he's chucked into prisons. well, he isn't. we're going to talk about that. but the latest to walk free today are these two members of the punk band pussy riot, imprisoned for two years for blasphemy. they're not buying this pre-olympics putin, though. they say it's all a big show. >> translator: they just put on another show ahead of the olympics, such is their big desire to prevent all european countries from boycotting our russian olympics. but let us remember about all those people who are not much talked about and are even forgotten but who will still need to come out of their jails as they do not belong here.
>> good thing that he didn't throw her back in the slammer. jill daugherty is with us from the state department. so jill, in an earlier life, you covered moscow for us. so what's your take here? what's putin's game? >> you know, i think part of it definitely is this timing in the run up to the olympics. i mean, they're getting slammed because of their anti-gay law. and part of it, at least, is to improve the image of russia. magnanimous president putin freeing these people from prison. but there also, i think, are other messages that he's sending. afterall, he's a former kgb guy. he's smart and cagey. he has some, i think, messages. one would be for the punk rockers, this is unacceptabluna don't even try it again, you're out. but the message gets to others who might want to try the same thing. on others, he's shown, i've
punished you, i'm letting you out, i'm the guy who can do it. with greenpeace, it's a serious message. don't even think about trying to shut down our oil rigs in the arctic. >> cagey, that's a good adjective. last week president putin gave this news conference, right. four hours long. if you take a look at the entrance, you know, he looks kind of like a game show host. you were there, jill. having covered the white house, you know our own presidents never even give us four-hour news conferences, all right. it looks like freedom of the press far from over. what's it look like from there? >> well, when you're in the room, i mean, i was quite astounded that over four hours. a lot of the questions were really softball or kind of off the mark. i really do feel that. it's a way of showing, you know, showcasing president putin how he can handle these things. but in terms of really, you know, giving him a tough question that will make him
squirm, there was nothing like that. >> jill daugherty, appreciate your perspective. coming up at the top of the hour, on the eve of christmas, pope francis has an approval rating that president obama could only dream of. we're going to take you live to the vatican as the pontiff prepares for his first christmas mass. stay with us. i'm here in afghanistan. i'd like to say hello back to my family in new jersey. all my friends back in florida as well. i'd like to give a shout out to my philadelphia eagles. job well done. nick foles, you owe me a beer.
all right. kind of pretend you're in my living room. we have the fire going, stockings hanging with care. gather around, children. it's story time here in the cnn news room. 'twas the night before christmas, news version, "dateline," florida. it was two days before christmas in a florida bank when in walked a santa with his own evil prank. he walked to the teller, acting quite brash, handed her a note reading "give me the cash." the note said he carried an explosive device. it was obvious that santa was naughty, not nice. the beard on his chin was as white as the snow, but no one laughed as they gave him the dough.
he wore dark sunglasses so no one could see if his eyes twinkled or not or his jolly crime spree. and he dashed away, dashed away, dashed away all. speaking of dashing, the beautiful jennifer gray, our cnn meteorologist with our frigid christmas temps. >> yes, it is cold. you know, finally feeling like the holidays. we were worried for a little bit. we were in the 60s just a couple days ago. it looks like a few folks in the north will wake up to a white christmas. we could see 2 to 4 inches in places like minneapolis, green bay, milwaukee, detroit even picking up a little bit of snow during the next couple of hours. we're going to see temperatures dropping down into the 20s across much of the country. memphis at 27 for tonight. atlanta, 26. new orleans waking up on christmas morning at 36 degrees. temperatures in the single digits in minneapolis. most of christmas day, though, looking very, very calm. mostly sunny in the south. we could see a little bit of snow around the great lakes. >> all right. thanks so much.
>> no problem. well, 2013, the world welcomed a new british heir and said good-bye to a leader. those are just two of the top international stories we witnessed together this year. >> number ten -- >> we're getting word of a deadly shooting involving international sports icon oscar pistorius and his model girlfriend. >> the olympian admits to shooting reeva steenkamp in his las vegas irk sou lavish south african home. he says it was all an accident. >> he was clearly upset, at times sobbing, crying. >> pistorius, nicknamed blade runner for the prosthetic legs he uses for sprinting, was charged with premeditated murder. he's fighting that charge, saying he mistook steenkamp for an intruder. number nine, the royal
announcement heard around the world. >> the duchess of cambridge safely delivered a son at 4:24 p.m. local time. >> god save the queen! >> the fountains of trafalgar square illuminated in blue light. >> the new royal heir in the royal kingdom. >> baby george was born in july to prince william and his wife kate. number eight -- >> tens of thousands of people have poured out on to the streets in is what another demonstration against the government. >> about a year after the arab spring ushered in egypt's first democratically elected president, mohamed morsi is outed in a military coup. many egyptians frustrated by what they saw as the slow pace of change and the rise of islamic fundamentalism. number seven, after decades of distrust and a diplomatic gridlock, there's a thaw with iran. >> the phone call that's making history. president obama called iran's
new president hasan rouhani. >> and in november, a breakthrough in geneva. >> a deal has been reached. a deal involving iran and six world powers. >> the preliminary deal limits iran's ability to work towards a nuclear weapon and loosens some international sanctions. critics say it doesn't go far enough. number six -- >> all around us you hear the sounds of windows breaking. you hear the sounds of large objects falling and crashing to the floor. >> typhoon haiyan, one of the strongest storms. hit any country ever. >> the smells are overwhelming. the smell of death. the smet of decay. >> more than 5,000 people killed. number five, terror at a mall in kenya. gunmen opened fire, killing dozens and taking many hostages. >> everyone here in nairobi is on a razor's edge.
i'm standing just a short distance away from the westgate mall that's under siege in his third day. >> surveillance cameras captured this chilling video of gunmen shooting their way through a supermarket in the mall and al qaeda affiliate al shabaab in somalia claims responsibility. number four, grief and gratitude as the world says good-bye to nelson mandela. >> he's now at peace. >> the former south african president and nobel peace prize laureate died at the age of 95. >> behind me you can see a crowd. they've been dancing and singing almost nonstop since the news came. >> his life celebrated for ending apartheid and creating i democratic and inclusive south africa. for days, south africans and dignitaries around the world honored the man who taught us
about compassion and reconciliation. >> we see nelson mandela making that final journey. >> number three -- >> a person who says he leaked top-secret information about a government surveillance program has identified himself. >> my name is ed snowden. >> the u.s. man hunt for edward snowden turns into an international game of cat and mouse. >> the man who's been spilling u.s. intelligence secrets is on the move. but where is his final destination? >> first hong kong lets him go. then russia refuses to extradite him. snowden's leaks were a major embarrassment for the nsa, revealing the extent the agency was spying on americans as well as international leaders and citizens. number two -- >> the pope resigns. the leader of the catholic church stepping down at the end of the month. >> pope benedict becomes the first head of the catholic church to resign in 600 years. the 86-year-old said it was because of poor health. >> the bell is ringing here in
rome. that means one thing, john allen. what does it mean? >> the first pope elected from south america. >> the curtains are open. the cross bearer is coming out. and there he is. >> dubbed the people's pope, francis has laid out a vision of a more inclusive catholic church, focusing on compassion for the poor and afflicted. number one, the civil war in syria. more than two years of fighting, some 100,000 have been killed, more than 2 million are refugees. in august, a chemical weapons attack kills hundreds. >> it's absolutely horrifying. we've seen a video showing the bodies of lifeless children. >> syria denied responsibility. >> u.s. is making the case for military intervention in syria. >> the u.s. on the brink of military action. but a last-minute deal brokered by russia averted an
international crisis. the agreement dismantles syria's chemical arsenal that left bashar al assad in power. a civil war raging and a civilian population still suffering. >> and right now, a live look at bethlehem as christmas day approaches. thousands of people gathering for a midnight mass. the church of nativity, the traditional birthplace of jesus christ. also live pictures from the vatican city. in about 30 minutes, pope francis will begin midnight mass, his first service as pope as the world watches. it is the top of the hour. i'm kyra phillips in for brooke baldwin today. as you probably know, pope francis has brought sweeping changes to the church. among several other things, he's created a commission to deal with the church's infamous sex abuse scandal. and he's told his flock to refocus on serving those in
need. john allen here to talk about all these changes as we head into a new year. he's cnn's senior vatican analyst. he's joining us live from rome. we're talking about a pope that brought homeless men to his apartment on his birthday. how unique of an approach is that? >> reporter: well, we should remember that pope francis didn't bring just three homeless men to his apartment for a piece of birthday cake. they also brought their dog. it was a very inclusive birthday celebration. >> i'm so sorry. i didn't mean to forget the dog. >> reporter: well, named for bob march marley, one of the guys told me that. probably the only time the name bob marley has been voiced in the vatican. but he has brought a lot of substantive changes. he's created a commission to deal with the sex abuse mess. he's issued tough new laws to clean up vatican finances, try to avoid some of the scandals that have washed through this
place in recent years. he's overhauled the criteria by which catholic bishops around the world are selected, trying to move the process in the direction of moderates and away from hardliners and so on. but look, i think the most significant achievement of pope francis over the course of 2013 is that he has completely changed the story line about the catholic church. i mean, nine months ago, you remember this, we were on cnn's air talking about scandals and controversies and meltdowns and the life of the church and bruising political fights. look, while none of that has gone away, the dominant story about the catholic church today is there's this pope, this humble, simple pope of the people and pope of the poor who has captured the world's imagination and given the church a new lease on life. if that's not a revolution in nine months' time, i'm not sure we've ever seen one. >> and if he's listening to regular d reggae, that could be a whole other level of progressiveness. let's go back to what you just
mentioned. we can't deny that so many followers, you know, have been disillusioned and devastated by the sex abuse scandal. for this pope, while we're seeing a shift and a focus on the poor, how much of a priority will the sex abuse scandal be? >> reporter: well, i think it's important to remember that cardinal bergoglio, the man who is now pope francis, comes from a part of the world that has not had the same experience with the sex abuse crisis as here in the united states. one of the important pieces of this puzzle is pope francis has created this kitchen cabinet of eight cardinals from around the world who are his key advisers. one of them is cardinal sean o'malley of boston, which was ground zero for the american crisis. o'malley, i think, has helped get francis up to speed, which is where this decision to create a commission to deal with this has come from to make it clear
this is a permanent priority of the church and of this pope. we're also expecting in fairly short order he's going to make an appointment of a key vatican official to sort of spearhead the legal process on these issues. so i think it's taken a little bit of time, but i think it is clear that francis is committed to reform agenda also on the sex abuse crisis. >> so you and i have been talking about popes together for about 15 years now. what is it about this pope that fascinates you? >> reporter: well, i mean, one thing is just how little time it's taken him to capture the world's imagination. i mean, he was just named "time's" person of the year. that's not the first time it's happened to a pope. but with john paul ii, it was 1994. that was 16 years into his papacy. with francis, it only took nine months. i think what it ultimately illustrates, kyra, is that people are hungry for a moral authority and a voice of
conscience on the world stage they can feel good about. they have been in short supply recently, but francis has stepped into that role. at least to date he seems to be playing it magnificently. >> john allen, always a pleasure to see you and talk to you. thanks so much. and be sure to tune in for our live coverage of the pope's first ever christmas mass. that's 6:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. all right. last-minute shopping, wrapping, getting ready for a holiday feast. mow it turns out that quite a few americans have been interrupted by the holiday hustle and bustle to sign up for obamacare. we've just gotten some numbers for you. dana bash is in washington, hosting "the lead" next hour. what's the word? >> well, the word from cms, which runs healthcare.gov, is that volume on the site remains high but not equal to yesterday. now, yesterday healthcare.gov got 2 million page views, which was a record. the call center received more
than 250,000 calls, a record for traffic. this is all about a deadline tonight, kyra. midnight tonight, that's when people who want to be enrolled for insurance by january 1st have to sign up. now, cms is saying they're seeing thousands of visitors complete enrollment online. the question, though, is going to be whether or not enough people can beat that deadline tonight. there certainly is a lot of frustration still with the way that they are having to maneuver themselves online. they're having a lot of people reporting trouble and lots of time on hold when they place those calls. >> so what happens if they can't beat the deadline? me just last friday they had to shut down the website for routine maintenance. this is the no the time to be worrying about routine maintenance. >> cms is saying they're going to look at it on a case-by-case basis. people who tried and couldn't
beat the deadline. that sort of brings us to a whole other potential set of problems once we hit january 1st. that is that people might not realize that just because you're on the website, just because you have enrolled, if you haven't paid for your insurance, that means you don't have it. or if you are on the site and maybe you think you're enrolled but the insurance company didn't get the message, which speaks to your point, kyra, that there still are problems with the site, that might be -- mean that you're not going to have health care. that is a whole new set of problems and frustrations that officials are bracing themselves for and certainly people who need that health coverage are worried about. >> oh, yeah. we'll be talking about this a lot. dana bash, thanks so much. a reminder, dana is anchoring "the lead" today. we'll have more on this story coming up 4:00 p.m. eastern time. see you then, dana. >> you too. all right. two nasa astronauts spent more than seven hours this christmas eve making repairs to the
international space station, the second in a series of space walks. that walk began just before 7:00 eastern. they're actually trying to replace a pump that's not working. at one point there was a bit of a glitch and some ammonia residue seeped into their space suits, forcing the astronauts to air out the suits before actually re-entering the station. former astronaut told us last hour that the safety precaution is especially important. >> now, it gets on their suits and, you know, needs to be baked out to make sure you don't bring that ammonia back into the cabin inside of the international space station and, you know, kind of release ammonia inside. >> well, the repairs should be done, we're told, by next tuesday. don't look now, but you only have a few more hours of shopping time. stores used big sales and longer hours to lure all of you in this holiday season. so did it work? and what can you still do to get the best deal tonight? we're talking to an expert. and have you heard this?
mcdonald's internal website tells workers not to eat fast food. guess what? mcdonald's is standing by the statement. we'll explain. hi, i'm here at u.s. africa command in germany. i'd like to say happy holidays, merry christmas, and a happy new year to dad and mary and all my family and friends in toledo, ohio. love you guys and miss you very much. have a blessed new year. seeker. you can separate runway ridiculousness... from fashion that flies off the shelves. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle... and go. you can even take a full-size or above, and still pay the mid-size price. (natalie) ooooh, i like your style. (vo) so do we, business pro. so do we. go national. go like a pro. 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. impact wool exports from new zealand, textile production in spain, and the use of medical technology in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 70% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence.
request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. i need you. i feel so alone. but you're not alone. i knew you'd come. like i could stay away. you know i can't do this without you. you'll never have to. you're always there for me. shh! i'll get you a rental car. i could also use an umbrella. fall in love with progressive's claims service.
live pictures of two of the most spiritual and holy places in the world. the big christmas tree, i bet you can guess, that is bethlehem. birthplace of jesus. and also the vatican, where the pope is getting ready for his midnight mass. beautiful settings, both spots. here in the u.s., less than nine hours to go until christmas day. it's all about the power to shop. last-minute shoppers are rolling into stores looking for that perfect, quick fix and retailers are definitely ready to let them in. they're slashing prices, extending store hours, hoping these holiday procrastinators can boost the bottom line. one best buy customer told our stephanie elam just how much shopping he still has to do. >> i have the children's gifts. i have to get that gift for the
special someone. and then a couple of, you know, kind of industry, like, i appreciate you kind of gifts. >> are you going to do that all here? >> actually, i was at starbucks and met the google lady. she's like, come over and see the blah-blah. i'm like, okay. >> see the blah-blah. i wonder if he bought the blah-blah. he might be one of the few with the really long list of gifts to buy. joining us now, finance expert jordan goodman. do you know what a blah-blah is? >> i think that's a pretty broad term. you can apply that to almost anything. at this point, people are so desperate at the last minute, they'll get whatever they can get. >> that's true. what do the latest retail numbers show? >> well, there was a survey that came out that said retail sales and traffic is down 21% this week compared to same time last year. i think what's really happening is a lot of the sales are going online. online sales are up about 9% this week over the same week last year. overall sales are going to be about $600 billion for the
entire holiday season, november and december, which will be up about 2% to 3% from last year. so it's okay, but the real action is going on online. >> well, it's easier too, right? you don't have to deal with all those crazy people that stomp you and throw things and get into fistfights. >> i would say it's a little late today. this is christmas eve. >> you're right. >> be really creative and devise a nice gift certificate. >> gift cards are huge. about $30 billion worth of gift cards sold, a lot of them today, because that's something you can still get today. >> all right. so overall, bad holiday considering? >> well, i think overall it's not a huge growth. last year we had about a 5% growth. this year it'll be in the 2% to 3% range. several factors are making that happen. incomes have not gone up that much for most americans. at the upper end, those people are doing great. the stock market has soared to all-time highs. house prices are up. those people are feeling confident. it's stores like tiffany and
nordstroms that are having blow-out sales. for most average americans not feeling those income effects, sales are really kind of mediocre right now. >> i didn't know that tiffany's actually went on sale. you just taught me something. >> oh, yeah. >> oh, my goodness. all right. so advice, i guess, to last-minute buyers, besides just a hug and a kiss and maybe a home-cooked meal. >> there are some fantastic sales. you have some leverage as a buyer. this is the last chance they're going to get something. so 50%, you could even negotiate and possibly get lower deals on these things. they want to make their numbers. this is a chance for you to get the last-minute deals. they're going to stay open in many cases until midnight tonight. you still have a few hours to go to get these fantastic deals. >> okay. the art of negotiation comes into play tonight. jordan, thanks. >> thanks so much, kyra. well, more lawsuits being filed against target over the store chain's massive credit and debit card hacking.
shoppers in at least six states have launched federal class actions. those suits allege that target was negligent and didn't protect customers' card information. 40 million credit and debit account numbers were stolen as you probably know. target says it's working with the department of justice and the u.s. secret service now on the investigation. well, mcdonald's has some advice. don't eat fast food. huh? that's exactly what was posted on an employee website. it actually promotes raw vegetables and says things like, quote, pass on the pickles, less salt. but what's mcdonald's without pickles? great question. alison kosik has more on this bizarre advice. alison? >> hi, kyra. an internal mcdonald's website that offers information to its employees is catching heat again. this time it's basically telling its employees to stay away from fast food, saying fast food is typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt and puts people at risk of becoming overweight. there's even a picture of an
unhealthy choice versus a healthy choice, and mcdonald's very own staple foods are in the unhealthy category, meaning the burger, fries and soda. the site also gives tips on how to eat healthy at a fast food restaurant. mcdonald's says, portions of this website continue to be taken entirely out of context. this website provides useful information from respected third parties, meaning an outside company, about many topics. and mcdonald's says it agrees with this advice. but this isn't the first time the website has gotten people talking. in other installments, there's been a financial planning guide, which allotted just $20 for health insurance and no money for food. it's advice for getting out of holiday debt, including getting a second job. it even offered a holiday etiquette guide on what to tipple pool boy and the ma masseuse. that left many thinking that mcdonald's is out of touch with its employees since most make minimum wage.
kyra? >> alison, thanks. next, the man who leaked thousands of classified u.s. documents opens up in a tell-all interview. edward snowden says his mission is, quote, already accomplished. he also reveals what his days a are like in russia. plus, our holistic health expert now offering advice on how you can turn the holidays into holy days for your body and soul. i'll talk to him live next. hi, i'm with the new parent support program in japan. i'd like to wish a merry christmas and happy new year to my cousin linda, all her children in new york. merry christmas and happy new year in new york city and surrounding areas. i have a cold with this annoying runny nose. [ sniffles ] i better take something. [ male announcer ] dayquil cold and flu doesn't treat all that. it doesn't? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast-acting antihistamine. oh, what a relief it is!
to help secure retirements and protect financial futures. to help communities recover and rebuild. for companies going from garage to global. on the ground, in the air, even into space. we repaid every dollar america lent us. and gave america back a profit. we're here to keep our promises. to help you realize a better tomorrow. from the families of aig, happy holidays.
systematic spying at the highest level. this was all revealed in an interview with "the washington post." our joe johns, crime and justice correspondent, knows all about it. he actually used the words "mission accomplished." i think we all remember what that means. >> yeah, we definitely do. but probably everybody would agree not in the same context. so snowden says he's already done what he set out to do. the quote from the article say, in terms of personal satisfaction for him, the mission's already accomplished. he said he already won. as soon as the journalists were able to work, everything he'd been trying to do was validated. now, barton galman, the author of the article in "the washington post," talked about this earlier today on cnn. let's listen to what he said. >> what he means by mission accomplished is he wanted the public to know what was being done in its name and what was being done to it in terms of surveillance, and he wanted it to be possible that decisions be made outside the secret bubble
that they had been made since 9/11. to that extent, because he's had a lot -- a great deal of public attention, because many of his concerns have been validated by, for example, a federal judge, by the president's own study commission, he believes he has launched the public debate he wanted. >> so he also says he started out raising issues that concerned people inside the nsa. how did that turn out for him? >> yeah, that's pretty interesting. beginning in october of last year, he said he brought his concerns about the amount of information being collected to two superiors in the nsa's technology director. two more in the regional base in hawaii and up to 15 other co-workers detailing the volume of data ingested by nsa. he says his colleagues were often astonished, his word, to learn we are collecting more in the united states on americans
than we're on russians in russia, he says. many of them were troubled, but he said several said they did not want to know anymore. he says he asked these people, what do you think the public would do if this was on the front page? so i think we know the answer to that too. >> joe johns, thanks so much. well, christmas, it's a merry time, but it also can be a very stressful time, right? but we've got a perfect solution for you. deepak chopra is here. he has a take on how you can change your genes and become a much healthier person. i'm talking to him live next. plus, we never get tired of this. two military parents make a bet to see who will cry first when they surprise their kids. keep the kleenex close. the emotional reunion is coming up next. i'm nathan and i quit smoking with chantix.
when my son was born, i remember, you know, picking him up and holding him against me. it wasn't just about me anymore. i had to quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. chantix didn't have nicotine in it, and that was important to me. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you develop these, stop chantix and see your doctor right away, as some could be life threatening. tell your doctor if you have a history of heart or blood vessel problems,
or if you develop new or worse symptoms. get medical help right away if you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. use caution when driving or operating machinery. common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping and unusual dreams. i had to quit smoking to keep up with this guy. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor if chantix is right for you. so obamacare had a pretty good day on monday. as we reported, nearly 2 million visitors went to that website. that is a record. but keep several things in mind here. despite that rush to the website, we don't know yet how many new people did enroll. also, they had a deadline looming. folks rushing in for coverage
for january 1st. the obama administration says they need 7 million subscribers by the end of march. they're nowhere close to that. jason johnson with us now from washington, an hln contributor. jason, nearly 2 million visits to the website on monday. is that the kind of figure you think they were looking for? would you see that as successful? >> yeah, i think the obama administration sees it as successful, but in all honesty, there's no chance they're going to have 7 million people signed up by march. but if they get on average 2, maybe 3 million people to at least log on to the site over the next couple of months, i think the obama administration would say that's a success, given how bad things were in october. >> well, we're also hearing that the white house is gearing up for some sort of pr push to get the numbers up by march. i mean, looking ahead, would you expect, you know, perhaps a grand gesture by the president to encourage people to enroll? they could do all the pr they want, but it's got to be working and it's got to be understandable. >> right.
and those are the two biggest issues. yesterday i had two friends who tried to sign up. one was my trainer. she said, the machine kept breaking. another friend of mine had a pre-existing condition. she got on after about two hours. as long as, you know, only 50% of the people who are probably trying to get on can get access to health care, no matter how much pr push obama puts on, it won't necessarily work. but that's why he's got a couple months to see if he can make it happen. >> well, do you think that this time next year we're still going to be talking about problems like this, just dogging the president's health care reforms? >> by this time next year, probably not. because the republicans will have done much better in congress and they'll be talking about trying to overturn obamacare. i mean, i think that's why the mandate was pushed back. but in all honesty, it's just like social security. it took years for that to work out fine. we won't know if this is a success or failure for another five or six years. >> that's actually a point well made. jason, appreciate it. thanks so much. >> thank you. we hear it all the time from doctors and scientists, that our destiny is written in our genes. you know, high blood pressure,
weight gain, cancer, all kinds of illnesses. and if our parents had them, well, the odds are against us. but what if you could actually change those odds? what if a little meditation here or a little yoga there could actually change your genetic code and make not just your life better but your future kids' lives better too? deepak chopra thinks it can happen. he's launching a huge project to actually prove that it's possible. he joins me live from new york with more. so deepak, you're telling us that even if we have cancer or heart disease or obesity in our families that we can change our destiny and the destiny of our children. >> so kyra, we have to be very careful how we word this. the doctor who's the director for research and genetics at mass general hospital and professor of neurology at harvard medical school, he and i have written a book called "super brain." and what we maintain based on current evidence is that you can
change the activity of your genes. you can't change the actual structure of your genes or the sequence of dna. but you can change the activity. so you can dial them up in a way that's good for you. 500 genes that code for things like inflammation, many types of cancer, heart disease, many types of disorders associated with inflammation such as bronchial asthma. these genes can be turned up in a way that you turn on the good genes and turn off the bad genes. you can do that pretty rapidly, in less than three to four months, through choices that you make in how you think, how you feel, how you speak, how you behave, your personal relationships, social interactions, yoga, breathing, meditation, sleep, and exercise. all influence the activity of your genes, not the structure of your genes. but that's what matters.
as far as future generations are concerned, yes, how you experience life and the choices you make and how you even interpret your life experiences will influence the behavior and even the psychology of future generations. but that part of the research is very preliminary. and it's part of the science that we now call epigenetics. >> and neuroplasticity, which you've been teaching me a lot about. can you explain what that really means? you did there, but main maybe make it a little more simple for folks. and can it really reverse illnesses? i think that's what people want to know. >> okay. so let's talk about which illnesses. so one of the most common illnesses today is heart disease, coronary artery disease, for which people get bypass surgery. now, it's a fact that only 2% of
people with that benefit from ang angioplasty or bypass surgery. you can reverse coronary artery disease. the answer is yes. you can reverse many types of disorders that are associated, as i said, with inflammation, including some types of arthritis, bronchial asthma, certain types of autoimmune illnesses can go back into remission. the answer is yes. again, according to my collaborative doctor, who's a genetics expert, only 5% of disease-related mutations are fully pen trant, only 5%. which means 95% of disease related mutations are influenced once again by how we experience life. >> and for those that are sitting back home going, oh, my gosh, what the heck did he just
say? in simple terms, how we live our life could now, because of interesting things that are happening in science, impact our biology and how long we live. >> yes, you can transform your biology if you live your life in a way that is connected with other people. if you live your life, if you make choices that enhance in you the experience of love, compassion, joy, empathy, peace, ek we anymorety. if those choices influence your life, whatever the choices you make, if those feelings because they connect you to the web of life, influence your choices, you'd literally transform your biology. >> may we feel the peace in 2014. always intriguing talking to you. thank you. the man who will take over leading new york city in just about a week is being
overshadowed today by his daughter. that's because she made a pretty stunning announcement. what she said and why she hopes it'll impact the lives of others, next. so, this board gives me rates for progressive direct and other car insurance companies? yes. but you're progressive, and they're them. yes. but they're here. yes. are you...? there? yes. no. are you them? i'm me. but those rates are for... them. so them are here. yes! you want to run through it again? no, i'm good. you got it? yes.
rates for us and them -- now that's progressive. call or click today. it's hard to describe, because you have a numbness, but yet you have the pain like thousands of needles sticking in your foot. it was progressively getting worse, and at that point i knew i had to do something. once i started taking the lyrica the pain started subsiding. [ male announcer ] it's known that diabetes damages nerves. lyrica is fda approved to treat diabetic nerve pain.
lyrica is not for everyone. it may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behavior. or swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, changes in eyesight including blurry vision, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling, or skin sores from diabetes. common side effects are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and swelling of hands, legs and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. those who have had a drug or alcohol problem may be more likely to misuse lyrica. ask your doctor about lyrica today. it's specific treatment for diabetic nerve pain. >> just eight days until new york city gets its first new mayor in 12 years. that's take an bit of a backseat today to depression and drug addiction.
got your attention, didn't i? mayor elect bill de blasio's office released a five-minute video of his 19-year-old daughter. that's her there in the fuchsia dress and the flowers in her hair hugging her father on election night. in the video, she talks about her past substance abuse and battle with depression very candidly. >> i've had depression, like clinical depression, for my entire adolescence. so that's been something that i've always dealt with or not known how to deal with. it made it easier, like, the more i drank and did drugs to share some common ground with people that i wouldn't have. it didn't start out as, like, a huge thing for me but then it became a huge thing for me. >> she said she suffered from depression through her entire adolescence. and this is difficult for anyone, but she's been in the public eye in the biggest city
in the country. i want to bring in psychotherapist stacy kizer. stacy, first let's talk about the strength of a 19-year-old to go public with all of this. i mean, that cannot be easy, but at the same time, incredibly therapeutic. >> i give her so much credit. i mean, even though her father's in the public eye, she wasn't raised in the public eye. so for her to come out and be so open and honest is fantastic. i'm hoping that she's a role model because she's now in recovery. and this is something that is indeed therapeutic. it's really good to be able to tell your story so you have witnesses and you can get those kudos. she has worked very hard. >> well, if you read just the responses to the video, i mean, she's getting a lot of kudos and a lot of people saying, wow, you're a mentor for me and i love hearing your story. she's 19. she's talking about all of this. she sounds so solid and so eloquent in the video. but what's it going to take to
remain strong and sober? because she's still a teenager. >> right. part of what's challenging for teenagers is that they're still developing into adults. they're still being impacted by other people. they still care what people think. so she's going to have to have a really solid support system, and it sounds like she does. she's going to have to really stay focused on her sobriety. and she's going to have to keep focusing on the positives. because there are so many more benefits to being clean and sober than there are to being an addict. >> dad, a politician. okay, he's now mayor. we're talking about a biracial family. mom was very open about her homosexuality. she's now married to chiara's dad. all this playing out in the public eye. that's a lot to take on as a teen. could all of that help, hurt, a little bit of both? >> well, part of a what we know is there's really two different kinds of depression. there is situational depression that has to do with your life
circumstances. and there's also chemical depression. based on the things that she's talking about in the video, i watched the whole thing, it doesn't sound like it's chemical depression. it sounds situational. she was having a hard time and not feeling good about herself. this is something i see all the time. these people when they're not feeling good about themselves, they think that the drugs and alcohol will make them feel better. but actually, alcohol and drugs are typically a depressant, so they ultimately make them feel worse and it becomes a vicious cycle. >> we talked about how this is already impacting other people that are seeing her story, but a candid and transparent video like this, what could it do for her? i could just -- i mean, she now has something where if she's having one of those days, she could just put that video on and look at it and remind herself, right, of how beautiful and strong and transparent she's being. >> yes, 100%. one of the things we know about both depression and substance abuse is it really requires the person who's dealing with it to
stay positive and focused. so the fact that she has been in such a good place and has said it outloud for everyone to hear is something she can reflect on and can use to boost herself back up when she has little dips like all of us do. >> so let's say -- my final question, i'm curious about this -- that she didn't do this and some tabloid exposed it in an insensitive way. got it as a scoop and turned it into a negative. this was pretty proactive and smart to do it this way, right? >> yeah, that's how i saw it. i thought to myself, she probably and her family decided it was better for her to tell her own story. you know, one of the things they talk about in any kind of addiction or mental health program is the importance of really speaking the truth about who you are. so being able to do that herself and not have someone in the public do it for her is really empowering. >> stacy, thanks so much.
>> thanks. well, on the case today, there are now 18 states where same-sex marriage is legal. utah is the latest. a judge actually allowed marriages to go forward after a ruling yesterday. it comes in a state where the mormon church has been fighting for years to limit marriage to just men and women. cnn's miguel marquez says the state is not backing down either. >> reporter: for gay and lesbian couples in utah -- >> i do. >> reporter: those two little words are the sound of victory. >> i now pronounce you bound together in the covenant of marriage, what god has joined together let -- >> reporter: on monday, a federal judge ruled same-sex marriages are legal, denying the conservative state's emergency request to halt them, calling the ban unconstitutional. >> i never thought i would see this in my lifetime. i'm so grateful to finally have the protection of the state. >> this is it. it's go time. >> reporter: hundreds of lgbt
couples now lining up at clerk's offices, weathering frigid temperatures. >> free of the cold all night long. >> reporter: and long waits to tie the knot, getting their hands on marriage licenses. >> try number four for us. >> reporter: it's a victory nine years in the making, since the state's ban in 2004. utah now joins the nation' capital and 17 other states that have legalized same-sex marriage. >> it's a huge deal. because for mormons who have been spending these years fighting this battle, they've seen it happen across the country, but they really didn't expect to have it come to really their backyards. >> reporter: the conservative states refusing to back down and filed an appeal, the state's govern accusing shelby of being a, quote, activist federal judge, and says he's working to determine the best course to defend traditional marriage within the borders of utah. >> it's going to be that much harder for conservatives to make the case that this can be stopped when utah, one of the most conservative states in the country, has now legalized it. once the dominos start falling, you won't be able to stop them.
>> you may kiss. >> reporter: miguel marquez, cnn, new york. up next, take a look at this christmas display. see if you notice anything alarming. one person saw this and called police. we'll tell you what happened. hi, everyone. it's captain alita johnson with the 101st airborne division in afghanistan. i'd like to wish my husband geno and kids a merry christmas. i love you, all. i miss you, all. i'll be back in march. merry christmas! ] this store knows how to handle a saturday crowd. ♪ [ male announcer ] the parking lot helps by letting us know who's coming. the carts keep everyone on the right track. the power tools introduce themselves. all the bits and bulbs keep themselves stocked. and the doors even handle the checkout so we can work on that thing that's stuck in the thing.
[ female announcer ] today, cisco is connecting the internet of everything. so everyone goes home happy. we chip away. with an available ecodiesel engine... and a best-in-class 30 mpg highway and 730-mile driving range... for all the times you dreamed of running away from home -- now you can. with enough fuel to get back. this is the new 2014 jeep grand cherokee. it is the best of what we're made of. well-qualified lessees can lease the 2014 grand cherokee laredo 4x4 for $359 a month. afghanistan in 2009. on the u.s.s. saratoga in 1982.
[ male announcer ] once it's earned, usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation because it offers a superior level of protection and because usaa's commitment to serve current and former military members and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. well, you've found delicious! ♪ ♪ must be the honey! ♪ it is so honey swagalish ♪ so much crunch, can you handle this? ♪ ♪ the party in the bowl don't stop! ♪ ♪ must be the honey! the energy in one gallon of gas is also enough to keep your smartphone running for how long? 30 days? 300 days? 3,000 days? the answer is... 3,000 days. because of gasoline's high energy density, your car doesn't have to carry as much fuel compared to other energy sources.
take the energy quiz. energy lives here. okay. some of the hottest stories in a flash. we've got a special christmas eve edition for rapid fire today. roll it, michael. are you looking forward to opening presents tomorrow? how about 22 christmas trees. a south dakota woman says it's her holiday thraditiontradition. each tree has a different theme that she started planning in october. in georgia, another display on the outside of the home. see anything unusual? how about that man hanging outside the second story window? it's actually a mannequin, but neighbors didn't realize that and one neighbor called 911, leading to police cars, fire truck, and paramedics. they all showed up and urged the homeowner to take down the decoration. our affiliate wsb says they put it back up by popular demand.
and we saved the big guy for last. santa claus, looks like he's getting ready for his big night flying around the world, taking to the what ater. this is him on the potomac river in washington, d.c. the evil grinch got into the act, came along for a little jet ski ride. his attempt to steal christmas, though, didn't go so well, but he did get really wet. are those reindeer? all right. now a story that we never get tired of. i'll be home for christmas takes on new meaning with both mom and dad are active duty military and haven't been home to see their kids in six months. but a massachusetts military couple made it home for the holiday, and their surprise arrival was picture perfect. here's liam >> reporter: it began like any other christmas show. ♪ jingle bells jingle bells ♪ >> reporter: with music and kids excited about santa. but waiting in the wings of this
school, two soldiers who haven't seen their kids in six months. >> nice to see them. give them hugs, kisses. >> super excited. it's been a long time. can't wait to give them huge hugs. it's a great -- it's not the same as being there. >> reporter: they are both in army and it's been a long wait to see their children. they and the community kindergarten conspired together to surprise them. >> we have a personal bet who's going to cry first and how the kids will react. >> reporter: after santa had come in, the two kids sang "i'll have a blue christmas without you." they thought it was being recorded to send to their parents. and then the big reveal. >> you miss your kids like crazy. you never really understand
until they're gone and you feel it. it's hard. >> i was like super surprised. it gave me the best christmas ever. >> my wish came true. i wanted daddy to come and have holly jolly christmas with me. >> the dad you just saw there has served in both afghanistan and iraq. his wife has just started her military training. lance armstrong admits to doping. manti te'o makes catfishing a household word. see if you can get the top sports story of the year. that's next. >> i'm deployed on board "uss harry s. truman" in support of operation enduring freedom. i want to wish my brother and sister and nieces a very merry christmas and happy new year. i couldn't wait to see her again.
but i didn't want her to see my psoriasis. no matter how many ways i try to cover up, my psoriasis keeps showing up. all her focus is on me. but with these dry, cracked, red, flaky patches, i'm not sure if i want it to be. this is more than uncomfortable, it's unacceptable. visit psoriasis.com where you can get refusing to hide, a free guide filled with simple strategies for living well with psoriasis. learn more at psoriasis.com and talk to your dermatologist.
boston definitely discovered how strong it could be. lebron james reaffirmed his greatness. lance armstrong took a fall he may never recover from. so which was the top sports story of 2013? you paid close attention to it. we count down the top ten. >> the year in sports included the gruesome, as in the horrific leg injury suffered by louisville's kevin ware appear
the gullible, as in notre dame linebacker manti te'o and his fake girlfriend. but the look back begins on the plug being pulled on super bowl xlvii. not long after beyonce amped up the crowd, the superdome in new orleans was blanketed in darkness when a sensor monitoring the electrical load cut off power. for 34 minutes, the ravens and 49ers were put on hold. with one second remaining, it appeared as though number one alabama and number four auburn were headed to overtime. what happened next is a play for the ages. >> 56-yarder does not have the leg. chris davis takes it in the back of the end zone. there goes davis! >> oh, my god! >> he's going to run it all the way back! auburn's going to win the football game! holy cow! oh, my god! auburn wins!
>> lebron james had separated himself as the greatest player in pro basketball and a worldwide brand as evidenced by appearances like this one in china. back home, james made good on his promise of multiple championships for miami, when the heat won a second straight title with james earning back-to-back league and finals mvps. they were both miami dolphins, yet one felt more tortured than teammate. when jonathan martin accused richie incognito and other teammates of bullying, a voice mail from incognito which used a racial epithet and the words "i'll kill you" surfaced. incognito remains suspended. a probe continues and more importantly, we are reexamining the pro football workplace. intimidation and aggression are a part of the fabric of the sport, but where does the locker room end and real life begin? he was an american hero, cancer survivor, a seven-time tour de france champion. yet lance armstrong could no longer deny the allegations of a
doping scandal. >> in all seven of your tour de france victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood doping? >> yes. >> armstrong was stripped of his titles, lost endorsements and was banned for life from cycling. gay athletes have long participated in major american team sport, but did so in silence. jason collins, though, has emerged as a voice. the 34-year-old center said he spent a lifetime in secrecy but had to be true to himself, and to others. a free agent, collins may never again play in the nba, but his announcement is a contribution far more important than points and rebounds. it's been a stain on america's pasttime, the steroid era. former mvp alex rodriguez was among 14 players linked to a clinic which dealt in performance-enhancing drugs. rodriguez has denied the accusation and has appealed an unprecedented 211 game ban while fighting for tens of millions in
future salary. while baseball judges a-rod today, time will ultimately determine his place in history. >> the troubled past of aaron hernandez. >> aaron hernandez charged with first degree murder today. >> oscar pistorius, he is the south african olympic star accused of murdering his girlfriend. >> the man known as the blade runner wiping away tears. >> olympian oscar pistorius claims he mistakenly shot his girlfriend and will stand trial in march. former new england tight end aaron hernandez who not long ago signed a $40 million contract is also awaiting trial. prosecutors say he orchestrated the execution style shooting of an acquaintance, an accusation hernandez denies. a $765 million settlement between the nfl and ex-players over concussion-related injuries was a good first step. next is saving the game.
the league hopes committing millions to research and implementing new rules promoting safety will ease concerns about head injuries in a sport that will always be violent and never risk-free. in april, a boston tradition turned tragic. the bombings challenged a city and a baseball team to move forward, and they did. the slogan "boston strong" was a rallying cry. five days after the bombing, red sox slugger david ortiz said what many were thinking. >> this is our [ bleep ] city. and nobody going to dictate to us. stay strong. >> a world series victory showed us all just how strong. >> thanks to vince. you can vote on the top ten overall stories of 2013. go to cnn.com/yir, year in
review. all right. tell you what, it is going to definitely be a white christmas in washington, d.c. the snow is falling, it's beautiful. live pictures of the white house there. the president enjoying christmas in hawaii while everybody there in his working home is going to have a beautiful snowy christmas. "the lead" starts right now with dana bash filling in for jake tapper. well, look who forgot to log off twitter before he left for christmas vacation. hash tag, trawling tapper. i'm dana bash. this is "the lead." the national lead. season's greetings from edward snowden. the man who revealed the u.s. government secret spying program sent a christmas message from asylum, sobering enough to wake your uncle on the sofa. the world lead. pope benedict's approval rating is up there with bacon as he gets ready for his first midnight mass as holy father. we're live in rome. as he prepared to deliver his message to the faithful. the pop lead. it's what