tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 25, 2013 11:00am-1:01pm PST
>> that was jake tapper reporting, and that's it for me. merry christmas. "newsroom" continues right now with fredricka whitfield. thanks so much. merry christmas to you, brianna, and everyone else as well. i'm in for brooke baldwin today. if you're celebrating, thanks for letting us be a part of your celebration. from the believers not nonbelievers and those who are hedging their bets somewhere in between, christmas day is always a warm time of year despite the temperature that it might be outside. we're hearing christmas day messages from leaders around the world today, and on this holy day, each expressed their faith in mankind. that we can be kinder, gentler, and better people. each delivered their message in their own style, of course, online. text savvy barack obama was joined by the first lady.
they urged americans to serve others and volunteer. >> for families like ours, that service is a chance to celebrate the birth of christ and live out what he taught us, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, to feed the hungry and look after the sick, to be our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper. >> so as we look to the new year, let's pledge ourselves to living out those values by reaching out and lifting up those in our communities who could use a hand up. >> and overseas queen elizabeth ii appeared on television as she has done for more than 50 years now. she also spoke of service to others and talked about the newest member of the royal family, young prince george. >> as with all who are christened, george was baptized into a joyful faith of christian duty and service. for christians as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation, and prayer help us
to renew ourselves in god's love as we strive daily to become better people. >> and from the balcony of st. pet peter's basilica, propoope fran encouraged of a crowd of 70,000 to be better people. he parade that the entire world strive for peace. >> translator: god is peace. let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day in our life, in our families, in our cities, and nations in the whole world. let us allow ourselves to be moved by god's goodness. >> and not a leader but someone who has received a whole lot of attention recently, former nsa contractor edward snowden determined to be in the spotlight surfaced today on video and warned that a system of worldwide surveillance is watching every move we make, speaking from exile in russia.
he issued a 90-second statement to a british television station that airs a yearly alternative to the queen's christmas address. facing charges here at home for leaking classified documents, he called on citizens worldwide to press for personal privacy rights. >> the conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. together we can find a better balance. end mass surveillance and remind the government if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying. >> his television appearance follows a 14-hour interview with "the washington post" in which snowden said he has accomplished his mission of exposing the vast reach of government surveillance. today he suggested the trackable cell phones we carry pose a bigger threat to our privacy
than anything imagined by orwell. with us from newport beach, california, bob baer and mark hill. bob baer, what do you make of this sudden flurry of statements by edward snowden? why he's putting himself out there, especially on this day? >> fredricka, i think he's overstepped higgs bound eped hi. talking about stopping spying on each other, u.s. spying on russia or china, is just not going to happen. we're not quite at that orwellian world he promised us. yes, your cell phones take privacy away, but at the end of the day, i look at the snowden thing, and he has not pinpointed a single abuse against american citizens. they may have gone on, but he doesn't know about it, and that's really sort of the problem with his message. >> so mark lamont hill, how do you see this? is edward snowden even relevant
as it pertains to the message he continues to try to send and especially this time of year? >> well, he is certainly relevant. the fact he gave that address on the channel 4 station is evidence of that. that's the same network mahmoud ahmadinejad used this. the fact he was granted that says how important he is. his message is also important. he's warning us about the dangers of surveillance excesses. i don't think his primary point is about russia or china saying there shouldn't be any kind of national security interests at play here with regards to surveillance. i think what he's saying is when you spy on everyday people, you run the risk of creating a surveillance culture that's dangerous and undermines american democracy, and the supreme court seems to agree with him. the federal court just a few weeks ago said dada mita mining unconstitutional and the court system agrees with him. >> here is more of what edward snowden had to say. let's listen up and talk on the
other side of it. >> a child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. they will another what he it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought, and that's a problem because privacy matters. privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be. >> so, mark, you first. he's talking about the future now. no one will know what it is to have privacy. >> i think he means not just the future but the present between the cell phones which follow you around in your pocket, the new video game systems many people got with christmas comes with cameras on the front so people can see you at all times. there are all sorts of levels of surveillance being conducted by government agencies. i'm not a conspiracy theorist. i think we have the technology to surveil people all the time and that's dangerous. >> bob, what is edward snowden talking about? is he talking about nsa, talking
about classified information or talking about technology of today, period? >> he's talking about the national security agency and technology today. for instance, on a cell phone it's possible for the fbi to turn on the so-called harmonics. that means it can listen to room conversation. same way with your xcomputers. it is "1984" in that sense. what he's talking about is abuse. is it a violation of the fourth amendment? i would say it is, this met dtaa collection and storage. >> as the obama administration is talking about, thinking about some sort of reform as it pertains to the nsa's operations, how might this message, bob, influence or impact what happens come 2014? >> well, i think that the fact that the federal courts have weighed in and said this may be illegal, i think the press is
clearly upset about this and a lot of other people are, and it needs to be reformed. we need to do an accounting of the national security agency because, frankly, i don't have the evidence for it, but i suspect in has been abused at some level. i would like to know that, and i would like to have some independent body go in and just do an accounting of what they have been listening to and what it's contributed to. >> and mark doctor. >> that's why snowden is so important. >> -- particularly in dwou2014, making more of a lasting mark? >> absolutely. the fact he's out there putting a spotlight on this is why this is happening. this isn't something the nsa didn't know about. this isn't something the government power brokers didn't know about. they just didn't feel the need to act on it or move on it until snowden started appearing and making mix tapes about it. as long as he's out there making his voice heard, we'll continue to see movement on the national security front. >> mark lamont hill, bob baer thanks so much. merry christmas.
>> merry christmas. today is the day that more than 2 billion christians around the world are celebrating the birth of jesus. the bible says that happened here, bethlehem, and it's now the west bank. pilgrims gathered at midnight for a special mass but had to be cautious. just a day earlier the israeli military responded to a sniper attack with air strikes and tank fire in gaza. and then in baghdad militant groups have often used this holiday to target christian churches. it happened again just a few hours ago out a christmas service. a car bomb killed at least 38 people. that did not, however, stop christians from celebrating christmas elsewhere in the city. and finally to australia. wow. what a way to celebrate
christmas coming right into the middle of summer down under. so you would expect they celebrate it a little differently, and you would be right if you expected that here in bondia beach. they decorate the tree with flip-flops. santa came in on a surf board. he passed on a lot of treats to kids at hospitals as well. coming up, their logo might be we heart logistics, but apparently this year u.p.s. can't deliver on them. why u.p.s.' backlog may be delaying your christmas gift. and the u.s. postal service just announced the cost of your stamps going up. i'm lieutenant commander dave hack stationed in stuttgart, germany. i want to wish my mom and dad a
merry christmas and a happy new year and to all you sun devil fans, go devils. >> go devils! ♪ i wanna spread a little love this year ♪ [ male announcer ] this december, experience the gift of true artistry and some of the best offers of the year at the lexus december to remember sales event. this is the pursuit of perfection.
going up 3 cents. it will now cost 49 cents to mail a first class letter. they approved the rate hike yesterday to offset masses losses incurred in the 2008 recession. it takes effect january 26th. until then you can stock up on the 46 cent forever stamps to save those pennies. too many packages and not enough manpower to deliver them. shipping giant u.p.s. is backlogged and that means a whole lot of christmas presents didn't make it under the tree this morning. u.p. snc u.p.s. says it's terribly sorry and couldn't handle the volume of air packages it had received. delivers will resume tomorrow and that didn't sit too well with angry customers though who took out their frustrations on social media. margaret conley is live for us in new york. margaret, how does u.p.s. explain this? >> reporter: well, they're off today for the holiday but they'll be back first thing
tomorrow morning for delivers. u.p.s. did say they're sorry. here is more from their statement. u.p.s. is experiencing heavy holiday volume and making every effort to get packages to their destination. however, the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding christmas so some shipments were delayed. to give you a sense of how many packages u.p.s. handles, they projected to deliver over 132 million packages just last week. that was their peak week. the delays will impact at least that many consumers, and here is how some of them have been reacting. >> i can't tell you how many countless hours we have spent on the phone dealing with this issue with people in memphis, and they're still blaming it on the ice storm which was 2 1/2 weeks ago. it's terribly disappointing because we ordered these things on december 1st. they can't find them because there's 1,000 packages on palettes in there. >> we got to the phone line after an hour and they said it
hasn't been processed yet and -- >> it's been here since -- >> reporter: we have seen delays in the past years with u.p.s. but those were generally caused by weather or technical glitches. this seems different. it's a backlog, fred. >> so the question is, how did u.p.s. manage to underestimate the volume of deliveries? >> reporter: we talked with a u.p.s. spokesperson and she aid factors in addition to weather in some states was the time period between thanksgiving and christmas was shorter. she also said more people are shopping online. u.p.s. did consider doing deliveries on christmas day but decided not to ask their drivers to come in and work on the holiday. >> online retailers are impacted in a big way. how are they responding? >> reporter: some companies are offering to help. amazon, for example, they alerted customers to what they say is the failure of the u.p.s. transportation network. amazon says they're going to refund some shipping charges and give out gift cards, but for those waiting for delivers know
that u.p.s. workers will be out first thing tomorrow, thursday morning, making the rounds. >> this is costing a lot of people a lot of money in the end. marg raret conley, thanks so mu. merry christmas. a huge gift today from santa for parts of the country recently slammed with treacherous storms. the weather is super quiet across the nation on this christmas day. but there is a bit of snow as cold temperatures kind of hang around. cnn meteorologist jennifer gray with us now. we want snow on christmas. it's okay. >> yeah, a lot of people want a white christmas. about 40% of the country is covered with snow on christmas day. we did have a lot of ice in northern areas during the weekend and that has left a lot of power outages for christmas day for a lot of folks in the north. what we've been dealing with are several of these clipper systems that have moved across the north. it's caused a little bit of snow. we're going to see more snow fall in the next 48 hours.
a lot of this lake-effect snow and this is going to pull into upstate new york and even as far into the northeast as maine. you can see the snow out there. we'll see an additional 1 to 2 inches of snow in places like grand rapids, detroit. we're also going to see 2 to 4 inches of snow possible in buffalo, also syracuse as we go through the next 24 to 48 hours. temperatures haven't really gotten above freezing since that weekend storm so that's why we're still seeing ice on the ground. temperatures in the 20s and highs tomorrow, we're actually going to start warming up, especially across the south. houston will be at 61 degrees tomorrow afternoon. so it is going to stay mild but mostly sunny. the country very, very quiet for the most part. just a little bit of lake-effect snow around the great lakes, the northeast getting some snow as well. but most of the country, fred, very, very quiet and looking mighty nice. >> very good. thanks so much. merry christmas. coming up next, these names are very familiar. miley cyrus, beyonce, jennifer
lawrence, all making huge marx on 2013? who will be the biggest star of 2014? our experts give their predictions. in a reminder santa is magical to people of all shades. a mall in california celebrates a christmas with a st. nick reflecting his diversity. i'd like to wish my wife. rema and daughter sage, a merry christmas. i love you. sage, it's christmas but it's also -- what day is it? hump day! i love you and i will see you soon. bye. [ sneezes, coughs ]
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the obama administration again has extended the deadline for federally backed health coverage. officials say the new extension is intended for people who couldn't sign up due to the well-known website problems. republican opponents of the health care law say the move is another sign that the administration is desperate to pump up sagging enrollment. insurers are quoted as saying the repeated extensions pose serious threats to their
planning. so with us now from washington, jason johnson. he's an hln contributor. by our count, this is the fourth signup extension. is it a sign of desperation in your view, as the republicans say? and i like the red. merry christmas. >> thank you. obama's like the easiest professor ever. he keeps giving extension after extension to finally get this thing fixed. >> is it good? >> it's not a good thing. it's a bad sign and it reflikts the fact they have not managed to fix this website. the fact remains this is a long-term project. they want to get 7 million people signed up. it's going to take years. mistakes if the first couple months, it's embarrassing but count doesn't mean the whole project is a failure. >> the deadline that really counts is march 31st. here is part of the ongoing ad campaign. take a look. ♪ i sing for the place my heart has called home ♪
♪ where the salty sea air meets the cold mountain snow ♪ ♪ i'm free to be healthy, happy, and strong ♪ li ♪ live long in oregon >> very wholesome. here is a web ad aimed at youth. this woman all she needs to do is, quoting, get this guy between the covers. what is this all about? you know, just reach out in any way you can, try to be catchy, edgy? >> look, it's a good strategy. this is what republican aaron shock was complaining about last week when he said you can bring in all the young people and rap sto stars and rock stars you want, it's not going to change things. these are kind of hippie commercials but ultimately the test is not once they're signed
up, how many people are going to enjoy what they get in the service because most of the people who have signed up, they've already signed up already. when we get to next year, march, april, may, when people are getting this health care service, are they happy with it? that's what will matter. >> before we get to that point, it seems the administration is going to do everything it can to explain, re-explain, entice, get people to get online. what should we expect from the administration in the next few weeks ahead. >> a major push. they're spending hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising. what you will notice is in key states, in places like florida and ohio, the president really wants toes swing states to have people signed up and realizing what a benefit this plan is. i expect we'll see more examples of that as the weeks go on. >> reportedly there have been some, some might call it desperate tactics. there have been folks working for the administration who are explaining this health care. they're showing up at nightclubs and odd hours trying to reach the young folks in particular,
but you have to wonder if that's a kind of strategy that would backfire or it would be enlightening? would it get the attention ever young people? >> most young people are aware of this. you hear young people talking about it all the time because most of them are happy to be covered on their parents' insurance until they're 26. so the obama administration, they're not trying to reach most of those college-age kids. they're trying to get people in their late tweb20s who might be independent business people. that's what they're trying to grab and those people are necessary for the whole program to work. >> we'll expect more ad whether it's wholesome or not so wholesome. jason johnson, thanks so much. >> thank you. merry christmas. >> happy holiday. the color lines surrounding the debate about santa claus' race were blurred at one southern california mall. there santa takes a multicu
multicultural look. >> reporter: elves, cameras, crying babies. all to see the obligatory mall santa, but it's a rare sort of santa at the baldwin hills crenshaw plaza in south los angeles. >> we come to see the black santa. >> reporter: he draws crowds of pint sized preschoolers and their patient patients. >> merry christmas. >> reporter: just like every santa in mall america -- >> what do you want for christmas? >> reporter: the pictures of characteristically christmas. at the same time, they're not. >> they feel good about themselves. >> reporte there was no black santa in chicago in 1953. >> reporter: so it's important for them to see this? >> yes, it is. >> reporter: turn on the tv this christmas, all you see is one shade of santa.
like most ben neevolent charact children growing up seeing, the good guy is white. but not at this mall. other santas speak spanish, and for the last nine holiday seasons, 77-year-old langston patterson has greeted the crowd plopping toddlers like 2-year-old manhattan lamont on his lap whose parents want her snapshot to mean more than just a commercial card. >> kids don't see no color. i don't think so. i didn't see color when i was little, you know? you only see color when you get older. >> reporter: nearly all the shoppers in this mall are african-american or latino. despite the popularity of the multiracial santas here, there are only a handful of them in the entire country. >> hey, buddy. >> reporter: that's why santa himself has a wish this christmas. >> the malls next year will have a few ethnic santa clauses in all cultures.
>> reporter: dreaming of a white christmas and one in many other shades. cnn, los angeles. up next, she came in like a wrecking ball in 2013. you know who i'm talking about, so how will miley cyrus top herself next year? we're giving you next year's entertainment headlines. our experts make some bold predictions. 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.
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all right. 2013 was quite a year for pop culture. perhaps you're having a little trouble remembering everything that happened. well, maybe this will jog your memory. >> would you like to be in a real war? ♪ >> cooking 100 pounds a week, not 50, as in starting a new lab, a lab that you'll run, a cook all of your own. why not? you deserve it. >> i'm going to do the thing that god put ron burgundy on
this earth to do. have salon-quality hair and read the news. ♪ >> stay close. ♪ >> okay. from beyonce to "breaking bad," 2013 was never boring but what can we expect in the new year. joining me is eric davis contributing editor at fan deyo.com and john murray at always a list.com. all right, gentlemen, thanks for being here on this lovely christmas day. we just saw a few moments in 2030 -- '13 rather, but now we're going to look forward.
eric, let's begin with you. what's going to be the biggest most influential trend in entertainment you expect to see in 2014? >> i expect to see more crossover between movies and television. we're going to get tv shows becoming movies, get movies becoming tv shows, but look for them to connect the two. you know, marvel studios began doing this in the beginning of november when they came out with "thor: the dark world." we made it the central story line of their tv show. i think they're going to do it in "captain america" and i think studios are paying attention to that. i think especially the ones with large fan bases because it makes fans really excited. >> making it a lot more accessible. john, what do you think the big trends of 2014 might be? >> i think more diversity from hollywood. you know, at the box office this year we saw more than 15 major films with people of color in them and they had great numbers at the box office and a lot of them are contenders going into
the 2014 award show season. also with the continued success of "scandal" and the turnaround of the oprah winfrey network, hollywood will give us more diversity because they realize this isn't necessarily a trend. this is the new normal. >> something that's become really normal to a lot of folks and households is watching reality tv shows, but, john, you say that reality tv shows are out? which is hard to believe because they're so much cheaper to make for so many network and that's why they have been here to stay. why do you think it will be changing, john? >> you know, they are cheaper to make but they're becoming a lie ability. when you see the giudices and "duck dynasty" they're having all this public backlash and you see all the competition shows. the numbers are down across the board. i think people will start to do more scripted programming because netflix and amazon and
other entities are winning with scripted programming. >> eric, something tells me you think the new face, the person that's going to be hot in 2014 will not come from reality tv. who do you expect to explode on the scene? >> everybody is looking for the next jennifer lawrence now after the year that she had. i like a girl named shailene woodley. she was a star of a great coming of age movie called "a spectacular now." next year she has her own "hunger games" type series called "divergent." >> john, how about you for you? who do you see as the next big hot thing? >> he set the pace for it in 2013, but i think next year is going to be the year of kevin hart. he had a successful show, "real husbands of hollywood." he broke eddie murphy's box office record with the standup comedy film. today he has a movie in
theaters. he has four films coming out next year including a sequel to "think like a man 2." i wouldn't be surprised if this time next year they wouldn't be saying kevin hart will host the oscars. let >> let's reflect quickly on the biggest low in 2014 for whom why your view? >> i'm not a big fan of miley cyrus. i give her credit. she wants to be different. she wants to stand out but you look at something like beyonce did when she dropped her album at midnight and then went into walmart and bought christmas gifts for everybody. i think that's the way you stand out and inspire your fan base. sgr >> john, who had the biggest low in your view? >> i have to say miley cyrus landed me on barbara walters ten most fascinating people. my clip from this network made her special, so i love her. but i say paula deen. she went from being one of the
most beloved tv chefs and one of the most successful and her career after use the "n" word crumbled like those biscuits she likes to bake. i think that was one of the biggest scandals. it will be interesting to see if she begins the road to recovery next year. >> john, eric, thanks so much. happy holidays to both of you. >> happy holidays. >> same to you. coming up, they're separated by an ocean, but we're about to bring them a little closer together. a very special christmas celebration with one military family next. but first, an artist is proving what you leave behind could be a lot more than you think. brooke baldwin takes us below the surface. >> reporter: you may want to think twice the next time you spit out your gum or drop a cigarette butt in public. new york artist heather might pick it up, extract the dna and turn it into a 3-d face that could look like you. >> a lot of my work begins with
a question. in this particular case the question was what can i learn about someone from a single hair. >> reporter: she takes it to the lab to mine it for dna and then analyze the results. >> from a cigarette butt i can learn where someone's ancestors likely came from, their gender, eye color, hair color, complexion. >> reporter: that information is then fed into a computer program that generates a 3-d model of a face. >> the way i'm using code here is a lot like how a sketch artist would use a pencil. >> reporter: it takes about three hours to print. then the excess powder is removed to reveal the disembodied face from a stranger's dna, but there are li lambtations, the length of a nose or the shape of the face cannot be determine. >> the face has a general likeness. right now i can't determine age so all of my masks are aged
between 20 and 40. >> reporter: dewey haag brd started the project. now she's hoping it will raise questions about genetic privacy. >> it's meant to be an exploration at the intersection of art and technology and science and it's meant to be a provocation. what does an apron have to do with car insurance? an apron is hard work. an apron is pride in what you do. an apron is not quitting until you've made something a little better. what does an apron have to do with car insurance?
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now to south sudan where violent political and ethnic conflict is verging on a civil war. there's growing evidence of atrocities there and more forces are arriving in the region including 50 u.s. marines. they're spending christmas in uganda ready to help evacuate any americans still in south sudan. joining me is pentagon correspondent barbara starr. what is the military plan for the u.s. and other military forces? >> reporter: for the u.s. if they get a request from the state department and orders to go, they will move. there are two possibilities here if they get those orders, to either bring out any additional
americans from the embassy or american citizens that either need or want to get out of south sudan or go to the embassy and help reinforce it, provide security in order to keep the embassy open. but those marines won't go, of course, unless the state diplomat makes t department makes the decision they need them. you will see in coming weeks other nations in the region try to make the effort i think to send in some peacekeepers to work on behalf of the united nations. the violence has begun to really accelerate. some people calling it out of control ethnic cleansing. tens of thousands of south sudanese looking for shelter with the united nations compound and safety anywhere that they can. so there's a real effort here to try and step up very rapidly get aid to these displaced people and get some diplomatic solution to the crisis. fred? >> barbara, last weekend there was some service members who were injured when a helicopter tried to make its way in or at
least four choppers made its way in to carry out the evacuations. what's the latest on that? >> reporter: there's hopefully some very good news. as you say, four u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s injured when their aircraft, all three of their aircraft took fire. three were moved to landstuhl hospital in germany, the very hospital that treats the war wounded from afghanistan and back in the days of iraq. the fourth navy s.e.a.l. had been left behind in nyro bi, kenya. he was very badly injured. he had to have more surgery before they could think about moving him. we're told today he's on a military air evac plane. he is on his way to landstuhl and that, of course, good news because it will put him one step closer to home and his family. >> barbara starr thanks so much from the pentagon. appreciate that update. coming up from plaqblackberry's demise to bitcoin's rise. we count down the top stories.
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starting within five minutes. symbicort doesn't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. with symbicort, today i'm breathing better. and that means...fish on! [ female announcer ] symbicort is for copd including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. it should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort contains formoterol. medicines like formoterol increase the risk of death from asthma problems. symbicort may increase your risk of lung infections, osteoporosis, and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking it. [ man ] with copd, i thought i'd miss our family tradition. now symbicort significantly improves my lung function, starting within 5 minutes. and that makes a difference in my breathing. today we're ready for whatever swims our way. ask your doctor about symbicort. i got my first prescription free. call or click to learn more. this christmas there are 50,000 u.s. troops stationed in afghanistan. one of them is navy lieutenant
macias. he hasn't been with his family since june, so we wanted to do something special at cnn and reunite him with his wife angela and their children, natalie, andreas, ethan and cecilia and there you are and here we are together now. the family coming from california along with lieutenant macias in kabul skyping for us. this is your first time and your first christmas apart since you were married four years ago. a message to your family right now as you're getting a chance to see them for the first time in many months? >> i haven't seen them in close to eight months, and right before i left my little boy was born, so it will be quite interesting to see them again when i redeploy. >> and so, angela, how about you? your message to your husband right now? >> we miss him dearly. it's been really a hectic year
without him. the little one is now six months. as you can see, he's grown a lot since you left. >> so, angela, how was christmas morning today? maybe you can fill yuriel in on what it was like in the house this morning. >> honestly, a little quiet. just sharing our gifts in the morning with the children. today his absence a little sad, quiet. and it was just me and the kids. >> and natalie, as the big sister there, what was it like for you in the household? how did you try to keep it festive? what were your thoughts about your dad this morning? >> it's different. it's just hard because she keeps
saying papi. >> and yuriel, what is it like to hear your kids and your wife? you're many miles apart but in a small kind of way we brought you together. maybe the distance doesn't seem so far right now, does it? >> it's almost like i'm almost there. i can actually kind of hear my dog barking in the background, too. so it's kind of nice. it's very nice actually to see them all together and thank you for doing this. i really appreciate it. >> what kind of traditions were carried out at the base this morning for the many other troops that are with you? >> traditions -- >> they did a nice breakfast and nice dinner. the upper officers were the ones serving the dinner to the
enlisted and it was very nice to see a nice christmas dinner being served by the general officers and the colonels and captains and all of the other people that we report to on a daily basis. >> and so, lieutenant, how long before you get a chance to go home and have a person-to-person reunion with the family? >> fredricka i'm here for another month and i'm counting down the days. i will be home by the end of january, early february. >> any plans of having a second christmas once dad comes home? >> yes, definitely. >> fantastic. well, merry christmas to all of you. lieutenant, thanks so much for your service. angela, natalie, cecilia, ethan, and andreas, happy holidays to all of you. >> thank you. happy holidays. >> happy holidays. >> thank you very much. merry christmas. >> merry christmas. >> merry christmas. coming up at the top of the
hour -- ♪ >> it was a christmas mass that ended a banner year for pope francis. his message, his popularity, and his hope for the world straight ahead. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills. 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
websites and smartphone apps this year as silicon valley companies grow bigger than ever. lots of big money stories in 2013 from bitcoins to amazon's drone delivery. richard quest and christine romans count down the top ten moments in money and business for 2013. >> reporter: number ten, jeff bezos. he's taking on print media. he paid $250 million for "the washington post." he's investing in cutting edge technology, too, pitching a plan to deliver your amazon purchases, oh, yes, by drone. . >> reporter: number nine, mariska meier. one cool year on the job, so now we can see what kind of leader she is at yahoo!. her goal, to make yahoo! cool again. her strategy a shopping spree. $1.1 billion for the blogging website tumblr and she picked up
former evening news anchor katie couric and long time tech writer david pog. >> reporter: number eight, blackberry not dead yet, acco according to the company. they've taken drastic measures to keep itself alive. it put itself up for sale, laid off around 40% of the workforce before canceling plans to sell itself. even that may not save the company. >> reporter: number seven, tech winners. a year and a half after facebook's face plant ipo, the stock higher than where it started and twitter launched on the new york stock exchange making some of its co-founders, very, very, very wealthy. neither facebook or twitter can match google when it comes to share price. they topped $1,000 per share. >> reporter: number six, in bitcoin we struck. bitcoin, which is electronic
cash, shows the world it's real. some are calling it the safe haven investment for the 21st century despite massive volatili volatility. the little virtual currency that could surged. it was up $14 at the beginning of the year. it closes around $1,200 at the end of november. number five, us airways and american airlines, the merger that's taken off. creating the world's largest airline. the carrier has given off some takeoff and landing slots at washington reagan and new york laguardia. the justice department says that will bring in low cost carriers and help travelers. with ticket prices on the rise, consumers may still lose out. >> reporter: number four, the government shut down. part of the government shutdown after congressional republicans tried to defund obama care. that shut down lasted 16 days.
government offices, national parks closed, 800,000 workers sent home. >> this isn't some damn game. >> final cost around $24 billion. number three, healthcare.gov. what the president initially called glitches quickly turned into a political catastrophe. they call in outside experts for a tech surge to fix the sites. signups have picked up but it's too soon to predict whether the site will ever be a success. >> reporter: number two, jpmorgan will pay $13 billion to settle charges it misled investors about the quality of the mortgages it sold leading up to the financial crisis. it's the biggest settlement to date. justice department says it won't be the last. >> reporter: number one, stock market record. the federal reserve pumping so much money into the economy, stocks launch to new highs, home prices moving higher, but main street isn't feeling so good.
fast food workers across the country on strike protesting what they call poverty wages. they're calling for a $15 minimum wage. that's a debate that won't end with a new year. >> thanks so much, christine and richard. you can vote on the top ten overall stories of 2013. go to cnn.com/yirf. merry christmas. i'm fredricka whitfield. historic images from vatican city as pope francis delivered his first christmas message to thousands of faithful. he asked for an end to the violence of suffering and focused much of his attention to the refugees. >> translator: help and protect all the victims of natural
disasters, especially the beloved people of the philippines gravely affected by the recent typhoon. >> pope francis also focused a large part of his message on peace asking jesus to inspire peace in warring factions around the world. >> translator: god is peace. let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. let us allow ourselves to be moved by god's goodness. >> while the ceremonies involved a lot of pomp and circumstance as erin mclaughlin shows us, the pope kept his christmas message simple and to the point. >> reporter: as you can see, they're streaming into st. peter's square. people from all over the world, pilgrims and atheists, men, women, and children of a multitude of religious flooding the square to hear what pope francis has to say to the world
on christmas day. >> translator: god is peace. let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day. >> reporter: what did you think of the pope's message? >> i think it was wonderful. it was beautiful, very touching, and i felt even like crying. he's a very humble person. i real >> i really don't know if humanity will listen, but he's strong to say this. >> reporter: his message delivered in italian, and even though not everyone here understands exactly what is saying, they're here to see him and to experience history. >> it was wonderful to be in such a large crowd. people were nice. we were trying to communicate with each other but we were all
from many different countries. people were happy to be here and calm about it. >> it was a great moment just to see him speak to all the people. it's a lovely day here in rome. great experience. >> reporter: his message to the world one of peace. he asked for prayers for the victims of conflict in places like seyria and the south sudan. the excitement and energy was palpable. an illustration of the power of pope francis. erin mclaughlin, cnn, the vat k can. queen elizabeth ii's christmas message was broadcast on british television. >> i hope you will have time to pause for moments of quiet reflection. as the man in the plaster cast discovered, the results can sometimes be surprising. for christians as for all people of faith, reflection, meditat n
meditation, and prayer help us to renew ourselves in god's love as we strive daily to become better people. >> recently in the uk an alternative christmas message was also broadcast. this year nsa leaker edward snowden delivered his. he compared government spying to the classic novel "1984" saying today's big brother is far worse than anything author george orwell could have imagined. >> a child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. he'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought, and that's a problem because privacy matters. privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be. >> the american charged with espionage for exposing u.s. surveillance programs says he
dreams of a world where governments can't see everything all of the time. the obama administration again has extended the deadline for a federally backed health coverage. officials say this new extension is intended for people who couldn't sign up due to the well-known website problems. republican opponents of the health care law say the move is another sign that the administration is desperate to pump up sagging enrollment. insurers are quoted as saying the repeated extensions pose serious threats to their planning. with us from los angeles andy dean at american now radio. andy, the white house says they had a surge of visitors yesterday, close to 2 million in effect, to the health care we site. they said the site held up and that they're turning things around. you disagree still zm. >> i guess to answer that question we have to look at the context of history. and that's over the past few months, over 5 million people have lost their health insurance in the individual marketplace.
all these people have lost their coverage so they have to go somewhere to find that coverage that was taken from them by the government. so me -- >> it's still not clear though -- it hasn't really been confirmed that those losses are all because of the government or because of this health care plan because we know some insurers are going to be dropping people anyway but continue with your point. >> there's a minimum essentials package and even the obama administration will admit the ten parts of the minimum essentials package included in the individual marketplace has forced a lot of these people off their plans. catastrophe plans like i had are no longer viable in the obama marketplace. i was one of the 5 million thrown off my coverage. there are a lot of people that check out this website and people need coverage. imagine if it said you have to move out of your homes and the government is going to start selling homes on an open exchange. they forced 5 million people out
of their home -- >> how about -- if the white house is saying we're going to extended the deadline so if you want to make that comparison, instead of the deadline being today you move out of your home, instead it means it's going to be off by a few weeks. you're buying some time. and that's what this extension is all about for the health care sign up. do you think that's helpful in any way to see if it really could work? >> i think that's correct. you are buying time but the underlying issue is cost. for myself i had a catastrophe plan. in the obama exchanges my plan is three times more expensive. whether i buy it on december 25th or january 31st, the underlying cost of what i'm buying has skyrocketed. that's going to devastate the middle class. >> if by the end of march this administration is unable to sign up 7 million, which has been the goal, what do you suppose should happen next? >> well, fredricka, i think the real number is how many people had health insurance at the beginning of 2013 versus how
many will have health insurance the beginning of 2014 and at the beginning of 2015? and my guess is as time goes on less and less people in america will have health coverage and that's the paradox. if less people are covered after all this government intervention, it's clear that the program will have failed. >> and then what? >> well -- >> because it is a law. >> the 2016 election. if hillary steps in, we'll be more like england. we'll have a two-tiered system. people in the lower to middle class will have to wait for care. and the wealthy will have more options and choices and doctors. the doctors that were treating the middle class won't want to deal with the bureaucracy. >> do you see any redeeming qualities about this new law, that millions have been able to sign up, that some people who were unable to get insurance before are now covered? >> i guess it just depends where you sit, right?
if you're qualified for medicaid a million more people are now able to get medicaid. for those people they're getting something they never had before. there are some winners, but to me it's the middle class that are the biggest losers. yes, the bottom 5% or 10% on medicaid, they're getting that coverage. they're getting something they never had before. they're winners. the top 5% to 5% are winners because they're going to have more doctors that are going straight to cash pay. it's going to be the middle 80% that are paying double the current premium and that will have less access. those are the losers, the middle class. >> andy dean, thank you so much for your time. happy holidays. >> thank you so much. merry christmas. for those celebrating christmas, it must be most difficult when a family member is stationed overseas. now some holiday messages from them to their loved ones back here at home. these are soldiers from 287 bravo company, 10th mountain division. they spent christmas eve and christmas day at bagram airfield in afghanistan. >> i want to say merry christmas
to everyone back home in the states. especially to my lovely wife, kim, and our two daughters sarah and rachel. >> merry christmas! >> it's the small things, friends, family, girlfriend, and just the small things you take for granted, the day-to-day things. showers on auto da daily basis. >> being deployed for the holiday season is definitely difficult but it's good to have soldiers and friends here. the army is one big family so just having that camaraderie amongst ourselves it helps us get through the holiday season. obviously we miss our families back home and wish we could be there with them. but being here isn't all that bad. >> and all of us here at cnn would like to thank you. we're grateful to you and your families for your continued service. all right. did you get to open all of your presents today? well, some u.p.s. customers are screaming no. that's because the shipping
company couldn't make all of its christmas delivers ies on time d they're responding to people who are still waiting for their presents from santa. what the company is saying. for those of you who did get your presents, well, there's probably at least maybe one you might not be fond of. it's not too early to talk about this just yet, is it? what you need to know before you return your unwanted gift this year. i'm major leslie lattimore with the screaming eagles located at bagram afghanistan. i'd like to wish my husband and my eight children, avery, la tashio, antoinette, darius, jessica, krista, elijah, and laila a very merry christmas and a happy new year and i look forward to seeing you soon. i love you. store knows how to he a saturday crowd. ♪ [ male announcer ] the parking lot helps
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real estate in hong kong, and the optics industry in germany? 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. the price of a u.s. stamp is going up by 3 cents. it will now cost 49 cents to mail a first class letter. the postal commission approved the rate hike yesterday to offset massive losses incurred during the 2008 recession. it takes effect january 26th.
until then you can stock up on those 46 cent forever stamps to save a few pennies. u.p.s. meantime angered scores of customers this christmas day because many of their packages didn't get to their destinations on time. some are still at the warehouse waiting to be shipped and delivered by santa. u.p.s. blames it on a volume backlog. they had more packages than they could handle. margaret conley is live in new york with some answers and a response from u.p.s. margaret, how did this happen? >> reporter: fred, u.p.s., they're off today for christmas. they decided to not call in their drivers to work the holiday today but they'll be back first thing tomorrow for delivers. they said they're sorry. here is more from their statement. u.p.s. is experiencing heavy holiday volume and making every effort to get packages to their destination. however, the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding christmas so some shipments were delayed. to give you a sense of how many
packages u.p.s. handles, they projected to deliver over 132 million packages just last week. that's their peak week. delays will impact at least that many customers, and here's how some of them are reacting. >> i can't tell you how many countless hours we have spent on the phone dealing with this issue with people in memphis, and they're still blaming it on the ice storm which was 2 1/2 weeks ago. it's terribly disappointing because we ordered these things on december 1st. they can't find them there's because there's 1,000 packages on pallets in there and they can't find our package. >> we got to the phone after waiting for an hour and they said it hasn't been processed yet. >> it's been there since the 8th. >> people are also venting on twitter and facebook. no response we're seeing comments from u.p.s. workers themselves. one said they all work really hard and people just have too high expectations. >> oh, boy. how did a u.p.s. manage to under
estimate the volume of deliv deliveridelivery this time of year? >> we've seen delays in the past but this seems different. a u.p.s. spokesperson said some of the factors in addition to the weather was the time period between thanksgiving and christmas was shorter and also that more people are shopping online. >> those online retailers they have to be upset, too, because it means customers women takewi take it out on them. >> and also small business owners. we're hearing that they are complaining, they're putting their comments up on facebook because they rely on the supplies from u.p.s. some companies are offering help. amazon alerted customers to what they say is, quote, the failure of the u.p.s. transportation network. amazon will refund shipping charges and give out gift cards. know that u.p.s. workers will be out there first thing tomorrow morning thursday making the rounds. >> okay.
so just christmas is going to be stretched out a little bit in some households. >> it's a good thing, right? >> right. margaret conley, thanks so much. merry christmas. perhaps you received a gift on time but it's not the one that you wanted or not the perfect fit. >> reporter: it's not over at the malls yet. after the holiday shopping rush comes the holiday return dash. not every gift is a perfect fit, and stores understand that. still, many retailers have adopted stiffer return policies that many consumers encounter only once per year. return fraud can be costly for stores to the tune of almost $9 billion per year according to the national retail federation. of that total, stores will lose an estimated $3.39 billion just during the holiday season. it's become even more crucial for consumers to read the fine print on a gift receipt before heading to the store. consumer reports suggests
looking for the length of the return window and whether holiday gifts get an extension. certain items carry a restocking fee common for electronics and be mindful that some things like video games and movies can't be returned once opened. kiplinger's personal finance also reminds returning shoppers to bring their state-issued i.d. to the store. a retailer may ask for it, especially if you don't have a receipt. it's just one step stores are taking to identify repeat return offenders. for consumer watch, i'm karin caifa. coming up, 2013 was a big year for tech from snap chat to the smart watch. new gadgets and apps were a huge part of our lives. so the big question, now what? we're giving a preview of the amazing gadgets of next year. you don't want to miss it. and another stranded cruise ship, but this one is stuck in ice. what rescuers are going to get passengers out next. doing to get
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just who created this. a huge underground tunnel, they say, was used for smuggling. they discovered the entrance to the tunnel covered by beer boxes. from one end to the other, the tunnel stretches 130 feet long. inside a system of pulleys and ropes which police say were used for smuggling. chinese authorities are still investigating the case. and happening right now in the frozen antarctic. a race to rescue a stranded ship reportedly with dozens of passengers on board. these pictures were tweeted out by the australian maritime safety authority. it is coordinating the search for the russian flagged vessel. jennifer gray is in studio with more on this. jennifer, exactly where is this part of antarctic? >> they're way down in antarctica. we'll zoom down on where they are. it's a research vessel. where they're stranded now is about 100 nautical miles east of their starting location. now, there are about 74 people
on board the vessel. seems like they're pretty comfortable. this is a huge vessel. three ships with ice breaking capability have been called to respond to the ship, but it looks like the closest ship is at least two sailing days away. so they're going to be stuck in the ice for a couple days. their spirits seem high though. they have been tweeting a little bit from the vessel and one gentleman on board, if we have that graphic, said they are all good. they feel like they're stranded like sailors of old is what he said. so they are keeping high spirits and it looks like they're going to be okay for a couple days if everything can go as planned and they can get rescued. >> it's good they're optimistic but they have a pretty good sense of the region and where they are. so they knew this was a possibility, right? >> yeah. actually it is a research vessel. the vessel is capable of navigating through the ice. in the southern hemisphere,
they're experiencing their summer. you think of antarctica, you think they musting cold, but really temperatures, a lot of areas in the u.s. are colder than antarctica. as long as they can keep their spirits high, they'll be good to go. >> and hopefully that rescue team gets there in about two days. that way they'll keep their smiles. any longer than that, probably no smiles. all right, jennifer gray, thanks so much. appreciate it. a british code breaker who deciphered messages during world war ii has received a royal pardon. nearly 60 years after he committed suicide. allen touring was best known for developing a code breaking device that deciphered messages encoded by german machines. his work is considered by many to have sayed thousands of lives. paul mason from itn has more. >> allen touring led the team that cracked enigma, the coding machine at the haeart of the nai
war effort. touring who had designed a computer on paper as early as 1936 built and programmed a vast calculator. its achievement was measured in lives. >> it's been said that 11 million people a year were dying during the second world war, so the work that was done there shortened the war by two years so that's 22 million lives that were saved. >> reporter: after the war he worked on the first computers while engineers were still struggling to make the len tronices work, he began developing art tishl electronics. but he was gay and though a gay life existed underground in the '50s, it was illegal. convicted of gross indecency, he avoided prison by agreeing to so-called chemical cass stration. he committed suicide in 1954 eating a cyanide poisoned apple. >> it was a crime for him and 50,000 other gay and bisexual men, but sadly they are not getting a pardon, he is.
the law should not be selective. >> reporter: touring was hounded to his death for doing something millions of people now do legally and openly. in the process britain lost a war hero and one of its greatest minds. the man who made computing possible is finally and officially no longer a criminal. >> and our thanks to reporter paul mason from itn on that incredible story. coming up next, if you're unwrapping some new gadgets today, well, just wait until you see what next year brings. our experts give us their predictions for the hottest tech friends of 2014. ç= [ male announcer ] this is jim,
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call 1-888-xarelto or visit goxarelto.com. few things help us better track the passing years like technology. the '70s brought us those giant greg brady style headphones. the sony walkman got big in the '80s. what a feeling to bring our music wherever we went. and the '90s saw the growth of the cell phone, kind of overgrown there at first. it was a bit like talking into a brick. what can we expect for 2014? i have two tech experts who have
gazed into their silicon ball. christina warren from m mashable.com. christina, what do you think the biggest, hottest damage jet is likely to be? >> the biggest gadget i'm thinking the xbox 1 and playstation 4. they're both two consoles that are going to have a big life ahead. so it's something you can get now but also has a platform in place that's going to be really great for really the next decade and it's going to help define i think what the living room looks like over the next ten years. >> so it's really going to evolve and we will, too, along with it. mark, how about you? >> well, although the concept behind it is very polarizing, i think google glass will be the most exciting tech innovation of 2014. this is a wearable computer that
looks like a pair of eyeglasses at first glance but it allows you to do almost anything your smartphone or home computer can do with a smart screen hovering above your right eye. there are security concern was a product like this, but you have one of the biggest tech companies in the world putting a lot of money behind it. i think it's going to be very exciting next year. >> let's look at the people or companies behind some of the exciting types of tech you mentioned we should be keeping an eye out for in 2014. mark, you first. who or what should we be looking out for? >> well, i think the usual suspects, samsung, apple, facebook, google, and twitter. yesterday's twitter price just jumped 8.5% closing at almost $70 a share. certainly those guys are big. in terms of people instead of companies, evan spe gel, the 23-year-old ceo and co-founder of snap chat who allegedly turned down a $4 billion, billion with a "b," buyout offer
from facebook. i'd love to see where snap chat is going in 2014 or what else evan is and his partner are cooking up behind closed doors. so i think that for sure evan is one i want to keep my eye on. >> christina, who is going to be hot? >> like mark, i think all the big companies, your apples, samsungs, are things to keep an eye on. i would say elon musk, what he's doing with tesla and some of the stuff around spacex and what he's doing to transform the way we -- transportation in general and some of his bigger ideas for even recreating highways. i think he's one of those visionaries i can't wait to see what he does in 2014. >> it's exciting time with tech just changing just ever so quickly. at the same time, mark, just when you get excited about something, you make a purchase, it becomes obsolete within a matter of weeks if not days, and so what's a consumer to do when
it comes down to making choices about like you mentioned the playstation 4, the xbox or even google glass because you make a big investment and suddenly something else kind of upstages it. >> it's a valid concern that many people have. you know, number one, do your research. make sure you read not just critic reviews from guys like me but also read consumer reviews of products before you make an investment. and then i guess the second tip is you could always wait until something better comes around and it always will and it will always be cheaper with more features. so the trick is to just jump in when you've got the budget to do so and you feel good that it's a highly rated product that you really will get alo lot of use . otherwise wait until the next iteration. >> christina, do you see in 2014 while all of this technology is evolve, it's becoming much more accessible because the price point might come down to 2014? >> i think that's definitely
part of it. not only will prices come down but companies are also seeing what works and what doesn't. you take a category like wearables that had a rocky 2013, some of the things worked, some of them didn't. i think what's great about technology is companies are able to make changes quickly. a product we see today that isn't that great can become something really exciting into the next year. i think wearables is one of the categories that will take off even if people weren't as accepting of some of the smart watches and devices and things like google glass this year. >> christina and mark, merry christmas and happy new year. >> merry christmas. >> thank you, and to you. next, it's the season to be with family and friends, right? but for american soldiers overseas that can be very challenging. this christmas we've made it a little easier for one solder in afghanistan to connect with his family right here at home. all straight ahead. mine was earned orbiting the moon in 1971.
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. ♪ [ 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.
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. a pair of rockets fired by the taliban have struck the united states embassy in afghanistan. no reports of casualties but it was a horrific christmas morning for the hundreds of diplomats and aid workers based at the compound. they were sent scrambling into
fortified bunkers. heavily armed u.s. marines are ready to move at a moment's notice to rescue americans caught up in a bloody and brutal conflict in south sudan. amid reports of mass graves and ethnic killings, more international forces are now arrivin arriving, including 50 u.s. marines. they're spending their christmas stationed in nearby uganda ready to go in to help evacuate any americans still in the south. joining me now cnn correspondent fred pleitgen. we know the u.n. security council voted unanimously to send troops, thousands more troops into south sudan. so how bad are things getting there? >> reporter: well, they're getting pretty bad. what's going on is that the fighting is spreading and the fighting is getting worse. there are haeveavy clashes in t north of the country which is significant because the north of south sudan has some major oil
fields and the oil fields are the main source of revenue for that country. what's happening is that these clashes are getting more intense and they're also getting more and more ethnic. it's the two main tribes pitted against each other. one led by the country's president, the other led by the country's former vice president who was sacked earlier this year. the u.s. is trying to step in sending high level diplomats over there and telling these two sides you have to sort out your differences before this tears the country apart. there are many people who believe that could happen, that genocide could happen, mass killings could happen. there are already reports out there of summary executions. there's one mass grave that have been confirmed by the united nations. several others that have yet to be confirmed but there are reports out there other mass graves have been found. the u.n. is sending thousands of additional troops to protect civilians. tens of thousands are on the run. the u.s. is protecting its assets there as well. >> thanks so much, fred pleitgen. keep us posted on that.
now, coming up -- >> i haven't seen him in close to eight months, and right before i left my little boy was born, so it will be quite interesting to see them again. >> they are separated by an ocean, but we brought them a little closer together this very special christmas celebration with one military family next. [ male announcer ] this is george. the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪
airfield. >> we want to wish our family and friends a very merry christmas. >> and happy new year. and we'll see new 2014. >> we love and miss you. >> christmas is a time to spend with family and friends but there are thousands of u.s. troops who are so far away from home, stationed overseas, waking up in a military base today away from their families. and all they want to do is come home. well, one army veteran is trying to fulfill that dream. pentagon correspondent barbara starr reports. >> i'm colonel dave southerland. i'm a veteran with great pride. i am a father, i am a husband, i am an uncle, i am a son, i am an american soldier, i serve for you. i fought with you. and i would die for you. >> reporter: dave southerland led 5,000 troops in iraq. we first met him on patrol in 2007. >> they were sick and tired of al qaeda. >> reporter: now retired, his
journey to serve continues with one passion, helping veterans coming home. >> we believe in everything we do that our veterans, our military families, our families of the fallen can thrive where they live. >> reporter: a journey of absolute commitment he's made with colleague ken mitchell, a former naval officer. they are here talking to veterans and veterans' advocates. >> something in my heart told me that this is what i was meant to do. kiv given my background, given the fact that the only reason i'm here is because of the vietnam veterans. >> reporter: they left military service in 2012 and opened up the dixon center working with communities across the country organizing locally-based help with jobs, education, and housing. >> this is the new approach that everyone is looking towards, more local community-based organizations to help veterans which is essentially going to be
the answer for all of the things that the va hasn't been able to cover. >> reporter: he knows how bad the post-traumatic stress can get. >> pretty much destroying my life but it was the common issues like the anger, the sleepless nights, the substance abuse. >> reporter: army veteran david bar, now a social worker. he and southerland hope to work together. bar says veterans like him often feel alone when they come home. >> you're going to need a community. you're going to need a town. you're going to need to block, you're going to need a neighborhood. >> southerland and mitchell have gone to more than 500 communities across the country organizing local help on their journey born of grief and hope. dixon center is named after stf sergeant donnie dixon killed before southerland's eyes on an iraq patrol. kim's journey born of the
vietnam war. >> that's one last survivor carrying a bundle, a hat with a baby wrapped up in a towel. he had found me along the side of the road clinging to the body of a dead woman. >> reporter: kim was adopted by an american service member. last year after reading an article about her, that vietnamese soldier now living in new mexico found her again. we meet up on skype. he tells us it was beyond belief she was the baby he saved. he could not imagine how she survived. dave southerland and kim mitchell strongly believe veterans can do more than just survive. they can thrive in the communities where they live. so this holiday season if you see a veteran, stop and ask them how they're doing. barbara starr, cnn, the pentagon. and here at home at cnn we want to do something a little bit special for one of those
heroes serving in kabul, afghanistan, this christmas. navy lieutenant yuriel maceas hasn't seen his family since june so we connected them to his family more than 7,000 miles away. >> right before i left my little boy was born, so it will be quite interesting to see them again when i redeploy. >> and so, angela, how about you? you're message to your husband right now? >> we miss him dearly. it's been really a hectic year without him. the little one is now eight months. as you can see, he's grown a lot since you left. >> so, angela, how was christmas morning today? maybe you can fill yuriel in on what it was like in the house this morning. >> honestly a little quiet. just shareing time together and
opening gifts in the morning with the children. today with his absence, a little sad, quiet, and it was just me and the kids. >> and natalie, as the big sister there, what was it like for you in the household? how did you try to, you know, keep it festive or, you know -- what were your thoughts about your dad have morning? >> it's different. it's just hard because -- really loves him and so does he. just saying papi. [ inaudible ]. >> and yuriel what is it like now to hear your kids and your wife? you're many miles apart but in a small kind of way we've brought you together. maybe the distance doesn't seem so far right now, does it?
>> it's almost like i'm almost there. i can actually kind of hear my dog barking in the background, too. so it's kind of nice. it's very nice actually to see them all together and thank you for doing this. i really appreciate it. >> and so, lieutenant, what kind of traditions were carried out at the base this this morning f the many other troops that are with you? >> they did a nice breakfast. and nice dinner. the upper officers were the ones serving the dinner to the enlisted. it was nice to see the christmas dinner being served by the officers and colonels and captains and all the other people we report to on a daily basis. >> and good news is, the lieutenant will be home from afghanistan next month. congrats to all of them. and merry christmas. up next, oklahoma tornadoes
destroyed a school in sessions. a nor'easter that packed 80-mile-per-hour winds, and four feet of snow in south dakota, just as fall was beginning. these were just a few of the top ten weather events of 2013. we've got number one next. iremes 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.
hey, jksonville. class of '04. mom, happy holidays. no tears. i'll be home soon. keep my family safe and go jaguars. a thousand-year flood and nearly 300-mile-an-hour tornado and a typhoon that destroyed millions of homes. mind boggling numbers of the stories we've covered this year. chad meyers counts down the top ten. >> 2013 was quite a year weather-wise. let's go to the top ten weather stories right now. number 10 in mexico, twin hurricanes hitting that country, one from the gulf of mexico, the other from the pacific. 5 billion in damage. more than 100 people killed in that flooding. now to south dakota, 12 days into autumn. we're looking at this. four feet of snow,
70-mile-per-hour winds. 20,000 cattle were killed in this storm as ranchers were caught offguard. now to the northeast. the nor'easter, a big storm back in february. 83-mile-per-hour winds at one point. but the pressure was equal to a category 2 hurricane. now to arizona where the wildfires struck. lightning strike north of phoenix created this wildfire. it grew to 6,000 acres. the granite mountain hot shots were sent in, the wind shifted directions on them and blew the fire right back at the firefighters. 19 died that day. that's the largest loss of life for firefighters since 9/11. to east asia, big dome of high pressure. very populated area here. s shimonto japan, no city had been that hot on any day on any summer since they were keeping records.
oklahoma city, 210-mile-per-hour tornado, an ef-5 headed to moore, oklahoma. moore, oklahoma, right here, and it was coming in from the west. and we knew it was moving into a populated area. we watched it live on cnn from our local affiliates and broadcast it live to the world. and that school is plaza towers. it took a direct hit. seven children were killed in that school. but look at the damage that that school had. now, on to el ren oh. i was there 11 days later. this is a 2.6-mile wide tornado that moved to the southeast for a while. but when it got very strong, almost 300 miles per hour with some mobile doppler mobile units, it turned to the left. caught a lot of storm chasers out of where they thought they should be. in a very pad position. that white line is where it should have gone. but it didn't do that, it turned to the left. even the weather channel was right there. their storm chase vehicle was hit by this tornado.
but sadly, tim samaras and his vehicles was killed in that tornado. 17 inches of rain in eight days. 9 inches of rain in 24 hours. when you get that kind of rain in the mountains it will run off. the rain came down, and it ran down the mountains. and washed away towns, washed away bridges and roads. there was significant damage all the way into boulder. also had very effective video. look at this video. we watched this for hours, as they rescued people out of some of these creeks and streams, these high-water rescues, for a couple of days. now we go to india. 15 inches of rain in 24 hours. and look what happened here. these towns were eaten alive by the water. washed away into the rivers here. one building after another. there were religious pilgrims in
the area as well, and more than 5,000 of them died. now on to europe. this isn't a flash flood like we've seen in the past two, this is a long-term rain event. it rains in the mountains, and it rains in the plains, and it all gets down into the rivers. and the rivers there in europe went up. the danube, the rhine, all at historic record levels. they've been keeping records for some of these rivers since 1501. even broke those records. all those ancient cities hit by this flood. now to number one, super typhoon hi haiyan. the strongest storm to ever make landfall in recent history. a 200-mile-per-hour super typhoon. we had 20-foot storm surge. 6,000 people died as a 200-mile-per-hour wind rolled through tacloban, also with that 20-foot storm surge, there are still 2,000 people missing. there are millions of people
that don't have homes right now. still in the philippines. all of this happened in a year that the ipcc put out their climate report, those are the climate gurus for the united nations, and they say we're going to have more heat waves in the future, more floods and more droughts because of climate change. maybe what we think of right now as extreme weather might just be the new normal. >> all right. chad, thanks so much. some production companies are hoping the bad weather holds off as people head to the theaters. several big movies are opening today, including martin scorsese's "wolf of wall street." and grunge match, and ben stiller, in the secret life of walter mitty. before we go, take a look at this. it's going to make you hungry. it's the gingerbread white
house. it doesn't even look real, does it? in the making. it's big. 300 pounds big. the detail is incredible. it's art. it's even a working water fountain that is installed there, to wash down the big bites of the oval office. the gingerbread white house is entirely edible. voila! there it is. that's going to do it for me. merry christmas to everybody out there. i'm fredricka whitfield. i'll see you tomorrow earlier in the day. newsroom with dana bash is next. in the "cnn newsroom," taliban rockets shake a u.s. embassy christmas peace. also -- >> a child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. >> a most unusual christmas greeting from the leaker who touched off the nsa spying scandal. plus, today's new surprise from the pope.