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Buried Alive Nearly 12 Days; Haiti's Paradise Lost; The GOP's New Star; Oil Spill at Texas Port; Conan Says Goodbye
Aired January 23, 2010 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Wolf.
Tonight, the ultimate survival story, buried alive for nearly two weeks. Are there more like him in Haiti, even though those in charge have moved on from rescue to recovery?
Meet Mr. Brown, Massachusetts' new senator, the Republican version of Barack Obama. Is he the GOP's man come 2012?
Plus, a CNN special investigation tonight, a Nigerian man, about questions about racial profiling -- a story about that Christmas Day security threat that you won't hear anywhere else except for here on CNN.
And his rich, sultry voice oozed seduction and sexuality. One of the world's best soul singers laid to rest today. We're going to talk about that.
You know, we're going to start with some breaking news. It's just in to CNN.
You know that big telethon for Haiti last night, Hope for Haiti -- you saw it on all of the networks. CNN was proud to be part of it. It raised a record-breaking -- get this -- $58 million to aid the country's earthquake recovery. We're going to have more on that in just a minute. That's a whole lot of money going there.
But first, we want to tell you about this man, perhaps one of the luckiest people alive. Almost exactly 12 days after he was buried beneath tons of concrete, bricks and wood in Port-au-Prince, the young hotel clerk was pulled out alive not long ago. And perhaps even more incredible, he had no serious injuries.
CNN's Hala Gorani was there when he emerged alive from the ruins of the Hotel Napoli Inn.
Hala, what can you tell us? We're hearing that he is now at a makeshift hospital and we've seen some pictures of him.
HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. We'll get to that in a second.
But, first, I want to tell you and share with you some of the circumstances of this rescue. Several hours before it actually happened we arrived on the scene and French rescue workers told us with some confidence, some degree of confidence, that there was someone tapping and that they verbally communicated with a young man. We then found his brothers who told us his name was Wismond Jean Pierre, a 24-year-old man who was a cashier on the ground floor level of a restaurant hotel called the Napoli Inn.
And a few hours later, with people hoping against hope to be honest, Don, because it is so unlikely for someone to survive for so long, that man was pulled out alive with no visible injuries. And the reason for that, rescuers told us, is because he was entombed in some sort of air pocket that somehow furniture or something around him had prevented crush injuries which could have been devastating for so long.
And there is also a question of whether or not he had access to fluids. All that is going to be determined over the next few days, but you spoke of pictures of him. One of our producers went to the hospital where he's being treated, and if you show that picture right now, you'll see this young man doesn't look like he just spent 11 days buried under a mountain of rubble in an earthquake zone -- Don.
LEMON: Unbelievable. Hala, we wish him well and the big question is: are there more like him? I'm sure that people there are hoping there are more survivors.
What is going on behind you? You're standing in front of one of the tent cities, right? What -- what do we hearing behind you?
GORANI: Well, I asked around and apparently, it's a Protestant repentance day celebration. It's been going on all day. As you know, Haiti is -- the crushing majority of Haitians are Catholics. So, this would be a minority in terms of confessional minority in Haiti. And they're imploring God for forgiveness and they're praying in the aftermath of this devastating earthquake -- and I imagine -- getting together and singing together is something that's comforting to them right now.
LEMON: Hala Gorani on the ground -- thank you so much.
Hala just gave us the story of the 24-year-old, Wesmond Jean Pierre, a hotel clerk, just pulled out almost 12 days after that earthquake, well, shortly after that rescue, just a short time ago, we spoke with a doctor about how someone can survive for that long without being injured.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: How do you survive for 12 days? Because you see, 12 days without food or water, most people say it's pretty much impossible.
DR. PANCHALI DHAR, ANESTHESIOLOGIST (via telephone): Well, main thing is the human body can continue without food for days and weeks. But what the danger lies is not being able to drink water. Everybody has minimum fluid requirements on a daily basis and an hourly basis. But when you're in that kind of heat, you need more water because you're perspiring and you're under rubble. So what happens is in excess to water, your urine output decreases, your kidneys begin to shut down because you want to conserve fluid in your body.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Dr. Panchali Dhar joining us earlier here on CNN.
This story, you're only going to see it here on CNN. When there are events like this, usually, it's focused around the big areas where the media can get some coverage. Most of the coverage of this earthquake focused around the shattered capital, Port-au-Prince.
So, here's what you're not going to see anywhere else. Ivan Watson traveled up the coast to a tiny coastal village that experienced more than just a quake. They actually had a tsunami, and now, their businesses may be wiped out. They're missing people as well.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In English, the name of this beach is "Little Paradise," Petit Paradis. The coastline is stunning, but the villagers here are poor. The earthquake has pushed some of them all but over the edge.
They were overwhelmed this nun when she arrives to distribute food bags, each containing rice, beans and a box of Pop-Tarts. She retreats to her car and the hungry crowd continues to pursue her vehicle.
On the evening of January 12th, Little Paradise was not only hit by an earthquake.
Fisherman Steve Badio (ph) says it was also struck by a tsunami.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
WATSON (on camera): Higher than the tree?
STEVE BADIO (ph), FISHERMAN: Yes.
WATSON (voice-over): He says a huge wave flooded the coast as the ground began to shake. The ocean swept away his father, two nephews and at least four other locals. No one held a funeral because the victims' bodies have not been found.
A lone tree now stands in the water where two weeks ago there was a long stretch of coast. Even though a regional tsunami warning was withdrawn after the big earthquake, weather experts say it's not unusual to have localized tsunamis following a quake of this magnitude.
RENEE EDME, MISSION OF HOPE: Not only was there an earthquake, but the water came through and did a lot more damage as well.
WATSON: Renee Edme is an American missionary who lives in the town next to Little Paradise.
(on camera): Have you seen any help come to your town yet?
EDME: No. We saw the marines land yesterday and that was the beginning of hope for all of us.
WATSON (voice-over): Amphibious vessels have begun arriving here. Marines hope to begin distributing food and water this weekend.
EDME: Appreciate you guys being here. We really do.
WATSON: Some locals seem numb to the events of the last two weeks.
This fisherman lost one of his friends and his house to the tsunami.
"Things are bad. Things are tough," says Jean Frank (ph). "But I'm old and I have to take life as it comes."
So for now, he's just focusing on fixing up his net.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Petit Paradis, Haiti.
LEMON: Again, a story you'll only see right here on CNN.
The numbers are in. And they are huge. Last night's star studded telethon to aid earthquake victims in Haiti -- well, it was a huge success. Millions and millions raised. Details coming up.
Also, where is your money going when it comes to sending aid there?
And after a tough week, President Barack Obama gets real about the future for his health care reform plan. And we're going to meet the man who has vowed to kill it. Scott Brown, just elected in Massachusetts.
Also, it's time for you to weigh in now. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or iReport.com -- send it us to. Get in touch with us. We'll put you on the air.
LEMON: It is being called one of the greatest political upsets of all time. Republican Scott Brown came out of nowhere to win the Massachusetts Senate seat once held by party icon Ted Kennedy. It has really turned the Senate upside down and just given Republicans confidence and it has shaken Democrats, and it has people all across the country comparing Brown to a man who knows something about big election victories.
LEMON (voice-over): A husband but little known state senator, a law school grad with an attractive wife and two beautiful daughters -- sound familiar?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In no other country on earth is my story even possible.
LEMON: It should. Like President Obama, Scott Brown of Massachusetts was a little known state senator who dared to run for the U.S. Senate and despite political odds, surprised everyone and won.
SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR-ELECT: If you would have told me growing up that, you know, a guy whose mom was on welfare and parents had some, you know, marital troubles and, you know, I had some, you know, issues, you know, growing up, a guy from Wrentham would be here, standing before you right now and going to Washington, D.C. -- are you kidding me?
LEMON: Also like the president, Brown's win is historic. Not only does he replace a legendary Ted Kennedy who held the seat for nearly 50 years, he's the first Republican elected to the Senate from Massachusetts in 38 years.
So just hours after his victory, this question...
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Barack Obama, JFK, they started eyeing the White House the day they were elected to the Senate. Do you think your presidential timber?
BROWN: Listen, I don't want to be disrespectful, but I have had no sleep right now. I haven't even -- I haven't even been down to Washington yet. And I don't want to say that's a silly question, but I'm just so thankful for the support that I've received from everybody.
LEMON: When the president did call with congratulations, Brown, also a basketball player, issued a challenge.
BROWN: All kidding aside, I do have a basketball player daughter. I know you play a lot of hoop and I love to -- you pick your best and I'll take Ayla and we'll play two-on-two.
LEMON: Brown's party is in need of a political star, the once promising Sarah Palin no longer holds office. So Brown is poised to become the new face and hope of the GOP, leading many to wonder if this seemingly Republican version of Barack Obama will end up running against him in 2012.
LEMON: Well, from Iraq and Afghanistan to the challenges here at home, including the Republicans and, of course, Scott Brown, make sure you watch CNN next Wednesday to see President Barack Obama deliver his State of the Union address. One year in office, he'll be delivering that, one year in office. Our primetime coverage begins 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
You know, it was once one of the most dangerous and deadly regions in Iraq for American troops. Well, today U.S. Marines officially pulled out of Anbar province, wrapping up their seven-year mission in that region. U.S. military is calling today's pullout a significant milestone.
U.S. Army soldiers will remain in Anbar for now. But today's pullout is considered a big step in the complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. It is first Sunni province to be returned to the control of Baghdad's Shiite-dominated government.
During a visit to Iraq today, Vice President Joe Biden announced the Justice Department will appeal the dismissal of charges against five former Blackwater security guards. Now, the security contractors were guarding U.S. diplomats in Baghdad in 2007 when they opened fire in a crowded intersection killing 17 Iraqis. A federal judge threw out the manslaughter charges last month, saying prosecutors mishandled evidence and violated the guards' constitutional rights.
Biden said the U.S. is determined to, quote, "hold accountable" anyone who commits crimes against the Iraqi people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: While we fully respect the independence and integrity of the U.S. judicial system, we were disappointed by the judges' decision to dismiss the indictment -- which was based on the way in which some evidence had been acquired. A dismissal -- I want to make clear is not an acquittal. And today, I am announcing that the United States government will appeal this decision. Our Justice Department will file that appeal from the judges' decision next week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And the vice president also discussed the upcoming Iraqi elections. More than 500 Iraqi candidates might be banned from the March race because of past links to the outlawed political party of Saddam Hussein.
You know, Americans have opened their wallets and their hearts to help Haitians with donations to the Red Cross, to UNICEF, Wyclef Jean's charity and other -- many, many other charities. But how much of your donation actually goes to those in need of the money most?
We'll show you these three people right here. They donated to three charities. And guess what, we're going to break down their dollars, where their money is going -- coming up. You want to know.
LEMON: So we know this, when disaster strikes, the world's biggest stars show up, using their gifts to raise money and, of course, awareness.
LEMON: I'd say, you know, we know that's Madonna. But some of the biggest names in the music business all showed up in droves last night to donate money to help people -- to get people to donate money for Haiti relief.
So, guess how much? Guess how much? We told you a little bit at the top of the hour -- nearly $60 million. That's a lot of money. This number is expected to be even higher because they're still counting the money and people are still giving.
So, so many of you have given to various charities and others may be considering doing it. You might be considering it. Some people are giving. I keep giving -- give almost every day, and I'll give more.
The common question of concern for those who have given, though, and those who want to give, is, where exactly is my money going? Where is it going?
Tonight, we have three people, three popular charities that we're going to talk about: the Red Cross, UNICEF, and Yele Haiti, which is Wyclef Jean's foundation. If you donated to any of these charities, I'll tell you exactly where your money is going. And we're going to do that through people who have donated to those charities.
There is Melissa Stanforth right there. She donated $25, right? To UNICEF.
Reginald Prince donated 20 bucks to Yele Haiti and says he will continue to do so every month through the end of the year, right?
And Jamie Colvard donated $20 to the Red Cross via the 9099 text.
Thank you for joining us and telling your story. Every little bit counts, even if it's $1.
You know, we talk about how money. You give $25, $15, whatever, that's -- in this economy, right?
MELISSA STANFORTH, UNICEF DONOR: It's tough for college student.
LEMON: It's tough. You're college student.
STANFORTH: It's definitely tough.
LEMON: Concerns from any of you about when you sent the money about where it was going to go, or whether or not you would be scammed.
STANFORTH: I mean, I was definitely worried at first because you hear about scams and, you know, people do anything these days.
REGINALD PRINCE, YELE HAITI DONOR: Yes, also. Just like she said, I was concerned. I wanted to make sure that the money was actually going to help the individuals of Haiti.
LEMON: (INAUDIBLE) same thing?
JAMIE COLVARD, RED CROSS DONOR: I worried about the same thing. Because all the time you hear the money is actually going to fund administration, and those kinds of things. I'd really like to know if my money reaches the Haitian people.
LEMON: All right. Jamie, let's get to it then and talk about the first thing.
OK. Let's bring up Yele -- to show where the money from Yele is going to. And this is the information that we got from Yele.
So, it's -- Yele says 100 percent of the Haiti relief, they're going to go to medical supplies and security for the Yele team. It also goes to food and water. They tell us 100 percent of this, and this is what they're buying: medical supplies, security for Yele team, food and water.
You gave to Yele, right?
PRINCE: I did.
LEMON: You gave to Yele.
PRINCE: I did.
LEMON: So, do you feel -- are you satisfied with that numbers?
PRINCE: I'm satisfied. I'm very satisfied.
LEMON: All right. And going to continue to give and follow up.
PRINCE: I will.
LEMON: OK. All right. Let's move on now and talk about the Red Cross, the Red Cross.
Melissa, you donated -- did you donate to the Red Cross?
STANFORTH: That's Jamie.
LEMON: Jamie, you donated to Red Cross, right?
COLVARD: I did.
LEMON: You donated to the Red Cross -- wearing a red dress, Red Cross.
Here's where your money went, whatever you donated.
OK. So, 91 percent of this goes to Haiti relief -- 50 percent, right, that's 91 percent pretty much of what you give. Fifty percent goes to food and water, right? Thirty percent for blankets, first aid kids, hygiene kits, tents. Twenty percent, trucks, airplanes. Nine percent, Red Cross administrative fee. That's why 91 percent actually goes to Haiti relief. Nine percent goes to Red Cross administrative fees.
What do you think of that? Are you OK with that?
COLVARD: I'm satisfied with that because I know that the Red Cross helps so many people and just to keep the Red Cross afloat, I'm definitely satisfied with that.
LEMON: OK. Very good. So, UNICEF, which I've done a lot of work with UNICEF.
OK, so, let's find out where UNICEF goes. One hundred percent of UNICEF's, all the money that you give, will go to Haiti relief. Here's what they do: tents, school in a box, water purification tablets, blankets, and protein biscuits. They're going to need that water and those protein -- the purification tablets and protein biscuits.
What do you think?
STANFORTH: I really admire UNICEF because they focus on the children and, you know, and stuff we take for granted every day that they need. That was one of the reasons why I chose them.
LEMON: Is there something that you would like to see when it comes to, Melissa, when it comes to where the most -- I know it's 100 percent. Are there other things that you would like to see your dollars go to when it comes to relief?
STANFORTH: Shelter. I mean, you know, making sure they have shelter and anything from, you know, vaccines, you know, immunizations for the children. You know, I can imagine the amount of disease that's going to occur.
PRINCE: I would like to see, you know, the money go toward education and building of the schools. You know, because there is education that the kids need as well.
LEMON: And what about you?
COLVARD: I agree. I mean, especially as far as the diseases go and the immunization. It's so important right now.
LEMON: Yes. I don't have the total information about -- for each organization. Do we have those totals so we can them put up?
All right. Let's start with Yele. Let's go to Yele about how much money is actually been raised. There it is. Is it up there? Yele, it's raised $1 million -- $1 million for Yele. That's a lot of money raised, especially, like I said, in a bad economy.
Let's get the other one up. This is the Red Cross. Red Cross, $34 million.
STANFORTH: That's awesome.
LEMON: Yes. You like that? OK.
And then UNICEF -- UNICEF, $26 million. STANFORTH: That's great.
LEMON: So, then, on top of that, we talked about last night with the stars, $58 million more coming in. It's interesting and it's great that we come together at a time of need as Americans to bail people out.
Does this say something about what we should be doing when there aren't disasters like this in our country?
STANFORTH: You know, you take things for granted every day. You know, fresh drinking water, shelter, you know, all the simple things that we, you know, have, they don't have. So, I think that, you know, something to keep in mind, you know, like, what we take for granted.
LEMON: Yes. Same here?
PRINCE: Same here. I agree.
LEMON: Very well put. Very well put. Thanks to all of you, Reginald, Jamie and Melissa. You guys gave your hard-earned money, student, actor, and then you also work in casting, so we know. Money is hard to come by, but you gave. And those folks need it and you see your money is going to a good place. So, good.
And it's important for our viewers -- I just want to tell you this -- to check out where your money is going. Go to CNN.com/impactyourworld and you'll see a list of reputable agencies where you can go to and donate.
Thank you, guys, again.
You know, it's a sad fact that Haiti has a lot more orphans now than it did 11 days ago. How many hoops would you have to jump through if you want to adopt one of them? We're talking to some experts about that.
And it turns out there is a second Nigerian man on a flight -- on flight 253 on Christmas Day who was on a watch list. And he is talking to CNN.
LEMON: We're going to update you on this. It's just so hard to believe after all this time, against all odds, Wismond Jean Pierre is alive. He was buried for almost 12 days in quake debris in Port-au- Prince. A French rescue team found him today, pulled him out, just a few hours ago, and if he hadn't been rescued today, he might not have made it much longer.
Jean Pierre was a clerk at the Hotel Napoli Inn. And when the building collapsed, he was trapped in a small space. Doctors say, except for dehydration, he has no serious injuries. You know, it was one of most dangerous Iraqi provinces for American forces. Well, today, U.S. Marines officially pulled out of Anbar province, wrapping up a seven-year mission in that region. Some U.S. Army soldiers will remain posted in Anbar, but today's pullout is considered a big step in the complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
Dealing with the deficit that is spiraling out of control -- an idea has been floating to form a task force to do just that, and now, the "Associated Press" says President Obama is endorsing it. The panel would be bipartisan, with 18 members. They would study the problem for most of the year and then release a plan after the November elections. We'll see.
We have new pictures in to CNN right now. It's a shipping accident. It's in Port Arthur, Texas. Look at this. A tank loaded with oil was struck by two barges being towed by a tug boat that put a big gash in that, didn't it? Coast Guard commander Zachary Picket joins us now by telephone for an update. These pictures are unbelievable. What exactly happened here, sir?
VOICE OF COMMANDER ZACHARY PICKETT, U.S. COAST GUARD: Good evening. About 9:30 this morning our vessel traffic service Port Arthur reported a collision between the towing vessel "Dixie Vengeance" and the barge as it was pushing and the 600 foot tank ship "Eagle Otome."
As a result of this collision, the tank vessel "Eagle Otome" sustained damage in the starboard tank and as a result of that, it has spilled some oil, approximately between - estimates of 450,000 pounds and 500,000 gallons.
LEMON: 450, so cleanup, I would imagine, is under way.
PICKETT: Yes, sir. Cleanup is under way. We got a unified command stood up with a lot of first responders here. And we're aggressively pursuing the cleanup operations and doing operations and protecting the sensitive areas.
LEMON: Real quickly, before I get to what's, like, in danger, because this is very dangerous anytime you have an oil spill like this or any sort of spill like this, 450,000 gallons of crude. That's according to the U.S. Coast Guard, so what exactly happened? Did a barge break loose? Or was somebody traveling in the wrong lane there? What happened?
PICKETT: We're going to be investigating that. The Coast Guard along with the National Transportation Safety Board is going to be investigating it. the good news with the vessel traffic service that we have here - we have good pictures, good ability to re-create exactly what happened. And we're interviewing the pilots on board, obviously doing a drug and alcohol testing as well too of anybody that was involved in this particular incident.
LEMON: OK. So what is in danger here? I understand it is a very still part of the water way there, but still, what is in danger?
LEMON: It is. At this point we have done some protective buoying of the sensitive areas, environmentally sensitive areas as well as any type of water intakes for the city of Port Arthur and we're trying to right now, we have got NOAA scientific support determining exactly the state of this oil and where it will potentially move as tide flows in and out.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, Commander Zachary Pickett joining us from Texas. Really appreciate it. Again, these new pictures are just in here to CNN, a shipping accident, Port Arthur, Texas. A tanker loaded with oil struck by two barges being towed by a tug boat. They estimate 450,000 gallons of oil dumped into the water way there. They are investigating.
Now back to other news. Some of the most heart breaking images out of Haiti are of the children. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton got a firsthand look at the destruction and she promises the quake's youngest victims won't be ignored.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: When it comes to children, it is imperative that we closely coordinate with the Haitian government, the United Nations, and our other international partners such as NGOs and faith communities who are on the ground, who are working to ensure that aid reaches Haiti's orphanages and that the newly-orphaned children are accounted for and cared for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: There are many orphans in Haiti who need parents and there are plenty of people in the states who want to adopt them, so they say in the beginning this is happening but if you want to make a Haitian orphan part of your family, it could be a long, drawn out process. You should really think about it before you do it.
So here to simplify it for us is Siri Scott with Carolina Adoption Services. She's joining us live from Raleigh, North Carolina, and from Washington, with Kathleen Strottman with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Thank you so much.
So let's start with you, Kathleen. How hard is it to adopt from Haiti and how long will this process take, especially with what's going on now?
KATHLEEN STROTTMAN, CONGRESSIONAL COALITION ON ADOPTION INSTITUTE: Well, before the earthquake took place it was on average of two to three-year process for families who are adopting Haitian orphans. And that's been pretty consistent for the last couple of years. So you could expect with the disaster that it may be even longer.
LEMON: So again, so how long you said -
STROTTMAN: Two to three years.
LEMON: Two to three years.
STROTTMAN: Yes. LEMON: Do you think - I don't know should there be some sort of system or is there a system in place for this to be expedited?
SIRI SCOTT, CAROLINA ADOPTION SERVICES: What we're looking at right now is any family who have been matched with children in Haiti, those children are going through the process of having a humanitarian parole so they can come home to the families in the United States and have their adoption process completed here.
As for adoptions moving forward, it may be six months to a year before we know exactly how that process is going to work. We hope in light of the crisis, though, that some of the time frames will get a little bit shorter once the government is up and running in Haiti again.
LEMON: So as I said, and you can jump in here, Kathleen, do you feel that there should be - I was having a debate with two - a discussion, not really a debate, a discussion with two gentlemen about an hour ago on immigration. So is this something that we may need to look into, the adoption policy, and in times like this, how you speed along, expedite the process when people are really in need, Kathleen?
STROTTMAN: Absolutely. When you have a disaster like this, it is a perfect opportunity, particularly when the international focus is on assisting the Haitian government in moving forward. We should be prepared to help them develop a child welfare system that can get children out of institutions where it is not in their best interest to be and into loving families. And as much as we can work with our own immigration process to make sure that is happening, the better.
LEMON: Yes. You know what, Kathleen, there are groups who are saying - there is one group saying you should not - that children from Haiti should not be allowed to come here. They should halt adoptions. What is that all about?
STROTTMAN: Well, unfortunately there is a little bit of a division in the communities that work on this issue. There are people who think that to keep a child in a country is the first and foremost goal. And they will do that even if it means putting them in an institution.
Organizations like mine firmly believe that a best place for a child to be raised is in a safe, loving and permanent family. And, of course, that is best in the country to which they're born. And so you should try things like domestic adoption and guardianship and kinship.
LEMON: But that's not reality.
LEMON: That won't happen. So Siri, how do you respond to that? Do you think that adoption should be halted? Obviously not.
SCOTT: No but we do believe that every effort should be made to reunify children with family members that are able to care for those children. And if that is not possible, a child will only languish in an institution. They really should be in a safe, loving home whether that be in their country of origin or in the United States with a family that could love and provide for them.
LEMON: All right. So now we have gotten out of red tape sort of thing. So is there an issue among any group that you know or yourselves to try to get this moved along real quickly?
SCOTT: The Joint Council for International Children's Services is working to really progress any children who have already been matched.
LEMON: But you said that is still going to be about six months before they can figure it out. Kathleen, what about you?
STROTTMAN: No, I mean, I think what we're trying to do is figure out if we can present an opportunity where children can get out of these camps and be placed into foster homes, preferably in Haiti, but if it had to be somewhere else, all the better.
LEMON: Maybe we have touched on something that needs to be explored here. OK. So let's really talk about the reality. I mean, if you see these images and you don't feel for these children, I know it is a cliche, but you don't really have a heart, right? So whose heart does it break when you see these children and, you know, everybody thought about it, even I, oh my gosh, maybe I should adopt one of these kids, the kid would have a great life.
But you really have to think this through because they're cute kids now, but they won't always be kids, they're going to become adults. There is a responsibility there. They have to acclimate to becoming, you know, an American society and so on and so forth. So it is - once you decide, then it is a commitment.
SCOTT: It is absolutely a commitment. It is a life. And you're choosing to bring somebody into your life for their entire lives. And it should not be treaded upon lightly.
LEMON: Kathleen, last word very quickly, if you will.
STROTTMAN: I was going to say even though it is a commitment, any adoptive parent will tell you it is the best commitment they ever made.
LEMON: Very well put and a great way to end it. Thanks. Siri and Kathleen, we appreciate it.
STROTTMAN: Thank you. Good night.
LEMON: Thank you. Good night.
Signing off for the last time as "Tonight Show" host, just seven months. Conan O'Brien plays it straight, as he gives up the job he's always wanted. We'll tell you what he had to say last night.
And our Jacqui Jeras here with a preview of the weather. Hey, Jacqui,
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey there, Don. Just when you thought it quieted down in California, we've got pictures to show you of a funnel cloud that was there today. We'll have the latest on when the next storm arrives, plus flooding in the east. That's coming up with your forecast.
LEMON: Yes, security watch because security officials in Britain say a terrorist attack is highly likely but they stopped short of saying the attack was imminent. Yesterday, the terror alert level in the U.K. was raised to its severe, its second highest. That matches the alert level right here in the United States.
British authorities said there was no specific intelligence of any planned attack, but they urged citizens to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities. Let's turn now to weather, right here in the United States, bad out west, bad in the middle, probably going to get -
JERAS: And in the east.
LEMON: And in the east. Tomorrow is really - the big punch is coming tomorrow in the east.
JERAS: Yes, tomorrow is going to be a really ugly day in the east. All those western storms making their way across the country. So everybody is getting in a little bit on that action. Check out these pictures, Don. Oh, my goodness, yes, that is a tornado. Or a funnel cloud as you can see. Look right there, in the middle of your screen. You'll see the funnel.
David Evans sent these to us. This happened about 1:30, 2:00 in the morning there in - I'm sorry, in the afternoon, in California. This was in the Brentwood area. There you can see a similar photo there with the funnel.
We got another one courtesy of John Fink. Can we look at John's photos? Those are pretty impressive as well. Here you can see the road down there and you can see the nice funnel. No reports of an official touchdown or any damage. So that was some good news. This was just an isolated cell that we had. Still some spotty showers around the bay area. And there you can see nothing terribly strong, that one cell right there moved towards Stockton and just dissipated and pulled out of the area.
For the most part, California getting a break now through the weekend. So, yey, weekend, much better weather. But we do have another storm which is lined up in the Pacific. And this one is going to be slamming, we think, late Monday and into Tuesday across southern California.
Look at that big swirl you can see that. And then yet another storm, we think, will hit on Friday. Neither of these is strong as what we saw earlier in the week. Let's show you what's going on in the nation's midsection now and show you. This was our western storm here. We're concerned about these thunderstorms down here across the Arklatex region. Nice line there, not severe, but we could see some nasty wind gusts, maybe 50 miles per hour or so, so be aware of that.
And tomorrow, we got the flood watches lined up already from Vermont all the way down towards the Florida panhandle. We could see a good one to three inches of rainfall out of this storm. And a few severe ones as well into the southeast. So it is going to be a real ugly mess if anybody is trying to have a nice weekend outdoors, not going to happen for a lot of you.
LEMON: Wouldn't you know it? Just in time for the weekend and for the commute on Monday morning. All right. Thank you, Jacqui.
It turns out there was a second Nigerian man on flight 253 on Christmas day, and that man was on a watch list. He talked with our CNN investigation unit Abbi Boudreau, his story - you don't want to miss it, just ahead.
LEMON: The world first met Neda Sultan as she was dying, fatally shot during protests over Iran's election back in June. The images of her - well it made her a martyr, a symbol of the Iranian people's growing anger with their own government. Today Neda would have turned 27 years old.
But her death hasn't stopped people from celebrating her life. Our I- reporter, her name is Faresbleh (ph) shot this picture, these pictures in London today, people who never even knew Neda coming together for her birthday. And it wasn't just a birthday party, but also a form of protest there, really. There were shots fired right outside the Iranian embassy in London.
Two Nigerian born men, one a Muslim turned extremist, the other a Christian by birth, both on the same Christmas day flight, both on the government's U.S. government's radar. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is accusing - is accused, I should say, of trying to blow up flight 253 before it landed in Detroit.
But there was another passenger the government had its eye on, on that same flight. And CNN's special investigation unit correspondent Abbi Boudreau has a story you won't see anywhere else.
ABBI BOUDREAU, SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Don, two Nigerian born men, one a Muslim turned extremist, the other a Christian by birth. Both on the same Christmas day flight, both on the U.S. government's radar. One man the public now knows well as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The young man authorities say was prepared to take down the Detroit-bound flight 253. But there was another passenger, the U.S. government had its eye on.
EMMANUEL CHUKWU: I was coming home to the U.S. to see my family to celebrate Christmas and my birthday with them.
BOUDREAU (voice-over): Emmanuel Chukwu born in Nigeria on Christmas day. A former mechanical engineer at Ford and now a U.S. citizen and a father of four.
(on camera): You have a Nigerian passport and a U.S. passport? CHUKWU: Yes.
BOUDREAU: And you have made this trip between the United States and Nigeria many, many time?
CHUKWU: Yes. For me, about 20 times or more.
BOUDREAU: Really, dating back how far?
CHUKWU: 1995 when I immigrated to the United States.
BOUDREAU: OK. And this is Emmanuel's boarding pass from the flight on Christmas day, flight 253.
CHUKWU: As the pilot announced the descent into the Detroit area, there was this sound, pow.
BOUDREAU (voice-over): Five rows directly in front of Emmanuel Chukwu, an explosive device ignites.
CHUKWU: Then people start screaming there is smoke, there is smoke.
BOUDREAU (on camera): The plane lands and what goes through your mind?
CHUKWU: I just say thank you for my life.
BOUDREAU (voice-over): Alive but soon under scrutiny. His name and travel records flash red flags to government officials on the ground. CNN learned Emmanuel Chukwu was tracked in a massive database called TECS.
CHUKWU: They were picking people at random for questioning.
BOUDREAU (on camera): Did they say if you were part of any sort of government database that tracks people when they fly or travel?
CHUKWU: Not at all. Not at all.
BOUDREAU (voice-over): The government database houses everything from immigration violation and criminal records to watch lists and flight manifests.
Kathy Kraninger, a former Homeland security official and now a security consultant explains.
KATHY KRANINGER, FMR. HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIAL: TECS really is the backbone of the mainframe, the operating system for customs and border protection that has the information from other law enforcement agencies so that it can be accessed by law enforcement generally speaking.
BOUDREAU: A hit on text would be an immediate flag for additional screening.
(on camera): They patted you down? CHUKWU: Yes, they patted me down, took all my documents, my wallet. You know, they went through my wallet, went through everything. (INAUDIBLE) My wife is pregnant.
BOUDREAU (voice-over): Nine months pregnant, his wife JaneFrances, waits at home for word.
JANEFRANCES CHUKWU, WIFE: The children were asking where their father was. The plane was supposed to land by 11:40.
BOUDREAU: Meanwhile the FBI's questions get tough.
CHUKWU: They asked me if I was ready to take a polygraph test. I said, of course, why not.
BOUDREAU (on camera): Did you take a polygraph?
BOUDREAU: Then Emmanuel Chukwu says he may know why he is in the government database.
CHUKWU: In 2008, September 2008, when I was going back to Nigeria, I left here with my gun, a gun I bought here in the U.S., official purchase.
BOUDREAU: A gun.
CHUKWU: Yes. I had this gun and I want to take it with me. What is the procedure for taking this gun?
BOUDREAU: So you were calling customer service from the airline to try to get information on how do I transport a gun?
BOUDREAU: -- from the U.S. and Nigeria?
BOUDREAU: Emmanuel Chukwu says he packed the unloaded shotgun as instructed in his checked luggage. But when his flight landed in the Netherlands, Dutch authorities stopped him.
CHUKWU: They stopped me. You have a gun in your bag. I say yes, I know I have a gun in my bag.
BOUDREAU: Why did you buy a gun to go to Nigeria?
CHUKWU: I needed it for my own personal protection.
BOUDREAU: Personal protection.
(voice-over): It is illegal for ordinary citizens to carry fire arms without permission in both the Netherlands and Nigeria. Dutch authorities confirmed the incident and that Emmanuel Chukwu was arrested and charged with carrying a gun. He was let go within days and given a two-year probation.
(on camera): Did they ask you the questions about the gun on Christmas?
CHUKWU: Oh, yes, they did.
BOUDREAU: It's unclear whether a record of the gun incident or other risk factors like Emmanuel Chukwu's travel patterns and personal profile triggered his secondary screening in Detroit. The department of Homeland Security will not comment. Emmanuel Chukwu's wife says her husband is no terrorist.
JANEFRANCES CHUKWU: What I know is that my husband is not going to harm anybody, has never harmed anybody. I hope that they put the right people in the database so that, you know, they will be able to catch the people that will cause harm to the United States.
BOUDREAU: Just to be clear, Emanuel Chukwu was not the only person on the plane to get a secondary screening after flight 253 landed. He tells us there were a handful of other who were also questioned, most of them were men. They were in their 20s and 30s and he says just about all of them had darker skin. Emanuel Chukwu tells CNN the additional screenings will not stop him from flying to his homeland. Don.
LEMON: Abbi, thank you so much for that.
Hey, listen just before the story I told you a story about Neda Sultan, it would be her birthday, She was killed during the Iranian uprising last year. and it completely my fault. I said there were shots fired. Not shots fired. The pictures were shot outside of the Iranian embassy. Misread the copy. Totally my fault. I apologize for that. Blame anyone, blame me.
All right. Let's move on now. Talking about Conan O'Brien. He said he got to hold his dream job but it was only for seven months he got to do it. He signed off last night for the last time as "Tonight Show" host and he got serious about his life in the spotlight.
LEMON: It seemed like his final days on "The Tonight Show" got more attention and bigger ratings than any time in his entire seven months as host. Of course, we're talking about Conan O'Brien. Last night he said goodbye to "The Tonight Show" and hello to a severance package of $45 million. Not bad. That is including $12 million for his staff of almost 200 people. O'Brien had a serious message for everyone who tuned in. Here is part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONAN O'BRIEN, "THE TONIGHT SHOW" HOST: This massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming for me. The rallies, the signs, all this goofy outrageous creativity on the internet. The fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain -
O'BRIEN: It's pouring.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Conan O'Brien saying good night. Good luck, Conan. He handled this, I think, pretty well towards the end. What is old is new again. Jay Leno begins his second stint as host of "The Tonight Show" after next month's winter Olympics.
Listen I want to tell you guys, I grew up listening to this guy, my parents did. The musical sex symbol. The man who provided the sound track for many a date night was laid to rest today in a private service in Philadelphia. A final public farewell for R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass. It was yesterday at the Tabernacle Baptist Church. Among his famous songs "Love TKO," "Turn off the lights" and "My Greatest Inspiration." 59 years old. Died from complications from colon cancer.
My favorite one come on and go with me, come on over to my place. See you tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Thanks for watching.