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CNN NEWSROOM

North Korea Greets U.S. Drill with Salvos; Black Friday & Your Money; Life After Shopping; Korea Tensions at Dangerous Level; Presidential Pies; Living Life to the Fullest

Aired November 26, 2010 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Great to see you too, Tony, thanks a lot. I am Deborah Feyerick in for Ali Velshi with you for the next two hours. Here's what's on "The Rundown."

It's time for the mad dash to the mall for those extreme Black Friday deals. We'll hear from one guy preaching the gospel against what he calls a commercial fossil fueled Christmas.

And the Pentagon orders hundreds of thousands of government documents to be reviewed after WikiLeaks published some of them.

And lost and found at sea. An incredible story, three boys survive 50 days adrift in the South Pacific.

We begin with the latest bombshells in the Koreas, and I don't just mean verbal. Three days after North Korea bombarded a disputed a island here, a disputed sea border, the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea got a firsthand look at the damage. And while he was there, the North fired again, this time apparently a drill confined to its own territory.

Supposedly General Walter Sharp neither saw nor heard the blasts. Reporters on the islands and the two civilians who had not been evacuated, they heard it.

Two civilians and two South Korean Marines were killed in Tuesday's attack. The vast majority of the island's civilian population has since fled to the mainland. It's about 1,300 men, women, and children who were evacuated. The South Korean troops stationed there are getting company. And their boss is being replaced.

South Korea's defense minister either quit or was fired or maybe a little bit of both. And the president named a former chairman of South Korea's joint chiefs of staff to succeed him. All the while the U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington is leading a strike group that will hold exercises in these waters starting on Sunday.

North Korea says, and I quote "the situation on the Korean peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war."

And for two at the top, we go to the South Korean capital and CNN's Stan Grant who has been following the tense situation closely -- Stan.

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deborah, tensions are rising on the Korean Peninsula, and all eyes on these joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea due to begin on Sunday. The USS George Washington heading toward the yellow sea borders exercises and there have been some time in the planning that were meant to be defensive.

But of course taking on a whole new meaning after those clashes between North and South Korea and Yongpyong Island. North Korea saying that these exercises are going to take the Korean Peninsula too close to the brink of war. Now South Korea announcing a new defense minister at the same time after the former defense minister resigned.

And tension is rising on the streets of Seoul, as well. We're seeing former veterans of the Korean War almost 60 years ago out on the streets protesting against Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea saying they want him dead.

And younger people we spoke to on the streets here say "they are tired of being swept around by South Korea and would rather see all-out war until someone loses."

Now people who closely watch North Korea are looking at possible motives for this rise in tension and say it all comes down to leadership. Kim Jong-il's been unwell for some time and planning the succession to his 27-year-old son, Kim Jong-un. Many observers say what we're seeing here is an attempt by him to establish his leadership credentials as someone who can stand up to South Korea and the United States -- Deborah.

FEYERICK: Thank you, Stan.

Well we've moved into a new phase of BP's program Gulf Coast claims. Tuesday was the last day folks could file for emergency damages from this year's disastrous oil spill. The man in charge of all the compensation sums things up in today's "Sound Effect."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNETH FEINBERG, ADMINISTRATION, GULF COAST CLAIM FACILITY: It's unprecedented. In 90 days I've received 450,000 claims. We've already paid out about $2.2 billion to eligible claims, individuals and businesses. And we will continue to process these claims. We're around for three years. The goal is to try and make everybody whole in the Gulf who was injured by the spill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: Now the process has shifted to longer term concerns. People can accept lump sum payouts, but give up their right to sue BP over the deepwater horizon spill. There's also a new plan that will pay out quarterly and doesn't affect any future legal action.

Now some of the other stories we're following for you today. It's a shopaholic's dream and a claustrophobic's nightmare. Black Friday, have you heard? Well, it's well underway with stores across the country luring folks in with discounted and other deals. A lot of places actually turned it into a two-day affair, opening their doors yesterday. Turnout's been healthy, especially compared to the last two years. With veteran shoppers raring to go and newbies struggling to keep up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Woke up, didn't do no make-up, no hair, just go right to the mall, get it down with, go home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are my plans. I've got plan. This is only one of them. I'm going to Wal-Mart and I'll be somewhere before the night's over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Already got a digital camera. Already bought it, purchased it. Got to move quick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me your deals. Are they worth it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For $14, yes, I think it's worth it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is crazy. We're from Kansas. So this is not anything like I expected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got up at 4:30, and we were the only ones out basically.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, we got up at 3:30. You know, they're supposed to have sales. But there's no sales.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: And while those people might be the only ones in the country who could not find a sale overnight.

And a California home filled with explosives has been deemed too dangerous for even the bomb squad. They've halted search and cleanup operations until experts can plan the safest way to remove all the volatile stuff inside. We're talking chemicals, grenades and three types of explosives including PETN, that's the stuff used by the shoe and underwear bombers.

The man who lives there is a naturalized citizen from Serbia. He's being held on a $5 million bail. He has pleaded not guilty to more than two dozen explosives charges and two counts also of bank robbery.

And speaking of dangerous to life and limb, a new study has come up with some staggering numbers on the toll of secondhand smoke. Researchers calculate it kills 600,000 people around the world every year. That's one out of every 100 people on the planet. That's on top of more than five million smoker deaths annually.

Finally, it survived eight years and merciless mockery, but now the Department of Homeland Security's color-coded terror alert system looks to be on its way out. The "Associated Press" first reporting that DHS is drafting a proposal for a new system. No word on a time frame for the change or what other colors they might add. Now how would you feel if your closest friends and relatives and enemies suddenly had access to all the things you said about them when they weren't around? Well, that could be about to happen to the United States as WikiLeaks says it is ready to release millions of pages of secret diplomatic cables between the U.S. and other countries.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: Well, imagine your darkest secrets being revealed to the world. Your friends and enemies all get to hear what you said about them when their backs were turned.

That could be about to happen to the United States any day as the website WikiLeaks recently hinted it would release millions of pages of documents, many of them containing secret diplomatic cables from the United States. The envoy to Iraq called it "absolutely awful."

This is just the latest for the website which has released everything from Guantanamo Bay papers to Sarah Palin's e-mails to a massive release of Iraq-related documents. How much damage can diplomatic cables do?

Jill Dougherty is CNN's foreign correspondent in Washington. Jill, they're talking about a massive release, seven times the Iraq war logs.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, although Deb, now that's being interpreted in different ways. It could be the impact would be seven times bigger. But whatever it is, it is expected to be a very large number of what are called diplomatic cables.

And that is how the State Department communicates both from Washington to the embassies, consulates, and missions around the world. And there are some 297 of them. And then back again from the field back to Washington, D.C. and some of these can be very highly sensitive. They could be U.S. negotiating positions, U.S. policy, foreign policy.

What is the U.S. trying to do in that country? It could be scuttlebutt (ph) or it could be information and feedback about a local political leader. There are a lot of things, as you can imagine, because that is the way the State Department communicates.

So there's a lot of concern, and what they've been doing, the State Department months ago knowing that something was going to be coming out was instructing all of those posts around the world to look through their e-mail, cable traffic, analyze what was sensitive, and then after they flagged that, the U.S. government, the State Department, has been contacting other countries and saying, look, something is going to be coming.

FEYERICK: They've been sending out U.S. ambassadors just to touch base. Is this information classified technically, is it confidential, is it embarrassing? What's the scope and the damage ultimately? DOUGHERTY: It's an extremely broad range. We don't know exactly what's in there. But cables in general range from highly sensitive classified, say, directions from the state -- from the secretary of state to an ambassador to do something. Or some type of very highly, you know, secret information that they do not want divulged.

It could also be, as I said, just collection of information about what is happening in that country. It might be people in the country who give information to a diplomat. And that could -- as some people from the State Department have been saying, it could put the lives of those people in jeopardy.

Another thing, Deb, that it could to is it could make it extremely difficult for the diplomats who are in the field to deal with the people on the other side, their colleagues from the host country. Because after all, if you've been saying some things about the country's leader and then all of a sudden it's on the front pages of the paper on, CNN, it's on websites, it's going to be very embarrassing.

FEYERICK: Sure. Things nobody ever expected to be published. Well Jill Dougherty, thank you so much, really appreciate that report today.

Black Friday frenzies now are scoring you deals all day. So what are people buying? And is it helping the markets? We're looking at all the news that affects your money in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: Well, the annual Black Friday frenzy is here. More than four in 10 of you taking advantage of the sales. Did it help the markets? Well, they closed early today just a few minutes ago. The Dow is down less than 1 percent at just over 1,091 points. Poppy Harlow joins me from New York, where she has been looking and talking to shoppers.

What about these seasonal hirings? A lot of companies doing that. It's good for the economy, huh?

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Yes, that is very, very good news. We'll get to the numbers in a minute. But I have to tell you, this is sort of my inaugural Black Friday experience and I can say that I would actually go in the shop of my own volition. This has been just wild to see all the people here.

To give you a sense, I mean we're at Macy's in Times Square -- right near Times Square. This is their flagship store, Deb. At 4:00 a.m. this morning, when it was pitch black out, they had 7,000 shoppers waiting to get inside. That is up from 5,000 last year. So a pretty good indicator that sales are getting better.

And it's unbelievable what's expected. They are expecting -- the National Retail Federation says sales will be up for the holiday season 2.3 percent this year to more than $447 billion. That is great for this economy. Two-thrids of our economic growth comes from consumer spending. We talked to shoppers outside the store, inside the store, all day long. Take a listen to what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We usually pay with debit so that we can pay as we go. And then we watch the deals and sales and try to get what we can. But if we really want it, then we'll buy it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really finding some great values that maybe because it's Black Friday, but I am having an extremely wonderful experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just wanted to give the kids a good experience this year. Work has been good for me, so we've been able to spend a little extra this year.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: All right. So, you know, the sentiment, people certainly are spending more here. We're seeing some people still putting things on credit cards. A lot more people spending in cash/debit.

You brought up a very good point, and that is hiring. And what we learned just this morning by speaking to the CEO of Macy's is, is that they have hired 65,000 seasonal workers. They're trying to keep on about 2,000 to 3,000 of those full time if they have strong sales. Best Buy, another big retail chain, hired 20,000 regional and seasonal workers, rather. They're going to keep on about a quarter of those if they have strong sales. So, as you mentioned, that is a huge, huge boon for this economy.

But let's remember, this is the first day of sort of mission critical shopping season for these retailers. It goes until December 27. And the deals are not just today. I spent a lot of time inside. The deals are pretty good, but they're going continue as the holiday season progresses. If retailers are not selling as much as they want to, Deb, these deals are going to get better and better and better. And, of course, Monday, as you know, Deb, it is Cyber Monday, so you have even better deals online come Monday.

FEYERICK: You always have a choice of where to shop. You know what's interesting, do you find that people, are they being lured into the stores because of the sales but, in fact, they're really buying full price? Because that was my experience. I was surprised at how little was on sale and the things I wanted were full price.

HARLOW: That is a great point and I was thinking the exact same thing. You know, when you go into any store, especially here in New York, things are on sale all the time. There were deals inside, especially from about 4:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. today. But things are generally on sale.

What they do is they're able to lure shoppers in with buy one get one free or buy two get one free or, you know, they have certain music playing inside all these stores or scents that they say attract people and keep them in the stores. I would say that half of the people I spoke with today, Deb, it's all about the novelty of it more than the actual buying of things. They want to experience it. People from northern Ireland, from Asia, flying in from California, all here just to experience Black Friday.

What doesn't matter is how many shoppers come in the door. What matters is how much they leave with. That's going to be the big indicator. We'll get that final number on Sunday. We'll have the final Black Friday sales number. I'm sure it's going to be huge. But, again, it has to be pretty big to help these retailers turn around what has been just an abysmal few years for them, Deb.

FEYERICK: All right, Poppy Harlow at Macy's. Thank you so much. But I think there are many other places that I would rather be than in a store at Christmas time. Any store, I'm not going there, anywhere (ph) on Black Friday. The coverage continues online. Check out cnnmoney.com.

And take a look and listen to this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This holiday season.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give us some power to stop shopping! Amen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: A gospel choir again shopping, singing their way through Black Friday. Their question, what would Jesus buy? The mighty tune's coming up. You're going to hear it all. Stay tuned.

And coming up this weekend on a special edition of "Your Money," Christine Romans examines the new normal when it comes to your money. Learn how to become debt free in just three years. Find out if you should buy, sell, or rent your home. Why you shouldn't pay for your child's college education. And how to make marriage and money work together. Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, Sunday at 3:00.

By the way, Christine Romans is also the author of a great new book, "Smart Is The New Rich." And you can get it on bookshelves now.

Checking top stories now.

South Korea named a new defense minister today. The last one resigned earlier this week under heavy criticism in the wake of the attack by North Korea. North Korea's also threatening more attacks in retaliation for this weekend's upcoming joint military drills with the U.S. and South Korea.

A doctor is now taking a closer look at three teenage boys who, listen to this, were rescued after 50 days at sea. They were suffering from dehydration, exhaustion, and sunburn when a passing fishing boat first spotted them. The father of one of those teens called this rescue "unbelievable." And in Vermont, a 23-year-old man is in jail for accidently killing his friend while trying to wake him up. Police say Nicholas Bell was trying to pull a prank on his sleeping friend by waking him up with the loud sound of an air rifle, but it turned out to be a real rifle. Bell now faces a manslaughter charge.

And the term Black Friday means one thing to shopkeepers and something else entirely to Reverend Billy. After a break, he and the Life After Shopping gospel choir will sing the praises of non-commercial holidays.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: Well, today of all days, this may sound like heresy, but, well, you don't have to shop to be happy. You can celebrate the holidays without spending even a nickel. And some people think that's exactly what you should do. Consumer spending may account for two- thirds of the U.S. economy, but the church of life after shopping, as it's called, thinks that shopping is the root of all evil. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got to have the Christmas spirit with some brand new rims. You know, I just want to cruise around flashing my rims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think you have too many toys?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, how did that happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you and mommy gave them toys, and Christmas. This has nothing in it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've had my life threatened. I've had people try to beat me up. I had a woman who was about 60 years old cuss me out and spit on me for not having a PS3 for her six-year-old grandson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: Now that's a new movie called "What Would Jesus Buy." And the guy in the puffy hair is Reverend Billy, aka Bill Talen. Today he and the Life After Shopping gospel choir at Time Warner Center in Manhattan. They join me now.

So, Reverend Billy, what is this all about? Why not shop? Why not buy? Why not make yourself feel good?

BILL TALEN, "THE CHURCH OF LIFE AFTER SHOPPING": Oh, sister, Deborah, we can feel better by buying local. You know, going to the super malls or one of these chain stores, that's the new faith right now. We're getting back to that. But there's a quiet revolution in this country. There are lots of folks who are just buying local. They're spending money where they can see the money come become to them. You give your money to a super mall, you don't know where that money's going. So now the newspapers, a lot of folks are just saying that this is the economy. The supermalls and chain stores are the economy. No. There's another economy all over this country.

FEYERICK: So you're talking shopping --

TALEN: We're rolling up our sleeves and we're taking care of each other.

FEYERICK: So you're talking shopping, but you're talking community shopping. You're talking about, what, green grocers? You're talking about local. What are you talking about? It's not about not spending money then.

TALEN: We're talking local. Local-lujah. Somebody give a local-lujah. Amen. Praise be, hallelujah.

Yes, we need to build our own economies now. The top 500 companies, those CEOs average $700 million a year now and we still have 9 percent unemployment. Don't give your money to those companies. Start your own businesses. You know, be local. Start your gift economy. Walk to your gift there's year. Take a bicycle to -- don't get into your SUV and get in a traffic jam and wait to get to a big box store. Amen, hallelujah.

FEYERICK: Well, aren't the malls good stopping --

TALEN: Sister Deborah, why do you do your shopping?

FEYERICK: Where do I do -- I try not to do my shopping until I desperately have to and everything's on sale, but that's another issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.

FEYERICK: But the big shopping malls --

TALEN: Oh, Amen.

FEYERICK: The big centers, the big centers, that's what's sort of driving the economy right now. So shouldn't shoppers -- it's good for the economy. Shouldn't they be at least spending a little bit there?

TALEN: There's an economy that we need to go to that is sustainable with the earth. We have to start living with the earth now. The supermall economy is not green, cannot be green. Big retail is hard on the earth. It's damaging. We've got to control our own economies now. The big banks are still investing in tar sands and frapping and mountaintop removal, coal power. This is bad for the earth. This is not what -- the Swiss bank UBS is still investing in mountaintop removal at this late date. We've got to take control of what our money is doing. And that's why we're encouraging people to have an alternative Christmas this year. To control your own money. You don't have to buy a gift to give a gift. And if you're going to buy a gift, buy local. Local-lujah. Amen. Amen.

FEYERICK: OK. So what you're talking about is entrepreneurship and some socially responsible spending. You also have a song for us, don't you. You're going to sort of --

TALEN: You said it, hallelujah.

FEYERICK: Absolutely. Part of the movie. Go ahead.

TALEN: We're going to sing a song for you now. This is the Life After Shopping gospel choir. We've got a question we want to ask -- what would Jesus buy? Amen.

FEYERICK: Amen.

TALEN: Hallelujah.

CHOIR (singing): Oh, Jesus. What would Jesus, what would Jesus buy?

TALEN: What would Jesus buy? Amen. Praise be. Hallelujah.

CHOIR: It's almost Christmas time, let us stop shopping.

TALEN: Stop it.

CHOIR: Consumer confidence, yes, it's dropping.

TALEN: Hallelujah.

CHOIR: (INAUDIBLE) heaven, get to heaven.

TALEN: Oh, praise be.

CHOIR: What's in the window up for sale. Back away from the product (ph) child (ph), the shoppers are to (INAUDIBLE). Find a way to give. Do we shop until we die. Another kind of (INAUDIBLE) --

TALEN: Oh, yes.

CHOIR: What would Jesus buy? What would Jesus buy?

TALEN: What would Jesus buy? Amen. Hallelujah.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: Half past the hour, and here are your headlines. A U.S. carrier group is steaming towards the Yellow Sea is for this weekend's joint military exercises with South Korea. They come days after North Korea shelled a southern island, killing four people. Pyongyang calls the pre-planned military drills a provocation.

And the Web site Wikileaks has governments around the world buzzing again, hinting it may release sensitive diplomatic documents. The State Department is now reviewing several years' worth of international cables and papers, and they're alerting U.S. allies about potential leaks.

And giving thanks is so yesterday. A chunk of the country is out shopping right now, giving dollars and retailers a Black Friday boost. Holiday sales are expected to jump more than 2 percent this year.

And we turn now to Chad Myers, who's got an update of our weather. Storms, huh?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You were flying this morning, huh?

FEYERICK: Yes. It was a little bit grisly, actually. I was keeping my fingers crossed I'd make it on time.

MYERS: It was slightly brutal this morning, and not getting much better now, 4,800 planes on the map. Typically, though, on a Friday, well over 5,000. So some of these planes are canceled, some of the flights are canceled, especially out of the Northeast, although they're not reporting delays because canceled flights aren't really delayed, are they. They're just -- they're just canceled and they leave you sitting there, waiting for the next one.

Palmdale, California -- talk about weather, 21 yesterday morning, Santa Maria 30, Santa Barbara at 33 and LA 40. I have a couple of friends in the Phoenix area, and they're all whining about 60 for a morning low temperature. Wow. It is cold out there.

It is raining in the East, and the clouds are anywhere from New York City all the way down through Raleigh and to Atlanta. Airports are going to be a little bit slower this afternoon than they were earlier today. Winds are also picking up in New York, a kind of a blustery day, but I guess that's why people go out there and shop, 22, 21, 22 miles per hour there for a wind gust right downtown in New York City. If you get some of those -- of those winds to go through the buildings, you can get a wind chill and you can get kind of a wind tunnel going on, too.

Couple spots across the country that will pick up snow. We get up in the peninsula, also to the south, towns of Buffalo out toward Watertown. Those are the typical spots that get lake-effect snow this time of year, when the wind's coming that direction. We'll see. I don't think it's going to be a major event for anybody. But the south towns of Buffalo are picking up snow today.

Snow, the heaviest stuff, is back out to the west. It's been six to ten inches already on the ground today in Tahoe, on top of six to ten feet that they had last week. Deborah, if you could just get to the slopes, you're having a good time. The problem is, some of the roads and some of the passes are closed. So call ahead or at least look ahead on your Web sites.

FEYERICK: Thanks so much, Chad.

MYERS: Yes. Sure. FEYERICK: OK, well, President Obama's keeping a close eye on the situation between North and South Korea. It also means keeping a close eye on China. CNN's senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry, joins us from Washington. Ed, what is going on? Are these two countries playing a game of chicken here?

ED HENRY, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Deb, what's interesting is the White House is trying to now reach out to China because they feel that China may be the only country that really has a window into North Korea -- such a closed society. And given their economic ties and trade and whatnot, they think maybe China is the only one that can reach out.

So we're expecting the president as early as today to reach out to President Hu Jintao and China with a phone call to try and defuse this situation. Remember, the president's already been on the phone a couple days back. He reached out to South Korean president Lee, somebody who he's worked closely with, to say, Look, let's turn the temperature down. The South Korean president has talked about retaliation and really firing back at North Korea, north Korea now talking about being possibly on the brink of war. This is a very tense situation, and a real test for this commander-in-chief, no doubt about it, Deb.

FEYERICK: Do you think with China so close, obviously, to North Korea -- North Korea's on the border -- do you think that they're going to side with the United States? Do you think they're going to be able to mediate this, or is this just sort of a stab?

HENRY: That's the big question. And the bottom line is, so far, China has been very sort of detached and not wanting to get too involved. You've had people like Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, tell our own Fareed Zakaria for an interview this weekend -- but they taped it a couple days back -- he said, Look, we definitely want to kind of see them do some more. It's still early in this crisis, but look, every hour counts here because when you have North Korea saying we may be on the brink of war, obviously, everybody's got to move on this situation pretty quickly.

And so I think, to answer your question directly, China hasn't done enough so far to the U.S.'s liking. They're not going to say that in public because they're still hoping to bring China along.

FEYERICK: OK. All right. Well, clearly -- and clear, with the new successor sort of waiting in the wings, that's an issue, too...

HENRY: Oh, yes.

FEYERICK: ... whether this is, in fact, just some very loud saber- rattling with all this.

HENRY: No doubt about it. With Kim Jong-il's son maybe taking over, now he's got a military position, he may be trying to kind of show his mettle and show that he wasn't just handed this job in the military, and by, you know, as you say, rattling the saber. FEYERICK: OK. So clearly, at the White House, this is dominating the agenda. But what about yesterday? How did the president and his family spend Thanksgiving? Did he invite you, more importantly?

HENRY: He didn't invite me, but I had family and friends and we had a good time here near the White House. But inside the White House, the president had his family and friends. What's interesting is, he must have slipped one past the first lady because when you look at the menu -- of course, they had turkey, ham, they had all the normal trimmings. But then they had no less than six pies. We checked this out. (INAUDIBLE) apple, sweet potato, pumpkin, banana cream, cherry and -- I'm not making this up -- huckleberry pie, as well -- so six pies.

You know, the first lady's got the anti-obesity initiative, Let's move. And I got to sway, in fairness to the president, while they might have had a lot of dessert yesterday, he was right out on the basketball court today at Ft. McNair. And in fact, it looks like he might have busted his lip a little bit. He might have gotten a little bit of an aerobic workout in there, playing some tough basketball. And I think that's probably the lesson from the president and first lady, which is, Look, if you're going to eat, make sure you get out there and get in the gym the next day. And it's probably a lesson for all of us.

FEYERICK: Especially those huckleberries. But I hear huckleberries are high in antioxidants, but I also could be making that up. So I'm not even sure where I would buy huckleberries. But is there anything special on tap at the White House today, anything else going on?

HENRY: Well, you see the just -- normally, there's a Marine out there.

FEYERICK: Oh!

HENRY: And the Marine is out there when the president is in the West Wing of the White House. Obviously, the president's not in the West Wing right now. There's no Marine. But there are two Christmas trees, as you can see right there. These are some small versions. We're going to get a big one in a few minutes, 18-and-a-half-foot Douglas fir that is going to be officially delivered here from Pennsylvania. The first lady is going to be welcoming that at about 2:00 PM Eastern time.

And it's going to wind up hanging out in the Blue Room. That's part of -- you know, they're going to do a series of holiday parties, and they're going to have the official one, 18-and-a-half-foot Christmas tree, Douglas fir, in the Blue Room. So we're getting that in just a few moments, Deb.

FEYERICK: Great. Well, something to look forward to. Make sure you try to get me that recipe for the huckleberry pie, Ed.

HENRY: I'm going to. And I wasn't calling you a huckleberry, just to be clear.

FEYERICK: No, no, no. I'm good with that. I'm good with that entirely. Just the pie recipe, Ed. Just the pie recipe.

(LAUGHTER)

HENRY: Happy Thanksgiving.

FEYERICK: You, too.

Well, 50 days and 50 nights lost at sea, an incredible story. Three teens survive long after experts said there was no hope. Their amazing story is ahead when we take you "Globe Trekking."

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FEYERICK: Well, sit down, you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, not one that ends on an island but somewhere else, in our "Globe Trekking" segments. Up first, the amazing story of survival for three teenage boys. They were plucked out of the waters near Fiji by a tuna boat two weeks after -- listen to this -- a memorial service was held in their honor. The three had been missing for 50 days.

Their families say they really hadn't given up hope that the boys were alive, even after searches by New Zealand's air force turned up no trace and officials said there was no way they could survive. But look at that. They did. They drank rain water and ate raw fish and a seagull that they caught. In all, the boys drifted around 750 miles in their small aluminum boat.

Well, there's been a third explosion in a coal mine in New Zealand. Recovery crews are working at the Pike River mine to reach 29 miners believed dead. The first explosion at the mine happened one week ago. Rescue crews were trying to reach the men when a second blast rocked the mine just a few days ago. At that time, officials said they believed none of the miners had survived. It could take months to recover their bodies. No one was injured in today's blast.

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IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Candidates have plastered Port-au- Prince with campaign posters. They've been spending millions of dollars hiring planes, hiring bands to advertise their campaigns, despite the fact that 10 months after the earthquake, much of the city still lies in ruins.

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FEYERICK: Ivan Watson there. Haitians head to the polls this weekend to pick a new president. Not only are they going to vote with all that rubble that you saw, there's also the looming depth (ph) of the cholera break. There are plenty of choices to lead them out of the desperate. There are 19 candidates for president, including a singer best known for performing in drag and the wife of a former president who was overthrown in a coup.

And for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, it's an inauspicious anniversary. Today marks nine years and 50 days since the war began. Why is that significant? Well, because it's the same amount of time Soviet troops spent in Afghanistan. The final Soviet troops left more than 20 years ago, back in February of 1989.

And coming up next, we're going to tell you about a company trying to make underwater kites. Yes, that's right, underwater kites, the future of renewable energy.

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FEYERICK: Well, in today's "Big I," we're looking at a company thinking deep when it comes to renewable energy. Today, wind turbines account for the vast majority of what people consider green energy. Iowa, Minnesota and both Dakotas, for example, generate more than 10 percent of their in-state power from the sky. But next year, the Swedish company Minesto will start testing deep (SIC) green small underwater turbines that generate power while they swoop and dive in ocean currents.

The technology includes a small turbine attached to a wing and rudder tethered to the ocean floor by a cable. Minesto says one of the big advantages of their technology is its relatively small size, about 40 feet for the wingspan and three feet for the turbine. Also, because sea water is 800 times as dense as air and tidal energy is much more predictable than wind, Deep Green is expected to generate significantly more energy than if it were in the sky. The down side -- there is one. The technology is expected to be more expensive than traditional wind turbines, and they aren't a solution to our energy problem, just a part of the energy mix.

And if you'd like to learn more about Minesto's Big Green, log onto CNN.com/ali.

Well, a look at the top stories happening right now. North Korea, Pyongyang, warns if South Korea and the U.S. go through with the military drill planned for Sunday, it could push the region into conflict. This comes after Tuesday's deadly attack on a South Korean island.

And it's Black Friday, in case you haven't heard. A lot of folks are braving the weather in some places, and long lines just about everywhere to get the best deals. Stores are offering new types of discounts -- for example, checking in on location-based services like FourSquare and FaceBook. The hot items electronics, clothes, and of course, toys.

And bear with us on this one. A northeast Georgia newspaper reports that a man robbed an adult novelty store Wednesday. He apparently got away with a male enhancement system worth about $105. It happened a day after someone walked out of there with three replacement parts for the same enhancement system, which probably means police are looking for someone that they know of.

Overcoming a life-threatening obstacle, one teen is now an inspiration to others on and off the football field. You'll meet him next.

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FEYERICK: Well, living life to the fullest -- it's a lesson not lost on one teenager who overcame cancer to live out his dream on the football field. CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has our "Human Factor."

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go!

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventeen-year-old Zach Lederer is a high school football player in Ellicott (ph) City, Maryland. He's loved sports for years. But he's no ordinary player. He was just 11 years old when his entire world came crashing down.

ZACH LEDERER, CANCER SURVIVOR: I started experiencing terrible, terrible headaches, like nothing I've ever felt. You know, I had had headaches before, but these were just unreal.

GUPTA: Migraines, his parents assumed, but an MRI found a brain tumor the size of a large walnut. Zach was rushed to Johns Hopkins Hospital. The diagnosis there was devastating.

CHRISTINE LEDERER, ZACH'S MOTHER: That our son was not going to make it, that he had a very short time and he was going to take a big turn for the worst, probably that night.

GUPTA: But Zach hung on. He overcame incredible odds. He had four brain operations in one week, was put in a medically induced coma and had radiation therapy to shrink the tumor. He then spent three month hospitalized and in rehab.

ZACH LEDERER: You know, here I am 11 years old, wearing diapers and relearning how to walk.

GUPTA: A small piece of the tumor is still there. Doctors think it's dead and slowly disintegrating. But Zach never let any of this stop him from pursuing his dream of playing high school football. After three years as team manager, the coach talked about getting him in for one play. But Zach, now a senior, wanted to play on a regular basis. He's a running back.

ZACH LEDERER: And I just wanted to prove to everyone that any obstacle's able to be overcome, even something as big as a brain tumor.

GUPTA: His parents agreed to let him play, and now he wears a special helmet with 18 shock absorbers. His parents' main concern is not concussion, it's damaging the shunts still inside his brain. But Zach refuses to live his life in a bubble.

ZACH LEDERER: It's not about not -- never getting knocked down. It's about getting back up. And so the fact that I did get back up and I have become what I am and done everything that I would dream of doing, I think I'm a lot better because of it.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

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FEYERICK: Remarkable.

Well, be sure to tune in this weekend for a very special "SANJAY GUPTA MD." Former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner talks about how injuries ended his career in "Head Games: The Truth About Concussions." Plus, another former NFL star talks about how concussions almost led him to suicide. That's all on "SANJAY GUPTA MD," 7:30 AM Eastern Saturday and Sunday.

And Demi Moore, John Legend, just a couple of the big names featured at the fourth annual CNN "Heroes" all-star tribute last night. If you missed any of it, we'll tell you about it coming up next.

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FEYERICK: Well, last night, CNN aired its fourth annual all-star "Tribute to Heroes" at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The evening included an appearance by the 33 Chilean miners and celebrities from Bon Jovi to Demi Moore. Over 10,000 people were nominated this year, and the top 10 were honored at the event, each receiving $25,000 for their causes. After almost two million votes were cast on line, Anuradha Koirala was named "Hero of the Year" for her work rescuing more than 12,000 women and girls from sex slavery.

Take a look now at Anderson Cooper giving out the award for "Hero of the Year."

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ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: 2010 CNN "Hero of the Year" is Anuradha Koirala.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ANURADHA KOIRALA, 2010 CNN "HERO OF THE YEAR": Please try to respect the youth and do something for the youth! They are the ones who are going to build our next generation. Thank you. Thank you so much.

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FEYERICK: Now, CNN also did something that we've never done before for last night. A social suite was set up backstage, in which the Heroes and celebrities were using social media to spread the word about their Heroes and their causes. Learn more about this and all the 2010 Heroes at CNNHeroes.com.

And if you missed "Heroes" or were too busy crying through parts of it, like some of my producers, you have two more chances to watch, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 PM Eastern. It is a great show.

I'm Deborah Feyerick, in for Ali Velshi, and here's what's on our rundown.