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The Aftermath of Typhoon Hayian; Rabbi Finds Thousands of Dollars Hidden in Desk Bought on Craigslist

Aired November 13, 2013 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Stories of survival and acts of desperation in a country reeling from natural disaster. An official from one relief organization describes the situation in the Philippines as hideous. First, we`re going to bring you some perspective on this. This gives you a comparison Typhoon Hayian and Hurricane Katrina. Katrina has been called the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, Hayian is bigger. It might even be the strongest cyclone ever. Too early, though, for scientists to know for sure. Here`s a look at the typhoon from space: the winds and the storm surge from Hayian flattened more than 20,000 homes, 800,000 people were forced out of their homes.

Now, survivors are dealing with another storm - it`s not a strong one, but it`s making it hard for relief workers to get aid to victims. We`re hearing some of the stories from survivors of this storm. The family in this video punched holes in their ceiling as water rushed into their home, then they climbed up to the second floor to avoid being swept away. In this video, you can see them sitting up in the rafters as the water flows by underneath them. For many victims of Typhoon Hayian, the focus is now on survival. That means searching for food, sometimes walking past or over what remains of their homes in order to find something to eat.

Dozens of countries and organizations are sending help or had promised help. If you`re 13 or older, you could go to our homepage and find "Impact Your World" link. That will give you some ideas about this relief efforts and how you might be able to get involved.

It`s time for us to check in with some of our reporters to hear about a few different stories from a few different spots around the world. We`re going ahead to the Middle East for some reaction to nuclear negotiations, then some nature training in Asia for animals that don`t live in the wild. But we`re starting in Europe with the memorial service for a military veteran.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In England yesterday, hundreds attended a funeral of a veteran they had never met. 99-year old Harold Jellicoe Percival died a single man. No friends, no family. For a while there, it looked as though this World War II veteran would be buried alone and forgotten. That is until his funeral home posted an ad in a local paper, asking military personnel to attend. The ad made its way to the Internet and the response was overwhelming. Some traveled hundreds of miles to be able to get Harold a funeral fit for a veteran of the Second World War.

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Many Iranians very disappointed that the deal wasn`t reached in the nuclear talks in Geneva over the weekend. It`s, perhaps, Iranian people who would gain the most with an agreement because it would probably help ease some of the sanctions they`ve suffered through for years. It`s not clear exactly why a deal wasn`t reached, but it`s being wildly viewed here in Iran that at least one of the spoilers was France. There are reports Iran offered to suspend uranium enrichment at 20 percent, which would seemingly make it impossible for them to make the fuel necessary for a bomb, but there are speculations that France demanded more. All sides back in Geneva next week to try again.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s training time for more than a dozen pandas born in captivity in South West China. Workers teaching them how ho climb trees. Giving them a tickle on the tummy for potty training. And also making sure they get enough food every day. There is also naptime, of course, on the lawn. It`s been a baby boom of pandas this year in China, but with just over 1500 pandas left in the wild, they need to make sure each one of these little fury creatures grown up (inaudible) strong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for the shoutout. Where will you find the world`s tallest building? If you think you know it, then shout it out. Is it in Dubai, Chicago, New York or Singapore? You`ve got 3 seconds, go.

Standing more than 2700 feet tall, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the world`s tallest building. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout. Now, as for the tallest building in the U.S. ...

AZUZ: The Empire State Building, the Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Willis Towers - all towering structural superlatives (ph). But none of them can claim the title of tallest building in the country. Not anymore, anyway. The Council on Tall Buildings - yes, there is a council on tall buildings - has just named the most skyward skyscraper. It`s One World Trade Center in New York City. At 1776 feet, it`s no coincidence that its height matches the year the U.S. declared independence. But there was a bit of controversy hovering over the Big Apple`s tallest tree: does it spire count? Chicago`s Willis Tower rises 1451 feet, if you don`t count its broadcast antennas, which the council doesn`t.

One World Trade measure 1368 feet without its spire. But the committee met in early November and decided that since the spires are permanent part of the design, it does count for an extra 408 feet and the tallest towered title.

That`s not tallest in the world, though. Dubai`s Burj Khalifa stands in more than 2700 feet. And One World Trade isn`t finished yet, so Willis remains America`s tallest completed building. Exceeding that height was a tall order, but the accomplishment is no tall tail.

All right, when you buy furniture from someone, it comes with its own history, maybe unique scuffs or features that might each tell a story. When a couple in Connecticut bought a desk recently, they discovered something that made the furniture nearly 500 times more valuable. What they did next is why we`re calling this a character study.


HALEY DRAZNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Imagine buying a desk under $200 on Craigslist. Only to find thousands of dollars hidden inside. That`s exactly what happened to a New Haven couple. A local rabbi and his wife found a huge pile of cash after buying this desk on Craigslist. When the couple brought the desk home, it wouldn`t fit through the door.

RABBI NOAH MUROFF: The desk didn`t fit into this office by a fraction of an inch.

DRAZNIN: The couple had to pull the desk apart including the file cabinets. Behind the drawers, they discovered a plastic bag filled with cash.

MUROFF: Behind the drawers, there`s this plastic bag, like a shopping bag I`m talking about. And in the bag I already see through the bag there is - it looks like $100 bill.

DRAZNIN: After a closer look ...

MUROFF: We opened it up and its` full of cash. We counted up, and there is $98,000 cash sitting in the bag.

DRAZNIN: The couple couldn`t believe their eyes.

MUROFF: Right away, my wife and I sort of, you know, looked at each other and we said, we can`t keep this money.

DRAZNIN: They picked up the phone and called the original owner.

MUROFF: I saw there is a bag back there, and through the bag I sort of saw like one $100 bill, and I`m like, oh, my gosh, there is money in it. And I picked - this is pretty heavy. And we brought it over to the table, I just sort of counted it up and we`re like oh, my gosh. So ....

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh - oh my gosh.

DRAZNIN: The original owner speechless. She stuffed her inheritance in the desk forgetting where she put the money. The good Samaritans returning the cash to the rightful owner. The rabbi tells me the most important thing in life is to be honest.


AZUZ: 98,000 in a desk. We also heard about an 8th grader who found and returned nearly $1300 around Halloween. If you came across a stash of cash, what would you do? If you`re already on Facebook, go to If you`re 13 or older, you can reply on our blog at

In this week, when Americans paid tribute to veterans, our World Wide Wednesday "Roll Call" is filled with DOD, Department of Defense schools where many of the students are from military families.

First up, Puerto Rico, we`re checking in with the Pirates from Antilles High School. Over to Europe, for other two schools, the Ramstein Lions, from Ramstein high in Germany and in Italy, the Cougars from Vicenza American High School round out today`s "Roll Call".

It`s the season of giving, we`re talking about giving things. Thanksgiving is only 15 days away. What are you thankful for? Here are a couple of things I`m thankful for. We want you to tell us like this, a piece of paper, your word or two of thanks, then send a photo, but no videos, please.

If you`re 13 and over, go to Scroll to the resources box and look for the I-Report link called "Giving Things." The deadline is November 20th.

There is an old saying that a watched pot never boils. A watched printer is apparently different. It seems to be printing fine, but this cat doesn`t like what it sees. Maybe it wanted it in landscape format. Maybe the cat - YouTube video - maybe it has an impatient owner and is trying to deliver this message hot of the presses. Maybe the cat is confused about whether this is a printout or incoming message. In that case, it should really get its facts straight. If it was a fight it probably started because the cat didn`t like the printer`s toner or something.

Either way, the smackdown is definitely a paperview event or in Shakespearean terms, now it`s the printer of our discontent. If the cat caused any damage, its owner will have to add it to the tabby started which could leave the animal feline sad. OK. I`ll stop. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. See you soon.