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Storms Affects South, Northeast Thanksgiving Travel; Pope Calls for Changes to Catholic Church; French Troops Head to Central Africa; Impact Your World; Morning-After Pill May Not Work

Aired November 26, 2013 - 12:30   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Live pictures now of New York and Atlanta.

Also, the map there, you can see the South is getting soaked at the moment, the north bracing for the nasty winter storm that's headed that way.

GORANI: And here are the numbers. You might be one of them.

Forty-three million people, all set to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday, and the deadly, because it has been deadly, weather threatens to ruin many of those plans.

Welcome back to "AROUND THE WORLD".

HOLMES: And we are covering the storm and how it will affect your holiday travel plans like no one else.

We've got crews in position right across the country. You can see there, Shannon Travis in Virginia, Rene Marsh at Dulles International Airport, Chad Myers, monitoring flights across the country from the CNN Weather Center.

GORANI: OK, let's go live to Shannon Travis. He's been driving through a wintry mix of snow and rain across Pennsylvania. There he is on the side of the road.

All right, the conditions out there near Pittsburgh so far, Shannon.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the conditions, the snow has been coming down.

And, you know, Hala, when we were driving in, it was pretty much an annoying rain, but when we got here, when we arrived, it was as if Mother Nature said, "Welcome," to this wicked winter mess. The area's under a winter storm warning right now. As you mentioned, we're about 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh. We're in a place called Irwin.

And we've just essentially just been kind of monitoring how much snowfall we've been seeing since we've been out here. I'm just going to use an unofficial ruler, my finger. We estimated about three inches of snow right here in this area.

I've spoken with officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. They tell me about 80-plus trucks and 135 crews are going to be out, in force, tonight, working 12-hour shifts apiece.

GORANI: Shannon Travis, thanks very much, with the latest from Pennsylvania. You got a sense there in the background how nasty it is and how nasty it might get, even worse.

HOLMES: That sort of wet cold. If you're flying out after a major airport, here's a tip. Gets the crossword puzzles out or Angry Birds or whatever it is you do.

GORANI: Or "Very Angry Birds?"

HOLMES: "Very Angry Birds," that aren't flying, because flight delays are averaging as long as four hours, starting tomorrow. And you can see right there, some of the spots where there could be problems today.

GORANI: And there you have it, pretty much a diagonal line from Atlanta to Baltimore.

Rene Marsh is the an Dulles International Airport outside Washington. Rene?


Well, I can tell you, that is the word we're hearing over and over again for the situation at airports across the country, essentially up and down the eastern seaboard, is delay, delay, delay. And we're seeing more delays than we're seeing cancellations at this point. Rough estimate, according to many websites that track the flights around the country, more than 1,600 delays at this point.


MARSH: Been there, done that. Dulles Airport revved up these snow plows during the last snowstorm in March. Today, Dulles and airports up and down the East Coast are prepared to do the same, if it comes to it.

ROB YINGLING, METRO WASHINGTON AIRPORTS AUTHORITY: So far the forecast seems to be pointing towards a nuisance storm from our perspective, one that's not going to result in severe cancellations, but more so, delays.

MARSH: But still, it could be a nightmare for some flyers.

DANIEL BAKER, FLIGHTAWARE.COM: We see a lot of delays and we see a lot of cancellations with storms like this.

MARSH: Daniel Baker runs the flight tracking Web site,

He says making matters worst, planes are already full.

BAKER: The issue they run into is that if you cancel one flight, there may not be capacity on later flights to accommodate all of the displaced passengers. MARSH: Twenty-five million people are traveling by air this Thanksgiving holiday up 1.5 percent from last year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We decided to leave early, and we're just keeping our fingers crossed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hopefully we'll be there and all right and still able to visit family and enjoy our week.

MARSH: Busiest travel day? The Sunday after Thanksgiving. The second busiest day? Tomorrow. Just in time for the storm.

BAKER: What I always say is, have a low expectation when traveling through bad weather on the airlines, particularly around the holidays, and you won't be disappointed.


MARSH: All right. So the big question is, does tomorrow look any better for the flyers? And the answer, sadly is no. We are expecting even more delays tomorrow, wind going to be a big issue.

Back to you.

HOLMES: All right. Rene Marsh, thanks so much there at Dulles Airport.

I tell you, I've got to say, that's the first time in years I can say I'm glad I'm going to be working Thanksgiving and not flying.

GORANI: And not flying anywhere. I kind of feel the same way.

Some overseas visitors to the U.S. might end up spending a little bit more if they're here already, a little more time stateside than they had planned.

HOLMES: Yeah, let's have a look now at how the storm is throwing a wrench in international travel plans.

Chad Myers, you've got more on that. I suppose a lot of the Atlanta flights go direct, but if you're going through New York or up in the northeast, whoa.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Today is OK. Only -- I only have six delays out of JFK. That's really the international departure out of the northeast. And there's only six delays and none of them are to international destinations. Great here.

But Atlanta, international airport, as well, there's about 60 delays. Now these are arrival delays just coming in from Orlando, Wichita, Charlotte, Gulfport. These are just about 20-minute delays. And I can go down and down and just switch and down and down and down and down, and you'll see the word delay, delay, delay, delay, delay.

This is a great app. It's called FlightBoard. It's 10 bucks. We all buy it here because you can actually see what the flight looks like at almost any airport. I can click here and I can see Washington, D.C., so here's the arrival delays out of Dulles and out of -- here's Nashville. This one has arrived, arrived, arrived.

So this is kind of a good thing. If you're going to be flying and you want to see all the other airports and maybe look at all the other misery, you won't have to feel so by yourself, this is something else you can take a look at, too. Might help you get around.

Something else I don't think people have been talking about very much is, I think you should be carrying your bags on the plane if you can.

If you get diverted, canceled, moved, you can grab your bag and go to a different gate rather than they have to find your bag and move it someplace else. At least you'll have some clothes when you get to where you're going.

HOLMES: Yeah. Yeah, cool tip, a very good idea. I hate checking bags in.

GORANI: You know how flexible the airlines are with the checked -- with cabin luggage.

HOLMES: Yeah, exactly.

GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Chad Myers, reporting from the CNN Center, Rene Marsh at Dulles, Shannon Travis in Virginia.

We'll continue to follow this story for you.

HOLMES: Yeah, and for the latest on the weather and a look at the world's busiest airport, this is a terrific thing. Check out Have a look at ATL24 there.

GORANI: Plus, we'll bring you live weather updates throughout the day, right here on CNN.

And, also, keep in mind you can look at the bottom of your screen for weather across the country. We'll have more on this throughout the day, as well.

Coming up, "The People's Pope."

HOLMES: Yeah, he is shaking up the Catholic Church, but will the church follow his lead?

We will discuss when we come back.


HOLMES: We've been talking about the pope today. and he has made some calling for major changes in the Catholic Church, put out a 224-page paper. It's called "The Joy of the Gospel." In it he says Catholics should be working to help the poor and the rich should share their wealth. He said a lot more, too.

GORANI: Right. Driving home the point, the pope says, "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly, homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?" HOLMES: Eric Marrapodi is the co-editor of the CNN Belief Blog, which we urge you to check out, great reading there.

Now, this paper, what is the signatures of it as a paper? And also, what else does it say about this pope?

ERIC MARRAPODI, CNN BELIEF BLOG CO-EDITOR: Sure, this is in a sense, Michael and Hala, a new blueprint, a new mission statement from this pope, saying, again, repeating this message we've heard from him again and again. Get out of the church; go fulfill this mission. He talks about the joy of the gospel being this motivation to push people out and go share their faith.

Let's take a look at something he wrote in here right now. He says, "I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it is out on the streets rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security."

This is again something we hear from the pope time and time again. He repeats this call, the smell of the sheep to the shepherds of the church, to the priests and the lay folks who work for the church.

He also says this changes are going to come. And if he's asking people to make changes, he wants to make changes himself to the papacy and how his office runs there. So we're seeing some major changes, some major reforms that he's alluding to in this paper, things including communion, the role of women in the church and, again, how the church goes out and delivers its message.

GORANI: All right, so, he, though, does underline the fact that there is no change in the church's position with regards to female priests, for instance, still very much anti-abortion.

But as we saw in that piece by our Ben Wedeman, this sort of approachable, warm, compassionate pontiff is changing not just the message, but the perception people have of the pope, of the Catholic Church as being more approachable, more understanding of people going through difficult times.

MARRAPODI: Yeah, absolutely, Hala. We see this time and time again with Pope Francis.

He embraces people on the margins. He talks very specifically about the poor, the homeless, the hungry. How can our doors be closed when people are starving on our doorsteps, he says at one point.

This is somebody who wants to go out and live that message. When you see the pope embracing the disfigured Italian man during one of his general audiences, that sends a strong message around the world about what the church is after and what they're trying to share, this hope that they say they've found through Jesus.

And you point out, yeah, the teachings of the church are not going to change on things like abortion. That's something he reiterates again, that the prominence of live and preserving life, as the church would argue. And the role of women, he hints. He says, look, women need to be more involved in the big changes of the church, but for them, for the Catholic Church, that teaching who the priests ought to be, that does not appear to be on the table to be changed just yet.

GORANI: All right.

HOLMES: Yeah, important points there, too, that a lot of talking and a lot of positive words on inclusiveness, even mentioning Muslims in the Christian countries, predominantly Christian countries, and how they need to be welcomed in, stuff like that, but not touching doctrine.

Eric, thanks so much, Eric Marrapodi there. And do check out the Belief Blog at

And going back to Ben's story, I was talking to him, actually, earlier. And he did say that, meeting this man, he said he's never met a more dignified, noble person in all the people that he's interviewed in recent years.

GORANI: Right, he's been talking about his encounter with him and it certainly has touched Ben. I know that.

Quick break, when we come back, the morning-after contraceptive pill may not work on all women. Find out who can be and can't rely on it. A live report next.


HOLMES: All right, we are following some tragic news for you now from the Bahamas. The U.S. Coast Guard says at least 10 Haitian migrants have died after their boat capsized. Have a look at these images here. At least 100 people have been rescued and taken to the Bahamas for medical treatment.

What happened was apparently this 40 foot freighter that they were on was, as many of these boats are, overloaded and then capsized. Many of the survivors, you see them there, clinging to the boat's hull. Coast Guard crews from Florida did help with the rescue. They air dropped food, supplies, and life rafts.

GORANI: In Thailand, protesters have forced several government ministries to close in Bangkok. The situation there has been boiling for days with the protesters vowing to take over state offices to try to get the prime minister to step aside. Protest leaders say Thailand's prime minister is a puppet of her older brother who is in exile after being ousted in a coup following corruption allegations a few years ago.

HOLMES: And in Ukraine's capital, Kiev, riot police have been beating back protests. Those protests, though, they say they will stay in Kiev Square until they get what they want. Tens of thousands of people filling the streets over the last three days. Now, the problem is this, they're furious at the government's last minute decision to suspend talks on a political and economic deal with the European union. Rejecting a deal is seen as a move towards Russia and away from closer ties with the rest of Europe. Those people on the street, they'd like to have those ties with Europe.

GORANI: Right, choosing Russia over Europe.

Imagine an entire country falling into chaos was rebels running the show. The U.N. is sounding an urgent action alarm for the Central African Republic. It's not a country we talk about every day. The situation there is dire. For most of the almost 5 million people there, their reality is child soldiers, torture and rarely any schools or hospitals open. Our Vladimir Duthiers is tracking the story from Nigeria's capital. He reports France is sending in about 1,000 more troops.


VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The rational and the reason that France has decided to send more troops into the Central African Republic is simple, the cycle of violence between the Muslim minority, now in power, and the Christian majority could become a genocide. Now, since March, thousands have been killed after a coup deposed President Francois Bozize and replaced him with the rebel commander, Michel Djotodia.

Now, since then, the U.N. says 460,000 people, close to 10 percent of the population, have fled their homes and more than 1 million are in dire need of food aid.


HOLMES: Yes, a very, very bad situation there. Four hundred thousand people displaced. The U.N. deputy secretary-general saying it's descending into chaos. Very -

GORANI: It's the silent tragedy so few people report on.

HOLMES: Exactly.

GORANI: That's going to do it for me. I'll see you a little bit later this week on AROUND THE WORLD and catch me on CNN International.

HOLMES: In about a few minutes from now.

All right, I'll continue on with "AROUND THE WORLD" while you head down to that studio.

And when we come back, celebrating a young but full life. A teen who caught the attention of musician Katy Perry and many others. We're going to tell you about a remarkable 16-year-old who knew how to roar and inspire others along the way.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

While many Americans are planning the menu for their Thanksgiving Day feast, there are millions of people across the country who don't have anything to eat. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF BRIDGES, ACTOR: Hi, I'm Jeff Bridges, and we can make an impact on ending childhood hunger here in America.

According to the USDA, we currently have over 60 million children who are struggling with hunger. One in five of our kids.

Any of you kids see "Surf's Up"? I'm Big Z.

We think one of the most important things that we can do to end childhood hunger is to have universal breakfast in schools. Another thing that is very important is that there are summer meal programs that are available to kids. No Kid Hungry is all about making people aware of the programs that are in the state.

BRIDGES (singing): Sometimes in our lives --

BRIDGES (on camera): It affects me in a personal way thinking about what that would feel like if I wasn't able to provide for my kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Lean on me --

BRIDGES: But also, even on a patriotic way, we can't compete with the rest of the world if our kids aren't in good shape.

Join the movement. Impact your world. Go to


HOLMES: And now to a startling warning for women relying on the morning-after pill. An emergency contraceptive manufactured in Europe that is actually identical to those sold here in the U.S. was found to be ineffective for most women weighing over about 176 pounds. Now the drug maker, Norlevo, says it is adding a warning in the package. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here.

So what's going on? It was a very specific amount, 176 pounds, too.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is very specific. And we should probably put that in the context of it may not be exactly that weight. But let's look at - let's look at some numbers.

When researchers tested this pill out in women, what they found is that when women weighed between about 165 and 176, it was not as effective. The pill didn't work as well as it did in smaller women. And for women who weighed more than 176, it was ineffective. It was as if the woman hadn't taken the pill at all.

Now, this is something you want to know if you're taking a morning- after pill hoping to prevent a pregnancy.

HOLMES: Yes. Really. So what's going to happen in the U.S.? Will anything change here? COHEN: The FDA said that they are looking at what they've done in Europe. And so we may find that same label warning that says, "Hey, if you're over 176 pounds, you might want to think about this."

HOLMES: So what is behind the thinking here? Why would it work differently in women over a certain weight?

COHEN: Right. No one's exactly sure. But the thinking is that possibly what's going on is that the drug is sort of spreading itself out among -- in a larger person. You're not getting the concentrations that you need to prevent the pregnancy. It's true for many drugs.

HOLMES: So it's diluting in a way.

COHEN: It's diluting, exactly.

HOLMES: OK. So you're over 176, which if you're a tall woman isn't -

COHEN: No, that's not heavy at all.

HOLMES: Yes. So what do you do?

COHEN: What you do is you call your doctor and so you say, 'Look, this happened to me' and the doctor may be able to prescribe a morning- after pill that will work for larger women. The ones that we're talking about not working for larger women apparently are over the counter. So larger women really may just need to call their doctor and get a prescription rather than going over the counter.

HOLMES: OK, don't panic, but check.

COHEN: Don't panic but check. That's good -- words to live by, right.

HOLMES: Exactly. Yes, across the board. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much. Good to have you here.

All right, remembering a young woman whose spirit soared. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): I've got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire, because I am a champion and you're going to hear me roar.


HOLMES: It's amazing, isn't it? Olivia Wise. She captured the world's attention online with her cover of Katy Perry's "Roar." Now this 16- year-old had an inoperable brain tumor when she sang that song. Now we've just gotten word that she has passed away.

Katy Perry just tweeted this. I'm going to quote for you. "Olivia Wise, I can hear you singing with the angels now. Your spirit and strength have inspired me and so many others. May you rest in peace." Olivia Wise died Monday at home surrounded by family. Her mother did tell us here at CNN that she didn't want people crying at her funeral but rather to celebrate the life she had lived.

Thanks for watching "AROUND THE WORLD". "CNN NEWSROOM" starts right now.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, the Supreme Court is stepping in on Obamacare. The justices have agreed to hear arguments over a controversial part of the law dealing with religion and contraception.

Right now, snow and heavy rains are cutting across the country. We've got flood warnings in the south and heavy snow battering the Midwest and creeping towards the northeast.

Also right now, that huge storm is putting travel plans in jeopardy for millions of Americans. We've got advice on how not to get stranded in an airport for the holidays.

Hello, I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Wolf Blitzer is off today. Thanks for joining us.