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Helicopter In Scotland Crashes Into Pub; Dow Jones Finishes A Few Points Lower On Friday; Merrill Newman Taken Into North Korean Custody; Arnon Milchan Claims He Was Israeli Secret Agent And Arms Dealer; Convenience Store Worker In Florida Taking Cops To Court; Obamas Unsure Where To Stay After White House

Aired November 30, 2013 - 15:00   ET


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's 3:00 on the east coast, noon out west. For those of you just joining us, welcome to CNN Newsroom. I'm Miguel Marquez in for Fredricka Whitfield. Here are the top stories we are following.

A police helicopter plunges into a packed pub in Scotland, killing at least eight people as authorities try to figure out how it happened. We talk to a witness who saw the helicopter fall out of the sky.

North Korea releases video of an 85-year-old U.S. war veteran who was taken custody a month ago. The North says he's confessed to spying and war crimes and he has apologized.

Plus, when his term is over, where will president Obama and his family live? You might be surprised who might decide that big family issue.

And we start in Scotland. Police have confirmed eight people were killed when a police helicopter crashed into a pub. More than 30 people had to be rushed to hospitals in Glasgow last night. Investigators have spent all day searching for victims. Richard Quest has the latest.

QUEST: Miguel, according to one of Scotland's most senior politicians, this was the news they had been dreading but expecting. Having spent most of the day with only one person confirmed dead, everybody knew that the number of fatalities would rise, and now they're saying eight people perished last night.

Nor are they able to say whether that is the final total, because, as the head of police Scotland put it, the helicopter is in the middle of the building, and until they can remove it, they don't really know what's underneath. Removing the helicopter will be an extremely difficult, complex and intricate operation. The building is unable and they want to insure their maximum safety before they try any further operations.

Finding out what happened and why the helicopter fell out of the sky in such a disastrous way last night, again, the police describe that as a sensitive and complex investigation, one that will take many weeks, if not months.

Tonight, though, in Scotland, the people are mourning the fact that eight people perished. The number may go higher, and flags in the country are at half-mast -- Miguel?

MARQUEZ: Many thanks to Richard Quest.

I'm now joined by Gordon Smart, who is the editor of the "Scottish Sun" newspaper, who is also an eyewitness to this.

Gordon, what did you see last night?

GORDON SMART, EDITOR, SCOTTISH SUN NEWSPAPER (via phone): I was about to drive home for the evening. It was about past ten in the evening. I work late. I was on the sixth floor, the open top level of a multistory car park, and I could make out the noise of a gargling engine, like a misfire engine, like a car running out of petrol, but incredibly loud. So, I could hear this noise above me, but I couldn't see what it was. And then I looked around, and in front of me, about a thousand feet, between 500 feet and 1,000 feet in the air, I could see a helicopter in distress, and then suddenly, it just completely lost power and fell from the sky like a stone and just dropped, tumbled over --

MARQUEZ: You didn't see -- were you able to see it sort of auto rotating as it came down, trying to slow its descent? That's sometimes what happens with helicopters.

SMART: No, it didn't slow. It was increasingly speeding as it fell from the sky. It was really a dramatic and terrifying moment. It made it plunge at huge, huge pace towards the ground, and it was completely out of control. There was absolutely no -- I wouldn't believe for a second that the pilot was in control. It was rotating nose and by tail it was spinning over itself, a somersault.

MARQUEZ: Lord. Terrible! Terrible!

Gordon, do you have any sense now whether or not that pilot was able to call in any sort of mayday before crashing?

SMART: Well, it was a police helicopter, and I will imagine so. There were three members -- two police officers and a civilian pilot on board. And I believe they did manage to mayday call, yes. And it was very close to the police helipad, only about a mile away. There is also incredibly close to the city center in Glasgow, only about a five-minute walk by foot to the most famous shopping in the city. So it's incredible that more people didn't die and I was thankful there wasn't a fireball or explosion. It landed behind the building, so I couldn't see it actually hit the ground, but I was just waiting for an explosion and to be knocked off my feet, but it never came, and so, a really an eerie silence, an oddly serene moment after the crash.

MARQUEZ: Very lucky, then. I was in Glasgow. I know how festive the bars are and -- was this an official concert or was it just sort of a small, private affair? How packed was that bar?

SMART: It was grand (ph). Friday is (INAUDIBLE) and payday as well. It was a famous day over here called black Friday where everyone has the money and you start the Christmas shopping, all the Christmas parties. And it was a big time as well when people were enjoying the night in Glasgow. It really was quite a night where people were getting into the swing of things. It's a famous music event, over 120 people. Had that helicopter caught on fire, I think we'd be talking in terms of hundreds of people, fatalities, hundreds of fatalities, rather than eight as it is at the moment.

MARQUEZ: And so, you're on a sixth-floor car park. What did you do immediately after and what was the scene like there?

SMART: Well, I ran across to the edge of the car park to see if I could see one of the helicopters, but I couldn't see. But what I did see, and it was something that will stick with me for the rest of my life, was guys reaching, people running towards the scene, not away from the scene, people running to help, not running away from what could have been a huge explosion. After that, I made my way down from the multistory car park as quickly as I could and I tried to get ran to the area myself, but I couldn't do that. The police by that point had cordoned off the area, and so, I made my way back into the office and turned around on the newspaper to get a new front page together as soon as possible. It really was dramatic, really dramatic and terrifying evening.

MARQUEZ: I take it you have not left the office. How are things in Glasgow now?

SMART: It really is a terribly dark day for Glasgow. And this is normally an incredibly happy time of the year over here and a lot of people struggling to come to terms with what's happened. And the worst part is the fear that more casualties, more fatalities will be announced in the following days. And it really is such a huge shock, something you don't expect to see, other than the movies. So, it's a tough time for Glasgow and something that's hit the city hard.

We have been in a situation like this before in the past where we had a terrorist attack on the airport in Glasgow and the city showed incredible, incredible strength and courage to get through that, and it will be exactly the same with this. People get tough and notoriously courageous. Our country's famous for it.

MARQUEZ: Indeed. I know a few Scots myself.

Our best to you, Gordon Smart and our Glaswegian friends. Thank you very much for joining us.

SMART: And thank you.

MARQUEZ: We are less than nine hours from the deadline for the Web site to be up and running smoothly for the vast majority of users. The disastrous launch two months ago has hurt President Obama's approval ratings, and he knows he has a lot of work to do to rebuild Americans' trust before he ends his term.

He spoke with ABC's Barbara Walters last night.


BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: You have said that you would rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. Which are you?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think the best would be a good two-term president, so that's what I'm going to be shooting for. Every president in their second term is, you know, mindful that you've only got a limited amount of time left, and you want to make sure that you are squeezing every last ounce of energy that you have to try to deliver on the commitments you made to the American people.


MARQUEZ: So, will the federal health care Web site be fixed by tonight's midnight deadline? It all depends on who you ask. The "Washington Post" headline said, will meet deadline for fixes. The "Wall Street Journal" went with health site is improving but likely to miss Saturday deadline." And "The New York Times" went with health care site rushing to make fixes by Sunday.

CNN's Tory Dunnan is in Washington to help us sort it all out.

Technicians took the site down overnight for maintenance. It's back up now. All is well in Washington, or are the president's fixers still scrambling at the last minute? Who has the headline right, Tory?

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Miguel, you said it perfectly, depends upon who you ask. What we do know is that they've been working 24/7 on the upgrades and fixes, and this is a politically important weekend for the president, but it's hard to tell whether the administration is meeting his promise that the site will be running smoothly for the vast majority of users.

They're not telling us, and there's no real way for us or other experts to find out, other than from hearing stories from users, that's, of course, not at least until tomorrow when we know the White House is planning to hold a conference call with reporters.

So far, we've heard that with the scheduled upgrades that happened last night and ones that are scheduled for tonight, the administration says that they are on track to meet the goal. Now, we also know that the White House has ways to measure the site's success or failure, but by the same token, we don't really expect them to release those numbers right away.

Also, we're told even if the site is determined to be functioning smoothly, some insurance company insiders are telling CNN there still might be problems with the back end of this site, saying that some customers' personal data is getting mangled or even lost.

So Miguel, like as I said, it depends upon who you ask and I think that will be the story for a few days until we get answers from the administration.

MARQUEZ: Tory, just for note, I always say things perfectly.

DUNNAN: Yes, you do. MARQUEZ: So, what are we seeing so far today? Do experts think it's looking better?

DUNNAN: Well, I did talk with a computer security expert who's been following this very closely. I asked him if he's already seeing changes today. Take a listen to his answer.


ALEX MCGEORGE, COMPUTER SECURITY EXPERT: Absolutely, yes, just even going to the site. And it shows in the design changes that they've done. It looks much smoother. It looks more like what you see high- capacity websites look like. And some of the resources that they're using certainly indicate that they've put a lot of thought into scaling for volume. So, yes, I think people will notice an immediate difference in how the site looks.


DUNNAN: So, Miguel, if that is true, that would be a great thing. That's one person's opinion. Important to note, of course, was shut down overnight for fixes, and there is another scheduled upgrade tonight. So, let's see what it looks like in the morning.

MARQUEZ: All right, Tory Dunnan. My guess is, there's a lot of this going on in Washington right now.

DUNNAN: Finger-crossing.

MARQUEZ: Yes, yes, yes. Baby toes as well. Thank you very much.

Coming up at the bottom of the hour, we will talk with an expert on first families. We'll get the inside scoop on what life's like for the Obamas at the White House and what they talk about around the dinner table each night. That's still ahead, 3:30 eastern right here on CNN.

From a record week on Wall Street to just how much U.S. shoppers helped the economy during black Friday sales, the latest from the markets coming right up.

But next, the chilling video of an elderly U.S. war veteran who has been held for more than a month inside North Korea. What is the north accusing him of doing?


MARQUEZ: A new video released by the North Korean government shows a captured American apologizing for Korean War crimes. 85-year-old Merrill Newman has been held for about a month. The Korean War veteran was taken into custody just minutes before his plane was scheduled to take off last month.

CNN's Karl Penhaul with the latest from Tokyo. KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miguel, state media report that the North Korean authorities are accusing American retiree, Merrill Newman of hostilities towards North Korea. They say he infringed natural sovereignty and dignity and also slandered the socialist system.

Now, all that sounds a little like political mumbo jumbo until you look at the detail of exactly what they're accusing him of. North Korea is focusing very heavily on Mr. Newman's record as a U.S. officer. They say that he engaged in espionage, subversion and also sabotage activities during the Korean War and also significantly during a short period after the war ended.

In a taped and written confession, Mr. Newman says that he did train and advise a covert and clandestine group of anti-communist party and guerillas who operated behind enemy lines inside North Korea. That unit is the 6th partisan infantry regiment, a group that military historians say was controlled by the United States and United Nations and also coordinated closely with the CIA.

Fast forward then to October of this year, and that is when the North Korean authorities say that Mr. Newman returned to North Korea on this tourist package and attempted to re-establish contact with some of the former guerrillas that he had trained and also with their families and their descendants. In his taped confession, Mr. Newman does say that he asked the tour guide to help him make contact with some of those people.

Now, of course, we don't know whether this statement by Mr. Newman was made voluntarily or whether it was coerced. We don't know whether the words are his own or whether the text was written by the authorities and simply passed to him. We also don't know whether the names and events alluded to in that texts are, in fact, accurate. What we do know is the statement was signed on November 9th, two weeks after he was arrested as he prepared to leave North Korea. We don't know why it's taken the North Korean authorities three weeks to make this public.

Now, some of the political analysts I've been speaking to say that this confession could satisfy the North Koreans for propaganda purposes, and they now may be preparing to release Mr. Newman.

One should, however, of course remember the case of Kenneth Bae (ph), a Korean American who was arrested in North Korea a year ago now and was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

Even though some political analysts suggest that North Korea may now be preparing to release Mr. Newman, they suggest that Pyongyang may insist on having some diplomatic contact with the United States to work out logistics and may also insist on handing him over to a high- level delegation -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Karl Penhaul in Tokyo. Thank you very much.

China and Japan are squabbling over an area above the East China Sea. South Korea is also upset. Now the U.S. has made flights through the controversial air space. Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has more.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Miguel, the Pentagon is emphasizing, it is not trying to escalate tensions with China. That these flights into this restricted zone by the U.S. military are routine, scheduled flights. It's what the U.S. military does out in the pacific.

For its part, China's rhetoric continues to be pretty frosty. They're saying they will continue to monitor any flights coming into this zone and that they may try and send their fighters up again to intercept the planes to identify them.

The frosty rhetoric aside, the real question may be how long China can keep this up. They don't have a lot of midair refueling capability, their radar warning aircraft are few. It's going to be hard for them to continue to monitor this zone. That's something the U.S. is going to watch very carefully.

Now, vice president Joe Biden's set to arrive in Beijing to sit down and talk with Chinese officials about all of this. Administration officials say Biden will ask the Chinese straight out, what are your intentions, what are you trying to do here? Biden will try to, of course, de-escalate all this.

The U.S. says adamantly, it does not believe that China is looking for a military confrontation over this disputed air space, but the worry is that in the coming days and weeks, if this continues, if they send up more of their own aircraft, there could be some kind of miscalculation, some kind of accident, and that tensions may only rise further -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Thanks to you, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

A Florida man says the police won't leave him alone. They've arrested him at work dozens of times. Why the police say there's a reason it keeps happening.

And the Dow just wrapped a record month in November, so why are some experts worry that markets have been doing too well?


MARQUEZ: It was another record week on Wall Street. There you see the Dow Jones finishing up just a few points lower on Friday, but it still posted an overall gain for the week, and it also caps off a huge month for the markets. The Dow passed the 16,000 milestone for the first time ever. It also racked up eight consecutive weekly gains, not bad. Even the Nasdaq is over the 4,000 mark for the first time in years. But Wall Street is one of the few places where good news equals bad news.

I'm joined by Wes Moss, a certified financial planner and host of "Money Matters" on WSV radio here in Atlanta.

So, Wall Street had a great month, the markets are getting a great year. It's going gangbusters. Should we be worried?

WES MOSS, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER: This is always the time to be more worried. So, it's much easier to be buying into a market when we're down 10 percent, 20 percent. It's a lot tougher to be buying into a market where we're at an all-time high. And typically, markets correct, on average, once a year, 10 percent, or we get 20 percent corrections every 2, 2 1/2 years. We are long past due any significant corrections.

MARQUEZ: I don't like that sort of talk. So, you think that we could have a correction coming, but that could be sort of devastating to people who are in the market, yes?

MOSS: Well, and that goes back to if you are an investor right now, you've got to not get lulled to sleep by how good the stock market has been, and we're up 27 percent on the S&P 500, up 24 percent on the Dow, and we haven't even had a 5 percent correction since June of this year. So, I think that investors can tend to forget that the markets correct and they don't go straight up and they can't go straight up forever. So, I just want to make sure investors don't get lulled to sleep by how good this market has been.

MARQUEZ: But there's a lot of confusing data out there. The markets are way up, housing is up, there are new job numbers, or jobs are climbing, not per happen as much as they'd like, but yet, Americans feel pessimistic about the future of the economy. What is going on there?

MOSS: I think that's part of the reason is that the economic data's still mixed. There's nothing that's gangbusters in this economy. Housing is good but not great, jobs are good but not great. Consumer confidence, depending on which poll you read, is OK. But we're still a long way from the euphoric days of 2006 and early '07. And consumer confidence just isn't back to where it was.

MARQUEZ: So, if there is a correction in the markets, what investors might be most vulnerable or concerned about that?

MOSS: I think where people get caught the most is they end up, in a year like this, in a stock market run that we've had for almost five years now, to the tune of 150 percent-plus, a lot of investors tend to get over weighted in stocks, and it makes sense because that's what's been growing the fastest. So, I want to make sure investors don't ignore some of the safer areas of the market in their 401(k)s.

MARQUEZ: So, those closer to retirement age, for instance, those -- I mean, who is really going to be paying more attention here?

MOSS: Right, who's vulnerable? If you are 60 to 65 and you are within a year or two or three of retirement, this is not the time to be 100 percent or 80 percent or 100 percent in stocks inside of your 401(k).

MARQUEZ: All right. And for regular investors, how can you mitigate the risks? Are there places you can park your money so that you can hopefully wait for a better day? MOSS: So, we all have to remember that if you're in your 30s and 40s and even 50s, we have decades to go as investors. So, technically, you should be an investor for almost half a century. So, what really works as an investor is being consistent, slow and steady is not exciting but still wins the race. So, as long as Americans can try and fight their way into saving 15 percent to 20 percent a year, and I know that sounds like a lot for many people, but if you can do that as an American and you can ride right through the market's ups and downs, you'll be in a good position to retire and maybe even retire early.

MARQUEZ: Wes Moss, I'm pretty sure I have 150 more years of investing to do, so you know, it's all good.

MOSS: That's a good time frame.

MARQUEZ: Thank you very much for being with us.

MOSS: Thank you for having me, Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Take care.

Arrested for trespassing at work, a Florida man says it's happened to him and now he's fighting back.

An incredible cell phone video captures two women brawling at a mall on black Friday. You won't believe the weapon one woman uses on the other.


MARQUEZ: Well, on black Friday, those bargains, they come with brawls.


MARQUEZ: Oh, dear. The two women were fighting in a mall in northeast Philadelphia. After the two hit the ground in a scuffle, you can actually hear the crackle of a stun gun, if you can believe it. And you can see the sparks fly. It's unclear what happened that started the brawl. The women were apparently unhurt and they were escorted out of the mall by security.

This is a Wal-Mart in Odessa, Texas, and those shoppers are coughing because they got hit by pepper spray. Wal-Mart officials say a police officer was forced to spray the unruly crowd as they rushed to get tablets and headphones.

A convenience store worker in Florida is taking the cops to court. He's sick and tired of getting arrested for trespassing at work.

John Zarrella has the story.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Take a look at this surveillance video. It shows Earl Sampson being detained in a Miami Gardens, Florida, convenience store, and then led away. Now, get this, Sampson was arrested 27 times at this convenience store and convicted of trespassing. He's been detained many times more. There is, says Sampson and the store owner, a bit of a problem here. You see, Sampson works at the store. He spoke with CNN affiliate WFOR.

EARL SAMPSON, QUICK STOP EMPLOYEE: They always stop me, going in my pocket, ask me for my I.D., my name.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): In all, Sampson has been stopped and/or arrested at various places 288 times. A year and a half ago, store owner Ali Saleh decided he had had enough, so he installed the surveillance cameras. Over and over again, Saleh says his cameras recorded police stopping and frisking and detaining not only his employees but customers, too.

ALI SALEH, QUICK STOP EMPLOYER: I feel abused. I believe I live in America, and you know, America has a constitution. It has to be to protect the citizens.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Saleh, Sampson and several local residents this week filed a federal lawsuit against, among others, the city, the mayor and the police chief, charging civil rights violations.

The suit reads in part, quote "Miami Gardens police department officers have used and continue to use race and/or national origin for the purpose of stopping, frisking, searching, seizing and arresting principally black males."

Before the suit was filed, Miami Gardens police issued a statement to local news stations saying they are investigating the allegations and that they take seriously complaints against their officers.

During the past couple of years, Miami Gardens has been going through a rash of shootings and killings. The store sits in a high crime area. It's not clear whether the store is being singled out more than others, and if so, why. The city's mayor says there is a zero tolerance policy.

MAYOR OLIVER GILBERT, MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA: He knows that his store is a source of problems in that community, and he knows that we are trying to clean up that community.

SAMPSON: They're supposed to protect and serve, but you're not protecting and serving, you're harassing.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): The lawsuit seeks a change in city policy and financial compensation for Sampson, Ali and the other plaintiffs. According to the suit, if you took all 288 times Sampson's been detained and/or arrested, that amounts to about once a week for the past four-plus years.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


MARQUEZ: Thanks to John down there in Miami. A Hollywood producer could look at his own life to inspire his next movie. The man behind "Pretty Woman" says in his spare time, he was a spy.

And next, the Obamas will call the White House home for the next three years, but where will they go after that? We'll tell you who gets the biggest vote in that decision.


MARQUEZ: Edward Snowden strikes again. The CBC is reporting the NSA leaker gave them top secret documents showing the U.S. Canada hast they spied during the G-8 and G-20 summits in 2010. The paper didn't show who if anyone was targeted. That document say the spying operation focused on ensuring meeting sites were secure. Both of the summits took place in Toronto in June of 2010. Neither of the U.S. or Canada has commented on the report.

The word is out about a Hollywood executive who had a secret life as an Israeli spy. If this was just another b-list producer, it probably wouldn't make the headlines. But as CNN's entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner reports, he's quite a big fish in the movie-making business.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Justin Timberlake, Vince Vaughn, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, just a few of the stars Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan has rubbed shoulders with, but his story that should be made into a movie. The Israeli- born businessman behind hits like "12 years a slave" --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a business proposition for you.

TURNER (voice-over): "Pretty Woman" and "Fight Club" says he spent years as an Israeli secret agent and arms dealer.

In a stunning interview that aired Monday on an Israeli investigative program, Milchan detailed how he was recruited in the 1960s to Israel's bureau of scientific relations, where he helped gather technology to further Israel's still unacknowledged nuclear program, saying quote "I did it for my country and I'm proud of it."

Milchan moved to Hollywood in the 1970s, but he suggested his efforts on behalf of the Israeli government didn't end completely. Milchan indicated other big Hollywood players were also involved, saying quote "when I came to Hollywood, I detached myself completely from my physical activities to dedicate myself to what I really wanted, film making, but sometimes it gets mixed up."

The 68-year-old Milchan owned new regency films and has produced more than 120 movies, working closely with directors such as Martin Scorse and Oliver Stone. He forged an especially close relationship with actor Robert Deniro, who was also featured in the Israeli television program. ROBERT DENIRO, OSCAR-WINNING ACTOR: I did ask him once. We spoke about something and he told me that he was an Israeli and that he, of course, would do these things for his country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you want to come to Hollywood, act like a big- shot without actually doing anything.


TURNER (voice-over): In a story that seems reminiscent to last year's Oscar-winning true-to-life film "Argo" that depicted the CIA/Hollywood collaboration to rescue U.S. diplomats stuck in Iran, it's a safe bet Hollywood execs will be fighting to bring this story to the big screen, too.


MARQUEZ: A comet had its thanksgiving day date with the sun and many wondered if that comet could take the heat. We'll tell you the answer just ahead.


MARQUEZ: This just in. The White House is responding to the Americans being held captive in North Korea. National security council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden says "we remain deeply concerned about the welfare of the U.S. citizens held in the custody of the DPRK. Kenneth Bae has been in DPRW custody for over a year. We also urge the immediate release of Merrill Newman, detained more recently. Given Mr. Newman's advanced age and health conditions, we urge the DPRK to release Mr. Newman to return home and reunite with his family."

North Korea accuses the 85-year-old Mr. Newman of spying and other subversive activities. In a new video released today by the North Koreans, the Korean war veteran says he's sorry for killing civilians and troops.

Montana is fighting to put a former teacher convicted of rape back behind bars. Stacy Dean Rambold only served a month for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student, his student. She later killed herself. State prosecutors claim Rambold's sentence was illegal under state law.

And a woman who argued stand your ground as a defense got to spend thanksgiving with her family. Marissa Alexander was released on bond Wednesday. A judge sentenced her to 20 years in prison last year for firing what she called a warning shot at her husband, who she claims abused her. Last month, Alexander won a new trial. It's set to begin in March.

Health officials in Nevada are trying to figure out what caused nearly 100 youth football players and adults to get sick. At least 18 people staying at the Rio hotel had to be taken to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. More than 7,000 kids and adults are participating in that football tournament in Vegas. Tomorrow night, tune into our seventh annual "CNN heroes: an all-star tribute." It celebrates ten extraordinary individuals who are driven to help others. One of those being honored is Tawanda Jones. Her hometown of Camden, New Jersey, is one of the country's most violent cities, only half of the students graduated from high school. But through her drill team program, she provides discipline, motivation and support.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are we? What does it mean? Are you all ready!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very hard for children growing up in Camden today. It's like they don't have an alternative, like they're forced into the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hop, hop, hop, hop!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're in the middle of chase street. This is where most of the drug dealers stand. This is where the most of the homicides happen. This is the street I live on. This is not one of my favorite streets. There's some people in here that don't want to kill people. There's some people that want to be something when they get older.


Drill team is so good for children as far as the discipline and the structure.

That's how you want things to be in your life. On point, intact, decency and in order.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: November 2011, my dad was shot and killed. I went from As and Bs to straight Fs. I started getting into a lot of fights, hanging with the wrong people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all have a responsibility to these kids to extend that hand and say, baby, I'm here, you're not by yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's like my second mom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you complete your homework? Let me check it. Who else had homework tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without her, I really don't know where I'd be right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has changed my life around, period. I'm very proud of myself, going from the GPA of a 0.5 to GPA of a 3.0 in one year. That is amazing. My mom, she's just speechless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you take your test. I don't think people really understand how important it is to have these children succeed.

You're definitely going to make history, do you understand that?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm in your teacher's face, I'm in your face, I'm in your parent's face, if I need to be, because I want the best for you.

Come on! Going right to the end!

That can be rough, but it's tough love. I go above and beyond because somebody did it for me.

Don't give up!

And you should continue to pass on the blessings. When you do this, you get great rewards that's better than money. It's so much better than money.


MARQUEZ: Well, I feel a little more motivated. I'll bet she could motivate a lot of people, better than an alarm clock, I'm sure. Fantastic.

It was a CNN Heroes first. Don't miss the incredible act of generosity from the CNN hero of the year that brought the audience to its feet. "CNN heroes: an all-star tribute" is tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. here on CNN.


MARQUEZ: The Obamas may not know where they'll live after they leave the White House, but one of the biggest voices in that decision will be the youngest daughter, Sasha. Listen to what the president told Barbara Walters when she asked what will happen to the family.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But Sasha will be a sophomore in high school.

BARBARA WALTERS, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: So you may want to stay in Washington because of Sasha. I don't want to pin you down, but I am.

B. OBAMA: Let's put it this way, Sasha will have a big vote. Obviously, they and Michelle have made a lot of sacrifices on behalf of my cockamamie ideas of running for office and things, and so I want to make sure that it's good for them. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: The Obamas also said their time at home is all about their kids, and dinner conversations aren't about global issues. They're about what's going on in Malia and Sasha's lives.

I'm joined now by author Bonnie Angelo. She wrote the book about first families and it's called "First Families."

Bonnie, does it surprise you that Sasha has such a big vote in this upcoming decision for the family?

BONNIE ANGELO, AUTHOR, FIRST FAMILIES: I think it's really very good. These girls are going to be very careful about what they say. They're smart and experienced little girls, and so I think it's going to be good. She might actually bring in a new segment of an audience.

MARQUEZ: I think we all look at these young women who started there in the White House as just kids, and they've grown and blossomed into these beautiful young ladies, Malia was 10 and Sasha 7 when their father was first elected. They really grown up there. We wonder what is that like, what could it be like for these kids to be under that situation?

ANGELO: I think as hard as it could get. And I admire the family, the mothers and fathers, who go to great lengths to make it as normal for their children as possible. You do notice that in the recent head count we've had more girls, more daughters, than sons. And I think maybe that's easier because girls are just naturally a little more inclined to be on stage and used to it. Boys are likely to be kind of rambunctious. So, I think that's kind of a good quality to have that you don't expect.

I believe that these girls have some a greater sense of understanding their job than a lot of previous children coming into the White House have had that would help them.

MARQUEZ: Yes. How does it compare? The Kennedys, I guess the Roosevelts, but really in recent history, the Kennedys, how do they compare to other White Houses with kids?

ANGELO: Well, the Roosevelt boys, how I wish I was covering -- when we talk about the Roosevelt boys, we remind our viewers that it's the Teddy Roosevelts, back at the turn of the 20th century, and they were as mischievous as a bunch of boys could be. And their father, the president was not stopping them at all. And they just encouraged their boys to have fun and do whatever they wanted to do. They came through with some rollicking tales from that particular period, more so than any other children that I have studied.

MARQUEZ: Miss Angelo, is it true the boys brought a pony into the White House?

ANGELO: Yes, yes, it is true.

MARQUEZ: Why? ANGELO: Well, I think they wanted him -- he was their pony. I think they thought he ought to have a look at the White House. Who knows why? What -- boys at that age which was, like, around 10 years old in that age group, what they will do for the heck of it. And bringing that pony in was one of their triumphs.


ANGELO: It has never been matched. Somebody should bring a bigger animal.

MARQUEZ: Oh, dear, Bonnie Angelo, my goodness.

Thank you very, very much for being with us. Take care.

ANGELO: My pleasure, thank you.

MARQUEZ: And now for our "Science Behind Series," and today we're looking into the so-called comet of the century, Ison, its name, the comet had a close encounter with the sun on thanksgiving day. Scientists thought it had disintegrated when it passed by but after further review that may not be the case.

Here's Jenny Harrison.

JENNY HARRISON, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, they say comets are like cats, they have tails and they do exactly what they want. And this, of course, is pretty much what comet Ison has been doing. All the scientists have been wondering the last 24 hours in particular, has it survived (INAUDIBLE) and that of course is when it actually encounters the heat from the sun and it looks as if it might have done just that.

Now, when it was first spotted it was September 2012 and two Russians amateur astronomers actually found its way up there, 585 million miles away from the earth. So, the last few days the whole world of astronomy has been watching this comet as it gets ever closer to the sun. Did it survive Perihelion (ph), that's what it's called when the comet actually literally encounters the intense heat of the sun and it looks as if it might have done just that.

This cross you can see here, this is where they were looking to see it come out the other side from actually its activity around the sun, and it does look as if it might have done just that. You can see again here on the before and after, the comet Ison coming up towards the sun, disappearing behind. At that point traveling 730,000 miles, and then coming the other side. And what you can see there, that streak of light, is what they're saying is possibly the nucleus that has survived. And, of course, what a comet actually is, it's a frozen mass of rock and gases and dust. And as it actually encounters the heat from the sun, it begins to warm up, and it spews all of these gases, and that is what we can see. And, of course, they can often be hundreds of miles in size these things.

And, again, another image to show, the comet coming towards the sun and, again, in the time lapse photography you can see the blobs and that, again, is possibly the nucleus of the comet. And I can show you again, another movie, the comet coming in towards the sun and, remember, the closer it comes, it begins to warm up. And it's all the gases being released that creates the incredible trail that goes on behind the comet and as I say the scientists are fairly convinced it has indeed come out the other side and now we can look forward to see what sort of spectacle we actually have from there comet because not visible in every part of the world toward the southern hemisphere, never going to see it, December before the hours of dawn in the mid- latitudes and then to the north across the U.S. and Europe. December throughout the early hours before dawn and, again, after sunset. And if you're in the mid really high latitudes, it will be late December, and it will be all night long so we can just wait and see exactly what we are going to be able to spot in the days ahead.

MARQUEZ: I can hardly wait. I'm crossing my fingers, Jenny Harrison, that it comes around. I want to see that.

Well, that will do it for me. Thanks for joining us.

My colleague Rosa Flores picks up the day's news coverage from New York.

Rosa, kumusta, chiquitita (ph).


It is great to see you. My God, and by the way, you said my name perfectly. It has pronounced like five "R" but felt with one.

MARQUEZ: Very good.

FLORES: Thank you, Miguel.