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Shivering Through the Cold Snap; Terror Suspect Due in Court; Al Qaeda Sanctuaries in Yemen
Aired January 08, 2010 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. It is Friday, January 8th, and here are the top stories for you in the CNN NEWSROOM.
The Detroit bomb suspect in federal court today. The young Nigerian charged with the attempted murders of 289 people.
The nation's jobless rate holding steady in December. This woman hits the jackpot with her job.
And you will meet our first CNN Hero nominee for 2010, a trucker- turned-lawyer who is helping battered women.
Good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
All right. Let's work through this together.
First up, the arctic blast sweeping from the Great Plains and Midwest to the Northeast and into the Deep South. Brutal winds that ripped down power lines in Oklahoma yesterday are now driving down the wind chills on the East Coast.
Ice creating a travel nightmare for drivers across the country. The winter weather also causing delays at some major airports. Several deaths are blamed on the weather, especially in the hard-hit South.
Let's get you to our meteorologist, Rob Marciano. He is live for us in Memphis, Tennessee.
And Rob, before you get started, would you give us an update on the woman you featured yesterday who was having nightmares with the heat in her place?
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, yes, Jacqueline Moses. She -- well, she got her heat turned on, as you may remember. The city got together with the power company. And, by the way, the power is still working fine here, albeit cold. They've got the trolleys going here on Main Street, Peabody Place here.
The snow is still coming down, just kind of flurries right now, but it's bitterly cold, 12 degrees. So you can imagine how cold that is if you have no heat. So there's a number of people, Tony, who just can't pay their bills because of the economy. So that Jacqueline Moses, who you're talking about, after a year of being without power and heat, the power company turned her utilities on two days ago, so she had two nights of a warm home to sleep in until at least the weather warms up.
The update is that not only does she have lights and power, at least for now, but I got a solicitation from somebody anonymously who wants to pay her utility bill.
HARRIS: Oh, that's terrific.
MARCIANO: To kind of get her back on her feet. So that's one bit of good news.
The other bit of good news is, you know we had some fatalities here earlier in the week because of the bitter cold. Well, arctic blast number two, which is here now, which is worse than the first one, word from authorities is that no fatalities last night. And I can tell you, with temperatures dipping into the single numbers and wind chills well below zero, anybody that tried to survive in these elements would have had a tough time doing it.
So, with this latest cold snap being as bad as it is, that's the two bits of good news.
The length of it, as you know, as we've been reporting, and the scope of it, is what makes this extremely rare, over a decade, in some cases, over two decades since something like this has happened across the south. So, we'll start to see things warm up as we get towards the beginning of the week. Until then, it's going to be a cold, cold weekend here in Memphis.
And by the way, Memphis, where Graceland is, Elvis Presley would have been 75 years old today. So, even in a pair of blue suede shoes and an Elvis wig, I think you'd be pretty chilly here walking down the streets of Memphis, for sure.
HARRIS: Well, thank you very much.
Rob Marciano for us.
Rob, appreciate it. Thank you, sir.
And checking our other big stories on our radar, the unemployment rate stayed put at 10 percent in December. The Labor Department says companies cut 85,000 jobs last month, 10 times the number analysts had predicted. That said, the November report was revised to show the economy created 4,000 jobs.
The cold wave is helping drive energy costs higher. AAA reports regular unleaded gas costs an average $2.72 a gallon. That is almost a buck higher than a year ago. Analysts say every dime increased takes $14 billion a year out of drivers' pockets, so rising prices could threaten the recovery big-time. Several developments on the war on terror to tell you about. The FBI has arrested two men in the investigation of a bomb plot against New York City. Authorities say the men are tied to the case of Najibullah Zazi. He is accused, as you'll recall, of planning to set off an explosive device in New York last September 11th.
President Obama is calling for better improvements to airport security and better intelligence, analysis of terror threats. The order stemmed from a report on missteps surrounding the Christmas Day bomb plot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The U.S. government had the information scattered throughout the system to potentially uncover this plot and disrupt the attack. Rather than a failure to collect or share intelligence, this was a failure to connect and understand the intelligence that we already had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: The 23-year-old Nigerian charged in the Christmas Day terror plot is due in court today. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces arraignment on charges tied to the attempt to blow up an airliner.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick is at the federal courthouse in Detroit.
Deb, let's start here -- Abdulmutallab obviously facing serious charges. What's the maximum penalty and what's his lawyer's strategy, if we know?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the maximum penalty right now is life in prison on multiple counts, obviously. Those are multiple penalties that he's facing.
His lawyer right now has been very quiet. Initially, right after he was arrested, he was talking to federal authorities. He is no longer talking to federal authorities. No one has heard from him outside of a very small circle of people.
She is known for defending terror suspects. She is very well respected in the community. So he has a very good lawyer working on his behalf.
Now, as far as whether family is going to be here, that's still under question. It's also under question whether in fact the father has had any influence either on setting the tone for taking responsibility or for ensuring this kid's character. All of that right now under investigation -- Tony.
HARRIS: OK. And Deb, we're still trying to determine the extent of the ties to al Qaeda, but it's clear that Abdulmutallab has become al Qaeda's poster child. If you would talk about that a bit.
FEYERICK: Absolutely. Think about it, Tony. Probably a couple of weeks ago, nobody even knew about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, at least not on a sort of popular level.
Now, you have this 23-year-old Nigerian student smiling. He represents what this organization is and what the organization is trying to do against the United States.
Now, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, this is the first time it has hit U.S. interests outside its normal area of operations. There are indications that he met with an American-born radical Muslim cleric just a couple of weeks before setting out on this journey, or within the time period that he was in Yemen, I should say. Excuse me.
So, really, they have now established a presence, if not sort of physically, certainly psychologically within the United States.
HARRIS: That's right. All right.
Deborah Feyerick for us outside a federal court in Detroit.
Deb, appreciate it. Thank you.
You know, since the Christmas Day terror scare we've been talking a lot about Yemen. Just ahead in our "World View," Paula Newton explains how al Qaeda manages to operate across large areas of that country.
And Jacqui Jeras is gathering the latest information on the weather, the intensity of this cold snap over large portions of the country.
Jacqui, I'm taking a look at the cristy (ph) behind you here and some of these temperatures, 27 in Memphis, 35 here in Atlanta.
We will talk to Jacqui in just a couple of minutes.
But right now -- Robert, trying to wait for you to swing over -- there you go. Let's get you to the New York Stock Exchange now.
And we are selling. We are down 26 points.
We are following these numbers of course for you throughout the day with Susan Lisovicz, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We're back in a moment.
HARRIS: So we've been telling you that hundreds of al Qaeda fighters are believed to be in Yemen. As we go to the map here, you'll see many of them finding refuge with anti-government tribes in remote areas.
CNN's international security correspondent, Paula Newton, is in Yemen for us, and she looks at why al Qaeda is able to operate so freely there.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Just beyond Yemen's international airport, in the capital's poor northern suburbs, a road begins leading to thousands of miles of Yemeni tribal lands, effectively out of government control and the perfect setup for al Qaeda.
(on camera): We're just about a mile from the international airport here. And if you want to get an indication about how tribal they are here, we're going to try and go north up this road about a couple miles.
It's called Arhab. That is where the al Qaeda strikes have been taking place in the last few days. Up until the last few weeks, the government hasn't even dared enter that tribal area. They have absolutely no control over.
(voice-over): But just as we're approaching the checkpoint, we're quickly turned away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now he's getting calls saying we need to be out of this area.
NEWTON (on camera): OK, so they're not even letting us approach the checkpoint. We've been on the phone with many people and they're saying not to go to Arhab. Arhab is very telling here. It is just two miles down the road this way, through that checkpoint, and the government is saying, A, it's not safe for us to be there, and, B, it's not safe for them to be there.
(voice-over): It's not just Arhab. There are huge tracks of deserts and mountains across Yemen, al Qaeda sanctuaries where attacks like this are masterminded and executed.
Last March, four South Korean tourists and their Yemeni guide were killed when a teenage suicide bomber blew himself up. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility saying the South Koreans were U.S. allies in the war on terror.
And just days later when South Korean investigators were in this airport zone, the Yemeni government says it uncovered yet another al Qaeda plot against Korean authorities. All possible because the government simply doesn't control wide areas of the country. And that's where radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki is counting on. Part of a large and powerful southern Yemeni tribe, he's still out of American and Yemeni reach, almost certainly sheltered by his tribe.
Even though Yemeni officials confirm there is evidence he may have given Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab the inspiration to attempt to blow up Flight 253.
Paula Newton, CNN, near Arhab, Yemen.
HARRIS: Switching credit cards -- should you close out the old account? Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis answers your e-mail questions. There she is. And we'll talk to Gerri in just a couple of minutes.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Ah, my favorite thing about Friday. Well, OK, aside from the fact that it is Friday, it is time for your personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, to answer your e-mails.
Good to see you, Gerri. Are you ready to dive into the e-mail bag?
GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Let's go.
HARRIS: This first e-mail comes from Glenn, and he writes, "I am 51 years old with two young children. I want to go back to school full time to become a pharmacist. What kind of financial aid options should I look into?"
What do you think here, Gerri?
WILLIS: Well, you know, Glenn, congratulations, and there's a lot of work ahead of you. Your best bets for money are the Federal Stafford Loan and the Graduate PLUS Loan.
Max out that Stafford first because it's cheaper, the interest rates are lower. Your PLUS loan should cover the rest of your debt. Make sure you fill out that FAFSA form.
You know, Tony, what that stands for, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Keep in mind that if you're going for a second bachelor's degree in pharmacy, you won't qualify for any grants. And of course apply for scholarships. Most scholarships have no age restrictions at all. For finding these scholarships, FastWeb.com -- Tony.
HARRIS: Gerri, I've got another one for you. This one comes from a viewer in Texas who writes, "Do you have information on exchange-traded funds?" And maybe you can explain what those are. "I want to make investments and would like to know if this is the way to go at this point in time. I only have $1,000 to put up."
WILLIS: Well, you may have heard them called ETFs. Sometimes people talk about ETFs.
Those are exchange-traded funds. They're mutual funds that trade like stocks, and they generally follow a market index like the S&P 500.
Their costs are lower than mutual funds, though, because they're not actively managed. There's no mutual fund manager making picks every day. They invest in all the stocks in the 500 and then leaves it at that.
If you have a single, large lump sum to invest, think about a broad-based ETF. They're not the way to go though if you want to invest just a little bit per month. Go to morningstar.com to start your research, but they are definitely an interesting place to go because they are so cheap.
HARRIS: Yes. Got one more. You got time for one more, Gerri?
HARRIS: All right. This one comes from Kip, who writes, "If you transfer your credit card balance to a new card, should you close the old card? I heard that closing your credit cards could hurt your credit score."
What's the verdict on this one, Gerri?
WILLIS: Kip, Kip, Kip, we talk about this all the time.
HARRIS: We do.
WILLIS: Closing an unused credit card can hurt your credit scores. That's because it makes your debt load look bigger.
So, keep that card open, you can use it every once in a while so the issuer doesn't close it because of inactivity. Pay it in full each month when you do use it. That will ensure that the card continues to benefit your credit scores for years to come.
And, of course, if you have any questions, send them to me at Gerri@CNN.com.
And Tony, I just want to remind you, this weekend, Saturday morning...
HARRIS: "YOUR BOTTOM LINE." Yes, it's "YOUR BOTTOM LINE."
WILLIS: ... "YOUR BOTTOM LINE," 9:30, right here on CNN.
We've got lots of great things, where the jobs are and how you can land one. Plus, we're teaming up with Consumer Reports to put the Snuggie, the Ped Egg, the Magic Jack to the test. We're going to test them.
You won't want to miss that, 9:30 a.m. Eastern, "YOUR BOTTOM LINE," right here on CNN.
HARRIS: We buy all of those things around here as parting gifts for our friends. It's crazy. We'll be there, Gerri. We will be there. Have a great weekend.
WILLIS: You're going to learn some interesting things about those products, let me tell you.
HARRIS: Thanks. Well, I watch every week, so I'll be there. Thanks, Gerri.
WILLIS: OK. HARRIS: This weekend, plan to stay inside. It is just too cold to go out. We will check some of the extreme wind chills with our meteorologist, Jacqui Jeras. She's next.
HARRIS: This just in to CNN. Boy, we're getting reports from Boston's Logan International Airport that the airport was in fact temporarily closed this morning after a plane was evacuated. Here are the details as we know them.
A regional Delta connection plane at Terminal A there at Boston's Logan International Airport aborted takeoff. This taking place about 10:30 a.m., just a short time ago, in fact, after there was a report of smoke in the cockpit. The plane, we understand, returned to the gate and the aircraft was then evacuated.
Officials are telling us that the smell of smoke was due to fumes after the plane was de-iced. You know how cold it is in Boston.
There were 28 people on the plane at the time. No reports of any injuries.
The latest information that we have on Boston's Logan International Airport being closed, temporarily, after a plane was evacuated because of the smell of smoke in the cockpit. That smoke, the result of fumes from the plane being de-iced.
We will continue to follow any developments that we get as you take a look at the response to that incident at Logan International Airport in Boston.
Let's check some of our other top stories for you right now.
The suspect accused of trying to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas is due in court today. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces arraignment on six federal charges. Among them, attempting to murder the 289 people on board the Detroit-bound plane.
The wife of a suicide bomber who killed seven CIA officers last week in Afghanistan is defending her husband's horrific actions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEFNE BAYRAK, WIFE OF CIA SUICIDE BOMBER (through translator): In fact, I am proud of my husband. My husband accomplished a very big operation in such a war. If he is a martyr, may God accept his martyrdom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Obviously, the weather is one of our big stories. The other big story we're following today is the economy. We're putting today surprising new jobless numbers in perspective. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HARRIS: We've got a lot to get to here.
The job market, it is, as you know, a big concern, and we're talking about it today. The government's jobs report for December is out. Unemployment is still at 10 percent, and the economy lost 85,000 jobs last month.
Susan Lisovicz joining us now from the New York Stock Exchange.
Susan, some economists were actually predicting we would add jobs. We didn't.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No, and that's a disappointment and perhaps a reality check, Tony, that this is a recovery, but it is a slow one. The patient may be off the respirator, but is still in intensive care.
You know, this has been a terrible recession, 7.2 million jobs lost. And we did see, you know, a loss of 85,000 at a time when there were some predictions that we would see gains. But look at how far we've come. That chart really explains it.
A year ago, Tony, looking at losses, nearly 750,000, and job losses were above 500,000 for four straight months between January and April. We've been adding jobs steadily in education, health care, professional services. The bottom line is that more than 15 million Americans are still unemployed.
The market's holding up pretty well though, because it does see some bright spots in there. The Dow right now is off 24 points. That's about a fifth of a percent. The Nasdaq is higher by a third of a percent -- Tony.
HARRIS: All right. So, wait a minute. Susan, what's the -- explain this disconnect. Job losses are slowing down, pretty dramatically, but the unemployment rate hasn't budged. Maybe you can help us understand this.
LISOVICZ: I know, it is very frustrating. The fact is, 4,000 jobs in November doesn't begin -- begin to make a dent into that unemployment rate.
We need to see strong job growth in the U.S. We need at least 100,000 jobs per month needed to keep up with population.
Analysts say we need to start seeing 200,000 jobs added per month. And we're just not seeing it yet.
So it's -- you know, it's three steps forward, two steps back. It's going to take a while, Tony, there's no question about it.
HARRIS: All right. OK, Susan. We're going to continue our conversation here. There is certainly more to today's unemployment report than the static 10 percent jobless rate. Let's take a look at a few of the other telltale numbers and what they mean to the fragile economy. My friend -- and you know, he's here every month -- Professor Thomas "Danny" Boston teaches economics at Georgia Tech.
So let's do this. First of all, let's put up this graphic. It's a graphic that Christine Romans' team put together we're going to use here, a monthly look at job losses for the year 2009. As we talk about the December report, clearly people who do what you do for a living, many of them were suggesting to us that we would see jobs shed at about the 8,000 level. We're talking about 85,000.
Why did so many people who do what you do for a living get the number wrong?
PROF. THOMAS "DANNY" BOSTON, ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT, GEORGIA TECH UNIVERSITY: They got it wrong, right.
HARRIS: Thank you and good night!
BOSTON: Because we're economists, that's why.
All right, so here's the thing, that number was worse than expected. OK, now that number has been meandering around zero, meaning that we're not creating any new jobs. What we see shaping up is what in -- and you've got to look at another month or two or three, but it's shaping up to be a classic growth recession, meaning that -- we had this following the '82 recession. We're going to grow, but we're not going to grow fast enough to create new jobs. And so that's why you have this really bifurcated picture of the labor market.
HARRIS: This is -- so are we looking at, right now the term of art is a jobless recovery, is that what is going on right now? We saw revised numbers for November showing some job growth, about 4,000, but overall it is beginning to look like a bit of a jobless recovery, at least so far.
BOSTON: Absolutely. And even, even more troubling than the job loss, that 85,000, is the fact that the overall size of the labor market, we lost 661,000 persons in the labor market.
HARRIS: Just dropped out?
BOSTON: Just dropped out. Some discouraged, some dropped out.
HARRIS: So what is that so-called underemployment number where you talk about the folks who dropped out who were discouraged, the folks who were working part-time that would rather have full-time hours. What is that figure? That figure is what, 16 percent, 17 percent?
BOSTON: That figure is about 17 percent. Slightly above 17 percent, 17.2 percent. HARRIS: And at some point when some of those discouraged workers decide let me put my toe back in the water, we could actually see the overall employment rate go up a bit, right?
BOSTON: Absolutely. Now -- and there were about 68,000 more workers that went over into the category of being discouraged, meaning that they just stopped looking for work over the last month.
HARRIS: OK. So going forward here, do you agree with the former-Labor Secretary Robert Rice, who says we are going to have high unemployment for the next few years?
BOSTON: I agree with that.
HARRIS: Tell us why again. I think everyone needs to understand again and again and again why we're in this sort of stagnant jobs economy right now.
BOSTON: OK, there are a number of things happening. One is we have not found an engine to drive us forward.
HARRIS: A bubble some would say.
BOSTON: A bubble, whatever it's called. You know, last time we had the Internet bubble. We've had other things before that, but we don't have that bubble. The government has really exhausted its ability to continue to carry us forward.
HARRIS: The stimulus bubble, isn't that the bubble that we're hoping will pave the way for us?
BOSTON: Well, it helped. It helped, it helped. But for the stimulus, where would we be? But that's not enough to carry us forward.
HARRIS: And even when the jobs come back, according again to the former labor secretary, they are not going to be very good jobs, meaning high-paying jobs, jobs that get a family into the middle class and sustains a family there. Do you agree?
BOSTON: I agree, I agree. Because of the globalization of the economy and we're seeing competition coming from all directions, and so it's not just affecting the bottom tier of the labor market, but all sectors of the labor market.
HARRIS: So moving forward, what do you see? I mean, what's the encouraging sign, if there is one out there?
BOSTON: Well, I think the encouraging sign is that we have an administration that recognizes that we have to make the economy more competitive across the board. Now, the challenge is actually putting in place the kinds of policies that would improve education and technology and innovation and those other factors that will allow us to be a first-class economy.
HARRIS: You mentioned the administration and you sent us some notes grading the Obama administration after essentially the first year in office. And we've got a couple of areas -- financial stability, fiscal stimulus, consumer and investor confidence, jobs. We've got a professor here who's about to grade the president. I get nervous for him.
In the area of financial stability, you're giving -- what are the grades here?
BOSTON: All right. Financial stability, I'm giving an A. He stabilized the collapse of the financial system, right?
The other part of that is where are we now. Are we creating more loans? That's the big issue. So I've got an A on stabilizing the system, but I give a C-plus on generating loans. That's the big problem right now -- banks are hording cash, they're not creating loans.
HARRIS: Fiscal stimulus.
BOSTON: Fiscal stimulus, the right thing to do at the right time in the right amount, right? Another A. But on the flip side of that, too much of it was targeted to large businesses, not enough to small businesses that drive the economy forward.
HARRIS: Let's see, consumer and investor confidence.
BOSTON: The president gave attention to the economy. In other words, nothing is more important than consumer and investor confidence, and the fact that he was attending the ship 24 hours was important. That restored confidence. And so, again, A-plus. We complained about too much attention. But on the other hand, some also complained about the government being too activist.
BOSTON: Jobs. Well, we just talked about that. Stop this tremendous and mammoth collapse of jobs, so stabilize that. We didn't go into a Great Depression, but we don't have new jobs being created.
HARRIS: And what's the overall grade?
BOSTON: Overall, I'd give him a B. I give him a B.
HARRIS: OK. We're going to put that to the test a little bit. I've got a couple of other friends who are economists, you know.
Good to see you, sir.
BOSTON: OK. My pleasure.
HARRIS: We are heading back outside to check on what some of you are experiencing with this extreme weather. Look, here's the advice, just bundle up.
HARRIS: So obviously there is a real danger of frostbite and hypothermia for people unprepared to cope with this brutal cold sweeping much of the country right now. Martin Savidge has been spending time with an outreach group checking on the homeless.
And Marty, good to see you. Martin is joining us from St. Louis. I think I have an idea as to the answer to this question, but why don't more people come in out of the cold to the shelters that are available when it is this cold outside?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly right, Tony. It's the same question that I put to these people last night, the outreach organizations that are trying to look out for the homeless. And what they basically say is that there are a lot of people, no matter how deplorable the conditions in which they live, they seem, no matter how basic, no matter how brutal the temperature, it's still home to them. And for a lot of those people, it's difficult to give up on that home.
And there are other issues, of course. If you've been to any shelter, you know that there's extreme environments and there are people come from all different walks of life, many with different psychotic behavioral patterns. It can be a rough and dangerous place to be. So if you've got a family, if you're a woman, many of them avoid the shelters because of those very reasons. That's the reasoning that goes into it.
And so these organizations realize there are a lot of people that are sheltering in place, getting away from the public areas like the parks, like here in downtown St. Louis, finding places where they are at least warm. And what these organizations try to do is make sure, all right, they have got the basic stuff. Maybe it's something as simple as just wood to burn. It's enough to keep you alive on a bitter cold night, Tony.
HARRIS: OK, Marty Savidge for us in St. Louis. Good to see you, thank you.
Very quickly we need to get to our top stories.
He is accused of trying to blow up a plane with nearly 300 people on board. Today, suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is due in court to face charges tied to the failed attack. A federal grand jury indicted Abdulmutallab on six counts Wednesday.
And if you missed it, the Alabama Crimson Tide, OK...
OK, all right, all right, I didn't expect that.
Roll Tide! The Tide topped the Texas Longhorns 37 to 21 in last night's BCS National Championship Game. It is Alabama's first National Football Title since 1992.
We've got a Tide fan as a producer, obviously. Nick Saban becomes the first coach to win BCS titles at two schools, Alabama and LSU.
HARRIS: So you know sugary soft drinks really can make you fat, that's the warning on a public service announcement linking soda and obesity. But it is the visual image in the ad that is creating quite a buzz and backlash from the beverage industry. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has details in our Fit Nation Report.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the latest YouTube sensation. It's not a waterskiing squirrel or even a dancing baby, but a public service announcement about soda. Some viewers may find this revolting, but New York city health commissioner Dr. Thomas Harley says it is starting to get people's attention.
DR. THOMAS FARLEY, NYC HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We have an epidemic of obesity we need to respond to. We want to communicate it in a way that people understand and the visual images are the way that we communicate these days.
GUPTA: According to the ad, one soda a day, about 100 calories, can add ten pounds to your waistline over the course of a year. And recent research from UCLA confirms the link saying one soda per day puts you at 27 percent increased risk for obesity.
FARLEY: They're calories that people tend not to notice.
GUPTA: The American Beverage Association agrees that the hundreds of calories in sugary drinks can add up, but says there was a better way to educate people. In a statement posted on its website, the ABA says, quote, "If the goal is to reduce obesity among New Yorkers, then this public education campaign should be based in fact, not simply sensationalized video that's inaccurately portraying our industry's products -- products that are fat-free." They go on to say that the companies they represent offer low calorie and no calorie options and that losing weight is as simple as calories in, calories out.
Farley says people have known that for years, but they still don't get the point.
FARLEY: Most people have a positive image of sugar-sweetened beverages, sort of the treat that they have at the end of the day. So we want to drive home the idea these are a risk.
GUPTA: With more than 200,000 views on YouTube, the video seems to be getting that point across.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
(END VIDEOTAPE) HARRIS: Oh, man.
Starting tomorrow, "HOUSE CALL" becomes "SANJAY GUPTA MD" same place, same time, same great information. Sanjay explains why people should be having more sex. That and more on "SANJAY GUPTA MD" Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time.
You know, the man who oversaw the rebuilding of Iraq talks about recent terror threats and how to fix the security problems.
HARRIS: You could say former U.S. Diplomat Paul Bremer has seen his share of terrorism. Bremer is the former State Department's counterterrorism chief, he is also former administrator for Iraq. Bremer is not at all impressed with the handling of terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He talked with our Larry King last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: But a terrorist isn't a criminal, though, until a court of law says he is. How do you deal with the balance here between the Constitution in all of this?
PAUL BREMER, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT COUNTERTERRORISM CHIEF: These -- this man committed a terrorist attack or tried to commit a terrorist attack. He could have been rounded up by the military, perfectly legal according to Supreme Court rulings, and interrogated by professional counterterrorist interrogators for information. Counterterrorism intelligence information is highly perishable. You need to know right away where he came from, who made the bomb, where did he get the bomb, what other operations are being planned, by whom, where and when. That kind of information, as soon as you treat him as a criminal and he gets a lawyer, and Abdulmutallab now has a lawyer, obviously you don't get anymore and you're left with the rather pathetic counterterrorism policy of a plea bargain with a man who tried to kill 300 Americans. It's the wrong approach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Making your dreams come true by visualizing them, one new movie producer says it works.
HARRIS: For three years now we've been proud to introduce you to CNN HEROES, everyday people who are changing the world. Today you will meet our first CNN HERO of 2010. Her name is Winona Ward, a trucker turned lawyer in Vermont, where 72 percent of adult homicides are tied to domestic violence, mostly in rural areas.
WINONA WARD, PROTECTING THE POWERLESS: When I was growing up on the rural back road, family violence was an accepted way of life.
This is my mother, and I'm the baby here, and my father and my brother, Richard, and my sister Colleen.
My father would commonly abuse all of us. He raped me and beat my mother and my other siblings. When the neighbors heard screaming coming from our home, they just turned their heads.
For domestic violence victims in rural areas, it can be very devastating. They're out there on these back roads with no access to in-town services. Many of them do not have telephones. Some of them do not have driver's license for an automobile, so we go to them.
My name is Winona Ward.
The turning point for me was when a child in my family revealed that she had been abused by my father and my brother. I just said, this has to stop.
When I graduated from law school, I was 48 years old.
Good morning, my dear.
I go to people's homes, give them in-home consultation, provide them with free legal services and transportation to and from courtrooms. I don't want children to have to go through what I did as a child. I want to see my clients become empowered. I can understand them, and they know that I will be there to protect them.
HARRIS: Winona has helped nearly 10,000 victim of domestic violence and she drives 30,000 miles a year doing it. To see an inspiring story, really uplifting, of one woman she's helped or to nominate someone who you think is changing the world, just go to CNN.com/heroes.
And here's what we're working on for the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM.
Are you looking for a job? You may want to talk to the government. It is hiring 1.5 million people to help count everyone in America. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Also, from orangutans to giant tortoises even Komodo dragons, the cold snap is takes its toll. We will take a look at creature comforts plus more in the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Got to tell you, the woman you're about to meet has gone from meager to mobile in a remarkably short time, and by the way, the way she did it, could be a Hollywood movie script.
CNN's Brooke Anderson has the story.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): What do we have here? A stack of scripts.
CYNTHIA STAFFORD, MOVIE PRODUCER: Oh, yes. This? This is a small amount of the scripts that I receive every day.
ANDERSON (voice-over): She is Hollywood's newest mover and shaker.
STAFFORD: I'm the executive producer of two movies already.
ANDERSON: Her name Cynthia Stafford, although she also goes by a royal title.
(on camera): What do some of the people call you, Miss Cynthia, at the company?
STAFFORD: Well, they call me the queen.
ANDERSON: Of course. Of course they do.
(voice-over): She recently launched her own company, Queen Nefertari Productions, and a film development fund. Last month, Hollywood powerbrokers turned out for a party to welcome her into the fold.
STAFFORD: It was really like a little overwhelming.
ANDERSON: Just two years ago, Stafford had nothing to do with the entertainment industry. She was in tough financial shape, in danger of losing her home, and she was raising four of her brother's children after he was killed by a drunk driver.
STAFFORD: I lost my brother in '99. I was really close to him.
ANDERSON: What happened next is a twist worthy of a Hollywood script. Stafford says she began visualizing a way to better her life. She decided, winning the lottery would do it. The figure of $112 million came to her mind.
STAFFORD: I wrote the number down as I'm going to sleep or wake up, I would look at the number, and I would say, I'm going to get that, I'm going to achieve that.
ANDERSON: Stafford kept an eye on the mega millions jackpot. When it hit $112 million, she bought a ticket. And then it happened.
STAFFORD: I won $112 million. We won on the $2 ticket.
ANDERSON (on camera): Stop.
STAFFORD: Two dollars.
ANDERSON: Two dollars.
(voice-over): Since then, Stafford has bought a house in an exclusive L.A. enclave.
STAFFORD: Hi, kids.
ANDERSON: Her brother's kids whom she adopted live with her. She can afford the best in life, but she still appreciates a bargain.
STAFFORD: And I see a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon and I use those as well. That's why it's sitting here. Oh, yes, I want to go. Twenty percent off.
ANDERSON (on camera): Twenty percent off.
(voice-over): A longstanding love of the arts inspired her to donate $1 million to L.A.'s Geffen Playhouse and to form her movie production company. She said she's got several films in the pipeline.
STAFFORD: All of our scripts are pretty much attached with famous stars and directors.
ANDERSON: She wants her films to have a positive message. Her message to others, visualization really does work.
STAFFORD: It's the advice I would give to other people is just to believe the end result, by you want to see it happen, and it will happen.
ANDERSON: And what's she visualizing for herself now? Hollywood success of Oprahlike dimensions.
STAFFORD: In five to ten years, I see myself as a mogul, and hopefully even before that.
ANDERSON: Brooke Anderson, CNN, Los Angeles.