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Astronauts Repairing International Space Station; U.S. Aircraft Damaged in South Sudan; Target Credit Card Security Breached; Mike Tyson Stars on Broadway in One-Man Show; Child Who Received Lung Transplant Recovering

Aired December 21, 2013 - 14:30   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The CNN Newsroom starts right now.

Two NASA astronauts spent more than five hours on an emergency spacewalk today. They were trying to fix a critical cooling system pump on the International Space Station. Without the system, they had to turn off some of the station's important electronics. NASA says the astronauts got more accomplished today than expected and the problem may be fixed after the next spacewalk on Monday. Both astronauts made it back to the space station safely, but as John Zarrella explains, NASA did have some extra safety precautions in place.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the concerns NASA had going into this spacewalk was what would happen inside the space suit? Back in July, European astronaut Luca Parmitano's spacewalk lasted only 90 minutes, cut way short, when all of a sudden he began to experience water building up inside his helmet. They got him inside quickly enough, got his helmet off, but he came close to potentially drowning in the helmet.

So NASA devised a couple things going into this series of spacewalks. They had a pad that was fabricated. And that pad goes in the back of the helmet. Periodically, the astronauts during the first spacewalk on Saturday were able to put their heads back, check to see if the pad was dry. No water in the helmets. That was good news.

They also install a snorkel, a tube installed inside the space suits themselves, so if, for any reason, water did build up in the helmets, the astronauts could actually take breaths of air from that snorkel until they were able to get back into the space station and get their helmets off. But, didn't have any problem with either of the space suits. Everything went very, very well on the first of the spacewalks as far as the safety of the astronauts is concerned.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


WHITFIELD: All right, we like that. Good news. Thanks so much, John.

Now to a developing story out of Africa. Some very tenuous news there. U.S. aircraft in South Sudan came under heavy gunfire this morning during a mission to evacuate American civilians. Four service members are injured. The country has been in turmoil since the president accused the former vice president of attempting a coup last week. A lot of people have been killed in the clashes since.

And four men in this country have been arrested in connection with a deadly carjacking at a New Jersey mall. The prosecutor announced this morning the four are facing charges of murder and carjacking. Officials say the victim, Doug Friedland, had just helped his wife get into their car last Sunday when he was confronted and shot.


PAUL FISHMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY: You have the right to be safe and the expectation that you should be safe in this county in the state of New Jersey. In particular, you shouldn't have to worry wherever you go, whether downtown Newark or the Short Hills Mall or anywhere else that someone will put a gun to your head and take your car.


WHITFIELD: Bail was set at $2 million for each suspect.

And now the travel nightmare that tens of millions of holiday travelers could be facing over the next few days. This is the source of their troubles, a major winter storm dumping snow and ice across much of the Midwest right now. Roads have turned into ice rinks in parts of Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. And if you are flying, watch for possible flight cancellations and up to two-hour delays in places like Kansas City, Chicago, and Dallas. In the south, rain, damaging wind and possible tornadoes are the big threat. One twister already touched down in Mississippi taking out trees. So far, no reports of injuries.

So we could see more tornadoes later on today, and some could be large and violent. Jennifer Gray is tracking the system from the CNN Weather Center. So Jennifer, what are the indicators?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We have tornado watches in place right now. We have severe thunderstorm warnings. Of course this is what we are going to keep an eye on throughout the afternoon. We have several different components to the storm system. We have very heavy rain, possible flooding rain. We have the severe component, we also have the freezing rain and ice and we even have snow.

So we'll break it all down for you. We have been dealing with a lot of ice across portions of Oklahoma. That's been stretching into Missouri. Kansas City getting some freezing rain, a little bit of ice in Oklahoma City as well. It's trying to change over. We also have tornado watches in effect for much of Louisiana into east Texas, and that one is in effect until 6:00 central time. The box on top is in effect until 8:00 central time. And we are already seeing a couple of severe thunderstorm warnings pop up. And most of these have been in Louisiana. We have this one here right around Arcadia. This is in effect for the next 45 minutes or so. These are moving to the east at 35 miles per hour, so if you are in the Monroe vicinity, you definitely need to watch out for these.

We also had some nasty storms roll through in the past couple minutes. So these are carrying winds of about 60 miles per hour, so very dangerous storms as well as the lightning. The moderate risk of severe weather will carry on through the afternoon. The highlighted areas need to be on the lookout. Jackson, Memphis, Nashville, you are all included in this. These areas could see up to an inch of ice. That's going to mean power outages, trees down. Around the Springfield area, we could see up to half an inch of ice. So this is just going to be a mess as we roll into tomorrow, though things do improve and then we get better and better by the time we get to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

WHITFIELD: There's hope there.

GRAY: A little light.

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Jennifer.

All right, same-sex marriage is now legal in Utah after a judge struck down a law banning it. Couples have been getting married since the judge's ruling yesterday. Voters passed a law back in 2004 to ban same-sex marriage. Three gay and lesbian couples filed a lawsuit trying to knock it down, and the federal judge agreed with them, saying the law was unconstitutional.

Earlier this week New Mexico's supreme court also decided to allow same sex marriage.

And 40 million credit and debit cards hacked at Target stores this month. In a minute, we'll talk to a credit expert who says severe measures might be needed to keep yourself and your accounts safe.

Plus, Rachel Nichols talks to Mike Tyson. He used to be king of the ring and now he's taking on the stage.


WHITFIELD: All right, Target says it's are offering customers a 10 percent discount at all their stores this weekend. The offer comes a day after the company confirmed 40 million customers had their credit and debit card information stolen. There are reports that some of the stolen cards are already for sale on black markets around the world. Target says that no personal information was impacted and the security breach has been fixed. The breach is being called the second largest in U.S. history.

So what happens if you do discover fraudulent activity with your credit or debit cards after being one of the 40 million shoppers at Target whose accounts were compromised? John Ulzheimer is a credit expert with OK, so we know you need to check your statement. Anyone who was among the 40 million, they are checking their statement. If they see any unusual activity, they are calling their bank. What is that conversation? Am I asking them to cancel the account, change the number?

JOHN ULZHEIMER, CREDIT EXPERT, CREDITSESAME.COM: It's very likely that your issuer is already very well aware of what happened at Target and they're already receiving phone calls from concerned cardholders as to what should I do? If you believe that you have been exposed, meaning you used your card between November 27 through the December 15th, I would suggest you call your credit card issuer now and letting them know now, look, can you reissue me a new card? I'm going to change my pin. Get me a new card as quickly as possible, because, a, there's a chance of it being used fraudulently or at least for sale. And, b, I need to get it in my hand prior to me heading out for my holiday travel.

WHITFIELD: And what terrible timing, terrible for the consumer, because you are getting on the plane, on the road, you need your card. Your shopping, last minute gifts, all that good stuff, and now you've got this, and bank hours are not the norm right now.

ULZHEIMER: The banks are closed tomorrow. They will be open on Monday. They will close half day on Tuesday and all day Wednesday. So you have a small window of opportunity to get this addressed. Monday seems to be the day.

WHITFIELD: So what are the protections in place? You know, what if, you know, $300 was charged and, you know, you are now out your $300 or it compromised your account in other ways, overdraft, how do you recover that, or can you?

ULZHEIMER: Good question. There are two federal laws that protect the consumer. One is called the fair credit billing act, and that is specific to credit cards. Then there's the electronic funds transfer act, and that's specific to debit cards. So if someone has stolen your credit card number and gone out and charged something, federal law limits your liability to 50 bucks, that's it. And all four of the major credit cards networks, Visa, MasterCard, Amex, and Discover, all have zero liability policies. So really you are not out anything. But you don't want someone out there trying to charge stuff on your card.

The story is not as good when it comes to debit cards. Your cap of liability is 500 bucks. The major difference between --

WHITFIELD: So it's on you, the consumer.

ULZHEIMER: Absolutely. A debit card, whose money is that? That's your money and you are expecting it to be there to cover other transactions. The credit card is the banks money, so the sense of urgency is on their shoulders where the debit card sense of urgency is on your shoulders.

WHITFIELD: So now what about calling your credit agency? Putting an alert on your account so that information that may have been compromised, stolen, isn't used toward opening up another account?

ULZHEIMER: Target just announced recently that they are going to be paying for credit monitoring for victims of identity theft. Not sure that's terribly effective, here is why. This isn't true name fraud.

WHITFIELD: That's what they mean when they say no personal information was taken?

ULZHEIMER: Correct. All that was compromised is your payment information, your credit card number. That's what was compromised. Monitoring your credit report is not terribly effective to prevent me from stealing your credit card number and using it somewhere. It's effective if I steal your identity.


ULZHEIMER: So while it's prudent or we're all very engaged with our credit reports, that's not going to solve the problem. We should not depend on that as being essentially a shield against identity theft.

WHITFIELD: If this is happening now the warning is it could potentially happen again involving a giant retailer. Is the lesson here for many of that you need to be thinking about having cash in your pocket?

ULZHEIMER: The lesson is, people are not going to like this advice. The lesson here is that your credit card is infinitely safer than your debit card. But people love their debit cards because of the budgetary controls and the lack of interest. But when it comes to safety and fraud prevention, especially legislatively, the credit card is the king.

WHITFIELD: Great advice, John. Thanks so much. Good to see you. Happy holidays.

ULZHEIMER: Same to you.

WHITFIELD: Fantastic.

When he was boxing in the ring, we all knew him as Iron Mike. Probably a fan yourself, maybe? Now, Mike Tyson is taking on a whole new challenge in a whole new venue. Find out what Mike Tyson is up to these days.


WHITFIELD: He used to make his fortune in the ring. But former boxing champ Mike Tyson is now making the stage his home. Who would have thought he would be a Broadway star or that spike Lee would direct a movie based on that Broadway show? More recently he and Evander Holyfield surprised many people by appearing in that Footlocker ad. The two poking fun at that ear biting moment during their careers in the ring. Tyson says he really is sorry for that moment.



(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: So, he's the man who had a lifetime of ups and downs. CNN's Rachel Nichols talked with him about his journey. She joins us now with more on her interview with Iron Mike.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, there is no one else quite like Mike Tyson. His rise was meteoric. His fall was just as dizzying. He's a convicted rapist, a crime he still says he didn't commit. He's also an entertainer who got big laughs in the "Hangover" movies and now is earning raves for his one-man show on Broadway. Mike Tyson hasn't just had a second act. He's had three, four, five acts. And I talked to him about all of them.


NICHOLS: You are a Broadway star now.

TYSON: I have been called worse, I agree.

NICHOLS: And 20 years ago, if I had said to you, of all the things you might do with your life, would you believe you would be headlining a show on Broadway?

TYSON: No, but I'm glad I am. I'm really a serious guy, but when I perform, I like to perform. I like to evoke feelings from people.

NICHOLS: You grew up in the bad section of Brooklyn. How many times were you arrested as a kid?

TYSON: Quite a few times, over 30 times. Quite a few times, over 40 times.


TYSON: Yes. By the time I was 12, 11.

NICHOLS: How do you deal with going from that to being a guy who, when you were only 20 years old you're the heavyweight champion of the world. And once you get there, how difficult is it to deal with it?

TYSON: Money is a false sense of security. It makes you believe you can't even die. It makes you turn into a coward. I don't like that time in my life because I don't like the person I was back then. All the money and all that success I had, I didn't get anything done. My kids never saw me. I was a horrible father. I'm getting so much done now as a human being than I could have ever done then in the prime of my fighting career.

Evander, I'm sorry. You're a champion. I respect that. And I'm only saddened that the fight didn't go on further so that the boxing fans of the world might have seen who would have come out on top.

NICHOLS: When you look back on it now, what do you think?

TYSON: I'm sorry I bit his ear, I really am sorry, because I like Evander. He's a good guy.

NICHOLS: You did a commercial recently where you gave back the ear.

TYSON: I'm sorry, Evander. Here's your ear.

NICHOLS: Was it a fun commercial to do? Do you believe you are joking about this now after all that?

TYSON: It's a big joke now.

NICHOLS: I started out asking you about the Mike Tyson of 20 years ago, if he could have predicted this Mike Tyson. What do you think of the Mike Tyson 20 years from now? Do you know where he'll be?

TYSON: Man, that's going to be frightening, because 20 years from now, a grandfather. It will be pretty interesting. I just hope I'm around to meet that guy.


NICHOLS: Tyson is trying his hand as being a boxing promoter. He told me he's going to do it much better than the guys that promoted him, like Don King, who he alleges stole tens of millions of dollars from him. I asked Tyson what advice he was giving to all these younger Boxers. He said he's telling them the only entourage you need is a lawyer. Fred, as he put it, quote, "Your lawyer is your groupee."

WHITFIELD: All right, Rachel Nichols, thanks so much.

Coming up, take a look at this video. Chuck Norris apparently doing a split across two airplanes. Look familiar? It looks crazy. Is that one possible?

And this is Sarah Murnaghan now. Remember her months ago, she was hoping a lung transplant would help her get well, and it did. Now she's facing a new medical challenge. What's her prognosis?


WHITFIELD: We love getting feedback from our viewers. Frank Martinez is among those from Texas. He told us on Facebook that he wants to see more good news on shows. So, Frank, this one is for you and everyone else who likes the feel-good stories. This is a must see moment of the day, the moment when a young man gets his college acceptance letter. This was extra special for 20-year-old Ryan who has Down syndrome.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says congratulations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got accepted?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pleased to inform you of your acceptance into the Clemson Life Program for the fall of 2014, beginning August 17th, 2014.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said yes. What do you say?



WHITFIELD: That is so sweet, Ryan accepting his acceptance letter to Clemson University's Life Program. It is for people with intellectual disabilities and aims to give them a college experience. That is fantastic. Congrats to him.

So by now, you have probably seen Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits between the tops of two moving trucks. But in this event, it might be a little similar, but perhaps very unique. Take a look.




WHITFIELD: OK, that's Van Damme's commercial for Volvo trucks. Remember that one? Not to be outdone, Chuck Norris has his own split.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No power to charm. So gracious at the time. So I broke it.


WHITFIELD: Oh, Chuck Norris. There he is doing a split of his own, and he's taking it to new heights between those two fighter jets while balancing 11 people standing in the shape of a Christmas tree on the top of his head. Ho, ho, ho.

And then guess what? There's more. They actually light up, right there, like a lit Christmas tree. This is, of course, a parody of the Van Damme ad, which makes use of CGI graphic technology. Nonetheless, very funny. I guess they are a bit competitive.

All right, young Sarah Murnaghan was dying. She needed a lung transplant. But in order to get it her parents had to fight the federal government. The family was successful. But this is only the beginning of her journey back. Here is CNN's Jason Carroll.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, after so much national attention was focused on Sarah, we wanted to see how she was doing several months out from her surgery. We found a determined little girl who is still on that long road to recovery.


CARROLL: Four months ago, Sarah Murnaghan could barely move in her hospital bed without help after receiving two lung transplants, the surgeries necessary because she was dying from cystic fibrosis. Her goal then was very clear.


CARROLL: You're not going for easy?

MURNAGHAN: I'm just going for possible.

CARROLL: This is what possible looks like now, Sarah at home in her bedroom doing physical therapy with her mother and her home nurse nearby.


CARROLL: She is walking, thinking about Christmas.

MURNAGHAN: I asked for a football.

CARROLL: And focusing on how far she has come.

MURNAGHAN: What I was going through was possible. And it was possible for me to save myself.


CARROLL: Sarah's family overjoyed by her progress, but still frustrated. For weeks, the Murnaghan's pressured health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, to change the under 12 policy, which they say discriminated against children. Sarah was getting sicker waiting for a transplant, restricted from the adult pool of donors because she was 10. Meanwhile, adults who were less sick were eligible for transplants under the policy.

JANET MURNAGHAN, SARAH'S MOTHER: What we were trying to say is Sarah was being treated unequally as were all other kids in her age group.

CARROLL: The Murnaghan's sued along with another family in the same situation. A judge ruled in their favor, temporarily suspending the policy. The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, OPTN, allowing some exceptions for very sick children like Sarah until June, 2014. Then the policy is up for review. Now Sarah's biggest challenge isn't her lungs, which work fine, it's her muscles which atrophied, and her bones, which weakened while she waited for the transplant.

JANET MURNAGHAN: So now, here we are, climbing out of that. And she will. But she shouldn't have been in that position. She shouldn't have had to go through this much.

CARROLL: Sarah knows she still has a long way to go.

MURNAGHAN: I told myself I can do it and I push myself.

CARROLL: Do you feel like you are getting better every week, every day?

MURNAGHAN: Every day, I get a little bit stronger. CARROLL: And gets a little better, one step at a time.


CARROLL: Since the national policy was changed last summer, 10 other children like Sarah have also been approved to receive lung transplants. The Murnaghan's say what they ultimately want is better policy that would benefit all children. Fred?

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Jason. Appreciate that. We always like to hear what you have to say about the stories that we put on our air. You can reach us on Facebook FredrickaWhitfieldCNN, or tweet me @FWhitfield.