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North Korea Welcomes Dictator in Waiting; Final Step to Bring 33 Trapped Chilean Miners to Surface; Tea Party Tidal Wave; Kick Start Your Business; Mass Overdose at College Party in Washington State; The Netiquette of Facebook
Aired October 11, 2010 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good Monday morning to you. Thanks for joining us here on AMERICAN MORNING. It is the 11th of October. I'm John Roberts.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Columbus Day, so a lot of people are enjoying the long weekend.
ROBERTS: We'll have to get our shot of the statue of Christopher Columbus out there on Columbus Circle this morning.
CHETRY: Exactly. I mean, this was this whole place --
ROBERTS: There it is.
CHETRY: There it is. Christopher Columbus on this Columbus Day morning here in New York City. Want to get you caught up on what's going on around the world.
Tanks, missiles, and thousands of soldiers welcoming a dictator in waiting. North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il and son, the heir apparent, both appearing at one of the biggest celebrations in the country's history, and our Alina Cho was one of the few foreign journalists allowed in to videotape it. We will join her. She's live in Pyongyang in just a moment.
ROBERTS: In Chile, the final step underway to bring the 33 trapped miners to the surface rescue crews to finish drilling an escape shaft. The men could finally be brought to the surface as early as Wednesday. We're live in Chile with the latest developments this morning.
CHETRY: Also, a mass overdose at a college party in Washington State. Police say it appears that young women were targeted and their drinks spiked with a powerful drug. This morning, new details on the investigation.
ROBERTS: Up first this morning, the power parade, the succession process underway in North Korea with a massive show of force, thousands of soldiers, tanks and missiles with banners that said "Defeat the U.S. military."
CHETRY: North Korea's ailing dictator, Kim Jong-Il, made a rare appearance with his son, the heir apparent, basically saying this will be yours some day. And of course, the U.S. is closely watching as North Korea enters a new era.
Our Alina Cho was granted rare access inside of North Korea and joins us now from Pyongyang.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Kiran. Good evening from Pyongyang where North Koreans are in the middle of a weeklong celebration. They are literally dancing in the streets, marking the 65th anniversary of the formation of the ruling Workers' Party.
But this is also about succession, about a transfer of power. And it's offering us a rare glimpse inside one of the most secretive societies in the world.
CHO: The most reclusive dictator in the world opens his arms and his doors to the world, an unofficial and elaborate coming out party for Kim Jong-Un, the hermit nation's hidden prince, the son of Kim Jong-Il, who one day will become its leader. This is the world's first glimpse of him in action after being named a four-star general last month.
Just after touching down, we're whisked to Pyongyang's May Day stadium for the first event, the mass games. There are 100,000 people performing in a massive display of coordinated song, dance, and gymnastics. They practice eight hours a day every day for a year. And there's never a guarantee that Chairman Kim Jong-Il will be in attendance. But tonight, he is.
What's different this time is that Kim Jong-Il appears alongside his son. When the show is over, North Koreans in the audience applaud not for the performers, but for their leader.
Next up, a massive military parade, billed as the country's largest ever, a goose stepping show of fire power by one of the largest armies in the world. Kim Jong-Il, said to be in frail health and rarely seen in public, shows up again for the second time in two days, walking unaided, but with one hand on the railing.
This woman says "Long live the general and long live his son." Here, Kim Jong-Il flashes a rare smile as his son jokes with elders. The crowd goes wild, jumping, clapping, even crying. And then as night falls, yet another spectacle.
CHO (on camera): Tonight's event is the third such event in 24 hours and it is pageantry. Take a look behind me -- the colors, the choreography, literally thousands of dancers in traditional dress. The media has been invited as guests. This is the invitation. But make no mistake, the real guests of honor are up there in the balcony, Kim Jong-Il and his son, the heir apparent, Kim Jong-Un.
JOERGEN MELSKENS, ACTOR/VISITING FROM DEMARK: I think it was fantastic. CHO: This man, an actor from Denmark, one of a handful of private citizens invited by the North Korean government, is among those watching.
What about all of the reports of oppression and the people starving and --
MELSKENS: I can't see it. Maybe it is there, but I can't see it. I can just see lucky people.
CHO: This secretive nation will soon close its doors, leaving many questions about the future. How will the young son rule? How long can North Korea continue as an isolationist state? The world's eyes are watching as North Korea begins its transfer of power.
CHO: And for all this talk about transfer of power, it's incredible to note that we actually know very little about Kim Jong- Un. We don't even know his age. He is said to be 27 or 28 years old. We believe he went to boarding school in Switzerland for a time and that he knows some English, German, and French.
And John and Kiran, Kim Jong-Un is also said to be a chip off the old block, that he not only looks like his father, but he acts like him too. John and Kiran?
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And we should remind folks to what an incredible journalistic experience it is for you to be able to be there so close to all of the events and broadcast live out of Pyongyang. That rarely happens. And it's the second time you've had the opportunity to be there. You've had the chance to move around Pyongyang some.
And talk about the contrast of the beauty of the pageant and the events and the crushing economic woes that people in North Korea are subject to. What did you see when you traveled around?
CHO: Well, it's quite extraordinary. And John, you mentioned that first trip. I was here about two and a half years ago as part of the press delegation with the New York Philharmonic when they performed here. And I did look around the streets of Pyongyang today. It was quite remarkable.
What I noticed was for all of the talk about this being an isolationist state, and it still is, closed off to much of the rest of the world, I did notice some signs of progress. Quite remarkable, I didn't see street lights two years ago. There are street lights now.
I even noticed that some private North Korean citizens have cell phones. That was remarkable. I saw a thriving marketplace, the exchange of money. And I will talk much more about that in another live report live from Pyongyang tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING."
CHETRY: Look forward to hearing from you, Alina. Thanks so much.
Meanwhile, it's six minutes past the hour. To Chile now where crews are getting closer to bringing those 33 trapped miners out of the ground. As we speak, crews are lining the rescue tunnel with steel tubing. They want to reinforce it, prevent any rocks from falling down and hitting the escape capsule.
ROBERTS: Our Patrick Oppmann is live in Copiapo, Chile. And there's been disagreement about who's going first and who's going to come up last. Some of the miners down there showing solidarity saying no, no, no, you first, I'll go after you.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, John, and it's another chapter in this already incredible story. You would think after more than two months trapped in this mine there would be a rush for the exits.
But starting with the foreman of the mine who told his fellow miners that I'm the captain of the ship, I want to go last, there's been the proceedings where all the miners are saying, you go first, I want you to go be with your family. You deserve to have, whether it's a couple minutes or a couple hours of freedom, more than myself.
We do know it's not going to be a pleasant ride to the surface. The capsule, officials say, could turn 10 to 12 times as they make the assent upwards. This rescue operation will begin once rescuers low you are down a paramedic and mine rescue expert who pulled literally dozens of people out of the mines over the years.
Once he gets down to the bottom, they'll have 35 men in this mine and they'll be sending up one-by-one these miners. If there are any problems with this capsule, those men will need to figure it out. They'll have some help. They'll be able to communicate with the surface. There'll be a live video feed of the miners so they can keep an eye on their health.
But it will be up to the miners to make sure this capsule works correctly until they get to the surface. Then the men who have health problems or miners who suffer from hypertension, diabetes, they'll be sent next.
And then finally those who can hold it altogether in the last hours as they watch their colleagues be sent up to the surface, those miners are strong enough not to break down in the final hours of the captivity, they will go last.
CHETRY: And Patrick, one other quick thing. I know they were worried whether or not everybody could fit into that capsule, some concerns about people losing weight and being able to do that. Have they determined that everybody will, indeed, fit?
OPPMANN: Yes, they have. And talk about motivation for losing some weight. They've had a trainer. He said that some of the miners lost up to 20 pounds. They're all going to be slim enough to climb in this very, very tight capsule. They're going to have to be. CHETRY: Patrick, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We'll continue to check in with you as we get closer and closer now hopefully to an amazing celebration among family members who have waited so long.
ROBERTS: It'll be something incredible to watch over the next couple of days.
CHETRY: Coming up next on the most news in the morning, we're going to take a look at how much of an edge the Tea Party is expected to give Republican candidates in the midterm elections. It's ten minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: Welcome back to the most politics in the morning. It's 13 minutes past the hour.
We're now in the home stretch, just 22 days to go until the midterms and Democrats are scrambling to build some kind of momentum that can stop a Republican wave that appears to be washing over the country.
Our Jim Acosta is live in Washington for us this morning. And this wave of Republican support, Jim, really being fueled by the Tea Party, which shows sort of boundless enthusiasm this election cycle.
ACOSTA: To use a phrase from the 2008 campaign, they are fired up and ready to go, John and Kiran. Election Day getting closer, but the enthusiasm gap is getting clearer. And if Republicans take back the Congress, there's a new poll showing out, it's going to be on the backs of conservative Tea Party activists.
This poll from "The Washington Post" Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard found a huge disparity when it comes to which voters are interested in the upcoming elections. There's already this enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats, 57 percent of GOP voters are interested versus 43 percent of Democrats.
But look at that Tea Party number. Unbelievable -- 74 percent are ready to vote in this election. That's why Republicans are confident they will take control of the Congress and the Democrats are warning their base to watch out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) CALIFORNIA: Well, I don't see them closing the Democratic side. I see 80 seats held by Democrats or Democrats-held seat where the incumbent are the candidates below 50. I think what's happening here, and you look at the enthusiasm gap, much stronger on the Republican side even than it was in 1994, much stronger on independent voters voting for Republicans, stronger than 1994. REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: It's where they oppose the speaker and the president. That's their job. As opposed to on the other side where you have this ideological purity test and it's being moved even farther to the right by the Tea Party candidates, which are moving the Republican Party way off to the right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And last week, CNN had its own poll on the enthusiasm gap. That poll found only a third of Democrats are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting. But as Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell pointed out yesterday on CNN, a tepid vote counts the same as an enthusiastic vote. And so this enthusiasm gap is not just about NFL football, it applies to politics big time, guys.
CHETRY: Yes, indeed, it does. The interesting thing, though, for independents, which you know, you always hear the pundits say are the key to the election. Are they fired up about some of the Tea Party candidates? For example, Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Sharron Angle in Nevada?
ACOSTA: That is the big question, Kiran, I have to say. We're going to find out on Election Day with those exit polls when they come in where the independent voters are breaking down. Right now, they're telling pollsters that they're leaning toward Republican candidates in races all over the country. But you asked about Christine O'Donnell, that is a very good example of a candidate where I think we just don't know at this point where independent voters are going to break down. Same with Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, these Tea Party-backed candidates running for the U.S. Senate. It's unclear whether or not they're going to buy into the case being made by the Democrats right now that they are just too extreme, that they want to do away with social security and that sort of thing. And that is why you're going to see the president out campaigning these next three weeks trying to make this case that these Tea Party candidates are too extreme. It's not clear whether or not independents are going to listen to that message. They may be just so angry about the way things are going in Washington that they're going to vote the Democrats out.
ROBERTS: And try to get some of those tepid voters out to the polls because well, they count just the same as an enthusiastic vote. They might not get up and actually cast a ballot. Jim thanks so much.
ACOSTA: You bet.
ROBERTS: Coming up next on the Most News in the Morning, in this troubled economy, it's tough for small businesses to get off the ground. Christine Romans shows us one Internet site aimed at giving them a kick start.
Stay with us. Seventeen minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: It's 20 minutes now after the hour. Grover has gone viral. And he wants you to smell like a monster? ROBERTS: The puppet, the Muppet spoof from the Old Spice guy, the commercial that also exploded on YouTube. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GROVER, SESAME STREET: Hello, everybody. Look at yourself. Now back to me. Now back at yourself. Now back to me.
Sadly you are not a monster. But if you listen to Grover, you will know all about the word on just as this monster does.
Look down, back up, where am I? I am on a boat. What is in your hand? Back at me. I have it. This is a clam with two tickets to that thing you love. On my nose. Anything is possible when you smell like a monster and know the word on. I am on a horse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: It's cute. It might be over the heads of the little ones watching, but I guess their parents get a laugh.
ROBERTS: He's my favorite "Sesame Street" character.
CHETRY: You like him better than Snuffleupagus?
ROBERTS: Snuffleupagus is great, but Grover is the best.
CHETRY: Well, if you got granted your first small business, you probably know bank credit is scarce. Investors skittish these days, but there are ways to raise cash.
ROBERTS: Christine Romans joins us now to show us how.
"Smart is the New Rich." Hold up the book, come on.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, "Smart is the New Rich." In the small business chapter of this book, I wanted to get some really good ideas for people to connect the good ideas, the creative ideas with the money. We know that the bank lending is scarce. So how do you take the grim loan officer out of the equation and put a good idea with a backer online to get money? Here's how.
ROMANS (voice-over): Vadim Akimenko isn't your grandmother's butcher. More than 200 people showed up on a Wednesday night to watch Vadim and a handful of Boston-area chefs demonstrate how to break down a pig.
VADIM AKIMENKO, BUTCHER, AKIMENKO MEATS: It's always good to get the name out there. It's keeping up the buzz, keeping up anticipation.
ROMANS: The anticipation is over Akimenko Meats, the butcher shop Vadim hopes to open by the end of the year featuring all locally- raised sustainable meats. But raising money has been a challenge.
AKIMENKO: Financing has been very hard right now.
ROMANS: After liquidating a 401(k) in the spring, Vadim connected with a site called kickstarter.com. The concept is simple. Send the site an idea. If it's approved, you set up a page with a fund-raising goal. Then backers, every day Internet users, they donate cash and receive rewards in return. Yancey Strickler is co-founder.
(on camera): So it's not charity?
YANCEY STRICKLER, CO-FOUNDER, KICKSTARTER.COM: It's not charity. It's somewhere between patronage and commerce.
ROMANS (voice-over): More than 200,000 people from all over the world have given $20 million to projects in the year and a half Kickstarter has been around.
STRICKLER: Sure. Well, there's another one right now that's going really crazy. It's called glif (ph). And it's basically a really clever iPhone stand.
ROMANS: The makers of the stand raised 36,000 the first day online.
(on camera): Wow. And so what do people get in return? They get the stand?
STRICKLER: They get the stand for 20 bucks.
ROMANS (voice-over): In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Vadim Akimenko raised more than $16,000 from 200 backers online, enough to secure a five-year lease for his shop.
AKIMENKO: Majority is from Boston, but we've got people as far away as Finland who donated. It's really humbling to see that many people, you know, want to have your idea.
ROMANS: Sites like Kickstarter, Texstars.org (ph), Y Combinator, and the so-called peer-to-peer lenders like Prosper, Virgin Money and Lending Club are intriguing alternatives when banks and private investors aren't handing much out.
PAUL KEDROSKY, KAUFFMAN FOUNDATION: These kinds of services can be great in terms of truly kick-starting the business. And that was never available before because you were spending most of your time wandering down the dark alleys trying to find someone who would you give money.
ROMANS: It's not for everyone and both borrowers and lenders should do your homework. Vadim Akimenko still needs a few more investors to open shop by December, but he hopes drawing crowds like this one will help.
ROMANS: See what kind of projects are finding backers online through Kickstarter and through a lot of different ones, as well. Peer-to- peer lending is another mature business we've told you about where borrowers and lenders get together online and do everything from help pay off credit cards, to pay off student loans, to start a new business to just give funds. And for those people, for on peer-to- peer lending, you get a little bit of return on your investment.
ROBERTS: Well, I'm assuming, you know --
CHETRY: It's fascinating to look at it. A lot of these projects are already funded to the hill -- 127 percent.
ROMANS: Right. It's amazing. So a good idea will just flourish online and this is what they gain in return.
ROBERTS: You know, I was wondering what's the caucus (ph) when you invest and you want something back.
ROMANS: On Kickstarter, in particular, you're not loaning money. You're getting the product back. Or you're getting several copies of the product. For example, that iPhone stand we were telling you about. You've got thousands of people donating maybe $20 apiece so they can get one of these very unique stands for themselves. Now the company can actually begin and flourish. Maybe somewhere down the line they'll be bought or they'll be able to become a big full-fledged company but at least that seed capital is there from people who like the idea, an online community.
The guy who runs Kickstarter called it affinity commerce, meaning you're looking out there to spend your money on things that mean something to you. You want to back this particular project. There are a lot of films, novels, children's books --
CHETRY: Children's books.
ROMANS: It's amazing. A lot of things that never ever would be able to find money from, as I said, a grim-faced loan officer at the bank. But all of a sudden they find $25,000 online in a day.
ROBERTS: So many cool new ideas.
ROMANS: That's right.
ROBERTS: Christine, thanks so much.
ROBERTS: Next up on the Most News in the Morning, an investigation of Washington State. What caused a dozen students to get seriously ill? A report from CNN's Ted Rowlands coming right up.
CHETRY: It's a developing story out of central Washington State. A college party that went terribly wrong. Twelve people, 11 of them young women became violently ill. ROBERTS: Police say it appears that someone spiked their drinks causing a mass overdose at the party. Now an investigation is underway to determine who did it and why. Ted Rowlands is following the story for us this morning.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, the party was thrown by a college freshman here at a second home owned by his parents. According to police, 11 out of the 12 victims were girls, all of them between the ages of 18 and 21.
ROWLANDS (voice-over): Students at the party say it was clear something was wrong.
KATELYNN ALLEN, CWU FRESHMAN: Everything was going fine. The music was playing, people were having fun, and then all of a sudden, all the girls were puking everywhere. Girls were outside like on their back. And people were so drunk they didn't know what to do.
ROWLANDS: Police believe the victims were drugged without their knowledge.
CHRIS UNGER, CWU FRESHMAN: As we were saying, don't drink out of the red cups, don't drink out of the red cups. And I know I had saw someone drink out of the red cup. I took one sip of it, I immediately threw up without a single drink. I mean, that's how powerful it was.
ROWLANDS: For police, the night started in this grocery store parking lot. A girl was unconscious in a car. Officers traced her condition back to the party. They had to break down the door because nobody would answer.
CHIEF SCOTT FERGUSON, CLE ELUM-ROSLYN POLICE DEPT.: I would hate to think what could have occurred had there been another 15, 20 minutes that would have passed.
ROWLANDS: Police detained a man who is having sex with a semi- conscious female. He was released after it was determined the two were dating. The man may still face charges.
ROWLANDS: Blood and urine samples have been taken from the victims in an effort to figure out exactly what they consumed. Police plan to interview everybody who was at this party so they can find out who was responsible for drugging the students. John, Kiran?
CHETRY: All right. Ted Rowlands for us, thanks. I'm still wondering what it might have been that made everybody so sick.
ROBERTS: I guess when they get the toxicology back in the next few days we'll know. Sounds like something very powerful.
CHETRY: Scary stuff. Well, it's 30 minutes past the hour. Time for this morning's top stories. The transition of power is underway in North Korea. The communist nation putting on a military parade billed as the nation's largest celebration ever in front of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il and his son, who the U.S. believes is the country's next leader.
According to the "A.P." North Korea threatened a nuclear strike of the U.S. and its followers who "infringe on our sovereignty."
ROBERTS: Crews in Chile tell CNN work to enforce the rescue shaft to bring up the 33 trapped Chilean miners is expected to be completed very soon. Once that's finished, officials will send down a doctor and a rescue worker to prepare the miners for their journey back to the surface.
CHETRY: Another wave of toxic sludge threatening an already devastated area of Hungary. Crews in Hungary are building an emergency dam just in case a cracked wall gives way at that same aluminum plant where last week a reservoir burst. And here you see the deadly results.
Floods of industrial waste going into neighborhoods, homes. Officials have said cleanup could take a year. Thousands of people have been evacuated, troops now on standby for rescue operations.
ROBERTS: Well, time now for the latest from the best political team on television. And crossing our political ticker this morning, the Republican running for New York's highest office in hot water again. And talking about it this morning.
CHETRY: Yes, our senior political editor Mark Preston live at the cnnpolitics.com desk. Mark, good morning. We're talking about Carl Paladino who made some comments over the weekend that caused a little bit of an uproar.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR: He did, Kiran. And in fact, he's drawing fire from not only Democrats but also Republicans. Carl Paladino speaking to Orthodox Jews in New York City. Just yesterday made controversial comments regarding homosexuality. In fact, let's take a little listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARL PALADINO (R) NY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I just think my children and your children will be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family. And I don't want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESTON: Well, there you are. So some pretty harsh comments from Carl Paladino regarding homosexuality. But what he didn't say is what is also drawing some more fire in prepared remarks that were handed out after he gave the speech. As you saw Carl Paladino was reading from a piece of paper right there. He has a line in here that says "there's nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual." Now, Carl Paladino did not actually say those comments, but they were part of his prepared remarks. He did not say it in the last 12 hours or so he has been on more of an explanation tour. in fact, he was just on the "Today" show trying to explain what he meant. Let's hear what he has to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALADINO: Now that remark has to do with schooling children. My feelings on homosexuality are unequivocal. I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. My only reservation is marriage. That's the only reservation I have. I have a lot of homosexuals working in my organization.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESTON: Who working in his organization including his nephew, Carl Paladino, said in a statement released overnight. Carl Paladino, of course, the Republican running for governor, the Tea Party favorite up in New York. This is a story I suspect will gain a lot of traction over the next couple of hours, perhaps the next couple of days.
Talking about another Tea Party favorite, more on a lighter note, certainly lighter note - "Saturday Night Live" having a little fun with Christine O'Donnell. Of course, she's the Republican who came out of nowhere to win the primary in Delaware. That's vice president Joe Biden's old Senate seat. Let's take a look at what they had to say kind of a spoof on her latest commercial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm you. And just like you, I have to constantly deny that I'm a witch. Isn't that what the people of Delaware deserve? A candidate who promises first and foremost that she's not a witch? That's the kind of candidate Delaware hasn't had since 1692.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESTON: Wow! So there you go. Christine O'Donnell. Again, the witch thing keeps coming up. Of course, she acknowledged being a witch about 10 or 12 years ago on a Bill Maher politically incorrect show. She ended up cutting a commercial last week trying to tell Delaware voters she's not a witch. And of course, "Saturday Night Live" spoofing her. As our viewers will know, Wolf Blitzer, our own Wolf Blitzer will be moderating the Delaware Senate debate on Wednesday right here on CNN. John, Kiran.
ROBERTS: Looking forward to that too. We're going to be down there in Delaware on Thursday morning, by the way. But what's your sense of what Paladino said on the "Today" show this morning? It's something of a walk back?
PRESTON: Something of a walk back. Let's look at it on two levels. I think regarding the governor's race, he's already down in the polls to Andrew Cuomo, the Democrat, but this could be devastating. And the fact that we have all of these hate crimes, all of this attention being brought to hate crimes, we saw several more arrests up in New York just over the weekend. So this is terrible timing for him. On the macro level, John, I don't think Republicans want to be defending Carl Paladino, given these remarks.
ROBERTS: All right. Mark Preston for us this morning. Mark, thanks so much, we'll talk you again soon.
And a reminder for all the latest political news, go to our web site at cnnpolitics.com.
CHETRY: How to lose friends on Facebook? We're going to be talking to a student Ph.D. at the University of Colorado who looked into the whole notion of unfriending and how you do it. How do you sever ties with friends on-line? And what are the key reasons people decide to defriend? That's coming up.
ROBERTS: And in Pyongyang, North Korea, over the weekend, a big coming out party for North Korea's next leader Kim Jong-Un. What does it mean exactly for the United States and the rest of the world for that matter? Forbes.com columnist Gordon Chang coming up next.
ROBERTS: Coming up now to 20 minutes to the top of the hour. There were goose steps and tears as thousands of soldiers paraded past North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and his son this weekend. It was a rare appearance for the ailing dictator and the first public appearance of his son who is expected to take over.
But experts say there are doubts that he has the military's and the people's loyalty. Of course, the U.S. watching closely to see if the nation with a nuke remains stable.
Joining us now to talk more about this is the author of "Nuclear Showdown North Korea Takes on the World," forbes.com columnist Gordon Chang. Gordon, great to see you this morning.
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR & FORBES.COM COLUMNIST: Thank you.
ROBERTS: North Korea is an enigma at the best of times, but Kim Jong- Un, the son and I guess the expected next leader of North Korea is a downright mystery. What do we know about this guy?
CHANG: Well, he's the youngest of Kim Jong-Il's three acknowledged sons. He was educated in Switzerland until he was 15. He posed as the son of the driver of the North Korean embassy. And you know, he likes Michael Jordan, like basketball, just like his dad. The most important thing, though, is that he's as ruthless and calculating as Kim Jong-Il. He's the son with the dictator gene.
ROBERTS: But there's so much that we don't know about him. I mean, for instance, we don't really know how old he is.
CHANG: Well, he's 27, maybe 28. It's just like his dad, he's you know, 68 or 69. He's following in the footsteps of pop. ROBERTS: So here was his big coming out party over the weekend, introducing him to the world. Some 60 western journalists were invited to come out, allowed right down there on the parade ground, as well. How unusual is that? And what signal is that sending?
CHANG: Well, it's extremely unusual for North Korea to do this because this is the most hermetically sealed state on earth. They wanted to show that the regime, the military is all behind this transition. And it's really not because since April, there have been really four very suspicious deaths. One of them, one of Kim Jong-Un's principal supporters. So we know that things maybe not as - maybe not as much of a consensus as they'd like to show us. But they did want to have this big show so that we were all onboard.
ROBERTS: Now, Kim Jong-Il's father, Kim Il-Sung took two decades to prepare his son to take over as leader of North Korea. Kim Jong-Il has had maybe two years -
CHANG: Two years.
ROBERTS: - Kim Jong-Un for this. So what does that say about the stability of the transition?
CHANG: Well, you know, transitions in one party states are always very difficult. This one is even more haphazard. Kim Jong-Il wouldn't permit any talk of succession until he had a stroke in August 2008. So we know that there's a lot that is really unsettled right now. And one thing that's very important, Kim Jong-Un at the reviewing stand didn't wear a military uniform. He was made a four- star general at the end of September, he wasn't there in a military uniform.
ROBERTS: Why do you think that is?
CHANG: No medals. I think it's because Kim Jong-Il, his father, really knew that the senior leaders in the military were not totally onboard. And they didn't want to offend the sensitivities of him showing up with all these stars on his shoulder.
ROBERTS: But at the same time, the general who was between the two of them first saluted the father and then turned and saluted the son. So there's at least, a test of acknowledgment there of respect.
CHANG: Well, Kim Jong-Il is around, the senior leaders in the military know that their favored position in society is dependent upon maintenance of Kim family rule. So they'll go along with this. But when Kim Jong-Il passes from the scene either by death or incapacity, we can see the military split up. Because, you know, a general might say I'd like to be the leader of North Korea.
ROBERTS: So this transition isn't a guaranteed thing?
CHANG: By no means.
ROBERTS: What should the United States be doing in preparation just in case this whole thing falls apart? CHANG: Well, we need to have links to people in the regime. Because when things do start to fall apart, we need to know who to call and we need a phone number.
ROBERTS: And do we have those links?
CHANG: Not really.
CHANG: That's the problem. Because they've got nukes, they've got long-range missiles.
CHANG: And Kim Jong-Il has repeatedly used violence to accept status quos that he found to be unacceptable.
ROBERTS: Wow. A new chapter unfolding in North Korea. We better know what the text of that chapter reads. Gordon Chang, great to see you this morning. Thanks so much for coming in.
CHANG: Thank you.
CHETRY: All right. Thanks so much. 44 minutes past the hour. There's a cold front hitting the northeast, there's record warmth down south, and Rob Marciano's keeping an eye on tropical storm Otto, headed out and another system now taking shape.
CHETRY: 51 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Friending someone on Facebook. It just takes as click of a mouse, of course. But what about when those relationships sour or you're tired about hearing of every status update of a certain person? Unfriending somebody can be a tactful dance that requires its own rules our guest that our next guest calls netiquette.
Joining us now to talk more of all of this is PhD student Christopher Sibona at the University of Colorado Denver Business School. He decided to look into this whole phenomenon and authored a study that will be published called early next year, called "Unfriending on Facebook: Friend Requests and Online/Offline Behavior Analysis."
Thanks for being with us this morning, Christopher.
CHRISTOPHER SIBONA, PHD STUDENT: Yes, hi. Good morning.
CHETRY: Boy, times have changed. Now we're not only worried how you break off a toxic friendship in person, now you need to worry about doing it also online. When you asked people about unfriending someone, how big of a decision is this for people who regularly use Facebook?
SIBONA: Well, it depends on the relationship someone has. Some people feel like they were close to the person and then it becomes a bigger decision. Some people feel like these people are acquaintances and it's not a big decision for them. It really depends an number of factors.
What happens when you unfriend somebody? They don't necessarily get notified, right? They figure it out maybe a little bit later?
SIBONA: That's right. Most people don't know that they've been unfriended. Some people can run an application that will tell them immediately when they're unfriended. But the vast majority of people don't know and they'll find out maybe over time that they've been unfriended.
CHETRY: You said that this whole notion of unfriending, your interest was sparked because it happened to your wife. She posted on something on a friend's site and then she was unfriended a little bit later.
SIBONA: That's right. So what happened was this friend of my wife's made a political comment and my wife made a response to her post and a couple days later she summarily and unceremoniously unfriended. She was a little surprised by that. She wasn't exactly close friends with her but she was surprised her comment would have sparked something like unfriending. So I started this investigation to find out who was unfriending who and why they were doing it.
CHETRY: Yes. And what are the top reasons?
SIBONA: I looked at four reasons or found four reasons why people unfriended for the online component. Frequent unimportant posts were the number one reason. The second was polarizing post, which are politics and religion. The third most common reason were inappropriate posts which are sexist, racist kinds of remarks. And the fourth were posting about everyday life topics. Your eating habits, your exercise habits, your child, your spouse.
CHETRY: Gotcha. So most of the time people were unfriending people or defriending people based on online activity not because of any type of actual interpersonal interaction.
SIBONA: That's right. About 57 percent of the people said they unfriended someone for their online posting behavior. And a little more than a quarter of them said that it was for offline and the rest weren't exactly sure how to categorize it.
CHETRY: You know what's interesting? There's another phenomenon, they call it a nicer alternative to unfriending, where you would basically hide somebody from your inbox so that when your wall came up you didn't have to see all of the updates of a person. People have no idea to know whether or not you've hid them on their wall.
So is this the next, the new thing instead of unfriending someone, you do this?
SIBONA: Well, some people choose that route because they don't want to that person's feelings or they want to maintain their relationship with them but don't really like what their posting habits are. Some talk about using Facebook like a rolodex. That they can talk to the contacts when they need to talk to them but for the most part they're not interested in what they have to say online.
What I would say is other people talk about integrity in their maintaining their relationships and say hiding isn't really what they want to do. If they're not friends with them online they really want to say they're not friends and unfriend them. So there's some nuance here, where people can hide someone or other people talk about integrity and they say they're not interested in maintaining that friendship any longer.
CHETRY: What are we learning in general, though, about these relationships? These online social networking relationships like the ones at Facebook? Do they mirror real life relationships at all? Or is it just a completely different sense of etiquette, sense of morals on how you make these types of decisions?
SIBONA: I wouldn't say they are completely different but I would say that they are different in a number of ways. Online communication tends to be different in the sense that things can get more heated online. There's flaming online, where people can go back and forth. Wherein face-to-face interactions they might be more willing to let things go. They can see that the other person is getting heated and they want to allow things to cool down. Whereas online thing cans ramp up, especially about these political and religious posts.
CHETRY: Right. Exactly. All right Christopher Sibona, author of a study on Facebook defriending.
Thanks so much for joining us this morning.
SIBONA: Sure thing. Thanks.
CHETRY: Well, your top stories are coming your way right after the break. It's 57 minutes past the hour.