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Cyber Monday Starts Early; Fiscal Cliff Talks Resume Soon; Rage Explodes Again in Cairo; Holiday Air Travel Appears Smooth; Florida Yacht Fire; Floating for Eternity; Journey Inside a Horrifying Past; Fighting Irish to Play for Title
Aired November 25, 2012 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN: You're in THE CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Martin Savidge, in tonight for Don Lemon.
And let's get started right away and bring you up to speed with the headlines.
Egypt's president standing hard on his decree limiting the judiciary, stressing, hey, it's only temporary. That didn't go over too well with the protesters. They are camping out in Tahrir Square, demanding that President Morsy lifts his rule, that the courts cannot overturned any of his present or future laws until a new constitution is in place. Even larger demonstrations are planned for tomorrow.
At least 117 people are dead after a massive fire at a clothing factory in Bangladesh. It happened just outside the capital city of Dhaka. You can see that every window is lit with flames. Some workers did try to escape by jumping out those windows. At least 200 people were injured. Officials say there were 200 workers, mostly women, in the factory. They expect the death toll to rise.
China has successfully landed a fighter jet on an aircraft carrier for the very first time. China's official news agency says the aircraft carrier was originally being built for the old Soviet Union. It's expected to hold 30 J-15 fighter jets. The J-15 is reportedly comparable to the American F-15. It could be years, though, before that carrier is fully operational.
And a six-alarm fire kept firefighters busy overnight in Leominster, Massachusetts. It broke out at a historic hotel about 10:00 and it continued until the early morning hours. Two firefighters were hurt when a wall collapsed on them. Twenty apartments and several businesses inside that building were damaged, but all the residents, they got out safely.
A voluntary recall for the generic version of the popular anti- cholesterol drug Lipitor. The generic version is made by a company called Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, as seen on this entry from an online drugstore. Ranbaxy fears that glass particles could have ended up in bottles of the drug which reduces cholesterol. The company is based in India. It's now calling back 40 batches of that generic pill.
OK. If your home is bursting at the seams with Black Friday weekend deals, well, pat yourself on the back because you helped to set a record. The National Retail Federation says 247 million shoppers hit the stores and Web sites for post-Thanksgiving sales, that is up from last year's 226 billion. And the average person spent $423 this weekend. Last year, shoppers left under just 400 bucks in the stores.
In all, bargain hunter consumers spent a record $59.1 billion this weekend. That's compared to last year's $52.4 billion. And it looks like those Thanksgiving door buster deals really work wonders. The trade association estimates that 28 percent of this year's shoppers were in the stores before midnight Thursday night.
OK. Now we're just hours away from another big shopping blitz. That's Cyber Monday.
But CNN Money's Laurie Segall explains you can avoid a lot of the confusion while online searching while trying to find the very best deals.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNNMONEY.COM (voice-over): Cyber Monday spending is expected to top $1.5 billion this year. That's up from last year, but the nature of the day has changed. Like Black Friday, or now Black Thursday, it starts earlier. Online deals were available every hour on Black Friday on CyberMonday.com.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just so a lot easier to do it online.
SEGALL: A new player in e-commerce? Facebook.
Ahead of the holiday season, the social network got into the gifting game, launching Facebook gifts.
(on camera): This really seems like it's actually Facebook taking a big step into e-commerce, right?
LEE LINDEN, FACEBOOK GIFTS: Well, we think of gifting as a unique form of e-commerce. It's special. So, we give it special attention.
SEGALL (voice-over): Facebook Gifts allows you to send your virtual friends real world gifts.
LINDEN: So, right at your newsfeed where you would click to post on someone's timeline for their birthday, you now see a new buy a gift button.
SEGALL: Facebook Gifts was designed with the smartphone in mind.
LINDEN: We believe in mobile. We build our products to be mobile first actually.
SEGALL: Fab.com is one of the leaders in gifting.
JASON GOLDBERG, CEO, FAB.COM: The number one product is beardo. We've sold tens of thousands of beardos. You're probably saying what is a beardo? Are you going to put it on or do you want me to put it on? SEGALL (on camera): I'm going to have you put that one on.
GOLDBERG: All right. A beardo is like the perfect ski mask. It also functions as a beard.
SEGALL (voice-over): Even one of that hot sellers focuses on your phone.
GOLDBERG: So we're carrying around these iPhones or android phones all day.
SEGALL (on camera): Yes.
GOLDBERG: I don't want to put this up to my ear all the time especially with my beard on.
SEGALL: So you can talk like this.
GOLDBERG: So now you can walk around talking like this.
SEGALL (voice-over): Your smartphone has blurred the line between in- store shopping and online shopping. Shopping apps like red laser enable you to buy products on your phone and pick them up in the store. Even if you're shopping in the store, you're often using the Internet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm using specific apps, especially Kmart to make sure I get the best deal.
SEGALL: One company is banking on the idea that you'll do most of your shopping online. Slice is an app that comes through e-mail to track your online purchases and also provides a valuable tool.
SCOTT BRADY, CEO, SLICE: Once the item ships, we can send you a push notification saying that your package just shipped, we can tell you when it's out for delivery, we can tell you when it's going to be delivered to your door.
SEGALL: So, this holiday season online shopping at your desk on that first day back at work -- well, that may be a thing of the past.
SAVIDGE: And Laurie joins me now from New York.
SEGALL: Hey there.
SAVIDGE: Well, as we reported earlier, you know, consumers spent I think it was, what, $60 billion this past weekend, yet Cyber Monday sales, they're only expected to be around $1.5 billion, which to me seems incredibly low. Why is that?
SEGALL: Look, it's still a significant number, but when you look at it, Cyber Monday and the whole holiday has completely changed because the origin that used to be -- we got to work on Monday right after Thanksgiving, right after the holiday, we actually had access to broadband, to high speed Internet and that's where the deals were.
And now, that's completely changed. You're seeing this happen more and more, you're seeing the online deals happen well before Cyber Monday, you know, this whole week. So, you know, one big thing that's happening is mobile shopping is huge. A lot of people are using their smartphones, a lot of people are using their tablets to actually go on and make purchases ahead of time.
You know, take a look at these numbers. You know, online shopping on your smartphone and mobile devices are up nearly two-thirds from 2011. Now, 10 percent of people are using their iPad to shop, 9 percent using their iPhone to shop, and 5.5 percent using their Android devices to shop. So, where it used to be we had access to the Internet that Monday, now we have access all the time.
And retailers, Martin, are getting smart and they're putting the deals -- they're essentially just putting the deals out there a little bit earlier.
SAVIDGE: You know, why do people go to the stores in first place? I mean, what is the benefit of going to the store versus buying online? Fairly, if I'm sitting at home, I can buy whatever I want and get a great deal.
SEGALL: Sure. You know, I think some of these big retailers, they still have great deals. There's something about going to the store, being first in line and getting some of these products. You know, some of these online services are great, but a lot of times they can go out of stock. And a lot of times, especially around the holiday season, there's very much a tradition of getting in there as soon as those stores open and, you know, getting that coveted toy you really, really want.
And, you know, I don't think we'll see that disappear. As you see by the numbers, that's not going to disappear, but these online sales, they're happening earlier and earlier. You know, they're still happening on Cyber Monday. But I will say, you know, Cyber Monday has -- it's not going to be completely over, but it is changing quite a bit.
SAVIDGE: Yes. Now, I can se the people start right away. All right, Laurie. Thanks very much. Really interesting stuff. Appreciate it.
SAVIDGE: Well, this week is key for those of you and myself who are worried about the so-called fiscal cliff. Lawmakers are returning to work in Washington and they have just 37 days I believe it is now -- well, there you can see. It's a daunting task if President Obama and Congress fail to reach a tax deal because that will mean huge tax increases and spending cuts would automatically kick in January 1st.
Today, several key Republicans backed away from a pledge banning tax hikes, including Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Peter King. So, are we inching closer to some potential compromise?
Athena Jones has been following the fiscal cliff negotiations.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Martin, with Congress returning this week and not much public evidence of any real progress on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, folks here in Washington are wondering if this week will prove a turning point for Republicans and Democrats.
(voice-over): Members of Congress expressed optimism Sunday about the prospects for reaching a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. A series of tax increases and spending cuts next year that could do serious damage to the economy. They also sounded warnings.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We can and must get an agreement. Otherwise, I think first of all, the markets are going to start reacting.
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: It's not a done deal and it's not a certainty. If Congress does nothing, which Congress has gotten pretty good at doing these days, we'll go over the fiscal cliff.
JONES: Staffers have been working behind the scenes to find common ground to prevent across-the-board cuts lawmakers say should concern everyone.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: I think you should be worried if you have a fence job, but we all ought to be worried whether we are dependent upon other aspects of the federal budget, whether we're worried about the regulation of our food safety, whether we're worried about our borders being secure, whether we're worried about FBI being supported.
JONES: A key sticking point is what to do about taxes. Democrats and the president want to raise tax rates for the wealthy. Republicans don't. Though more now are breaking with anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist who had gotten a majority of Republican lawmakers to pledge not to support any effort to raise taxes.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm willing to generate revenue, it's fair to ask my party to put revenue on the table. We're below historic averages. I will not raise tax rates to do it. I will cap deductions.
I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.
JONES: It's not yet clear when lawmakers and the president will meet next. And a final deal could still be a long way off.
JENNIFER LIBERTO, SENIOR WRITER, CNNMONEY.COM: We rarely see the hill and the White House make decisions early. I would be pleasantly surprised to see a deal emerge earlier than the end of the year. But we'll see. JONES: This week just might bring the parties one step closer.
Athena Jones, CNN, Washington.
SAVIDGE: Anger and fresh clashes in Egypt as divisions deepen over the president's new powers, even the financial markets now taking notice.
And a leisurely weekend getaway turned into a raging inferno for the owners of this yacht. Details of how they escaped still to come.
SAVIDGE: It is just a little after 1:00 in the morning right now in Egypt after another day of very furious public protests and strong police retaliation.
The scene in central Cairo a few hours ago.
Egyptians are still furious about their new president's sudden announcement that his word is law and it can't be overturned even by the courts. That sent angry people into the streets saying that the decree sounds too much like the kind of leadership that triggered the Egyptian revolution last year. President Mohamed Morsi said that he will meet with his supreme judicial council tomorrow, but that's not helping calm people in Cairo today.
CNN's Reza Sayah has stayed up late for us in Cairo and he joins us now.
Reza, you know, what are you hearing about death on the streets in northern Egypt today? What can you tell us about that?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Martin, obviously we've seen a lot of violence over the past few days, some intense clashes. We've reported hundreds of injuries. Tonight, we're reporting the first death. According to the Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson, a 15-year-old boy by the name of Islam Massoud (ph) was killed when anti-Morsy protesters tried to attack the Muslim Brotherhood's office in a northern city of Damanhour.
Massoud is being described as a member of the Brotherhood's youth group. Apparently these attackers had knives and clubs and sticks. The Muslim Brotherhood is telling us that Massoud was hit in the head with a club. He was rushed to the hospital but sadly before he got there, he was pronounced dead.
At this point, the Brotherhood doesn't look like they're using this fatality as a rallying cry to stir things up, but we'll certainly keep an eye on the fallout.
In the meantime, let's give you a look at what Tahrir Square looks like at this hour. It's a little after 1:00 a.m. Cairo time, and thousands of people still out here at Tahrir Square. We're seeing pockets of clashes continuing at this hour, that dangerous game of cat and mouse between protesters and police.
We should point out many of these protesters are teenagers, 20- something young men, probably some of them are out here to cause some trouble, but when you look at that center area of Tahrir Square, those are the people who are out here. They say they're determined to stay here until Mr. Morsy rescinds his decrees. Here's what one protester had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAEL (through translator): I completely reject the constitutional decree that was announced last Thursday by the president because it gives President Morsy the powers of a new pharaoh in Egypt. Actually, there was never a pharaoh like this before because ousted President Hosni Mubarak, with all his arrogance and dictatorial tendencies, never gave himself the power that no one can appeal his decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAYAH: The opposing factions don't look like they're backing down, Martin, neither does the Muslim Brotherhood and the president. That's why this looks to be an intensifying situation in the days ahead.
SAVIDGE: Yes. Reza, the president has said that this decree is only temporary. What does he mean by that?
SAYAH: Well, this was his attempt to placate his opponents and his critics. He released the statement saying that these decrees are temporary only until a parliament is formed. That this all-important new constitution is drafted. He says this is an effort to keep the old recommend remnants of the Mubarak regime from undermining the democratic process.
Obviously, his opponents, his critics, who are still gathered here in Tahrir Square reject that claim. They believe this is a power grab. That's why they say they're not going anywhere until he rescinds these decrees, Martin.
SAVIDGE: All right. Thank you, Reza. Reza Sayah keeping an eye on Egypt tonight, where there's still a great deal of unrest.
Egypt's stock market, by the way, is not handling the uncertainty well. Stock markets generally don't. Stocks took a dive. They were down nearly 10 percent.
Today was the first day the Egyptian exchange was open since President Morsy's controversial announcement. One trader says that confidence in the markets is now even worse than it was when the revolution began.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAGALAA FARAG, EGYPTIAN TRADER (through translator): During the January 25th revolution, there were contingency operations that still exist today, but we were optimistic that after month two, the stock exchange would recover. We expected new investment and new policies from the state. But now, we're losing more than we're gaining, whether it'd be in the economy or in politics. And therefore, the situation of the Egyptian stock exchange is worse than in the January 25th revolution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: And Egypt's economy had been suffering even before all of this. At one point today, trading was even suspended to try to stop that selloff. But once it resumed, stocks just kept sliding. The next session will surely be closely watched.
And there could be ripple effects on market in Europe and here in the United States.
Well, as the population grows, many countries are beginning to run out of room for cemeteries. That's actually counties. We'll take a look at that.
Instead of opting for a final resting place six feet down, how about something a little more adventurous? Stylish? Downright wacky some might say. That's ahead.
SAVIDGE: Some Republicans are having second thoughts about the pledge.
Let's talk about the GOP and the no tax hike promise with two CNN contributors. Ana Navarro is a Republican strategist, and L.Z. Granderson is a writer for espn.com.
Good to see you both.
ANA MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Martin.
SAVIDGE: There we are. Just making sure you al hear me.
Well, let's talk about Saxby Chambliss. This week, he sort of backed off that no-new-tax pledge that was promoted by other activists in this organization, specifically Grover Norquist. And I'm wondering, you know, it's now Lindsey Graham that's come forward. It's also Peter King that has said the same thing.
And, Ana, let me ask you what is going on? Is it suddenly the realization that compromise must be made?
NAVARRO: I think it's pragmatism. I think it's practicality. I think it's the desire to want to get something done.
And look, I know Lindsey Graham well. Saxby Chambliss, Peter King, these are thoughtful, smart, principled leaders. And they are fiscal conservatives. They are anti-tax.
I don't think a pledge should define anybody. I am not a fan of pledges. I think you pledge to your God. I think you pledge to your constituents. You pledge to your country.
The kind of representative I want going to Washington is somebody that's going to act out of conviction, out of conscience, out of what his constituents want and not because they are being told to through a pledge.
It's taking a lot of courage for what Saxby Chambliss and also Lindsey Graham are doing. Both of these guys just earned themselves a primary as a result of these statements.
And I will tell the people of Georgia and of South Carolina, you are very well-served by those two senators. I hope they win. I hope they get re-elected. They're doing a fine job. Saxby, Lindsey, call me, no pledges for me. I pledge to help you.
SAVIDGE: Well, Ana, I mean, I think they're doing what they should do, which is their job at representing the people.
But, L.Z., let me ask you this. You know, we have -- Graham has said that he is open to raising more revenue but only if the Democrats are willing to make cuts in entitlement program. So seems like a legitimate request?
L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know what I don't get with this whole discussion? Two things: the idea that we're not going to raise taxes but we're going to cut deductions or cap them. That's raising taxes. You know, that's just moving a shell game around.
Just call it what it is. We're raising revenue through tax raises. It doesn't matter what you call them so long as the result is the same.
The other thing I don't get is this notion that Democrats are the ones that protect entitlements and Republicans are ones that are trying to protect businesses or rich people. I think we've got to get past this oversimplification.
I think there's not a Republican in office -- and, Ana, maybe you can correct me -- but I don't think any Republican is saying we need to get rid of entitlements. I think Republicans do want to keep entitlements, what they want is some sort of responsibility, some sort of solvency sorts for it.
So, I think it's important that we get away from some of the talking points and the little sound bites and look at the fact that both parties want to keep entitlements, both parties are pro-business. It's not about being anti-tax, it's about unnecessary taxes.
I think both parties do -- don't want to have unnecessary taxes as well. As long as we're able to have an intelligent conversation about this and move away from the sound bites, a compromise is much easier to be made.
SAVIDGE: Well, you know, what about walking away from this whole pledge thing? I mean, that did seem to be a road block in the minds of many Republicans. GRANDERSON: But pledges are stupid.
SAVIDGE: Well, they may have been stupid, but they were acted upon.
GRANDERSON: They were power grabs. They were power grabs by individuals outside of office, right? They don't have voters that they have to answer to. They don't have lives that are going to be affected by these pledges. All they're doing is trying to co-opt some sort of power grab by saying I have x amount of influence because look at these people who have signed my pledges.
It's not just what's happened with Grover's pledge. I mean, look at all these other fringe organizations that also had pledges. Michele Bachmann got in trouble for signing a pledge because it's something along the lines that black people were better under slavery than under President Obama. That was including one of her pledges during the primaries.
So, that's why I say pledges are stupid because they're just power grabs for outside organizations who have nothing to do with voters in trying to make sure that voters are look after.
SAVIDGE: All right. Ana, I'm going to move on here.
NAVARRO: Look, Martin, earlier in the year -- Martin, earlier in the year, Jeb Bush was testifying in front of a committee in Congress and got asked about pledges. And his answer -- you know, Jeb Bush ran for governor three times, got asked to sign the pledge three times, did not do it.
Now, he governed as a fiscally conservative governor. He did not raise taxes. And his answer was you do not outsource your convictions.
That I think is exactly the right notion people who go to Washington to represent us should have. I want them acting out of conviction, not because they are being held to some pressure, some pledge.
This is not a fraternity. It is Congress. It is a serious issue.
SAVIDGE: All right. Let me stop you both here before we run out of time, I want to breach another subject, and that is a footnote to the presidential race. This week, "Politico" asked President Obama's campaign manager which Republican he had feared the most.
And here's what was said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM MESSINA, OBAMA 2012 CAMPAIGN: I think Huntsman would have been a tough candidate. And as someone who helped manage his confirmation for the Chinese ambassador, I can tell you, you know, he's a good guy. We looked at his profile in a general election and thought he would have been difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SAVIDGE: I need quick answers from both of you. But I know, L.Z., you said some very nice things about Huntsman in the past. Ana, you were earlier a Huntsman supporter. So, are you surprised by hearing this now from what Jim Messina said?
NAVARRO: I wish he'd said it earlier.
GRANDERSON: Oh, it's what I heard --
NAVARRO: I wish he'd said it last year, it might have helped Huntsman some then.
Look, I think Huntsman is a principled leader, somebody that's very thoughtful. You know, he also -- he had a hard time distinguishing himself from the pack, but I think we are going to see a very good slew of candidates for the Republican Party in four years.
GRANDERSON: You know, you said it best. I've been a huge Huntsman supporter since he announced his candidacy. I know for a fact that people within the Obama administration as well as the campaign were legitimately fearful of Huntsman early on. The fact that Jon Huntsman wasn't able to get a word in edgewise in terms about talking about foreign policy, though he was the only primary candidate that had any foreign policy experience told you how misguided the Republican Party was.
Now, they're able to look back and hopefully would be able to either have Jon Huntsman or someone like him be part of the conversation four years from now because I do like Jon Huntsman a lot.
SAVIDGE: Ana and L.Z. Granderson, thank you both for joining me. We'll see what happens. It's less than four years away until the next presidential election. Thank you both for joining us.
Tis the season is travel. We'll show you ho you the nation's airports and roadways are faring today and what it may mean for the hustle and bustle closer to Christmas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This week on "THE NEXT LIST", meet Max Little, a math wiz and innovator with a surprising goal.
MAX LITTLE, MATHEMATICIAN: My name's Max Little. And I'm aiming to screen the population for Parkinson's disease using voice alone.
GUPTA: Max Little has a bold idea. What if doctors could detect Parkinson's disease simply by the sound of your voice?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aaah! GUPTA: Max Little is close to proving just that. He says one simple voice test can determine if someone has Parkinson's. And all you need is a telephone.
LITTLE: We've got an ultralow cost way of detecting the disease.
GUPTA: Watch how Max Little's surprising idea is taking shape this Sunday on "THE NEXT LIST."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Half past the hour now. So let's take a look at some of the headlines.
Investigators now say that a giant blast that turned a Massachusetts strip club into dust and debris Friday night was caused by human error. They say that a utility worker responding to a report of gas, the gas smell, that is, punctured a high pressure gas line by mistake. But officials point out the worker went by incorrect markings on the sidewalk and they believe that the gas entered the strip club triggering that explosion. At least 21 people were hurt, most of them emergency responders.
The floods tormenting southwest England in Wales are expected to get worse. Look at these images of these swollen rivers and towns under water. Dozens of roads are already closed and some drivers have had to be rescued from their vehicles. At least one person has died. A woman (INAUDIBLE) trapped under a tree.
Nobody won last night's Powerball jackpot. If you played that, you already know. And what else do you know? Wednesday's drawing will be huge so if you haven't played yet, now might be the time to try. The estimated jackpot is -- for Wednesday placed at about $425 million. It's the largest ever for the multi-state lottery. There haven't been any jackpot winners for 15 straight runs. But more than two million people did match some of the numbers so check your tickets. The winning numbers are 22, 32, 37, 44, 50 and the Powerball of 34.
Traveling today may require some stamina. Whether you are flying, driving or taking the train. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest travel days of the year for Americans. So far it's smooth sailing for most holiday airline travelers.
Susan Candiotti joins us now from New York's LaGuardia Airport.
Susan, how is LaGuardia? That place is bad even on a normal day.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I know. Well, it's really been slow and steady, but the two words I can tell you that we saw time and again on the flight display board were these. On time.
Martin, it's been perhaps unlike a weekday event on this particular day at LaGuardia. We have seen virtually no lines as you check in and virtually no lines going through security as well. You can see what it looks like behind me right now. As you said before, smooth sailing. Perhaps this is largely due in part to the good weather we've been having throughout the country today. A few handful of delays here and there in certain spots, but nothing of any consequence, for example, at JFK airport here in New York, delays of sometimes 30 minutes on the tarmac.
Well, that's pretty much what it is Monday through Friday. So -- however, the TSA is still advising people that they should always get to the airport at least an hour and a half ahead of time during the heaviest travel times of the year, this being one of them. And they also have that other reminder, if you're bringing back leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner, gravy? Can't do it. It's a liquid. But if you want to bring back a turkey leg, that was OK.
Martin, back to you.
SAVIDGE: Well, I'm glad to hear that, especially for New Yorkers because they've had such a tough month. But what about are you hearing about travel snags perhaps elsewhere in the nation?
CANDIOTTI: You know, we really haven't heard of much. We heard of one in San Francisco of earlier this day. I think that was due to some weather, but it was mainly cloudy weather from what we understand. And so throughout we really haven't -- we talked to a lot of passengers coming in from all parts of the country, particularly the Midwest. And they said they also had no lines when they left there this morning and headed back home to New York.
SAVIDGE: Susan Candiotti, thank you very much for braving it and making it out to the airport today on a very busy travel day. I'm glad things are moving smoothly. Thanks again.
Well, don't purchase that burial lot just yet. If you were, instead, why not become an astronaut, maybe a coral reef or even a precious gem. We've got some new alternatives to traditional burials, and that's up next.
SAVIDGE: It was a spectacular scene off Miami Beach as a 78-foot yacht went up in flames. The Coast Guard and rescue units were on site in minutes yesterday but there was very little they could do.
Alex DiPrato with our affiliate WSVN reports.
ALEX DIPRATO, REPORTER, WSVN: A massive fire on the water off Miami Beach and behind the camera, Fernando Sordo, a captain with Sea Tow.
FERNANDO SORDO, SEA TOW: By the time I got there, it was -- it started from the top of the vessel, the motor yacht, and then it just started working its way down. Just eating up all the fiber glass.
DIPRATO: Within minutes the 80-foot mega yacht called Blissful was engulfed by fire. All Sordo and his partner could do is watch it burn until a fire boat arrived and began to douse the blaze.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the front of the boat to the back of the boat, the entire boat was engulfed.
DIPRATO: The plume of smoke so thick people standing on the beach three miles away could clearly see the vessel go up in smoke.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty amazing. We looked out our room and saw all the smoke and all the ships steaming towards it at a high-rate of speed.
DIPRATO: The three people on board Blissful jumped into the water and were not hurt. They were taken to the Miami Beach Coast Guard station for questioning. The crew was returning to Bal Harbor Marina after 24 hours at sea when the fire broke out.
SORDO: Once fiber glass, you know, lights up it's kind of like paper, lighting up paper. It's just going to -- just be on fire until something puts it out.
DIPRATO: How it started is under investigation, but as much as firefighters tried, there was no saving Blissful from the inferno. It sank in 700 feet of water.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye-bye. No more yacht.
SAVIDGE: Nicely put. That was Alex DiPrato, from our Miami affiliate WSVN.
You know, one of the most crowded places on earth is running out of space to bury the dead. The option now, floating eternity. We'll explain.
SAVIDGE: If you have ever been you probably know that Hong Kong is one of the most crowded places on earth. On average nearly 17,000 people living in just one square mile of that city. And the shrinking amount of space combined with Hong Kong's aging population is giving rise to a new take on burial at sea. A floating cemetery.
CNN International's Azadeh Ansari joins us now.
Azadeh, it's called floating eternity, which unto itself gives kind of a neat name there. How many people can be interred, I guess, is the word?
AZADEH ANSARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL DESK EDITOR: Well, the idea here, so this is still in the idea phase, and whenever you have a problem, someone will come up with an invention and, you know, try to find a solution to the problem. So we're looking at about 370,000 niches that they can -- people can place urns with their loved one's remains into this wall that's going to circulate on this cruise. And it's very eco-friendly, mind you, because all this is supposed to be powered by tidal energy.
So that being said, it's just in the idea phase right now. And a price tag has not been associated with it because of the fact that it's still a concept. And if you can see, here are the pictures that we have from the company that's proposed it. The company's name is Bread Studio and it's this is Maritime Memorial. And here are two people who are visiting the memorial. But they'll have food, they'll -- it's a whole experience more or less.
SAVIDGE: This is like a place when you go on the cruise in the afterlife?
ANSARI: No, it actually will go. So, again, it's like a cruise for your remains, more or less.
SAVIDGE: How do they come up with a consensus on where to send you? Well, OK, so floating cemetery there, but, you know, there are other ways, that other cultures, other countries deal with the dead without necessarily burying them. What are they?
ANSARI: Well, I mean, let's go back. Let's take a trip back. The Vikings lived and died at sea. People were sent out. The deceased were sent out with their riches. In ancient Egypt, people were mummified in a way to preserve bodies so that they can meet up with the souls in the afterlife. In Islam bodies are not cremated. It's actually forbidden. And they are not placed in caskets. They're wrapped in a white shroud and after body cleansing and a prayer ritual takes place.
And then we go Ghana where we have the person's life's work is commemorated in the caskets that are made for those individuals. And they're placed. So if you're a fisherman, you're placed in a fish casket. If you're a carpenter, you're placed in a hammer, so you get the idea. And then in Tibet -- and we talked about this earlier. Right?
SAVIDGE: Yes, we did.
ANSARI: So they have sky burials. Now where does this term sky burial come from? It's not that they're buried in the sky. But it's that when a person dies, three days after they die, they have body breakers who come out to the site of the burial location and they chop up the body. Now why do they do that? It's a way so that the vultures and nature can take its course and so that those remains are then taken up into the sky. At least that's the idea.
SAVIDGE: Yes, I don't know what the union is for body breakers, but it must be incredible. Let's talk about, not only overseas but here in the U.S. There are other alternatives besides burial.
ANSARI: There are. And, Martin, you know, we talk about other cultures, but someone looking at our culture might think it's kind of odd that we put makeup on our deceased so we can have a final moment with them, right?
SAVIDGE: True. Yes. ANSARI: But if you have the money, if you have the money and you can do this, you can have a space burial. And we've heard about this, right? You can send your remains up to space. And there's also -- you can turn your ashes into gems, diamonds, right? And there's also coral reefs. You can have your remains turned into coral reefs.
SAVIDGE: Azadeh, thanks very much. Some of the options to think about. I'll keep that on the bottom of my to-do list, thank you.
ANSARI: You're welcome.
SAVIDGE: All right. Let's go to break. We'll be back right after this.
SAVIDGE: President Obama made history last week becoming the first American president to visit Cambodia as part of his Asian tour. It's a country still very much haunted by a horrifying past.
CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian traveled with the president on that trip, and he gives us a chilling look at history.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The roads to the killing fields on the outskirts of Phnom Penh is dusty and at times only partly paved. A 30-minute ride into this country's painful past when some two million people were killed under Pol Pot's brutal rule, a man some referred to as the Hitler of Cambodia.
(On camera): This is the truck stop where people were brought, some from prisons or elsewhere. Sometimes it was hundreds by truck each day. Some held out hope, others knew it was the end. This is where they came to die.
They were all accused of crimes against the state. Most were killed the night they arrived here. Others were kept alive for a few more hours in small steel and wood structures that were once right here on this spot.
(Voice-over): This man who begs for money and food every day along the fence surrounding the killing fields says his brother was arrested, brought here and murdered by the Khmer Rouge.
"It's sad," he says, while CNN can't verify his account, our translator says it's credible. There are grim stories at every turn, across fields where a dip in the ground means another grave.
(On camera): This is one of the largest shallow graves where 450 bodies were found. Sometimes when it rains you'll find pieces of cloth and bone fragments on the surface. And it's not just in there. All around. Right here you'll find a tooth.
The prisoners weren't killed with bullets. That was considered to be too expensive. Instead they were beaten and hacked to death falling into these shallow graves. Pol Pot's motto, it's better to kill an innocent by mistake than to spare an enemy by mistake.
(Voice-over): That twisted logic resulted in a genocide in the mid to late '70s. Today at this site, one of more than 300 killing fields in Cambodia there's a tower of skulls and bones, a hunting memorial to the victims.
(On camera): The Obama administration has concerns about the human rights situation in Cambodia today. It doesn't rise to the level of past atrocities, but when President Obama met with the prime minister of this country here, he pressed him to hold free and fair elections and to release political prisoners. And while Cambodian officials say the situation is being exaggerated, the president warned that lack of reforms would be an impediment to a deeper relationship with the U.S.
Dan Lothian, CNN, Phnom Penh.
SAVIDGE: The Fighting Irish are back on top poised to play for a national title. But another storied football program is wrapping up what was a most difficult season.
SAVIDGE: You know no team stirs emotions in college football like Notre Dame and now the Fighting Irish are back on top. So let's talk about it with Jon Wertheim, he's a senior investigative reporter for "Sports Illustrated" and there is a new issue of "SI" with the Fighting Irish on the cover.
Go figure on that one, John. Great to see you. Notre Dame beat Southern Cal so the Irish are 12-0, it's a perfect regular season. One game away from a national title. Is this a return to normalcy in college football? Notre Dame atop the heat after so many years of struggles since their last championship.
JON WERTHEIM, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. This program with this storied reputation had really been pretty much irrelevant for years and years. They'd gone through coaches, they had some abysmal seasons. I mean even -- you know, even two years ago they lost to Tulsa. This year not expected to contend for a national championship. They have not lost yet, as you said.
This has really been one of the nice stories in college football, and you know, this is a program that is so national. It's really like the Yankees or even the Dallas Cowboys, really a national brand that I think, you know, the ratings last night from the game were tremendous and the national championship might be the most viewed college football game ever.
This is really a program that people are polarized. People love them, people hate them. But this is a program that matters.
SAVIDGE: And you know, Notre Dame will probably end up playing either Alabama or Georgia from what I understand. So quickly here, either one of those teams do you think good enough to beat the Irish? WERTHEIM: Yes, I think both of them are. I think, you know, realistically people have followed college football, I know Alabama, very strong, this dynastic team over the last few years. Probably more pros on Georgia and Alabama than in Notre Dame, but, you know, no matter what the match-up is, it's relevant. People are going to be interested. Again, it's sort of this national powerhouse against the regional team, and it's great for college football.
SAVIDGE: And it's Notre Dame. Yes. Let's talk about another storied program but with a very different perspective, Penn State. They went 8-4, but that's actually really an accomplishment considering the tremendous amount of turmoil that they went through in this past year. And you covered the whole Jerry Sandusky scandal for "SI" and on CNN as well.
What are your thoughts about where Penn State stands a year after the scandal broke?
WERTHEIM: You know, it's a good question. There's still some unease -- I mean this is not a narrative that has much in the way of joy and the fact that -- you know, it's really a tribute to this football team, these players who had the option to transfer. For them to turn in a respectable season like this is a nice touch obviously. It doesn't really compare to the horrors of the last year but it will be interesting to see where we go from here.
I mean the team can't play in a bowl because of these MCA punishments and it willing interesting to see next year or the year after and the year after, when they're having these recruiting challenges, I mean, the 8-4 is great for this year. We'll see what continues, but again, I mean, these seniors, these players, this was really collateral damage. I mean they had nothing to do with this scandal and they were punished and it's great for them to sort of go out, as seniors especially, to go out on a high note like this.
SAVIDGE: Tell bus that article that you posted at si.com. It's a great story that really goes far beyond the world of sports.
WERTHEIM: Right. I spent a few days -- a few days ago I was with Scott Wells, who's the center for the St. Louis Rams. And a few years ago on Thanksgiving he and his wife were expecting twins and both of the boys died in child birth but they were absolutely determined to have a big family. They had three biological kids and then last summer they went to Africa and adopted -- they wanted to adopt two children. They learned there was a third sibling and I said, you know, what's the difference between five kids and six.
So they now have three biological kids, three adopted kids from Uganda and this was their first thanksgiving together the other day.
SAVIDGE: Yes. Sometimes the greatest sports stories are not the ones you see on a scoreboard. Jon Wertheim.
WERTHEIM: Thanks very much.
SAVIDGE: For joining us today. WERTHEIM: Thanks, Martin.