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Cyber Monday Expected to Set Records; Apps to Help with Cyber Shopping; Glass Contamination in Medicine; Yasser Arafat's Body to be Exhumed Tomorrow.

Aired November 26, 2012 - 13:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: There's the rich and then there's the Powerball rich. The jackpot now at $25 million. The cash payout is almost $279 million. Those are both records, and they're just the current estimates before the next drawing Wednesday night. Millions more likely to buy tickets, boost the pay out as well. I think I might pick up a ticket or two.

If you are one of those folks who didn't win, of course, the Powerball over the weekend means you are probably stuck looking for holiday bargains like all of the rest of us. Today, good day to do it, Cyber Monday. Collectively, we are likely to spend around $1.5 billion, shopping on-line today.

Want to bring in Alison Kosik from the New York Stock Exchange to talk about what it does, what it means, this Cyber Monday.


Everybody is shopping on-line. You know, a lot of hype around it.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: What difference does it make? It does make a huge difference, even though, you think about a lot of people, like myself, who have already started my online experience over the weekend, because those deals really started early.

Still, you said it. The expectation is people are going to spend $1.5 billion just today on-line. That does happen. That would break the previous Cyber Monday record.

Over the years, the Cyber Monday game has kind of changed because we all shop on our mobile devices. The deals that used to be reserved for after Thanksgiving weekend now start popping up earlier and earlier. This is because retailers trying to draw consumers in sooner. They are doing that by staggering their deals. You know, some came last week. Others came over the weekend. Of course, a big bang happening today. And there's some really good discounts out there today. Some that I saw. One example, Kate Spade is doing a 75 percent off cyber sale until midnight. Handbags that can you usually get over $400 are being sold for anywhere from $100 to $200. Toys "R" Us offering deep discounts as well. Regardless of how early the deals start, Suzanne, this is a key time for all retailers. Stores can make up to 40,000 of their annual revenue during the holiday shopping season, so they really pull out all the stops -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: You're starting to convince me a little bit, the handbag, all that.


Some good deals there. Does this make a big difference in terms of boosting the economy?

KOSIK: It does. Think about it. Consumer spending makes up almost three-quarters of economic activity, so the holiday season is absolutely huge. You know, not just for individual retailers, but the help of the broader economy.

It also creates jobs. The National Retail Federation estimates retailers will have hired up to 625,000 seasonal employees just this year. And, true, you know, a lot of those jobs are temporary. A lot of retailers do wind up keeping some of those workers on. Target retained about 30 percent of their holiday employees it hired last year, so there's always a chance it can become permanent employment for a lot of people -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: If you have to do your shopping now, you're going to do your shopping now, give us some stuff that maybe you shouldn't be buying during the holidays?

KOSIK: There's a whole host of different opinions on this, but a majority of analysts say many of these bargains, believe it or not, they don't turn out to be bargains at all. There are some that you should avoid or at least delay. And, first of all, toys, believe it or not. Those people at Deal News say the prices for toys they don't bottom out until about two weeks before Christmas, and that's because retailers, they want to cash in on the surge and demand right around thanksgiving. You're not going to see prices on toys drop until they feel like they have to really put those deep discounts into effect. The latest digital cameras, the new models typically come out around February. If can you wait until then for the newest model, or get an older model for cheaper when the price drops, that would be the best thing to do. Also, jewelry and watches. This is peak season for those types of gifts, just like toys. You're not going to see many discounts there. Experts say also hold off on tablets and brand-name TV's. I don't know what else is left. You can sort of search around and feel like you're not getting a great deal on.

MALVEAUX: OK. I might just hold off on my spending and my shopping just a little longer. I'm kind of a last-minute gal anyway.

Thank you, Alison.

KOSIK: Good for you.

MALVEAUX: If you really feel like you got to shop on-line today, we'll make it easier for you. We'll bring in our Mario Armstrong. He is HLN's digital lifestyle expert.

Mario, hi. It's good to see you, as always.


ARMSTRONG: You need for start shopping now, Suzanne. Here's the deal. A lot of people are struggling in this economy. They want to be able to shop. They need their money to be stretched out. Cyber Monday is a good deal. I'm not a big super fan of consumerism. I would rather people create things than just buy things, but if you are going to shop today toad is a good day. App wills help you.

One that I love if you are going to shop on-line is called Slice. Now, Slice is all about helping you, Suzanne, track all of your shipping and receipts in one app. It's free. How this works is last year I bought gifts for family and friends. I would have those gifts send to different locations. I wanted one app that I could search for all of that shipping. I knew exactly when products would arrive and if they did already all in one app, and if I had a return or an issue I could go to app and find a right, and I would have to dig all through that e-mail to find it.


ARMSTRONG: The biggest thing is price dropped alerts. If you buy something and the price drops, you'll be notified about that so you could recoup the difference.

MALVEAUX: Are there in other apps you like, and maybe a couple of warnings, some tips for folks that will be shopping on-line?

ARMSTRONG: Yes. Retailmenot, that's an app for people that are going to shop and they're looking for the best deals. This is a coupon site. Basically, you see something you're ready to purchase, you go to this site to see if there's an on-line coupon that could even further the discount you're getting. Retailmenot is really good., that's another one for shopping comparisons. If you see an item, I want to compare that price, use for that. And then real quickly, on some tips for shopping on-line, people, please shop reputable sites. If it's too good to be true, don't do it. Also, don't use your debit card. It doesn't have the same protections as a credit card does. Look for free shipping and make sure you're not getting old inventory.

But I disagree with -- I forget her name from Wall Street that came on. Tablets, I saw a tablet, the Amazon Kindle Fire is on sale for $129. That's a good deal. I have a lot of parents asking me, what tablet do I get my kids? I say get them the Fire or the Fire H.D.

MALVEAUX: You don't have any stock in that or anything?

ARMSTRONG: No. no, no, no, no.

MALVEAUX: You are not working on commission?


ARMSTRONG: Completely unbiased. No. has great deals. Joseph A. Banks has wrinkle-free shirts at $30.

MALVEAUX: Hey, Mario, we got to mention this. We got to mention this. Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. Right?


MALVEAUX: Give to your favorite charity, yes? It's a big deal.


MALVEAUX: And it's getting bigger. Right?

ARMSTRONG: It is a big deal. I'm all for this. Here's the bottom line. People are spending money. You need to be able to have some of that money be donated to organizations that really need your help. There are a lot of sites that are out there as well as apps that help you direct some of your funds to a needy nonprofit.

MALVEAUX: All right. I like that.

Mario, got to let you go there. We're going to be giving on Tuesday.

ARMSTRONG: Socially conscious.

MALVEAUX: And buying one of the Powerball tickets as well.


ARMSTRONG: Thanks, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: If you are thinking of buying, picking up a flat-screen TV for Cyber Monday, you might be surprised to find out that it might have been made here in the United States.

Today's "Smart is the New Rich," Christine Romans shows us one American manufacturing company is bringing in jobs and bringing them back by making TV's.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This assembly line in Canton, Michigan is humming again. It is auto country, but workers like Michael Cox are building televisions, part of an industry that largely left when the manufacturing jobs were out- sourced in the '70s, '80s and '90s.

MICHAEL COX, ELEMENT ELECTRONICS WORKER: There are a lot of things that went overseas. It's nice to see a lot of that stuff come back. There's a lot of people here that need a job. And we're willing to do just about anything to work.

ROMANS: Element Electronics has re-shored an assembly from Asia, stateside. The parts are still imported. But large-screen TVs are now assembled, checked and packaged in America.

MIKE O'SHAUGHNESSY, CEO & FOUNDER, ELEMENT ELECTRONICS: As consumers want more large-screen TVs, it has created an opportunity to bring that production here to the United States. So what we found is that we can produce, assemble TVs here in United States, and do can do that for about same cost.

ROMANS: And putting these TVs here means better quality control and quicker delivery to retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and Costco.

So far, Element has created a number of jobs here. Across the country, the number for skilled factory jobs is up 38 percent since 2005, suggesting at least some of the millions of out-sourced jobs are making a round trip, helping former auto workers like Shelby Lisiscki get back to work.

SHELBY LISISCKI, ELEMENT ELECTRONICS EMPLOYEE: They closed my plant, so I was out of a job for two and a half years. So it was kind of hard to find something for a while there. But thank god they're here. So stuff is being made in America, so that is good.

ROMANS: Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


MALVEAUX: He has one of Hollywood's most recognizable voices. Well, now Morgan Freeman is using it to support same-sex marriage.


MALVEAUX: It's been four weeks since Superstorm Sandy ripped through the northeast. New Jersey commuters finally able to take the PATH trains to lower Manhattan again. Stations resumed service today along the World Trade Center line. You can see here how floodwaters gushed into the commuter rail stations in New Jersey after Sandy hit. Crews had to remove millions of gallons of water from the tracks and platforms and fix those damaged switching systems. Hoboken's PATH storage had the worst damage. It remains closed.

Talk about adding insult to injury, the Long Island Power Authority slapped its customers with normal electric bills. We are talking about folks who had spent weeks without power due to Superstorm Sandy. Well, the power company acted as if the outages never happened. They charged customers an estimated rate that covered the entire billing cycle.

Actor Morgan Freeman is putting his voice behind a new ad celebrating the Election Day victories in three states to legalize same-sex marriage. Here's what he said.


MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: Freedom, justice, and human dignity have always guided our journey towards a more perfect union. Now, across our country, we are standing together for the right of gay and lesbian Americans to marry the person they love.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: This ad by the Human Rights Campaign is already airing nationwide. Voters in Maryland, Maine, and Washington State legalized same-sex marriage.

Dozens of batches of a popular cholesterol-reducing drug now pulled from the shelves because particles of glass might actually be in them. We'll take a look at how it happened.


MALVEAUX: An alarming pregnancy rate has the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending that doctors talk to their teen patients about emergency contraceptive. The group says doctors should be willing to write a prescription for emergency contraception if their teen patient needs it. They also say teens should be told it is only for emergencies and shouldn't be used as a regular birth control method.

Millions of Americans take cholesterol-lowering drugs, but one of these drugs is now being recalled for possibly containing specks of glass. Specks of glass, that's right.

Elizabeth Cohen is joining us to explain how on earth this happened and whether or not -- is anybody hurt, first of all? I mean, do we even know?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Not that we know of. Not that we know of. The company that makes this drug announced a recall and didn't mention that anyone had been hurt. Doesn't mean no one has been. But as far as we know, no one has been hurt.

And we're told that these are little specks of glass less than a millimeter. And I'm just going to give you the name of it so people know because there's lots of different kinds of Lipitor, generic Lipitor. We're talking about Atorvastatin, generic Lipitor. And this kind of Lipitor was made by Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals. That's the kind under discussion right now.

MALVEAUX: If are you taking these drugs, you think you are taking these drugs, are you at risk? What should you be doing?

COHEN: I am sad and aggravated to tell you that I can't answer that question. Here's why. The only thing that's been said about this is a one-paragraph press release that's on the drug maker's web site. It doesn't tell people what to do. We've been trying to call them and trying to call the FDA for two days, and nobody will talk to us.

MALVEAUX: How does this happen?


MALVEAUX: Glass particles and no explanation? I mean --

COHEN: No explanation. Well, the issue here is that this is being called a retail-level recall, which we're being told by some people that that means you can keep taking this stuff in your medicine cabinet, and only the pharmacist need to worry about this. But that sounds a little bit odd to us. For example --

MALVEAUX: That's very confusing.

COHEN: It's very confusing. Expresscripts, the big mail-order prescription service, they told us, oh, yes, if it's in your cabinet, keep taking it. It's not a patient-level recall. It's a pharmacy- level recall. It doesn't make any sense to us, and we've been trying to get answers for two days and nobody will clarify this for us. So that's why, unfortunately, I'm sitting here saying I don't exactly know what you're supposed to do if you're taking this drug. Nobody has told us what to do. The FDA, emails, phone calls, everything for two days, and nothing.


COHEN: Now, as far as how this happened, unfortunately, you know, the FDA is not there every minute of every day to inspect drug makers to inspect their plants. So they're there about every other year. That means things can happen while they're not there.

MALVEAUX: We want to follow-up on this because obviously there's still a lot of the unanswered questions.

COHEN: There certainly are.

MALVEAUX: It would create a lot of concern and worry if are you one of those people that is on that very popular drug.

COHEN: Yes. Lipitor is one of the best-selling drugs of all times, and this is a big -- this generic maker, is one of the big ones.

MALVEAUX: All right. Stay on them.

COHEN: I will. I am.

I am e-mailing all the time.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

COHEN: All right. Thanks.

MALVEAUX: For more information about the recall, can you go to

So, question. Was the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, poisoned? The remarkable story, up next.


MALVEAUX: It's a mystery eight years in the making. Tomorrow, a team of experts, they're going to exhume the body of the late Yasser Arafat to test the body for a rare radioactive element. They think the former PLO leader may have been poisoned.

Frederik Pleitgen has the story.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN BERLIN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even eight years after Yasser Arafat's death, the circumstances remain a mystery. Was the Palestinian leader poisoned? A team of international scientists will try to find clues, working behind this, exhuming Arafat's body and taking samples for front sick analysis.

"I consider it a painful necessity," the lead investigator says, "This is necessary to reach the truth in the death of President Yasser Arafat."

Arafat died in 2004, after a short and severe illness. Doctors were never able to determine the cause of death. Even as his body was laid to rest, rumors began to circulate, Yasser Arafat might have been murdered.

A recent investigation found traces of the radioactive substance, Polonium, used in assassination attempts in the past on some of the Palestinian leader's belongings.

French authorities have launched a murder probable. Now, experts from France, Switzerland and Russia will examine Arafat's remains, also looking for a possible Polonium concentration.

(on camera): The exhumation process will only take a few hours. The samples will be independently analyzed in labs in Russia, Switzerland and France, and it's unclear when the first results will be made public.

(voice-over): In his lifetime, and even after his death, Yasser Arafat remains a towering figure for Palestinians. But despite wanting to know the circumstances behind his illness, not everyone agrees with the exhumation.

"I don't support the exhumation process," this man says, "because the opening of the grave is disrespectful and insulting."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no objection to exhuming him, as long as it is done by professionals and in full respect of the leader.

PLEITGEN: "Of course, I am against it," he says. "It is insulting to the martyr and to the Palestinian people."

The Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of being behind any poisoning of Arafat, a claim the Israeli government refuses to comment on.

It's not clear if Polonium can still be traced on his remains eight years after the Palestinian leader's death. But if heightened levels are found, the next question for investigators would then be, who was behind Yasser Arafat's death.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Ramallah.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX: Special Operations troops might be a little bit safer today. Some defective body armor plates are being recalled after the manufacturer discovered a defect. The generation-3 ballistic plates are worn inside the armored vest during combat. The Special Ops command says problems were found in less than 5 percent of plates. The command says no service members have been wounded or killed as a result of those defective plates.

And, rapper from South Korea --




MALVEAUX: You know him. He just blew Justin Bieber out of the water on YouTube. We'll look at the most popular online video of all time.









MALVEAUX: All right. Move over, Justin Bieber, you've been booted out, out of the YouTube record book. South Korean rapper, Psy, is now the most watched YouTube video ever. People have watched "Gangnam Style" video for more than eight million times. Even Christmas going a little "Gangnam Style."




MALVEAUX: All right. This guy, the owner of the house in Texas, just moved, just moved into the neighborhood, and you can bet he's making an impression with his neighbors. He programmed thousands of lights to sync to the song. The display uses LED lights so the show only costs him about 15 bucks for all of December.

I don't know about you, Brooke but he would not be my neighbor for much longer.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: That's some serious love for Psy right there, Suzanne Malveaux. Thank you for that.