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$425,000,000 Could Be Yours; Spending a Year in Space; Arafat's Body to Be Exhumed; Fiscal Cliff and Your 401K; Crisis Talks on Morsi Power Grab; Muslim Brotherhood Cancels Egypt Protest; Second Fire at Bangladesh Factory; Thousands Protest Factory Deaths; White House on Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

Aired November 26, 2012 - 14:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: So here is the good news potentially for you today. The Powerball lottery hasn't had a winner in a long time. There is actually a shot, I don't know how big it is, but there is a shot at becoming the biggest winner, $425 million at stake.

This is the largest jackpot ever for Powerball, which is played in 42 states and the Virgin Islands. Some numbers experts explained exactly how little, sorry, the chance is that you'll win.


SKIP GARIBALDI, MATHEMATICIAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY: The odds of winning are 1 in 175 million for each ticket. If you can buy more tickets, I'm not saying it's a good plan, but that's the only way you can actually increase your chances of winning.

If you buy two tickets, you double your chances of winning. If you buy 100 tickets, you multiply your chances of winning by 100. The problem is that the odds of winning are still very low, that it won't help as an investment strategy.

But if you have an opportunity to pool your ticket buying with your co-workers, I think it is a fun way to go and it does increase your chances of winning somewhat.


BALDWIN: A little office pool, figure out if someone wins how you're going to split it. Just so you can keep your lottery straight, this is the largest Powerball jackpot. But the largest payout ever was mega millions at a cool $656 million and that was back in March.

NASA has announced plans for the longest ever mission to the International Space Station. You have Astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Cosmonaut McKale Kornenko blasting off in the spring of 2015, won't return to earth until a year later in the spring of 2016.

Scott Kelly is a veteran astronaut. He already has two space shuttle missions and in 2010 stay at the ISS under his belt. If you're looking at the picture and thinking he looks familiar, you're right. He is the identical twin brother of astronaut and shuttle commander, Mark Kelly.

Of course, you remember him, husband of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Mark Kelly retired from NASA last year. So Chad Myers, we wanted to talk about this, because to go into space, just first what is the mission, why do this?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Because we only had one person in space longer than where they're going to be. We don't actually know what is going to happen to these men for that length of time without gravity.

BALDWIN: You mean with regard to just their bodies?

MYERS: Their bodies. You get a puffy face burden leg syndrome because when you're on the planet, all the blood wants to drain from your face back to your heart. When there is no draining because there is no gravity, it all kind of stays -- and you get a little cheeky and then your legs actually --

BALDWIN: Marlon Brando, godfather for a minute, anyway, I digress.

MYERS: And your legs get smaller. They want to know what happens if it is a year or more.

BALDWIN: So the reason they're doing it, I hopped on, because I know we talk about asteroids, talk about going to Mars, like eight months just to get to Mars. So might this be a -- preparing ourselves hopefully for heading to one of those places?

MYERS: Without a doubt. You're the number one candidate, by the way.

BALDWIN: I'm the number one candidate, excellent, as long as you'll tag team with me. Do we know -- so effects on the body, not actually the longest -- the longest guy was on Mir.

MYERS: Yes, 438 days. Why --

BALDWIN: You're a little nonplussed over the space geeking out me today. It's not like you. I haven't seen you in two weeks and I get this?

MYERS: There is the Guinness Book of World Records. There's not the Guinness Book of U.S. Records. Not as big of a book, but the world record is 438 days. We're not breaking new record, but we are getting big data. It is nausea.

It is your inner ears won't work, your eyes become out of shape, don't see quite as well when you're in space that long. They have to know if we're going to go eight months out, eight months back, what will happen to these men and women that might go to Mars.

BALDWIN: I'm just curious how they actually trained for it. So we're going to ask I want you to join me in your nonplusness with Leroy Chow with We're going to have that conversation next hour. Please do join Chad Myers.

MYERS: I will.

BALDWIN: Look forward to that. Coming up next, eight years after his death, Yasser Arafat's body being removed from the ground. Find up what investigators will do to determine whether he was poisoned.

First, quick check of the big board, the Dow in the red, down 76 points here, hour and a half away from the end of the trading day. Investors back at work like so many of us after your Thanksgiving holiday as you know, all eyes on Congress and the looming fiscal cliff.


BALDWIN: Eight years after his death, Yasser Arafat's body is set to be exhumed tomorrow. Palestinian officials hope to determine whether someone poisoned the former leader, who is the face of Palestine and its people's struggles for four decades.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more on the mystery surrounding Yasser Arafat's death.


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 blue tarp, exhuming Arafat's body and taking samples for forensic 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, which has been used in assassination attempts in past, on some of the Palestinian leaders' belongings.

French authorities have launched a murder probe. 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 then be independently analyzed in labs in Russia, Switzerland and France and it is unclear when 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 government refuses to comment on.

It is not clear if polonium can still be still traced on his remains eight years after his 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.


BALDWIN: The fiscal cliff as it gets closer and closer, many beginning to worry about the retirement accounts. Details on why some experts say your 401(k) savings could end up falling off the cliff as well.


BALDWIN: Listen closely to the next story here. This is about the fiscal cliff. This is about your retirement savings. Take a look at this Facebook page with me. Here it is. It was put together by a group of professionals that services retirement plans.

They're reaching out, all across social media, they're on Twitter, they're on Linked In, their message, contact Congress and tell lawmakers to keep their hands off your 401(k) bill.

Alison Kosik, let me bring you back in to talk about this. I know this makes people cringe when you start thinking about 401(k)s.


BALDWIN: Is this a scare tactic or is there a real chance that your 401(k) could get axed?

KOSIK: You know what, Brooke, it is a possibility that certain benefits of your 401(k) -- of your 401(k) could become that sacrificial lamb as they hash out this deal on the fiscal cliff.

This group called the "American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries," what a mouthful that is. Well, that group is spearheading a movement, what they want to do is make everybody aware of the possible implications of going off the cliff.

A big part of the fiscal cliff is tax reform. If Congress and the president do nothing by the end of the year, employees could be in danger of losing some benefits attached to their 401(k)s.

We talked with Brian Graph, he is with this group and he says the big worry is that Congress could reduce how much employees can put into their plans on tax deferred basis.

So you look at currently what we can do, workers can put up to $17,000 into their 401(k)s every year. You see that cut all the way down to $10,000. That's a huge difference -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Is this, you know, I know it is big companies, does this also affect small businesses?

KOSIK: Yes, yes and exactly, yes. Many small business owners are -- could consider just getting rid of their plans if the costs are to outweigh the benefits that would have a huge impact. Employee Benefit Research Institute finds that almost 85 percent of 401(k)s are offered by businesses that have fewer than 100 employees.

So they're small businesses and they're likely to mean that more people are going to be saving less money. Here is some proof of that. Less than 5 percent of middle income earners put money into a retirement account on their own.

If their employee doesn't provide one, compare that to more than 70 percent who put in these retirement accounts when a company offers one. If there is no incentive to do it, the small businesses may say, forget it, we're not going to offer it -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Alison Kosik, thank you very much.

Want to get to this here. Just in to CNN, a major development out of Egypt as the country's president remains under fire. We have talked about this for this recent power grab. Now the Muslim Brotherhood made a huge move.


BALDWIN: It is an all too familiar sight. Violent protests on the streets of Egypt. Nearly two years after an uprising saw the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, now another call for revolution, this time the target is his successor.

It follows President Mohamed Morsi, granting himself sweeping new powers and among them, a temporary ban on any authority questioning or overturning his decisions. That decree leading to the scenes like this one, his supporters and protesters clashing on the streets.

Today, Morsi is meeting with the country's top judges, still behind closed doors we're told, explaining his grab for authority over them. Then next week, a court in Cairo will attempt to decide whether it is even a constitutional move.

Reza Sayah is live for us in Cairo. Reza, before we talk about how he's justifying the powers, you're getting new information on a huge move from the Muslim Brotherhood. Reza, are you with me? We're going to work on getting --

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, the Muslim Brotherhood has canceled their one million-man demonstration. Of course, it could energize the opposition factions behind us with their one-million man demonstration, but there is absolutely no indication at this point that the Muslim Brotherhood is losing support.

Remember, this is a powerful organization, one of the most powerful organizations in the political landscape, in Egypt, and at this point, I think many people will look at this at face value, someone sensible in the Muslim Brotherhood made the decision they have competing demonstrations tomorrow that could be the potential for violence.


SAYAH: Several days have passed since the decrees and the outcome hasn't been pleasant. Was this just a bad miscalculation by the president?

ESSAM EL ERIAN, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT MORSY'S SENIOR AIDE: No, not at all. It is a good calculation to avoid a revolution.

SAYAH: But how can you say it wasn't a bad outcome when you see what is happening in the streets?

ERIAN: Because we have the counterrevolution activists from Mubarak who are holding the main -- still in this country.


BALDWIN: Reza Sayah live for us in Cairo. Reza, thank you.

OK, fire rips through two clothing factories in Bangladesh. The dramatic video and terrifying accounts from one woman trapped in one of the fires.


BALDWIN: For the second time now in three days, a huge fire starts inside a Bangladesh clothing factory. No one was killed, which took firefighters, by the way, four hours to get under control. You can see the damage, the smoke, just this past Saturday. At least 117 people were killed in a fire at another factory.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When we heard fire, we all rushed and were trying to get out of the factory. The factory worker broke a window and one of the workers pulled me through the window. Immediately after the fire broke, we tried to run out, but the door was locked. When the floor became dark because of smoke, the boys rescued me.


BALDWIN: Because of the fires, thousands of workers have taken to the streets just protesting the deaths of their colleagues.

In Toronto, police have recovered millions of dollars in toys, stolen from the Salvation Army, stolen from this group at Christmas time. The good news, there's been an arrest. Listen as police explain how many toys were found and who's been nabbed in connection with this crime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TONY RIVIERE, TORONTO POLICE: These search warrants resulted in the recovery of over 150 skids of property, which required three tractor trailers to transport to a secure location. The Toronto police service has made an arrest with respect to this investigation. Former Salvation Army Executive Director Mr. David Rene, 51 years of age, of Toronto, has been charged with theft, possession, and breach of trust related offenses.


BALDWIN: Yes. Police say the guy caught stealing from the Salvation Army is the former executive director of the charity. He's charged with theft. He's out on bond, to say the least the Salvation Army fired the guy.

It is a Thanksgiving Day tradition, confetti showering down on the crowds of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But this year, the little bits of paper were actually shredded up confidential police records. An investigation is under way into how Social Security numbers, addresses, even the names of undercover detectives ended up falling from the skies as confetti.

Just into us here at CNN, as we count down the days to the fiscal cliff, we're getting news from the White House, just moments ago. Jay Carney, spokesperson during the daily briefing here, said that the president has now spoken with the leaders, the Republican leaders of the House and the Senate here.

You have Senator Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner, they all spoke with the president, over the weekend by phone, about the fiscal cliff. Here's what Jay Carney said.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Work has to be done, work is continuing to take place, the president spoke with both Senator Reid and Speaker Boehner over the weekend as you noted. He'll continue to have outreach with -- as he promised he would with various stake holders, business leaders and others this week. As well as conversations that are ongoing between his staff and folks on the Hill. That will continue. We hope to see progress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any meeting with the leaders?

CARNEY: I don't have any scheduling updates, but you stole my thunder a little bit, but, yes, he spoke with Speaker Boehner and Senator Reid over the weekend and, you know, he will meet with them at the appropriate time as well as obviously Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell. So, you know, the process that he began is continuing. We continue to be optimistic that a balanced approach is achievable.


BALDWIN: Again, Jay Carney there moments ago speaking at the White House daily briefing. And if this fiscal cliff is allowed to happen on January 1, your taxes, my taxes, everybody's taxes go up. And on that point, let's continue.