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NFL Player Reportedly Commits Murder-Suicide; Internet Pioneer John McAfee in Hiding from Belize Authorities; U.N. Recognizes Palestine as a State; Online Education Courses Becoming More Popular; Former Drug Addict Becomes Dancer; Protests Continue in Egypt; David Beckham to Play Final Game with Galaxy; Fiscal Cliff Negotiations May be at Standstill; Oscar Buzz Commences for 2012 Films
Aired December 1, 2012 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: It is the top of the hour. Welcome, everybody. You're in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Deborah Feyerick, in for Fredricka Whitfield.
Tragedy strikes the NFL today. Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher has reportedly committed suicide after allegedly first killing his girlfriend. "The Kansas City Star" says Belcher allegedly shot his girlfriend multiple times at the couple's home. The paper said the two had been arguing. Affiliate KCTV says Belcher then drove to a practice facility at the Chiefs Arrowhead Stadium, walked up to the team's head coach and general manager, thanked them for what they had done for him, and then shot himself in the head.
Joining us via Skype from Washington D.C. SportsIllustrated.com senior NFL reporter, Don Banks. Don, what do you know of this? How do you put it into perspective?
DON BANKS, SI.COM NFL SENIOR REPORTER: It's a pretty unique situation in terms of NFL history. I think this is really the first time we have ever had this situation where a double murder and a player committing suicide the day before a game is scheduled in that stadium in that city. It's a tragedy. I think the NFL is little bit working without a map because they never had a situation quite this immediate to deal with and quite this tragic.
FEYERICK: And what is so incredible about this is clearly, by thanking, reportedly, his coach and the general manager, I mean, they must be replaying that moment, you know, when he pulled the gun and pulled the trigger there on that gun. What was his reputation with the team and within the NFL?
BANKS: Well, he was not a troubled player in any outward sign. He did not have a track record of off-field issues at all. He didn't have a police record as far as we could tell. He had been an undrafted player coming out of the university of Maine in the 2009 draft And signed with the chiefs and had really actually turned himself into a fairly valuable linebacker in Kansas city.
We don't know any part of the story really other than what's been reported, that him and his girlfriend, the mother of his three-month- old child, had been arguing, but we didn't know really that there was any indication of trouble in his personal life. So it's clearly been a difficult season in Kansas City on the field and this just takes that situation and really casts in it a whole new tragic light.
FEYERICK: And Don, one thing, for it to get so bad for this individual, do teams -- does the NFL have psychological counseling for players who are in such desperate straits potentially?
BANKS: Most NFL teams have someone the players can talk to and counsel with. Sometimes it's on staff. Sometimes it's someone they just work with very closely over the long period of years in the community. But yes, there's usually a pretty good circle of counsel and support for players who may be suffering issues that are not known publicly.
In this situation, it just comes out of nowhere, and it really is a breathtaking turn of events. For the player to take his own life is one thing, but obviously, to take a life, his girlfriend's life on top of that, makes it doubly tragic.
FEYERICK: To do it in front of the head coach and general manager who are probably now wondering what we could have done. Don, thanks so much. We appreciate your time and will get more insights for you as they develop. Thank you.
BANKS: Thank you, Deb.
FEYERICK: In Miami, a private bus has crashed into an overpass at the city's international airport. Our affiliate WPLG reports two people have been killed. At least 30 people were hospitalized, three of them with critical injuries.
A cleanup and an investigation is under way in southern New Jersey after a freight train derailed on a bridge and crashed into a creek. Four of the freight cars involved were carrying a highly toxic chemical which leaked into the creek. Hundreds of residents were evacuated from the area and 71 people were taken to the hospital with respiratory issues.
John McAfee made a fortune as a pioneer of anti-virus software, but he spent the past several weeks shielding himself from authorities in Belize. McAfee is wanted for questioning in the killing of his neighbor last months. He hadn't been seen for three weeks until last night when he sat down with CNN's Martin Savidge for an exclusive interview. Martin joins us now from Belize. Martin, I understand just getting to this interview was really an adventure in itself. They're looking for him. You found him.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That was really something almost out of a low-grade spy movie. It began with three words when I got to the airport. And those words were, "Sorry I'm late." It was a prearranged code I had worked out with John McAfee as for the person who was going to pick up us and take us where he was.
I thought it would be a simple ride. It turned out to be anything but that. It was a wild drive through many winding, twisting streets, getting out of one vehicle, getting into another. Switch back, turn back. Eventually we got to them, but it was an unusual way of finding a typical interview, but then John McAfee is not your typical kind of interview.
We started talking about the times around the murder of the neighbor. He denies he has anything to do with it, and, in fact, he's offering a reward for anyone with information. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: You have offered a reward, right?
MCAFEE: I have.
SAVIDGE: And how would that work?
MCAFEE: For the arrest and conviction of the real killer, $25,000.
SAVIDGE: And you say you have nothing to do with that crime.
MCAFEE: I have nothing to do with the crime.
SAVIDGE: No one in your employment, no one who you know?
MCAFEE: Certainly no one I'm aware of. Why would anyone in my employment want to kill one of my neighbors? That would be insane.
SAVIDGE: This investigation, I talked to the authorities, they said it goes nowhere, apparently. They imply you somehow hold the key to solving Mr. Powell's murder.
MCAFEE: The implication is anything they can do to get me to come in for questioning because when you go in for questioning, you're detained. The last police prior to this one said we don't have a nationwide man hunt for Mr. Mr. McAfee. Of course, all units have been alerted to be on the lookout for him. When he is found, he will be detained for questioning. Once you're detained in this country, that's the end.
SAVIDGE: This detainment that appears to be the root of the paranoia, at least for Mr. McAfee, because authorities say, look, we only want to talk to him. It's obvious why. He was the neighbor. They did have kind of a bad relationship, those two men. And authorities say it would be natural. But if he is in hiding and won't speak to us, it does point a finger that looks very suspicious to authorities. They say right now he's not a suspect. They want to question him. So why is he running? I asked him, John McAfee, and as you heard him say he is suspicious that there's a lot more to this and once he gets into the legal system here, you'll never see him again. In fact, he thinks he'll be killed. Deborah?
FEYERICK: And Martin, what rights does he have as an American there in Belize? Officials will say look, this is crazy behavior. This makes him even more suspicious than initially. Does he -- will he be in the hands of the Belize authorities there? Does he have any rights there as an American?
SAVIDGE: Yes, well he would. He has rights as anyone does here in Belize, as well as being an American citizen. He can contact the U.S. embassy. He can seek help in that regard, which we have heard he has not done. And then on top of that, he could get an attorney and represent himself, but he does say this.
He says, that would be the first thing to do, get an attorney. What would the attorney say? They don't talk to police. He said I'm just doing that without having to pay for an attorney. At time he's extremely lucid. And other times you talk to him, it almost sounds like he's living in an alternative universe with an idea of a government plot against him.
FEYERICK: All right, Martin Savidge, this is fascinating, live for us there in Belize. Thanks so much.
Police in Arizona want to find an 11-year-old girl with leukemia whose mom took her from the hospital. Take a look at these surveillance photos of the family leaving phoenix children's hospital Wednesday's morning. The little girl still has a catheter implanted in her heart. Doctors are afraid it will get infected and she could die.
Investigators aren't sure why they left the hospital because her parents brought her in for treatment in the first place and she was supposed to be released the next day. Police say the family isn't from Arizona and they add her parents aren't suspects and aren't wanted for any crime, but that could change if their child, if their daughter dies. Our affiliate KNXV says the family could be in a black minivan with Arizona license plate AVY3157. Of course, if you have any information about the family, call the Phoenix police at 602-262- 7626.
Well, 17-year-old Jordan Davis was laid to rest this afternoon. Police say he was shot and killed because he and his friends wouldn't turn their music down at a Florida gas station. Michael Dunn is charged with Davis' murder. Investigators say he fired several times into the vehicle Davis and his friends were sitting in after a verbal altercation. Two bullets hit and killed Davis. Dunn's lawyer said his client thought he saw a shotgun and felt threatened. He's using Florida's stand your ground law as his defense.
Parts of the Pacific Northwest, they are bracing for more severe weather this weekend, a nasty mix of rain, wind, and snow pummeling northern California, Oregon, and Washington. The National Weather Service predicts soaking rain and wind gusts that could hit 70 miles per hour in some places. All that rain could trigger flooding and mudslides after spring fires that destroyed whole forests.
And a professor hopes to get a few extra students in his statistics class. He ends up with 54,000 new kids. Luckily, he didn't need a classroom for all of them.
Palestinians celebrate in the West Bank after an historic vote at the United Nations. My guest says it's a game changer. I'll talk to the first woman elected to the Palestinian legislative council. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
FEYERICK: And the West Bank erupts in celebrations after Palestinians win a vote at the United Nations. It is a vote that gives them a state upgrade and is being seen as a possible step towards official statehood. It had been planned before eight days of fighting erupted between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza. And 138 countries voted yes, 41 abstained. Only nine voted against the status change. Leading the no votes were Israel and the United States. Here's Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHMOUD ABBAS, PRESIDENT, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel. Rather, we came to affirm the legitimacy of a state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: Hanan Ashrawi is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and she joins me from Ramallah in the West Bank. What does this U.N. vote mean? Some thought it was symbolic, but it seemed to me much more than that.
HANAN ASHRAWI, MEMBER, PALESTINIAN LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL: Absolutely. It's more than a symbol, although the symbolism is very important to us. But the thing is this is a recognition of our right to self- determination. This is a recognition of the Palestinians as a nation with a right to their own statehood, and therefore were are under the protection of international law.
Our land is occupied. It is not disputed, and therefore Israel doesn't have a free hand to steal, to annex, to change reality on the ground unilaterally, and so on. So that is one thing.
But two, that provides us with access to all sorts of international organizations, to treaties and conventions, to bilateral relations, access to even venues for accountability and judicial accountability. So it gives us some sort of protection. It empowers us internally as well as externally, and it begins a whole new phase in which Israel is no longer the power that controls us exclusively and can act with impunity, that there is law there, and international law must be obeyed.
And also it gives us hope that this state with its boundaries and it capital will be free with the help of the international community and any negotiations will have to be based on international law.
FEYERICK: You just said, though, that it doesn't give Israel the right to steal your land. Arguably, Israel would say the Palestinians had an opportunity for a two-state solution many generations ago, and they gave that up, saying no. So the use of the word "stealing the land" is a little troublesome. How do you explain that?
ASHRAWI: It's not at all troublesome. Israel actually was created first of all on 54 percent, 55 percent of our land, and then it annexed 22 percent more, and now wants to annex the remaining land. When Israel was created in 1947 when the U.N. adopted the resolution, we weren't asked. Nobody asked us. The Brits promised our country to somebody else without our knowledge.
So it's not a question of Israel not taking our land. There is a systematic theft. We accepted now the two-state solution, there division of historical Palestine. We recognize Israel on 78 percent of our land, and we said now what is left is 22 percent that was occupied in 1967. That's the area we want to build our country, our state on, West Bank including Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Israel is saying OK, what is mine is mine, and let's see how much I can take of what is yours.
But it's not just that. It has placed us in a situation of siege. It has taken more land. It has annexed Jerusalem. It has evicted people. It has carried out ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem, from their homes, from territories. And there's talk about a two-state solution, but effectively on the ground it acts with full impunity in order to destroy the two-state solution unilaterally.
FEYERICK: Do you feel -- then that what you're saying is that Israel is only willing to accept a one-state solution and that seems counter to everything?
ASHRAWI: Of course. Suddenly it seems to be that way. They give lip service, as I said, to the two-state solution, but they want to define both states. They talk about the Palestinians as population centers, and they are creating facts by annexing more land, by evicting Palestinians, by saying they want to control the Jordan Valley, the air space, territorial waters, the boundaries, and so on, and they want to annex all of the settlements, which means effectively there will be only one state.
And there is a systematic campaign to build more settlements at an increasing pace, at a mad pace, as a way of creating it before the international community intervenes. That's why many countries voted now for Palestine because they felt that Israel is on this dangerous road to ending the two-state solution and ending their chances of peace. And we have been absolutely reasonable for 21 years. We have been negotiating, and Israel has been acting in ways that contravene the most basic requirements of peace genuine negotiations.
FEYERICK: Thank you, Hana Ashrawi, for joining us from Ramallah. Arguably, Israel might say they're fighting for their survival. Thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you.
The holidays aren't just about gifts for families. About 600,000 people will pick up extra work this season, but holding on to the jobs after the holidays can be tricky. Some workers are going for traditional training but with a twist. Tom Foreman explains in his "Building up America" report.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At Johns Hopkins University, Professor Roger Peng was hoping for a few extra students in his statistics course, so he signed up for a new program to put his lectures online.
PROF. ROGER PENG, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: I was expecting maybe a few thousand.
FOREMAN: What did you get?
PENG: In the end, I had about 54,000 students enrolled.
FOREMAN: You said 54,000 students in your course?
PENG: That's right.
FOREMAN: Such is the rapidly exploding power of online learning, an old concept that is being newly embraced by dozens of the nation's top schools which want to reach more students, expand their influence, and enhance their worldwide reputations at very little cost. They're all offering classes online for free through companies like Corsera and the non-profit EDX, a joint venture of MIT and Harvard. And the response is astonishing.
ANANT AGARWAL, PRESIDENT, EDX: We had 10,000 students sign up in the first few hours at the open enrollment, and this was at midnight U.S. time. And then the numbers went all the way up to 155,000 in a short amount of time. It was completely insane.
FOREMAN: Students are connecting from all over the world for all sorts of reasons. In Chicago, Dawn Smith wanted to improve her job skills with a free course in pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania. She loved the convenience, the quality, and the cost.
DAWN SMITH, STUDENT: I have another 19 years of payments on my Masters' degree, so I didn't necessarily want to add to the cost of that, which was a big factor.
FOREMAN: Some educators point out that the immersive experience of attending a college could hardly be replicated by logging on to a laptop, and contact with professors is hugely limited online. But even critics admit this trend could open up education to hundreds of millions of people.
PENG: I have already taught more students than I ever could have hoped to teach in my entire career.
FOREMAN: And there is still a lot to learn.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Baltimore.
FEYERICK: Well, it's the end of an era in sports. In Los Angeles, one of soccer's all-time best players is suiting up for his final game. We're going live to Los Angeles. Stay right here with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) FEYERICK: When he joined the Los Angeles Galaxy more than five years ago, David Beckham sent major league soccer into a different stratosphere. And though the championship player will play his last game for the Galaxy today, he won't be leaving the soccer field all together. His contract allows him to become one of the league's owners. Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles. And Paul, it seems there's just as much hype with his exit as a player as when there was when Beckham joined the American league back in 2007.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, Deb. A lot of media credentials, hundreds for this game. The fans starting to file in as we're two hours away from kickoff, many people trying to speculate where he'll go. But the league crediting him with kick starting interest in soccer throughout the United States, putting soccer front and center in some of the conversations not only in Los Angeles but around the country because Beckham is such an international, such a global star.
So as you can see, the fans filing in, Galaxy versus the Houston Dynamos. They played last year for the championship, the Galaxy won. So Beckham wants to go out with a bang and win his second consecutive MLS championship, Deb.
FEYERICK: We understand that Beckham may not be the only one leaving the Galaxy.
VERCAMMEN: Yes. Landon Donovan, arguably one of the greatest American players of all time both on the international scene and with the Galaxy, says he's going to take some time off after this game. He has not officially announced his retirement or anything like that, but Donovan, who is only 30-years-old, is a very active player on the field. He's put a lot of miles on his legs and they're saying they're not sure what he's going to do. The fans would love to see him keep playing. Donovan may retire.
FEYERICK: All right, well, we may never have seen David Beckham play personally, but we'll always look forward to seeing him in whatever picture we can. Paul Vercammen for us in Los Angeles, thank you so much.
A recovering addict says striving to perfect almost cost him his life. As a young gymnast, he felt so much pressure he turned to alcohol and then drugs. But he made a stunning rebound. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has his story in this week's "Human Factor."
JOE PUTIGNANO, GYMNAST: I started gymnastics when I was 9 years old and I was watching the 1984 Olympics, and it spoke to me as if it was like broadcasted directly to me. And I immediately took the cushions off the couch and started jumping around.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Joseph's foray into gymnastics got serious after that. at the Olympic training center just two years later he realized he had had a natural gift. But his insatiable need to perform perfectly took over his life.
PUTIGNANO: For me, it kind of became a darkness that I have to be perfect.
GUPTA: That's where his downward spiral began.
PUTIGNANO: I had my first drink and all that desire for me to be perfect and to be the best was just washed away in the moment.
GUPTA: Within months, things got worse.
PUTIGNANO: I was drinking and using prescription drugs and a lot of cocaine. And it was that thing where I came to a crossroads where it was like I can't use and perform, so something's got to go. One of the worst moments in my entire life, which I'll never forget, is actually calling the coach up and quitting because it's like you're giving back your gift.
GUPTA: Alcohol, pills, and cocaine led Joe to heroin. In 2007 after several failed stints in rehab and two life-threatening overdoses, recovery finally stuck.
PUTIGNANO: I'm 27 years old. I hadn't done a handstand in almost ten years. I started to do the handstands and the splits. The more sobriety I maintained, the more this light, I call it, I don't know what else to say, kind of pulled me in a better direction.
GUPTA: Joe honed his body and his mind and he started to work on Broadway as a dancer. But it was a chance meeting with cirque du soleil producer that changed his life forever.
PUTIGNANO: He saw something in me that was sort of inspiring.
GUPTA: Today three years after that chance encountering five years after sobriety, Joe is starring as the Crystal Man in the Cirque du Soleil Crystal Show.
PUTIGNANO: He is the spark of change. The darkest of men carry the light. Now I get to come down and shine.
GUPTA: Reporter: And while he says his addiction will never disappear, he's now living a life he thought he'd lost forever.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
FEYERICK: Well, the fiscal cliff is looming and your wallets could take a big hit. It all depends on what Washington politicians do or don't do by January 1st.
Plus, the race for Oscars is already on. We will look at some of the top contenders for the coveted Academy Award.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) FEYERICK: Stories trending on the Internet right now, police are searching for a motive in a murder-suicide involving a Kansas City Chiefs football player. According to the Kansas City Star, police are identifying the gunman as linebacker Jovan Belcher. They say Belcher shot himself in front of his coaches at a team training facility this morning after shooting his girlfriend to death.
Two people are reported killed in a bus crash in Miami international airport. CNN affiliate WPLG said the bus clipped an overpass at the arrival terminal. More than two dozen people aboard the bus were injured.
Federal investigators are in New Jersey probing the cause of a disastrous freight train derailment. The accident sent freight cars carrying toxic cargo into a creek, triggering a chemical spill. Dozens of residents in the area still are unable to return to their homes.
By now, I know you have all heard of the so-called fiscal cliff, those huge tax hikes and spending cuts that will be triggered if Congress and the White House don't reach a budget deal by the end of the month.
Well, what are we looking at? First, cuts in defense. Also Bush era tax cuts set to expire, so the majority of Americans will pay more taxes. Also at stake, the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits also expected to get cut.
Dana Milbank is a "Washington Post" columnist. And Dana, in your most recent column you say it doesn't seem like anyone is doing anything but photo ops and news conferences. One politician was quoted as saying, effectively, we have a month. That's loads of time. Is this a sophisticated game of chicken?
DANA MILBANK, "WASHINGTON POST" COLUMNIST: It's a rather unsophisticated game of chicken, kind of elementary. What they're doing, both sides really, is doing a lot of posturing and waiting until they get close to the deadline if not go over the deadline, because they feel if they go over the deadline, they're in a position to tell their hardcore supporters, look, we have really got to make this deal now or that's the end. The economy goes back into recession.
It's almost as if they can't strike a deal before you get to the very end, which is understandable. The problem is when you play this game, you can make a terrible mistake. And, you know, they're gambling with the whole country here right now.
FEYERICK: House Speaker John Boehner said Friday the White House proposal which begins basically with having $1.6 trillion tax increase among other things was essentially a nonstarter. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: There's a stalemate. Let's not kid ourselves. I'm not trying to make this more difficult. You've watched me over the last three weeks. I have been guarded in what I have to say, because I don't want to make it harder for me or the president or members of both parties to be able to find common ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: All right, so common ground. The White House is focused on having high earners, the rich, pay higher taxes and get fewer deductions. If that happens, the middle class comes out ahead. So why is there so much pushback by the Republicans?
MILBANK: The proposal the White House came up with is one that they know the Republicans aren't going to sign on the dotted line and go along with it. What the president is trying to do is pull the debate more his way. He's learned from the past if you start negotiating with your final position you don't get a very good deal here. So neither side is really offering up at this point anything resembling a serious proposal.
We all know the contours of what the agreement has to be because there's only so many ways to fix this problem. But apparently we're going to have to wait until the holidays until they actually get their act together and they can actually make some serious discussion.
FEYERICK: OK, we'll see. Dana Milbank, thank you so much. We appreciate your being here today.
MILBANK: Thank you.
FEYERICK: Demonstrators are out on the streets of Egypt. We'll tell you what they're protesting about this time.
FEYERICK: In Egypt, angry crowds are gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square. They're protesting against President Mohamed Morsi and Egypt's new constitution. In other parts of Cairo thousands of Egyptians are chanting slogans in support of the president. Morsi said that the country's new constitution today, one day after it was quickly approved. Reza Sayah has the news.
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have seen hundreds of thousands of Egyptians protest against President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Now it's the president's supporters and the Brotherhood saying it's our turn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We support President Morsi and his decision.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all support President Morsi because this decision, we all need it.
SAYAH: It's hard to say how many people are here. Some say over 100,000. All say they support the president, and just like the opposition faction, they can put on a mass demonstration, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the real citizens of Egypt.
SAYAH: What about Tahrir Square? What do you call Tahrir Square, the protesters here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're protesters and this is democracy. There are people who agree and disagree.
SAYAH: There are a few thousand women here, but it's overwhelmingly men. They are energized, chanting slogans against some of the opposition leaders, chanting slogans in support of President Morsi.
This big turnout shows that not everyone in Egypt is against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim brotherhood. He has significant support. Egypt is an Islamic country. There's a lot of conservative Muslims here who support the president and they like the draft of the constitution has been approved and in about 15 days everyone can vote on it. They say that's what democracy is all about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democracy is an election and to be able to choose, be able to elect the people to be able to choose. Earlier, we have never been in politics like this. We will never, ever be able to tell our opinion freely and honestly like this.
FEYERICK: And Reza joins me live from Cairo. It's so fascinating, Reza, to listen to all of the voices saying this is what democracy is all about. You know, the president sort of grabs full power, and then the people get to vote on that. It's kind on an interesting dynamic there, no?
SAYAH: It's remarkable. I think if you look anywhere in the world, you're not going to find what is unfolding in Cairo. Really, it's a fight for Egypt's identity. You have these opposition factions behind us, the liberals and moderates with their view. And then you have the president and his supporters, the Islamists with their view. The question is whose view is going to come out on top?
We should point out that about 10 minutes ago, the president addressed the nation and the special panel that drafted this constitution. He was very diplomatic, very conciliatory and polite. Essentially he extended an olive branch to Egypt and invited all Egyptians to come out on December 15th in the nationwide referendum and vote on the constitution. That's going to be the big date, December 15th, two Saturdays from now.
He clearly made an attempt to calm down his opponents, but as he was making that speech behind us here in Tahrir Square, Deb, there was still yelling. Leave, leave, leave!
SAYAH: All right, Reza Sayah for us. Thank you so much. Interesting he's extending an olive branch to his own people. Thanks. Stay safe out there.
FEYERICK: Often, ordinary people do extraordinary things like this former army trainer. They can become a CNN hero. We'll go live to L.A. to preview tomorrow night's awards ceremony. And some big name films are vying for the Academy Award. We'll handicap some of the movies generating Oscar buzz.
FEYERICK: So often the people who make the biggest difference in the world, in their communities, they go unnoticed. Tomorrow night, CNN will honor some of them for their outstanding deeds. We call them heroes. Kareen Wynter joins us from Los Angeles. Kareen, tell us about some of them.
KAREEN WYNTER: They're remarkable, Deb. I had the chance over the last couple days to speak to some of our CNN top heroes from 2011, and they're just as blown away by the remarkable contributions of the top ten heroes this year. Honorees just like them who will be walking the carpet and sharing their stories of courage and inspiration as they take the spotlight on Sunday. We're talking about 2012s top 10 CNN heroes such as Wanda Butts. She's from Toledo, Ohio. She started a special program, the Josh Project, after losing her teenage son after he tragically died in a drowning accident many years ago. So she felt the need to do something to save lives even though she lost a life in helping minority children learn to swim. That's something we take for granted.
We don't just have heroes here in the states. We have international heroes such as this man from South Africa. After Apartheid ended he saw such a great need in the slums of his community to do more, to help the children and teens who were struggling by provided academic resources, activities, meals, again, things that people sometimes take for granted. There's such a great deed there, and he's been doing a tremendous job helping those in his community.
And that's what it's all about. I had a pleasure to speak with one of our 2011 top 10 heroes, Taryn Davis. She has had a chance to rub shoulders with some of the 2012 honorees. She's got a backstage pass so she's been checking out the action the last few days. And she said it's such an honor to be a part of this prestigious club. Listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TARYN DAVIS, CNN HERO: For me, they are heroes. I think the amazing thing about CNN heroes is they're people just like you and me, but they took the extra step and created something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WYNTER: And you won't want to miss this coming up next hour. One of our 2012 CNN top 10 heroes, Mary Cartani, she will be right here. We'll be talking to her. She's helping vets, training vets, training dogs. We'll find out why both of those are so dear to her heart.
FEYERICK: We're going to be looking forward to that. Thank you so much, Kareen. They're competing for the same prize, but honestly, my guess is they're rooting for each other because they're all such huge winners. We want all of you to join us on Sunday. You can watch the CNN Heroes preshow special "Sharing the Spotlight" at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Then stay with us, join us, watch the main event, "CNN Heroes, an All-Star Tribute" at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Well, the Academy Awards buzz has already begun, and our movie critic already has a few Oscar favorites. She'll share her picks and tell us why Brad Pitt's new one, "Killing Them Softly," is at the top of her list.
FEYERICK: Well, movie producers trying to get their film an Oscar nod better kick their PR efforts into high gear. Nomination ballots are due January 3rd. The final list of nominees comes out a week later on January 10. Grae Drake, our movie critics and a senior editor of RottenTomatoes.com is here to make some predictions. And so everybody has been talking about "Argo," but there could be some sort of surprises, come-out-of-nowhere movies. What's going on?
GRAE DRAKE, MOVIE CRITIC: This is the time of year where Hollywood is all abuzz, and you can sit in a restaurant and hear something whispering about the new movie that's going to get a nomination. And I think first and foremost, most of these movies aren't out yet for people to see, but keep a close eye out, starting with "The Impossible." this is a movie starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. It's about a family, a true story. They went to Thailand two days before the tsunami, and the movie is aptly titled because it's impossible not to lose your mind crying during it. The filmmakers really recreated what it must have been like to be there. It's horrifying and touching and incredible all at the same time. And it's also impossible.
The next movie that I think people are going to really dig is "Zero Dark 30," which could also be titled "Ding-Dong Osama is Dead." And movies these days about the political scene are generally pretty depressing, but this is the one thing we have to kind of celebrate that we accomplished as a nation and as a world, almost, where, you know, this is the story of the U.S. hunting down Osama bin Laden and figuring out where he was and as -- we all know how that story ends, right?
FEYERICK: Absolutely. And so what about also, you know, you're right, totally cried through the trailer for "The Impossible," but there's another movie that is going to grab at people. It's one that we're going to come back to again and again and again. What is that movie, Grae?
DRAKE: That movie is "Les Miserable." It is the adaptation of the play that everyone is really excited about. This is not the first time Hollywood has tackled it, but it is the first time that Hollywood has included the actual songs from the play in the movie. And when this movie screened for critics last weekend, the entire Oscar race changed dramatically, because Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean may have just taken the Oscar away from Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln.
And for all of us movie folks, that is a really big deal. This movie, I actually had the pleasure of seeing it, and I can't say a whole lot about it because it comes out on Christmas Day. But to everybody who is a fan of "Les Miserable" they're going to be ecstatic about the movie. We'll get used to hearing it. It's going to win a ton of stuff.
FEYERICK: That's really exciting. I'm going be humming that song for the next couple hours. Thanks, Grae. And remember, you can always get more from Grae Drake at RottenTomatoes.com.
And our own A.J. Hammer sat down with the star of "Killing them Softly" Brad Pitt for a very revealing interview about his engagement and his stance on marriage equality. You can watch Brad Pitt right here tomorrow, 5:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.
And replacing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the man on the left wants the job. The woman on the right is the front runner. Will President Obama choose one of them or will he choose someone else?