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Turmoil in Nigeria; Sticking With Financial Resolutions; United States Most Plagued by Severe Weather; Managing Your Money in the New Year; Brazilian Teen Selling Virginity

Aired January 2, 2013 - 12:30   ET


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This group which wants to form a Sharia-dominated law system, a Taliban-like government in the northern part of Nigeria.

And they're not just targeting Christians, but also government installations, police, schools, in fact, any institution of state and institution of Christianity.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL": David, why is this getting worse? I mean, why do you have this all of the sudden?

I know that there's this organization. This is -- they're wreaking havoc, but now you have this dramatic increase over the Christmas holiday. Why?

MCKENZIE: Well, part of it is cyclical. The last year at this time over Christmas and the year before that, there were attacks on churches. This has become a very symbolic and, obviously, powerful statement that Boko Haram is wanting to make, that they're able to go around any security that might be in place at churches or other institutions in the north and kill innocent Christians, innocent Nigerians.

There's also something else at play. The Nigerian's leader, Goodluck Jonathan, has recently played a kind of double game, both calling for negotiations with the group to end the violence and, also, the security forces under him cracking down on Boko Haram.

This is a complex story. The security forces are accused by Amnesty International and others for really extra-judicial killings, murdering of people who might not even be Boko Haram in these regions.

And, say, they say, rights groups say that this is compounding the cycle of violence in this kind of under-governed space in a very important country, a strategic country in Africa.


MALVEAUX: All right, a very important story. Thank you very much, David. Appreciate it.

More than 100 people died in Superstorm Sandy. More than a thousand died in Katrina. If you think climate change is to blame, the big question is how can we and what can we do to prevent more deaths in the future?

We're going to take a look at what it takes to go climate-proof.


MALVEAUX: According to the National Weather Service, the U.S. gets more severe weather than any other country on the planet. Every year, we face on average 10,000 severe storms, 5,000 floods, a thousand tornadoes and two deadly hurricanes.

And, of course, some storms have left entire communities underwater. Think New Orleans in Katrina. Also think New York and New Jersey in Sandy.

Well, Chad Myers says there's a growing movement around the world to protect the cities from the severe weather. Tell us what's behind it.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you have to understand where we are in the world and how our weather is so different here in America.

First of all, we have the Rocky Mountains to the west. We have the Gulf of Mexico, very warm water here, and the cold air that plunges to the east of the Rocky Mountains and that's where the tornado threat comes from. Moisture here, dry air here, cold air here and that is Tornado Alley.

Something else we have, a very large Atlantic Ocean, allowing big storms and hurricanes to come in at us at full-throttle, full-speed because the water is still very warm there.

So, where do we go from here? How do we get ready, I guess? How do we get climate-ready. If it gets warmer and the water goes up, if the ice melts and the water in the ocean gets another foot higher, how do we protect ourselves?

Well, the first place that's protected itself, obviously, New Orleans. They built all of these barriers, did a very good job this year at protecting New Orleans.

Now, those barriers did something else. They blocked the water from going into New Orleans, but they also really increased the amount of water that went into Plaquemines Parish.

You have to watch what you do because you can't put a barrier and hope you stop all the water.

Take you over here to Rotterdam where they stopped the water from coming down the river with these huge just big gates right there. They will close if there is surge coming down from the north.

And this is what will be. Right here, those two gates right there will swing together and stop the water from coming in.

Huge projects, I mean, significantly big projects when it comes to how much money this could possibly all cost here. MALVEAUX: Chad, let's talk about the money because, you know, the federal government invested in $14 billion in the flood protection system for south Louisiana after Katrina.

Now, people are looking at New York and New Jersey and, of course, there are some lawmakers certainly who are angry at the House Republicans, at least, for not voting on what kind of funding should be in place to help those folks there.

What kind of costs are we talking about?

MYERS: You know what? To protect from what Sandy did would you be quadrillions of dollars. We just don't have that. Mother Nature is so much bigger than we are. It's amazing how much damage mother nature will do and then will work its way around what you try to protect in the first place.

Let's go to a different map here and show you what the LoLo Columbia University Project was all about here. Governor's Island and the island of Manhattan, a little bit further to the north up here, they projected that, if we made some type of barrier island through here and also kind of a barrier all the way along the East River, putting in some more barriers down to the south that the surge may not have been quite so bad with Sandy.

But it would also be a very large project and years and years and years in the making. Now, that's not saying we shouldn't do it because somebody has to put a stop to this.

But let's say you just put a big barrier, as people talk about sometimes, across the Verrazano Narrows bridges and you stop the water from coming up the East River or up the Hudson River. What would happen?

Well, that water would just be diverted somewhere else. It would get back toward the Rockaways. It would get there south of -- into New Jersey, all the way here along the coastal shore.

So, we try to stop one thing, but then we create something else. It's hard to climate-proof something.

We also talked about trying to climate-proof, let's say, Las Vegas. What would we do? Because it doesn't rain there very much.

Lake Mead is the at 52 percent of full-pool, so it's half empty. It doesn't rain there very much and all the sudden you put more people in there, more tourists go in there, and if the climate changes, it gets dryer, gets wetter, whatever, we have to be prepared for this time of eventual change in our life sometime. Not -- this isn't 200 years from now. This is the next 20, 25 years.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely. Well, we'll be preparing for it and, obviously, looking for 2013, what kind of weather we're going to get because it was really extraordinary last year, Chad. It was unbelievable.

I guess the question is if we're ready for the next superstorm. CNN presents "The Coming Storms," Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern.

And to weather in outer space. The annual -- this is annual quadrantid meteor expected to light up the skies tonight. This is pretty cool.

NASA says this year's show might not be as easy to see because the moon is particularly bright, but for those who want to try, the stars are expected to start falling around 11:00 p.m. in each time zone across the United States with the peak viewing expected around 3:00 a.m. or so.

Now, between 60 and 200 meteors per hour are expected to streak across the sky. Worth checking it out.

And, all right, you think "Gangnam-Style" is a big hit? Wait until you hear "One-Pound Fish" -- I'm not kidding -- the new song out of Pakistan that is now taking the Internet by storm.


MALVEAUX: 2012, "Gangnam-Style" was huge, right? Well, another song called "One-Pound Fish," yes, getting millions of views on YouTube. Check it out.

All right, this guy who is singing, Mohammed Shadid Nazir (ph), so, he made up this song to get women to buy fish in a London market. A customer posted the video on YouTube, of course, so now it's getting is so much attention he now has a record deal.

This is the official video. Check it out.

It was number 29 on the music charts the U.K. Nazir (ph) moved to London from Pakistan nine months ago. This guy was treated like a rock star when he visited his home in Pakistan. That happened last Thursday. Good for him.

People are making all kinds of new year's resolutions, you know? One of the most popular is getting control of our finances. There's a new study out in the "USA Today" that finds that 41 percent of Americans have made a pledge this year to manage their money better.

I want to bring in our financial adviser, Clyde Anderson, to join us here. And you and I were talking about this. You were surprised, right, because more people want get their money together than, say, like what? Lose 10 pounds, get your body together ...


MALVEAUX: Why's that?

ANDERSON: Things like that. And I think what happens is the result is they end up sticking to their financial resolutions longer than they stick to these weight loss or quit smoking resolutions. It's about the money. They want the money.

MALVEAUX: You've got to have the money. You can deal with 10 extra pounds.

ANDERSON: Ten extra pounds, but if I'm broke, it doesn't work.

MALVEAUX: So, tell us about some of the priorities.

ANDERSON: Well, I think the first priority we've got to realize is mind over money. You've know we've to get our mind right and think about why do even we want the money and what are we going to do with the money.

So, you've got to think about it like that. A lot of people go right to filling in the budget sheets, but it doesn't change if you haven't changed your mindset. So, you've got to change your mindset. I think that's crucial.

MALVEAUX: And how do you do that? I mean, you set financial goals. Is it important to be very specific? Should you be general? I mean, how do you make something like that happen?

ANDERSON: You've got to be specific. You've got to have to have a plan. A plan is crucial and a plan is going to tell you what are my goals. What are my one-week goals, my one-month goals, my six-month goals as well as my 12-month goals.

And a lot of times, once you have that goal, the goal becomes bigger than a pair of shoes. And, so, therefore, I'm not going to buy the shoes when I know I've got this college tuition or I've got this vacation that I want to take.

Make the goal and keep the goal in front of you. It's crucial.

MALVEAUX: Clyde, is it realistic -- I mean, there are figures that say one-in-six Americans are poor in this country.

Can you make actually make a goal? Can you get yourself out of poverty? Can you actually change your mindset, change your focus and say, I'm going to make it dramatically different for my family this go round this year?

ANDERSON: You definitely can. You can change your mind, change your life. And I think you've got some many examples of people that have persevered, people that were born in poverty or people that grew up in poverty and they decided to make a difference and make a change. You need to go back and look at those situations and follow the blueprint sometimes because it is possible but it's going to take a lot of hard work and it's not easy, especially right now in this economy, but it's really possible because in the midst of adversity there's a lot of opportunity and you've just got to be able to see it.

MALVEAUX: What if you're one of those folks who's unemployed?

ANDERSON: Well, if you're unemployed right now -- and that's one of the big things, and that's why savings is so important. So before you get to that point, realize that unemployment is real and so you really need to have six to 12 months worth of savings set aside to prepare for that. So if you're unemployed right now, you've got to be creative. You've got to think outside of the box. You've got to now create a job if you can't find a job. You've got to use your gifts and talents. And a lot of people have a lot of skills that they have, they just don't know how to put it together to create a plan to go ahead and exercise that and have a business. It doesn't mean that you have to become an entrepreneur and grow this big conglomerate, but find a way to fill in the gap.

MALVEAUX: Sure. It's why a lot of people are really -- I mean they fall short of their goals because it's unrealistic. How do you know if you're taking too much of a bite, if it's got to be in small pieces here, if you're being realistic to move on to the next step, or you're just, you know, you prevent yourself from just giving up completely?

ANDERSON: Exactly. That's what happens. If you set the goals too big, you get discouraged. And so you want it take small, bit sized pieces. You want to see the goal, make sure it's realistic, and that's about setting smart goals. Make sure that they are realistic. That you can measure them. You can see that you are progressing in that process. That's crucial. You know, they say, eat the elephant one bite at a time. So you don't want to go in there and try to eat the whole elephant at once. One bite at a time. And you can get there.

MALVEAUX: All right. That relates to the weight loss as well.

ANDERSON: There you go. One bite --

MALVEAUX: One bite -- small bite at a time.

ANDERSON: Right, one small bite.

MALVEAUX: Because that's the other thing, it's the financial piece and then everybody wants to get more exercise, get a little better in shape as well financially.

ANDERSON: Exactly. And there are so many things we can do. You know, maximize your 401(k). Do things like that to make sure that, you know, you're getting -- you're maximizing your money. Get a Roth IRA. You can put $5,500 a year in a Roth IRA. There are so many things that you can do and it doesn't have to be a lot. Start small. Save something. But you've got to save.

MALVEAUX: All right. Clyde, good to see you.

ANDERSON: Good to see you as well.

MALVEAUX: Happy new year.

ANDERSON: Happy new year to you.

MALVEAUX: We're going to try all those things.

ANDERSON: Yes. Good.

MALVEAUX: And we'll get back to you. Let us know how we did.

ANDERSON: All right, I'll check in on you. I'll check in. MALVEAUX: All right, thanks again.

Well, I want to take a look at the big board. Stocks shooting up more than 200 points or so. This morning, right now, the Dow is up 215 points. Investors ringing in the new year with a broad rally.


MALVEAUX: In her hometown, in a remote farming area in Brazil, a teenage girl has sparked a firestorm. Rebecca Bernardo (ph) has decided to sell her virginity to the highest bidder. Our Shasta Darlington traveled to the village to meet her and to find out why.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rebecca Bernardo gets a lot of stares when she pedals around town on her red bicycle. Ever since the Brazilian high school student posted a video on YouTube last month. "My name is Rebecca," she says. "I'm here to auction off my virginity." She says she was motivated by desperation, but inspired by another Brazilian, Katrina Migunini (ph), who's offered to sell her virginity through an Australian website got widespread publicity and modeling contracts.

We visited Rebecca in her remote farming town to ask why she made the video that set off a firestorm in Sapiasu (ph) and echoed around the country.

"I made up my mind right after my 18th birthday," she says. "That's when my mother suffered a stroke. The stroke left her bed-ridden, unable to feed herself or go to the bathroom alone." Rebecca says she tried selling cosmetics and worked as a waitress, but the money just barely covered the salary of a caretaker for her mother.

"There comes a time where you have to make decisions to get what you want," she says. "You have to be strong."

The first day her video got 3,000 hits. The reaction in her hometown was swift and hostile.

"When she started the auction, people in the streets threw coins at her," says a local mechanic, "but I never looked at her differently."

Attitudes now have started to shift.

DARLINGTON (on camera): This is a very small town. Everybody knows everybody. But what's really surprised us is just that most of the people we've talked to are sympathetic with Rebecca's desperate situation.

(voice-over): Neighbors remind us that Rebecca's sister died years ago and she never knew her father.

"She has no one to go to, no one to help. So this is the only solution she found," they say. But Rebecca's mother is devastated. "What do you think she should do, I ask?" "She could look for work," she says. "She shouldn't prostitute herself."

Rebecca says she's received three bids, the highest for $35,000. A Brazilian TV network offered to pay medical expenses if she called off the auction. But now her desperation has turned to dreams. She wants enough money to care for her mother and start a new life in a different town, but wouldn't say how much is need. The TV deal fell through and the auction is back on.

"It's a lot of responsibility to face alone," she says. "I'm not really prepared."

In this town, there's wide understanding the family needs help, but so far at least the help has not been forthcoming.


MALVEAUX: Want to bring in Shasta Darlington.

Shasta, it's an interesting story. Obviously she's in a desperate situation. Why didn't she take the offer from the TV station?

DARLINGTON: Well, Suzanne, as you said, it's a complicated and difficult situation. And the feeling we got is that she's very naive and she suddenly got a little ambitious. She made this first attempt, she put up the video and the reaction was so much bigger than she expected that she suddenly thought, well, maybe I can do more than just help my mother. Maybe I can actually make enough money to make a better life for myself. She's very naive. I don't think she even knows what she's getting into. So, on the one hand, I wouldn't call her a gold digger, but I do think she suddenly sees that maybe she can get more out of this than she originally thought, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: She seems very, very close to her mother and she wants to take care of her, but her own mom says she doesn't approve of what she's doing and she believes it's prostitution here. Why isn't she taking the advice of her mother?

DARLINGTON: Well, it's interesting, Suzanne. In Brazil, we should mention, prostitution is legal. You can sell sex for money. So she's not doing anything illegal. And she was actually sitting right next to us as we were having this conversation, sort of looked at the floor while her mother said this. Her mother had difficulty speaking. She kept on saying, "what she's doing is wrong. What she's doing it wrong." And you could see that this affected her. But she tried to explain to her mother, "I feel this is the only thing I can do, mom. I don't have any choices." And whether or not that's true, it's certainly the way she feels, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Do we know if she does have any other opportunities? We know this TV station came forward. We know that she's looking for a better life. Is there a charity, is there a group organization, a neighborhood effort to help her shy of actually selling her virginity? DARLINGTON: Well, we certainly hope so. And that was one of the questions we had for all of the neighbors and the residents, most of whom, as I mentioned, were very sympathetic. But a lot of them would sort of end the conversation saying, well, I wouldn't do it, but I can see why she would. And so I asked them, well, what should she do? And they said, I don't know, maybe the state could step in. And that was the only thing they could come up with, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Give us an update. Let us know what ends up happening there. Clearly there -- I'm sure there are people who are at least willing to reach out and to try to be of some assistance. Thank you very much.

It has been a year since the Iraq War ended, but people there -- many people there still feel like they are living in a war zone. We're going to hear from them in their own words.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We (INAUDIBLE) Iraq in our hands, maybe take 10, 20 years. That's OK. Thirty years, that's OK. But in the end, we will build a new, free Iraq.



MALVEAUX: When the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, the world welcomed in 2013. But in Iraq, the new year also marked another milestone. Folks there celebrating what is known as Iraq Day. One year since the departure of U.S. troops and the official end of the Iraq War.

But since then, violence in the region has continued. Just last year's celebratory tone replaced this year by a more sober one. We asked what some Iraqis think has changed since U.S. troops left and what the future looks like for them. Here's what they said.



Open mic.


U.S. Troops withdrawal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A year since the American withdrawal, there have been many changes. The Iraqi people feel freer and more relaxed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Iraqi troops is here in the city. Nothing's changed. Only the nationality has changed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My message to American troops, I thank them a lot for their perseverance because they came to help us and the evidence of that is they left Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I thank them for what they did here. They rescued us from a dictator, Saddam Hussein. This made me happy about them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They treated the Iraqi people as if they were dumb cattle. As if they are barbaric. They acted with arrogance and immoral and inhumane (ph) way (ph). I believe the situation in Iraq will advance and be better. As you can see now, the streets and buildings are better, but we are still not 100 percent.