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Passenger Train Derails In The Bronx; Paul Walker Dies In Fiery Car Wreck; Sixty-Seven People Injured in Train Derailment; U.S. Demands N. Korea Release War Veteran; IBM: Holiday Online Sales Up Almost 20 Percent
Aired December 1, 2013 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSA FLORES, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosa Flores in for my good friend Don Lemon.
Now moments ago we heard the NTSB press conference about the New York train derailment. Let's go right to Rene Marsh who is standing by in Washington. And Rene investigators are trying to figure out why a train skidded off the tracks this morning in the Bronx, killing four people.
Now, passengers just heard the screech of that metal as the train skidded out of control. The train operator reportedly slammed on the brakes but the train did not slow down. Now, so Rene, let's talk about some of the things that were part of this NTSB press conference because we heard a lot of very interesting details. We know that the NTSB will be on the scene for a week to ten days. And they are going to be meticulous. They're going to be looking at every single detail. The NTSB representative said they're organizing a meeting tonight to look at things like the mechanical equipment team, operations team, human performance, survival factors, and maintenance personnel records. So can you tell us a little bit about this, about how meticulous they're going to be in gathering what they called perishable evidence?
MARSH: Right. So Tyrese (ph) said that we know that the NTSB Rosa they got there about 12:30 this afternoon and what they are saying is they are really in a race against time because they want to collect as much evidence before the sun goes down, which we just saw there, it is pretty dark already.
So, here's what they're going to be focusing on. They have teams that are broken off into different groups. They specialize in different things. You listed some of them, the track team, which will look at the condition of the track. That's going to be pretty important to see if there are any anomalies on the track that may have caused this derailment. They are the signal team.
We got some good news. We know that they were able to locate those recorders, those so-called event recorders. So that's going to be crucial because that has critical information on there like the speed of the train as well as was the conductor trying to apply the brakes. That will also fill in some information there.
Also human performance will be pretty important. They will want to interview the crews as well as witnesses, what did they see, what did they hear, what did they feel moments leading up to this derailment and at the point when this actually happened.
We know that typically when the NTSB issues their preliminary report that takes about ten days following the incident. So we're not going to get any more detail other than what we just received there until maybe another ten days or so when we get that full preliminary report. But we'll also get an overall probable cause report probably not until a year from now. So, there's a lot of work to be done, Rosa.
FLORES: Rene Marsh, thank you so much for that update and for sticking with us.
And now, we're going to go to Alexandra Field. Now, she's been on the scene all day long in the Bronx.
And Alexandra, daylight is running out. I can see it's dark already behind you. And time is of the essence in picking up what we heard from this NTSB official as perishable evidence. And so, talk to us about the search teams that you've been seeing out there.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, dark is falling here in New York City but we have seen for the last hour or two now crews heading up big lights so they can work into the night here. They obviously don't want to lose time. They want to answer these questions in a methodical way. And they need to get started now. We saw investigators arriving here earlier this afternoon beginning to document and take pictures of these cars that are off the track.
Again, seven passenger cars and that one locomotive car that was in the back of the train. So, investigators are looking at where exactly they went. How, of course, did they get off the track. That's the question that they are out here to answer.
Here's the important thing right now. We know that a crane is en route to the scene. It will lift up some of those passenger cars that you've been seeing pictures of all day long. Those seven large passenger cars. Two of them were turned completely on their sides. So, investigators say that they need to be right-sided and lifted.
Of course, we will then have an answer to another question, whether or not there could be any passengers who may have been trapped by the train. At this point, we're told by authorities that they believe that all the passengers are accounted for. The estimate is that there were probably about 150 people onboard. And again, the belief is that they're all accounted for but it is possible that additional people could still be found to have been on the train at some point even if they are recovered and uninjured and simply just walked away. But that is a question that investigators will look to tonight, Rosa.
FLORES: That's just difficult to hear.
Now, one of the things that really stands out is just how close that locomotive is to the river. And I know that we've seen divers out there. Was anyone found inside the river? FIELD: Right, Rosa. It is unbelievable to see how close this train got to the water's edge. The divers were in the water. There were also coast guard boats out here. So far, we are told that no one was found in the water and we're told that no one was thrown into the water. Two of those train cars again tipped completely on their sides. That's where four passengers were killed. Three of them were thrown from the cars, but ended up on land, not in the water. So, at this point, again, authorities believe that no one actually went into the Harlem River or the Hudson River, Rosa.
FLORES: All right, Alexandra Field. Thank you so much. She's been out there all morning long. Thank you so much for gathering that information for us.
And now we go to a passenger, Amanda Swanson was nodding off when the train derailed. She was jolted awake as it skidded off the tracks, gravel flying into the car through broken windows. Amanda Swanson joins us by phone.
Amanda, can you hear me?
AMANDA SWANSON, PASSENGER (via phone): Yes, I can.
FLORES: Amanda, my goodness, I cannot even fathom what you went through. So take us back to that moment when you are on that train and all of a sudden this happens.
SWANSON: I was trying to take a quick nap before a very long shift at my restaurant in midtown this morning. And when we got to that particular area I woke up, not necessarily even jolting. I had my headphones in. I had music on. So, I didn't quite hear the screeching until I opened my eyes.
I woke up because my body was at a 45- to 60-degree angle even though I was sitting upright on my feet. So, as soon as I opened my eyes, the first thing I thought, was, my God, this is a train crash. And my gut reaction was I grabbed my phone and held it close and grabbed my bag so I would have my belongings. Because in that moment I knew that I was going to survive this. I made a conscious decision to survive this.
And when the train hit the ground, when it finally did like hit, that was when the windows burst it open and all the gravel and the broken glass flew up. And I managed to put my purse in front of my face and eliminated any physical injury in that regard, which was, I guess, just quick thinking. And then I stayed conscious the whole time with maybe a minor like second at the eventual thud impact, when the train came to a complete stop and I just kind of opened my eyes. I'm not sure I was knocked unconscious or just closing my eyes really tightly hoping that I would come out of this unscathed. But once I realized it was over, I stood up, standing on the side on the windows. I was in the side of the car that was directly on its side. And I stood up and I realized that I was OK and a that it was over and I immediately called 911.
FLORES: Oh, my goodness. Amanda Swanson, and you're OK now, is that right? Did you receive any injuries?
SWANSON: I did walk away without any physical injuries. I'm sure I will be sore tomorrow, for sure. I was definitely in shock. I was one of the people that just walked away. Like refused medical attention and just walked aimlessly down the road in the Bronx with no idea where I was. I was that girl.
Now, that I've done a few interviews and I've had the afternoon to settle down and think about it, and here of some these reports which is clearly in the moment, I didn't know what was going on. I had no idea that the fatalities were in the car that I was in.
I would have not have guessed that. I would have assumed they were in the track -- the cars that were a little more contorted. So when I heard that news, it was just a whole other set of shock and now I just -- I'm so thankful to be able to be talking to you and walking around and just, you know, only maybe emotionally damaged. My heart just goes out to those who are injured and the loved ones of those who died.
FLORES: Definitely so.
Amanda Swanson, thank you so much. Definitely counting her blessings tonight. We appreciate it.
Now, there was a second fatal train derailment to tell you about. Now, this one is in southern New Mexico. Three railroad workers died yesterday when their locomotive hopped the tracks and rolled 40 feet down an embankment. The train was lease bid a mining company and was hauling eight cars filled with iron ore.
Treacherous roads in the northeast today for people headed home after the holiday. Dozens of people were hurt early this morning and this massive chain reaction pile-up in central Massachusetts. Freezing rain was blamed for icing. Up in that interstate, state highway official says it started when a tractor trailer slid out of control. By the time it was over, about 70 vehicles had slammed into each other. Thirty people were treated for minor injuries.
Heartbreak for fans of actor Paul Walker and those on the scene of the crash that claimed his life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is nothing. We tried. We went through fire extinguishers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: We've got the latest on the crash investigation and we'll talk with someone who knew Paul Walker very well. That's up next.
And just ahead, an 85-year-old American war veteran being held against his will in North Korea. The voices are growing louder and louder, calling for his release.
FLORES: Actor Paul Walker, star of the "Fast and Furious" films series has died in a fiery car crash in southern California. CNN has obtained footage of the inferno taken by witnesses, just moments after the crash.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, the guy is in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: When deputies arrived at the scene just north of Los Angeles, they found a vehicle fully engulfed in flames and Walker and the driver dead. Police say speed was a factor. CNN took these exclusive pictures of the tire marks in a figure-8 pattern just feet from the crash. Now, police have yet to confirm these tire marks were from the crash.
CNN's Paul Vercammen joins me live from Los Angeles.
And, Paul, it was no secret that Walker was passionate about cars. Isn't that right?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely true, Rosa. And in fact, he had a stable about 20 to 30 cars and he would often work on them, fix them up, spruce them up. He called this cathartic and many of those cars were related to his "Fast and Furious" movies.
Walker himself was a car racer and so was his grandfather. And where this happened in this area is very close to the business of his friend's who was presumed to be the driver. It's called all is evolving performance cars. And it's well-known to the sheriff's deputies that people do sometimes race cars in this area.
As you pointed out, it looked as if the car was fully engulfed and it possibly hit a light pole. And after the fire department arrived just two minutes after, they pronounced Walker dead at the scene.
As for who was this driver, Roger Rodas, the owner of that business, it was a Porsche Carrera, 2005 GT. And Rodas have said that was one of his favorite cars. But in addition to cars, Walker had another passion, he was an avid surfer. He loved the ocean. He loved marine biology.
Let's hear what he had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL WALKER, ACTOR DIED IN CAR CRASH: This is my first passion, marine bio. It's what I thought I would find myself doing, working as a marine biologist. And I found myself acting. I had to walk away from it all to do this full time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: Walker on his twitter page had joked that he is someone who acts basically part time, self deprecating, self-effacing, often could be seen walking around the Santa Barbara area alone with just his dogs, no entourage. Very simple man. And there's a story where Walker once overheard an Iraq vet talk about the fact that he couldn't afford a $10,000 wedding ring for his fiance so Walker anonymously bought it, Rosa.
FLORES: My goodness.
Now, I know a lot of his fans are reacting on twitter. A lot of them in disbelief. How was Hollywood reacting?
VERCAMMEN: There is just tremendous sadness here today. It's no secret that sometimes in Hollywood you hear these awful stories about this actor or that actor acting up on a set and causing problems. Walker had the opposite reputation. Easy to work with. Generous, nice, kind, very unassuming. You would never have known in seeing him around that he was a Hollywood movie star. He never even, you know, seemed to identify or, you know, want to be part of that. He wanted to remain low key and he did. So there's just a shock here in Hollywood and there's a feeling that they lost one of the best people in times, very tough business.
FLORES: That's definitely tough to hear.
Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate your time.
And we've all seen the man Paul Walker was on the screen but what about off the screen?
Let me bring in Tom O'Neil in Los Angeles. He's the host of goldderby.com.
And Tom, we were just hearing about some of the reaction from Hollywood. One of the things that really stands out is that he leaves behind a 15-year-old girl, a daughter, his daughter.
TOM O'NEIL, EDITOR, GOLDDERBY.COM: Yes, a girl named Meadow. He had with a girlfriend of his name Rebecca McBrain. In Hawaii, the girl was born and raised. But two years ago she decided to move to Los Angeles to be with her dad. They were very close ever since. He took her to Justin Bieber concerts and he recently told "People" magazine they were soul mates. He said she is free roamers, just like her dad.
FLORES: My goodness. Now, what about the future --
O'NEIL: By the way, there were reports that she may -- excuse me, there were reports that she may have been at the charity event with her father when he left for the -- for this race that turned out to be fatal. So it's -- we really feel for her.
FLORES: So incredibly sad. And we should add that he was actually at a charity event before this, prior to this. So this just tell s about his character. It was, I believe, it was a charity event to benefit the victims of the typhoon, Haiyan.
But let's talk about "Fast and Furious" the franchise. Now, the latest film is still in production. Do you think it's going to go on without him?
O'NEIL: I don't see how they really can do it. There's a lot of speculation that maybe they could do it with other Hollywood films have done, which is digitize the person on to other bodies or just substitute some stars as they did in the case of Heath Ledger while filming the "Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus". It is the Johnny Depp, his mother step in and they had a multiple people playing the role.
The reports, the latest are that he was heading to Atlanta this week to do key scenes from the movie and if they're that key I don't see how the movie can proceed without him. And quite frankly, should they even do it. This is a racing movie. Would it be in good taste to show him racing around in a challenging death in a car when, in fact, that's how he died.
FLORES: that's a definitely a tough position to be in.
Tom O'Neil, host of goldderby.com. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.
The clock ran out at midnight for the Obamacare Web site. That was the self-imposed deadline set by the president to get it running properly. Well, did they finally get it right? We'll check that out next.
FLORES: It looks like the crippled health healthcare.gov Web site has a second lifeline. The man, Obama administration, put in-charge of repairing it says there is, quote, "a night and day difference between what the Web site was like on October 1st and today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY ZIENTS, OBAMACARE WEB SITE REPAIR LEADER: After clearing through fewer than 100 bugs across the entire month of October, the speed has more than tripled with over 400 bugs fixed, eliminating critical glitches and making improvements to the consumer experience throughout the site.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: And joining me now from Washington, CNN's Tory Dunnan.
And Tory, this is almost like the Y2k of Obamacare because everybody has been, you know, just keeping their fingers crossed. And of course, the goal was, OK, so how many people are going to be able to get on this Web site without any problems? Was that goal met?
FLORES: So, Rosy, a lot of numbers sort of like y2k but let's simplify this for everyone. The White House says, yes, they believe they've met this goal and made dramatic progress. On that conference call with reporters this morning, officials basically compared this to widening a highway onramp. So in this case, widening the system's on ramp and in effect saying that it a now has four lanes instead of two lanes.
The claim is that the underling infrastructure of healthcare.gov is much stronger than it was just about two months ago. And that it should be able to handle its intended volume of user visits.
So, what does that mean? Well, apparently 50,000 users should now be able to be on the site at the same time and that's double what the capacity used to be. Also, if more people than that try to logon, they will be put in a virtual line and then send an e-mail with a better time to come back and check again.
Now, we're also told the system should be able to support at least 800,000 consumers a day. So Rosa, now we've heard from the administration. Up next is keeping a close watch on the site and listening to users and sort of determining how they say it's working over the next week or so.
FLORES: And one of the things that's definite is the criticism of the Obamacare Web site. The Web site has gotten criticism from both sides of the aisle. But I imagine that the Republicans are going to be extremely skeptical when it comes to this new revival, to this new roll out to the Web site.
DUNNAN: Yes, so far not a whole lot of applause from Republicans, which honestly not too surprising. But we did hear from a spokesman for House speaker John Boehner and the gist of that is this is not just about the Web site. They're saying more so about a fundamentally flawed law. Now, also, the deputy chief of staff for house majority leader Eric Cantor said it would be prudent to wait before determine that the Web site is truly fixed. That's something that we've heard from users as well.
Rosa, they want to see for themselves that it's working. Not just rely on word of mouth that, yes, it is working and we have the numbers to prove it.
FLORES: Tory Dunnan in Washington. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.
FLORES: And now to a horrific train accident in New York City. Four are dead, dozens injured. We go live to New York next.
And just ahead, an 85-year-old American war veteran is being held in North Korea against his will. Effectively he's a prisoner of war. He was once part of a U.S. special forces team called the white tigers. We'll talk to another former white tiger, that's just ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) FLORES: It was a horrific ordeal. Passengers went flying from side to side in a deadly train derailment today in the Bronx. Four people were killed and dozens more injured. Investigators are trying to figure out why the train skidded off the tracks. Here's the latest from the NTSB.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EARL WEENER, NTSB: There will be a track team which will look at the condition of the tracks leading to the point of derailment, try to identify any anomalies. There will be a signals team looking at the condition of the signaling system and hopefully looking for any possible data that might have been recorded by the signal and the system. The human performance team will be looking at the performance of the train crew.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: The train was headed to Poughkeepsie to grand central station. Investigators combed the scene for any other victims, even sending divers into the water. But they believe everyone has been accounted for. At least 67 people were hurt and rushed to the hospital.
Now, Nic Robertson -- Nic Robertson, rather, is live at St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx.
And Nic, we're hearing that a 14-year-old was released a short time ago but the teen's father is still being treated.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He is. There were 12 casualties brought here. Two of them in serious critical condition. The 14-year-old was one of the lucky ones, minor cuts and abrasions. And he was treated by the doctors but his father. His injuries are little more significant. He would be one of 10 people who would be staying in the hospital tonight. the injury is range from a man with fracture vertebrates.
The doctors here are concerned about the movement of his arms and legs. The implications of that: very traumatic injuries. Somebody with a very bad open fracture in their leg, somebody else with a crushed open injury to their elbow, other people with broken bones. Policewoman who was on her way to work, she broke her ribs and has a broken bone in her shoulder, as well.
But it's not just the physical injuries, the doctors here are describing to us. They are saying these patients, these people will have a very traumatic -- very traumatic time getting over what's happened to them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ERNEST PATTI, ST. BARNABAS HOSPITAL: In an accident like this, folks do come in and they're in shock. You know, emotionally, they're in shock. Others may come in and be in, you know, physiologic shock. But emotionally, everybody is traumatized. Some of them are going to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder after this. This would be a trying thing for them to get back on a train.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: But also some very emotional scenes as well, touching scenes inside we're being told about. One man who came in from the accident with his partner. His partner was in serious condition or difficult condition. He refused to get treatment himself standing at bedside, we're told, until he was sure that she was getting the treatment she required. And then -- then and only then we're told that he allowed himself to be treated for his injuries, Rosa.
ROSA FLORES, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, my goodness.
Now, Nic, was the hospital prepared to treat these types of injuries?
ROBERTSON: Well, the hospital here says it has trauma training. This is a trauma one clinic. They practice for this sort of thing. They never want to see it happen, but this morning, the timing was very lucky for the hospital and for the casualties coming in. They were just changing shifts. The night trauma shift switching out with the daytime trauma shift.
So both shifts were here and they tell us that staff in the hospital came from other areas and the hospital to help out as well. So, they were able to deal with all the casualties they were getting in a very timely fashion, Rosa.
FLORES: All righty. Nic Robertson, live in the Bronx. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.
We move now to North Korea where a U.S. Korean War veteran is being held accused of war crimes. The U.S. government is pleading for North Korean authorities to release 85-year-old Merrill Newman. North Korean state media have released video showing what they say is a confession and an apology.
Former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson was asked about Newman's case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR (via telephone): The North Koreans seem to be seeking a bargaining chip here with Mr. Newman. He's 85 years old. He's got a heart condition. They went into the airplane, took him out of the airplane as he was leaving Pyongyang and brought him back.
This is the new regime of Kim Jong-un and in the past, there was a certain pattern to these detentions. There was a trial. There were confessions. But then there was a negotiation to get him out. In this case, nothing seems to follow a set pattern.
(END VIDEO CLIP) FLORES: The war veteran being held as a former member of a U.S. Special Forces group. They were called the White Tigers. Who were they and what was their mission? I'll ask a former White Tiger who joins me live, next.
FLORES: The case of detained American Merrill Newman is a mysterious one. While on a private tour in North Korea in October, the 85-year- old was questioned about his service during the Korean War and was later taken off a plane by Korean authorities.
But there was no movement in his case until this week when a video was released by North Korea showing Newman confessing to war crimes for more than 60 years ago. But the most intriguing part of the whole thing may be Newman's part of that whole war. He was part of a secret unit worked deep inside North Korea, conducting raids and recruiting guerrilla armies. The information was classified until 1990.
Joining me now from Atlanta is retired U.S. Army Colonel Ben Malcom, the author of the book "White Tigers: My Secret War in North Korea."
Now, Colonel, we understand that you -- that you didn't know Merrill Newman but tell us a little bit about the White Tigers and their secret mission during the war.
COL. BEN MALCOM, U.S. ARMY SPECIAL FORCES (RET): Well, the White Tigers was started in 1951, in January. After China tracked across a Yellow River and forced the U.S. back the Seoul. All of a sudden, the South Korean Navy was out patrolling near the Yellow River. All of a sudden, they discovered over 10,000 North Koreans fighting behind the lines in North Korea, made contact with them and they hated the communist form of government they had been subjected to.
They requested Americans to come in and lead them and train them. So, Eighth Army formed the first Special Forces unit in the Army. They reached out and picked out a few old hands from OSS and set up a mini training school in Seoul, reached out and picked up lieutenants like myself.
So, as a result of that we were able to go into North Korea and teach and lead in North Korea. The organization was called the 8240th Army Unit. That was a cover name. We were stationed on Leopard Base which is located about 150 miles behind the lines in North Korea off the West Coast.
And I was stationed on a small island called Walidol (ph). And Mr. Newman was stationed on a small island called Schuto (ph). We were not there sometime but we had the same type of missions in North Korea. And our missions was to blow up ammunition dumps, supply depots and harass the enemy in the rear area.
FLORES: Do you believe Newman's detainment was an orchestrated effort on part of the North Koreans?
MALCOM: I suspect what led to that was Mr. Newman, it looks like, was interviewed by his people in South Korea, the Sixth Regiment. He visited South Korea on at least two occasions after 2000. And it shows pictures on several magazines where he was being interviewed and meeting with old members of his Sixth Regiment.
And the results of that I suspected many of them encouraged him to make contacts with some of their relatives that may still be living in North Korea. And when he was trying to do that, it looked like that set off an action that ended up in his arrest and being taken off of that plane.
FLORES: Now, do you believe that going back to North Korea was a mistake?
MALCOM: Yes, I think that old people like us who have been in the Special Forces and working behind the lines in North Korea should not be going back to North Korea.
North Korea has over 100 instruments since 2000 -- since 1953 where they attacked South Korea with individual agents and done this type thing. In 2010, they actually attacked one of our islands with over 80 missiles and killed two marines and two civilians on that island. And then also in 2010 they actually blew up the Chonan (ph) and killed 46 personnel with a torpedo.
Those are the type actions being taken by North Korea and they have been vicious and they've attacked the president of South Korea on at least three occasions. On one occasion killed his wife.
FLORES: Oh, my goodness. Now, you've been in contact with White Tigers in South Korea. Have you asked them about Newman to see if they know anything about him?
MALCOM: Yes, I sent them an e-mail. I correspond with them about once every week or two weeks. Out of my unit of 800, 350 of my unit got out alive. And so as a result of they live in South Korea.
And so, as the results of that I communicate with them by e-mail and I corresponded with them last night and asked them if they knew Mr. Newman. They were checking around and just eight hours they indicated they couldn't find anybody of their unit but they thought there was many South Koreans that came out of North Korea that knew Mr. Newman. But it just didn't happen that my unit can remember anything about him.
So, as a result, that's the type of operations that we take on in North Korea. It's interesting to be able to talk to my guy in South Korea. So we communicate quite often and they brief me on things going on in North Korea and let me know up to date what's taking place in North Korea at this time.
FLORES: Now, there's so much mystery surrounding North Korea. Do you think we would ever know really exactly what has happened with Mr. Merrill Newman?
MALCOM: I don't think we will probably ever know exactly what happened. I suspect what's happening is that North Korea is evaluating their position at the present time to determine just what they can get out of this taking over Mr. Newman, because initially they have picked him off their plane and then they got him to sign a confession. And if you read that confession very carefully, the words on that, misspelling, pronunciations and not the way that we do things. And so I suspect that that was written for him and actually he signed it and put his finger stamp on it.
So, those are the type things that we're watching out, you know, very carefully. One of several things that could happen, North Korea could continue to hold him, just like the two reporters that came out of China and crossed the Yellow River. They were enticed in 2009 to come across the Yellow River and interview people on the other side. When they did that they were immediately picked up. They were kept in prison for 140 days. As a result of that, president -- former President Bill Clinton had to go over and get their release.
So, I think these are the type things that we're watching for to just see what North Korea is going to do next.
FLORES: Well, thank you so much for being here with us. And if you hear anything, anything new from your contacts there, please let us know because we would love to follow up.
Retired U.S. Army Colonel Ben Malcom, thank you so much.
MALCOM: Thank you.
FLORES: And we move on to this, a mission to the moon. Inside this probe is a high-tech solar powered moon rover. Now, this is not U.S. launch, but one scientist says it could interfere with a NASA project. We'll explain just ahead.
FLORES: Today, China launched its first lunar probe.
This put China on a path to become the third nation to land on the moon after the U.S. and Russia. But China's moon excursion may get in NASA's way. If the spacecraft lands in mid-December it's expected to make a huge dust cloud which is likely to disrupt a NASA study of the moon's dust environment.
Now, back here on earth, get ready to say, aw, about this next story. The National Zoo baby panda in Washington has a new name, Bao Bao which means precious or treasure in mandarin. Voter on smithsonian.com selected the name from a list of five different names. The zoo held a naming ceremony to announce the winner. Next up, Bao Bao's public debut set for sometime in 2014.
FLORES: Now, what if, let's just say right now I'm talking to you at home, you were getting a workout. That's right, by just watching me on TV. A new study says there may be fitness benefits to watching certain television shows.
I spoke to an expert, Dr. Jennifer Caudle, and she tells me, first of all, how this study was even done in the first place. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
DR. JENNIFER CAUDLE, ASST. PROFESSOR, ROWAN UNIVERSITY: This study looked at nine people. And the nine people in the study watched a first-person running video, which means they didn't watch someone else on screen that was running. Rather, the video that they watched actually made them feel like they were running themselves.
Researchers then took a look at things like their blood pressure, their heart rate and other variables. And the conclusions of the study found that those in the study who felt like they were running in this first person running video, the observers, they had increases in their heart rate, their blood flow to their skin, their respiratory rate.
And so again, the results of the study, many results are things similar to what we have seen in the past, but the new variables here are the muscle activity. We haven't seen that before. Also, the sort of first-person running video concept, this is different as well.
But once again, you asked, does this translate to, can we just sit on the couch and not get up and exercise? Can we just watch someone else exercise and lose the pounds? The answer is, no. We can't really make that conclusion from the study.
FLORES: Now, I've got to ask you, because I know that, at least for me, exercise is like therapy. And so, even though, the person perhaps they don't lose weight by watching somebody else running, can they have that experience, can it relieve stress?
CAUDLE: You know, that's a really great question. You know, I think it probably can. I think for some people, watching other people exercise or watching sports can be stress relieving. But I think you bring up a really point, that it's not necessarily going to shed the pounds for you. It's not going to do the heavy-lifting for you.
And remember that the increase in heart rate and the blood flow and things like that we're seeing does not translate into better health. So, you still have to get up off the couch, get on the treadmill and walk and run yourselves. Could it be a stress reliever for some people? Sure, it could be.
FLORES: And many thanks to Dr. Jennifer Caudle.
And up next, after Black Friday, are you all shopped out? Too tired to move perhaps? But wait, tomorrow is Cyber Monday. And you don't even need to leave your house to get all those bargains.
We'll rundown the biggest online deals, coming up next.
FLORES: And tomorrow night, catch the debut of Don Lemon's new show, "The 11th Hour." His first show, it's all about pot. That's tomorrow night on CNN.
And, of course, you're going to be tweeting about this, he's going to be tweeting back. It's going to be a blast. I can't wait. I think it's going to be a wonderful show.
And then we move to this. Preliminary numbers for holiday shopping are up more than 2 percent from a year ago. The research firm ShopperTrak reports sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday totaled some $12.3 billion. That's with a B. And online sales are even stronger, up almost 20 percent from last year from both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, according to IBM.
Now, tomorrow is Cyber Monday, of course, which will bring even more focus on online retail sales.
Brett Larson sis the host of "TechBytes" and he's joining me now here in New York.
My good news.
BRETT LARSON, TECHBYTES: Yes.
FLORES: OK. So, is Cyber Monday just kind of a sigh of relief after all of the stabbings and arrests from Black Friday?
LARSON: It is definitely. It is great for people who didn't want to be out there in the crowds who didn't want it wait if lines or sleep in a tent overnight in front of a Best Buy store. This is for confusion for those getting great deals. You will probably get free shipping and everybody, even brick and mortar stores are offering really good Cyber Monday, or now, they are calling it Cyber Week deals and savings.
FLORES: Oh, because they're stretching.
Now, where are the best deals?
LARSON: Best deals right now. Amazon is doing this crazy, they're really going to give your hands a workout with your mouse, because they're doing -- every 10 minutes, they're going to do something different --
FLORES: That's amount to marathon.
LARSON: Yes. It's going to be. You're going to have a sore finger from clicking the mouse so often to click refresh to see what's new. They've already started rolling out deals on Amazon.
Everything from -- I mean, I have seen toys up to 70 percent off. Televisions that are below $500 for big flat screen TVs, which is great. Best Buy is also rolling out everything.
Target is doing something interesting. Can you go on their site tonight, and sign up for the big deals and then you'll get e-mails tomorrow morning and throughout the day for what the deals are going to be. FLORES: So, let's talk specifics.
FLORES: Is there one deal out there that you would say, you should not miss?
LARSON: That you should not miss. If you're in the market for a television, television prices right now are crazy. You can watch CNN in high definition, the way it's supposed to be.
FLORES: That's right.
LARSON: You can get -- I've never seen such cheap high definition televisions. I mean, you're seeing like -- and not the generic brands. We're talking the Samsungs, the Sonys, the Panasonics, they're all selling 37 to 50-inch flat screen TV for in some cases under $1,000, in other cases, under $500.
So, a good time for that. I have also seen discounted tablets, discounted laptop computers, cell phones, Motorolas. The Moto-X is going on sale tomorrow for $150 off. And that will work on all the cellular network . So, amazing prices.
FLORES: And since we're talking about deals, let's talk about airline deals.
FLORES: Share with us, please, because there is very interesting twist to airline deals.
LARSON: A little caveat to the airline deals.
LARSON: They can't actually tell what you their deals are until the deals are public. The Federal Trade Commission rules say, no, you can't leak this stuff. You can't even talk about. So, the airlines can't even say, we will offer you deals tomorrow. You just have to wait around.
There's a great list of Twitter handles that you can get so can follow all of them, or just go with your favorite carrier. If you have an e- mail address in the system at an airline, I guarantee you, if they have Cyber Monday deal, you are getting it in your inbox tomorrow.
FLORES: If not, follow them on Twitter.
LARSON: Absolutely. Or check their Web site in the morning. You have nothing else to do at work.
FLORES: OK. I mean as well do that, while you're checking in, checking e-mail.
Now, I've got to ask about Cyber Monday, when it comes to trampling of Black Friday, do you think more people are moving to Cyber Monday, just because we see a lot of this? The video you see on your screen. I mean, just violence.
LARSON: And this kind of stuff is, it seems to be getting worse and worse, because retailers really want you to come in. We saw retailers this year opening up stores earlier and earlier. In some cases, on Thanksgiving Day, they were opening stores to get shoppers in.
And I definitely think people have become more savvy with shopping online and they've become more comfortable with it. It's going to be shipped. Your credit card information is safe. All of those things that people were worried about shopping online have gone away.
FLORES: Thanks you for sharing all of these amazing deals and steals.
LARSON: I expect to you buy a lot of things tomorrow online. That's what I'm going to be doing.
FLORES: Thank you so much.
LARSON: Thank you for having me.