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Bitter Cold Locks Up Texas, Mid-South; North Korea Frees Elderly U.S. War Veteran; White House Backtracks on Obama's Uncle; World Dignitaries to Attend Mandela Funeral; Posting Weather Reports on Social Media; Jobs Reports Shows Jump in Employment; A Peak at Future Technology

Aired December 7, 2013 - 17:00   ET


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: You are here with us in the CNN NEWSROOM, hello, everyone, I'm Deborah Feyerick.

Well, this weekend across several states winter came early and winter came hard. In just 24 hours temperatures went from spring like to below freezing in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee. And we're not talking about the fluffy stuff, the sleds and snowball kind of thing, we are talking about sleet and frozen slush and high wind that is making driving incredibly dangerous and knockouts of power all over the place. Central Arkansas was 75 degrees earlier this week, it will not be above freezing at all this weekend. Oklahoma, all counties are under a state of emergency today, more than 7,500 homes have no electricity and the Red Cross churches and community groups are opening kitchens and shelters and warming centers all across the state.

Memphis, Tennessee, was supposed to host a marathon today. Why not? It should have been in the mid-50s. Our Indra Petersons is there, and, Indra, the race is canceled. How are people coping? And how much longer is this cold snap going to last in Memphis?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, we wish we had better news because this cold, arctic blast is here and there's a whole another punch expected overnight tonight with even another round of freezing rain. You mentioned, yes, we had that marathon canceled, 20,000 people were expected to be here today for that marathon. Some people decided to make the trek anyways. Just take a listen to what it felt like trying to drive into the city.


JOHN LISS, MARATHON RUNNER: We had an exciting ride down. Took us nine hours, which is normally a four- to five-hour trip. Wind-chill wipers, icing up. Lines down over the highway on 55. It was closed for a time. And winter everything from ice to snow. It was a -- it was a journey.


PETERSONS: So, just for that reason you can tell that right when people were trying to drive in or drive out is the second wave of the ice storm is expected tonight, would have been very dangerous and the exact reason they did have to cancel that marathon. On the other side of it are these freezing temperatures that we're talking about. I mean, with the wind chill this morning it was in the single digits, as we start to cool off again tonight, we'll get another round of this freezing rain, that's going to be the concern.

And still many people without power yesterday, about 5,000 people, it is better now about 500 people, but again with another round of ice expected overnight tonight, there is still a potential for even more people to lose power, many places are raising to half an inch of freezing, just west of us in West Memphis, that's what they saw and just north of us in Arkansas, over an inch of ice has been seen on those power lines so the threat of even more ice expected overnight tonight, it's the last thing people want with these cold temperatures expected to last at here for about a week -- Debra.

FEYERICK: You know, I'm not so sure. The couple you interviewed, I'm not sure I would have kept going. Because those downed power lines are really dangerous, not only that but the ice makes them so heavy. What was the statistic you quoted earlier?

PETERSONS: Yes. What we were talking about a half of inch, we said, half an inch of ice on the power line that weighs 500 pounds so that's the concern. It really doesn't take that much and the entire city can shut down sometimes for weeks.

FEYERICK: Yes, beautiful but deadly. OK, thanks, Indra, I appreciate that.


FEYERICK: Well, that line of bitter cold of ice and sleet, it is moving, and is headed for the eastern seaboard, those of you in D.C., in New York City and Boston, you better get ready.

Alexandra Steele is in the CNN Weather Severe Center with the where and the when. What can we expect, Alexandra?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Deb, you know, good evening to you. Well, this ice show, it's tomorrow, but it's a little bit different than what we saw yesterday. It is farther east and on the upside, temperatures will be a lot warmer the next day, the day after our ice storm, which is Monday, they'll be in the 40s, so we're not going to see that ice sit. We are going to see it melt. So, here's the timeline. Tomorrow by 11:00, you can see beginning to make its way toward the mid-Atlantic, in Washington. Snow gets there by noon, and then it moves farther north in toward New York and certainly Long Island by Sunday night.

And then by Monday, it all moves toward New England. But the balance of the east gets into the 40s, so that certainly is better news in terms of how much ice and how long that ice lasts. So, here's the timeline for places like Washington, they do have a winter storm watch posted for tomorrow. In the morning by 11:00 or 12:00, it will start as snow and sleet and then in the afternoon like we're going to see a lot of the places, it will change over to freezing rain and sleet, so on the whole maybe one to two inches of snow and potentially a quarter of an inch of ice coming, so certainly difficult driving for the day especially tomorrow afternoon in Washington and tomorrow night.

In Philadelphia, it will begin in the afternoon. We'll see it start as snow and sleet, and then again during the night time, we're going to see it change over to rain. On the whole maybe an inch of snow and sleet combination, and then in toward New York City. It's really a late Sunday night affair, potentially starting as snow, changing over to sleet and then changing over to rain. Maybe up to an inch of snow and sleet. So, here's the good news, though, this is the Monday time frame temperature. Forty seven in New York, 43 in Washington, and 43 as well. So, Deb, we are going to see some ice mixing with snow, but then we're not going to see it last certainly as long as we've seen it from Dallas to Memphis with the last ice storm.

FEYERICK: All right, so a little bit of relief there come Monday. All right, Alexandra Steele for us, thank you so much.

STEELE: Sure, yes.

FEYERICK: Well, more than 200,000 people are without power in the Dallas, Texas, area, and that's where we find CNN's Ed Lavandera. Ed, how are people coping? They were expecting this.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deborah, the good news so far today is that we haven't seen any more freezing rain or sleet falling here in Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas or across any parts of North Texas, but the problem is temperatures haven't gotten above freezing. So, thick layers of ice like this are everywhere.


(voice-over): It's a nightmare of ice, sleet, and wicked cold. This winter storm has inspired the most haunting descriptions, icepocalypse and North Texas ghost towns left entombed in ice. Trees encased by freezing rain are buckling under the sheer weight of the ice, bringing down power lines and leaving more than 250,000 homes without power across Dallas-Fort Worth. Crews are trying to salvage the lines that are still working and the roadways are a hazardous mess.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Go slowly. Watch out for the person in front of you and make sure that you are ready for the road conditions ahead of you.

LAVANDERA: There have been hundreds of accidents across the region. Cars slipping and sliding off roadways. Four people in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico were killed in weather-related crashes. A man died Saturday when his truck slid off Interstate 35 and plunged into a lake. Firefighters dove into the frigid waters to rescue him but couldn't get him out in time. On this lake North of Dallas, the ice crushed this marina collapsing the roof onto boats floating underneath and the winter storm has canceled more than 2,000 flights across the region, including about 50 percent of the flights scheduled to depart DFW Airport on Saturday.

Just two days ago this same area was basking in the glow of 80-degree weather. But it all disappeared in a matter of hours, after the sun went down, the polar express arctic blast swooping in leaving behind layers of ice and crunching sounds of slush.

(on camera): So, right about now you probably wish you could escape the frigid temperatures by jumping into that "Back to the Future Delorean" taking a trip back in time. You actually don't need to go back that far, just a few hours like 3:52 on a Wednesday afternoon here in downtown Dallas. A beautiful day for a walk in the park, sunglasses on, not a cloud in the sky. Ed Lavandera from the past is here to tell you that everything is going to be OK. You will be warm once again in the future. I hope.

(voice-cover): Most schools and businesses shut down on Friday. The Dallas marathon and holiday parade were also canceled, the first time those events have been called off. But still quite a few ventured outside.


Better to slip and slide on a hillside than on the highway. It will take several days for temperatures to rebound and for the ice to melt away.


LAVANDERA: And this is the frustrating thing for residents here in North Texas and Oklahoma and Arkansas is that it will take some time for these temperatures to get above freezing so that the ice can melt away. We're being told that forecasters are saying that perhaps it could be late Sunday, maybe even into Monday before the temperatures get above freezing again -- Deborah.

FEYERICK: All right, Ed Lavandera, we like the one from the past, thanks, Eddie.

LAVANDERA: Well, coming up next --

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Simon in Palo Alto, California, the yellow ribbons are up after 85-year-old Merrill Newman was released by the North Korean government. We'll have that story coming up.


FEYERICK: Well, a nightmarish ordeal is now over for an 85-year-old American war veteran and his family. After six weeks in captivity North Korea abruptly released Merrill Newman overnight. Newman arrived at San Francisco International Airport just a few hours ago, and he said he was tired and happy to be home, but he didn't answer any questions about those six weeks in captivity.

Dan Simon joins us live outside Newman's home in Palo Alto, and Newman is not expected home any time soon, it seems he's gone elsewhere, at least for the time being.

SIMON: Apparently so, Deborah, but I can tell you that, there are some yellow ribbons at the entry, this is the retirement complex where he lives. And boy, it was a great homecoming, Merrill Newman looking healthy, and seemed to be in good spirits after spending six weeks in custody in North Korea. To put things in context, this an 85-year-old man with a heart condition, his friends and family had been terribly concerned about him obviously. Apparently they were able to get some medication to him, but this is what Newman had to say after arriving at the San Francisco International Airport.


MERRILL NEWMAN, FORMER NORTH KOREAN DETAINEE: Good morning. I'm delighted to be home. I want to thank the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang and the American Embassy in Beijing for all their help. It's been a great, great homecoming. And I'm tired, but ready to be with my family now. And thank you all for the support we got, and very much appreciated.


SIMON: And that was it. Newman did not take any questions. We don't know, you know, how he was treated by the North Korean authorities. The bottom line, though, is he is home, and he is safe. But still many questions remain. And obviously we want to know, what ultimately led to his release. We know that, of course, Washington does not have formal relations with the North Korean government, but apparently in this case there were some direct talks between the two countries, Deborah?

FEYERICK: And, Dan, do we know the purpose of his visit and why he was actually held?

SIMON: Yes, that's a great question. You know, he served in the Korean war. He was an intelligence officer and was involved in some top secret missions. He was a tourist, though, just like anybody else who wants to go to North Korea. Apparently thousands of westerners go to North Korea each year. He had some unfinished business there, if you will, given the fact that he served there during the Korean war. He wanted to go back. Was a tourist there for ten days and apparently said the wrong thing to someone, and that's why he was taken into custody -- Deborah.

FEYERICK: All right, Dan Simon, thanks so much. And what we saw just then was Mr. Newman reading an apology statement that was clearly written for him. Dan Simon, thanks so much.

Well, President Obama defended his six-month nuclear deal with Iran today when he spoke at a prominent D.C. forum. The deal requires Iran to temporarily cap some nuclear activities in exchange for slightly relaxed sanctions. The president suggests his critics are being very unrealistic if they believe that Iran would suddenly give up all nuclear arrangement capabilities forever.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: One can envision an ideal world in which Iran said we'll destroy every element and facility and you name it, it's all gone. I can envision a world in which Congress passed every one of my bills that I put forward. I mean, there are a lot of things that I can envision that would be wonderful.


FEYERICK: Well, the forum's being held by the Brookings Institution which is a Washington think tank.

Well, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is visiting U.S. troops today. During a surprise trip to Afghanistan. He also met with Afghan officials to discuss a security agreement which would allow some of the Nato-led troops to stay in the country past 2014. The pact still hasn't been signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, but Hagel said that his Afghan counterpart assured him that the agreement would be reached in, quote, "a timely manner."

Well, the White House once said, that President Obama didn't know one of his uncles. Turns out, he actually lived with him. Briefly. Is this a big deal? We'll tell you. That story next.


FEYERICK: Well, the White House has backed away from a reported statement made two years ago that President Obama had never met an uncle who lives near Boston. Well, it turns out that the president not only knew him, he once lived with him. Why so much confusion?

CNN's Brian Todd has more.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's a 69-year-old man who works at a liquor store near Boston and he's now caught up in the president's latest political migraine. The man's name? Onyango Okech Obama, also called Omar, the president's uncle. "The Boston Globe" previously cited the White House as saying the president and his uncle had never met, but the White House press secretary now says this.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president said that he in fact had met Omar Obama when he moved to Cambridge for law school and that he stayed with him for a brief period of time until his -- the president's apartment was ready.

TODD: In recent days, the uncle said Barack Obama stayed with him for three weeks in the 1980s. Why the differing accounts?

CARNEY: Back when this arose, folks looked back at the record, including the president's book, and there was no evidence that they had met.

TODD: Jay Carney says it was when he asked the president in person that the president acknowledged he had stayed with his uncle. It could be simple semantics, but the White House was first asked about the relationship a couple of years ago after the uncle had been arrested for drunk driving and it came to light that he was fighting deportation. That's given ammunition to Republican critics. (on camera): Critics of the White House says, this speaks to a deeper credibility problem of the president and his staff not being forthcoming even on matters that wouldn't seem at the outset to be politically damaging.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: So, really, it was just an unforced error. And it just goes back to this thing of the White House not being completely forthright with facts with the public. It's what's contributed to his trustworthiness numbers going way down.

TODD (voice-over): And political observers say something else could be lingering.

MATT BERMAN, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": I think it definitely does raise an interesting question about whether or not the White House is comfortable with this idea that he has relatives that had trouble with DUI or immigration problems or whatever else. But there's so many politicians out there that have had similar relatives with similar issues.

TODD: A White House official pushed back on the idea that the president is not comfortable with those members of his family, pointing out that he wrote extensively about them in his book "Dreams From My Father." Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


FEYERICK: So, first the White House says that the president didn't know his uncle, now we learn that Mr. Obama not only knew him but he lived with him. And the question is, is this a big deal? We're talking about it right now to break it down for us, Professor Julian Zelizer, he's a historian at Princeton and David Gergen who joins us from Atlanta, he is a CNN senior political analyst and a former White House adviser to four presidents. Gentlemen, thank you for being here.

David, let's start with you. You know what it's like to work in a White House and deal with media questions especially on sensitive issues, how, however, does a White House put out false information like it did on the president's relationship to an uncle?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let me say for beginners, I don't think this is a big deal. I think it's a modest deal. I think it reflects a sloppiness within the White House operation. But we've had other presidents who have had relatives who have rather inconvenient histories, let us say, and there's always been a fairly strong effort by the White House staff to distance the president from that inconvenient relative if possible. And that seems to what has gone on here. What is odd is that the president must have known his team was putting out the word that he didn't know this fellow. And never met him. And it's odd that he didn't correct the record then.

FEYERICK: Yes. And let me ask you, Professor Zelizer, do you get the feeling here that Obama aides simply didn't want to dig too hard because they didn't want it getting out that the president has an uncle here who was illegal? He had the same problem with an aunt just a couple years ago. She, too, was here without proper papers.

JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, it could be they wanted to protect him, and it could be that they didn't want this story to suddenly be connected to the president, but I think rather than a case of deception, I do think this is a case of sloppiness. And this is a theme we've now heard both with health care and with this that causes problems for the president when it probably doesn't have to cause a problem, and I think that's why this is blowing up in a week where this was not supposed to be the story.

FEYERICK: It's interesting, because you hear, you know, Ana Navarro saying that this was sort of an unforced error, but it really does affect ultimately the numbers in terms of people regarding him as truthful or not truthful. I want to turn to Obamacare, we heard the president say more than once that he wasn't told the health care website was in such bad shape, now Politico magazine reports that an outfit called the government accountability institute finds the president and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held just a single one- on-one meeting after Obamacare was signed into law over three years ago.

We should note that the White House is taking issue with this article. Jay Carney saying that the report's misleading and based on a ridiculously false premise, those are his words. David Gergen, what do you think about this?

GERGEN: I think this is a bigger deal, and I don't think this is simply sloppiness on the part of the White House. I disagree with the Professor Zelizer. What seems to me is there's a case of near malfeasance here. At the same time three years pass with no one-on- one meetings according to this Politico article. The president had 277 one-on-one meetings with other members of his cabinet, Hillary Clinton having the largest number, but Secretary Geithner had some 27 meetings. I know the economy is essential, and it's good he was meeting with Secretary Geithner, but here on his signature issue not to take charge.

And I have no doubt the White House is right, that Secretary Sebelius was in several group meetings with the president about health care, but the whole point is, there was nobody in charge in the administration. The president was turning to and saying, I look to you for overall responsibility, and in this case it should have been the secretary of Health and Human Services. She does run the department that oversees this. And the fact that he was not meeting with her one-on-one, I think, frankly, is not so much an indictment of her but of the White House operation.

FEYERICK: Which is fascinating because we saw her testify very publicly, and she took full responsibility for what had happened, but at the same time if this was so important to the president, you would think that there was a lot more one-on-one interaction especially on something that's so critical to him and his policy.

Professor, also the president went on MSNBC this week, he was asked about his management of the White House and his cabinet and he said that, quote, "Generally speaking my theory has been, number one, that, yes, I've got a strong chief of staff but I'm holding every cabinet member accountable and I want to have strong interactions with them directly. Number two, I have an open door policy," he said, "where I want people to be bringing me bad news on time so that we can fix things." Well, putting all that aside, how often Kathleen Sebelius did or did not meet with the president, what does that suggest especially because she's now the one who's taking the heat, taking the fire and ultimately taking the responsibility?

ZELIZER: Well, on that story we have to be careful because as the White House said, that does come from a conservative organization and individual published that account and they're disputing it, so we need to see the reality of the one-on-one before we make the judgment. That said, there is no doubting that the rollout of the health care was not properly executed and we now have more than enough stories that the president and his team were, in fact, aware, they were meeting, and aware of the problems that were emerging, so that is a more serious story. And I think implementation matters. There's one person who said ideas are one percent of politics and implementation is 99 percent, and they dropped the ball on that.

FEYERICK: Absolutely. Well, David Gergen, is this bad management? Is this bad staffing? Is this bad messaging?

GERGEN: Well, I'm sure the White House now in retrospect thinks it's probably a combination of the above. But I was surprised this week when the president told Chris Matthews in an interview that he really didn't think he had to, you know, reflect upon his management style, everything was sort of fine in the White House. The real problem was inside -- was the fact that we have such large agencies in government that are big bureaucracies, it's hard to get things done. Well, first of all, he's in charge as president. He is the chief executive.

He's had five years to address that issue if that's what he really thinks. And, secondly, if he really think a bureaucracy is incapable of handling problems like this, why did he assign the health care issue to them? So, you know, I think this is a pretty serious issue. I do think it's important. I think this president has many good assets. I think there are many good things about him. But the management by this White House team does have left I think especially in recent times left much to be desired.

FEYERICK: And Julian Zelizer, final word on this, do you see this as a leadership issue?

ZELIZER: Well, yes, it could be a defining part of his presidency. Jimmy Carter is remembered for bad management and that could happen to him. The good news is, there's still a lot of time in his presidency, and this is an era where you can remake your staff. So, if they fix this health care program and it's up and running, I don't think this is what we're going to be talking about. If he doesn't, this could be one of the issues we think about when we think about President Obama.

FEYERICK: All right, Julian Zelizer and David Gergen, thank you, gentlemen, so much for being with us here today.

GERGEN: Thank you. FEYERICK: Well, where throngs of people have gathered outside the home of Nelson Mandela all day today. We're going to be going to Johannesburg, dignitaries from around the world are headed to South Africa to remember the leader. President Obama in fact will have some additional VIPs with him on Air Force One.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) FEYERICK: Well, plans for a final good-bye for Nelson Mandela are beginning to come into focus.




FEYERICK: Crowds gathered outside Mandela's home in Johannesburg today, celebrating and remembering the 95-year-old former president who died on Thursday. In the days ahead, a parade of world leaders will travel to South Africa to pay their respects. Former President George W. Bush will fly with President Obama to Tuesday's memorial. Former President Bill Clinton, he will also attend.

CNN's Robyn Curnow is live in Johannesburg.

And, Robyn, it won't be easy for all of these dignitaries to get to the final resting place.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And it's also quite a packed schedule. What we're going to see is a day of remembrance, tomorrow, Sunday. Then Tuesday, there's a memorial service at a soccer stadium here outside Johannesburg, the place where they held the World Cup final a few years ago. That's where we are expecting to see most of the heads of state gather to pay their respects. Then on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Nelson Mandela is going to lie in state at the Union Buildings, the same place where he took office as the first black president of South Africa in 1994. Then Saturday, he's going to be flown to his hometown, the home area in the Eastern Cape. And Sunday, he will be buried after a funeral in the hills under a tent in his -- in his home -- in his hometown. So that's going to be a very remote, rural family affair. And Tuesday, it's going to be more of a public affair.

FEYERICK: And besides the current and former U.S. presidents, a lot of other world leaders expecting to attend. Who are they?

CURNOW: Well, like I said, on Tuesday, basically, heads of state and royalty are being encouraged to come to the Tuesday event, because the logistical nightmare of getting these VIPs to this remote area of the Eastern Cape on Sunday, even for the South African authorities, they say it's just too difficult. So, what we are going to see is a large amount of world leaders. We don't know the number because, according to traditions here in South Africa, talking about someone's death, organizing someone's death before they've gone is rude, is, again, sort of tradition. So essentially, the South African authorities have only really today briefed the embassies on what to expect and what, you know, will be laid out.

So, when I spoke to authorities here just a few hours ago, they said they were still waiting to hear back from many of these embassies whether or not their heads of state would be coming on Tuesday. So, still, no real number on who's coming and when.

FEYERICK: So, not exactly denying the inevitable, just delaying the logistical planning of it.

All right, Robyn Curnow, doing yeoman's work in the early morning hours of Johannesburg, thank you very much.

Nelson Mandela inspired people around the world to make an impact. For more on Mandela's charitable legacy and how you can get involved, go to

Well, take a look, Little Rock, Arkansas under a severe weather emergency right now. Several inches of snow fell onto a layer of sleet and frozen slush, making driving incredibly dangerous. It also looks just like this across central Texas and most of Oklahoma. A line of winter storms is stretching from Memphis to the Great Lakes this evening, bringing temperatures 10 to 35 degrees lower than the average.

And the weather has paralyzed many parts of the country, but not, of course, cyberspace, because people are inside and warm. People have been posting pictures of the nasty weather on their social media sites and sending them to us here at CNN.

Rosa Flores has been collecting all of them.

What are you seeing?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You said it well. People are staying inside, so a lot of time snapping photos and submitting them to social media. But it is treacherous out there.

I-Reporter Tony Mosa (ph) submitted this photograph. Overturned vehicles like this one in Illinois have been a common occurrence in the states getting pounded by ice and snow.

I-Reporter Jason Aselen (ph) snapped this picture in Michigan and also took some video that helps tell the story for him. He says that they're worried. They've been dealing with this for days. Normally, they see heavy snow first before the temperatures actually drop very low, which means water pipes have snow insulation, he called it. But this time, they saw about six inches of snow. Then it rained, which created a layer of ice and quite the mess, he says. They're afraid that those water pipes will burst. And, of course, he said kids are forced to stay inside. No playing outside for those kiddos.

In areas of Texas, the chilling temperatures and ice not only snapped trees, but power lines. More than 200,000 people there were without power. This photograph was sent in by I-Reporter Earl Wallace.

And I have been getting messages on Facebook as well. Betsy Rivera from Round Rock, at 2:00 p.m., said 28 degrees. And, again, saying that they are staying inside, not going outside.

Send me your pictures on Twitter and I'll try to share those as well.

FEYERICK: It's amazing when you see the tree and the splitting. The ice becomes so heavy that it just weighs it down, the trees and the power line. And that's --

FLORES: Everything.

FEYERICK: -- really why people have to stay indoors, because it becomes so lethal.


FEYERICK: All right, Rosa Flores, thank you so much.

FLORES: You're welcome.

FEYERICK: Appreciate that.

The new job report should offer a little hope to anyone who is looking for work. We'll break it down and tell you who might be finally bringing home a paycheck, coming up next.


FEYERICK: So, what do you get when you take investors who are looking for good news and add a good jobs report? You get a 200-point jump in the Dow. But it's nothing compared to how happy people are when they actually get those jobs.

CNN's Alexandra Field looks at who is getting hired.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deb, young people in particular are reaping the benefits of the better job numbers. Since the recession, young people have struggled to find and keep jobs in the last month. We're seeing more of them collecting paychecks.


JEFF DELORENZO, NEWLY EMPLOYED FLEXLINE EMPLOYEE: Well, it's a big relief actually getting a paycheck instead of working for minimum wage. I can actually do stuff now.

FIELD (voice-over): Jeff DeLorenzo graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in engineering. He was underemployed for a year, serving coffee, before he found full-time work in his field at Flexline, a Linden, New Jersey, manufacturer.

JEFF SCHEININGER, PRESIDENT, FLEXLINE: We figured there was a great potential there and an engineering degree, and we grab him.

FIELD: Young people like DeLorenzo and the recently unemployed are reaping the benefits of an economy that's adding jobs.

The latest jobs report puts the national unemployment rate at a five- year low of 7 percent. 203,000 jobs were created in November and more of them are in higher-paying sectors.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We saw, you know, the predictable retail jobs in leisure and hospitality and bars and restaurants because of the holidays but we also saw things like manufacturing. We saw things like business and professional services. Again, tend to pay a little bit more money. So, these were broad- based job gains this month and that's important.

FIELD: The November jobs report was better than expected. For the third year in a row, more than two million jobs have been created. Still, that's not enough to make up for the nine million jobs lost between 2008 and 2009.

(on camera): Did you think it was going to be difficult to find a job?

DELORENZO: To be completely honest, no. I thought I was going to be handed a job. I thought people were going to be asking me to have a job.

FIELD (voice-over): In the last year, unemployment dropped nearly a full percentage point. But 11 people are searching for jobs and the long-term unemployed are struggling the most.

In some places people are fighting for work. Last month, Walmart opened two stores in Washington, D.C. There were 600 job openings and 23,000 job applicants.

ANNALYN KURTZ, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: If you look that as a rate that means less than 3 percent would get hired. Harvard has a higher acceptance rate.


FIELD: While hiring is up, public perception of the economy may not have caught up. In a recent CNN/ORC poll only a quarter of the people polled said they believed the economy was getting better -- Deb?

FEYERICK: Good news, but certainly reason to be cautious.

Alexandra Field, thank you.

Well, could your job one day be filled by a traveling robot? Several big companies are right now working on their robot armies. One of them may even pull up to your house one day in a car that needs no driver. What is tech's next big thing? That is just ahead.


FEYERICK: So, if you dream of traveling through space but can't exactly afford a ticket, this could be the next best thing. A space training center is taking would-be astronauts on the ride of their life in this "Technovations."

Our Brooke Baldwin reports.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tourists could blast off into space as early as next year on Virgin Galactic's Spaceship 2. Until then, future astronauts can train for the rigors of space on earth.


BRIENNA HENWOOD, THE NASTAR CENTER: It's the real deal. We're training them just as we would a military pilot, a fighter pilot or an astronaut.

BALDWIN: More than 300 people have taken the two-day space training course at the Nastar Center in Pennsylvania. The program centers around a state-of-the-art simulator, a human centrifuge that replicates what space travel feels like.

ROBOTIC VOICE: Sequence starts in three, two, one.


HENWOOD: You're going to see your G-meter and your altimeter and your rear-camera views and the visuals outside the spacecraft as you actually feel the forces of launching off and a simulated weightlessness and entry back down to earth.

BALDWIN: The faster it spins, the more you feel the forces of gravity.

HENWOOD: For extreme G-forces or for prolonged "Gs," there's a good risk of you being able to pass out. For those reasons, we want to make sure you are trained properly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, you're in space.

BALDWIN: You don't need a ticket to space to take this course but it will cost you $3,000.

HENWOOD: The future of space holds a lot of promise. Hopefully, hundreds, thousands of people will be traveling for various missions across the galaxy.


FEYERICK: Now, that looks very cool.

This past week, we got a peek into the future. A major auto company announces that its line of self-driving cars has come to fruition. Google is working on robots that may put some of us out of work. And look at how Amazon wants to get stuff to your door.


JEFF BEZOS, CEO, AMAZON: Take a look up here so I can show you how it works.

UNIDENTIFIED "60 MINUTES" CO-ANCHOR: We're talking about delivery here?

BEZOS: We're talking about delivery. So there's an item going into the vehicle. I know this looks like science fiction. It's not.


BEZOS: This is early. This is still years away.

Drops the package.


FEYERICK: So what's the next big thing? The only person who can answer those kinds of questions is our Laurie Segall.

This time last year, Laurie, you said that Snapchat was going to be the next big thing. It is now worth $2 billion. Where do you see things bubbling up in the tech world?



FEYERICK: As we all wish we did that.

SEGALL: I think right now we're hearing a lot about personalization technology. So there's entrepreneurs building out almost Siri-like apps that, instead of using Siri, I want this, they almost anticipate what you want, which is pretty interesting. And we spoke last week about a technology where you walk into the store, your phone knows your purchasing history, and it will give you a push notification and say, hey, you might want to check this out. That kind of stuff is in the works.

But what's exciting and what, as you said, earlier, tech is moving so far beyond the Smartphone. It's not just the hot new apps. We're talking robots and drones. Really, an interesting time for technology.

FEYERICK: I think we've done stories on those auto plants that have replaced workers with robots. You see that now happening really with these drones, the ability to have drones actually deliver packages. Behind the steak and shake, when does all of this take place?

SEGALL: These are all great ideas. If we look at Amazon drones, think about the FAA, they have to make regulations for this kind of technology, and that's not happening for at least 2015. Humanoid robots from Google. Think iRobot. These are being developed. But Google is very serious about this. They brought Andy Reuben in, the guy who was behind Android. They've acquired seven startups that are all robotics focused. And they're trying to do a push for this. Volvo now has made this announcement that they're going to have self- driving cars on the road by 2017. So, a lot of times we've just been talking about these big ideas. Now, we're seeing them come to fruition, which is pretty exciting. FEYERICK: What's amazing to me also is the younger generation probably has a lot more of a stomach for letting this technology take control.


FEYERICK: But we used to use our phone to call people. Now it's our watch, our camera, even a TV. It's not the end of it, though.

SEGALL: Absolutely not. Everybody's trying to figure out a way to utilize the Smartphone. Mazda just teamed up with Cineplex, and they're doing a movie theater race game. So you're in the movie theater, you've got your phone, and you're using it as a steering wheel and you're playing against other people. This is creative marketing. You're looking at it right there. This is creative marketing but it's the kind of thing we're going to see in the future because people are realizing how disruptive your Smartphone is. Everybody is realizing it. That's why we're going to see smart apps. We're also going to see the technology moving far beyond.

FEYERICK: It really is fascinating. I was speaking to somebody who does technology also, and he says this is everything. For people, this has become everything. This is how you live. This is how you think. This is how you interact with whatever is out there. So it is really a huge kind of transition.

SEGALL: Absolutely.

FEYERICK: Laurie Segall, thank you so much.

God, I wish I invested in Snapchat.


All right, well, one day, fighting cancer might be like fighting the common cold. Incredible. Coming up, you'll hear all about an experimental new treatment that helped this 15-year-old boy actually beat leukemia.


FEYERICK: 2010 "CNN Hero" Dan Wallrath continues to build futures for wounded veterans struggling to build new lives after military service. "Operation Fund," the "CNN Heroes" presentation will air tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern. Take a look.


DAN WALLRATH, CNN HERO: There's over 50,000 wounded veterans that we have now.

One of the biggest challenges was transitioning from military life to civilian life.

UNIDENTIFIED VETERAN: I have my good days, I have my bad. At first, they were a lot more bad than there were good. I can't change what happened. If I could wish everything back, I would. But I can't so why let it get me down.

I'm 24. I want to be able to live by myself and to be able to do everything I need to do by myself.

WALLRATH: I built custom home for 30 years. Back in 2005, I did my first remodel for a wounded veteran. God put a passion in my heart to help these families.

UNIDENTIFIED VETERAN: This apartment that I live in, it not set up for my needs. The doors aren't as wide as it should be. The bathroom isn't as big as it should be. Some of the shelves are too high.

WALLRATH: These men and women need a lot of hope. Unfortunately, I don't know how to help in a lot of those areas. But do I know how to build a home.

UNIDENTIFIED VETERAN: It bugs me when I go to sleep, what's next is the big question. To me what's next is building a house, going to school and finding a career. Everything is kind of on hold right until I get a place that is mine.


FEYERICK: Join us tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern to see how Dan works to transform lives. And the rest of this "CNN Heroes" special presentation. And tonight, be sure to catch "CNN Heroes, An All-Star Tribute" at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.