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North Korea Frees U.S. War Veteran; Huge Ice Storm Slams South; Dow Soars on Jobs Report; South African Mourns Mandela; Sports Headlines; Nadia Bilchik Explains why Nelson Mandela Had Been Put on the U.S. Watch List; New Wave of Winter Storm for the Northeast; the Murder of American Teacher in Lybia

Aired December 7, 2013 - 06:00   ET



MERRILL NEWMAN, RELEASED FROM NORTH KOREA: I'm very glad to be on my way home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing, what would you like to do?

NEWMAN: I'll go home and see my wife.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And he is at home. Breaking overnight, an American detained in North Korea since October is on a fight back to the U.S. His journey, his first words as a free man, and why North Korea let him go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I started sliding sideways and I got real close to the house and thought, well, I better stop and go ahead and get a wrecker on out there.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Well, winter is here. An ice storm grips the south, just as a new storm is preparing to shock the northeast. Cars swerving down streets, cities literally paralyzed with hundreds of thousands of folks out of power.

BLACKWELL: Plus, jobs are up, unemployment is down and your 401(k) just got bigger. What Friday's jobs report says about how the economic recovery is really doing.

Your NEW DAY starts now.

HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It is good to be with you this morning. Good to be with you this morning.

HARLOW: Good to be with you too, friend.


Good news breaking overnight.


BLACKWELL: A Korean War veteran is safely on a flight to San Francisco right now. North Korea freed 85-year-old Merrill Newman Friday night after detaining him for more than a month. Now, Newman was in good spirits when he arrived at Beijing's airport. Listen.


MERRILL NEWMAN, RELEASED FROM NORTH KOREA: I'm very glad to be on my way home. And I appreciate the tolerance that the DPRK government has given to me to be on my way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you feel now?

NEWMAN: I feel good. I feel good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you going to do, first thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing, what would you like to do?

NEWMAN: I'll go home and see my wife.


BLACKWELL: And I know she's waiting for him. CNN's Athena Jones is covering this story in Washington for us.

Athena, good morning to you. And why was Newman in North Korea to start with? And give us some details about why they decided to release him now.


It is great news and it's great to see that video of him happy and smiling. Merrill Newman, as you mentioned, fought in the Korean War and so he wanted to go back and visit the peninsula. He went in October on what was supposed to be a 10 day organized, private tour. He was with a tour group. He was taken off the plane leaving Pyongyang and heading back to Beijing at the end of that trip. He was taken off the plane. This is at the end of October, so he's been there for a long time. The North Koreans say that they're releasing him for humanitarian reasons after what they call an apology from Newman detailing various indiscretions. And so now his trip is - his visit there is coming to an end and he's headed back here.


BLACKWELL: Well, I know that there are people in the U.S. waiting for another American to come home, Kenneth Bae, who's been there for some time. What's the status of his potential release?

JONES: Well, you're right, Bae has been there - he was arrested in November of last year and sentenced in May to 15 years of hard labor. And we actually heard from Newman's son Jeff who talked about Bae. Let's listen to that.


JEFF NEWMAN, SON OF RELEASED AMERICAN: We also ask that you not forget another American, Kenneth Bae, who is still being held in the DPRK and we hope that he, too, will be allowed to rejoin with his family soon.


JONES: And Vice President Biden also talked about the need for the North Koreans to release Bae immediately.


BLACKWELL: We know that former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has also been working, hoping to get Kenneth Bae out.

CNN's Athena Jones in Washington this morning. Thank you, Athena.

JONES: Thanks.

HARLOW: Well, the official start of winter is two weeks away, but try telling that to people in the south central United States.

BLACKWELL: This feels like the center, the worst of winter.


BLACKWELL: An ice storm has knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of people. Stunned just about everyone with this bone- chilling temperature. Just froze in the city here. Here's meteorologist Jennifer Grey.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I started sliding sideways and I got real close to the house and I thought, well, I better stop and go ahead and get a wrecker on out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and straighten your wheels up.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): It's a deadly winter storm that stretched across the middle of the nation and it's moving east. But for millions of people, conditions this morning are already dangerous. Highways turned into skating rinks with tires spinning. And some drivers losing control. The region is littered with accidents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ice, people's cars aren't really suited for it. They don't have tires that can handle it. So everyone's slipping around and it becomes a mess on the roads.

GRAY: In Oklahoma, this truck slid off an icy bridge and into a nearby lake. In Illinois, cars slide off highways and into the side of the road and medians. Big cities also caught in the middle of the storm. Dallas is nearly shut down this morning. At 26 degrees, it was colder there Friday than in Anchorage, Alaska, causing the city to cancel its weekend downtown holiday parade and its annual marathon. The freakish weather also causing the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights in and out of Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport. And in Memphis, Tennessee, rain turned to ice on trees and roads. A big concern there, losing power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically just power going out, the heat going out. But hopefully since we're downtown, it won't be so bad.

GRAY: And it's not over yet. Sleet snow and icy conditions are expected to hit the East Coast Sunday. The National Weather Service says this massive arctic air mass is dropping temps 10 to 30 degrees below normal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll get there eventually. We'll get there by Christmas, won't we.

GRAY (on camera): What about your family? Are they - hey, you guys - you guys waiting for her?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Praying for their safety.


GRAY: And even though it's not ice and snow and all of that across much of the south, temperatures are going to stay below freezing for the next couple of days. So what's on the ground will likely stay there for at least until tomorrow, Monday, maybe even Tuesday for some of those locations. So, still a mess.

Here's the system now completely pushing off the east. And so we are going to continue to see rain in the northeast.

But here is the next system. And it's going to continue to push to the north and east over the next 24 hours. Today, we'll get a little bit of a breather, a break. But then by tomorrow, we're going to have more ice and snow spill all across the mid-Atlantic into the northeast. And we're forecasting possibly half an inch of ice accumulation in locations like Charleston, Louisville, all the way to Pittsburgh. Even Washington, D.C. included in this.


HARLOW: Just weird, wacky weather. We were just saying, it was so warm here.


HARLOW: So warm in New York yesterday. But then freezing last week there. Very weird weather. But more importantly, Jennifer Grey, welcome to CNN. Welcome to NEW DAY weekend. Thank you for being with us. We're going to talk a little bit more about you, where you're from, what you like to do.

BLACKWELL: Your favorite color.

HARLOW: We're going to dig into it all so our viewers can learn a little bit more about you later in the show. So get ready.

GRAY: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Good to have you.

GRAY: Thank you. Looking forward to it.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And now let's talk about something else upbeat.

HARLOW: Good economy.

BLACKWELL: You're money.

HARLOW: A better economy.

BLACKWELL: Yes, a better economy. Because a lot of people say they don't feel it.

HARLOW: You're right.

BLACKWELL: We're going to unpack that a little later in the show. But really a better than expected jobs report pushed the Dow nearly 200 points higher on Friday.

HARLOW: You know why, 203,000 jobs were added to payrolls in November. Way better than expected. The jobless rate, that ticked significantly lower to 7 percent. That is the lowest it has been in five years. Zain Asher has more on how it is affecting Wall Street.

Good morning, Zain.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy and Victor, it was a big week for the economy. Car sales rose, new home sales soared and Friday the combination, unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent. Now that's the lowest since 2008. And it fell for positive reasons because people are actually finding work.

Earlier this year, the unemployment rate declined because a lot of people got discouraged, gave up looking for work and weren't counted. But the opposite seems to be happening now. Another milestone is job growth. The economy has added more than 2 million jobs this year, the best since 2005. And the gains, not just in low-wage sectors. There was a lot of hiring in health care, transportation, professional services. Those are jobs like accountants and travel agents. And hiring in manufacturing is the strongest since last year. Wages are also up and Americans are working more hours. The list goes on.

The report pushed the Dow up nearly 200 points Friday. Wall Street is thinking the Federal Reserve will reduce its stimulus program soon. A sign the economy is ready to stand on its own two feet. But remember, we still haven't gained back all the jobs we lost during the recession. More than 1 million to go.

So, Poppy and Victor, there is still work to be done.

HARLOW: Yes, absolutely. Zain Asher, thank you so much. An encouraging report.

But I want to put this in perspective, OK. Despite a week of very good news about the economy, a lot of you out there are not feeling this recovery. There's a recent CNN/ORC poll, it highlights the disconnect. When asked, how are things going in the country today, 59 percent, almost six in 10 Americans said badly, just 41 percent said they feel things are going well. And that has a lot to do with the fact that all these jobs that are coming back, a lot of them of not high paying jobs.

BLACKWELL: And this week, South Africa is paying tribute to Nelson Mandela. Ten days of mourning are underway for the man many called Madiba. But the nation is also celebrating this life. We'll do that, next.


HARLOW: In some parts of the nation, you're better off staying indoors today. Take a look at -- no, that's not Minnesota, folks. That is Arkansas, where the governor declared a state of emergency.

Let me take you now to Canton, Ohio, where high school football teams did not let just a little bit of snow shut down their Friday night lights. What else did you expect in a city that's home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Football is one thing. Flying in this weather, that is another. This snow has grounded hundreds of flights already. We're going to have more on that weather coming up shortly.

BLACKWELL: All around the world, especially those in South Africa, people are mourning the death of Nelson Mandela -


BLACKWELL: But also celebrating his life. The revered statesman and Nobel peace laureate died at his home on Thursday surrounded by his family. And people have been leaving flowers and cards and mementos outside his home.

HARLOW: Yes, our Errol Barnett is there. He's in Soweto. That's in South Africa. A very important place for Nelson Mandela.

Errol, South African President Jacob Zuma has announced a date -- has he announced a date at this point for the funeral? I know there's 10 days of grieving and of different ceremonies, but do we know a date yet for the funeral? ERROL BARNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We do. There's a number of different events that will take place. Good morning to you both, Poppy and Victor. Here in Soweto, kind of is a representation of where Nelson Mandela, the average man, lived in the late '40s and '50s. This township in South Africa, during apartheid, you could compare to ghettos in the states. I mean they were areas in this country where blacks were forced to live, typically in poor or squallier (ph) conditions.

Over my shoulder you're seeing where Nelson Mandela lived during that time before he was sentenced to life in prison. His home has now been turned into a museum. Since the end of apartheid and the ushering in of diplomacy, some affluences have come into these areas. There are restaurants and bars here. And since the announcement of Nelson Mandela's death, people have been coming here to celebrate. Tourists has been coming here. Families of all colors have been showing their children who Nelson Mandela is.

And what we know is Soweto is so significant, it will also be the first location for the official memorial service for Nelson Mandela on Tuesday. It will be in FMB Stadium. You remember this from the World Cup soccer city. It's location where Nelson Mandela made his final public appearance to South Africans in 2010.

Also, Poppy, new information on the lying in state, which will take place Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the capital of the Union Building where Nelson Mandela was sworn that as president 20 years ago. Government officials saying this morning that they will actually put together a procession, a parade of Nelson Mandela's body, or at least his casket, from the mortuary to the Union Building each morning as a way of allowing as many South Africans as possible to say good- bye and big farewell and pay their respect to the former president.

So what we're seeing now, and Saturday and Sunday, are South Africans allowing the news to sink in, think about what next, but to truly honor the life, the legacy and the transformative change that Nelson Mandela was able to bring.

BLACKWELL: And, Errol, very quickly, on the right side of the screen, actually full now, we want to make sure people know that this is live in Johannesburg outside of Nelson Mandela's home, where you see people crowded there, leaving balloons and flowers and notes and photographs. And people there taking pictures and paying their respects. The funeral, separate from the memorial, is that funeral public or private? Who do we expect to attend that funeral?

BARNETT: Well, there are a number of different events, so the wording can change. So Tuesday is the memorial service that we'll see at the major stadium here for everybody. Lying in state on Wednesday is when we're going to see dignitaries and heads of state from around the world come to South Africa and pay their respects. You know, U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have already said that they will be coming to South Africa, although the details are still illusive. Thursday and Friday, more South Africans will be able to bid farewell. And the final event, a week from Sunday, will be Nelson Mandela's funeral in his ancestral homeland of Qunu. Only close family and relatives will attended that. A massive event fitting to such a massive figure.

HARLOW: Yes, absolutely, Errol. What a moment to be reporting. A true moment in history as people remember what he did, not only for this country, but for this world.

Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Still to come on NEW DAY, Brett Favre - OK, so he's retired.

HARLOW: Former Minnesota Viking for a little while.

BLACKWELL: Here we go for Minnesota again. He - OK, so he's retired from the NFL. That does not mean that he's done winning football championships. We're going to explain this one, next.


BLACKWELL: Twenty minutes after the hour now. Likely hall of famer Brett Favre is a football champion again. Well, sort of.

HARLOW: Yes, you know, the three-time NFL MVP is now an offense coordinator for the Oak Grove High high school football team in Mississippi. That is where his daughter goes to school. He helped coach the Warriors to a state title last night. Final score, 14-7.

BLACKWELL: The Seattle Mariners hooked the biggest fish in baseball's free agent pond.

HARLOW: And it took one of the richest contracts in sports history. Joe Carter has more on the mega deal in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

It always stuns me how big these deals are.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Well, there's only been two bigger deals in baseball, but big coup for Jay-z and his new agency, his new sports agency (ph).


CARTER: I mean the rap mogul turned sports agent. Went out and got himself the first mega deal in the agency's history.


CARTER: And it's a huge home run, obviously, for Robinson Cano because the former Yankee is now headed to Seattle. Cano and the Mariners yesterday reportedly - they haven't signed a deal yet, but it's reported that they've agreed on a 10-year, $240 million contract. And as I said, it's the third richest deal in baseball history. Only Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez have signed bigger deals.

And this one almost went south because Jay-z on Friday put a take it or leave it deal on the table. And after some back and forth, the Mariners obviously took it. Don't feel too bad for the Yankees, though, because they have reportedly reached a deal with outfielder Carlos Beltran. The Yankees will pay $45 million over three years to him. Not bad for the 36-year-old. Obviously, Beltran was with the Cardinals last season. They lost to the Red Sox in the World Series. But this guy has been with six teams in his 17 year career.

In NFL news, the Houston Texans are looking for a new coach. The team fired Gary Kubiak on Friday. Houston, of course, lost its 11th straight game Thursday night. They lost to Jacksonville. They've lost to Jacksonville twice this season. And this is a team that started the year 2-0. Now Gary Kubiak's health also has been an issue this season. He suffered a mini stroke on the field last month.

And it is a huge day to say the least in college football. Several conference championship games today will set the stage for who will play in the national championship game. The biggest game today has got to be in the SEC between number three Auburn, number five Missouri. The winner of that game will be paying very close attention to the scoreboard because they need either Florida State or Ohio State to lose in order to get in the national championship game. Now, if Florida State wins, they're in. If Ohio State wins, they're in. But get this, if Florida State and Ohio State somehow lose, Alabama, the team not even playing today, could somehow sneak into the national championship game to play the SEC champs. So here we would be again with another SEC game in the national championship. And I think a lot of people are ready for the new age of college football next year when it is a playoff.



CARTER: So we will say good-bye to the BCS after these next couple of weeks and we'll move into a playoff scenario, which some say is going to be better, some say, no, no, it's going to make it even more confusing, but -

HARLOW: Did he admit -

BLACKWELL: There's going to be moaning and groaning either way, right?

CARTER: Exactly.

HARLOW: Did he lose you halfway through that because I was trying to follow about who --

BLACKWELL: I stayed for like 75 percent of it. Then at the end of it, I got it, but -

HARLOW: I need to be a bigger college football fan.

BLACKWELL: Even a big day here in Atlanta, so we're going to -

HARLOW: Right.

CARTER: A huge game. The SEC championship game is right next door to us. The game I'll be going to today. So it will be fun. HARLOW: Good one.


BLACKWELL: All right, thank you, Joe.

HARLOW: Sounds fun.

BLACKWELL: Joe Carter, thank you.

HARLOW: All right, thank you.

BLACKWELL: So millions of people, millions of people are asking one question -


BLACKWELL: Maybe you're asking this question. What is up with the weather? We're going to tell you when these frigid temps will be over.

HARLOW: Plus, we're also going to dig into the complicated legacy of Nelson Mandela. We're growing to tell you why some even in this country and others around the world called the man who won the Nobel peace prize a terrorist.


AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: His ability to inspire change in the entire world, that inspiration grew. And the entire world owes an incredible debt of gratitude to Nelson Mandela.



HARLOW: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

BLACKWELL: Good to be with you this morning. I'm Victor Blackwell.

Let's start this half with five things you need to know for your new day.

Up first, the storm that has brought ice and snow and freezing temperatures to southern, central U.S. Now, four deaths have been blamed on the weather and more than 200,000 people are out of power. And the frigid temperatures are expected to linger through the weekend. Now, the governors of Tennessee and Arkansas have declared states of emergency.

HARLOW: Number two, markets cheered a very strong jobs report on Friday. The Dow soared nearly 200 points, ending on a high note on news that 203,000 jobs were added to payrolls in November. And the U.S. unemployment rate, it fell significantly to 7 percent. But that good news has some investors eyeing the Federal Reserve, which may now be preparing even more to pull back on the massive stimulus they have been pumping into this economy for years.

BLACKWELL: Number three, the Utah doctor convicted of killing his wife has reportedly tried to kill himself. The Utah County Sheriff's Office says Martin MacNeill has been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. He used a razor to cut an artery, they say. Deputies found him. He's now under guard in the hospital and he could face life in prison when he's sentenced. That sentencing hearing is on January 7th.

HARLOW: Number four, tomorrow, thousands of fans of "Fast and Furious" star Paul Walkers are expected to attend a memorial at the site of his fiery car crash. California police are urging people to obey all traffic rules to insure the safety of drivers in the area and also pedestrians, obviously. Police say speed may have been a factor in the crash that happened last week. Walker's friend, who was behind the wheel, sadly was also killed.

BLACKWELL: The fifth story now. Eighty-five-year-old Merrill Newman is expected to arrive in San Francisco several hours from now. North Korea released him Friday night after holding him for more than a month. CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Seoul this morning.

Paula, good morning to you. Did Newman seem to be OK with going to Beijing, when he went to Beijing?

PAULA HANCOCKS: Well, Victor and Poppy, he certainly seemed to be in good spirits. He looked clearly relieved we could see as he was walking through Beijing airport and said he was very good. And we understand that he is in good health, which is why he was allowed on that flight. Of course the question is, why was he released. It was a very sudden move. Of course, North Korea made a very sudden move when they decided to arrest him back in October.

Now, we've been speaking to some Korean veterans here in Seoul who say that they worked with Newman during the Korean War. So, more than 60 years ago. And they say that he was leading part of an antique communist guerilla group. And so, this was basically carrying out undercover operations in North Korea. This could well have been the reason that North Korea arrested him in the first place. Remember that video they released last weekend where he was apologizing for his actions during the Korean War and allegedly killing civilians. It's not clear at this point whether that was a coerced statement. It could well have been. And so, this is likely the reason that he was taken in the first place. Victor and Poppy.

BLACKWELL: We'll talk more about that throughout the morning. CNN's Paula Hancocks in Seoul. Thank you.

HARLOW: What a man. Cities around the world paying tribute to Nelson Mandela's life and his legacy.

BLACKWELL: And last night in New York, the lights atop the Empire State Building, you see them here, blue, red, yellow and green. The colors of the South African flag. Also, we saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

HARLOW: Really? I haven't seen that yet. BLACKWELL: Went up in those colors as well. Yes.

HARLOW: Beautiful.

BLACKWELL: Really around the world.

HARLOW: Well, Mandela's legacy - it is a complicated one. While still in prison on Robben Island, he was actually labeled the terrorist by the Reagan administration. He was placed on the U.S. watch list.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, and Mandela remained on that watch list until 2008. When he visited the U.S. in the '90s, during the Clinton administration - here's the video of that, he had to get a special waiver because of his terrorist designation. Let's talk more about this. CNN's editorial producer Nadia Bilchik is here with us. Nadia, you know the Mandela family well and known them for some time. But most accounts, most people in the world think peacemaker when they think Nelson Mandela.

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN EDITORIAL PRODUCER: Right. But let's go back to 1961 ...


BILCHIK: Nelson Mandela together with Oliver Tambo found Umkhonto we Sizwe. It's the military wing of the ANC. They say look, non-violent protest is no longer working. We have to look for alternatives. And it's at that point that he's involved in what they call some level of terrorist activity where certain installations are bombed. Remember, 1962, Mandela is arrested. 1964 he is then condemned to the 27 years in prison. To life in prison was the sentence. So it's during that period that Umkhonto we Sizwe gets more active. In the 1980s, it reached a very high level when there was a bomb at the South African airport. 19 people were killed. And something like 200 were injured. So that's when the organization became what was then known as a terrorist organization. Now, the ANC had been banned up until then anyway. And remember, people like Fidel Castro in Cuba had supported Mandela.

HARLOW: That's what I was going to ask. When he came out of prison, he still spoke very loudly in support - my friend Fidel Castro.

BILCHIK: Of the people who had supported him. Because he was condemned by certain countries for the so-called terrorism activity.

BLACKWELL: Here's the video.


BLACKWELL: This is the video they embraced, actually.


BILCHIK: Exactly. So, let's take the listen: when Mandela then made a plea to Clinton in 1996 he said let us lift the sanctions that the U.S. has imposed against Cuba. Here is what Clinton had to say.

BILL CLINTON: Sometimes, he could be very serious and say I just don't understand why you don't lift the embargo. And I said, well, I think we were about to do it before they shot down those planes illegally in the Brothers to the Rescue tragedy. And then Congress removed from the president the right to lift the embargo. And sometimes, he was just joking about it, but underneath all of that, there was Mandela's fierce loyalty to anybody who had stuck by him personally and by the ANC, the African National Congress, his party, during his long 27 years in prison. And Castro did. And Mandela never forgot it.

BILCHIK: A fiercely loyal man. He embraced Yasser Arafat, Castro. So, an extraordinarily loyal man, those who say were the people who supported him. But what we say now, by the way, in Zulu, we say to Mandela, Hambagashe (ph), which means go well, go carefully, as he enters into the other world.


HARLOW: The eternity.

BLACKWELL: We're going to talk more about this, because I think that in many people's minds, he's been casted as global grandfather. We see the images of him dancing and smiling in these bright-colored shirts. But I want to know, and we're going to talk more about this throughout the show, what the younger, pre-Robben Island Mandela would say about the reconciliatory post Robben Island.

BILCHIK: Exactly. And you say that he himself said, I went into prison as one person.

HARLOW: I came out as another.

BILCHIK: I emerged so much more mature. So, the evolution of an individual.

HARLOW: And we know that you are very close with his family. His ex- wife, so we'll talk a lot more about that throughout the show and our best to all of them. Nadia, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Nadia.

HARLOW: I appreciate that.

BLACKWELL: Still to come on "NEW DAY", wild new police dash cam video. Look at this.

We've got more on this dangerous high-speed chase, shoot-out and a manhunt in South Carolina.

HARLOW: Also ahead, an American school teacher gunned down in Libya during a morning jog. Now officials are vowing to bring his killers to justice.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: A dramatic chase and a shoot-out. You saw the bullets hit the windshield there. CNN affiliate WBTW reports, police in South Carolina have released this dash cam video of what ensued after an SUV refused to stop for a simple traffic violation. The video shows a person shooting from the SUV at the state trooper's car. You saw that. The car sped off and eventually crashed. Well, police say the driver and the passenger got out and then started shooting at the trooper again who then fired back. And authorities took the driver into custody. That passenger ran off, but police tracked him down just hours later. And amazingly, no one was injured in that shoot- out.

HARLOW: Wow. That is amazing.

All right, renewed hope this morning for the family of a missing New Hampshire teen. Authorities say that a letter purportedly sent by this girl, 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez to her mother, that it appears to be real. Authentic.

BLACKWELL: Hernandez went missing on her way home from school in October. But on Friday, officials held a press conference and said the letter underwent expert analysis.


JANE YOUNG, ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: She is not out there alone, she has somebody who is either helping her, whether that be a friend or what we fear is a foe.


HARLOW: Now, officials won't discuss what was in the letter, but someone they think maybe holding Hernandez against her will.

BLACKWELL: Let's get now to the tragic story of this American school teacher killed in Libya. Officials now say that 33 year-old Ronnie Smith was gunned down while he was jogging in Benghazi on Thursday. Smith moved to Libya a year and a half ago to teach.

HARLOW: And this morning, there are still questions about why he was killed. But Libyan officials are vowing to bring his killers to justice. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has the latest on that.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, Victor, an American school teacher killed in Libya, and so far, no answers about who did it.


STARR: 33-year-old Ronnie Smith was teaching chemistry at an international school in Benghazi, Libya.

RONNIE SMITH: No matter what happens, I'm good. That gives me peace, and I'm okay with that. STARR: Libyan authorities say on this street, four assailants in a black jeep opened fire, killing him instantly. In a video of Smith and his wife on their way to Libya, he speaks openly of his Christian faith.

SMITH: If there's any single person in the entire universe that you can take a chance on, it's God.

STARR: Smith knew Benghazi had grown increasingly dangerous for Americans since the attack on the U.S. Consulate 15 months ago. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed. In October, it got riskier, when U.S. Special Forces in Tripoli captured Anas al- Libi, an al-Qaeda operative wanted in connection with the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa. Just after that arrest, Smith tweeted "Libyan Islamists are threatening kidnappings."

Days before his killing al Qaeda's American spokesman Adam Gadahn taught Libyan to attack American interests. It was a call for revenge for al-Libi's capture.

A similar threat came just before the attack that killed Chris Stevens from al Qaeda's leader Ayman al Zawahiri.


But no one has claimed responsibility for Smith killing. A U.S. official tells CNN there does not appear to be a direct link between Gadahn's threats and the killing. So, at least at this point, they don't believe that al Qaeda ordered the attack. The Libyan government is still investigating. Poppy, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Barbara Starr, thank you.

HARLOW: Also today, today marks 72 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Back on that date, December 7th, 1941, Japanese pilots flit the U.S. battleships in Pearl Harbor. More than 2400 Americans were killed in that shocking attack. Usually U.S. war jets performed a "missing man flyover during Pearl Harbor ceremonies, but that is not going to happen this year, you know why? Because of budget cuts.


ALLEN BODENLOS, PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR: I'm totally, totally disgusted. The one day of the year when we're honoring our military from World War II.

DELTON WALLING, PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR: Every year I watch for the flight, and I have those flights on the camera, and to not see a flyover, I can't imagine.


HARLOW: Yeah, obviously very hard for them. And you know what, the F-22s that are used in the flyover, they're actually going to be in the air today for a training mission, still, though, they are not going to be allowed to take part in this ceremony.

BLACKWELL: So they'll be up and in the air and ...

HARLOW: And not allowed to do this.


HARLOW: Something you've got questions.

BLACKWELL: Talk about a flight. A light you probably would not want to be on. 50-mile-an-hour winds. Look at this. This passenger plane tries to land, wait. The winds in the landing. Not a good combination.


BLACKWELL: And a whole lot of wind. This is a Boeing 777 trying to land in Birmingham airport in the U.K. Now, it comes sideways. Look at this: the pilot pulls back up to avoid a disastrous landing. He sees it coming. And the plane was diverted to Heathrow. But the wind was too strong there, so then it ended up landing at Gatwick in London. And that was safe. You know, the strong winds were really part of a messy weather system that brought flooding rains and strong winds to much of Europe this week, but can you imagine being on that flight?

HARLOW: No, I really don't like flying even when it's normal.

BLACKWELL: And especially this second one ...

HARLOW: So, no, I can't.

BLACKWELL: The second one would be like, OK, his is not good.

HARLOW: Good pilot, though. That is all manual.

BLACKWELL: That's true.

HARLOW: There is no autopilot. That is a good job on that, definitely. All right, well, the weather isn't much better here at home. An ice storm has smacked the south central U.S. with freezing temperature, ice and snow.

BLACKWELL: It's knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people. And the storm is not done. Jennifer Gray joins us now with more. Jennifer, how long is this going to last?


BLACKWELL: I mean that's the question that everybody's asking.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know, we get a little bit of a break today. But then more is on the way tomorrow. The good news is, though, that these places that have already seen the ice and snow, it looks like the next system will be a little bit farther to the east. But it's not good for folks, say, in D.C., because that's where we could see a lot of that snow and ice.

OK, here we go. Here's the system, it's pushing up to the northeast. And you can see this is Sunday by 10:00, so a break today, but then by tomorrow, there it is, the ice and snow all across the mid-Atlantic. That's going to be pushing into the northeast by late Sunday into Monday. So that's what we'll be watching for. Ice accumulations could be up to half an inch in some of these areas and so watches and warnings already in effect, across portions of the east. And that does include D.C. So, temperatures are very, very cold.


GRAY: As we go through the next ...

HARLOW: Come on over! Come join us!

GRAY: It's just going to be a mess. It's been a mess for the last couple of days. BLACKWELL: So, you pick - and enjoy the tease.

GRAY: I know. I know.

HARLOW: We need her here. We need you here.

BLACKWELL: Coming from Miami, now talking about ice and snow, tell us where you're from?

HARLOW: Yeah, I don't think you've ever lived places where there's usually ice and snow.

GRAY: I didn't. I've always lived in the south. I came from Miami where it's what - 82 degrees today. I'm originally from Louisiana.

HARLOW: Right.

GRAY: But yeah, I've always lived in the south. I'm so happy to be here.

HARLOW: We're so happy to be here. Big Saints fan. I'm sorry about last weekend.

GRAY: Oh, my gosh. I was at the game in Seattle. And about halfway through the first quarter, my head went down and that's pretty much where it stayed the rest of the game. It was awful.

BLACKWELL: I feel like the odd man out here, because I don't know football that well.

HARLOW: And I just pretend to.

BLACKWELL: OK, All right. Well, then, all right.


GRAY: I will help you. Yeah, huge Saints - In the south, I mean you've got to follow football. BLACKWELL: Okay.


BLACKWELL: Let me move this now to my strong point, entertainment. Because, you know, you said you don't really follow entertainment that much.


BLACKWELL: But I want to show you something, we've got to talk about this. "The Sound of Music" this week.

GRAY: Why?

BLACKWELL: The hills are alive. She almost tripped over one. We are talking about Carrie Underwood, and hit a really sour note with critics ...


CARRIE UNDERWOOD (singing): With songs they have sung for a thousand years ...


BLACKWELL: No one is saying that she has a bad voice. We know she can sing.

HARLOW: Great voice.

BLACKWELL: Day and night people on social media have been just eviscerating this -- it went on for three hours. The three-hour show with Carrie Underwood and her performance here.

HARLOW: And even Kym Karath who starred as Gretl von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" back in 1965 is slamming it. Here's what she told CNN's Jake Tapper.


KYM KARATH, STARRED AS GRETL IN 1965 "THE SOUND OF MUSIC": Personally, I really was disappointed because I'm a huge Carrie Underwood fan and I think she is so beautiful and I love her voice, and I was - I had very high expectations. You know, maybe part of it was that my expectations were too high. But I actually was disappointed by the production values. I thought sort of the gimmick of doing it live was sort of a disservice to the actors. Honestly, I thought some line readings were off and would have benefitted from more takes. And I mean I was surprised by some of the dialogue that had been added. Those -- I mean, I had issues.


BLACKWELL: Did she like any of it?

HARLOW: Well, I don't know. But can I point a few things out here?

BLACKWELL: Yeah, go ahead.

HARLOW: One, how are you going to remake a classic live in a way that everyone loves, right?

BLACKWELL: That's true. Yeah.

HARLOW: OK, like just to take on a classic. And "B," the ratings were unbelievable.

GRAY: Yeah.

HARLOW: 18.4 million people watched. And I think it was the best Thursday for NBC, non-sports Thursday, since the E.R. finale in 2009. So, it paid off in ratings.

BLACKWELL: But how many people were watching just to see what would go wrong?

HARLOW: Did you think that?

BLACKWELL: I think people - when you see "The Sound of Music Live" starting Carrie Underwood, I think there are people who are saying, I'm going to wait for someone to trip and fall.

HARLOW: I didn't see the whole thing. I saw clips of it, and I mean this is just a gorgeous voice. Anything that is really hard. And I give her kudos.

GRAY: Yeah, she's not an actress. And a lot of people are slamming her because they said she couldn't act. But the point is she's got a gorgeous voice.

HARLOW: Gorgeous.

GRAY: I haven't recorded. I haven't watched it yet. Now, all that haters ...

HARLOW: You wonder.

GRAY: I do wonder. And I will still watch it.

BLACKWELL: But isn't that an argument for staying in your lane? I mean I understand being adventurous, trying new things. But ...

HARLOW: The world would be boring if we all stayed in our lanes.

BLACKWELL: Or we would have performances like that.

HARLOW: I give her kudos for trying it.

GRAY: Me, too. I'm on your team.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, what would you do if thousands of lottery tickets arrived at your front door by mistake? Would you send them back or would you start scratching?

HARLOW: I think I'd start scratching.

BLACKWELL: More of the dilemma after this.



JAY LENO: Well, Vice President Joe Biden, god bless him, he said today, Obamacare will eventually be a success, God willing. And today, God said, hey, keep me out of this. OK?


LENO: You're on your own on this one.

DAVID LETTERMAN, THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: You know Lindsay Lohan. It turns out she has a sister. Did you realize Lindsay Lohan had - I didn't know that? Has a sister. And her sister paid a lot of money to a plastic surgeon to make her look more like Lindsay Lohan.


LETTERMAN: I did the same thing so I could look more like my sister Jane Lynch.



HARLOW: We never get to stay up late enough to watch it.

BLACKWELL: No, this is the first time we ever see these. All right, we've got a question for you, what would you do if a possible treasure's worth of lottery tickets just showed up at your door one day?

HARLOW: I don't really want to say. Probably, start scratching.

BLACKWELL: Now, on the record.

HARLOW: Victor, I would return them.


HARLOW: It happened right here in Georgia. As many as 4,000 unopened scratchoff lottery tickets were accidentally mailed to Darryl Buffer.

BLACKWELL: Now, he says his first thought was Merry Christmas, but he then decided to return the tickets because his integrity was worth more.

HARLOW: Perfect. And after all of this, this is just - I wish it didn't happen this way, he found out that all the tickets were worthless. They have to be activated apparently at a store before you can use them.

BLACKWELL: But at least he feels good about it, because he did the right thing.

HARLOW: How does that happen?

BLACKWELL: I don't know, maybe there was an address mix-up. But Darryl did the right thing.

HARLOW: Darryl did the right thing.

BLACKWELL: He didn't scratch ...

HARLOW: Now, I hope he gets a winning ticket.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And thanks for starting your morning with us, the next hour of your "NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch out for the person in front of you and make sure that you're ready for the road conditions ahead of you.

BLACKWELL: Entombed in ice. That's how locals are describing Dallas this morning as an ice storm freezes the south. Flights canceled, cities paralyzed and now a new storm threatens the northeast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very glad to be on my way home. Feels good. Feels good.