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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Winter Storm Snarls Holiday Travel; Ice, Snow, Flooding, Severe Weather Hit U.S.; Four Arrested In Deadly Mall Carjacking; First Of Three ISS Spacewalks Under Way; Three American Troops Shot In South Sudan; Obama Arrives In Hawaii For 16 Days; Tennis Star Trains Players into Winners; Indian Diplomat Arrested, Strip-Searched; The Girl Whose Case Changed Lung Transplant; Operation Christmas Child
Aired December 21, 2013 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. We appreciate you waking up with us on this Saturday morning. I'm Pamela Brown.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 8:00 here on the east coast. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY. We have more on the spacewalk in just a moment, but for millions of people across the U.S., this is a rough, rough weekend for travel. They are getting slammed by a blast of winter weather this morning. If you are heading to your grandmother's house or cousin, you really don't want to go to, but everybody else is going, you might see plenty of scenes like these, icy roads and slick conditions.
BROWN: Those icy roads have been dangerous in Missouri and Kansas. Look at this, several crashes and overturned trucks there. Missouri officials say emergency crews have been out all night working hard.
BLACKWELL: Yes. With more than 85 million drivers on the roads this holiday, drive slower, use caution. Make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.
BROWN: Our Nick Valencia is braving the elements. He has more for us on this brutal winter storm that is making holiday travel a bit harder for millions of Americans.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From cars skidding on frozen roads and some flipping over to flight delays at the nation's airports and expected power outages, it is beginning to look a lot like a holiday travel nightmare. Here is the wild forecast, ice storm warnings in Oklahoma, severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes across the south and heavy snow and flooding in the nation's midsection. Who is going to be impacted? More than 94 million Americans traveling this week. Already dangerous driving conditions this morning in Kansas and Iowa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just tried to stop. I couldn't. My car went out.
VALENCIA: If you are flying, watch out for possible flight cancellations in the Midwest and up to two-hour delays in Kansas City, Chicago and Dallas with more delays expected up the east coast on Sunday. Travel experts say it is best to check ahead before leaving home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We really recommend that travelers be smart. Plan ahead. Take advantage of smartphone technology by keeping up to date on travel and road conditions.
VALENCIA: And while the weather can be a pain for millions around the nation, for some football fans in Green Bay, Wisconsin, it is providing a $10 an hour job for sweeping Lambeau Field for Sunday's game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is good exercise and enjoy the cold.
BLACKWELL: All right, Nick Valencia there. He's put the hat on. Excellent. It may not look as cool as you want it to look. It's freezing there.
BROWN: It looks good, Nick.
VALENCIA: It's cold out here, guys, but it is expected to get much colder. We are expecting this weekend single digit temperatures and this winter weather is taking people here locally a little bit by surprise. A couple of days ago, it was in the upper 60s, lower 70s. They were outside grilling in t-shirt and shorts, only to be now in a bundled layers and mittens here like I'm wearing.
But you know, Kansas City, it's going to get hard, the mid-section of the country, places like Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jennifer Gray was talking about Arkansas and Texas already seeing the severe winter weather. If you are traveling this holiday weekend or today, anyone on Interstate 44, particularly here in Missour, watch out for those sleek roads -- Pamela, Victor.
BROWN: Yes, tough travel weekend to say the least. Nick Valencia, thank you. Stay warm out there or at least try to.
Heavy rains are expected across the Ohio River Valley today. The majority of Indiana under a flood watch at this hour. Many across the region are getting those sand bags ready bracing for the storm. Our Jennifer Gray is here with what you can expect. What do we need to know, Jennifer?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, this storm is very different. We had about five or six winter storms. They all had the wintry component. This one is more of a rain event. This will set up. We have the moisture air feeding from the south with these warm temperatures we've been experiencing in the southeast. It is going to be the set-up for a potential tornado outbreak.
We could see isolated tornadoes. We could see damaging winds. We are still seeing the ice though and as we zoom down on places like Oklahoma City, we see some reports of about a quarter of an inch of ice. We've had reported power outages as well. So it is going to be a slow go across 40 and 44 and Interstate 35 as we go through the next several hours.
Slight risk of severe weather across much of the south, a moderate risk, including Shreveport, Jackson, Memphis even Little Rock as we go through the afternoon today. What we are dealing with the severe weather set up, we have very, very warm air filtering in. We have cold air behind this front. When the two air masses collide, it is creating a spring-like system as we go through the next day or so.
The severe threat will shift to the east tomorrow and so we could see severe storms even through Atlanta tomorrow afternoon. Because of this, we will see travel delays in Kansas City, Chicago, Dallas and points in between anywhere from one to two hours, a lot of snow, sleet and freezing rain as we go through the next day or two.
So the breakdown for this weekend basically, your weather is going to be decent if you are in the west. But across the country's midsection and even along the eastern seaboard, we are going to see a lot of showers and storms and even ice and snow for areas to the north, guys. Today and tomorrow look like the rough travel days. Good news is the closer we get to Christmas eve and Christmas day, the weather actually improves quite a bit.
BROWN: So want to hold off until after the weekend if you can. Jennifer Gray, thank you.
BLACKWELL: New this morning, there have been arrests in the carjacking and shooting death of that New Jersey lawyer from last weekend.
BROWN: Yes, really a sad story. Four people actually now in custody following last weekend's attack at that popular New Jersey mall. The couple were just walking to their car. They had presents in their hands when all of a sudden the suspects allegedly went up and shot the attorney in the head and he was killed.
Authorities now holding a news conference just about an hour from now in Newark and our CNN's Alexandra Field is there. She joins us now live. She is actually on the phone because she is there. She is live. I know you have been trying to get to the press conference. Tell us more about the arrests, obviously a big break in the case.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very big break in the case. Police launched an all-out search for the suspects on Sunday night after this deadly attack happened. They were looking for two people initially. We now know that four people have been arrested during this press conference coming up in just about an hour. We should learn why police have made these four arrests and what role they believe that these four people may have played in the death of Dustin Friedland. He is a 30-year-old attorney from Newark, New Jersey.
Police started the search for suspects after the deadly attack. It all unfolded Sunday night outside that New Jersey mall, it is part of the carjacking. Police earlier this week offered a reward of up to $10,000 for anyone with information to provide to lead police to suspects and arrest and to eventually their prosecution. We are now learning that police have taken four people into custody. Dustin Friedland has been out shopping with his wife. We're told they were shopping for Christmas presents on Sunday night. Investigators say he had helped his wife into the car, opening her door for her. They say that when he went outside of his car and walked around the back of it, he was confronted.
Investigators say that is when there was a struggle and shots were fired. Friedland's wife got out of the car and that's when two suspects took off in it -- Pamela, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Alexandra, the car? Did they ever find it?
FIELD: That was the first clue for police. That car a silver 2012 Range Rover turned up in Newark on Monday just hours really after the attack. At that the time, police say that they had no signs of the two suspects who reportedly taken off in it. We know there are now four suspects that are part of this investigation, but that car was the first thing that was found -- Victor.
BLACKWELL: More details to come throughout the morning. Alexandra Field, thank you very much.
BROWN: Yes, we'll keep you posted when that press conference starts less than an hour from now. Still to come on right here on NEW DAY, critical repair works in space right now going on, two astronauts on an emergency mission at this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open and latched.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copy that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beautiful day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Yes, it is, beautiful day for a spacewalk. Up next, we will take you there live.
BROWN: And as we mentioned at the top of the hour, this is the spacewalk being conducted by two NASA astronauts. They are conducting the first of three emergency spacewalks to repair the International Space Station. They have been out there for just about an hour now.
BLACKWELL: Yes, we are switching back and forth courtesy of NASA TV and helmet cam here at the ISS. Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins are the astronauts out spacewalking to fix the International Space Station. NASA is taking several precautions today because an Italian astronaut almost drowned on a spacewalk when his helmet filled with water. That was in July.
John Zarrella is following all the action from Miami. John, we have been dipping in and out over the last hour. You have been watching closely. How is it going?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, right now. They are ahead of the timeline. It is going well. You referenced the issues they had back in July with Luca Parmitano's suit filled with water. They did a helmet check a little bit ago. You know, they installed these pads, absorbent pads in the back of the helmets. They have no water in the suits. They did glove checks. Gloves are good.
The picture is from Mastracchio's helmet cam. All of those connections, you see there, are called quick disconnects at the pump site they will have to replace. They are just coming back into sunlight now. You can see the sun coming up there. They had been over the Pacific Ocean and now they are coming into the first sunlight. I'm assuming there is sun over the United States now moving to east coast.
A lot of work to do to prepare to remove the faulty pump. They have to do all of the disconnections today. They will do all of that today. All of the prep work. On Monday, they will go back out and actually replace the pump itself and then Christmas day, they will do a final inspection and check outs and make sure the replacement pump is working.
Still a lot of work to do today, but as you, Victor and Pamela, were saying, they are about an hour in, a little bit ahead of the timeline. Everything is going well, which is certainly good news.
BLACKWELL: All right, John Zarrella in Miami for us. Stand by. We want to bring in -- pardon me. We want to bring in Mike Massimino. He is a visiting professor at Columbia University and also a veteran astronaut. Give us an idea of what is going through their mind right now? Are they thinking, I'm on the International Space Station and floating over the earth or is it just an intricate inch by inch space they are working at the time?
MARK MASSIMINO, NASA ASTRONAUT: Victor, it is probably a combination of both. Your main focus doing this type of work is on the task at hand. They are thinking mainly about what they are doing at that moment. You really need to focus. Kind of like a zen situation. The only thing that matters in the universe is that task at hand. If you lose that focus, you could make a mistake and that could lead to a problem. They are really being careful and focusing on their work.
Every once and a while you take a mental break and look around and appreciate where you are. Those are meaningful. Those are ones you will remember the rest of your life. It is important to keep your focus and working with the team and these also quick glances of thing earth and universe around you which are just spectacular.
BROWN: Not many people get to experience what they are experiencing right now. Obviously, mike, you have. Tell us, obviously, they had that laser-like focus. There are a lot of risks associated with the mission they are on. We talked about the six months ago situation where the astronaut nearly drowned because the water got in his helmet. What else do they have to prepare for the mission like this? MASSIMINO: Well, just to be clear about the water on the helmet, they are still are looking for the root cause of that problem of why that water got into the helmet. They did change out a pump fan assembly in Mike Hopkins' suit. The suit was ready to go for contingency spacewalks. Spacewalks that are not necessarily planned, but do the repair to the International Space Station. We are prepared for those spacewalks.
There are general safety concerns. You want to make sure your safety tether is in place and in good condition. You always want to check your buddy's safety tether. You want to be careful with your gloves. They will do glove checks to make sure there is no rips or tears or wear in the glove. They don't want a leak in the suit.
The gloves take a lot of work and abuse. I don't want to say abuse, but they are used frequently in the spacewalks. You have an absorption pad in the back of the helmet. They want to make sure no water is in the suit.
BROWN: All right, well, Mike Massimino, thank you so much for offering your perspective. The astronauts are about an hour into a 6.5-hour mission. It seems like now, smooth sailing.
BLACKWELL: Things are going well, ahead of schedule. Mike, thanks.
The president closes out 2013 with a little rest and relaxation in Hawaii. He left Washington in his rear-view mirror, but that was after getting the last word. Live coverage here on NEW DAY SATURDAY.
BLACKWELL: The breaking news, three U.S. service members have been caught in a crossfire when someone started shooting at their aircraft. This happened in South Sudan. They were helping evacuate an area to pull out Americans from an area of heavy fighting.
BROWN: All this during an unravelling situation in South Sudan just as Secretary of State John Kerry has sent a special envoy there to encourage dialogue. CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is on the phone with us now. She has been following the story. Barbara, tell us what we know right now?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): We've just received word from U.S. sources we're speaking to. It is now four U.S. service members wounded when their aircraft was coming in for a landing in South Sudan at the small airfield. They were there to evacuate American citizens. The fighting here has been brutal. It's very difficult and violent. There were two U.S. Z-22 aircraft coming in for a landing to evacuate American citizens when they took gunfire and four were wounded.
We know that the U.S. military planes immediately left and the wounded, according to a U.S. senior official have been taken to Nairobi, Kenya where they are getting treatment. There are still American citizens trying to get out of South Sudan in the middle of the growing war. BLACKWELL: Barbara, the president announced he was sending a few dozen U.S. military members over to South Sudan. Are these four of that number or are these four outside that number specifically in for this evacuation mission?
STARR: Right. Let me explain. You are absolutely right. A couple of days ago, President Obama announced that he was sending 45 U.S. troops to the U.S. Embassy to help secure the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan. While that has been going on, the embassy has been running evacuation flights out of the country for American citizens who are living there that need to get out. It is the U.S. military that's conducting the flights because of the violence and there is no commercial reliable commercial air traffic out of South Sudan at the moment.
It is very typical in these difficult situations, it is the U.S. military that goes in and evacuates Americans from these kinds of war zone situations. That is what these troops were doing. They were landing there. They were going to pick up American civilians living in the area and the fighting around there and near the airfield has been very, very tough for the last several days. It has been very violent.
They know they were going into a tough situation. When U.S. military aircraft land in these places as they come in for approach, this is when they are most vulnerable. They are low. They are slow as they are trying to land. It is their most vulnerable time. What the U.S. is saying, the aircraft took gunfire from the ground as it was landing and four U.S. troops wounded.
BROWN: Barbara, they will obviously have to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to get these Americans out. You mentioned there were thousands there. Do we know what contingency plans are in place to evacuate those Americans in the midst of what is a very volatile situation?
STARR: When I refer thousands, I should be clear, thousands of local residents, of course, people living in the midst of this violence trying to get to safety. Reports are many of them in large numbers are trying to get to the safety of U.N. compounds. As for the number of Americans living in the region where the fighting has been so heavy, we don't have a good number right now, a really solid number. They have been running evacuation flights for the last couple of days. This was scheduled for today.
It is not clear how many are left. To give you indication of the evacuation rules are, you must get yourself to the airfield. You can take one suitcase and that's it. It is that kind of situation. The aircraft land. They load Americans on. One suitcase per person and they take off rapidly. This is what we see in these situations.
They want to do everything they can to get the Americans out, but the violence is growing and they don't spend a lot of time hanging around on the ground, so to speak. It's that situation that these troops are flying into today when they took the gunfire. BLACKWELL: Understandably. We will continue to follow this breaking news. Four American troops shot in the South Sudan. Barbara Starr on the phone with us. We will get more throughout the morning. Barbara, thank you.
BLACKWELL: President Obama has traded the cold bluster of Washington for the warm Hawaiian sun.
BROWN: Yes, his family will spend the next 16 days on the island of Oahu. Before he left town, the president answered reporters' questions in a year-end news conference.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Athena Jones joins us in Hawaii. Athena, reporters asked the president about his biggest mistake of 2013. What was his response to that?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. Well, the poorly handled rollout of healthcare.gov. That was the president's answer when asked about his biggest mistake of the year. He said that despite his desire to make sure that shopping for health insurance on these online exchanges was a positive experience for consumers. That is not what happened. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The fact is, it did not happen. In the first month or the first six weeks in a way that was at all acceptable and since I'm in charge, obviously, we screwed it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Now we know that the healthcare.gov web site is improving and despite the problems with the web site, the president said the structure of health care law is working. He gave us a look at numbers. More than 500,000 people signed up on healthcare.gov. That is a sign that the pace of enrolment on that web site is quickening -- Victor.
BLACKWELL: Athena, the president talked about the controversy over NSA snooping, which is the countdown of the big stories of 2013 is got to be in the top five. What did he say about it?
JONES: Absolutely is one of the biggest stories of the year. The president ordered a comprehensive, independent review of the National Security Agency's programs back in August. This is after the revelations from the former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden that the agency was tracking Americans' phone calls and listening in on the calls of some foreign leaders.
This is news that angered a lot of people here at home and abroad. So this review took place. We got the report from that review on Wednesday. Here is what the president had to say about that report and the 46 recommendations in it to make some changes in the NSA. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Over the next several weeks, I'm going to assess based on conversations not just with the intelligence community, but others in government and outside of government and how we might apply and incorporate the recommendations and I'm going to make a pretty definitive statement about all of this in January.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And so you heard from the president. In addition to rest and relaxation, sun and surf in Honolulu, he is going to be reviewing these recommendation and we will hear more on what he is going to do with the big decisions coming out of that in January -- Pam and Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right, CNN correspondent, Athena Jones on the road with President Obama in Hawaii for his 16-day vacation. Athena, thanks.
BROWN: Thanks, Athena. A Missouri mom faces changes over a photo. You can't see her face, but a bunch of other high schoolers have seen other parts of her body. What does that tell you? Our legal panel weighs in.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back everyone. I'm Pamela Brown.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to have you with us. Five things you need to know for your NEW DAY now.
BROWN: And emergency repair mission at the International Space Station underway right now. Take a look here. This morning, astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins begin the first of three spacewalks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Access closed. Opened. I'm sorry. Opened and latched.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok copy that, Rick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beautiful day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Beautiful day. They have quite a view up there. Both men will spend about six hours outside of the station today to try to fix a broken coolant pump. The last walk will take place on Christmas Day.
BLACKWELL: Number two Target is saying sorry for a massive security breach on this final weekend before Christmas. It's offering a 10 percent discount to shoppers. And this comes after hackers accessed the credits and debit card information of 40 million of Target customers. Now the retail giant says it's working hard to resolve the problem. It's also providing free credit monitoring services.
BROWN: Four U.S. troops were fired upon and injured this morning in south Sudan during an evacuation mission. They were rushed to the hospital. Just last night Secretary of State John Kerry announced a special envoy to the region to help deal with the escalating violence there. This week, the U.S. deployed 45 armed forces personnel to help the people at the U.S. embassy there.
BLACKWELL: Number four this is what appeared on the Twitter account of a media PR executive Justine Sacco. Read it with me "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white."
Well the tweet has disappeared and so is the account but there's plenty of outrage that took the place. We're still waiting to hear from Sacco herself.
BROWN: Yes that story has a lot of people are scratching their heads.
Number five, a brutal storm affecting nearly 30 states this weekend stretching from Texas all the way to Maine. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, they are getting so much snow, the Packers issued another call for fans to help shovel off the stands before the team plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow.
BLACKWELL: A Missouri mom is in hot water over a controversial photo of her and her daughter. You cannot see her face here, but a bunch of high schoolers they've seen almost everything else. Our legal panel is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Open Court" traveled to Boca Raton for a rare up close look at the Evert Tennis Academy. The operation is a family affair owned by Chris and her brother John. John focuses on the technical side while Chris mentors the players.
CHRIS EVERT, FORMER PRO TENNIS PLAYER: It's an important test now. It's the power game to go for winners but maybe not at the expense of making too many unforced errors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many players live at the academy full-time. When they are not on the court or doing fitness drills, they are inside this classroom.
EVERT: Every kid that is in our program gets an education and every high school student that's graduated from the Evert Academy has gone to college.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if there is one thing Chris Evert hopes young players can learn from her career, it's best summed up in an article about her which she remembers to this day. EVERT: The first line stays in my mind. It was you know she's not the fastest, she doesn't hit the hardest, she's not the strongest. So why am I number one? That always left a big impact in my brain. Because I think I was very proud of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Thirty-eight after the hour now.
And a diplomatic spat between the United States and India -- this could get a lot uglier. India says the U.S. must drop charges and apologize for the arrest of its deputy counsel in New York.
BROWN: Yes and it's particularly outrage the U.S. Marshal strip searched the woman. Devyani Khobragade is accused of lying on her Indian nanny's visa application about the woman's pay. Prosecutors say the nanny was paid well below minimum wage and was overworked. India is threatening to retaliate against American diplomats there now.
BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN legal analyst and defense attorney Paul Callan in New York. Here in Atlanta we have former prosecutor Tanya Miller. Good to have both of you.
TANYA MILLER, FORMER PROSECUTOR: It's good to be here.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's nice to be with you.
BLACKWELL: So let's start with you, Tanya, because you are in studio. India claims that Khobragade has diplomatic immunity.
BLACKWELL: Right? So that's the first thing that pops up. The U.S. says "No she doesn't."
BLACKWELL: Who is right here?
MILLER: Well you know, it's interesting, Victor, because there is this thing we know as diplomatic immunity. It belongs to ambassadors and traditionally people who are considered true diplomats. There is some limited immunity for people like this woman who is a consular employee.
However, it typically only protects them when they're acting in their official -- in their official capacity. It doesn't seem like she was acting in her official capacity when she lied on this visa application. So that is why the U.S. attorney feels like they are well within their rights to charge her criminally for that act.
BROWN: So the first thing we'll have to prove what she was doing was part of her official duties for that limited immunity. Paul, I want to go to you, now. You know we've seen these protests in India. They're claiming that you know she was forced to strip and she had her cavity searched and her treatment was barbaric. But we're hearing from the prosecutor in this case she's saying look she was afforded courtesies not normally given to people. That she was strip searched in private by a female, you know a female marshal and they were playing by the book here.
But what do you think? Could this situation have been handled more diplomatically?
CALLAN: Well you know Pamela I spoke to her attorney yesterday here in New York. And he very firmly states that she was not treated with respect and dignity in the way that the arrest was processed. A lot of times in white collar cases like this, the defendant is told in advance through their lawyer that they're going to be arrested and they are allowed to surrender voluntarily and the process is very different from someone who is sort of rounded up on the street as was done here.
I'm a little surprised given the relationship between India and the United States that it was handled this way. I think they were -- I think they were a little rough in the handling. Now on the other side of the -- the coin here, everybody gets searched before they get put into custody. Somebody might have a gun or a knife or drugs.
So eventually you are going to be searched. But it sounds to me like she was treated sort of in a way that you wouldn't expect of a diplomat from a friendly U.S. ally.
BLACKWELL: I want to go next to this child endangerment case that a lot of people are talking about. This is out of St. Louis region. And so there is a mother who faces charges after topless photo of this mom and her daughter appeared on Snap Chat. And the mom's face in this video you are about to see is blurred to protect the daughter's identity. Another daughter apparently took the picture while the mom and the daughter were in a hot tub. And it's been wildly circulated at the high school that the woman's son attends.
Listen to the sound bite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM LOHMAR, ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MISSOURI PROSECUTOR: The issue here is the fact that the daughter was 14 and the mother was very clearly present involved when the picture was taken.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wasn't posing. I was getting out of a tub. I was aware the photo was taken by my 13-year-old daughter. And I specifically told her at that second, please delete that photo.
LOHMAR: This was a mother who made a very poor choice. I don't think she had any intention this thing blew up the way it did. But it did. And she only has her poor judgment to blame for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: Topless photo of mother and daughter. Tanya is this just discharge of child endangerment?
MILLER: Well you know I -- I really don't think so. But again Victor I mean we don't have all the facts that I haven't seen the photo. I don't know if there is some history that may be the prosecution is aware of regarding this family. There were some allegations that the daughter had some prior contact with the courts due to engaging in this kind of behavior and taking nude photographs of herself.
So there might be some more behind it. But frankly when you talk about child endangerment, you're typically talking about putting that child in danger. You see this in cases where parents are -- they have meth labs in the house and they have kids there or they are driving drunk with kids in the car. Taking a photo and putting it on Snap Chat? I mean what you know I don't know I think this might be a little aggressive.
BLACKWELL: Quick from you Paul.
BROWN: Paul, what do you think, an over eager prosecutor here or not?
CALLAN: Yes I have to agree with Tanya. You know the -- because I was looking at the statute in Missouri which basically says that you have to engage in an act that causes serious physical injury or serious emotional harm to the child.
Now I'm not so sure what emotional harm is going to be caused to the child here. The other thing, you know, the statute doesn't say specifically what you can do or can't do in raising a child. And frankly, if the child was covered up and the mother was covered up, even with their hands, the coverage is probably more than a bikini would be on a beach.
So you know, in the end, I'm not so sure what it amounts to except stupidity on the part of the mother. And usually we don't charge stupidity as a crime in the United States. We would not have enough prisons I'm afraid to handle that.
BLACKWELL: Sometimes we should.
BLACKWELL: All right.
CALLAN: All right.
BLACKWELL: Paul Callan CNN legal analyst and Tanya Miller, former prosecutor. Good to have you both.
MILLER: Thank you.
CALLAN: Happy holidays.
BROWN: Yes interesting discussion thank you.
BLACKWELL: You too.
BROWN: And still to come right here on NEW DAY, we're going to bring you an exclusive update on Sarah Murnaghan. You'll remember her. She's that little girl whose big fight for new lungs changed the rules for kids across the country. How her recovery is going, up next.
BLACKWELL: 2013 has been a long and difficult year for 11-year-old Sarah Murnaghan. We first brought you her story this spring right here on this show.
Sarah at that time was struggling with cystic fibrosis. Her parents were wondering if the end was near for Sarah. She was stuck to a breathing tube, stuck in a hospital.
BROWN: That was shortly after Sarah's parents learned that older patients, patients far healthier than Sarah were being granted donor lungs under national organ procurement rules. So they started what would become a national fight for equal access to donor lungs.
BLACKWELL: Our Jason Carroll recently caught up with Sarah at home in Pennsylvania and he got this exclusive update on her recovery -- Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pam and Victor, after so much national attention was focused on Sarah, we wanted to see how she was doing several months out from surgery. We found a determined little girl who's still on the long road to recovery.
CARROLL (voice over): Four months ago, Sarah Murnaghan could barely move in her hospital bed without help after receiving two lung transplants. The surgery was necessary because she was dying from cystic fibrosis. Her goal then was clear.
SARAH MURNAGHAN, LUNG TRANSPLANT PATIENT: I'm not going for easy.
CARROLL (on camera): You're not going for easy.
S. MURNAGHAN: I'm just going for possible.
CARROLL (voice over): This is what possible looks like now. Sarah at home in her bedroom doing physical therapy with her mother and her home nurse nearby.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shoulders back.
CARROLL: She is walking, thinking about Christmas.
S. MURNAGHAN: I asked for a Furby.
CARROLL: And focusing on how far she has come. S. MURNAGHAN: I knew what I was going through was possible. It was possible for me to save myself.
CARROLL: Sarah's family overjoyed by her progress but still frustrated. For weeks the Murnaghans pressured Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to change the so-called "Under 12" policy which they say discriminated against children. Sarah was getting sicker waiting for a transplanted, restricted from the adult pool of donors because she was 10. Meanwhile, adults who were less sick were eligible for transplants under the policy.
JANET MURNAGHAN, MOTHER OF SARAH: What we were trying to say is Sarah was being treated unequally as were all other kids in her age group.
CARROLL: The Murnaghans sued along with another family in the same situation. A judge ruled in their favor, temporarily suspending the policy. The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network OPTN allowing some exceptions for very sick children like Sarah until June 2014. Then the policy is up for review.
Now Sarah's biggest challenge isn't her lungs, which work fine, it is her muscles which atrophied and her bones which weakened while she waited for her transplants.
J. MURNAGHAN: So now, here we are climbing out of that. And she will. But she shouldn't have been in that position. She shouldn't have had to go through this much.
CARROLL: Sarah knows she still has a long way to go.
S. MURNAGHAN: I told myself I can do it and I pushed myself.
CARROLL (on camera): Do you feel like you are getting better every week? Every day?
S. MURNAGHAN: Every day getting a little stronger.
CARROLL (voice over): And gets a little better one step at a time.
CARROLL: Since that national policy was changed last summer, ten other children like Sarah have also been approved to receive lung transplants. The Murnaghans say what they ultimately want is better policy that would benefit all children -- Pam, Victor.
BLACKWELL: A long way to go, but still moving forward. Jason Carroll, thank you.
BROWN: She is such a little warrior isn't she?
BLACKWELL: Yes, she is doing great work. But as her mom says she should not have been in that position. She is getting stronger by the day though.
BROWN: Yes, long road of recovery ahead. BROWN: 220 miles above earth. That is where two NASA astronauts are hard at work right now at this very moment fixing the International Space Station cooling pump. We're going to have the latest on their progress and we're actually going to hear from a Canadian astronaut who's been through this before. He knows exactly what it is like to work in zero gravity. His (inaudible) up next but first --
BLACKWELL: Christmas -- the Christmas spirit is being delivered around the world in the form of a shoe box to children in need, like victims of last month's devastating typhoon in the Philippines. One man in Kentucky is adding love to those boxes one wooden car at a time. Kate Bolduan has more in this "Impact Your World".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Six days a week 73-year-old Clyde Fogel (ph) heads to a workshop in his backyard to make a little magic.
CLYDE FOGEL: They are primarily toys with wheels. I have cars. I have some animals.
BOLDUAN: Fogel has been making toys for Operation Christmas Child for close to a decade. The program is run by the charity Samaritan's Purse and gives gift-filled shoe boxes to children in need around the world.
FOGEL: I see the joy on their faces when they get these boxes. It captures my heart.
BOLDUAN: Wood working has always been Fogel's hobby.
FOGEL: After I retired I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy which limited in my physical ability. I want to give of myself and I saw in a catalog where I could buy a kit to make 100 cars.
BOLDUAN: Fogel has donated around 100,000 toys to Operation Christmas Child.
FOGEL: I have a map in my shop. I have a pin for every country that I know my toys have been. If I get tired doing this, I look at that map and that's why I'm doing that. So I keep going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Live pictures now -- this is helmet cam from space courtesy of NASA TV. Two astronauts are on a space walk to repair the International Space Station.
BROWN: It's an emergency mission to fix a broken coolant pump. The pump prevents equipment from overheating. It failed last week.
Well, the support for the suspended star of "Duck Dynasty" is growing. The reality TV show's network A&E is being quiet right now. More than 200,000 people have signed petitions demanding that A&E end Phil Robertson's suspension.
But an A&E executive telling CNN the network is not second-guessing its decision and noted that conversations about Robertson and the show will continue after the holiday. Although important to note here A&E is continuing to air reruns of "Duck Dynasty" featuring Phil. He was suspended indefinitely after GQ published an interview in which he made comments calling homosexuality illogical and sinful and claimed black people were happy before the civil rights movement.
Every once and a while, technology may not save your life, but rather ruin it.
BLACKWELL: Take for instance those Facebook status updates that you decide not to post. Guess what? Facebook is watching.
BROWN: According to "Slate" magazine a couple of Facebook insiders say the social media site collects the info you did not think was out there. "Slate" magazine reporting the code in your browser that powers Facebook knows what you typed even if you decided to delete it -- it's data the company collects to learn more about its users. According to Facebook this practice is covered under its data use policy.
BLACKWELL: Listen, so many people put so much about their personal lives on Facebook. What else do you need to know? What else do you need Facebook? If you want privacy while you're browsing online, you can have that, too, courtesy of the Eyebloc -- that's a great name.
Hacking into people's web cameras has become such a problem there is now a device for sale for you to have in the privacy of your own home. The Eyebloc is a piece of plastic you slide over the camera on top of your laptop or your iPad or whatever just for a little piece of mind.
BROWN: Isn't it sad that we live in a world today where we need this? Really.
BLACKWELL: Well, I think they would also be the person who would say isn't it sad that there are cameras everywhere that we have to think about an Eyebloc.
BLACKWELL: I never even considered that somebody was watching me from the top of my iPad.
BROWN: And speaking of someone watching you. Have you heard about this? This is the Google Glass that everyone's talking about. Now apparently if you wink, that can take a picture.
BLACKWELL: Oh well, ok.
BROWN: Google Glass has now a setting that allows users to take a picture simply by winking. Some not so happy with this for the most part because, you know, normally we like to know when people are taking a picture of us. However, others are arguing that you can capture a moment much quicker than if you were to have to reach into your pocket and fumble around for your smartphone to take that picture.
What do you think?
BLACKWELL: I'll pass on all that. You know what -- I think the Google Glass is a cool idea. I just don't see many people wanting to walk around with them.
BROWN: Yes. It is a little bit too futuristic for me. There's something about that.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Going too far.
BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks for starting your morning with us.
BROWN: We have much more ahead right here on NEW DAY SATURDAY which continues right now.
BLACKWELL: Keep it here.