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South Sudan Situation Deteriorates; Chilling 911 Calls Released; Romo In Or Out?; Fast Food The "Unhealthy Choice"

Aired December 24, 2013 - 06:30   ET


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: This year, she has 22 -- 22, count them, decorated trees in her home. It's an annual Christmas tradition for Jen. It took her three weeks to hang all the ornaments. Each tree has a theme, an angel tree, a Barbie tree, and on and on and on. Jen says her grand kids just love it.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Of course they do. That's fabulous!

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Except she spends all her time saying don't touch it, don't touch it, don't touch it, don't touch it.

BOLDUAN: I love the idea of a themed tree.

MARQUEZ: She also has 22 cats which is in each one of the trees, climbing them and knocking --

CUOMO: That's when it takes a turn to the Grinch.

BOLDUAN: He made that up by the way.

MARQUEZ: She does not have 22 cats.

CUOMO: Good. Christmas is back. Thank you, Miguel.

Coming up on NEW DAY, we are hearing for the first time the 911 calls from inside a Reno medical center when a gunman opens fire. Hear how people survived.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, McDonald's back in the headline for some of the advice they're giving to some of their employees. Here's one of them: avoid fast food. Details when we come back.


BOLDUAN: Let's go around the world now starting in South Sudan. Fighting there is said to be getting more and more intense as U.S. troops position themselves to evacuate more Americans if needed.

Arwa Damon has the very latest.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the situation severely deteriorating overnight, fighting in at least five of the ten states that make up South Sudan. The government at this stage saying that they're still militarily capable of resting these areas back from rebel control on their own. But the U.S. has stationed around 150 Marines in Djibouti just in case, saying they learned the lessons of Benghazi and want to take all precautions necessary.

The U.N. sending in an additional 5,000 troops, their trying to protect the civilian population. Some 80,000 people have been displaced by the violence. Around half of them (INAUDIBLE) on U.N. bases (ph). But at this stage, the true scale and scope of the humanitarian crisis is unknown because the violence, the fighting, preventing access to many of these areas, Kate.


BOLDUAN: Arwa, thank you very much.

Now to Bethlehem where pilgrims are flocking to celebrate Christmas.

Ian Lee has more.


IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Final preparations taking place here in Bethlehem as you can see, you have a pipe band from the local scout troop. They're going to lead in the patriarch when he makes his grand entrance into manger square. Tight security as they're expecting tens of thousands of pilgrims to descend, numbers as high as 90,000 estimated to come to this small village.

But if you want to get a seed to midnight mass you're going to be out of luck. Those tickets ran out about a month ago. Back to you, Kate.


BOLDUAN: There you have it. We can walk from afar. Thank you so much, Ian.

CUOMO: All right. We've been waiting for these to come out and now they're here. For the first time we're hearing from people inside a Reno Medical Center, chilling 911 calls made as the gunman opens fire.

Miguel Marquez, covered the story for us, has more. Important to hear these, not for the macabre, but to hear how people dealt with what was going on.

MARQUEZ: It is very rough to hear these, but they were handled very professionally as well.

It was big -- it's a giant campus there. This was up on the third floor. The guy walked through the building looking for this particular doctor in this call, you can hear the panic in the voice of the caller.


CALLER: My front office person ran back to me and said somebody has a gun and I said then, get out, get out now. And just I heard another one --

911 OPERATOR: OK. I need you to stay calm. Is your office door locked? Ma'am, is you office door locked?

CALLER: Yes. He is outside my door.

911 OPERATOR: OK, can you see him?

CALLER: Oh, my God.

911 OPERATOR: Stay calm. Don't say a word. Just be quiet and breathe.

Is he trying to get in?

CALLER: Yes, he is. He is trying. I don't want him to hear me.


He's going to (AUDIO DELETED) kill us. Please hurry please.

911 OPERATOR: They are on the way. I need you to stay calm. Stop whispering. Stay completely quiet, ma'am.

CALLER: Oh, my God.

911 OPERATOR: Did he shoot the door or is he banging on it, ma'am?

CALLER: I don't know.


MARQUEZ: God, it is hard to hear that stuff.

In this next part of the recordings, the 911 dispatcher advises the caller to hide behind anything she can find.


911 OPERATOR: Did you see it happen or just hear it?

CALLER: We just heard it. He's coming.

911 OPERATOR: He's coming? Can you hide yourself? Put yourself under a cabinet or something that in case a shot gets fired your way?

CALLER: We are sitting behind a table.


MARQUEZ: Now, police identified the gunman as 51-year-old Alan Frazier. They say he shot and killed a doctor, injured two other people and killed himself. Investigators say it was anger offer a botched vasectomy that might have been his motive based on messages he posted to an online support group. Just an awful, awful -- CUOMO: It's always a delicate balance for us, right? But you have to understand why we make the determination to play these when they come out to hear the first responders, the 911 operators what they do in these situations to keep people calm.


CUOMO: Right, and hear how people keep themselves calm.

MARQUEZ: It's incredible stressful. These events are happening so often and in places that they don't expect. It is just instructive for everybody to understand.

BOLDUAN: Miguel, you were on site, at that facility. As you said, it's a very large campus. Did he have to travel through the campus very far to get where he was going?

MARQUEZ: The building was close to a main road. There are several buildings in the campus but he had to go into a parking garage, go up three flights to where he was looking for --

BOLDUAN: So many more people were in danger.

MARQUEZ: People saw him with the shotgun but just got out of his way and he just kept going up, looking for this seemingly the doctor.

CUOMO: And because of his level of derangement, I remember from Miguel's reporting, the authorities felt this could have been worse, if people hadn't secreted themselves into areas, locked doors, done what they needed to do. He would have had access to a lot more victims.

MARQUEZ: This is a very busy place. He could have done a lot more damage.

CUOMO: So, horrible as it was, you know, there are a lot of families who are thankful to be home this Christmas for sure.

BOLDUAN: For families, absolutely.

Thanks, Miguel.

All right. Let's get back over to Indra for another check of the weather.

So, how is it looking right now, Indra?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, definitely, we're looking at just a couple systems out there, nothing really major but enough that some of us have hope out there today. That's all we need, right?

Let's take a look at the East Coast, a system we dealt with all weekend long, still taking its time, exiting off the coastline. That's not the one we're going to be watching.

What we are going to be watching is a little wave, can't see it on the water vapor over the lakes. And then the Alberta Clipper making its today over the lakes, going in that direction. It's kind of take them one by one.

Here, that little wave you couldn't really see in the first map, this little energy could dump a lot of snow just south of Buffalo. So, that's that lake effect snow as it makes its way all the way to the East Coast, yes, New York City could get some flurries, especially in through overnight.

So, perfect timing. You can thank me if it happens. Don't say anything if it doesn't.

All right. Let's take a look at the next system. Here's the clipper making its way across. Look at the timing here, right as you go in towards midnight mass, around Chicago, they could start to see a dusting of snow and then tomorrow morning, the actual white Christmas, there you go, we're looking at maybe parts of Indiana, also in through Michigan.

So, a little bit of a flurry in that region and then quickly kind of dissipating. These aren't strong systems. They don't hold together too well. You could actually see still kind of making its way off by tomorrow.

As far as how much you can get, not bad. I mean, a good two to four inches will be seen out there, starting in the Dakotas, in through Minnesota, also in through looks like Wisconsin and then, yes, back in through Michigan.

So, those are the best chances we're looking for, for the white Christmas and, yes, that tiny -- that tiny piece that could be seen off the lakes today. Temperatures, that's going to be the bigger story. Notice this morning, what a difference.

Look at the drop from just yesterday, 61 degrees in D.C. at this time. Yesterday, not so good today. Thirty-five degrees, New York City, same thing, Charlotte, everyone is seeing the 30s and the temperatures are going farther down. That's how we're starting the day off. They'll be going lower, especially by tomorrow.

Today, though, 41 for New York City. Nashville with high of 32 with their freezing mark. Ouch.

There you go. Tomorrow, even worse, 29 for New York City. Cleveland at the freezing mark, 32. Burlington, 16. No one complains about cold on Christmas.

So, not you, not a chime out of you after that chance you're getting.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to say quite. I don't want to mess up my chances for a white Christmas.

PETERSONS: Throw me party favors, that's fine.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY: McDonald's makes its money convincing us to east fast food, right? So, why is a website for its employees saying there are healthier options? We'll show you.

BOLDUAN: And it is a case of a disappearing hockey puck. Not sure a goal has ever been scored in this fashion. It's leaving many hockey fans asking, did I just see that?


CUOMO: Good song. The last regular season game at Candlestick Park, the San Francisco 49ers went out in style with a win over the Falcons. Let's bring in Joe Carter here with this morning's "Bleacher Report." Merry almost Christmas, my brother. What did we see?

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes. You, too, guys. We saw a great game, great finish. And of course, next season, there's a lot of talk about how the 49ers are going to move into a brand new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara. It's going to be called Levi Stadium. So, it's so long the Candlestick Park, of course, a lot of memories over the years in that park. The 49ers have played at that stadium, that iconic stadium since 1971.

But last night, the Falcons almost spoiled the goodbye party with two minutes left in the game, Atlanta recovered an on-side kick. Now, take notice that the guy who misses it for the 49ers makes it up right here, because the Falcons were in position to tie or win and Navorro Bowman, the same guy who missed the onside, returned the interception 89 yards for the game-winning score.

49ers pull off the shock there. That was a great way to say goodbye to Candlestick Park. And in the process, they clinch a spot in the playoffs. We'll know how they're seated come next Sunday.

Hey, reports are swirling yesterday that Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo, is going to be out for the rest of the season and they say it's because of his back. But last night, Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, said it's back spasms, that it's really nothing and head coach, Jason Garrett, says that he's going to be day to day, that's he's not out.

Now, the Cowboys have a huge game that's coming up against the Eagles on Sunday night. The winner of that game goes to the playoffs as NFC champs. The loser is out and we watch --

Hey, trending this morning on, it's one of the most bizarre plays you will ever see in hockey. You have to watch closely. See the puck up in the air? It ends up landing in the pants of goalie, Mike Smith. He plays for Phoenix. Now, Mike Smith has no idea the goalie is -- his goal puck is in his pants, so he backs up into the goal, you know, to defend the play.

But in the process crosses over the goal line, so, it's a goal for the other team, the Buffalo Sabres and it happens, guys, to be the game- winning goal. And right now on Twitter and on the social media out there, #buttgoal of all things is trending. But you've got to feel bad for Mike Smith there. I mean, he has no idea. He's just playing hard, backs in and gives up the game-winning goal.

CUOMO: These kids with the big, baggy pants these days. They think nothing can come from -- now you get a puck in the pants.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A slimmer, trim pants he'd be better off when he's defending the goal. Oh, my God!


CUOMO: It sounds like a good threat from our kids. You did that again, you get a puck in the pants.


BOLDUAN: Sounds dangerous. Joe Carter --

CARTER: Merry Christmas, guys.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: Merry Christmas.

BOLDUAN: Tighten that belt, Joe. We'll see you a little later.

All right. McDonald's is getting a lot attention this morning for what it's telling its employees not to do, that is, do not eat fast food. That advice is posted to an employee website which has caused problems for the company in the past. Alison Kosik is here with more. So, in this edition of what you don't want to see happen to your company.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It all stems from supposedly internal website in McDonald's called McResources, which really seems mcclueless if you ask me.


KOSIK: You know, what it does is it basically gives lots of information. It's kind of like a nice little blog for employees, but here's the thing. You've got McDonald's in its own internal website saying, no, stay away from fast food, because it says, I'm quoting here, "Fast food is typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt and puts people at risk of becoming overweight."

This from a company where you're seeing on the screen on the left, the hamburger, fries and soda, those are their staples, but they're labeling them the unhealthy choices opposed to the --

CUOMO: Huge sandwich.

KOSIK: Right. But it's almost like they're pushing people to go to Subway or something. It's like why would you do that? Why would you push people away from your own product?

CUOMO: What's the answer? Provocative question.

KOSIK: What's the answer?

BOLDUAN: Is the company controlling this website?

KOSIK: From what we are hearing from report, there's an outside company that McDonald's has hired to control the content of this website, but you think that the right hand is talking to the left hand. But --

CUOMO: Why would you think that?

KOSIK: I don't know. It's a common sense, but clearly, it's missing in this case. But McDonald's did reportedly come out with a statement yesterday. It said portions of this website continue to be taken entirely out of context. Here's what's interesting. McDonald's goes on to say that this website provides useful information from respected third parties about many topics, among them health and wellness.

It also includes information from experts about healthy eating and making balanced choices. McDonald's agrees with this advice. Are you kidding me?

BOLDUAN: I mean, it's no surprise. McDonald's knows it's in the fast food business. They know that there are some unhealthy options, hence, why they've been changing their menu. So -- I guess, it's a little bit --

KOSIK: It's stunning that they're putting -- this isn't just the only faux pas that McDonald's has done --

BOLDUAN: That's true.

KOSIK: Since the summer, they put out this financial planning guide. Mind you, its workers are minimum wage workers so they put out this financial planning guide for these workers allotting just $20 for health insurance and nothing, no money, allotted for food. It shows just how out of touch McDonald's is with its employees.

Mickey D's also had another blog post about how to get a handle on holiday debt. One of the suggestions was, hey, get a second job and then another sort of cherry on top was the holiday etiquette. On what to tip the people who work for you, meaning the pool boys, the au pair and masseuse. Do you think that people who get $9 an hour have a masseuse that they have to tip? It sort of -- it once again speaks of how clueless McDonald's seems to be.

CUOMO: Problem in a bigger economy, though, McDonald's jobs were not traditionally main jobs for people, increasingly they are.

KOSIK: Exactly. What's changed is that now you're seeing the majority of these minimum wage jobs go to older people, not just the teenagers they were initially intended for. Older people have families to support who can't pay the bills or can't make ends meet on the $9 they're getting.

CUOMO: Changing economy.

BOLDUAN: It looks like they may need to find a new third party provider for their website.

KOSIK: You think they would have gotten rid of them already after the other problems, but duh.


KOSIK: Good note to end on. Thanks, Alison.



MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Time now -- speaking of which duh -- time for your morning moment. You can't get enough of these, seeing these reunions with soldiers especially around the holidays, but one soldier from Florida took it to a new level of awesomeness. Roberto Vasquez came home from deployment without telling his girlfriend, Annalisa Bosco (ph) and gave her not one but two surprises of a lifetime just this weekend.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you marry me?




MARQUEZ: Cue the romantic music.

CUOMO: How sweet is that?

BOLDUAN: She's still shaking.

MARQUEZ: He's home, and of course, she did say yes. They'll be able to spend a few months together. He's being deployed again, though, in March.

BOLDUAN: That's the heartbreaker that we've heard in a couple stories now. They have their moment, a father who surprised his daughter at school -- is that what it was -- and then he has to go back two weeks later.

MARQUEZ: Yes. Rough. Rough life.

CUOMO: At least for him to know that he's married, you know, and he has that dedication to kind of help him through the deployment will help. You know, many argue it's harder for the spouse, the non- military spouse. Beautiful story for the holidays.

BOLDUAN: Beautiful moment. CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, Edward Snowden is making news again. What does he have to say about his NSA documents now and why does he say he's not backing down?

BOLDUAN: And we're just moments away from a space walk outside the International Space Station. We're going to have live coverage for you after the break.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'm ready to leave this work site.

CUOMO: Happening now, two American astronauts stepping into space at this moment. Are their suits OK? Are there other challenges they'll face? We're covering it live.

BOLDUAN: I already won. Edward Snowden speaking out overnight revealing more about his motives and what he plans to do next. Does he have more information to release?

CUOMO: Classic or crappolo? The raging debate this Christmas Eve, is love actually, actually a new Christmas classic or just a bad movie with misguided fans? We take sides. Enter the battle this morning.

Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, December 24th, Christmas Eve, 7:00 a.m. in the east and the spacewalk has begun. NASA's astronauts have their maneuvers under way. This is a Christmas Eve maneuver, very rare, and the job very urgent. It's a repair job to the International Space Station's cooling system. They've had trouble with this. So, we're going to cover it live. Let's bring in Alina Machado following the mission from the CNN Center in Atlanta. Alina, we know that it's begun. What's the status?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, it looks like they are just getting under way as you can see on the screen. The two American astronauts will be finishing up the work they started on Saturday and if all goes as planned, their mission should be wrapped up just in time for Christmas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome. Thank you. Good job.

MACHADO (voice-over): Today, astronauts will venture back out of the orbiting international space station. Their mission, to replace a pump needed to cool the vessel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if you guys believe in miracles, but I got the hitch pin on the first try.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's awesome, Rick.

MACHADO: Over the weekend, astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins removed the faulty cooling pump, which is the size of a refrigerator. They now must install the new one. Their task is a delicate one. The equipment contains a noxious cooling fluid, ammonia.

CHRIS HADFIELD, RETIRED ASTRONAUT: Some of the danger is hooking up the big heavy ammonia lines there that are really thick and massive. And hooking those up, of course, if you were to leak ammonia, it's not a really pleasant chemical. You couldn't bring it inside. So, there's definite risk out there.

MACHADO: Mastracchio will be wearing a newly tailored spacesuit on today's mission, a replacement after a cooling issue with his previous suit during the last walk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only issue that I personally am having is it's very, very cold. I've got very, very good air flow in my boots, but my toes are quite cold.

MACHADO: NASA says there was never any danger to the astronaut. After five hours of meticulous work from Mastracchio and Hopkins on Saturday, day one of the space walk is being called a success.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'm ready to leave this work site.


MACHADO: NASA hopes by Christmas, all the work will be done, leaving the astronauts to celebrate safely back on the space station.