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Four Americans Released in Libya; Economy Grew But Not Everyone Benefits; "Duck Dynasty" Star's Suspension Over; Target Confirms PINs were Stolen; Texas Man Charged with Hate Crime; 1.3 Million Losing Jobless Benefits; Interview with Jimmy Alexander; Obama's Rough 2013; Best Hangover Cures from Around the World

Aired December 28, 2013 - 07:00   ET



And good morning, everyone. I'm Deborah Feyerick.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. It is a pleasure to have you with us this morning. It's now 7:00 here on the East Coast. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY. And we're starting this hour with news that four Americans, detained in Libya have been released.

FEYERICK: The four military personnel were working security at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli.

Joining us now with more on the tense situation is our Sunlen Serfaty.

Increasing violence in that region. Boy, do we have any indication of why they were taken? Were they questioned?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Deb, we don't know why they were taken into custody just yet. There is still a lot the U.S. government itself is trying to figure out right now.

Here is what we do know at this point. Four military personnel were detained for some hours on Friday in Tripoli, held by the Libyan government. And hours later, overnight, the U.S. Defense Department confirmed to CNN that they were released.

A U.S. official tells CNN there were -- the four in Libya were, quote, "augmenting security at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli."

And Victor and Deb, a Defense official tells us they are in touch now with the Libyan officials. Back to you.

FEYERICK: All right, Sunlen, thank you so much in Washington there for us.

BLACKWELL: And new this morning, anger and frustration boil over in Egypt.

Yes, you can see and hear all the shooting there. Protesters are filling the streets for a second straight day. They're rallying in support of the Muslim Brotherhood which the government denounced as a terrorist group a few days ago. And the violence has been especially ugly on the campus of Azhar University in Cairo. Some 60 students have been arrested. And there are reports that one young protester died.

There are plenty of signs that the economy is coming back to life. Some would say roaring back. But the unemployment rate is at a five- year low. We know that. Car sales are a seven-year high. The Dow Jones is up 25 percent just this year.

FEYERICK: And it looks good, but despite all of this, many middle class Americans really say that they're still feeling the pinch.

Athena Jones takes a look at an exclusive new polls with some disappointing findings.

Morning, Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Deb and Victor. The unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 2008 and the stock market made big gains this year but Americans are still feeling glum about the economy, according to our new CNN/ORC Poll. Sixty-eight percent say economic conditions are poor, and more than half, 56 percent, say conditions will still be poor a year from now.

This pessimism is affecting consumer spending which is itself a big driver of the economy. More than a third, 36 percent say they've cut back on food and medicine because of the economy. Fifty-eight percent say they cut back on clothes and 56 percent say they postponed major purchases like furniture or appliances.

Now a big part of President Obama's message has been focused on how wage and income and equality is putting the American dream out of reach of millions of Americans who are struggling. In a speech in early December the president said battling inequality and the lack of upward mobility is the defining challenge of our time.

And at his press conference right before leaving for Christmas vacation, he talked about the need to create better jobs that help the middle class and help people who are trying to reach the middle class achieve that goal.

Let's listen to what he had to say.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think 2014 needs to be a year of action. We've got work to do to create more jobs, to help more Americans earn the skills and education they need to do those jobs and to make sure that those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let families build a little bit of financial security.

We've got to built on the progress we've painstakingly made over these last five years, with respect to our economy and offer the middle class, and all those who are looking to join the middle class a better opportunity.


JONES: Now what's still unclear is how well the president can work with Congress to pass the policies he believes will help -- Deb, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Athena Jones in Honolulu for us. Thank you.

FEYERICK: Well, Phil Robertson is back on the job. What? You didn't know he was missing? Well, the "Duck Dynasty" star, he's no longer suspended. Yes, he was actually suspended by the A&E network. Robertson was sidelined after making insensitive remarks about gays and blacks in a "GQ" article. He did apologize for some but not all of the comments.

Joining us now is CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter.

OK, Brian, let's be real. I saw more of Robertson in the last few weeks than I have in the last six months, not only that, but A&E actually ran a marathon with suspension lasting just 10 days. Did they just give into pressure? Or did they -- this was a massive marketing opportunity for them.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: You know, if you say to A&E, did you all plan this? Did you orchestrate this as a P.R. stunt? They'll laugh and they'll say they're not that smart.


I do think they probably tripped into this publicity opportunity. But that is what it's been. It got people talking about "Duck Dynasty," about A&E, and also about religious freedom and about tolerance. And about whether certain comments, in this case, about gays and blacks are acceptable or not.

You know, A&E put out a statement last night and in the statement they went on for a while and then said that, "After discussions with the Robertson family as well as other numerous advocacy groups A&E has decided to resume filming 'Duck Dynasty' later this spring with the entire Robertson family."

And, you know, when I read this, I was a little surprised because like you said it's only been about 10 days since they suspended him, but on the other hand, they were giving in not just to the pressure campaigns that were going on to have him brought back to the show, they're all sort of business common sense.

"Duck Dynasty" couldn't go -- A&E couldn't afford to lose the show and the Robertsons couldn't afford to lose the show. They had to figure out some way forward and it seems like this is the way they're going to do it.

FEYERICK: Yes, the only way forward now is for them to make public service announcements. We're going to talk about that in just a second but look, let's be realistic. You and I have spoken about this before, they've already got episodes that are shot, edited, in the can.

STELTER: That's right.

FEYERICK: So you can't suspend somebody and then roll out a new season. It just doesn't make any sense. Do you think first -- first of all, do you think Robertson will be involved in apologizing, given that his beliefs are his beliefs and he feels very strongly about them? This is a very scripted and scrubbed show for that matter?

STELTER: You know, I don't think the Robertson family really gave any ground at all. And that was notable yesterday when A&E acknowledged, you know, that the family have basically only said well, some of Phil Robertson's comments were -- well it used course language. That was really the closest they came to any sort of backtracking from his original comments.

Yes, I think A&E was in an impossible situation where they felt like they had to do something because of the offensive nature of some of the comments but by suspending him, they outraged so many other people and put themselves in a very difficult position. That's why so many conservative groups, conservative politicians, religious groups are today saying that A&E, you know, totally reversed itself. A&E backed down.

And I don't think that's -- that's not a wrong way to perceive this. But I do think there's a business story here that's even more important which is A&E had to find a way to keep the show going. As you pointed out, it already taped a bunch of shows with Phil Robertson. They're going to start airing in a few weeks. So the only question was whether he was going to participate in next season, which we won't even see on air for nine months or 12 months. Now with this announcement, we know that he will be a part of the snow going forward.

FEYERICK: You also got to wonder whether this is going to be precedent setting. You know what I mean? If somebody says something that's offensive on air, will networks simply back down based on public opinion, approval, disapproval? You know, are they going to show outrage?

STELTER: It does show how -- it does show how suddenly networks feel the need to respond.


STELTER: You know, we saw this with Paula Deen and the Food Network. We saw this with Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir at MSNBC more recently. We see the television networks still there's need to do something when there has been some sort of offense committed. But if they go too far, you know, we can also see the backlash that's caused this way.

FEYERICK: Yes. Hoist on their own petard.

BLACKWELL: You know, A&E released this statement saying "Duck Dynasty" is not a show about one man's views, it resonates with a large audience because it's a show about family. Where was that statement nine days ago?


STELTER: You know, I think the statement nine days ago where they said he was suspended indefinitely, indefinitely for nine days, you know, was the result of -- I don't know if the right word is panic, but the result -- was the result of some desire to do something. Right? To show some sort of disapproval. And they definitely sent a message of disapproval by suspending him.

But they knew I think that they had to figure out a way to get past this. Personally, I thought they would do it after the new year. I didn't think they would do it so soon. It turns out they were in talks with the Robertson family over Christmas eve. They took a one- week break for Christmas, of course, came back and sorted all this out on Thursday and Friday.

And of course now we're a few weeks away from that new season premiering, so it's going to create another round of excitement for the new season which I think A&E is probably aware of. Let's put it that way.


BLACKWELL: I think the difficulty here is that they wanted people to believe that this was a reality show and that it was real. And when one of its stars actually says something he really believes, uh-oh, what do we do now?

FEYERICK: It certainly wasn't out of character.


FEYERICK: He's a self-described, sort of, what, squirrel-hunting, red neck, duck-shooting -- blah, blah, blah.

BLACKWELL: His words.

FEYERICK: So anyway -- exactly.

STELTER: And I wonder if we'll see more of this on the show in the future. You know, right now, the show is a family comedy.

FEYERICK: That's the issue.

STELTER: It's lighthearted.


STELTER: It doesn't deal with themes of religious freedom.


STELTER: Maybe it will in the future. I personally would love to watch that show.

FEYERICK: All right. Brian Stelter, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES", thanks so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: Target is doing some damage control this morning. The company now says shoppers' PIN numbers were in fact stolen in that massive holiday security breach.

FEYERICK: Up next, we're going to tell you what you can do in order to protect yourself.


BLACKWELL: Thirteen minutes after the hour now. And a Chinese ship is not going anywhere. I can tell what you it's trying to do. The crew was trying to rescue another vessel in the Antarctic. The China's Snow Dragon is only six nautical miles from a Russian expedition vessel but the conditions won't let it move forward.

A French icebreaker is also now moving toward the two vessels and could carve a path out of all that ice. Sometimes, it's feet thick. So far the ship seems to have enough supplies to wait out this unfortunate delay.

If you shopped at Target this holiday season, beware. Target is backtracking after telling shoppers that debit card PIN numbers were not stolen during that massive security breach.

CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now from New York.

So what is Target saying about this now?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, well, Victor, Target is saying that the PIN numbers that were stolen had already been translated into an indecipherable string of code. The store believes that those PIN numbers remained encrypted now. So while they are saying that this information is safe if you're a shopper who had your information taken, there's probably no reason that you wouldn't want to take some extra steps to protect yourself.


FIELD (voice-over): Just a day after saying there was no evidence that personal identification numbers or PINs were accessed in its massive security breach, a turnaround from Target. The retail giant saying debit card PIN numbers were stolen along with names and card numbers as part of the recent hacking.

Still, Target insists the PIN code information is safe and secure, in a statement saying, quote, "The PIN information was fully encrypted at the keypad, remained encrypted within our system and remained encrypted when it was removed from our systems."

The company insists it would be unlikely that hackers would be able to unscramble the data. But some experts remained concerned.

DAVID KENNEDY, CEO, TRUSTEDSEC: The encryption itself is actually an industry grade standard. It's called Data Encryption Standard and they used something called Triple DES, which definitely allows it to be protected, but unfortunately the problem with PIN numbers is there are only four characters, which means that there's really only about 10,000 different combinations that you can do in order to get it.

So all together, it's not going to -- it's not going to hold up because hackers can do what's called brute forcing it to essentially grab those PIN numbers itself.

FIELD: The security breach affecting an estimated 40 million customers who shopped at Target between Black Friday and December 15th. If you are concerned about your account, experts say be vigilant.

SHAWN HENRY, PRESIDENT, CROWDSTRIKE SERVICES: They should be talking to their bank. They should be looking for unusual transactions, any type of anomalous behavior that they may recognize as fraudulent and contact the authorities, contact their bank officials immediately.

KENNEDY: I know it's a pain, but change your PIN number, call your bank and get a new card. That's the easiest way to do it. They say that you have fraud monitoring and monitoring detection that they're putting place in there, but really just as a peace of mind, just change it so you don't have to deal with it.


FIELD: All right. Target says that a decryption key is needed to decrypt those PIN numbers. The key wasn't stolen because Target doesn't hold it. It's held by an independent payments processor.

Security experts say that the PIN numbers would be almost impossible to decrypt if that key is strong enough, so, Deb and Victor, that's the question now.

FEYERICK: You know, it's so interesting, Alexandra, because it really seems as if Target was also a victim. I mean, let's be clear about this. They were hacked into, they had their information stolen as well. They've got security measures in place. I'm sure they're re- evaluating their security measures.

But, you know, it's interesting that they can say the numbers were stolen but they're encrypted so you're OK. And then you hear this expert saying, yes, but there are only 10,000 combinations so, you know, they might be able to figure that out. Shoppers, are they concerned or are they getting new cards which seems the logical thing to do?

FIELD: Right, something like this always raises big concerns, Deb. We have seen this grow, you know, first we were told that the numbers were taken. Now we're hearing that the PINs were taken, we're hearing this affects up to 40 million shoppers. So if you are a shopper, if you're out there using your debit card, this certainly gives you pause. You have to think about it and the easiest thing to do right now really is to call your bank and get a new card and get a new PIN number. This is the kind of thing that consumers at any stores really need to be aware of now. You're monitoring your bank statements, keeping in touch with your bank and checking for any possible instance of fraud because we know that now it just happens too often.

FEYERICK: Yes. Absolutely. And the debit card issue is obviously big. And people saying -- security experts saying use your credit cards so at least that way it doesn't get access to your account.

So Alexandra Field for us there in a very chilly Brooklyn. We appreciate it, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Another victim falls prey to the knockout game.

FEYERICK: Next, why prosecutors are going after his accused attacker on federal hate crime charges.


BLACKWELL: Coming up on 22 after the hour now, and if you have not had your flu shot, think about it because the season promises to be a dangerous one.

FEYERICK: Well, federal health officials say that over the past week, widespread activity has leaped from four states to 10 states. The most common strain is h1n1 which is blamed in the deaths of at least four children over the last few months.

As you remember, h1n1 was known as swine flu during the 2009 pandemic. That pandemic sweeping across the globe killing near 300 people in the U.S.

BLACKWELL: A 27-year-old could spend 10 years in prison for playing the knockout game. Prosecutors say Conrad Barrett's vicious attack on an elderly black man was racially motivated.

FEYERICK: The feds also claimed that Barrett laughed and said knockout as the man crumbled to the ground.

Margaret Conley has the latest on the attack and the charges.

Morning, Margaret.

MARGARET CONLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deb and Victor, in a case involving the brutal attack of an elderly man in one of these so- called knockout games, a federal judge in Houston has denied bail to the alleged attacker.


CONLEY (voice-over): 27-year-old Conrad Barrett has been charged with a hate crime for knocking out a 79-year-old African-American man. A Houston judge said today that the crime was vicious and Barrett, quote, "stalked his victim. There is strong evidence he committed his offense. It is a hate crime." According to the federal complaint, Barrett attacked because of the man's race and color and he made a video of the attack where he allegedly said, quote, "The man is to see if I were to hit a black person would this be nationally televised."

In a separate video, Barrett allegedly uses the N word and says that African-Americans, quote, "haven't fully experienced the blessing of evolution."

The brutal attack happened here in Katy, Texas, in November. The victim, who does not want to be identified, suffered two jaw fractures and was in the hospital for several days according to the federal complaint.

Barrett's attorney claims he is bipolar but was off his meds the night of the attack. Later he went to this bar and showed up the video to bystanders, one of them an off-duty police officer.

Knockout incidents have dated as far as 1992, according to the Justice Department. But a string of cases over the last year has garnered more national attention with video that has gone viral, from states like Illinois to Washington, to New York.

The purpose of the so-called game is to knock unsuspecting pedestrians out cold with a single punch. The Barrett case has prompted lawmakers to re-examine state versus federal hate crimes.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: State law just enhances hate crimes. In other words, your sentence is enhanced if it is proved that you committed a hate crime, however that's defined in a particular state. But under federal law, hate crimes are a separate crime, which again raises some questions about the constitutionality, about the equal protection clause.

CONLEY: Barrett's attorney says he is sorry. He will now await trial and if convicted could face a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.


CONLEY: I spoke with attorneys from both sides. Now the defense attorney, he's going to argue that his client has a mental disorder, he's bipolar and he was not on his medication the day of the attack.

I spoke to the victim's attorney and he says that while the victim is recovering, it's going to take a long time for him to recover emotionally -- Deb, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Margaret Conley for us. Thank you.

FEYERICK: And still to come on NEW DAY, a bleak new reality for people who just can't get work. Jobless benefits are being cut. And those suffering the most are being hit the hardest.

BLACKWELL: Plus, a sonic boom and streak of light over Iowa. What was this massive fireball? We've got an answer. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: Mortgage rates are on the rise. Here's how they ended the week. Take a look.


FEYERICK: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Deborah Feyerick.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Pleasure to have you with us.

Five things you need to know now for your NEW DAY.

Up first, four Americans held by the Libyan government were released overnight. The four military personnel were attached to a security detail with the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. It's not known why the four were initially taken into custody.

FEYERICK: And number two, at least 26 people were killed in a horrific train fire this morning in southeast India. According to a railway spokesman, some 60 passengers were on board when flames engulfed the passenger train. The cause is still under investigation. According to the BBC, many of the dead suffocated on thick black smoke filling the train.

BLACKWELL: Number three now. Hundreds of teenagers, look at this, running wild in a Brooklyn shopping mall. About 300 teenagers, overran King's Plaza, this was Thursday. They were banging on shop windows, scuffling with security, chasing away after Christmas shoppers.

Stores had to close their doors for safety on what is usually a busy shopping day. Well, the melee lasted about two hours or so with no arrests and no injuries.

FEYERICK: Number four, the "Duck Dynasty" suspension is over. A&E announced that Phil Robertson is back on "Duck Dynasty" after making insensitive remarks about race and homosexuality. Here's the statement, "After discussions with the Robertson family as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming "Duck Dynasty" later in the spring with the entire Robertson family.

BLACKWELL: Number five now, hundreds of people witnessed this. Look at your screen, it's a sonic boom and a streak of light. This is over Iowa. Experts are not sure exactly what it is but most people believe this fireball was -- in the sky was maybe some space junk or something, crashing through the earth's atmosphere.

FEYERICK: Well, a harsh new reality for out-of-work Americans today. 1.3 million of the long-term unemployed, we're talking about folks who have not had a job more than 26 weeks, now they're going to lose their jobless benefits.

Tom Foreman joins us with a look at who is going to be hit hardest. TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Who will be most affected by this program? The long-term unemployed. This is people who have already used up all their regular unemployment benefits for 26 weeks and now are getting these additional emergency benefits that Congress has approved and reapproved several times over the past three years.

It's those additional benefits that are being cut off. How much is it? About $300 per week to each of the recipients. And there are about 1.3 million people who will be immediately affected by this cut off.

They're spread around the country with some areas being hit more than others. In the northeast, you might look at New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, down here, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, California out here. Those are the places hit the hardest because they have the most people who have been unemployed for the longest period of time.

And all of this brings up a lot of uncertainties. For those who support the idea of cutting these emergency benefits they believe it will not only save the government $25 billion, $26 billion in the coming year, but also unemployed people may accept previously rejected jobs. Their theory is that this pushes people out there to look a little bit harder for work.

Those who were against this cut say nonsense, long-term unemployed people are less likely to find work. That's why they're having such a hard time. You're just not punishing them. You're not going to encourage them anymore at all.

And of course the biggest uncertainty, what is the impact of all of this on the economy? We don't really know right now if you take all that spending out but we'll have to see.

FEYERICK: All right. Tom Foreman for us, thanks.

BLACKWELL: Twenty-seven minutes until the top of the hour now. And there's new information on the man who is the target of a nationwide manhunt. Police say he killed a fellow officer in Mississippi. The FBI says the man had tried to rob a bank in Atlanta hours before robbing a bank in Tupelo.

Well, one police officer was killed in a shootout after the Tupelo robbery. Another officer was critically injured. Anyone with information is being asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

FEYERICK: And marijuana dealers in Colorado can't wait for New Year's Day. January 1st they actually can start legally selling pot. Many picked up their state licenses to sell this week. Last week voters -- last year, I should say, voters approved legalized recreational pot use for people over 21. Sales can't start until 2014. Washington is the only other state to legalize recreational marijuana so far.

BLACKWELL: More than 94,000 people are still without power this morning in the wake of extreme weather across the northern U.S. and southern Canada. Michigan has it the worst. More than 46,000 are still in the -- still in the dark there. And in Canada, more than 43,000 still don't have power. Overall, this is a big improvement from the -- about 15 hours ago, I guess, when more than 127,000 were in the dark.

Now the problem is that those without power are in the coldest part of the country right now.

CNN meteorologist Alexandra Steele joins us now.

So how cold is it for those people who were trying to find some way to stay warm without power?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, the electric company there says for the most part, we should have the power up by tomorrow or the beginning of next week. Can you imagine?

Look at Marquette. This is areas of Michigan. Four degrees, that will be the high temperature. Twenty degrees below average. Detroit even will only be in the 20s by Monday. So it's cold now, but even getting colder, as this kind of cold arctic air mass drops out. Really freezes these guys out. So some incredibly cold air on the docket and we're going to see it even drop another 10 to 20 degrees.

All right. The big story weather wise, we've got an area of low pressure here in the south that is going to be a rainy day. Atlanta, all from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia. Places in Georgia have had one of their wettest years thus far on record. So today maybe 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches unsaturated ground. Flood watch for much of Georgia.

Here's what's going to happen. Area of low pressure moves by about this afternoon, in toward Atlanta, Georgia. It's still dry there now. And then by tomorrow morning, you can see in the mid-Atlantic and Washington and then from Sunday into Monday, look where we're going to see it.

But, notice, the coldest air still to the west. The coldest air comes in, but you guys are really could have been a snowstorm for Boston and New York, and Hartford. But the cold air and the moisture kind of just missing each other. So the snow will stay in northern New England.

BLACKWELL: It's tough to complain about a rainy weekend when you know it could have been ice and snow.

STEELE: And the cold air so close but yet it's a day late.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Alexandra Steele, thank you so much.


FEYERICK: By the way, the skiers did not like that weather report, Alexandra.



Well, 2013 was a big year in music from twerking on stage to fighting with the paparazzi -- yes.

BLACKWELL: Yes. No shortage of drama in the music world. Up next, we'll talk about some of this year's most outrageous -- you know this is one -- outrageous moments.


BLACKWELL: Twenty minutes until the top of the hour and we are in the "E Block." That means time for some entertainment news.

2013 was a year to remember for Miley Cyrus.

FEYERICK: That's right, from her number one album "Bangers" to that teddy bear grinding, tongue wagging twerking thing she did at the Video Music Awards. Miley Cyrus stole, some say hijacked the show in 2013. If you thought she was done shocking, well, uh-uh, think again, they are eating it up.

BLACKWELL: Again, another song I like that I just, you know, don't get the video, but this is the latest video, "Adore You." It has already received more than 16 million hits on YouTube.

Let's bring in somebody who maybe gets the video, Jimmy Alexander, co- host of the "Mornings with Cindy and Jimmy" on Atlanta Star 94 FM.

You know the "Wrecking Ball" video, I get there's an actual wrecking ball in the video, I get that.


FEYERICK: You didn't see the wrecking ball, did you?

BLACKWELL: But this one, I don't get. Did she outdo herself? Is this one -- I mean, what does she do next?

JIMMY ALEXANDER, CO-HOST, "MORNINGS WITH CINDY AND JIMMY": Well, you know, Victor, I think what's missing from this music video is she's not licking maybe -- a sledgehammer would be too rough this time, but how about needle-nose pliers? I don't know.


But the one thing about Miley Cyrus is four months later we're still talking about her performance at the MTV Music Awards. And if you think of that night, 'N Sync got back together. The band got back together and nobody was talking about it the next day.

This girl I was lucky enough to interview her not too long ago. And she -- you know when you interview somebody, and they're not really with you? She was right there during the whole interview, she's smart, she's funny. And I think she has a plan and she's been able in a short amount of time to turn herself from, like, a product that you would buy like those Disney products or the Nickelodeon products, you know, they're not really artists.

I mean, they're performers but not really artists. I think she truly is an artist and she separated herself from that kind of Disney world this year.

FEYERICK: You know I want --

ALEXANDER: And she's -- and she's twerkilicious which is quite nice.



FEYERICK: Okidoki there.


FEYERICK: So, you know, one thing, you mention this, and this is an important point. Clearly Miley Cyrus is reinventing herself. She's no longer the wig-changing Hannah Montana character that everybody sort of grew up identifying her with. Is -- how legitimate is her music considered within the music world compared to this sort of in- your-face, shock branding that she's doing? Is one obscuring the other?

ALEXANDER: Well, you may be right about that. But she can sing. I mean, you hear "Wrecking Ball" or "The Climb," I mean, this girl -- this girl can sing. And she's a performer. And it's funny with -- sometimes singing just ain't enough. You got to be able to perform. And you got to be able to get media attention, and this young lady can do that and then she can sing.

And if you can go on stage and you can sing, and not lip-synch, and not have all that flash and trash around you to distract you from the fact that she can't sing, this young lady can go on a stage and sit on a stool and sing and blow the roof off the joint. I mean, she's that talented.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Justin Bieber, because although Miley Cyrus had a great 2013, Justin Bieber not so much. I mean, you know, he is arguing with paparazzi. We saw that video. He threatened to fight somebody. There was also the brothel in South America.

FEYERICK: Yes. That was --

BLACKWELL: And the photos taken and all that. But on Tuesday, he posted this on Twitter. I want to get this to you, too. "My beloved Beliebers," his followers are called. "I'm officially retiring." So -- and then he later posted a message reassuring fans that he's here to stay.

One, what is that all about? And, two, how does he turn around -- turn it around for 2014?

ALEXANDER: Well, this is a sad situation. I want to say first thing about Justin Bieber is he has done an incredible amount for charity, for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and that should be commended. On the other hand, remember, he took a leak in front of people in a mop bucket in front of a restaurant.


ALEXANDER: I mean, at that point, OK, thanks, it's time for you to head out the door. And I think the sad thing about Justin Bieber is he has a lot of people around him and he's the boss but he's a 19- year-old kid. And nobody is saying no to Justin. And he needs somebody who's kind of like an adult around him going, you can't do that. You got to be an adult.

With this kind of fame and this kind of fortune, there is a responsibility. And the sad thing is, you see Justin going down this road and it could turn out very, very bad.

FEYERICK: Yes. So he needs a reality check. He needs a reality check.


FEYERICK: He needs to be out of the spotlight for a little bit, get his head on straight. Maybe get over the breakup with Selena Gomez.

Very quickly, Netflix, amazing year. The company went from mostly mail subscriptions to one of the biggest sources of streaming Web content. Now the political drama, "House of Cards", "Orange is the New Black." Pretty astonishing. What can we expect from Netflix?

ALEXANDER: I think it's changed the way television will be delivered. If you think about the Golden Globes so many people were nominated and shows were nominated that were never on broadcast television. That's a first. Not on broadcast television. On Netflix. And I know if you're like me, you start watching -- I know Victor is -- with "Scandal."


ALEXANDER: I discovered on Netflix, and then you -- you need that fix, you're like, oh my god, oh my --


Oh my god, I need the new "Orange is the New Black", oh my god, I need the new "Scandal," I mean you go crazy. And "House of Cards" is like that. And I think five years from now maybe, that's how television is going to be brought to you. I mean, it's fantastic. I mean, anytime you get something like "Orange is the New Black" and see every episode, and then go see every episode of the "Rockford Files" in one place, it's magic.

FEYERICK: Yes, talk about on demand.

BLACKWELL: The "Rockford Files." Right.

FEYERICK: That's really on demand. OK. BLACKWELL: Jimmy, I was hoping to see more of the red blazer this week.

ALEXANDER: Hey, you know what I got for you? My red shoes.

BLACKWELL: Yes. You've got the red shoes. Absolutely. Very nice. I thought you were just doing --

ALEXANDER: Happy new year.

BLACKWELL: Like the freshman congressman thing with the red tie and black suit.


ALEXANDER: I'm running. I'm running.

BLACKWELL: I've always got to joke with Jimmy.

Jimmy Alexander, thank you so much.

ALEXANDER: Happy new year.

BLACKWELL: You, too.

FEYERICK: You, too.

Well, President Obama is wrapping up a rough year. It started off well then kind of seem to go downhill from there.

BLACKWELL: And coming up, we'll take a closer look at what went wrong and what the president needs to do to get his approval rating back up over 50 percent.


BLACKWELL: While in Hawaii on vacation, the president made a couple of calls to senators on the mainland. He was talking to them about extending emergency unemployment benefits to the 1.3 million people who are losing it today.

FEYERICK: Well, it's an effort to get back on track after a rough 2013.

CNN senior White House correspondent Brianna Keilar breaks it down.

Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Deb, it was in with a bang and out with a whimper. President Obama's approval has stabilized for now but he's got a big hole to dig himself out of in 2014.


KEILAR (voice-over): His year started like this. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So help me, God.

KEILAR: But it's ending like this.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Has this been the worst year of your presidency?

KEILAR: President Obama is closing out 2013 on a sour note. His approval rating, above 50 percent this time last year, now at an all time low. The drop began in the spring when the IRS admitted to targeting conservative groups, and stories of extensive spying by the NSA began to emerge.

At issue, whether Americans trusted him. It didn't get any better in the fall, when he pushed for a response to Syria's use of chemical weapons.

OBAMA: I have decided that the United States should take military action.

KEILAR: But then abruptly changed course when a war-weary Congress rebuffed him. And the Syrian civil war rages on.

In October, a two-week government shutdown cemented many Americans' views that Washington can't get anything done. All that would be bad enough, but the year's biggest pitfall was still to come.

OBAMA: We fumbled the rollout on this health care law.

KEILAR: The botched rollout of led to a candid admission of failure and a new dip in the polls but it wasn't just the Web site. It was this vow, now debunked.

OBAMA: If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan.

KEILAR: Obama was forced to apologize.

OBAMA: And I am sorry.

KEILAR: And fact-checking Web site PolitiFact crowned it the biggest lie of the year.

OBAMA: I am not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president.

KEILAR: You'd think this is as bad as it gets but if he doesn't turn things around ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, he could slide further.

AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: The only question now is whether it gets worse for him because then he loses control of Congress.

KEILAR: President Obama, though, is looking at the bright side.

OBAMA: I have also got to wake up in the morning and make sure that I do better the next day. And that we keep moving forward. And when I look at the landscape for next year, what I say to myself is we're poised to do really good things.


KEILAR: President Obama has laid out some specific priorities for 2014. The economy, immigration, climate change, but legislative action on those issues seems unlikely as the president faces a divided Congress in an election year -- Victor and Deb.

BLACKWELL: All right. Brianna Keilar for us in Washington. Thank you.

FEYERICK: Well, you've heard it before. Drink water, eat eggs, sip a Bloody Mary. If you're planning to party hard on New Year's Eve, yes, you may want to come up with a game plan. Coming up, we'll share some of the most unique hangover stories from around the world.


BLACKWELL: Who has not been there, right? There's an animal somehow running around the hotel room and then -- no? That famous scene from the movie "The Hangover" is how many of us, you know, feel after partying a little too much especially on New Year's Eve.

Now before you reach for the Bloody Mary, which I think is the worst drink ever created.


Personally. And this is to cure your headache, you might want to try these unique hangover remedies from around the world.

Let's bring in Nadia Bilchik, CNN editorial producer. Bring her back.


BLACKWELL: Yes. Well, I wasn't going to say it.

BILCHIK: You know, by the way, this is a great dinner party conversation. You go anywhere and ask people for hangover cures and they have got a multitude. But let's start in Britain. The big fat bacon sandwich. There's something about the greasy bacon and the bread that creates amino acids which are depleted when you have a hangover.

And then in Germany, it's all about pickles.

BLACKWELL: I can't imagine.

BILCHIK: Pickled pearing, with pickled cucumber and even in Mongolia, they have pickled eyeballs in tomato juice. Because you'll remember, the pickles are high in sodium.


BILCHIK: And sodium is an electrolyte lost during a hangover.

BLACKWELL: Yes. It's -- pickled -- but that would make me even more sick. To think that I was eating an eyeball.

FEYERICK: Well, I think that's why -- yes, exactly.


FEYERICK: Because then you're just dumping the day.


FEYERICK: You might as well just go to bed.

BILCHIK: Well, some (INAUDIBLE) believe you have a shot of picked juice even with some honey and actually some athletes suggest that you do that, too, before a big game when you're going to lose electrolytes.

BLACKWELL: I've seen people take a shot of pickled juice after taking a shot of Jamieson. It takes the burn away or something.

BILCHIK: Well --

BLACKWELL: I don't drink dark liquor but, you know, I hear it works.

FEYERICK: Self-medicating actually.


BILCHIK: Clear liquor is better for the liver. But in Turkey, they suggest tripe soup. Now tripe is the stomach lining of the sheep or lamb, very, very fatty. So that and the soup with lots of sodium.

Now this is a bit of a disturbing one in Vietnam.

BLACKWELL: This one is disturbing?

BILCHIK: It's a very popular cure.


BILCHIK: One that's coming up now. And that is ground rhino horn. Extremely popular in Vietnam.

FEYERICK: Illegal now.

BILCHIK: They actually call it the rhino detox. And it is illegal. And rhino are so endangered. And rhino horn is actually more expensive than almost anything. They say more expensive than cocaine.


FEYERICK: You know, it's so interesting. I mean, part of it also is that when you listen to these remedies, you want to -- it actually turns you off drinking for the most part. But there's a cure known as hair of the dog. So what is that?

BILCHIK: Well, hair of the dog, the idea was that if you were bit by a rabid dog, you would take the hair of the same dog that bit you and put it on the wound. So of course having alcohol after alcohol, while it may give you some temporary relief, but of course long-term it doesn't help.

Now have you heard of the prairie oyster?


BILCHIK: Egg. Raw egg, a bit of Worchester sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper, and it has the texture of an oyster and eggs have some special anti-oxidant that's supposed to help as well. Either raw or cooked.

BLACKWELL: I was feeling OK before this and now I'm feeling like I'm a little hangover.

FEYERICK: Yes. I'm thinking I'll have one less vodka tonic by New Year's Eve.

BILCHIK: But what is the best hangover cure ever?


BILCHIK: Abstinence.



FEYERICK: That's no fun at all, Nadia. Please.

BLACKWELL: We're going to actually have a beverage but --


I'll skip the sheep's eyeball.

FEYERICK: Right. Exactly.

BLACKWELL: Nadia, thank you.

BILCHIK: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So be sure to watch CNN on New Year's Eve. Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, they'll be live from Time Square. Always fun when they get together. It starts at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

And thank you for starting your morning with us.

FEYERICK: That's right. The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Deborah Feyerick.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Pleasure to be with you this morning. It's 8:00 here at CNN world headquarters. And this is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

We're starting this hour with a rescue on hold right now. Seventy- four people on board a Russian expedition ship in Antarctica thought they were going to get off the stranded ship.

FEYERICK: That's right. But now they're going to have to wait just a little bit longer. A short time ago we got this message from the deck of the stranded Russian ship.


CHRIS TURNEY, EXPEDITION LEADER: It's the 28th of December, 2013. And as you can see, the weather is closed in. We've got some snow falling. But it's not too windy.