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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  August 31, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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scenes of relief and joy after the isis grip on an iraqi town is broken. troops rushed in to rescue people who feared they could be slaughtered at any moment. we're live in iraq next. plus, we're waiting to see if the first openly gay player drafted into the nfl will actually play. michael sam was dropped by the st. louis rams yesterday. will another team pick him up? and it's the challenge that's taken social media by storm. dump a bucket of freezing cold water onto your head in the name of als research. the staggering amount of money raised coming up. first up, fighting isis from the air and ground. the u.s. and its allies pull together to end more than two months of terror for thousands of civilians trapped by isis militants in the town of amerli.
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last night u.s. aircraft launched strikes against isis targets surrounding the town. a retired iraqi general says the attack helped iraqi troops and volunteer forces break the isis siege and allowed u.s., european and australian aircraft to carry out humanitarian aid drops. many have been facing severe food and water shortages since the siege began in june. and today vice president joe biden talked by phone with the kurdish regional president about the isis operation and expressed support for the iraqi and kurdish forces that helped break the siege of that town. our anna coren joins us live from erbil, iraq. some of the residents were evacuated from that town and we saw dramatic images from the iraqi ministry of defense showing civilians rushing up to helicopters and trying to get whatever kind of relief or help they could. >> reporter: yeah, that's right.
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a few people were evacuated but for the rest of the township just pure joy to finally see the faces of the iraqi military who have come to their rescue. that of course thanks to those u.s. air strikes that you mentioned overnight really targeting the isis positions, artillery just fighting positions that have been the case for the last two months. they cutoff power. they cutoff water to this township of less than 20,000 shia turkmen facing potential slaughter. that was the warning a week ago to come to their need. it has taken, mind you, a good week before the united states and the international community responded but they finally did and you have to say that crisis certainly averted. in the meantime, fredricka, dozens of children died over the past few weeks because of those dire conditions on the ground. >> and the u.s. also carried out
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more air strikes near the str strategic mosul dam. what's the progress report on that? >> we were up there yesterday and while kurdish forces of peshmerga control mosul dam, this critical piece of infrastructure they got back last week, the surrounding areas, the townships, still controlled by isis. we were quite surprised to see that. we thought there had been quite an advance, a real push to get rid of isis but they are digging in and they have also got the support of the arab/sunni communities in that area which is part of the problem that iraq is facing. these sunnis have joined isis and this is why it is proving so difficult to fight them so, yes, that resistance we see a great deal of those u.s. air strikes obviously 115 today according to
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u.s. central command very much focused on this area to try to push back on isis militants. we have to take into consideration that the city of mosul which is iraq's second largest city is under complete control of isis. that's very much their stronghold for northern iraq. >> anna coren, thank you so much in erbil. president obama has taken heat for saying the u.s. government doesn't have a strategy in place yet to deal with isis in syria. some lawmakers wasted no time in turning it up a notch today. any reaction from the white house about today's advances in iraq and what lawmakers are saying in terms of criticizing his remarks? >> reporter: there is criticism and concern on both sides of the aisle. republicans especially want president obama to say whether his goal is to simply contain isis or defeat isis. and john mccain was on cbs this morning and he pushed hard on that point.
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listen. >> a full blown strategy would be recognizing that we now are facing the largest, most powerful, wealthiest terrorist organization in history and it's going to require some very strong measures to defeat them and they must be defeated and not contained and we first of all have to have a strategy. the president said he didn't. but what are our goals there? if you want to build coalitions, what are you telling our allies? >> reporter: president obama, secretary of state john kerry and defense secretary chuck hagel will all be traveling overseas in the coming week to try to rally allies to the united states to the cause to fighting isis and john mccain mentioned that point saying that they need to outline a goal in order to get other countries onboard. senate intelligence chairwoman dianne feinstein was also on nbc's "meet the press" this morning and she suggested that the obama administration is a
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little bit further perhaps than they are letting on in terms of coming up with a strategy. listen here. >> i think i learned one thing about this president and that is he's very cautious. maybe in this instance too cautious. i do know that the military, i know that the state department, and others have been putting plans together. >> reporter: in addition to that there are house democrats who have in the last day or so written a letter to house armed services committee, the republican, saying that they are afraid they're being sidelined and they want congress called back into session earlier than september 8th but mccain scheduled a classified briefing for that committee for september 9th but they're afraid the president is going to move ahead without congress and so they want to see more action quickly at least on capitol hill before
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anything goes forward. >> erin mcpike, thank you so much. >> back here the family, friends and fans of comedian joan rivers are praying for her recovery. melissa released this statement saying "thank you for your continued love and support. we're keeping our fingers crossed." joan rivers suffered cardiac arrest during a procedure at a clinic on thursday. melissa rivers says her mother remains in serious condition. the big story for millions of americans this holiday weekend could be the weather. roughly 12 million people in the midwest and plains states are phrasing violent weather conditions and jennifer gray has the details for us in the severe weather center. >> fred, we are going to look at the possibility of severe weather going through the afternoon and evening hours. minneapolis, des moines, omaha, kansas city, large hail, damaging winds and even the slight possibility of an isolated tornado.
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that threat will shift to the east as we go through labor day. chicago, indianapolis, st. louis, kansas city, be on the lookout for large hail and damaging winds especially into the afternoon hours. let's time this out. we have incredible moisture pulling in from the gulf of mexico. we are going to see some spotty showers in the mid-atlantic and the northeast as we go through late sunday into monday. minneapolis, showers and storms. chicago, in it for you as we go through monday afternoon. don't let your guard down on labor day monday. we are going to see some spotty showers down along the gulf coast in houston. that includes you. temperatures in the low 90s over the next couple of days. even chicago some showers on monday, clearing out nicely on tuesday. the west coast of course staying dry even the pacific northwest. your beach forecast looking good in daytona. we are going to see quiet conditions with highs in the mid 80s. a couple showers moving into myrtle beach labor day monday as well as tuesday. fred? >> thanks so much. all right.
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reza sayah, ukrainian troops are on the move trying to protect that southern port city. what more is happening? >> reporter: this is another town, another region that is in danger of falling into rebel hands and what's happening in this area is another sign that the pro-russian rebels are gaining serious momentum and it's a sign that ukrainian troops are in some trouble. this is a critical port city that sits on the coastline in southeastern ukraine about 15 to 20 miles east you have rebels seemingly bearing down and getting ready to move west although they haven't decided to do that yet. remember, it was thursday when the pro-russian rebels opened up a new front here in southeastern ukraine pushing west. at this hour they are right on the outskirts and right outside the city you have the ukrainian troops hunkering down building fortifications and getting ready for the fight if it comes to
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them and behind that line you have the city itself where you have residents very concerned and very scared and some have left town and others are hunkering down. if pro-russian rebels take the city, the next city is crimean peninsula. if rebels make it there, they would have made land link from the russian border to the peninsula which is a significant achievement. north of this area the rebels also making progress pushing down toward the sea coast taking more territory. yesterday you had 28 soldiers just leave the fight and retreat. today 16 other soldiers retreated. our cnn crew in that region witnessed ukrainian soldiers retreating dejected and defeated. remember the western capitals, they are convinced that rebels are doing this with the help of
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moscow, with russian troops. moscow of course denies this, fred. there's no denying at this hour the rebels are gaining momentum and gaining territory and the ukrainian troops apparently on their heels. >> all right. reza sayah, thank you so much from kiev. appreciate that. the threat from the militant group isis is growing every day and now the major question in washington is what can be done about it and who should the u.s. or who should accompany the u.s. in order to take action in syria as well. more on that next.
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iraqi security forces and volunteers have broken the two-month siege and retaken the town of amerli from isis militants. it's in central iraq. people there were desperate for food, water and medical supplies. u.s. air strikes helped end the siege and air drops brought humanitarian aid to these people. should the u.s. take the fight to isis at its core in syria? candy crowley asked two key members of congress that on "state of the union" today. >> what is the message here about what our current take is
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from this administration about isis? >> first thing is we have to protect americans. that's the number one issue. we got into iraq because we had humanitarian issues that we had to deal with and because we have to stop isis. it's very dangerous group of people. we know they are barbaric but they are well funded and organized and we have to make sure we attempt to stop. iraq is different than syria. iraq we had relationships there. government wants us to come. we have intelligence with kurds and iraqi military. in syria, it's a different story. it's another country. the syrian government has airpower so you just -- >> they don't like isis either. the fact is that is not new. i think what people question was why aren't we thinking about this? >> are regoiwe going to contain
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or crush isis. you engage them in iraq. i commend president for making moves in iraq. it wasn't easy for him to do and the right thing to break the siege to push the momentum back of isis and we've seen that airpower works. when airpower comes in in coordination with peshmerga forces, those are boots on the ground by the way are folks native to that area and have an interest in and even our own military. when we find ourselves engaged in combat, the first thing our own military who are best in the world is they call for airpower to come in and crush the enemy and help them move forward. >> do we want to contain isis or do we want to destroy isis? >> we want to do whatever we need to do to stop isis. now, in order to do that -- >> that would be? >> we need a plan. i know the president was criticized saying we don't have a plan. we're working whether it's military intelligence which is the best defense against
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terrorism. getting together that plan right now. now, you just don't come in and bomb unless you know where you are, who you're going to get. you don't want collateral damage killing other people. when the time is right, we'll do what we have to do. the other issue is our coalitions. it's not just the united states. we can't be sheriff for the whole world. it's france and the brits and other countries that need to work with us including countries like saudi arabia in that region. >> and the first openly gay player drafted into the nfl is now out of a job so will michael sam play this season? we look at his options next. ♪ ♪
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as you see it purports to show militia members diving into an embassy swimming pool and having a good time. the u.s. embassy was evacuated last month during heavy militia violence. the u.s. ambassador to libya says the u.s. embassy compound is now being safeguard and has not been ransacked. three people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters in pakistan. hundreds were injured. police fired tear gassed as crowds threatened to march to the prime minister's home. the protestors have been demonstrating for two weeks now. they say the last election was rigged and they want the prime minister to step down. he has refused. a tragic start to the labor day weekend at a beach in oregon. a 9-year-old girl was killed when a hole she was digging caved in. isabelle grace franks was playing with her siblings when the accident happened on friday. people frantically tried to dig
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her out but sand kept collapsing into the hole. witnesses say the hole was several feet deep. mourners left flowers and candles near the hole that is now filled in. in iceland, authorities issued another aviation alert. it comes after another fresh lava eruption near a volcano. planes were banned from flying within 6,000 feet of the volcano's peak. no ash has been detected and authorities later lowered the alert. now to the nfl's first openly gay player dropped by the st. louis rams. michael sam got cut yesterday just eight days before the team's home opener. cnn's sports andy scholes explains. >> reporter: on the final day for players to secure spots on nfl rosters, all eyes were on michael sam. 24-year-old from the university of missouri and the league's first openly gay player found out saturday he had been cut from the st. louis rams. >> it's a football decision.
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it's no different than any other decision we make. it was a football decision. it was a football decision back in may to draft mike. once again, i mean, it's been all about football. you know, i will tell you this. i was pulling for mike. i really was. >> reporter: sam tweeted after his release thanking the rams saying i look forward to continuing to build on the progress i made here toward a long and successful career. the most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy. this is a lesson i have already known. the journey continues. while his time with the rams has ended, hardly an end to the dream. sam joins the ranks of the nfl free agents talented enough to play but without a team and eager for the next opportunity. >> i made some big plays in games and in practice. i improved every week. i think i can play -- i know i can play in this league. >> reporter: sam's career will likely go one of two paths. either as a member of another nfl franchise or he'll sign as a
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member of the rams practice squad which is a group of ten players that do not travel or suit up for home games. either way, sam's journey to make an nfl roster continues. >> very, very productive in the preseason for us. and played all four spots. he's a very talented young player that i think has a really good future. >> whatever happens, happens. i let chips fall where they fall. >> reporter: andy scholes, cnn, atlanta. >> let's continue this conversation with keith reed, former espn reporter. this kind of cut is typical i understand. michael sam was not your typical rookie. what happened here? >> it really wasn't different like your package said than any other player. he was drafted in the seventh round. it's not the easiest thing to do to draft in the position that
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michael sam was in. st. louis rams have one of the strongest defensive lines in professional football. so he was trying to make a unit up against veterans and really strong defensive end who was rookie coming in for one roster spot as a very low draft pick and someone that came in from later rounds. really seems like business as usual here. >> what's different or what seems what's different is rams received huge attention for grabbing sam. so didn't the rams have kind of added incentive to make it work with sam no matter what particularly because this was a high profile draft. >> not in professional football. in professional football the name of the game is winning. the nfl was probably closest you can find in any endeavor in the united states. they put the person on the fields that gives them the best opportunity to win. they had a competition at the defensive end position and he
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did well in the preseason. it's just that he's trying to make a team where they are already stacked at that particular position. there's not a team in the nfl who will go out in the name of being a pioneer socially and put themselves in a position where they don't think they're situated to win just by drafting and allowing someone to make a team if they didn't really think that person would be the best person at the spot. >> let's talk about the nba and a huge endorsement. nike reportedly matched underarmor's offer between $265 million and $285 million to keep kevin durant. why would it pay so much to keep durant and why would nike say he'll pay more? >> kevin durant is the all-american kid. he had an incredible year.
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he's the nba scoring champ. nba mvp. he gave that really heartfelt speech where he says to his mom, you're the real mvp. that's a tag line all over twitter. this guy is absolutely positively bankable. he's in the stratosphere so he's worth it to them. you can sell him. he's a crossover american sports hero at this point. he can help you sell shoes. >> oklahoma thunder fans were worried that this kind of deal would really set him up for a big move and maybe going back to washington. was there anything to that kind of psychology? >> i don't know the under armour deal sets him up. we talked long ago with lebron james and what made with his deal when he made a decision to
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go back to the cleveland cavaliers. same situation. under armour deal won't make much in that situation. it figures to pay him more than he was going to make with the oklahoma city thunder anyway. he's not about to quit professional basketball so he won't move because he got the deal with under armour. they'll have to compete for his services. >> all fascinating stuff. appreciate it. all right. you have seen the videos everywhere. the als ice bucket challenge. it's gone crazy on social media. coming up, we'll tell you how much money it has raised so far and i'll talk to our own suzanne malveaux who has been deeply impacted by als. you know her story. she'll bring us up to date. ♪
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it has been a fund-raising phenomenon. the als ice bucket challenged has brought in millions of dollars and counting in just over a month. 34 times higher compared to this time last year. it has also brought new awareness to a devastating disease. elizabeth cohen shows us why this fund-raiser has been so successful. >> reporter: superman and lois lane got dosed. this guy did it in an airplane
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upside down. in just one month, the ice bucket challenge has generated $100 million. as of friday, the als association says donations are up an astonishing 3,504% from the same time period last year. and while you can say that's hat hashtag amazing, there's a worry that the expectations may be disappointed because even with all this money, a cure for als is still a long way off. >> progress against these tough issues takes patience and it takes time but we're not going to see results overnight and nobody should expect that. >> reporter: phil buchanan is president of the center for effecti effective, he says that donors want to see quick results and they want to know where their money is going right away. >> a tempation atiotation to g
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quickly but it amight be wiser o see what develops and fund that in a bigger way. >> why is there pressure to distribute it quickly? >> think donors may just have an expectation that it's simpler than it is. >> the als association doesn't have a breakdown yet of how all of the ice bucket money will be spent and acknowledged spending pressures directly in a statement this week saying this isn't a matter of spending these dollars quickly. it's a matter of investing these dollars prudently to achieve maximum impact in our quest to help people living with the disease and those yet to be diagnosed. while a cure may not come overnight, at least for now more and more money is. with ice bucket challenge donations now averaging $9 million per day. >> charity als. donate. >> elizabeth cohen, cnn, reporting. a portion of the money being
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raised is going to research and right now there are treatments that help some als suffers. as elizabeth cohen mentioned, there's still no cure for the disease. i want to bring in a great friend here, cnn's suzanne malveaux has her own personal story about battling als. her mom has been battling for the last several years. good to see you. >> it's great to see you, fred. i have to thank you and cnn. we're grateful as a family that we were able to do the three-part series last year on als before it became popular. this is something that 2 1/2 years ago when my mom was diagnosed with this disease, i didn't even know what it was. people come up to us and up to my mom and ask how can we help and what can we do and learning about what this means for so many of us who are directly impacted. >> you know, you have really helped educate so many people about it and along the way with this ice bucket challenge, it
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has a plight that you have talked about for you, for your mom but really your whole family so we want to show how your whole family got involved in this ice bucket challenge. >> my mom was diagnosed with als 2 1/2 years ago and she is still in the fight. if you would like more information about our story, please go to our website. we're challenging wanda sykes and cnn being the leader of als awareness, my boss jeff zucker. are you guys ready? >> that's ready. all in the family there. so give us an idea of, a, how is your mom doing and what has it been like for your family especially as of recently? >> i want to thank my niece to
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bringing that together. it was difficult to get us all together. i want to know all three people we challenged did accept and they'll do it. we tweeted out wanda sykes and angie harman. it's been a real challenge for my mother. she loved to dance. very social. always very active. this was fast moving and hard hitting. she now has 24-hour care. a great team of caregivers and my father and sister who are taking good care of her. this disease has robbed her of almost all of her physical abilities. she has feelings and emotions inside so when her friends and when we come around and we spend time with her, she says with her eyes i love that you're here. i love you. this is a good thing for us to all be together. you can imagine how difficult that would be for someone. >> these are beautiful pictures. there is more we want to share with people.
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i know a lot of people took notice from the pieces that the three-part series that you did. here's a little bit of one of them. >> your mother was in the end stage of als. she would have moved into a coma and she would have died within a few days. >> instead mom chose an extraordinary life saving measure to get a tracheotomy. a tube hooked to a machine that would force air into her lungs and breathe for her. a game changer. it would be nine weeks in the hospital learning how to care for her before mom would be able to come home on life support. >> breaking out. getting out of here. >> good luck. >> her journey is bringing us closer together and changing us as a family. >> i learned i have inner strength i didn't think i had. >> mom's message to all of us,
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pea be strong. >> your family has grown. you're now a mother yourself with the new addition. how has that brightened your mom's eyes too. >> it's so wonderful. i'm glad you asked me about that. she's a grandmother all over again. they spend so much time together just mesmerized by each other. they sit together. they watch. she brings a new life and energy into our family, which is really very welcome. i wanted to emphasize again this is something where over the last two, two and a half years she lost her ability to eat, speak and breathe on her mother and move on her own so when you have something that gives you energy and a boost, it's so welcomed. it's something that we really needed. it's good to be back, fred. it's good to see you as well. for all of those supporting als, it doesn't matter where you contribute if it's mda, als
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association, we decided to support research but as long as people are talking about this and paying attention to this, it gives hope to my mom and many others who have been personally impacted by this. >> you have helped raise awareness. we wish your mom the best. always thinking of her. kisses to your daughter. she's so beautiful. congrats to you and so glad you're back, mama. you have to get used to that. >> my gosh. >> and no sleep. >> that will go on forever. i still got that. operating without sleep. i think it's forever until maybe the kids go off to college. i don't know. maybe sthathat's a new worry af that. i'm here for you. good to see you. welcome back. you can go to suzanne's als website. all right the frantic effort to stop ebola has forced quarantines in regions of west africa. next, a cnn crew takes us inside
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the quarantine zone and shows us what daily life is like for people paralyzed by fear of this deadly virus.
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a human trial of an experimental ebola vaccine begins this week at the national institutes of health in
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bethesda, maryland. ebola killed more than 1,500 people in west africa. liberia is one of the hardest hit countries. we venture inside an ebola quarantine zone and see the harsh realities facing>> report only part of the puzzle. it's own part of this unfolding crisis. to get a better sense of what's happening here, we head north to loafer county, near the border of sierra leone, part of the tricountry quarantine zone. the roads are just so bad here, it's a legacy of the years of fighting in this country suffered through. and it's impeding an effective response to this crisis, because it's not just about the lack of health care infrastructure, it's about lack of physical infrastructure, we had to tow another car out of a crater in
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the middle of the road. we are now in the county, we are inside the quarantine zone that stretches through the north of liberia, into neighboring sierra leone and guinea. lofa ground zone, we have to go in and get screened for ebola before we go further, in case we're carrying the contagion into the already-infected areas. 6.9, okay? >> that's okay. >> since we got here, we haven't been touching anyone, shaking hands, touching each other. it's been quite strange to have that distance any time you meet someone, any time you try and talk to someone to find out how they are, how they're feeling to constantly keep that space between you.
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we've arrived at our base for the night here, and the last thing that we need to do before we go to bed is take our temperatures. absolutely normal. as probably always will be. but there is always a little part of your mind that thinks, taking the thermometer out of your mouth, what if it's not? this goes back to atlanta, they chart it to measure for variation in my physical state, in the teens well-being but it helps with managing that paranoia, and i think that has been the you biggest challenge here the a biggest challenge a lot of people face, how do you not allow your mind to go to that place every time you walk out through the door and interact with other people? >> thank you for that report inside on ebola quarantine zone in liberia. he's a little league national champion, but he
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doesn't have a place to call home. what a local business is doing to help one of the players from the jackie robinson west, next. so i get invited to quite a few family gatherings. heck, i saved judith here a fortune with discounts like safe driver, multi-car, paperless. you make a mighty fine missus, m'lady. i'm not saying mark's thrifty. let's just say, i saved him $519, and it certainly didn't go toward that ring. am i right? [ laughs ] [ dance music playing ] so visit today. i call this one "the robox."
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all right. cnn is getting another look inside the secret state of north
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korea. will riply got a look at how the government is using pro-wrestling to entertain people. >> reporter: pro wresters wrangling in the ring would almost never be international news. but this is north korea and these are american fighters. saying, thanks to a pyongyang crowd of 13,000. >> we're here to do something bigger and better. >> reporter: john "strongman" a anderson and bob sapp may not be household names to most but in north korea they're getting star treatment like they haven't had in years. pulling crowds all over the capital. public stunts with smiling kids and a host country keen on any positive international press. we, like the wrestlers, have been invited here and being shown a limited view of the
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country. >> what we expected a lot of gloom and doom -- >> reporter: to north korea, they're seeing very different than a country described by a panel as a brutal state, accused of torture, slavery, mass starvation. >> you can find some crappy political view on everything. >> reporter: foreign tourists are getting a carefully-controlled capital city tour, chinese, japanese, even this american hip-hop artist, co-founder of the group, the fujis. >> infrastructure scene really for a third world country. >> reporter: what we're allowed to see. >> yeah, yeah, exactly. >> reporter: japanese retired pro wrestler turned politician organized this event. he says, sports diplomacy can bring north korea closer to the outside world. >> you they, this isn't the first time pyongyang's had a wrestling festival like this. they had one 20 years ago. back then most audience members thought the fighting was real. this time they're enjoying the
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performance but they see right through the theatrics. it looks more realistic in person than it does on television, this woman says, diplomatly. the biggest applause of the night for something far more familiar to this audience, a perfectly choreographed tae kwon do display, here to see what the outside world has to offer. but this is their world. this is north korea. will riply, cnn. >> back in this country, the 12-year-old is the baseball fee none who scored that game-winning run for chicago's jackie robinson west team in the little league national championships. what many didn't realize, during all of those intense games, he was homes. he and his parents have been staying at various friends' homes since june, but now all of that's changed. a chicago businessman announced he'll pay the family's rent for an entire year.
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>> he's a superstar. and superstars, you can't -- the superstar and homeless don't go together. we had to do something for this little superstar. our superstar, chicago's superstar. >> we've got so much straight ahead in the newsroom. and it all starts right now. hello again, everyone, i'm fredricka whitfield. stories topping our news this ho hour. unoccupied u.s. embassy in libya overrun by members of an islamist militia. militia members on embassy grounds even diving off the roof into the swimming pool. u.s. diplomats evacuated the embassy last month. no comment yet from the u.s. state department. in ukraine, full-scale war with russia is inchi c