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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  December 26, 2009 4:00pm-5:00pm EST

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i'm cnn meteorologist bonnie schneider tracking weather and travel conditions for this busy travel weekend. two to four more inches of snow for chicago. winter weather advisory continues for that area. we're also watching out for blizzard conditions out to the west. the system still bringing some very heavy snow to the northern plains. we're also tracking rain, kind of a cold rain happening over the new york area right now, and if you're wondering how is this affecting travel, well t. certainly is. we have lots of airport delays in chicago, new york city, philadelphia as well. most of these are light but be prepared, they could grow in volume as we go through the evening. stay tuned. we'll have a lot more coming up
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with "cnn newsroom" with fredricka whitfield. when i saw the suspect, he was getting a fire, and i freaked, of course. without any agitation, i jumped over the seats and jumped to the suspect. i was thinking he's trying to blow up the plane. >> that was a harrowing account of one of the passengers on board that northwest airlines flight. battled to subdue an alleged terrorist as that airliner lands in detroit. the suspect is in custody, but did he have help? police search the london apartment where he last lived. you're in the "cnn newsroom," where the news unfolds live this saturday, the 26th. i'm fredricka whitfield. authorities have just filed charges against a 23-year-old nigerian man accused of igniting
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some sort of explosives board a u.s. airliner. security removed umar farouk abdulmutallab from aboard the plane after passengers and crew members subdued him. the struggle happened shortly before flight 253 lands eed detroit yesterday. abdulmutallab is the son of a nigerian banker. he's being questioned by the fbi, and one official says he's actually talking a lot. sources say his name was placed on a general watch list a few weeks back but he wasn't considered enough of a risk to warrant revoking his u.s. visa. let's check in again with our jeanne meserve in washington. jeanne, you heard and learned a lot today, everything from the charges involved to now the components or chemicals or things that were located as it pertains to this investigation. >> that's right, a federal, criminal complaint has now been filed against umar farouk abdulmutallab charging him with attempting to destroy this northwest airlines plane and with placing a destructive device on the aircraft.
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according to an affidavit filed in connection with these charges, a preliminary fbi analysis of the device strapped to his body showed that it was petn, which was a high-caliber explosive. in addition, the affidavit says they found the remnants of a syringe near his seat. that's believed to have been part of the device that he was carrying. according to this affidavit, they interviewed members of the crew and passengers on board this flight. they said that this individual went to the bathroom for about 20 minutes, came back to his seat complaining of a stomach ache, carried his lap with blankets, and then they started hearing the popping noise, which we now know was his attempt to apparently detonate this device. one flight attendant asked him what he had in his pocket. according to the affidavit, he replied, "explosive device." now, these charges may not be the final word -- certainly won't be the final word from federal authorities on this individual and what he was up to. one administration source tells us that we are still pulling the
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strings on this, meaning they are trying to figure out more about who he might have associated with, what other people or countries might have been involved in his effort to bring this alleged effort to bring down this plane tlxt have been a lot of questions, fred, about why he had a visa to enter the united states. according to a senior administration official, he got a visa back in june of 2008 when there was nothing in his files that would have raised a red flag and led them to be concerned about this individual. he got a multientry visa in london. the official says that the father of this individual did alert the u.s. embassy in nigeria in recent weeks that he had concerns about his son and what he might be up to. that information was passed on to the national counterterrorism center, which maintains the watch list. according to this official, a file was opened on him but information about him was not considered specific enough that he was put on a no-fly list or his visa was revoked.
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and that's the information we have thus far. he's making a court appearance today. perhaps we'll get more information at that point in time. >> jeanne, i have a quick question about that visa. do we know whether or not, did he receive that u.s. visa for educational purposes, or does it have to be a reason associated with him being granted one? >> the information from the senior administration official was that this was a tourist visa. it allowed him to come into the u.s. several times over multiple years issued back in june of 2008 in london, where he was a student. >> got you. jeanne meserve, thanks so much for washington. appreciate that. let's go to detroit now, where we find our martin savidge as well. this is kind of the centerpiece of the information. this is still the location where the suspect is being hospitalized and being questioned. >> fredricka, it's expected that appearance where he's going to go and hear the federal charges held against him, this is the 23-year-old nigerian suspect, will take place in his hospital room. apparently he suffered third
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degree burns as a result of the detonation that took place that he triggered on board the airplane yesterday. as a result of that, apparently, he's not capable to go to a federal courthouse, so in essence, the federal courthouse will come to him so he could hear those charges as jeanne outlined just a few minutes ago. petn, by the way, that explosive, has actually been around for a long time. it came about at the end of world war i. it's considered to be similar to night troe glycerin, and it is also the same material used by richard reid, the shoe bomber when he tried to light his shoe on fire with the explosive in december of 2001. that was on a flight that was going from, i believe, paris to miami. that, too, was thwarted thanks to the quick actions on the part of crew members and by passengers. of course, that was the same thing that happened yesterday. so we're still learning more about this investigation, and exactly were others involved. the in fact that you have this explosive material, petn is not that common, would imply that perhaps the suspect did in fact
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have help, and there is now an organization that is linked to al qaeda coming out of yemen that is saying, yesh, they did supply the explosive material and they did give the training to abdulmutallab that allowed him to try to carry out his attack. again t. d again, it did not appear his explosive device worked correctly and, again, because of crew members and passengers yesterday, a very bad situation was prevented from happening. seen so, a very bad thing is going to happen for many of the traveling public. a lot of delays probably because now there are new and stricter search restrictions that are being put in place for passengers that are traveling. not just domestically, not just for people coming home for the holidays, but anybody traveling overseas coming back to the united states. you can expect more thorough searching, and then on top of that, greater restrictions for your movements on board the aircraft, especially as you approach u.s. airspace. that information will be released later but you can anticipate if you're traveling
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by air in the coming days and weeks, you better give yourself more time. fredricka? >> thanks so much, martin savidge. appreciate that from detroit. martin was talking about the passengers that were very vigilant. among them jasper schuringa. he was on board flight 253. he actually heard the pop sound, saw the smoke and the fire and then he jumped into action. i spoke with him earlier. >> i reacted on the bang and suddenly there was smoke piling up in the cabin. so people were screaming, "fire, fire." the first thing like we all did was to check where the fire was. and then i saw the suspect, and he was turning on the seat. >> how many rows back were you? >> sorry? >> how many rows -- you were behind this suspect when the smoke -- >> no. i was on the right side of the plane and the suspect was on the left. there were quite some seats in between. when i saw the suspect, he was getting on fire, and i freaked,
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of course. and without any hesitation, i just jumped over all of the seats and i jumped to the suspect because i was thinking, you know, like he's trying to blow up the plane. and so i was trying to -- to search his body for any explosives and i took some kind of object that was already melting and smoking out of him and i tried to -- i tried to -- to put out the fire. and then when i did that, i was also restraining the suspect. and then the fire started beneath his -- his seat. so with my hands and everything, you can see it's a little burned, i put out the fire and other passenger s helped me as well. and i was screaming for water, water. because a fire in a plane is not that good, of course. so by then the fire was actually getting a little worse because what i did, it didn't extinguish the fire. so i grabbed the suspect out of the seat, because if he was
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wearing any more explosives, it would be very dangerous because he was almost on fire. and when i grabbed him from the seat, the chemical came with fire extinguishers and they got clear of the flames. just to be sure, i grabbed him with another attendant and we took him to first class, and there we stripped him and contained him with handcuffs and we made sure he had no more weapons, no more bombs on him. >> jasper, when you saw -- you talk about how something underneath the seat was on fire, was something on fire on him or was it -- did it appear to be the seat that he, you know, may have set on fire and then as a result he also burned as well? >> well, like he was -- he put something on fire that was hidden in his pants and apparently it was dripping. like the liquid or anything like that, it dripped down on the floor and two pillows got
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like -- two pillows got ignited. but it went very quick, and like we're all just reacting to the fire. and everybody was panicking. >> tell me about him. was he fighting you? was he struggling? did he just seem to -- upon discovery, just kind of let it go and you all were able to handle it? >> he was very calm. he was shaking but he didn't resist anything. he was just sitting there. he looked like a normal guy as well. but he was just hard -- hard to believe that he was actually going to try to blow up this plane. >> was there anything about limb prior -- him prior to that incident that ever made you look at him. did you suspect anything? did anything catch your attention about him? >> nothing, nothing, nothing. so it was a big surprise when we heard the first explosion, people were just like looking around like, okay, this is not good. what's going on? and then the first person shouted fire, and then like i got to my senses. okay, this is wrong. so i tried -- >> some of the passengers described as hearing like a pop.
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what did you hear just prior to the smoke and the fire? >> first, it was a pop and then like about 30 seconds later, the smoke started to fill up on the left side beneath this person. and from then on we just jumped and tried to save the plane and we did luckily. >> it sounds like you had an incredible, you know, response there, very quick. you think about international flights, oftentimes when you get close to that descent, somewhere within the last hour on trains atlant transatlantic flight, many people have beengoingry, when you heard people talking about the pop and you saw the smoke, how quick was it to react before you thought, it really must be nothing? >> i basically acted directly. when you hear a pop on a plane, you're awake, trust me. i just jumped, i didn't think. i just went -- went over there and tried to save the plane. >> apparently, he did, jasper
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schuringa there talking to us from miami after being on that flight in detroit and helping to apprehend the suspect. white house reaction. our ed henry joins us from hawaii, where president obama was told about the attempted terror attack yesterday while he was on vacation in hawaii. with my subaru forester and its all-wheel drive... ... handling even the toughest conditions... is just another day at the beach.
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it will take place actually in his hospital room. charges against 23-year-old umar farouk abdulmutallab, a nigerian national, was filed this afterno afternoon. officials say he ignited a small explosive on board a united airlines jet when he was on board to detroit. he was quickly subdued and the device was extinguished as well. umar farouk abdulmutallab attended college in london from 2005 to 2008. police searched an apartment there today. cnn senior international correspondent nic robertson joins us live. when is the last time it's believed he was there? >> the summer of 2008 is the best information that we have, fredricka. why we believe that is because he was at university here for three years. and the university, university college of london, was just around the corner from these luxury apartment buildings. what we're looking at right now is the largest number of police we have seen coming and going
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from this investigation in the last, i would say seven or eight hours and counting. at least a half dozen police officers there, counterterrorism police. we understand they're the men that have been searching the property here. no indications they're finished for the night. this police tape has been put up in the last few hours to keep people from getting close to the building or the residents here or able to come and go. the amount of time that he's spent in this building in the last year and a half is really the question we don't have answered at the moment. this is perhaps something those police officers will know much more about now that they've been going through the premises there, probably belonging to mr. abdulmutallab's father, a banker in nigeria. these apartments very expensive, costing between $2 million and $4 million. it gives you the type of family that abdulmutallab came from. fredricka? >> nic robertson, thanks so much from london. appreciate that. the white house has been
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responding to this, saying that president obama is being briefed on the investigation in hawaii, where he is spending the holiday. cnn senior white house correspondent ed henry joins us now from honolulu. >> fred, good afternoon. you're right. the president briefed again this morning about 6:20 a.m. local time. we're five hours back from the east coast. just before noon eastern time, the president got another secure briefing from two of his top aides. john brennan, who is his principal homeland security adviser, as well as dennis mcdonough, chief of staff for the national security council. he's traveling in hawaii with the president. they're trying to keep him up to date, give him as much background information about what's happening. we're told the president also getting secure paper updates from the white house situation room back in washington. obvious obviously, even while he's on vacation, the president needing to stay in the loop on this. we're told in terms of specifics, as we have known, the president has been told this was clearly an attempted terror attack. that's observious for all to se now as we have seen the
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exclusive pictures on cnn and elsewhere. number two, the president also told that the suspect is being debriefed by the fbi and has been speaking a lot. and talking a lot, giving up a lot of information and that u.s. officials behind the scenes now are trying to verify what he's saying. finally, the president also was initially told in some of the early briefings yesterday -- he's getting more today as i noted -- there were no formal ties between an organized terror group and this suspect. but obviously, officials stressing that it's early in the investigation, that they're running down all possible leads and trying to make sure that there was not any sort of training or any specific contact with al qaeda or another terror group. they're still trying to run down those leads, check that out to figure out exactly what kind of contact there may have been as nic is reporting. this investigation now carrying far beyond the borders of the united states, going into london, may go elsewhere, obviously, into nigeria, et cetera. so this is still very early, but
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they're trying to keep the president up to date as much as they can, fred. >> thank you very much, coming from honolulu, ed. appreciate that. so with the attempted terror attack, it is likely that lines at the airport are going to be even longer this holiday season. we know they already are today. our josh levs has a look at how you can make life a little bit easier on yourself if you are traveling this week. let me take this. wait, there's no such thing as a projector phone. no, it's the lg phone and projector. there's no such thing as an lg phone and projector. ta-da. what ? the man said "ta-da" ! introducing the lg expo smartphone and lg projector. only at at&t. mr. evans? this is janice from onstar. i have received an automatic signal you've been in a front-end crash. do you need help?
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yeah. i'll contact emergency services and stay with you. you okay? yeah. onstar. standard for one year on 15 chevy models. we're back in the
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"newsroom." i'm josh levs. in the aftermath of the attempted terror attack at the airports, there's increasing security and that means longer lines this holiday travel weekend. but there are some things you can do to make this process quicker. i will talk you through these right now. this is from over here. they talk you through basics, how to pack and zoom over here, how not to pack. we've boiled it down to a few pointers. i will trace you through them and then show you where you can find all of this yourself. let's go to the first one. pack in layers. this is very interesting. they say do a layer of clothes and then all of your electronics and then clothes and then heavier items. if you do it in those stacks, then when you get to the security line, if they look at your carry-on baggage, it's going to be much, much faster. let's go to the next one now, which is also interesting. prepare in advance. you know your little baggy of your liquids, and they talk you through the sizes they should be, but you want that quart size clear plastic zip-top bag of liquids. can you get it at the airport. you can get it at pharmacies. if you have it in advance, it
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can save minutes per person and adds to hours per traveler. the next one, pack your coat. some people don't want to do this. you're traveling somewhere that might be cold. i understand. but the tsa suggests you take your coat off when you get to the airport, smoosh it inside your luggage and check that. if you do that, again, it saves minutes per person. multiply that by all of the travelers out there. a couple more here, limit how much metal you're wearing, think about accessories. don't wear a lot of metal jewelry. the time you spend taking all of that off, which you may have to, can affect a lot of people. now comes the holiday stuff. let's say you're visiting grandma and you have some of the great cranberry sauce or you're in vermont, want to bring home maple syrup. don't bring anything like that on the plane. they say they have been getting a lot of this off people's carry-on luggage. one more i want to point to, i like the fact it's there, i think it's interesting, you cannot carry a snow globe in my carry-on. if i had a snow globe, they will get rid of it. give you a chance to send it
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home because there's liquid inside there. everything you need to know is posted at the blog for you. here's where you can find it, facebook and twitter, josh levs, cnn. those of you watching in airports right now, you probably already know this. we certainly hope this information helps you and all of the rest of you as you travel around this holiday weekend. coming up, we have news from iran, also news from afghanistan. plus, you know what, still a holiday weekend. we are going to show you which movies you should see.
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welcome back. a look at our top stories right now. police in london are searching homes and other buildings in connection with the attempted terror attack on a flight from amsterdam to detroit. no word on exactly what they're
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looking for. the suspect from nigeria is now charged in the u.s. with attempting to destroy the northwest airlines plane. he's accused of igniting an explosive device as the flight was preparing to land in detroit yesterday. and more unrest today in the streets of iran's capital. riot police clashed with opposition protesters taking part in a muslim observance. the holy period reaches its climax tomorrow and more violence could break out. wide protests coincide with the day of mourning for a deceased cleric who emerged as a champion of the opposition. another american military death in afghanistan. the pentagon said the service member was killed on christmas day in a bombing in the southern part of the country. that raises the u.s. death toll in the afghan war to 848. and if you're traveling this holiday season, you may have questions about what security will be like after this attempted terror attack. maybe you have experienced it already, some changes in the
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all right. if you're spending the holidays with your family, you may want to get out and catch a movie. we have the lowdown on movies beginning with "alvin and the chipmunks" and "it's complicated" and "sherlock holmes." who else would we call upon besides ben mankiewicz? no one. he's a film critic. i'm going to take a stab here, it's three out of three, you like them all. >> you're mistaken. i don't want to call you out on your own show, but -- >> oh, okay. let's begin with "alvin and the
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chipmunks: the squeakual." let's listen to it. ♪ i want to know what love it ♪ i want you to show me ♪ i want to feel what love is >> oh, goodness. >> that simon is dreamy. >> i think he was looking at me. >> i know, but, guys, remember when ian said, we can't trust them. >> oh, come on, don't toll ell you don't like that one. i know you're into romantic comedies. you told me last week you're the king of them. >> i can tell by your reaction, you're definitely into this one. but you were influenced by your child. i have a tough time with movies like this, in the sense who cares what a 42-year-old man has
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to say about it. this man is for 5-year-olds and in the history of the world, did a 4-year-old ever walk out of a cartoon and said, i think it lacks substance, like a juice box? there are a lot of things flying into people's groins here. it's actually not as energetic or fun as the first one. it's pretty slow. there are a lot of ah moments. i give it a c minus. your 4-year-old will give it an a-plus. a 25-year-old will give it an f. there you go. >> maybe i should have taken my tot to see that last week. >> perhaps you should. >> and he didn't like it as much as the frog. but i digress. let's talk about "it's complicated." let's listen in and watch. >> i think this is very french of us. >> how is it french of us? >> i have a young wife, but i am having sex with my old wife. not old, you know, ex -- i didn't mean old. you're doing that thing when you
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act like you're not listening to me but think about what i said, okay. you have any homemade food? it's been so long. >> you miss it? >> so much. >> we sell it for $6.50 a bag at the store. >> well, why give it a way -- >> oh, god! >> kiss good-bye. >> as a non5-year-old, will like this one? >> yeah, there's certainly a better chance that you will like this one. that's where this movie, this nancy meyers movie, "something's got to give," "the holiday," "what women want." >> she's good at these. >> that is where the movie is at its best, the scenes between alec baldwin and meryl streep. married 19 years and divorced for 10. they reconnect. steve martin is also interested in her. the problem with this movie is the story is so sort of inconsistent, it's hard to follow, it's hard to join meryl streep in that journey. and i don't think the rest of the cast is nearly up to the work that streep and baldwin
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give. >> am i hearing a b minus here or something? >> she's great. she classes up the joint. every scene she's in makes the movie better. and she's in nearly every scene. it's better than average, okay. i give it a c-plus. >> he married up as they say. >> i'm not sure he married up. i think when you leave meryl streep, you by very definition marry down. >> ouch. okay. "sherlock holmes," we can look at it while we talk. we can't hear it. what do you think, do you like? >> sure. what's interesting about "sherlock holmes" i feel very similar about "it's complicated," the scene there played by rachel and jones, you can see mcadams is the love interest. the scene between holmes and watson, robert downey jr., are terrific. he gives this the same cool look he gives most of his movies. the story is downright
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incomprehensible. it's so hard to follow, you don't care about trying to follow it. the performances of law and downey sort of lift it up. i think it's letter than average. it's okay. there's not a lot out now. give it a c-plus, too. the story really falls short besides nice work from an actor named mark strong who's terrific and was in last year's rock 'n' roller for guy ritchie, who plays the evil, bad guy in the movie. overall, i really think it falls short. again, better than average. >> wow. i halfway got it right. it is 3 for 3, meaning three of them you don't like. >> i sort of liked two of them. it's tough. it's tough. but there's not much out. if you want to see a movie, those tw areno aren't that bad. >> we will talk about dvds when we come back. maybe a perfect getaway is kind of up your alley? >> a little bit maybe. 18 millio. gecko: quite impressive, yeah. boss: come a long way, that's for sure. and so have you since you started working here way back when.
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okay. so if you plan to grab a little popcorn and kick back with the family to watch a dvd, you don't want to miss this. "a perfect getaway" hits the schett v shelves tuesday, and so does "district 9." actually, it came out a few days ago but can you get it tuesday. ben mankiewicz joins us again from los angeles to tell us what he thinks of these. all right, which one should we take a stab at first? >> you want to start with "a perfect getaway"? >> yeah.
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>> first thing is, it is a perfect getaway. we have steve zahn and milla as a young married couple in their honeymoon in vegas -- in vegas, they're on their honeymoon in hawaii. >> you're thinking "hangover." >> i was in vegas last week. they hike to a remote -- they hike to a remote beach. they run into another couple, tim othy oliphant among them. it's a mysterious couple. meanwhile, there's been a mysterious murder in honolulu. up with of the guys, this timothy oliphant, is he responsible for the murder? this movie has a great twist, maybe one of the best twists of the year in movies. that said, before and after the twist, it was a little dull and a little predictable. but that twist i'm still thinking about and it's been months since i saw the movie. i actually like "a perfect getaway" a little better than when i first reviewed it a few months ago. i will give it a b-minus.
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it's a fun thing to rent and get some scares. s to great but pretty good. >> that's good. because sometimes certain movies are better at home than when you go to the theater. >> systi'm thinking if i'm thin about it four months later, it had a greater impact on me than i thought at the time. >> how about "district 9"? >> "district 9," now that the awards expanded to ten nominations. i always say i'm horrible at making predictions. i can't predict football games and i can't predicts movies. >> something's wrong with them, not you. >> now that there are ten nominations, you may see a nomination for "district 9." i'm not a science fiction fan but sci-fi at its best is great. i gave this movie an "a" at the time and it's still an "a." it's from director peter jackson. it's about an alien spacecraft arrives in johannesburg, south africa, in 1982. these people are not violent, these aliens but they get segregated into a refugee camp district 9, and they essentially just -- they're sort of -- it's a miserable place.
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it's dirty. it's disgusting. they're addicted to cat food and then this multinational corporation wants to move them to another refugee camp and -- multinational corporation, not surprisingly, has ulterior motives. >> i must be living under a rock. i don't remember this one at all. >> real quick, the guy who plays the lead is great. it's real interesting. unlike anything you will see this year. it's gripping. it's tense. it's dramatic. i really, really like this movie. and i think you don't have to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy this. this is a great story. >> 2 for 2, redemption. all right. ben mankiewicz. >> thank you very much, fred. >> thank you. have a great one. i'm glad you made it back from vegas. last we spoke when you were in vegas, big old snowstorm in the northeast, and that's where family is, was. wait a minute, now you're in l.a. >> i made it back, but my family was in the middle of the snowstorm. they loved it, though. they sat at home and watch td snow. >> good, good. have a great holiday and happy new year. see you soon. >> thank you, fred. bye.
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bonnie schneider will have a quick check of the forecast after this.
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welcome back. taking a look at our top stories once again, a 23-year-old nigerian national has been formally charged with trying to bring down a northwest airlines jet on christmas day. uma farouk abdulmutallab is accused of igniting a small explosive on board the jet as it was about to land in detroit. he was quickly subdued and the device was extinguished. abdulmutallab is scheduled to make his first court appearance later on today, and it will actually take place at the michigan hospital where he's being treated for burns suffered in that incident. and a strong undersea
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earthquake struck near indonesia today. no reports of deaths or damages. it hit as they mark the fifth anniversary of another earthquake that struck five years ago. that quake triggered another tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people. and actor charlie sheen is free on bail. he was arrested christmas day in aspen, colorado, on domestic violence charges. those charges include second degree assault and menacing, both felonies. he's scheduled to appear in court in february. all right, this christmas week will be one to remember for a whole lot of people in the nation's midsection in particular. they got a white christmas, and in arkansas, that's not something you see very often. but all the heavy snow has caused a lot of problems as well, including a rash of traffic accidents. folks in des moines, iowa, also woke up christmas day to sleet and heavy snow. parts of the state were under a blizzard warning as the storm moved through. parts of the country are
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still getting, in fact, heavy snow. bonnie schneider is tracking it for us in the cnn weather center. when people say they want a white christmas, they usually mean a mild blanket of snow. they don't want to be like buried under a foot of snow or more. >> or have to travel in it. today people are traveling, of course, the day after christmas. and unfortunately, if you're doing that in chicago, watch out. two to four more inches of snow. it's already been snowing for quite some time. this is highlighted in red because it's a winter storm warning. meaning we're still going to have strong winds through the night, possibly gusting as high as 25 miles per hour. that can blow about already plowed roads that have kind of had the snow removed. you can get another blanket of snow. and certainly not just in chicago. check out the plain states. blizzard warnings persist into areas for north and south dakota as well as northern nebraska. omaha really got hammered by the storm. now fargo and even minneapolis, further off to the east, still seeing snow tonight. again, the blowing snow, a big problem because it does limit visibility. and we're anticipating that as well.
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to the northeast, well so far, so good for christmas. nice weather there. but everything is changing. we are looking at a lot of rain coming up. that will change to freezing rain into upstate new york, new hampshire and vermont tonight. so be very careful. there will be icy roads tomorrow morning when you step outside in manchester, further northward. and we are also tracking the threat for definitely poor visibility. that means that if you're traveling tonight, the delays are lengthy. we have a groundstop at o'hare in chicago. we have delays at all of the airports in new york city, including teterboro new jersey and philadelphia getting slight delays at this hour. despite that, just to let you know, there are a lot of planes in the air, over 6,000 at this hour. that's a lot of travel. yesterday we had about 4,000 at this time. many people are trying to head to their back home destination or maybe heading on an extended holiday. look lis like so far, so good. but i'm concerned for tomorrow
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as we get icy roads in new england. >> that's always nasty, too. thank you so much, bonnie. appreciate that. >> sure. here's a question for you, will security change in the aftermath of the attempted terror attack on that northwest plane yesterday? we will hear from a former fbi assistant director.
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new developments now in the entertainment attempted terror attack on a u.s. airliner. a nigerian national has been formally charged with trying to destroy a united airlines jet yesterday by lighting an explosive in his jacket before the landing. abdulmutallab was subdued and the device extinguished. he's scheduled to make his first court appearance today that. will actually take place in the hospital in ann arbor, michigan, where he's being treated for injuries he suffered in that incident. so passengers on board the northwest flight described what happened after the suspect allegedly ignited that explosive. >> we were coming in from flight 253 in amsterdam when right at
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the end of the flight, right when we were about to land, there was some commotion in the back, and from what we can tell, there was a gentleman that had some sort of device on him that caused him to catch on fire. they put out the fire, brought him up front, where they stripped him down to make sure he had nothing else, and they brought him -- took him off the plane. we landed at about 12:40ish, around there, around 12:00ish. we actually landed quick but we have been in containment ever since then. >> we were in the back of the plane and all of a sudden heard some screams and flight attendants ran up and down the aisles and i think when he lit the plane and we saw the fear in the flight attendants' eyes and they grabbed the fear extinguishers and also we smelled a bunch of smoke. and apparently someone in the front of the plane, don't know if he lit himself on fire or lit something on his lap, and it
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went up in flames. >> so what happens now that the charges have been filed against the suspect? thomas fhas more with us now. apparently, he will not be in court but instead his first court appearance will be in the hospital room. describe for me what will take place. >> basically, will be informed that the charges are being placed against him and the nature of the charges at the moment, he will get his chance to plead guilty or not guilty and determine whether he needs court-appointed counsel to assist him. but it's really a formality at this point. he's going to be in the hospital for a while, and, you know, the authorities will have time to assess which charges to -- to add possibly to the original charges being placed now. >> give me an idea of importance of why investigators felt very quickly they needed to impose at
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least one charge? >> well, so he's technically in custody, so they maintain control, security over him, prevent anybody from having access to him, that they don't want, especially to ensure his security and safety so that no harm comes to him before he has an opportunity to get well and have his day in regular court. so that's the responsibility of the government to protect him. >> there are a few details being revealed as it pertains to this investigation, this suspect, et cetera, such as having some sort of chemical with him, which is a type of explosive, that remnants of a syringe was also located in the area where he was sitting, and that apparently he did reveal to a flight attendant while on board that he had an explosive device in his pocket because a flight attendant actually asked him as such. what's your takeaway with this kind of information being revealed already? >> well, i'm not sure what the
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timing of that is, from the time the flight attendant heard that information and the time he actually set himself on fire. i mean, she could have heard that from him, ran to get other flight attendants to provide assistance, and in the interim, he may have tried to set himself on fire before they got back. he was already burning. we don't know there was any problem with that. it certainly would have been appropriate for the flight attendant to get a backup before engaging with him. >> give me an idea as a former fbi person, give me the idea the kinds of questions that are being asked. what are some of the maybe top three things that the fbi wants to nail down as it pertains to this suspect and this type of offense? >> number one, who are you, and how do we verify your identity, where you're from, which country your citizenship is? what background, whether he has a criminal history of any kind or has come up on any watch lists or other databases in the u.s. or other countries around the world. you would also want to know how
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he learned the technique he was trying to employ. what was it he was trying to do with the device? what chemicals did he have? where did he get them? who worked with him, provided assistance, provided training? did he learn all of this by himself on the internet or did he actually go to -- to someone else who showed him what it was he was supposed to be doing? was he doing this with others? were there other plans to attack other aircraft under way that he may have been aware of or others that he was involved with? certainly the fbi interviewing all of the passengers in detroit yesterday after they exited the plane would have wanted to know from them, not just what occurred on the aircraft as far as setting himself on fire, but what happened before boarding that aircraft, when they were in the holding area outside the gate before boarding, was he seen with anybody else? was he having a conversation? was he talking on a cell phone? was he reading documents? exactly what was his behavior
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before boarding the aircraft? did he meet with anybody else on that plane once he boarded, one they were in flight? trying to trace his background steps before daring that flight. >> former fbi assistant director of international operations, thomas fuentes, thank you so much from san francisco. on to iran now. new unrest as opposition protesters gathered in tehran to mark a major holy day. the event turned violent with protesters clashing with riot police and the violence could get even worse tomorrow. the holy period reaches its climax at the same time mourners will gather a prominent cleric who died just six days ago. the cleric was a leading figure in the 1979 iranian revolution. he went on to become one of the current government's most vocal critics. and the vatican is reviewing its security procedures in the wake of the christmas eve attack on pope benedict.
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the pope wasn't hurt when a woman actually jumped out of the crowd and knocked him to the ground. the woman, described as mentally unstable, is still being held in a clinic for treatment and officials will decide what to do with her some time over the next few days. and another american military death in afghanistan. the pentagon says the service member was killed on christmas day in a bombing in the southern part of the country. that raises the u.s. death toll in the afghan war to 848. next hour in the newsroom, drew griffin will be here with more on the terror charges against a nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a plane as it was landing in detroit. does he have ties to terror groups like al qaeda? also, drew talks with former homeland security adviser fred townsend about the difficulties of coordinating this investigation. well, look who's here. it's ellen. hey, mayor white. how you doing? great. come on in. would you like to see our new police department? yeah, all right. this way.
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and here it is. completely networked. so, anything happening, suz? she's all good. oh, my gosh. is that my car? [ whirring ] [ female announcer ] the new community. see it. live it. share it. on the human network. cisco. with my subaru forester and its all-wheel drive... ... handling even the toughest conditions... is just another day at the beach.
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