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Floods in Southwest England and Wales Getting Worse; Protesters Gather in Tahrir Square Against President Morsi; Scarves and Bracelets for Soldiers

Aired November 25, 2012 - 22:30   ET


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Martin Savidge, in for Don Lemon. Let's get you up to speed on some of the headlines.

China has successfully landed a fighter jet on an aircraft carrier for the first time. China's official news agency says that aircraft carrier was originally being built for the old soviet union. It is expected to hold 30 J-15 fighter jets. The J-15 reportedly is comparable, that is, to an American F-18. Could be a couple years before that carrier is fully operational.

The floods tormenting southwest England and Wales are expected to get worse. These images of swollen rivers and towns under water, dozens of roads are closed and some drivers had to be rescued from their vehicles. At least one person has died, a woman was trapped under a tree.

Investigators now say the giant blast that turned a Massachusetts strip club into dust and debris Friday night was caused by human error. They say that a utility worker responding to a report of a gas smell punctured a high pressure gas line by mistake. But officials point out that worker went by incorrect markings on the sidewalk. At least 21 people were hurt, most of them emergency responders who have been called on the scene because of the smell of gas.

A six alarm fire kept firefighters busy in Leominster, Massachusetts. It broke out in a historic hotel around 10:00 Saturday night and it continued into the early morning. Two firefighters were hurt when a wall collapsed down on 20 apartments. Several businesses inside the building were damaged. But, all of the residents managed to get out safely.

In the capital of Egypt tonight, the city center is filled with people refusing to go home. This is Tahrir Square at 5:30 in the morning, Cairo time. You will remember the Arab spring in 2011. Well, many of the night's that time, looked like this. Thousands of people are frustrated. They are fed up, and they are just plain angry demanding their the new president Mohamed Morsi take back a declaration he made a few days ago, a declaration that gave him absolute unchecked power over entire nation of Egypt.

Public reaction in Cairo and throughout the country. In a word, rage. Protests sprang up in several cities and this crowd clashed with riot police in Cairo. At least, one person reportedly died in the fighting. A teenager who belonged to a youth group who supports the party of the Muslim Brotherhood.

CNN's Reza Sayah spent much of Sunday right in the middle of the chaos in Cairo.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We keep seeing these clashes between protesters and police. Protesters throwing rocks at police. Police responding by firing tear gas and stun grenades. We are just a few blocks away from Tahrir Square. We should point out, most of these protesters are young men, 20-something, teenagers. Hard to say if they are here fighting for democracy or here to cause trouble.


SAYAH: Those were chants of down with President Morsi, down with President Morsi. We are now starting to see these protests and clashes take place in cities outside of Cairo. In the northern city of Damanhur, the first fatality of this protest according to the Muslim Brotherhood, a 15-year-old, Islam Masoud was killed when anti- Morsi protesters attacked the brotherhood's offices there. Masoud hit in the head with a club and pronounced dead before he arrived at the hospital. This is some of the violence taking place.

Let's go to Tahrir Square where things are little bit more peaceful. Things much calmer her in Tahrir Square where you have a few thousand people gathered here. About 40 tents very much reminiscent of the 201 Egyptian revolution. You have food stands. People selling tea. Here is a tea stand right here. And lots of people talking politics. If you look at these groups here, these are all people that are debating their political positions and demanding that Mr. Morsi rescind his controversial decrees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, I want these decrees to withdrawn. And secondly, I would hope he starts to listen to the rest of the people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am willing to stay until we oust him. Just like we did with Mubarak. We are going to oust him. He's bringing it down upon himself.

SAYAH: On Sunday factions opposed to Mr. Morsi continued to apply political pressure on the president Egyptian Nobel Laureate and pro- democracy activist Muhammad al Baradei calling on Mr. Morsi to rescind his decrees on Saturday. You recall, a judges group calling for a nationwide judges strike. It's not clear how many will heed the call. Because remember, a lot of judges here in Egypt support Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and so do a lot of Egyptians.

Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood calls for demonstrations throughout the next few days and that is why there is a lot of drama that comes with these developments. You have Mr. Morsi seemingly entrenched in power. The Muslim Brotherhood movement taking on opposing factions who are mobilizing, demanding for him to rescind his decrees.

Reza Sayah, CNN. Cairo. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: All right, to Washington now where lawmakers took the week of for thanksgiving. But Congress is now getting back to work. They think they have a lot to do. Time is short. And as I say, plenty on their plate. The Senate returns Monday. The house official goes back into session on Tuesday.

The so-called fiscal cliff is of course, the biggest item that facing Congress. If President Obama and Congress really can't reach a deal then, huge tax increasing and spending cuts would automatically kick in January one.

Today, several Republicans backed away from a pledge banning tax increases.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: When you're $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making is to avoid becoming Greece and Republicans should put revenue on the table. I want to buy down debt and cut rates to create jobs. But I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country if Democrats will do entitlement reform.

REP. PETER KING, (R) NEW YORK: I agree entirely with Saxby Chambliss. A pledge signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago is for that Congress. For instance, if I were in Congress in 1941 I would have signed -- supported a declaration of war against Japan. I'm not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed.


SAVIDGE: So, how are people reacting to key Republicans ditching attacks pledge. It was a question I asked Republican strategist Anna Navarro and ESPN senior writer Lz Granderson.


ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it's pragmatism. I think it is practicality. I think it is the desire to want to get something done. And look, I know Lindsey Graham well. Saxby Chambliss, Peter King. These are thoughtful, smart, principled leaders and they are fiscal conservatives. They are anti-tax.

I don't think a pledge should define anybody. I'm not a fan of pledges. I think you pledge to your God. I think you pledge to your constituents. You pledge to your country. The kind of representative I want going to Washington is somebody that's going to act out of conviction, out of conscience, out of what his constituents want and not because they are being told to do a pledge. It's taking a lot of courage for what Saxby Chambliss and also Lindsey Graham are doing. Both of these guys probably earned themselves a primary as a result of the statements. And I will tell the people of Georgia and south Carolina you are well served by those two senators. I hope they win. I hope they are re-elected. They are doing a fine job. LZ GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, what I don't get with this whole discussion, two things. The idea we are not going to raise taxes, but we are going to cut deductions or cap them. that's raising taxes. You know, that's just moving the shell game. Just call it what it is. We are raising revenue through tax raises. It doesn't matter what you call them as long as the result is the same.

And the other think that I don't get is the notion that Democrats are the ones that protect entitlements and Republicans are the ones that are trying to protect businesses or rich people.

I think we have to give past this over simplification. I think that there has to be public in office. Maybe you can correct me, but I don't think any Republican is saying we have to get rid of all entitlements. I think the Republicans actually do want to keep entitlement. What they want is to some sort of stability, some sort of solvency for it.

So, I think it's important we get away from some of the talking points and the little sound bites and look at both parties want to keep entitlements, both partied are pro business. And it's about being anti-tax, it is about unnecessary taxes. And it think both parties do that -- don't want unnecessary taxes as well. And I think that as long as we are able to have an intelligent conversation about this move away from the sound bites, our compromise is easier to be made.


SAVIDGE: Thirty seven days until that cliff.

On to other news. A voluntary recall for the generic, underline, generic version of the popular anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor. The generic version is made by Ranbaxy pharmaceuticals as seen in this entry from an online drugstore. Ranbaxy is feared that glass particles may be have ended up in bottles of the drugs which produces cholesterol. The company based in India is now calling back more than 40 batches of their generic pill.

OK. If you didn't get your shopping fix this weekend, relax, because there's Cyber Monday. But, could the internet's biggest shopping day soon become a thing of the past?


SAVIDGE: It appears a weekend of black Friday shopping set a record. The national retail federation says 247 million shoppers hit stores and websites for post thanksgiving sales. That's up from last year's 226 million. NRF says shoppers spent an average of $423 million each since Thursday and all the trade group says that bargain hungry consumers dropped 59.1 billion. Congratulations (INAUDIBLE).

And now, we are just hours away from another big shopping blitz, Cyber Monday. That is just say consumers spent nearly $60 billion this weekend and yet, Cyber Monday sales are expected to be around and usually $1.5 billion. Why so low? That is the question I put to Laurie Segall. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: Cyber Monday and whole holiday has completely changed because the origin that it used to be we got to work on Monday right after thanksgiving, after the holiday, we actually had access to broadband, to high speed internet, oh, that is where the deals were. And now, that's completely changed. You are seeing it happen more and more. Seeing online deals happen way before Cyber Monday. You know, this whole week. So, you know, one big thing that's happening is mobile shopping is huge. A lot of people are using smartphones. A lot of people are using their tablets actually to go on and make purchases ahead of time.

You know, take a look at the numbers. You know, online shopping on your smartphone and mobile device is up nearly two-thirds from 2011. Now, 10 percent of people use their iPad to shop, nine percent using their iPhone to shop and 5.5 percent use their android device to shop. So, where used to be, we have access to the Internet on Monday. Now we have access all the time and the retailers, Martin, they are getting really smart. And they are putting the deals -- essentially putting them out there a little bit earlier.

SAVIDGE: Why do people go to stores in the first place? I mean, what's the benefit of going to the store versus going online? Certainly, if I'm sitting at home I can buy whatever I want and get a great deal.

SEGALL: Sure. You know, I think, some of these big retailers, they still have great deals. There is something about going to the store, being first in line and getting some of these products. You know, some of these online services are great, but a lot of time it can go out of stock and a lot of time, especially around the holiday season there is very a tradition of getting in there as soon as the stores open. Getting, you know, getting that coveted toy you really, really want.

And you know, I don't think we'll see it disappear. And as you see from the numbers, that is not going to disappear. But the online sales are happening early and earlier. You know, they are still happening on oh Cyber Monday. But I will say, you know, Cyber Monday has -- it's not going to be completely over. But it is changing quite a bit.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Now, I can see people start right away.

All right, Laurie. Thanks very much. Really interesting stiff. Appreciate it.

Earlier this month in Indianapolis the Colts players shaved their heads in support of their coach Chuck Pagano and his battle with leukemia. Sunday, a pair of cheerleaders did the same thing. We will show you after this.


SAVIDGE: Advertising may not be considered a very traditional field for African-Americans. Why is that?

CNN's George Howell has the story.




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Changing the face of advertising.

STEPHENS: That's what this boot camp is for you.

HOWELL: A mission that inspired Lincoln Stephens to try to make a difference.

STEPHENS: Started the Marcus Graham project really out of a need to increase diversity in the advertising and marketing industry.

HOWELL: The math is simple. Only about seven percent of managers in advertising and a marketing are African-American.

I would imagine in this industry you've got to have a thick skin. Be ready for rejection.

STEPHENS: Absolutely.

HOWELL: Resilient.

STEPHENS: Absolutely. As minorities in this business you have to be competitive.

HOWELL: So Lincoln partners with the One Club/Creative Bootcamp in Atlanta to find talented students for his program. The challenge creating an ad campaign for (INAUDIBLE), one of the top agencies in the country. College senior Blake Roberts is competing against 60 other students for a spot in Lincoln's program.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wanted to do a strategic plan --

HOWELL: The competition is tough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyday heroes who wake up each day --

HOWELL: Blake's pitch pays off.

STEPHENS: So, I definitely, definitely want Blake Roberts to join us for the summer.


HOWELL: For Blake it means firsthand experience in the industry and a much better chance at getting a job.

BLAKE ROBERTS, COLLEGE SENIOR: Very excited to finally have a chance to do what I love to do with real clients.

HOWELL: It's the reason Lincoln Stephens started this project. Making advertising more reflective of the changing world.

George Howell, CNN, Atlanta.


SAVIDGE: Thanks, George.

The documentary "WHO IS BLACK IN AMERICA" premieres Sunday, December 9 at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 only on CNN.

Two NFL football cheerleaders shaved their heads to honor coach Chuck Pagano who is battling leukemia. The cheerleaders got their head shaved between the third and fourth quarter at the Colts' victory over the Buffalo Bills. They raised more than $20,000 for leukemia research. Coach Pagan got a standing ovation appeared briefly during the game.

A Gangnam Style Christmas. You got to see this for yourself. A family who has synched up their holiday light show to you know what.


SAVIDGE: Americans show support for U.S. troops in many ways, from yellow ribbons to flag pins.

Now, on CNN April Williams reports at Atlanta woman has created special bracelets she hopes will help families cope.


APRIL WILLIAMS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Many families are heading home for the holidays but Army Captain Sean Kirby is saying good-bye, leaving his wife a second time for deployment in Afghanistan.

SHAUN KIRBY, CAPTAIN, U.S. ARMY: I actually have already been there seven months. Now I'm going back for another three.

JENNA KIRBY, CAPTAIN SHAUN KIRBY'S WIFE: The first couple of months was really, really hard. It was just like not being with him every day after being together for nine years. That was a shock.

WILLIAMS: While they may be thousands of miles apart this holiday season they found a way to stay connected. It's called the Battle Saint bracelet created by Cynthia LeMay.

CYNTHIA LEMAY, DEVELOPED SAINT BRACELETS: It has all the saints that would protect military. For example, St. Barber protects other who deals with explosives. St. Joseph of Cupertino was an individual that had the legend of levee stating so he protects aviators. When you wear that, know that there are 75,000 people around the world wearing this now, and we wore it in support of you and your service and everything you have done for us. WILLIAMS: A sentiment all too familiar for this military mom.

LEMAY: That will financially originated their family reunion when where we had seven members of the family that were serving. So, around a bonfire we heard stories of war and close calls that were just compelling and heartbreaking. Listening to the stories and realizing how much those men and women were sacrificing I knew I wanted to make a difference and give back.

WILLIAMS: Together they created the bracelet and now scarves.

These were the exact same scarves. They are authentic. They are different. The same ones that our soldiers are wearing.

WILLIAMS: The Battle Saints offer hope for troops serving overseas and help they may need once they return.

LEMAY: And that a donation to -- for every bracelet sold and now, every scarf goes to the intrepid fallen heroes' fund. So, not only do we honor them by wearing these and showing our support. But when they come back, when they return to the United States it provides much need help. There is a physical rehab center where they can get physical rehab. There is a PTSD-TBI center. And what we are raising funds for now are TBI centers and PTDS centers across all the country in different bases and posts.

WILLIAMS: For captain Kirby and his wife, the bracelets make them feel close even though they are on separate continent.

JENNA KIRBY: We have done seven months, so, just a few more. And we're on the down side now. So, I think it will be just fine.

WILLIAMS: Scarps and bracelets. Simple items providing comfort for soldiers headed into battle or their families back home and for those fighting to recover from the wounds of war.

April Williams, CNN.


SAVIDGE: And it is worth noting that Cynthia Lemay is the wife of our weekend managing editor, Jim Lemay. You can find the bracelets and scarves at

Troops in Afghanistan made their own lip-synched version of Carly Rae Jepsen's hit "Call Me Maybe." I would rather then use Carly's video and they did a shot by shot remake of the one made by the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders.


SAVIDGE: They have every hair flip, every hip dip and every end of the year like phone was exactly the same. But instead of coming out of the pool, you saw they were buried in sand and of course, there are no tour buses in Afghanistan these, so soldiers ride in Amtrak or armored vehicles. And we can't have a show without a little Psy. This time a homeowner in Texas went Gangnam Style along with his Christmas lights blasting this summer's hit song from South Korea. So, here it is for you.


SAVIDGE: All right. I'm Martin Savidge. You have a wonderful night and a great rest of your weekend. And hope some of that lights up the rest of your week.

Have a good night.