September 30th, 2013
09:05 AM ET

Ten-Year-Old Gives Birthday Money To Help Protect Police K9

In today's edition of the "Good Stuff," ten-year-old Allison Henry donates her birthday money to help buy a bullet and knife-proof vest for a local police dog. CNN's Chris Cuomo reports.

The Massachusetts girl raised nearly a $1,000 to buy a protective vest for K9 officer Ryker.

“I just feel that a dog should be safe, because I really like animals,”  she said.

For her generosity, Allison received a plaque from the police department, a thank you from the mayor, and the knowledge that she did something good for others.

If you have #GoodStuff news, let us know! Leave a comment below, post on Facebook, or tweet to @ChrisCuomo & @NewDay using #NewDay and submit your story on iReport. 

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Filed under: News • The Good Stuff • Videos
September 30th, 2013
08:46 AM ET

Are Duck Tours Safe?

Ever been on a duck tours? They're those sightseeing rides that start on land, then turn into boats as they venture into water before getting back on the road.

A number of safety accidents aboard the amphibious vehicles are pointing to an alarming trend, leading many to question their safety. In the latest incident on Sunday, people had to leap into the River Thames after the tour boat taking them around London caught fire near Parliament.

“Fortunately, rescue crews were on the scene in minutes and no one was seriously hurt,” reports Early Start Anchor John Berman.

But fatalities have occurred in the past. In 1999, tragedy struck in Hot Springs, Arkansas, when 13 people drowned aboard the sinking "Miss Majestic."

Safe Boating America’s Captain Richard Werner says “the commonality between the majority of these accidents with these duck boats have been mechanical failure.”

He advises tourists to do some research before making a decision on which tour operator to use, like checking a duck boat tour's safety record online, accident history reports as well as any maintenance complaints from previous customers.

“If you do get on the boat, make sure you have access to a properly sized life,” Berman adds. “And even if you’re not required put it on,  keep it within reach just in case.”

Follow along at CNN.com for details into Sunday's blaze.

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September 30th, 2013
07:59 AM ET

Military Pay at Risk Under Government Shutdown

The threat of a government shutdown could mean no paychecks for America’s 1.4 million military personnel and their families, but a bill unanimously passed by the House could change that.

It guarantees military pay even during a shutdown, but the bill still has to pass the Senate, causing concern among some military families.

“Many live paycheck-to-paycheck,” CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Star reports. “The Senate has yet to act, but for America's veterans the outlook is more dire because of the other crisis: raising the debt ceiling before the government runs out of money.”

“...If it  goes longer than a few weeks, if Congress can’t get its act together, this could hurt millions of veterans who count on these benefits for part of their care and services,” says Tom Tarantino of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Disability payments, which more than three million veterans rely on, could be at risk.  If there is no money, new claims won’t be processed and current payments could still be delayed.

Military families often need this income to pay for rent and groceries, explains Tarantino.

“It’s not their total income but it is a significant part of it and taking that out of the mix because the government can’t get its act together is really dangerous for these men and women who need it the most.”

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Filed under: News
September 30th, 2013
07:24 AM ET

NSA Spying Reveals Social Mapping

Months after former government contractor Edward Snowden first revealed the scope of the NSA surveillance program, details into what the agency actually does with the information it has gathered have now been published in the "New York Times," and they're adding fuel to the growing concern over privacy.

According to the documents leaked to the paper, the agency isn't only tracking metadata from your phone calls and email logs, it's using that information to create a sophisticated web of social connections of some U.S. citizens.

“Since November 2010, the NSA has been using all the information it has been collecting to unlock as many secrets as possible about certain American citizens who officials believe may have a link to foreign intelligence interests,” CNN's Pamela Brown reports. “As one privacy expert put it, the way the information is being used is the digital equivalence of tailing a suspect.”

Karen Greenberg, director at the Center on National Security Fordham Law School says,  “We assume as Americans that if somebody—if the government is looking at your information it's because they have a reason, because you're suspected of a crime.”

According to the documents leaked by Snowden, the NSA uses software to chart individuals’ social ties, locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information.  The agency can also draw on material from Facebook profiles, GPS location information, insurance information, property records and other public and commercial sources to better analyze Americans' phone and email logs—all intended to help the agency "discover and track" when there's a link between an intelligence interest overseas and a U.S. citizen.

The NSA released the following statement: "We know there is a false perception out there that the NSA listens to the phone calls and reads the emails of everyday Americans, aiming to unlawfully monitor or profile U.S. citizens. It's just not the case."

“NSA Chief Keith Alexander has said a person's individual data is analyzed only when there's a foreign intelligence justification,” Brown reports.

“The leaked documents do not specify how many American citizens have been caught up in the effort and how many have actually been involved in wrongdoing,"according to the "New York Times."

Brown adds, "Now in the wake of the recent disclosures, President Obama has ordered a review of its surveillance policies.”

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