U.S. Rep. Trey Radel’s headed to rehab instead of jail, Afghan tribal leaders are deciding the fate of U.S. troops there, and a tiny airport has a big plane and a big problem.
It's Thursday, and here are the “5 Things to Know for Your New Day."
Every weekday morning around 6, we’ll hit the top five stories of the day, clue you in on a few other buzzy items and let you know about some of the must-watch stories coming up on CNN’s morning show, “New Day.”
1. CONGRESSMAN COCAINE POSSESSION
Mea culpa: First, U.S. Rep Trey Radel was busted for buying cocaine. Last night, he apologized, promised to donate his salary to charity and went on a leave of absence. His “wake-up call” has helped him dodge some big metal bars. He was looking at donning an orange jumpsuit for 180 days, a $1,000 fine, or both. Instead, he’s on probation for a year. The Republican from Florida says he’ll enter an inpatient drug treatment program. Are you taking notes, Rob Ford?
Alina Machado will be live all morning with the latest.
2. DETAINED VET
Pulled off a plane in North Korea: It was a trip of a lifetime for Merrill Newman. But the war veteran’s visit to North Korea did not end well. The 85-year-old was buckled up and ready for takeoff when he was escorted off a flight in the capital of Pyongyang. The incident happened a few minutes before departure. He’s been incommunicado since that day late last month, and his family’s worried about him. North Korea, no surprise there, has not publicly acknowledged whether it detained him, let alone why.
David McKenzie will bring us the latest details at 6.
3. AFGHAN-US SECURITY PACT
Deal or no deal?: The fate of American troops in Afghanistan is in the hands of thousands of tribal elders. In a giant tent in Kabul, they’re discussing what role American forces will play after next year. Among the sticking points: Should U.S. soldiers get immunity from prosecution in Afghan soil if they commit a crime?
4. CHRIS BROWN
They tried to make me go to rehab: The pop singer is going to a treatment facility … again. And this time, it comes with a bunch of new rules. But more on that later. Brown was booted from rehab this month after he allegedly smashed his mother’s car window. His reason for being in rehab in the first place? He allegedly punched a man while he was on probation. For yet another incident. That probation for a felony charge in the 2009 attack on Rihanna requires he stay out of legal trouble. Anyway, back to the new rehab rules. They include drug tests and eight-hour shifts of community labor. Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter.
5. STUCK PLANE
Help, I’ve landed and I can’t take off: A Boeing Dreamlifter landed at the wrong airport in Wichita, Kansas - one with a runway apparently too short. The Atlas Air 747 Dreamlifter is a beast of a plane. It's a modified passenger jet that can haul more cargo by volume than any airplane in the world. It was bound for McConnell Air Force Base, missed its mark by 12 miles, and ended up at the much-smaller Jabara Airport. Boeing sent a tug to the airport to move the jet. But, alas, it broke down on its way.
Speaking of airports, have you checked out the amazing project documenting 24 hours at the world’s busiest airport? You don't know what you're missing!
Those are your five biggies for the day. Here are a few others that are brewing and have the Internet buzzing.
Holyfield, meet your ear: For a few minutes, the world is one big, content place. Just in time for Christmas, Mike Tyson returns Evander Holyfield’s chunk of ear that he bit off during their 1997 fight. He hands over the ear in a small box, apologizes and they hug it out. Not to be outdone, Dennis Rodman is headed to North Korea. One-way ticket, he tells an airline worker. And the world lets out a gasp of excitement at his departure, never to return. Just watch the Footlocker ad. Maybe there’s hope in the world after all.
High note: This video brought our tough, seen-everything journalist hearts to tears. Musicians canvassing the nation, visiting sick kids in hundreds of hospitals, and bringing a little sunshine into their world. The fact that they sing “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” is an added bonus.
You gotta be kitten me: Of all nine lives, this will be the most luxurious for felines Frisco and Jake. Their former owner left them $250K and a 4,000-square-foot home in a gated community. We wonder if the furry creatures need cat rubs. We know of a great journalist who’d help them unload some of that cash in exchange. Holler, kitties!
Man is what's for dinner: Speaking of cats, let’s just say if there was no glass, this man would have made one fine meal for this tiger.
Social media experiment: Before you post that selfie of you wolfing down chicken at a nearby joint, watch this video. You’ll be pretty freaked out. And informed.
There you go. All you need to know to get an early start to your morning.
Be sure to tune in to "New Day" from 6 to 9 a.m. ET. Join us at NewDayCNN.com and go and have a GREAT NEW DAY!