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Dissident Desperate to Leave China; Report: Seau's Brain to Be Studied; Seau's Death Ruled a Suicide; Arraignment for 9/11 Mastermind; NYC Officer Cleared in Death of Black Vet; Hang Glider Accused of Eating Evidence; Five Exotic Ohio Animals Being Returned; New Home Video Of Missing Tucson Girl

Aired May 4, 2012 - 06:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN: Hey, good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Zoraida is off this Friday morning. It's 6:00 a.m. in the east. Let's get started.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN (voice-over): New details about the death of a beloved NFL player and the future hall of famer. His family now making a tough decision that could help the next generation players.

BANFIELD (voice-over): Bizarre story. Such a horrible way to die and a strange twist in the case. A woman plunges 1,000 feet to her death in a hang gliding accident, and then, police find key evidence in the instructor's stomach.

ROMANS: Wild animals going back to the farm in Ohio today. The widow of the man who unleashed them on the town, she's getting those animals back. But is she fit to care for the big cats and the bear. We're in Zanesville, Ohio.

BANFIELD: Also new developments this morning with the blind activist, that human rights hero in the diplomatic firestorm between the United States and China.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to speak about Chen Guangcheng this morning. The Chinese government is also seeing that he's free to apply to study abroad and that is brand new.

We're also learning that U.S. officials spoke by phone with Chen today and also met in person with his wife. So there is a lot of movement in this story. That blind activist says that he does not feel safe in China, says he wants to come to the U.S.

He even interrupted a Capitol Hill hearing yesterday to request a meeting with our secretary of state.


CHEN GUANGCHENG, CHINESE DISSIDENT (via telephone) (through translator): I want to meet with the Secretary Clinton. I hope I can get more help from her. The thing I'm most concerned right now is the safety of my mother, my brothers, and I really want to know what's going on with them.


BANFIELD: Secretary Clinton is going to wrap up her visit to China this morning. We're going to monitor that news conference and we will bring you her comments later on in the broadcast.

ROMANS: Another big story this morning, new details in the death of future NFL Hall of Famer Junior Seau and his painful, final moments. According to the "L.A. Times" this morning, the family has decided to donate his brain to science.

The medical examiner confirms now that Seau killed himself with a gunshot wound to the chest. The report doesn't say whether repeated hits to the head during a 19-year pro-career may have led down the path to suicide.

Seau's mother who so overcome with emotion at the news conference, she almost collapsed. She led a prayer vigil outside his home last night.

Seau's pastor, family and friends said that he texted his ex-wife and children the words "I love you" before he pulled the trigger.

And also that he did suffer many concussions in his playing days. CNN's Paul Vercammen live in L.A. Paul, the story is so sad. So hard to watch his mother, essentially bury her son at such a young age.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is very sad and now the family in a sense trying to do its part to help study concussions et cetera and the link to NFL players.

So let's first address, Christine, that "L.A. Times" report, it says that Seau's family will allow his brain to be studied for evidence of damage as a result of concussions and that report quotes from the San Diego Chargers' chaplain who is Sean Mitchell.

And he says the family wants Seau's brain to be studied to help others down the road. Chaplain Mitchell, he's a close family friend. He also told CNN that as a linebacker Seau played the most havoc-ridden position on the team.

And that he suffered many concussions so there's a strong sense that it played a role. That it was Mitchell who said that basically Seau shot himself in the chest. It makes sense that he'd want to have his head examined.

Now late Thursday, the San Diego County medical examiner confirmed that Seau killed himself with a single gunshot wound to the chest. This is the same way that former NFL player Dave Dewerson killed himself a year ago.

And in a suicide note, Dewerson said that he wanted to have his brain examined for a possible link to concussions and his depression and later Boston University would go ahead and conduct a study and they did make that link for Dewerson.

Now it is not been said whether or not Seau's family will allow his brain to be sent to Boston University and we should note that ESPN is reporting that another pathologist who first linked chronic brain damage to the death of some former NFL players flew to San Diego Thursday to participate in Seau's autopsy.

That pathologist, Bennet Omalu is the chief medical examiner in San Joaquin County in Northern California and he helped cofound the Brain Injury Research Institute and that is linked to the University of West Virginia.

ROMANS: All right, Paul Vercammen, thanks for covering the story.

The prosecution of self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gets under way this morning at Guantanamo Bay. Victims' relatives will be able to watch today's arraignment on close circuit feeds at military bases along the east coast.

Mohammed and four co-defendants will eventually be tried in front of a military tribunal. That trial is not expected to begin for at least a year.

BANFIELD: A white New York police officer has been cleared in the shooting death of his sick elderly black war veteran in his own apartment. A grand jury has declined to forward any indictment.

That's happening yesterday. The 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain was shot and killed last November after accidentally setting off his medical alert device.

But then when the police arrived he refused to allow them to enter his apartment. The police say that he actually pulled a knife on them.

At 7:30 Eastern on "STARTING POINT," a CNN exclusive, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., who is the son of the man who was killed by the police is going to join our Soledad O'Brien and talk about his father and of course, that very serious grand jury decision.

ROMANS: A hang gliding instructor accused of eating evidence after a student plunged to her death. Police say (inaudible) was on a tandem hang gliding site over Western Canada with the instructor when she slipped out and she fell hundreds of feet into the woods. Investigators say the instructor swallowed a memory card from a video camera on board and the x-rays confirmed that.


CPL. TAMMY HOLLINGSWORTH, ROYAL CANADIAN POLICE: There had been a series of x-rays taken. We have confirmed so we are just in the waiting process here. We have confirmed the memory card is still inside.


ROMANS: William Orders has been charged with obstructing justice. The Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada says it has temporarily suspended his license.

BANFIELD: We got a lot of investors waiting for you anxiously right now for the big April jobs report. You should see Christine. She can barely breathe. That's going to be released at 8:30 Eastern and this could really move the markets.

The survey by the money experts figure we're probably going to come to around 160,000 jobs added last month, which would be an improvement from March, but still slow compared to the jobs gains that we witnessed in December, January and February as well.

So keep it here on CNN all morning when that April jobs report is released at 8:30 Eastern. We're going to bring you the breaking news and bring it on down to how this impacts you, why it matters to what Christine calls the economy of one, you.

ROMANS: It's you.

The "Wall Street Journal" reporting the White House will announce new rules for hydraulic fracking on federal lands. The rules are supposedly aimed at concerns that fracking could contaminate ground water.

Fracking is the use of high pressure water sand and chemicals to break open rocks and release natural gas. New rules expected to include guidelines for constructing wells and treating the waste water from this process.

New federal standards could affect the fracking process for all lands. If federal government does (inaudible) maybe it will set the standard.

BANFIELD: That's something so many people don't understand that it is a fascinating science and very controversial and it could affect you. So stay tuned.

It's 7 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. Still ahead, some video you have got to stick around to see, this happened at a Dunkin' Donut. The person in the pink with a gun, but wait until you see what this person did next and why you should be outraged if you're human. Stick around. Watch this one.

ROMANS: A woman accused of a despicable scam to raise money for breast implants. You're watching EARLY START.

BANFIELD: Really? Truly?


BANFIELD: Welcome back. It's 11 minutes now past 6:00. A brown bear along with two spotted leopards and a pair of monkeys are going to be returned to Zanesville, Ohio farm today. If it sounds familiar, it's because this is the same farm where 50 exotic animals, wild exotic animals who were in captivity were released into the neighborhood by their owner, Terry Thompson.

It happened last fall and just after he did that, he committed suicide so they were on the run. He was dead. Everyone in danger and most of those animals had to be destroyed by law enforcement just to protect all of the people who lived around that area.

The authorities did not have any tranquillizer guns, so that's why they were forced to actually kill the animals. Two wolves, six black bears, two grizzly bears, nine male lions, eight female lionesses, three mountain lions and 18 Bengal tigers were shot.

Jason Carroll is live in Zanesville, Ohio. Jason, there were so much controversy over this in the first place and now we're hearing those animals are going back to the very same place where they came from.

Yes, I know it's the widow who wants the animals back, but she's being real quiet about this and people are very upset.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, she's being extremely quiet, Marianne Thompson, not speaking to anyone about this. You're right, Ashleigh. A number of people who live here in this rural community are understandably upset about what's scheduled to happen at about 11:00.

That's when officials at the Columbus Zoo are expected to release the animals back into the care of Marianne Thompson. Before that happens, they'll first have to be tranquilized, sedated to make sure they're in the proper condition.

But as you can imagine, there are a number of people who live in this area where I am right now. I'm standing on Sam Kopchak's property. He borders actually the Thompson farm.

He remembers that day back on October 18th when those animals were set free. He says he remembers seeing a lion go by, seeing a bear go by. He had to hide in his barn and he doesn't want to see something like that happen again.


SAM KOPCHAK, NEIGHBOR: I felt she deserved to have the animals back, but hopefully she'd take them somewhere and maybe put them, you know, in some other kind of facility or whatever and not bring them here.


CARROLL: Ashleigh, here's what happened. The animals, the five surviving animals were held under quarantine and now that those animals have been given a medical clearance. The Columbus Zoo cannot hold them -- can no longer hold them. There's no state law saying that they can hold them.

There is no state law saying that Marianne Thompson cannot have them back. So as you can imagine, the folks at the Columbus Zoo are disappointed. They say that they are the best to care for the animals. They don't want to see the animals go back as well. But again, there's no law on their side.

BANFIELD: But what about just a law, Jason, that talks about how you house animals like this. Because people who have gone into that farm said it is deplorable, not only dangerous to the animals, but that the cages aren't safe. Aren't there laws to protect us out at the public at the very least?

CARROLL: Well, two things. There were inspections of the farm out here, the Thompson farm out here in the past. There was a citation issued back in 2005. Terry Thompson was cited for animal cruelty.

There have been several inspections according to the Humane Society. Since then they said he was up to code, maybe not up to the code that some animal supporters would like to see but he was, in fact, up to whatever code that they had said should be in place.

In terms of the law, there is no law here in the state of Ohio that prevents anyone from owning an exotic animal so the way things are structured right now, there's no law preventing the animals from coming back here.

So, as you can see, that's why there is a controversy here. There is legislation, I should say, right now on the books already passed the state Senate about to go to the House that would be more restrictive. But as it stands right now, no law preventing these animals from returning -- Ashleigh.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Timing is everything as they say proverbially.

Jason Carroll, live in Zanesville, Ohio. Thanks for that. Appreciate it.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. It's about 15 minutes after the hour. Let's get you up to date.

New developments this morning with the Chinese activist at the center of a diplomatic firestorm. U.S. officials spoke by phone today with Cheng Guangcheng and met with his wife in prison -- in person rather. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will wrap is her China visit this morning, and is expected to make some remarks quite soon.

The money trail will, once again, be front and center this morning in the John Edwards trial. Yesterday, an interior designer named Brian Huffman took to the stand and described how he helped funnel money from a wealthy heiress to the former senator's top aide. Huffman said checks would say things like "antique tables and chairs" in the memo line, and the funds were really being used to cover up Edwards' affair with Rielle Hunter.

The lawyer for the heir's will be on the witness stand today.

A U.S. army soldier dies of rabies just after returning home from Afghanistan. The soldier was reportedly bitten eight months ago by a dog in Afghanistan. Officials say this is the first rabies death of a U.S. servicemember since 1974. Canine rabies has been eliminated from the U.S. but it is still a risk in other parts of the world.

Scary surveillance video from a Dunkin' Donuts in Boynton Beach, Florida, a thief explodes through the door, leaps on to the counter, points the gun at a staff. Customer grabs him, only to be thrown to the ground and kicked out cold after the suspect stomped his head. Workers empty the cash register and the thief got away. But thanks to this color video and several other cameras in the store, police were able to identify the thief and other accomplices.

A Phoenix woman is accused of taking advantage of her friends and co- workers by telling them she had cancer in order to raise money for breast implants. Twenty-seven-year-old Jami Toler told friends said she needed money to cover, quote, "medical expenses." Toler is now facing felony, fraud and theft charges.

BANFIELD: And it's 17 minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast. Are you ready for this? Every antique hunter's dream. Finding a painting for 3 bucks at a local Goodwill store and reselling it and making a whole lot more than that.

Exactly what happened to this 81-year-old man in Anderson County, South Carolina. His name is Leroy, but he's only going to tell us his middle name. I'm going tell you why he's holding back on his name.

He's a former antique dealer himself and he bought an oil painting for $3 about a year ago, but he recently sold it at auction for a whole lot more. Listen up.


"LEROY," BOUGHT $190,000 PAINTING FOR $3 AT GOODWILL STORE: One hundred and ninety thousand dollars, that's a lot of money. It's that one thing you're always looking for, always looking for, I'd like to get the big one. I'd like to get the big one. Well, that was the big one.


BANFIELD: Wow. You're not kidding. This is a still life painting, it is 362 years old. Leroy says his $190,000 find originated from a Flemish school in Amsterdam. Antique road show, eat your heart out.

ROMANS: Nice. All right. I hope he's got deep pockets in his hoodie. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg set to become one of the richest people on the planet. Find out why, coming after this quick break.


BANFIELD: Welcome back to EARLY START. We're minding your business this morning. And we got a Facebook story for you because that company is finally starting its stock price range for the IPO. What is it, like, 30 -- 28 to 35 bucks, which if you do the math, would take the company up to a value of $98 billion.

ROMANS: I know. And, you know, it has an option to tweak the stock price as it gets closer to going public.

And that process really unfolding now in earnest. Next week, Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives will kick off a radio show. They'll meet with big investors starting Monday in New York, and then they'll eventually set the final stock price the night before Facebook goes public.

And, finally, Facebook trades public on the NASDAQ, rumored to happen actually on May 18th or at least sometime in mid-May.

BANFIELD: Can't wait until I can get in on that.

ROMANS: As the little guy, you don't want to get in after everyone has made their money. By the time we got a chance --

BANFIELD: That's me and Apple. I'm an idiot.

So, here's something I watch, I'm an idiot, but I do follow these big jobs report every month because that's the big story, the big campaign story. And that's expected today.

ROMANS: It is and what we're looking for is 160,000 jobs added to the economy last month and, you know, look, this is -- in the election year, it goes hand in hand, jobs and politics hand in hand.

President Obama kicking off his official re-election on Saturday, starting in Ohio, a state that has seen its unemployment go down and its economy improve. Ohio happens to be one of the six swing states that had seen a drop in unemployment since Obama has become president. The others are all highlighted here. These are the swing states where the employment rate have improved. The yellow here -- Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Virginia.

In the Ohio, in the past 11 elections, Buckeye voters correctly picked the next president. So, Ohio is key here. The unemployment rate has dropped below the national average there to 7.5 percent since President Obama stepped into the White House.

Let's look at Michigan. Here is Michigan at the last GOP candidate to win Michigan was the elder Bush in '88. The economy there is still struggling, but look at the unemployment rate in Michigan. It has been dropping significantly over the past couple of years. Still high at 8.5 percent but dropping.

New Hampshire also 5.2 percent, no change in its jobless rate.

Let me show another quick look here. These are -- in orange, these are states where the unemployment rate, battleground states where the unemployment rate has gone up since President Obama became president. There are 109 delegates at stake there, the western states look at Nevada, 12 percent unemployment right there. Missouri one of the states that serves as a proxy for the national election, seeing a huge spike in unemployment as well, jumping more than two percentage points in Missouri. And Florida, 29 delegates there, the unemployment rate has risen as well.

So, the president, this jobs report incredibly important for the economy but we're going to take a closer look at the numbers on my show, "YOUR BOTTOM LINE," this weekend. Also be talking about these issues on a special edition of Ali Velshi's show, "YOUR $$$$$" on Sunday. The president sort of officially launching his campaign, this weekend, jobs report Friday, an awful lots to talk about.

BANFIELD: One of the reasons I love working at CNN, I get to work with you two, Ali Velshi and Christine Romans -- your pearls of wisdom.

ROMANS: Thank you.

BANFIELD: What's the one thing I need to know today?

ROMANS: The one thing you need to know today is if you are looking for a job, on your cover letter, you have to have the name of someone else -- your name and someone else's name. It's about connections.

BANFIELD: Not just any name.

ROMANS: People are hiring known quantities so you need to make yourself a known quantity with someone at that company. People who you know are getting you jobs. People are not getting jobs sight unseen.

BANFIELD: And it's a bummer but it's reality, because we used to say that a lot. It's not what you know, but who you know. But now it's both.

ROMANS: Now it's both. It's what you know and who you know and how you're out there selling yourself.

BANFIELD: OK. What if you don't know someone at the company? Can you research names and drop them in some way?

ROMANS: I think the best thing to do is to join professional organizations, pull through all of your networks and resources from your past jobs, reconnect with people.

If you checked in with somebody a year ago and they didn't have anything, it's time to check in with them again, because companies are hiring, 160,000 jobs expected to be created last month. Companies are hiring again, it's time to check back in.

BANFIELD: You just can't say it enough. There is a lot of value in networking, networking, networking. Especially on economy like this. Florida like at you, 8.7 percent. Ek!

Here's something you don't hear every day, you're too skinny to be a model. I'm not kidding. Look at these pictures. If you are too thin or too young, forget about "Vogue," folks, it's not in vogue anymore, pardon the pun and tell you why, tell you how it's all shaking out, in just a moment.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's about 6:29 in the East.

Here's what's happening at half past the hour.

Major developments overnight in the story of the Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng. Word of what is being called a face-saving deal that will allow Chen to apply to study in the U.S. U.S. officials say they spoke to him overnight on the phone and they have met with his wife.

A brown bear, two spotted leopards and a pair of macaque monkeys will be returned to their Zanesville, Ohio, farm later today, the same farm where 50 exotic animals were released into the public by their owner right before he committed suicide.

The prosecution of self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gets under way this morning at Guantanamo Bay. Victims' relatives will be able to watch today's arraignment on closed circuit feeds at military bases along the East Coast. Mohammed and four co- defendants will eventually be tried in front of a military tribunal. That trial is not expected to begin for at least a year -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: All right, Christine. Thank you.

It's 30 minutes now past the hour.

If you walk by any newsstand these days, you are undoubtedly going to see dozens of images of emaciated girls wearing shreds of clingy, skimpy fabrics. It is highly unlikely any weighs more than 115 pounds and they probably stand over 5'7" at the shortest, maybe 5'9", more real.

The trend has been a trend for decades. Thank you, twiggy, but it may be about to change because "Vogue" magazine has decided it's going to ban models under the age of 16 who appear to have an eating disorder, saying this, quote, "We will not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder. We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image."

That ban is going to be in effect for "Vogue" worldwide in July. And this is a dramatic shift for how "Vogue" defines beauty in a world where it appears you just can never be too skinny.

Joining me now to discuss the implications of this and what it will have in the rest of the industry and the public is world famous plus- sized model Emme.

I always look forward to talking to you about these stories. They don't seem to go away, Emme.


BANFIELD: Why do we keep getting together on television to talk about, oh my gosh, we have to have another move like this because it's getting dangerous.

EMME: It's an issue, a revolution of thought that women are not feeling good about their bodies and they're constantly being shown in mass media how they can change them self and contort them self and reduce, reduce, reduce, and to a pre-pubescent image. Two percent of us can only look at that images we see.


EMME: Yes, 2 percent.

BANFIELD: Two percent of us look like the images on magazines.

EMME: And 80 percent of American women feel dissatisfied with the way they look. And that's a National Eating Disorders Association statistic that you have. You have to if you want to know more about that.

BANFIELD: And what was Marilyn Monroe, by the way? What were her stats? Doesn't she like 5'5" and 130?

EMME: She was a size 14, 14/16.

BANFIELD: Size 14?

EMME: Yes.

BANFIELD: Wasn't that different back then?

EMME: It was different back then, there wasn't such a stringent level or kind of rules that a woman has to look like. In fact, a little bit of a curve was something that was admired. It still is actually.

BANFIELD: Marilyn Monroe also like a 14, today is a size six, is a size 10 back then, right?


EMME: It's an issue, we keep talking about this because there is a big problem. We have two different sides of the issue. We have young kids and mothers going into eating disorder clinics, they're filled to the brim, by the way. There's not a lot of room for people to go and get help in the hospitals, in the clinics.

BANFIELD: Turning people away?

EMME: Yes, they are, and then the enormous problem, no pun intended of obesity. What really is happening in our country, the people that make the decisions on what images are beautiful -- you can't make them one way. You have to open the aperture a bit so more can fit through. Oh I feel a little better.

BANFIELD: "Vogue" is a big deal.

EMME: It's wonderful.

BANFIELD: Look, I remember talking to you about this before, you and I met in the issue in Israel.

EMME: Yes.

BANFIELD: Where Israel was banning skinny models. I think Spain tampered with that for a while.

EMME: Italy had issued as well.

BANFIELD: They had a model die from anorexia and I don't feel like anything got traction after that.

EMME: What I'm concerned about with this particular ban and I have to applaud "Vogue" for doing this worldwide. It would be great to see the ban across all major magazines that we would then know there's an internal organization actually checking the models when they come in for Gucci's, the models in going on the runways working for designers so that -- and do we have to have it governmentally run or instituted, or can we have internal groups do this?

BANFIELD: That's the next question I have for you, who is overseeing this. That sounds like a pretty -- check an ID easy, you're under 16, you're out. How do you check for the appearance of an eating disorder?

EMME: Yes, it is in-depth if you are truly going to take the step, for health, for our girls, for the images of beauty, so that women can feel less anxious about their appearance, you really have to go beyond just saying that you're going to do something. You actually have to do it and make an organization within each company that's going to take this ban, and say, OK, we're going to have doctor's appointments every single -- you know, every six months for the girls that work with us or at every single show you got to have a medical pass.

BANFIELD: You've got to have medical pass.

EMME: Yes, exactly and up to the agents to show the medical pass with the people who hire them, whether it's magazines or runway shows or designers, or whatever it might be. It's a big issue.

BANFIELD: I have question for you, when I was reading the intro to this, I see you off camera, I was saying the stats -- if you see those people in the magazines, they're probably 115 pounds 5'7", 5'9".

EMME: Or 10 or 11.

BANFIELD: You have seen her going, are you kidding me? What's true? What's really the reality?

EMME: They're really 5'11" and they're about, you know, below 120.

BANFIELD: I'm 140 and I'm 5'7".

EMME: Well, you know --

BANFIELD: And I feel like I'm overweight all the time.

EMME: Ashleigh -- oh my God.

BANFIELD: Look at the industry we're in. Standing in front of a monitor with all this crap.

EMME: I realize all of us who are on TV really do feel there's a major focus on how we look, but -- BANFIELD: Is this going to work?

EMME: Yes, I think it is. It's our responsibility to be healthy, eat well, exercise regularly and not barrage ourselves with this pressure. Ourselves, we on TV, we in magazines and the mothers and fathers who are with these models and agents need to step in.

BANFIELD: So, "Vogue" does a good thing, get their name and picture on CNN. I'll say their name five times, vogue, vogue, vogue, vogue, vogue, vogue.

EMME: I'm going to see all the magazines within Hearst -- Conde Nast, excuse me. Conde Nast. I'd love to see all of the magazines within Conde Nast take this approach. I'd love to see all of the other magazine publishers do this, so that --


EMME: So that -- and really do it. Not just say it, but walk the walk and talk the talk so that we can have healthy images of beauty out there.

BANFIELD: All right. Things gear up in July. How about you come back?

EMME: You got it. Let's check on them.

BANFIELD: It's like Anderson Cooper says, keep them honest.

Emme, always good to see you. You look fabulous.

EMME: Thank you, darling, and you as well.

BANFIELD: You're great. Thanks for joining us. Christine, over to you.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, ladies. In-fighting at Yahoo! and it's getting nasty. Yahoo!'s board of directors now reviewing CEO Scott Thompson's resume after hedge fund investor Third Point claimed he lied about having a degree in computer science. Third Point owns nearly 6 percent of Yahoo! shares and is battling to gain seats on the firm's board.

Ahead on EARLY START: we're tracking the latest developments in Beijing where activist Chen Guangcheng is pleading with the U.S. to help him get out of China.

But, first, let's get a quick check of today's weather with Rob Marciano.

Good morning, Rob.


We start with a celestial heads up, tomorrow full moon. But it's the biggest, brightest full moon of the year, as close as the moon gets and going to be big and bright. The question is: are you going to be able to see it because of cloud cover?

Kind of a messy pattern. There's a fair amount of moisture in the eastern third of the country. Severe thunderstorms today, potentially across parts of the Northeast and also through Chicago. We're seeing some showers and storms across the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. And some thunderstorms moving north of St. Louis. Chicago will be in it with some heat to the south of you, in Kansas City, 86, and cool air coming in, 78 degrees, finally warming up in the big apple.

It's 38 minutes after the hour. EARLY START is coming right back.


ROMANS: Big story again. New developments in the case of Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese activist in the middle of a diplomatic firestorm. Chen wants to leave China, we're told, and is asking America for help to leave China.

U.S. officials have spoken within him by phone this morning and have also had a face-to-face meeting with his wife. China now saying Chen is free to apply to study abroad like all Chinese citizens, the government says he can do what he wants. Listen to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks as she prepares to leave China after two days of high-level talks.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We and you do not always see the same situation in the same way, but we are working to make sure that none of that misperception or difference of opinion is allowed to interfere with the complex and comprehensive relationship.


ROMANS: Stan Grant live in Beijing this morning.

Stan, the United States and China have a lot of differences of opinion. It's just the way it is, but when something like this gets into the middle of an important economic dialogue, then both sides have to really try to smooth it over and it's been difficult to smooth this one over.

Did Hillary Clinton ever mention Chen by name this morning?

STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I haven't heard her mention him by name. She's having a news conference right as we speak and obviously she's going to take a lot of questions about Chen. It's going to be unavoidable not to mention his name.

They've been careful in the way they've had to approach this because this really flared up right as Hillary Clinton arrived here with Chen Guangcheng holed up inside the U.S. embassy. You know, you're right about this relationship, Christine. This is the defining relationship of the 21st century. We know the last 50, 60 years the 20th century was the U.S. century. This has been called China's century. Many expecting China to overtake the U.S. as the biggest economy in the world in the next 20 to 25 years. It's a relationship of co-dependence. It's also a relationship where they bump up against each other a lot.

And one of the sticking points, of course, is human rights. China does not like any country meddling in their affairs. For Chen Guangcheng to escape house arrest, someone that China considers an enemy of the state, by the way, and then find refuge inside the U.S. embassy really put this two massive countries at loggerheads with this blind activist in the middle.

Now, of course, we're seeing this diplomatic dance. They're trying to resolve this, trying to find a pragmatic way where all sides can save face. China has opened the door a little bit by suggesting that Chen may be able to get a passport and apply for a student visa to go to the United States.

Chen is backing off a little bit on his rhetoric. The United States is continuing to talk to Chen by phone, but here's the harsh reality right now as it sits, Chen Guangchang, a man who's says he's been beaten by Chinese officials in the past, escaped house arrest, is inside a hospital right now surrounded by guards and the U.S. embassy can't even get in there to see him face-to-face.

That's the harsh reality, that's the starting point. How do they take it from here --

ROMANS: Stan, remind us why this man, 40 years old, blind, he's been in prison for four years and under house arrest for 18 months, why is he so dangerous to this growing, huge economy that will overtake United States in 25 years? What has he done that makes him so dangerous?

GRANT: That is such a fantastic question, because it really goes to the heart, the rationale of what China is about. Yes. It is such a massively powerful country. It has grown the economy hugely over the past 20, 25 years. He's lifted 400 million people out of poverty, all of those admirable. At the same time, though, this is a leadership that has hunkered down.

They're even walled off from their own people here in Beijing. They've grown up within the party. The party's survival is the ideology and the driving force of the regime here, anybody, however small, who appears to be a threat to that, who could maybe spark a broader uprising amongst the people, they crock down on it and they crack down hard.

You know, as been said to me, there are three outcomes for a dissident, you can be dead, you can be in jail, or you can be banished. Right now, Chen Guangchang who's been in jail is hoping that he can find refuge in the United States. Chen for his sins, for his crimes, was someone who represented women who are fighting against alleged forced abortions and sterilization during the one child policy here that brought him to the ire of the officials. He was charged with disrupting traffic and causing damage during a demonstration. He denies those charges, but that's why he went to jail. He came out. They put him under house arrest. He says he's been beaten, his family has been threatened with death, that's why he doesn't feel safe and wants to leave here -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Beyond the co-dependence of our economies, the differences and everything else between our two countries runs very, very deep. Stan Grant, thank you so much.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Boy, do they ever? That's an understatement.

Forty-seven minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. Our Soledad O'Brien coming up now with a look at what's ahead on "Starting Point." And here's what I think, you're going to make Christine Romans work overtime.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes I am. That would be correct, because we're all over that big jobs report for April. We're expecting that to come out at 8:30 a.m. eastern time, which candidate could it help? Is it going to make a dent in the unemployment rate? We're going to take a look at that.

Also, the very last interview done with Junior Seau looking for some warning signs in days before that beloved football star shot himself in the chest.

And you're going to hear her voice and feel that eight-time Grammy award winner. Anita Baker joins us this morning.

Plus, did you know that it is International "Star Wars" Day. We'll tell you why it's today. You might want to think about it.

If you're headed to work, you can watch our show this morning on our live blog at or join us on Twitter @StartingPTCNN. We'll see you then at the top of the hour.


BANFIELD: It's 51 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. Time to get you up to date. A couple of top stories for you.


BANFIELD (voice-over): Junior Seau's family has decided to donate his brain to science. It's new this morning from the "Los Angeles Times." The death of the former NFL linebacker has been confirmed now as a suicide, but what's still not clear, whether all of those hard hits he took in his career contributed to the suicide. He shot himself in the chest.

ROMANS (voice-over): You're looking at just released home video of missing six-year-old Isabel Celis. Isabel's father says he put her to bed on the night of April 20th, and when he went to wake her up the next morning, she was gone, the window opened, and the screen removed. Isabel's father pleading for her return.


SERGIO CELIS, ISABEL'S FATHER: Just please, please, to the person or persons who has Isabel, tell us your demand, tell us what you want. We will do anything for her.


ROMANS: Tucson's police chief confirms both of Isabel's parents have taken a lie detector test. He hasn't revealed the results and says everyone's a suspect at this point.

BANFIELD: Whoever fired on the U.S. Space and Rocket Center could be facing some serious charges this morning, federal charges. One of the bullets hit a Saturn V rocket that was on display at the museum in Huntsville, Alabama. Several school groups were visiting at the time. Very luckily, there were no injuries reported, but there was some paint damage only. The Saturn VELSHI rocket belongs to the Smithsonian Institution.

ROMANS: Greenpeace protesters arrested for trying to stop a train in North Carolina. Police say demonstrators attached themselves to the tracks hoping to block the train from carrying coal to a power plant. Greenpeace said it believes coal powered plants are an environmental hazard. It took officials about an hour to remove the protestors.

BANFIELD: Some very quick thinking by a six-year-old, and look at that face. That may have just saved his mother's life. Here's what happened. Last weekend, this woman, Judy Beala (ph), was doing some spring cleaning like we all do at her home, but she fell off that ten- foot ladder and she fell and hit her head, too.

She was bleeding and falling in and out of consciousness, but that's when six-year-old Braden(ph) figured out what to do and turned into her lifeline. He run and got towels to stop the bleeding and then he picked up the phone and called 911.


BRADY: My mom fell down from a ladder and she broke her head open.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think he saved your life?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I do. He's my hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your mom called you a hero. Are you a hero? Congratulations.


ROMANS: What a sweet guy.

BANFIELD: Isn't that adorable? Yes. I am a hero. Vila (ph) received seven stitches after her injury at the hospital, but guess what, she's going to be just fine, and Braden we're here to push that one forward again, you are a hero. Congratulations.


ROMANS (on-camera): All right. Michael Jackson is back, not in Tupac hologram fashion, but in a familiar role. We're going to explain, next.


ROMANS: Time to take a look at what's trending on the web this morning. The king of soda pop, Pepsi, bringing back Michael Jackson for a new ad campaign. The company struck a deal with the Jackson estate to use his image in TV ads just like this iconic ad from the 1980s. There'll also be special edition cans.

BANFIELD (on-camera): Wow. I like that.

ROMANS: And you'll be able to scan the cans to go back and see videos and stuff. This first started back in 1983, I think, it was first started. This new ad campaign is also times -- coincide with the 25th anniversary of his album "Bad."

BANFIELD: Really cool image on the can. Regardless of what you think about Michael Jackson and his history and what he's been through, great musician and that will never go away, that part.

So, superhero wearing red, white and blue. Who do you think it is?

ROMANS: Not Captain America.

BANFIELD: Not Captain America. No. No. It's the PBR guy, Pabst Blue Ribbon guy. The beer man comes to the rescue after that college student, adorable, apparently, had her beer stolen. She was -- well, first of all, let's take it to where she's from, University of Nebraska Lincoln student. Her name is Jessica Robinson.

She's on the porch having a beer, two men came up to her and threatened her with a fork. You heard right, threatened her with the fork. When the PBR guys from Pabst saw the story on the local news, they immediately jumped into action, suiting up and heading over to her house to replenish her stolen loot.

Beer men even stuck around to have a beer with her and her friends, very sweet.

ROMANS: Remember that ad, PBR ASAP?

BANFIELD: I do not.

ROMANS: You don't remember it. Maybe it was a Canadian. I don't know.

BANFIELD: But I tell you something, that's the way to get good PR, because you just had yourself great commercial on CNN. ROMANS: Who steal beer with the fork? I don't know. That whole story is crazy.

BANFIELD: Happy International "Star Wars" Day. May the 4th be with you.


ROMANS: oh, you know it's good.

BANFIELD: It's EARLY START, news from "A" to "Z." Good to have you here. Great to have you here this week.

ROMANS: Yes. Yes.

BANFIELD: Thank you for doing the --

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BANFIELD: I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Zoraida is back next week. "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.