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Two American Tourists Kidnapped at Gunpoint; Banning Big Sugary Drinks; U.S. Second Highest In Child Poverty; Is Exercise Bad For You?

Aired May 31, 2012 - 05:59   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Breaking news this morning. Two American tourists kidnapped by gunmen in Egypt. We're going to take you live to Cairo straight ahead.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: Plus, happening right now, the first commercial spacecraft prepares for its return to earth.

BANFIELD: And caught on video. An out of control truck slamming into a tavern and trapping those helpless customers up against the bar. There are pictures you have to see to believe. Look at that.

SAMBOLIN: Good gracious.

BANFIELD: Remarkable.

SAMBOLIN: That is really incredible.

BANFIELD: Lucky they're all, more or less, OK. No deaths, but very, very frightening moments.

It's an early morning. Good morning to you. Welcome, EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: We're really happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are bringing you the news A to Z. It's exactly 6:00 in the East.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BANFIELD: We begin with our breaking news this morning. The U.S. embassy in Egypt says it's working hard right now to try to free two U.S. tourists who were kidnapped at gunpoint. It happened in the town of Dahab in the Siani region of Egypt. Check out your map. To the top and the right. That's where two armed men forced those American tourists out of their car and took them away. The alleged kidnappers apparently demanding the release of someone who was arrested the day before on a drug charge.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is live for us in Cairo. So, the embassy is admitting this happened, Ben. They say they're working hard. But do they have any leads on this?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Actually, we had just gotten off the phone with the official at the Egyptian interior ministry, who says that officials from the local governor in the Siani as well as Egyptian intelligence are in direct contact with the kidnappers. The kidnappers are demanding a member of their tribe, who was arrested as a very -- what's described as a very large amount of marijuana -- be released in exchange for these two Americans, who the U.S. embassy says tells us were kidnapped yesterday by armed men on this road between Dahab and to the north, the road leading to the north which until now had been considered one of the safest areas of the Siani.

So, negotiations are underway between Egyptian officials and the kidnappers. And if we go by previous incidents of kidnapping of foreign tourists in the Siani, they may be released soon because this is really just a local dispute. The American tourists are just a pawn being used between the Egyptian government and the kidnappers in this case. Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: And is there any similarity between the story we broke on this program back in January of those two American women who were also kidnapped, if I remember correctly, at gunpoint as well in Egypt?

WEDEMAN: Well, very much similar in the sense that it's a local dispute. We have to keep in mind that the Siani peninsula is an area which for years was neglected by the Mubarak regime. So, there's a lot of resentment, a lot of friction between the Bedouin inhabitants of the Siani and the Egyptian government. This is how they play out their disputes. Kidnap local tourists. The Egyptian government very sensitive to the impact on the tourism industry by this sort of news, very eager to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, as peacefully as possible. Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Ben, do we have any proof of life at this point? Do we know that these two 31-year-old Americans are okay? Are they at least confident that they're negotiating with these kidnappers?

WEDEMAN: Well, we don't have proof of life. We have not received that. But we have to go on the word of the Egyptian government, of the interior ministry, who does indicate they are well, have not been harmed. And that in fact, dead hostages are of no use whatsoever.

So, we're hoping -- we don't know, but hoping that this will lead to their release unharmed, as was the case of those American tourists in the Sinai earlier this year. Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Ben Wedeman live for us in Cairo. Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: It is three minutes past the hour. The dragon is headed back to earth. Here's a timeline of events for the Space X Dragon capsule. It released from the international space station last hour, 5:35 a.m. Eastern. From there, it will deorbit at about 10:15 a.m. and splash down in the Pacific Ocean some time before noon. Then NASA will hold a briefing on the mission.

So far, the mission has been a success, making history as the first commercial rocket to dock with the international space station. Space analyst Miles O'Brien joins us now. Miles, I got to tell you, in these parts, you are a rock star. Everybody absolutely loves you. MILES O'BRIEN, SPACE ANALYST: Well, thank you.

SAMBOLIN: We're very excited to talk to you this morning. Can you tell us -- I know I went over the timeline. But can you tell us what we should be seeing?

O'BRIEN: Well, right now what we're seeing is that at least they made it look easy. Breaking up can be easy to do. Because right now, as we speak, Dragon and ISS, international space station, after about six days of coupled operations, have parted company.

And so now -- actually, NASA and Houston is sort of watching things unfold, like we are. And the emphasis moves to Hawthorne, California, the headquarters for Space X or Space Exploration Technologies, this upstart firm with about a tenth of the number of employees that the shuttle program had that has successfully staged this first-ever test mission with such great success.

It isn't over yet. They're on their way for that very crucial breaking or deorbit burn, which will lead to a splashdown about 500 miles off the coast of the Baja Peninsula. And then retrieval of cargo inside, which is a crucial thing. With the shuttle fleet gone, this is the only vehicle, Zoraida, that can bring cargo back from the space station. The Russian, Japanese and European vehicles that service the space station are just trash incinerators on their way back. They're not designed to withstand reentry. And so watching this unfold right now is another key step, but the key milestones have all gone off without a hitch so far.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it's been complication-free. So, what complications would you anticipate, perhaps, as it makes the reentry?

O'BRIEN: Well, reentry is a -- we're talking about a vehicle moving much faster than a rifle bullet right now. 17,500 miles an hour. It's kind of hard to comprehend that kind of speed. Twenty- five times the speed of sound. It has to go from that to zero in very short order.

And so what you see as it comes down is essentially a streaking meteor. It has material on the bottom of it, called a blade of material, which is actually designed to burn and burn away as it comes in, to protect the contents and, of course, the capsule itself.

One of the key things we need to watch for in the coming moments just before that important nine-minute deorbit burn is there's a thing called the trunk which is attached to the bottom of the capsule. It's designed to keep it operating well while it's in orbit. It has the solar rays attached, power, capability and so forth. It needs to jettison and part company with the capsule in order for it to come down safely. That will be important one to watch. And then we'll watch for hopefully a nice splashdown.

SAMBOLIN: And then it gets carted away?


SAMBOLIN: All right. Miles O'Brien, thank you very much. Space analyst and correspondent for PBS Newshour. Thank you.

BANFIELD: Three New Jersey teenagers charged with robbery and assault this morning for allegedly bullying a 15-year-old high school student so relentlessly that he later committed suicide. Prosecutors says Morristown High School freshman Lennon Baldwin was assaulted at school back in March. It was caught on surveillance tape. And that attacker was suspended, but Baldwin was allegedly attacked again just three days later and then committed suicide just three weeks after that.

Former Reuters University student Dahrun Ravi will begin serving a 30-day jail sentence this morning for spying on his gay roommate with a web cam during an intimate encounter. That roommate, Tyler Clementi, later committed suicide. The judge said he didn't see any purpose in putting the 20-year-old Ravi in prison with hardened criminals for a longer period of time.

SAMBOLIN: Troops shelling the Syrian town of Hulag this morning, the scene of a massacre that killed more than 100 people and has sparked international outrage. The Free Syrian Army has set a Friday deadline for the Syrian government to pull its troops out of residential areas and allow humanitarian aid in. The rebels haven't said what would happen if, as expected, the Assad regime does not comply.

BANFIELD: They were just enjoying their drinks at this bar when a vehicle came crashing through. Take a look at your screen. Incredible surveillance pictures.


BANFIELD: Wow! That is Gordy's bar in Little Canada, Minnesota. A 51-year-old woman apparently losing control of her vehicle, taking out a utility pole and crashing right through the wall of the building. That pinned five of the customers up against that bar as well. Rescue crews were there. The manager of the bar, Pat Sazenski, got away just in time.


PAT SAZENSKI, BAR MANAGER, GORDY'S: It happened like that. You didn't have time to react. Three feet down I see a pole flying through. I thought that was kind of strange. And then all of a sudden, I heard a boom and the truck came right through the wall.


BANFIELD: Unbelievable. Six people, including the driver, were hurt when all of this happened. Police say the driver of that truck may have actually had a medical condition that caused her to lose control and ram that building.

SAMBOLIN: Oh! Tough to watch that.

The White House on attack against Mitt Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts. The president's senior strategist, David Axelrod, will hold a news conference this morning at the state house in Boston. He will be joined by state officials who served with Romney. A new Obama campaign ad with a preview of what we can expect.


MITT ROMNEY, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People want to know what I stand for, they can look at my record as governor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney was not an effective leader in Massachusetts. And the proof is in the pudding.

JAY KAUFMAN, STATE REP. FOR THE 15TH MIDDLESEX DISTRICT: I had worked only under Republican governors, and I worked really well with all of the others. There was really not much working with Mitt Romney.


SAMBOLIN: The White House plans to make the case that Romney's economic plans while governor resulted in slower job creation, more debt, bigger government and cuts to essential middle-class programs.

And coming up at 7:00 Eastern on "STARTING POINT," Soledad O'Brien will get reaction from Massachusetts governor Duvall Patrick, a Democrat and an Obama surrogate.

BANFIELD: It's 10 minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast. Graduation day is Saturday, and the class valedictorian, stuck in Mexico. Spring break, this is not. Why this high school senior is stuck across the border. And, guess what, she may not be able to come home for three years. The story in a moment.


BANFIELD: Welcome back. It is now 14 minutes past 6:00 on the East Coast. Time to get you updated with the top stories. Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Ashleigh. Two American tourists kidnapped at gunpoint in Egypt. It happened in the town of Dahab. Now, the kidnappers are demanding that a member of their tribe be released from jail in exchange for these two Americans. The man was arrested this week with a large amount of marijuana. The U.S. embassy says it's working hard for the safe return of those two kidnapped Americans.

Space X's Dragon capsule put the international space station in its rearview mirror. The commercial spacecraft releasing from the station, the first step in its journey home. It's expected to splash down in the Pacific later this morning.

And a woman who tried to commit suicide while she was pregnant is now facing life in prison because her unborn child died in that attempt. Bei Bei Shuai is a woman living in Indiana. She says she drank rat poison after her boyfriend dumped her because she was depressed. Shuai gave birth, but her child did not survive.

Indiana prosecutors have charged her with murder.

A Pentecostal preacher from West Virginia who was known for handling dangerous snakes during his sermon, he has died after being bitten in the leg by a rattlesnake. Forty-four-year-old Matt Wolford was bitten Sunday at a West Virginia state park. He died early Monday morning.

Wolford told "The Washington Post" last year that he believed the Bible instructed Christians to handle serpents to test their faith in God.

The FAA is now looking into a coalition on the tarmac at Chicago O'Hare's airport. Yesterday afternoon, an American Eagle commuter plane that had just landed in Chicago got clipped by the right wing of a cargo jet, a Boeing 747, as that cargo jet was taxing for departure and no one was hurt.

In Indiana, a high school senior finds out this morning if she'll be stuck in Mexico for the next three years. Elizabeth Olivas is class valedictorian at Franklin High School. She's supposed to deliver a graduation speech Saturday. She has lived in Indiana since she was 4 years old. She was born in Mexico and she never became a U.S. citizen.

Now, a law required she returned to Mexico within 180 days for her 18th birthday to get a visa or a green card. She got there one day late. Now, she's banned from returning to the U.S. unless she's granted a waiver this morning at the U.S. consulate in Juarez.

We're going to talk to Elizabeth Olivas later this morning, 8:00 a.m. Eastern, on "STARTING POINT."

She's supposed to give a speech on Saturday.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh. I hope she is granted that waiver. Thank you, Christine.

Sixteen minutes past the hour.

A pair of Florida newlyweds are lucky to be alive this morning after a metal pole impaled the windshield of their SUV. Sandy and Carlton Francis were driving south in Interstates 95 Sunday in Hollywood when the six-foot long metal rod came crashing through their windshield. Look at that. It missed both of them by about a foot.


CARLTON FRANCIS, PASSANGER: When I got out of the car and looked at it, I cried. I cried.

REPORTER: Did you see it coming?

SANDY FRANCIS, PASSANGER: I saw it for a split second.

C. FRANCIS: I braced myself. I braced myself and I just hoped for the best.

REPORTER: Did you think you lost him?

C. FRANCIS: Yes, I did.


SAMBOLIN: Goodness.

Authorities still aren't sure where that pole came from. They think the metal was already on the highway and it went flying when another car drove over it.

I'm going to call today's show lucky to be alive.

BANFIELD: I'm going to call today's show buy a lottery ticket. Holy molly.

Seventeen minutes now past 6:00.

Here today, gone tomorrow. That's the way it works. Facebook's stock plunging. Its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, finds his status plunging, too. He's no longer among Wall Street's elite. We'll explain what ranking he just lost.

SAMBOLIN: For an expanded look of all our top stories, head to our blog,


BANFIELD: It's 21 minutes now past 6:00.

We're minding your business this morning. Boy, just got a look at "The Wall Street Journal" and it is the big old headline, another rough day for U.S. stocks. The Dow, NASDAQ, S&P 500, all down again yesterday, mostly because of the uncertainty over Europe's debt crisis that continues to push the markets down.

SAMBOLIN: Well, one stock that's definitely down, continues to go down, Facebook.

Christine Romans is here to talk about this.

ROMANS: Wow. What a mess, right? Facebook stock down a quarter in value since it became an IPO. And that means Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, is no longer one of the world's richest people. He's enjoying his honeymoon in Italy. So, maybe he doesn't care.

He's probably not checking his bank statement every single day or his paper value. But Facebook stock has been dropping while he's in Italy and the company down again yesterday.

That means Zuckerberg has fallen off Bloomberg's top 40 billionaires list. Not one of the biggest billionaires in the world anymore, but still worth about $14.7 billion. The stock closed at $28.19.

There might be a little tick up this morning. We'll have to watch and see.

BANFIELD: That was so fast. How you can fall from that grace, so quick.

ROMANS: It's all paper money, right? This is why IPOs are risky because this is now the market trying to value what this company is worth. It's got 900 billion users. Everyone knows it has changed the world. Figuring out how it's going to change business and how it's going to make money.

BANFIELD: And that paper money can come back.

ROMANS: It can come back. That's right.

I want to talk about health care cost, too, because this is another story I'm following for you today. Health care costs expected to rise 7.5 percent next year. Seven and a half percent. That's according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCooper. Seven and a half percent is more than inflation and it's more than any raise you're going to expect.

So, you're going to pay twice, folks. You're going to pay as a consumer, paying more co-pays and more deductibles. You're going to pay as a taxpayer, since this will drive up Medicare and Medicaid spending at a time when we're talking about cutting, right?

Another survey found that this year's workers out-of-pocket costs rose to an average of $3,470 for a family of four. It's Milliman Inc. It's an actuary and health care tracker. Now, PricewaterhouseCooper says more than half of employers plan to raise the cost that you pay for your health benefits. They're going to raise the cost that you pay.

And so the one thing you need to know today about your money, take advantage of your corporate wellness programs, because these same employers are doing more of that to try to keep you healthier so they don't have to pay so much money. They're going to keep passing on more of your health care costs to you. Be prepared.

You are going to pay higher deductibles. You're going to pay higher co-pays. You are going to be more for your health care than you're going to get in a raise, period.

SAMBOLIN: That is good advice.

BANFIELD: And do Sanjay Gupta's fitness challenges.

ROMANS: It's true. Sanjay has talked about this a lot as well. I mean, you know, these -- companies are going to pull back. Now, one good thing the company is doing. They're reinstating their 401(k) match.

So, a lot of companies during the recession, any stopped matching on your 401(k). Now they are matching again. So, take advantage of --


ROMANS: The corporate wellness programs -- do it. The 401(k) -- do it.

BANFIELD: And reality. Reality.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-four minutes past the hour. We continue to follow breaking news out of Egypt. Two American tourists kidnapped. We're going to go live to Cairo right after this quick break.

BANFIELD: And if you're leaving the house right now, don't worry about it. You can watch us even on your mobile and on your desktop once you get to work. You just have t go to All your options are there. Stay wired.

Back in a moment.


SAMBOLIN: We are following breaking news out of Egypt. Two American tourists taken at gunpoint. Egyptian officials say they're in contact with the kidnappers.

BANFIELD: The end of the big gulp? No kidding. New York moves to ban big sugary sodas and drinks all in the name of health.

SAMBOLIN: And he is one lucky waiter. He got the tip of a lifetime, folks -- $5,000. We'll talk to him about that moment and what he plans to do with the extra dough.

BANFIELD: Isn't that a nice little --

SAMBOLIN: It is very nice.

BANFIELD: -- surprise.

SAMBOLIN: Imagine that.

BANFIELD: Twenty-eight minutes past 6:00.

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Nice to have you here with us on this Thursday, one day before Friday.

Twenty-eight minutes after 6:00 like we mentioned.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN, breaking news.

SAMBOLIN: And we are following that breaking news for you.

The U.S. embassy in Egypt working right now to try to free two U.S. tourists kidnapped at gun point. It happened in the town of Dahab, in the Sinai region of Egypt. That's where armed men forced two Americans out of a car. The alleged kidnappers demanding the release of someone who was arrested on drug charges be released in exchange for the Americans.

CNN's Ben Wedeman has the latest from Cairo.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Armed gunmen have kidnapped two American tourists in the southern Sinai Peninsula.

According to Egyptian interior ministry officials, local officials as well as representatives of Egyptian intelligence are in direct contact with the kidnappers. The kidnappers are saying that they want the release of one of their tribe members, who was arrested with a large amount of marijuana to be released in exchange for the release of two American tourists.

The U.S. embassy here in Cairo says that they are in constant and direct contact with Egyptian officials to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.

The Sinai Peninsula has been an area where law and order, security and stability have largely deteriorated since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. It's an area where there's little love lost between the Egyptian state and the local inhabitants. Often times that dispute is played out at the expense of foreign tourists.

I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Cairo.


BANFIELD: So, could this be the end of the big gulp? The mayor of New York City wanted to ban large sugary drinks at all restaurants and not just there, movie theaters, too -- even the ballpark.

Our Alina is on the case.


BANFIELD: She's here with more. And you brought examples so that people really know how big is big.

CHO: Well, to answer your question -- it depends on how big the big gulp is. Is it bigger than 16 ounces like this is? Well, this diet doesn't count.

But, yes, this would be banned under the new city rule. This would not. Now, it needs approval by the board of health first, but seems to be a foregone conclusion. It appears it will take affect in March with the details. That's right.

First, I think to point out that critics aren't quick to call the Mayor Nanny Bloomberg. Remember, Mayor Bloomberg has really been out in front of this issue of health, and fighting obesity. He championed the ban on smoking in restaurant. He later championed the ban on artificial trans fats.

Now, he wants to ban sodas larger than 16 ounces. We're talking about this here, at all New York City restaurants, delis, movie theaters, ballparks and even some bodegas and street side carts.

Here is a good argument for it. Watch.


CHO: Doesn't that music just wake you up? Man drinking a tall glass of fat.

If you're reading along there, you see that it says drinking one can of soda a day can make you 10 pounds fatter a year. Don't drink yourself fat. Drink water, seltzer, low-fat milk. That's what the ad says.

According to the New York City Health Department. The ban would affect any cup or bottle of sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces.

It would not affect diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages. And it would not extend to grocery or convenience stores. If you are boiling it down, it appears that the ban mostly affects places where you can actually order food, the restaurant, the deli, even the ballpark.

BANFIELD: And the ad that they released makes it pretty obvious as to why. They're really worried about obesity.

CHO: That's right.

BANFIELD: How bad is the problem to lead to this kind of severe measure?

CHO: Very bad.

And worse, in New York, the national average. I mean, look at the national average -- more than a third of Americans are considered obese, 35.7 percent, to be exact.

In New York, more than half of adults are considered obese or overweight. What's even more interesting is that higher obesity rates are more common in neighborhoods where soda consumption is high.

Obviously, the beverage association is quick to criticize this measure saying there they go again. The New York City health department's unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top. The city is not going to address the obesity issue by attacking soda because soda is not driving the obesity rates.

The city will counter that and say it is a big part of the problem. And if you look at a soda like this, 240 calories.

BANFIELD: It's 20 ounces, right?

CHO: It's 20 ounces. And for someone like you, Ashleigh, some days, I know you say this is a full meal.

BANFIELD: Lean cuisine right there.

CHO: For some people, it's half a meal. Think of an average meal being 500 calories a day for an average woman. It's a real problem.

BANFIELD: I just wonder how they're going to police selling the smaller cups. If you want a diet drink, and you want an extra large at the fountain --


CHO: That's right.

SAMBOLIN: People will get around what they want to get around.

CHO: They'll buy two of the small ones.

BANFIELD: All right. Alina, thank you.

CHO: You bet.

SAMBOLIN: It is 34 minutes past the hour here.

Remember the pastor in North Carolina who said gays and lesbians should be rounded up and put inside an electrified fence until they die? Well, it has happened again with a different pastor in a different state.

A Kansas pastor who used a Sunday sermon to call on the government to kill all gay people says he is just preaching Scripture and has nothing to be ashamed of.

Pastor Curtis Knapp of New Hope Baptist Church in Kansas says his phone has not stopped ringing since his sermon went viral.

Listen to part of what he preached followed by his explanation.


CURTIS KNAPP, PASTOR: They should be put to death. That's what happened in Israel. That's why homosexuality wouldn't have grown in Israel.

It tends to limit conversions. It tends to limit people coming out of the closet. Oh, so you're saying we should go out and start killing them? No. I'm saying the government should. They won't, but they should.

We punish pedophilia, we punish incest, we punish polygamy and various things. It's only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption in Leviticus 20:13.

If a man lies with a male, as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act. They should surely be put to death.

I don't think homosexuals have anything to worry about. I don't think the government is going to do that. They don't have anything to worry about from me. I don't believe I should lay a finger against them. And my hope is for their salvation not for their death.


SAMBOLIN: In his sermon, Pastor Knapp blamed the Bush administration for its tolerance of gays. He claims that set the stage for the Obama administration to endorse same-sex marriage.

BANFIELD: Pay attention you waiters and waitresses out there. Apparently, good service is really worth providing. Coming up, we're going to talk to somebody who is living proof of this. He'll explain a regular old customer ended up leaving a $5,000 tip.

BANFIELD: I can't wait to meet him.


BANFIELD: Now that's a picture to behold. Beautiful Statue of Liberty as the sun rises over New York City. Just 52 cool degrees. We're warming up to 70. It's just that day you want to be here, like every other day in New York.

Nice to have you with us, everyone. Thirty-nine minutes now past 6:00.

Time to get a check of the weather story today with Reynolds Wolf standing by live.

Hi, Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, guys. You steal my thunder.

You're absolutely right, though. New York is going to be picture perfect on a day like today, no question about it. But one place that won't be so great, parts of well, the Ohio Valley, city and into the Deep South. And even along the Gulf Coast, where you have a chance to some severe weather later on the day.

Damaging winds, and large hail, maybe isolated tornadoes. The reason we're going to see this is pretty simple. We've got this frontal boundary that's going to be pushing across the southern half of the continent. The same time all the moisture is coming into the Gulf. Daytime heating is going to give you strong storms.

In terms of the temperatures, we've got big heat for you, too, especially in parts of west Texas, where we can expect El Paso to rise into the 90s, 95 expected there. It's going to feel a bit warmer in few places, past the century mark.

Seventy-nine degrees cooler for you over in Los Angeles. San Francisco with 73, 67 degrees in Seattle. As we make our way back into the Great Lakes, Chicago with 54 degrees, 64 in Kansas City and 92 in Atlanta.

That's a wrap on your forecast. Let's get back to you in New York.

SAMBOLIN: Did you just say 54 in Chicago?

WOLF: Yes, 54 in Chicago. It should be a great day out by Wrigley Field today. It should be perfect.


BANFIELD: Literally cool.

Thanks, Reynolds.

SAMBOLIN: Forty minutes past the hour.

Let's get you up-to-date. Here's Christine Romans.

ROMANS: Good morning. Two American tourists kidnapped at gunpoint in Egypt. We're following this breaking news this morning. It happened in the town of Dahab.

The kidnappers are demanding that a member of their tribe be released from jail in exchange for these Americans. Now, that man was arrested this week with a large amount of marijuana. U.S. embassy says it is working hard for the safe return of the two kidnapped Americans.

The commercial Dragon spacecraft beginning its journey back to Earth after releasing from the International Space Station.

In a few hours, it will deorbit. After that, a splashdown in the Pacific just before noon Eastern Time.

Newly discovered audio recordings of Charles Manson's right-hand man could help police solve cold case murders. Los Angeles police are about to get their hands on eight hours of conversations between Manson family killer Charles Tex Watson and his attorney from 1969.

A judge ruled to give them the tapes originally off limits because of attorney/client privilege. Police believe the recordings capture Watson talking about unknown murders the Manson family committed. Manson is serving a life sentence for seven murders.

Cutting class could soon get a lot tougher at two schools in San Antonio, Texas. Their school district has approved a new form of school ID implanted with a tracking device.

The program begins this fall at Jones Middle School and Jay High School.


WENDY REYES, MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: It's going to give an opportunity to track our students in the building. They may have been in the nurses' office, the counseling office, vice principal's office, but they are marked absent because they weren't sitting in a classroom. So, it will help us to have a more accurate count of our attendance.


ROMANS: Those attendance figures appear to be the primary motivation for the new system. The schools are losing $175,000 a day because of absent or tardy children.

I think teenagers are so crafty, they'll find some way to --

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely. There's no way they'll hand it to somebody else.

BANFIELD: Well, I was actually thinking implanted, really? They're putting chips under their skin?

ROMANS: No, the ID.



ROMANS: That comes next year or the day after.

BANFIELD: Soledad is over here saying, that's a great idea.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST, "STARTING POINT": Yes, I like that idea. You know where they are. You see them, just let them do what --

BANFIELD: I got to be honest, I like the idea the as well. I always thought we should have a tracking.

O'BRIEN: But if they're in the ID, though, just hand off the ID.

BANFIELD: What I also like Christine was that shot of the military guy patrolling the hall way as well. That's a good idea as well. Guy in camu, walking up and down the hallway?

SAMBOLIN: That's scary.

BANFIELD: Anyway, Soledad is here to talk about "STARTING POINT," what's coming up.

O'BRIEN: Yes, lots coming up this morning, absolutely. This girl in high school at Indiana. She's a senior, right now is stuck in Mexico on a technicality. She's supposed to graduate as salutatorian on Saturday. She has 3.69 GPA.

But because of a snafu with her visa paperwork, she could be forced to stay in Mexico the next three years. Her name is Elizabeth Olivas. She's going to join us live.

After weeks of hitting Mitt Romney for his time at Bain Capita, President Barack Obama is now zeroing in on a new target, the Republican's record as governor of the state of Massachusetts. This morning, we're going to talk to the current governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, to take a closer look at the Romney record.

And then a mocumentary on mermaids gone wild. Discovery Channel special. Exploring the myth that a group of human ancestors evolved to become sea creatures.

BANFIELD: It was mocumentary.

O'BRIEN: Look, they don't look like Ariel.

SAMBOLIN: What happened to the pretty mermaids?

O'BRIEN: Yes, apparently, that's not what they really look like apparently.

We got that and much more coming up at "STARTING POINT". We'll see right at the top of the hour at 7:00 Eastern.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Forty-eight minutes past the hour.

It is the tip that waiters/waitresses dream of, an envelope loaded with 50 $100 bills. That is five grand, folks. And according to all reports, it couldn't have happened to a better guy. There he is, Greg Rubar. He has been working at D'Amico's Restaurant in Rice Village just outside of Houston for 16 years.

His car recently destroyed in a storm. Some customers heard about it and decided to do something incredibly nice. And Greg joins us now from Houston. Thank you for being with us this morning, Greg. Can you walk us through what happened?

GREG RUBAR, WAITER: Yes. Like you said, I drove my car into some floodwater, and I didn't have transportation. It was hard for me to get back and forth from work. And I had some customers that I wait on regularly, they knew I was having a hard time, struggling, and they came in one day.

It was Saturday. And, they gave me an envelope and told me to go buy a car. And I didn't look in the envelope until after they left. I looked in and I saw how much money it was. It's crazy. Nobody's ever given me anything like that before.

SAMBOLIN: Was there any inclination -- did you talk to them often? Did you consider them friends of yours?

RUBAR: Yes. Well, they were just customers, but they are regular customers, and I talk to them all the time. I mean, I talk to everybody, but they come probably two times a week, you know? And I just always talk to them. They're just really nice people.

SAMBOLIN: Now, the restaurant owner said that you tried to give the money back. Did you personally contact them and try to do that?

RUBAR: No. I was hesitant about taking it, but he insisted I take it. And he said you just go get yourself a car. And then, he said, I just won't tip you for a while. You just get yourself a car.


RUBAR: So, I'm going to get a car.

SAMBOLIN: Now, what kind of car are you going to get?

RUBAR: I don't know. I haven't had a chance to look yet.

SAMBOLIN: You know --

RUBAR: One of them tried --

SAMBOLIN: Go ahead.

RUBAR: Go ahead. I have a friend, he's also a regular customer at the restaurant. He deals with cars. He's going to find me a car. I trust him, and he's going to find me a car.

SAMBOLIN: Well, you know, a lot of people there are saying that this couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. And so, I'm going to read some of the things that were posted on the Facebook page there.

It says, "Greg is the best, and I believe he's been there longer than anyone else. Good for him. He deserves it."

Greg is awesome. He is a great server and a good cook as well. Glad to hear this story." How do you feel about all of that?

RUBAR: I don't know. I'm just overwhelmed. I don't know. I just -- I don't know.

SAMBOLIN: Well, Greg, I hear also that you would like to pay them back.

RUBAR: I would. I would consider that a better gift if they would let me pay them back. I mean, it was more of a gift than a tip.

SAMBOLIN: Well, it is. But you know what, I want to focus on a little bit here? You said that you drove your car through some waters?


SAMBOLIN: You do know that they say never to do that in a storm. I suspect that you'll never do that again either.

RUBAR: No. The problem is I couldn't see. And I just wanted to get off the freeway, because I was hydroplaning. And then, when I got off the freeway, I drove right in the water, and that was all I could do. It just killed my car. SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, Greg Rubar, it's really great to talk to you. A lot of folks very excited for you. And, clearly, they believe that you absolutely deserve this. So, good luck. And good luck with that new car.

RUBAR: Thank you. Thank you very much.

BANFIELD: I think the biggest tip I ever got in six years of waitressing was 20 bucks.

SAMBOLIN: Well, that's pretty good.

BANFIELD: I thought that was awesome until Mr. Rubar came along.

SAMBOLIN: $5,000, $100 bills.

BANFIELD: That is sweet.

Fifty-one minutes now past 6:00. Any doctor, any doctor will tell you that exercise is a good thing. And now, we are getting research that says, uh, maybe not.


BANFIELD: Yes. Why working out may not be good for everyone. There is a hitch and a catch, so do not turn off your TV just yet.

SAMBOLIN: So, if you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time, you can grab that story as well. That's going to be a good one on your desktop, your mobile phone, just go to


SAMBOLIN: It is 55 minutes past the hour.

We got some shocking statistics. The U.S. now has the second highest rate of child poverty in the entire developed world. A new report from UNICEF and the International Business Ties showing 23 percent of children in the United States are living in poverty. Can you believe that?

And that is second only to Romania with a 25.5 percent rate. Iceland has the lowest rate of child poverty at 4.7 percent.

BANFIELD: That's not a badge of honor. Not at all.

All right. So, could exercise actually be bad for you? Conventional wisdom would say no. But guess what, a report in "The New York Times" that says exercise could actually increase heart risks in some healthy people.

Ten percent of the study's participants who engage in rigorous exercise actually ended up getting worse on at least one measure linked to heart disease, blood pressure and insulin and cholesterol levels. Researchers really don't know why, but they do point out -- and this is very important -- that most of the participants saw improvements with exercise.

SAMBOLIN: Boy, do I want to know more about that.

So, everything you post on the internet lives on forever. You know this. The latest reminder comes from the new website, Politwoops, which tracks deleted Tweeter posts from the politicians. Here's a few, though, "Washington Post" actually re-printed for all of us.

Senator John McCain mocking Russian president, Vladimir Putin, quote, "Dear Vlad, surprise, surprise, you won. The people of Russia are crying, too."

A re-tweet from Texas congressman, Pete Sessions, quote, "Texas named one of the friendless places to start a small business."

BANFIELD: Oops, bad typo.


BANFIELD: Bad typo.

SAMBOLIN: And California congressman, Kevin McCarthy deleted this re-tweet, quote, "Tips for driving in D.C. Walk towards your car, set it on fire, set yourself on fire, arrive at spiritual destination."

BANFIELD: Oh, congressman, don't think you want to have that out there. And look, it's out there.

SAMBOLIN: That's a problem when you try to delete --

BANFIELD: Not only does stuff live on forever in Twitter verse, it lives on in video, too. And wait for this one. An Illinois lawmaker losing it on the state House floor. And this video is going viral. When you see it, you'll know why.

The Republican state representative named Mike Bost flipping out after Democrats pushed a last-minute bill to reform the state's pension system. Oh, let's listen up live (ph).


REP. MIKE BOST, (R) MURPHYSBORO: -- the American way. These damn bills all the damn time coming out here at the last second and I got to try to figure out how to vote for my people? You should be ashamed of yourself. I'm sick of it every year! We give power to one person. Enough! I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt. Let my people go!


BANFIELD: I have to be honest, the tirade actually went on for a solid minute and a half. And it became kind of entertaining to watch the people -- exactly. Watching the people's faces behind. The one guy leaning on his elbow as though he's just tired of it all. Anyway, he, at one point, tried to drop the mic, but it was attached to the podium, so he didn't pull that one off.

SAMBOLIN: Good gracious.

BANFIELD: Something else.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Yes, something. "Starting Point" less than a minute away. We wrap up, as always, with best advice. Here's Christine Romans with that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And best advice comes from Suzanne Somers, and she's quoting someone we've never had quoted on this show before. Listen.


SUZANNE SOMERS, ACTRESS: The greatest piece of advice I ever got was from my therapist who said you have to demand that people treat you the way you want to be treated, and that was a revelation for me and turned my life around.


ROMANS: People quote their parents, or a teacher or a grandparent. First time someone quoted a therapist for us.

BANFIELD: But you know what, good stuff comes in the best advice.

ROMANS: Good advice. And you didn't have to pay for.

BANFIELD: That's right.

ROMANS: You've got free therapy right there.

BANFIELD: Total freebie. Thanks, Christine.

So, that wraps it up for us. That's EARLY START, the news from "A" to "Z". I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN" starts right now.