Return to Transcripts main page


Needles Found In Food On Delta Flight; Romney To Announce VP Pick?; Obama Slams Romney On Outsourcing; Drought Spreading Rapidly; Cousin Claims Zimmerman Molested Her; Gunfire Kills Two At Toronto Barbecue; Miracle Save; FDA Expected To Approve Weight Loss Drug; FDA Expected to Approve Weight-Loss Drug; HSBC Money Laundering Scandal; Interview with the Chopra Family; Three New Sandusky Accusers; Skype: System Bug Sending IM's To Wrong Recipients

Aired July 17, 2012 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 6 a.m. in the east.

Also coming up this morning, decision day for the FDA on a brand new diet drug. We'll talk with our Elizabeth Cohen about whether Qnexa really works.

BERMAN: And how was relationship with humanity and the universe?


BERMAN: Well, it could even better. We're going to talk to the man who can do it, Deepak Chopra coming up. He will explore these relationships and also how he's using the internet.

SAMBOLIN: I'm looking forward to that actually. I could use some advice there.

But first this morning, we have our top stories for you. The FBI and international authorities are working to find out how sewing needles ended up in four sandwiches on Delta Airlines flights.

The needles were found on four separate flights. Take a look at that there. That's the arrow pointing to them, all traveling from Amsterdam to the United States.

Officials say one passenger was injured by that needle, but declined medical treatment. Federal agents have launched a criminal investigation now.

CNN's Sandra Endo is live with the very latest. And Sandra, what have they uncovered so far?

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, a full blown investigation is under way and the FBI and local authorities in the Netherlands are trying to find out how the needles got into those sandwiches in the first place. A Delta spokesperson said the needles were found in sandwiches on flights from Amsterdam to Minneapolis, Seattle and two flights to Atlanta. Two of the needles were found by passengers and one was discovered by an air marshal.

When Delta found out about the needles in the food, the airline said it notified all 18 flights from Amsterdam to stop serving the sandwiches. Here's what one passenger who got one of the contaminated sandwiches said when he spoke to affiliate, KTSP.


DR. JACK DROGT, PASSENGER WHO FOUND NEEDLE IN SANDWICH: I bit down on it so that I wasn't biting down on the sharp side, but on the flat side. It could have been a bad injury orally, but had I taken a big swallow and swallowed that down, I'd have a needle inside, that would be very concerning to me.


ENDO: Gate Gourmet is the company, which provided the sandwiches to Delta and a spokesperson for that company says the sandwiches were prepared in Amsterdam.

In a statement, she goes on to say, this is a terribly upsetting situation. First and foremost, it's the safety of the traveling public. There's nothing more important to us at all than the safety of the passengers and crews.

So the Transportation Security Administration is also saying it's looking closely into this investigation as to what happened as well as a security protocols being conducted by the air carrier and the airport authorities -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: OK, so the company that makes these sandwiches says it also provides food to other airlines, so is there a concern now on other flights as well?

ENDO: Well, Gate Gourmet says it's fully cooperating with the FBI and local authorities in the Netherlands and it's conducting its own full scale investigation. Now the company says it does provide food to other airlines, but have received no other reports or complaints.

SAMBOLIN: That's kind of scary here this morning. CNN's Sandra Endo, thank you very much.

BERMAN: All right, can you feel the buzz? Can you feel the anticipation? It must be the veepstakes. Mitt Romney, is he about to pick his vice president?

A top campaign adviser says it could happen this week, which would be very, very early or not this week. That clears things up. Some analysts say this is really about shifting focus from discussion on his record at Bain and also his personal finances.

Our Peter Hamby from CNN joins us live now from the Washington D.C. Bureau. Peter, what would be the shift in attention? Why would Romney be doing that? What's the calendar tell us right now about by why he would do it now versus later?

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, well, I mean, first of all, John, you're right. There's a ton of buzz right now. You know, the buzz for Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman is deafening, who thought I would ever say that.

But yes, Romney, if he does pick a running mate now would have somebody he could tag team the country with. They could go to different cities around the country, command media attention and raise money.

But, you know, do they get this media pop too early? Actually I was e-mailing with some Republicans yesterday about why -- you know, what you would get by naming a running mate this early as opposed to around the convention.

Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist, actually e-mailed me and he said, you don't run one of your best secret plays to win in the second quarter. Everything will be a 100 times more important later. Patience obi wan is what he told me.

Basically saying that use the VP pick later in the fall when people are really paying attention to the campaign to really generate a lot of media attention.

But the Romney campaign as you mentioned right now might want to change the subject from this constant fuselage of attacks from the Obama campaign about Bain Capital, his record there, and his tax returns. Romney is only releasing two years of tax returns.

BERMAN: It is the biggest weapon you have in and the campaign would be shocking to see it this early. As you said though, these attacks on Bain and taxes are deafening.

And there is a new one that we're reporting just this morning and has to do with the swing states that all campaigns are targeting right now.

HAMBY: That's right. Romney is going to be in Irwin, Pennsylvania, that's just outside of Pittsburgh, white working class voters are who he's targeting today.

But the Obama campaign is not letting him get -- command the day. Look at this really, really tough new ad that they just released this hour in Pennsylvania only. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tax havens, offshore accounts, carried interest. Mitt Romney has used every trick in the book. Romney admits that over the last two years he's paid less than 15 percent in taxes on $43 million in income.

Makes you wonder if some years he paid any taxes at all. We don't know because Romney has released just one full year of his tax returns and won't release anything before 2010.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know what, I put out as much as we're going to put out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is Mitt Romney hiding?


HAMBY: That's a really bare knuckle ad from the Obama campaign. It just goes to show you, John, they are not afraid to take the gloves off against mitt Romney and they haven't been for a year. That's the first time they've gone straight at Mitt Romney's tax returns and his pension for secrecy in one of their TV ads.

BERMAN: The Romney team not at all happy that we continue to focus on this either. One adviser told me last night about the taxes, all they could do was go sigh. Peter Hamby, CNN, thanks very much for joining us from D.C.

HAMBY: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: It is 6 minutes past the hour. It sparked deadly wildfires and fears of food shortage. Now word that the nation's most severe drought in decade is spreading, more than half of the continental United States is now in some stage of drought.

And most of the rest of the country is really close to it as well. That's according to a report from the National Climatic Data Center in Ashville, North Carolina. It is the largest area of land affected by drought since the 1950s.

BERMAN: George Zimmerman's attorney and the Trayvon Martin family are reacting to a new stunning twist in this trial. A female witness in the case, only identified as witness number nine is accusing Zimmerman of molesting her when they were both children. The accusations released yesterday in an audiotape from the state's attorney's office.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started when I was six. He's -- he's about almost two years older than I am. He would reach under the blankets and try to do things and I would try to push him off, but he was bigger and stronger and older.


BERMAN: She also said Zimmerman and his family flat out said they didn't like black people unless they acted like white people. Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara has identified the woman as Zimmerman's cousin.

Last night, he told Piers Morgan the allegations would not be admissible in court, but may still affect the search for truth in the Trayvon Martin shooting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: These allegations, which George contends are untrue. Now we need to spend our resources and time rebutting them. And actually put in a difficult if not delicate position of deciding how much we attack the source of this story or just leave it be and move on to what really counts.


BERMAN: An attorney for Trayvon Martin's family issued a statement saying that the woman's testimony should be included in the evidence.

Benjamin Crump saying witness number nine would be a rebuttal witness, very similar to that in the Sandusky trial showing that George Zimmerman has a history of violence and manipulation. Zimmerman's mentality, he says, is very relevant to this trial.

SAMBOLIN: A bloody night in the east end of Toronto. Two young people killed and 19 others wounded when gunfire broke out at an outdoor barbecue. A 3-year-old child is among those injured. Toronto's police chief said this is the most serious crime of its kind ever to hit his city.


BILL BLAIR, TORONTO POLICE CHIEF: Tonight's event is unprecedented. Today's event I think is shocking to every Torontonian. It will be shocking to all of Canada. Because of the number of people that injured, the level of violence is something we have never experienced.


SAMBOLIN: Police have a person of interest in custody, but are looking for more suspects now.

BERMAN: Now he says he's not a hero, but if he's not a hero, I have no idea who he is because check this out. He saved a little girl's life. This is cell phone video taken by a New York City neighbor.

It shows a 7-year-old jumping up and down on the air conditioner before falling three stories that's when Steven Saint Bernard, a New York City bus driver raised underneath, you can see him there, making the catch, helping break the fall in the bushes below and she survived without a scratch.

Not a scratch. The little girl is said to be autistic. Police have been looking in it as they say they are not going to charge the parents for any negligence or anything else. Everyone just thrilled that this man is in fact a hero and catches really well.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, you know, I was reading more about the story. He said that he was hoping that he could save her. He was so worried about her. He actually sustained a torn tendon in his shoulder.

BERMAN: Really?

SAMBOLIN: Yes, but otherwise he's fine. He said the entire time he was thinking about his 7-year-old girl. His little girl calls him a hero.

BERMAN: And so do I.

SAMBOLIN: Drop some pounds by popping a pill. Coming up, with a brand-new weight loss drug just hours away from FDA approval, we ask, does it really work and is it safe?


BERMAN: All right, welcome back to EARLY START. It is 13 minutes past the hour. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: We are very happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

So just hours from now, the FDA is expected to approve a brand- new weight loss pill. It is called Qnexa and its expected approval comes on the heels of another weight loss pill approved just last month.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us. So Elizabeth, how well does this drug work?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, this drug, it actually works even better than the one that was just approved.

Let's take a look at the numbers and the studies that they did of over 4,000 people on average they weighed about 227 pounds and Zoraida, they went down to about 204 pounds. So that's a 23-pound weight loss and it lasted for the two years that they were on the drug.

SAMBOLIN: And Elizabeth, what's in the pill?

COHEN: There are actually two different drugs in the pill, which is sort of interesting. One of them is Fentermine, which was half of the fen-fen diet pill that was out in the '90s and Fentermine suppresses you appetite and then topiramate, which is an anti-seizure medication.

People who have epilepsy and migraines take it. I talked to someone who was on the pill on this study and she said, you know, sometimes I had to remind myself to eat.

And she said I just could say no to things if someone offered a chocolate chip cookie, I could say, eh, and passed it up, whereas before I would never say eh to a chocolate chip cookie.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. That's interesting. So, I was reading about this, this morning. A lot of people lobbied against approval of Qnexa. Why is that?

COHEN: The reason why is because of its side effects. Let's go over this, this is really, really important.

What they found in the clinical trials is that some people who went on this drug, their heart rate went up. And so there's a concern that that could lead to serious heart problems when taken over a period of years and years. Also, some people had confusion and language problems, which is interesting.

And not on this pill but on another pill that includes Topiramate, some women gave birth to children with birth defects, plus lip and cleft palate. They didn't see it in this group of women, but it maybe because they didn't really test it out on all that many women who got pregnant.

So, this is going to be a big deal with this pill. If a woman of child bearing age takes Qnexa, they are supposed to be on birth control. But as we all know, things sometimes go wrong and there will likely be pregnancies on this pill.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. Is this pill designed for people who are morbidly obese?

COHEN: It's designed for people who are obese. Doctors are supposed to give it to people who are obese or overweight and have problems like blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Now, that's the really interesting point, Zoraida. That's who it's supposed to go to. But we know from history with other diet pills, that doctors will prescribe it to people who want to lose five pounds to look good at their high school reunion. And that's not supposed to happen because you're not supposed to risk these side effects just to lose five pounds. But doctors can do what we want and we know from fast experience they will.

SAMBOLIN: And you know that people will want it.


SAMBOLIN: Elizabeth Cohen, live in Atlanta, thank you very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

JOHN BERMAN: You know, having a healthy diet and good fitness is always hard but it's really hard when you're traveling and you're on the road constantly. You know the drill. You grab whatever is easy at the airport or hotel, but I'm told, with some planning and will power, you can keep your waistline in check.

We have healthy eating tips in this morning's road warriors segment.


SAMBOLIN: -- to resist fatty foods apparently.

BERMAN: Snack like nuts and protein bars and granola and chopped vegetables and fruit. If you're worried about the fruit leaking in your bag, which everything always opens in my bag 100 percent of the time, try dried fruit or throw in apple. That's what I'm advising to all of you. Another option is a peanut butter sandwich.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, what if you have to eat at the airport, don't panic, we have options for you as well. How about a turkey sandwich on whole wheat, no mayonnaise, use mustard instead? What about low fat yogurt?

BERMAN: What about low fat yogurt? I tried that.

SAMBOLIN: I love it. Or non-fat yogurt. And also, you can choose the dressing on the side.

BERMAN: And if you're at a hotel, avoid the mini bar. Visit a local grocery store if you can, stock your room with water and carry snacks with you so you won't be tempted, which I always am, to eat the junk food during or between meetings.

Now, you start your day right, don't skip breakfast, it fuels your body with all of the right foods.

SAMBOLIN: And what if your hotel offers a complimentary breakfast? Well, you're supposed to skip donuts and the pastries.

BERMAN: But they're right there.

SAMBOLIN: I know. But skip, choose foods high in fiber and protein like oatmeal, hard boiled eggs or fruit.

BERMAN: Some good advice, if I could only follow it.

All right, it is 18 minutes past the hour.

A brand-new banking scandal on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers accusing a major bank of not doing enough to prevent drug cartels from moving their money. We'll have more coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's 22 minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

And we have another day, another banking scandal it seems.

Today, both HSBC officials and regulators are expected to testify on Capitol Hill following a new Senate report charging the global banking giant, saying they failed to prevent billions of dollars of money transfers linked to drug cartels and terrorist groups. The 340-page report also places blame on the office of the controller of currency, a key regulatory agency for failing to properly do its job.


SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: From an oversight perspective, the failure of accountability here is dramatic. It is very, very clear. And it's to me one of the great omissions in our country generally recently is the failure to hold people accountable for their failures, their abuses and their misdeeds.


BERMAN: Joining me now to help sort out what's going on here in Nela Richardson, senior analyst at "Bloomberg Government."

Nela, the phrase being tossed around is money laundering. And that sounds really, really alarming. What HSBC is being accused of, is it illegal or is it more complicated than that?

NELA RICHARDSON, BLOOMBERG GOVERNMENT: Good morning, John. It's good to be here today.

I believe that what HSBC is being charged with in the Senate probe is failure of controls, for not doing enough to guard against illegal infiltration of illicit money into the U.S. banking system, and into HSBC's U.S. affiliates, the banking accounts and businesses and banks financial institutions that HSBC does business with.

BERMAN: I'm reading right now. In 2007 and 2008, the company's Mexico unit shipped $7 billion in cash to the U.S. and now U.S. law enforcement is saying, that could have only happened if those included illegal drug proceeds.

So what responsibility would have HSBC had or this government agency monitoring them to stop this?

RICHARDSON: Well, it's first important to note that this probe is not revealing new charges. Mexican authorities, U.S. officials were well aware that these funds were coming through the HSBC U.S. affiliate. However there was not the proper enforcement action by U.S. banking regulators to make sure that HSBC was held accountable for monitoring these illicit transactions going on in their own banking institutions.


RICHARDSON: And so, while this is not new criticism on HSBC, it is renewed criticism for federal banking regulators on making sure that banks are held accountable for wrongdoing and failed risk management and failed anti-money laundering controls. It doesn't happen in this case for several years and these problems were allowed to fester worldwide.

BERMAN: And trouble with banking oversight, not a headline that banking industry wants to see this morning when everything else going on.

Nela Anderson, senior analyst at "Bloomberg Government" -- thanks so much for being here.

ANDERSON: Thanks for having me, John.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-five minutes past the hour. Gone without a trace.

ANDERSON: OK. Thank you, bye.

SAMBOLIN: We're saying good-bye again to her.

Well, coming up, a new effort to find two young Iowa girls who disappeared after a bike ride.

If you are leaving the house right now, you can watch on your desktop or mobile phone. Just go to We'll be right back.


BERMAN: Where are Elizabeth and Lyric?

Searchers focus today on the lake where the Iowa girls were last seen.

SAMBOLIN: They just see. The crew of a battered sailboat plucked from the ocean by a passing cruise ship.

BERMAN: Triumph in the water. A 10-year-old born with one arm wins a swim championship. Amazing.

SAMBOLIN: I love that story.

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: We're very happy that you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 29 minutes past the hour here.

Their bikes were found but they are gone. It is a desperate search resuming this morning in Iowa.

Authorities have now started draining a nearby lake for any sign of 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook. The two are cousins and they were last seen by their grandmother before they went on a bicycle ride. This was on Friday.

Our own Jim Spellman is live in Evansdale, Iowa.

Jim, I was reading that the search has included airplanes, dogs and boats and other technology with the help of the state. And that they are saying these girls seem like they just vanished.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Good morning, Zoraida, I'm at this lake right now that they are draining. You can already see the level has gone down several feet here.

Friday, it's so mysterious to everybody working on this. Friday, the two girls go out for a bicycle ride and the bikes are found, one of the purses is found but no sign of where the girls are. No sign of foul play either.

Then, a massive search, almost 1,000 people from the community coming out here to help look for the girls and they found essentially nothing. As every day passes, the family is becoming more and more frustrated.

Here's the girls' aunt speaking on "ANDERSON COOPER 360" last night.


TAMMY BROUSSEAU, AUNT OF MISSING GIRLS: It's baffling to understand how someone got off with a 10-year-old and 8-year-old at the same time because it's as though they disappeared in the thin air in broad daylight.


SPELLMAN: As the standard procedure in any case like this, police have been questioning family members. Several of them have told us they've taken polygraph tests and police say they are cooperating. They brought the FBI in here to bring their resources in here, as well try to do everything they can to find these girls -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Now, you mentioned they are draining the lake.

Do you know if they used sonar equipment to see if anything was under the lake?

SPELLMAN: I'm not sure if they've used sonar. All weekend, they were dragging the lake and doing everything they could. They don't feel there's anything in the lake that will help them but they want to be certain. They want to be absolutely certain.

It's an interesting environment because although this is a small town the lake is not really rural. There's an interstate that goes right by it. There's homes built right up to the lake. There is an island in the middle of the lake with very dense woods.

So, the challenging environment but walking around here in this neighborhood, it's hard to see how two girls 8 and 10 could simply vanish.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Jim Spellman, live for us, thank you very much for that report.

BERMAN: News from Ohio this morning, a teenager suspected of being a drug king pin. Police say a 17-year-old high school student was at the head of a marijuana distribution ring that operated in two Cincinnati area high schools. They also say he had six lieutenants selling as much as $20,000 in high grade pot to students every month. Authorities also seized 600 marijuana plants with a street value of $3 million. The minor was not named and will face charges in juvenile court.

A banged up yacht back home in Connecticut this morning after its crew was saved by a cruise ship in a daring rescue posted here on YouTube. You can see it. The ship veered off course on its way back from Bermuda. After getting a distress call from the Coast Guard in the remnants of during tropical storm Debby, which happened a few weeks ago. This is our first look at this video. The crew ship pulled three men and three women to safety after the rudder snapped leaving it drifting in the seas.

SAMBOLIN: Ten-year-old Ben Ramirez making quite a splash in El Paso, Texas. Ben was born with one arm.

But in Sunday's city swimming championships, look at him, he blew the competition right out of the water, capturing two gold medals and two bronze medals.


BEN RAMIREZ, 10-YEAR-OLD CHAMPION SWIMMER: It gets exhausting and it gets like cold so you have to keep on trying until you get to first.


SAMBOLIN: Remember his name. Ben's coach says his star swimmer never complains about having one arm. As for Ben, he has a goal to compete for the United States in the Paralympic Games.

BERMAN: He's fast. Look at him go. Good for him. Love what he's doing out there.

All right. What's the key to enlightenment?

SAMBOLIN: I don't know.

BERMAN: Could it just be a few keystrokes?

Coming up, Deepak Chopra joins us about reaching a whole new generation with the help of his children.


BERMAN: We all know it could be a pretty hectic world out there between work and home obligations. There's not much time to breath, much less explore your relationship with humanity and the universe.

SAMBOLIN: Especially when you have twin boys.

BERMAN: That's right. There's no humanity in that.

SAMBOLIN: But Deepak Chopra thinks you can make time to expand your mind and he thinks you can do it while online. He launched a YouTube channel with his children to reach a whole new generation of meditators.

Although I'm not quite sure really that's the goal here.

Deepak Chopra is here, along with his children, Gotham and Malika.

I'm going to start with that little tweeting thing. How you like a social media king. We were right here, right before we started, he is tweeting away.

DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR, "SPIRITUAL SOLUTIONS": It's the extension of our mind and it regulates the flow of energy and information on a global level. We're creating a global brain for a planetary civilization, ands I mean, it literally. Because right now people's neurobiology is being stimulated by these ideas and hopefully we can elevate the conversation to create a peaceful, just, sustainable and healthy world.

BERMAN: You say you want to make a global brand. What better way of creating a global brand than bringing in people from "Jersey Shore." I was looking at your YouTube channel right now. We have a clip of the new channel with you speaking with I believe it's Vinny from "Jersey Shore".

D. CHOPRA: Yes. The interesting word is karma.


D. CHOPRA: Gratitude.


D. CHOPRA: Forgiveness.


D. CHOPRA: Karma.

GUADAGNINO: The nightclub in Jersey.

D. CHOPRA: That's pretty good.


BERMAN: Are you impressed with the karma of "Jersey Shore"?

D. CHOPRA: Well, not quite. That's why I have them on the show.

SAMBOLIN: Malika, you play a very important role here as well. I identified instantly with you, a mom trying to help us through this journey of parenting. Tell us about that.

MALIKA CHOPRA, "THE CHOPRA WELL": You know, we grew up in this environment influenced by my dad. But I think for me, I'm a unique position. I'm a mom with two kids. I have two daughters, who are 10 and 8.

BERMAN: Good for you.

M. CHOPRA: So, I'm always -- you know, for me, it's always about balance. I always feel like I'm struggling between work and being a good parent. So I -- for me this channel is about exploring that, exploring balance and how do we kind of as women find that in our lives.

BERMAN: I've heard it said of your dad. I'm hoping you can lend some insight on this. I heard he said that he never gets mad. Can you tell us? Is that true? Your father never gets mad.

GOTHAM CHOPRA: That's not true. It's relatively true though.

SAMBOLIN: Do a close-up on dad's face tries to do that.


D. CHOPRA: I'm trying right now.

BERMAN: It doesn't make you mad he says that.

D. CHOPRA: See, I'm not getting mad.

SAMBOLIN: How do you not get mad?

D. CHOPRA: It's a waste of energy.

M. CHOPRA: Really, in fairness, though, actually, I think he gets impatient in general because he has an urgency to get his message out, which is one of the things the channel is doing. As a family we are very close and spend a lot of time together. That doesn't mean we don't all get impatient and frustrated like any other family.

SAMBOLIN: Well, actually, when I was watching the channel, Gotham, you were rolling your eyes quite often when your dad was speaking.

G. CHOPRA: That's kind of my role in the family. But, you know, it's funny because you open with the "Jersey Shore" thing. And I think, you know, part of what the channel is doing and part of why we're involved in this, is because there is an opening of the audience all of a sudden. It's not necessary because of anything we've done.

I mean, Vinny G. is a fan of my dad. He came to my father. He billed himself as the Deepak Chopra of the "Jersey Shore" generation. And I think there's a hunger all of a sudden amongst the younger generation, of which we belong to, for this type of material, for this type of information.

And so certainly my role is sometimes to question where the rubber hits the road, I guess, and try to make this philosophy and this lifestyle practical and relevant to a new generation that's struggling. It's a crazy place right now.

BERMAN: But the Internet isn't about patience. Youth in America, not about patience. How can you convince them it's worth taking a break and stepping back and doing the things the things you really talk about --

D. CHOPRA: That's why we have the meditation videos which voluntary people down. We also have a 21-day meditation challenge at the center where we offer online meditations, which wouldn't be without the Internet. People are actually finding it very useful to slow down, to try our channel on YouTube.

M. CHOPRA: I also think that we're living in a time, my kids wake up and watch YouTube, don't put on the TV, they put on cartoons in YouTube. So, we're trying to use the technology and media that's out there today. We're also doing programming in two to four-minute segments so it is a different world. But --

BERMAN: Patience for the impatient, right?

M. CHOPRA: Exactly, getting the message across in the media center.

SAMBOLIN: So kind of combining two generations, right? Because that's what I'm getting here --

D. CHOPRA: Three actually.

SAMBOLIN: You have this real steady and calm about you, but it looks like the two of you have a little bit more pep going on, right?

G. CHOPRA: I think you know, we are a different generation and there's a lot to do. There's a lot to accomplish. You guys cover it every day, a lot going on in the world and I think people are desperate for some sort of clarity. YouTube is a great medium because it's on demand. You can go and find it when you want it, it's there.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks so much for being here. Deepak Chopra, author "Spiritual Solutions", Gotham Chopra, and Malika Chopra, the entire Chopra family -- it was a pleasure to have you here and very calming I have to say also.

M. CHOPRA: It's "The Chopra Well" on YouTube, please subscribe.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much.

We'll tweet that out as well for you.

All right. Soledad O'Brien joins us now with a look what is ahead on "STARTING POINT."

Good morning, guys. Ahead this morning on "STARTIGN POINT": Jada Pinkett Smith is going to join us, along with her 11-year-old daughter, Willow. They'll tell us how they are so inspired talking about human trafficking, that they are on D.C., talking on Capitol Hill.

Plus, are we playing chicken with the economy. We're going to talk to Dick Durbin this morning. He says Republicans are sabotaging the economic recovery because they think it will help them in November.

And swimming with sharks. I had a chance to grab my snorkel, go under water, or at least on the water, with billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson. We'll tell you why we did that/

And one on one with the original "Karate Kid", current "American Gypsies" executive producer, Ralph Macchio, joins us. He's stopping by our studio live.

Don't forget. You can watch us this morning on your computer, your mobile phone. If you have to head to work, go to Otherwise, we'll see you right at the top of the hour. It's 7:00 a.m. Eastern. Short break.

EARLY START is back in just a moment.


SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you, Washington, D.C. Typically, I tell you what the temperature is and what's going to be happening later, but you know what, we're going to get to that.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm going with hot. I'm going with hot.

SAMBOLIN: It's a little hot. And you know, Rob Marciano is going to join us in a minute and let us know.

BERMAN: Just how hot.

SAMBOLIN: Just how hot it is. Probably hot and muggy, right? He said, you know, that's pretty much --

BERMAN: -- when it comes to D.C. That's for sure.

SAMBOLIN: Ahead this morning, the FBI is launching a criminal investigation, this after sewing needles, look at them right there, that's a sandwich, that's where it was discovered on four separate delta flights from Amsterdam to the United States. The turkey sandwiches were all prepared at the same facility in Amsterdam. Delta says one passenger was injured but declined medical treatment.

BERMAN: Three more men are now coming forward telling police they were abused by Jerry Sandusky, this time in the 1970s or 1980s. They're the first people to accuse him of abuse before the 1990s. And it could mean the 68-year-old coach began preying on children in his early 20s.

There is no mention of victims before the 1990s in the report that was just filed by former FBI director, Louis Freeh.

SAMBOLIN: Behind bars this morning. Take a look at this man, 45-year-old Mark Carter allegedly tried to rob an Amish couple at gun point. This was in Delaware.

BERMAN: Really?

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Police say he pulled his car in front of their buggy, got out, and demanded money. They didn't hand any. So, he ran away. But the quick thinking couple managed to get a registration number on his car, and the cops tracked him down.

BERMAN: Something apparently is a little screwy at Skype. The company confirms a system bug is sending private instant messages to the wrong recipients. This could end very badly. Users are complaining their contacts are receiving messages from them that they never ever sent. Now, use that excuse. Skype says it's working on a fix.

SAMBOLIN: Wouldn't you love to read that and see what is being said.

BERMAN: It's terrifying.

SAMBOLIN: All right. SWAT teams in Maryland turning to robots to help them tackle the really tough cases. These $14,000 gitmos are called recon scout, but SWAT team members called them throw-bots. Here's why.


JEFF NYCE, SWAT COMMANDER: You pull the scout through a window or some other safe place.

Hands up, walk to the door.

It gives us an audio capability and video capability, and it allows us to clear hard areas that we would be exposed to.


SAMBOLIN: Yes. And hopefully keeps them safe. The throw-bot can climb stairs. It has infrared sensors and just $14,000 a piece. A lot of law enforcement agencies are adding them to their crime fighting arsenal.

BERMAN: I see your throw-bot and raise you one incredibly cool sound using fire extinguisher device.

SAMBOLIN: All right.

BERMAN: This is a device that uses sound to extinguish flames. It comes from the military research agency known as DARPA, and they created this state of the art fire extinguisher. It manipulates the flames with electromagnetic radiation and acoustic waves.

Officials say it's all about putting out fires in enclosed spaces such as airplanes and vehicle cockpits and below deck on ships. This can really help a lot of places.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Very cool technology.

All right. So, it's the nation's most severe drought in decades, and it is spreading now. More than half of the continental United States is now in some stage of drought and most of the rest of the country is really close to it as well. That is according to report from the National Climatic Data Center. It is the largest area of land affected by the drought since the 1950s.

Rob Marciano joins us live from Atlanta now. I cannot believe that the drought has spread so far. ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And it's amazing to see how -- places that were in extreme drought last year are not in drought now and how the tables have turned so quickly, guys. This map illustrated just how much of the country is under drought, much of it moderate, a lot of it extreme.

And the amount that we'll see improvement over the next couple of months will really just be across parts of the desert southwest and maybe across parts of Southern Georgia. Florida has been in drought for a really several years, but the tropical moisture we had earlier in the spring knocked that out and Texas has seen some improvement.

But, either way you slice it, this drought is deepening, and it's the worse drought we've seen since 1955 and it rivals at least in coverage the drought back in 1936. All right. Any more rain in the forecast? Not a whole lot with the exception of some pop-up thunderstorms, and that's not really going to be a drought buster.

This stationary front right along the Canadian border, they will dip down from time to time, but for the most part in the month of July, it's tough to get it really far down to the south. So, that means not only not a ton of rain but more in the way of heat. Chicago back through Cincinnati, St. Louis, all under heat advisories today, even some excessive heat warnings for Philadelphia.

Temperatures will be at 95 to maybe 100 degrees in places like D.C., 101. Factor in the humidity, and it's going to feel a lot worse than that. Ninety-eight degrees expected in Chicago. Fifty-seven degrees in San Francisco. That's the cool spot. Bring your jacket. Eighty-eight degrees in Chicago and the heat builds into New York City tomorrow afternoon with a high temperature of 96 degrees.

BERMAN: It's so hot, Rob is getting parch.


BERMAN: Rob is getting parch there it's so hot.


SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

SAMBOLIN: So, we always end our show with "Best Advice." What a unique opportunity we have today. Our special guest, Deepak Chopra, with his thoughts on that, and that's coming up.


BERMAN: All right. Welcome back, everyone. We are just a few minutes away from "Starting Point" coming after this around the corner.

SAMBOLIN: But first, we're going to wrap it up as always with "Best Advice," and today, we have a really special treat, Deepak Chopra is here. So, we would like to know, you're always dispensing advice. What is the best advice you have ever received?

DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR, "SPIRITUAL SOLUTIONS": I actually got it from my father. He said, be present, come from true self-esteem and radiate warmth, love, compassion, and joy.

SAMBOLIN: And how do you get that true self-esteem?

CHOPRA: You have to be independent of the good and bad opinions of the world. You have to go back to your inner self and say, why am I here? What's my purpose? What are my unique skills and talents? How can I contribute to the world?

BERMAN: And I always like hearing you talk about being present. How can you forget the bad things that happen, you know, screwing up in the last segment for me or how can you not look forward to the problems?

CHOPRA: Immediately when distracted, bring awareness to your body or to your breath or just recognize that you're not present as soon as you recognize you're not present, you're present.

SAMBOLIN: So, you said your father gave you the best advice that you've ever received. What about your mom? What's the best advice she ever gave you?

CHOPRA: You know, she used to read mythical stories, and she is to always have us identify with the hero of the story and said this is your journey on a hero's journey.


CHOPRA: My brother is now the dean of medical education at Harvard Medical School. So, you know, we were kind of treated like royalty by our parents.

BERMAN: All right. I love that. Deepak Chopra, we're all on a hero's journey.

CHOPRA: Yes, we are.

BERMAN: That is very cool. I just want to know very quickly before we go, was there a particular hero that you identified with?

CHOPRA: I did with all the mythical beings of Indian mythology (INAUDIBLE).

SAMBOLIN: Oh, wonderful. Thank you so much. That's a special treat, huh?

BERMAN: That's very nice. Thanks so much.

SAMBOLIN: All right. That's EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. "Starting Point" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.