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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Burning Rage Against America; Scouts Dishonor; Chicago Teachers Strike Enters Second Week; Topless Photos Spark Court Action

Aired September 17, 2012 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Burning rage against Americans. Four U.S. soldiers killed on an American base in Afghanistan. And new violent protests at the U.S. consulate in Pakistan and near the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Scout dishonor. One of America's most trusted institutions accused of covering up sexual abuse. We're talking about the Boy Scouts of America.

SAMBOLIN: And not good enough. Despite a tentative contract deal, Chicago teachers are still on strike. So what is the holdup? We're going to go there live to find that out.

Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. Look who's back with me this morning, John Berman. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: It's been a long time since we've been together.

SAMBOLIN: It has.

BERMAN: It's great to see you. A lot of the Chicago parents are going to be surprised when they wake up this morning.

SAMBOLIN: I think they knew last night. They were hoping they would make the decision last night. Sure enough, the kids are out of school again.

BERMAN: We do have a lot of news this morning, because happening right now in Afghanistan, the crowd has turn, protests became angry and violent outside the U.S. and NATO bases in Kabul. An Afghan police official says at least 15 officers were hurt against anti offensive -- sorry, against that anti-Islam film made by a relatively unknown movie producer.

Demonstrators fired guns, they threw rocks and set at least two police cars on fire near the U.S. embassy. This comes just one day after four American soldiers were killed on an American base in Afghanistan.

We're covering the story like no other network can. Let's get right to Anna Coren live in Kabul.

And, Anna, what is the latest this morning?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, it was only really a matter of time before anger spread to the streets. The government was trying to keep a lid on it. Obviously banning YouTube so that people couldn't view that video.

But today, we saw that anger, some 300 people took to the streets about five kilometers from the U.S. embassy. They attacked police officers, 15 officers, including the commander were hurt. We're actually getting reports of more but we're trying to get confirmation.

They set two police trucks on fire. They were burning tires as well. We got relatively close to the protest. But, certainly, angry scenes, I should say, on the streets of Kabul, John.

BERMAN: Region of such immense concern this morning, Anna, for U.S. forces there, because this other wave of green-on-blue attacks, these insider attacks, we keep on seeing is them there.

COREN: That's exactly right, John. Early Sunday morning, four U.S. soldiers were killed when an Afghan police officer turned his gun on the soldiers that were training him. This was something we are saying time and time again. On Saturday, it was two British soldiers that were killed.

John, the death toll for green-on-blue attacks or insider attacks as the military refers to them has risen to 51. Last year it was 35. Back in 2007-2008, it was a total of just 4.

So, we are seeing an uptick in these attacks. Of course, the Taliban, every single time there's a coalition death, they will claim responsibility for them. The U.S. forces believe the Taliban are only responsible for some 25 percent of these insider attacks. The rest is down to personal grievances, cultural differences or just the physical and psychological fatigue of an 11-year war that, John, is about to enter its 12th year.

BERMAN: Anna Coren, 51 U.S. soldiers killed this year alone. Thank you very much, joining us from Kabul this morning.

SAMBOLIN: It is three minutes past the hour. Anti-American sentiment is raging right now in Pakistan. It was a very violent weekend. Police spending much of it beating back protesters who are trying to storm the U.S. consulate in Karachi.

Here's more from Reza Sayah in Islamabad, Pakistan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Washington bracing itself for another wave of anti-American anger on Monday. This time, the call for protests coming from Lebanon and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. "The whole world needs to see your anger, on your faces, in your fists and your shouts, Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

On Sunday, anti-American demonstrations continued in Karachi, Pakistan. As police beat back scores of protesters in front of the U.S. consulate, that angry rally followed a flurry of protests over the past few days in places like Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, where demonstrators railed against a low budget film that insults Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

The protests sometimes turned violent. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died when armed protesters attacked a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. officials say lost amid the tragedy and dramatic headlines was the fact that most were not massive protests but crowds numbering in the hundreds, sometimes in the thousands.

SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: The mobs we've seen on the outside of these embassies are small minority. They're the ones who have largely lost in these emerging democratic processes.

SAYAH: Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said the attacks on U.S. targets began as spontaneous protests, rejecting earlier claims they were part of a plot to coincide with last week's anniversary of 9/11.

The anti-American protests have fast become the Obama administration's most pressing foreign policy crisis. But the White House faces other urgent challenges in the region. On Sunday, four U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. The latest in a breakout of insider attacks, where Afghan forces target NATO troops.

And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to ratchet pressure on Washington to set a red line for Iran, claiming Iran is months away from being able to build a nuclear bomb.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: I think that there's a common interest of all Americans of all political persuasions to stop Iran. This is a regime that is giving vent to the worst impulses that you see right now in the Middle East.

SAYAH (on camera): Washington is putting a lot of pressure on governments in the region to crack down on violent protests and those governments have responded with tighter security and the protests seem to be tailing off.

In the meantime, Libyan officials say they've arrested a number of suspects in the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Stevens. It's not clear who these suspects are at this time but Libyan officials saying contrary to earlier claims, there is no evidence al Qaeda was involved.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Thanks to Reza.

And also, word of a deadly attack near the heavily protected Green Zone in Baghdad this morning. Police say a suicide bomber ramp a car packed with explosives into a checkpoint. At least three people were killed, eight others wounded in that attack. BERMAN: School still out in Chicago. The teachers strike continues this morning despite a tentative contract agreement reached by school officials and the teachers union. A group of union delegates say they want more time to discuss the deal with the rank and file.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he is not one bit happy. He says he will file an injunction to try and force the teachers back into the classroom.

SAMBOLIN: President Obama is launching an unfair trade complaint against China with the World Trade Organization. The White House claiming Beijing is trampling on the trade laws by imposing more than $3 billion on duties on U.S. auto exports, creating an unfair advantage for China's automakers and parts manufacturers.

The President will make that announcement today while he is campaigning in Ohio, a state that relies heavily on the auto parts industry for jobs.

BERMAN: His competition, Mitt Romney is in Los Angeles this morning, looking to beef up support among Latino voters. He will pledge reform to the nation, what he calls broken immigration system when he addresses the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce today. But there are no details exactly about how he would do it in the excerpts of the speech released so far to the media.

Romney will also say 2 million more Hispanics are leaving in poverty today than the day that President Obama took office.

SAMBOLIN: It is a one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement. Can you believe it? Protests are planned in Lower Manhattan today and expected to begin in about two hours. Today, protesters are planning rallies in the more than 30 cities around the world, including a march on the New York Stock Exchange.

BERMAN: We are watching to see how big they get today.

Now this, Prince William and his bride, Catherine, also known as Kate, are in the Solomon Islands today, celebrating the Queen's diamond jubilee. Their lawyers are filing a criminal complaint with French prosecutors against the photographer who snapped those topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge. Britain's royal family also plans to go to court today to stop the publication of more topless photos of the duchess. They're going to seek some damages.

SAMBOLIN: That was so unfortunate. Tough on her.

Eight minutes past the hour.

Shocking sexual abuse scandal at an iconic American institution. Coming up, the documents that revealed decades of alleged cover-ups at the Boy Scouts of America.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's 12 minutes after the hour. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to have you with us this morning.

Well, the Boy Scouts of America accused of covering up hundreds of sexual abuse cases. This is going back decades. "The L.A. Times" dug into hundreds of documents that detail allegations against Boy Scouts personnel and volunteers. The files appear to show a pattern of protecting the accused and sweeping it under the rug.

I want to bring in one of the reporters on this story for "The L.A. Times," Jason Felch. Jason, good morning you. Thank you for getting up nice and early with us this morning. We appreciate it. So --

JASON FELCH, REPORTER, LOS ANGELES TIMES: You're welcome. Happy to be here.

SAMBOLIN: You went through 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991. How many cases of abuse are we talking about here?

FELCH: Thousands, really. We looked at 1,600 cases, but many of those cases involve several victims. As many as 2,000, even 3,000 victims are likely named in these files.

SAMBOLIN: And what are the accusations?

FELCH: Well, a lot of them are rather explicit in detail. Many of the files contain handwritten accounts by the young 10-year-old boys who were sexually abuse. The Boy Scouts were attempting to put together a complete file so that they could expel these men from scouting. So in the process, they gathered rather explicit accounts of the abuse that had happened.

SAMBOLIN: And you found by what I was reading here, 500 cases in which the information came from the boys, parents, staff members or perhaps even anonymous tips. You say police were not told in 400 of them. How did you verify that information?

FELCH: Well, in 80 percent of the cases, we found no indication that the authorities had been contacted. In more than 100 cases, we found explicit references to the fact -- to efforts to hide the abuse. Sometimes even from the parents of the victims. What we did was we took several of these cases, many of these cases, and ran them through public record searches and interviewed people who had been involved in the case to find out if there was information that had been given to the police that was not in the file.

And by and large what we find if it's not in the file, it didn't happen. So what's clear is that in many of these cases, the Boy Scouts instead of informing authorities, decided to keep this information to themselves.

SAMBOLIN: And were there any convictions here in what you found?

FELCH: One of the things we saw repeatedly was men whose sexual abuse was covered up by the Boy Scouts of America went on later to be accused of different crimes involving sexual abuse of boys. And so, yes, there are sometimes convictions that happened subsequent to these cover-ups. In other cases, that didn't involve cover-ups there were convictions, yes.

SAMBOLIN: You fond it all in what you call the Scout's perversion files. That's a black list that's been around since 1919. How did you get a hold of those documents?

FELCH: Perversion files is what the Scouts have called these documents. The effort was to keep a master list of men who should not be allowed to be involved in scouting. These have been kept confidentially by the organization for almost 100 years now.

But in civil litigation over the years, chunks of this record have come out in court. We were able to obtain a sizable chunk of these files that came out in a California case in 1992. We've spent many months analyzing these files.

SAMBOLIN: And, Jason, the Scouts did send us a statement. I want to put this up for everybody. It says in part here, "In the more than 100 years that the BSA has served youth, society has learned about this important issue. The BSA continuously enhanced its multi-tiered policies and procedures which now involve background checks, comprehensive training programs and safety policies."

They're saying the culture has change since the incidents you're reporting about. What's your response to that?

FELCH: There's no doubt that the Boy Scouts of America has implemented a number of policies over the years that are intended to protect kids from sexual abuse. The question that we are not able to answer, I don't think anybody is able to answer is -- are those policies working? The Boy Scouts continue to keep these perversion files. They are detailed accounts of sexual abuse in the organization.

But they're confidential. And only the Boy Scouts has them. The scouts have not reviewed their own perversion files. They've never been reviewed by an outsider. And so, until those files are reviewed, we really don't know if things have improved.

SAMBOLIN: Jason Felch, reporter from "The L.A. Times" we appreciate you spending time with us this morning and sharing your findings.

FELCH: Happy to be here. Thanks.

BERMAN: A really, really interesting story from "The L.A. Times." They did a terrific job on that.

SAMBOLIN: Disturbing.

BERMAN: It is 17 minutes after the hour.

Right now, I want to get you up to speed on all the headlines this morning. And Christine Romans is here with that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with the protest this morning, folks.

Violent protests in Afghanistan against the U.S., the latest hot spot, Kabul. Hundreds of people rallying against that very low budget film that mocks the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, burning cars and firing their guns. Afghan police official saying at least 15 officers were injured in these protests. Police were also forced to beat back the mob in Karachi, Pakistan.

Touchdown in Kazakhstan, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two cosmonauts and an American astronaut returned to earth last night, some 3 1/2 hours after undocking from the International Space Station. The three, including NASA's Joe Acaba, they were in space for 125 days.

And the 49ers, finer on Sunday night football. They beat the Detroit Lions, 27-19 in prime time last night, and moved to 2-0 on the season. Tight end Vernon Davis caught two touchdowns and this was a big story line last night. Coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz met before the game with a friendly hello and a handshake. No bro hug.

Last season the two almost came to blows after a game. What a difference a year makes.

SAMBOLIN: I was uncomfortable man hug moments.

BERMAN: You're against that?

SAMBOLIN: Well, the lingering ones maybe, you know? You wonder what they're talking about.

ROMANS: A hug over a fist fight any day, guys.

BERMAN: That's true.

SAMBOLIN: That's true.

BERMAN: OK. It's 18 minutes after the hour right now. We want to get an "Early Read" on the local news making national headlines.

And this from the "Omaha World Herald", which is reporting that Warren Buffett has completed treatment for stage one prostate cancer. The billionaire investor telling a group of newspaper executives, quote, "It's a great day for me."

Indeed it is. Eighty-two-year-old Buffett endured his 44th and final day of radiation on Friday. He says he's relieved it is finally over. He expects to be feeling the negative effects of treatments for a couple more weeks but he'll be back up to full speed.

SAMBOLIN: Sunny disposition he had during that.

BERMAN: Always has, a few billion helps.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

So from "The Orlando Sentinel", for the very first time ever at Disney's Magic Kingdom visitors will be able to drink beer and wine. You excited about that since you have two little ones?

BERMAN: It helps take the edge off.

SAMBOLIN: Alcohol will only be available at the park's new "Beauty and the Beast" themed French restaurant called Be Our Guest. It's opening in December, it's part of the Magic Kingdom's expansion of fantasy land. The restaurant's wine selections will focus on France's famous wine growing region. The beers will be French and Belgian brews.

Alcohol has been sold for years at some of Disney's other theme parks but never at the Magic Kingdom.

BERMAN: It's a big deal. It's a huge expansion. I was down there in March. It was all under construction, still. They're obviously still looking forward to opening that big new center and offering.

SAMBOLIN: Now you can go back.

BERMAN: Now I can go back. Now it's safe for us to finally go back to the magic kingdom.

For an expanded look at all of our top stories, head to our blog, CNN.com/EarlyStart.

SAMBOLIN: Time now is 19 minutes past the hour.

President Obama taking a stand against China. Coming up, how the President plans to try to stick up for American workers and one-up his opponent, Mitt Romney.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

We are minding your business this morning. U.S. stock futures are up, still riding the federal reserve announcement of more stimulus.

BERMAN: And one stock that is up in a big, big way, Apple, and the iPhone 5 isn't even in the stores yet.

ROMANS: Apple -- Apple shares closed at $691 a share, an all-time high again on Friday. I mean, this is a stock that's just been -- I want to show you the stock this year to give you an idea of something that's been a true winner in the American economy.

All the gloom and doom I bring you, not if you're an Apple shareholder. The stock is up 68 percent year to date.

So let's take a longer five. Let's look five years back. You know, how I love to run these charts.

Yes, look at that, five-year change up something like 264 percent -- iPhone 5 not even available in stores yet. We know it sold out in mere seconds, actually on Friday. One analyst I heard quoted as saying it was awkward, actually, awkward that they have a well- regarded product no one has seen yet and you can't even get your hands on it.

So, I suspect there will be record lines on Friday to get ahold of this.

Now, a political story and economic story I want to bring you this morning. This is an important story about China. The President on the eve of -- on his way to Ohio coincidentally --

BERMAN: Not coincidentally.

ROMANS: -- is hitting China this morning with complaints about the way China behaves in the auto parts arena.

This is something that unions, people who -- states that have a lot of people who work in the auto parts industry have been furious about this. The Economic Policy Institute says 2.8 million American jobs have gone away simply because of China's trade practices. So the President is launching his fourth WTO complaint against China, this one on auto parts, accusing them of putting U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage. This will play well in Ohio where there are tens of thousands of auto parts workers who have been seeing this flood of cheap imports.

And the criticism from the White House, the U.S. trade representative's office has been China's unfairly subsidizing its industry so that it can put other people out of business, quite frankly. As you know, in this country, the auto arena is pretty -- I want to listen to what both the President and Mitt Romney have said publicly by the way on their stance on China.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY. (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Day one I'm going to label China currency manipulator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: That's Mitt Romney. Let's listen to what the President has said.

Well, I tell you what he said. He has said we brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the previous administration. The President is trying to say he has been tough on China.

Mitt Romney saying he will be tougher on China. He's going to label them a currency manipulator. As you know, they keep their currency pegged artificially low. It makes their exports cheaper than our exports, and so, that runs up our trade deficit.

So you'll be hearing more about this, especially in some of the swing states where it really matters.

BERMAN: Both candidates have ads up right now that mention China. It is no coincidence at all obviously that the President is making this announcement in Ohio which produces a ton of auto parts.

ROMANS: Right. It will play well in China --

BERMAN: All right. Other political --

ROMANS: I'm sorry, no Ohio. They will not play well in China.

SAMBOLIN: We know what you meant.

ROMANS: Happy Monday morning, boys and girls.

BERMAN: Yes, I know.

Lots of political news from all over the world right now. The Israeli Prime Minister, the Israeli Prime Minister, you heard that right, boldly inserting himself into the election in U.S. politics here. Coming up, Benjamin Netanyahu's direct appeal to American voters.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN (voice-over): Power play. Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel, trying to force teachers back to work as the strike there enters week two.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): No end to the fury. Kabul and Karachi, the latest hot spots for protests over a movie insulting to Islam.

BERMAN: Royally mad. The palace fighting back after topless pictures -- I can't even say it.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Topless pictures of Kate Middleton hit the web for the whole world to see. Obviously, quite a debate there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 30 minutes past the hour. We're happy you're with us this morning.

A strike by Chicago public school teachers, it is now entering its second week. The two sides did reach a tentative contract agreement over the weekend, but union delegates say they need more time to review the proposed deal with the rank and file. So, it means some 350,000 students will be out of class for at least two more days.

Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel, plans to ask for a court order to get the teachers back to work. CNNs Kyung Lah is following all of the developments. She is live in Chicago. So, why the holdup? Why didn't they just go back to school? They have a tentative agreement.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They do have an agreement, Zoraida, but what's really the issue here is what is in the contract. They say they need more time to digest it. They want to take this deal to their members and decide whether these compromises are good enough. And they're going to meet again on Tuesday and then have their vote.

In the meantime, what's happening across the city is, at places like this, there are about some 400 places, this school, parks, and other places where parents are going to be dropping off their kids. These are called "children first" (ph) sites. It's the way for the city to try to cope with dealing with some of these 350,000 students who don't have a place to go today.

The strike is on for today and also for tomorrow. What that has meant is that children simply will not be back in the classroom at least until possibly Wednesday. Now, the school board on hearing that news came out swinging. Here's what the President said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID VITALE, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO BOARD OF EDUCATION: There is no reason why our kids cannot be in school while the union reviews the agreement. Just as we have said that this is a strike of choice, it is now become a delay of choice.

MICHAEL BOCHNER, CHICAGO TEACHER: I don't like being on strike. Nobody in my school likes being on strike, but we understand the reason, and I guess it's not a very easy process. My membership really wants to go back to work, but I understand that, you know, when you have a big union, it's a lot of people. So, we're taking care of not just our school but everybody's school. So, it is what it has to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: So, what are some of the things that the teachers want to look at? Well, they're looking at-- in this new deal, getting more time in the classroom. The city did back away from merit pay, but teacher evaluations, that was a big one. That will be updated, Zoraida, for the very first time in 40 years here in the city of Chicago.

SAMBOLIN: I know trust is a big issue here. When I was reading, you know, one of the sticking points last time was that there was a clause in there that they didn't really know was in there. And so, they want their time to take a look at those things. Meantime, Mayor Emanuel has threatened to take the teachers to court in order to force them back into the classroom. Any word on that?

LAH: You're absolutely right about that. What Mayor Emanuel has said is that he thinks that this strike is now illegal, and he's going to go to court to try to force the teachers to go back in the classroom. A no vote on Tuesday. What he wants is them to go back immediately, and here's a statement from the mayor, Rahm Emanuel, a familiar face and name to many people across the country.

He said, quote, "I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union. This was a strike of choice and now is a delay of choice that is wrong for our children."

So, we're starting to see the city as well as the school board take a tougher line and try to basically turn public opinion against these teachers as we stretch into the second week here of this strike.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Kyung Lah live in Chicago for us. Thank you.

BERMAN: More news now overseas. The wave of anti-U.S. violence is spreading again this morning. This morning, hundreds of protesters were burning cars and tires, firing guns, and yelling death to America in Kabul. An Afghan police official says at least 15 officers were injured. Police were also forced to beat back a mob in Karachi and Pakistan.

And the leader of the terror group Hezbollah is calling on Muslims to judge and punish the people responsible for that movie that mocks the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. There's also word this morning a deadly attack near the heavily protected green zone in Baghdad this morning police say a suicide bomber run the car packed with explosives into a checkpoint. At least three were people killed and eight others wounded in that attack.

SAMBOLIN: Meantime, Israeli President -- Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is urging the Obama administration to take a tougher stance against Iran and keep them from going nuclear before it's too late.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NETANYAHU: It's important to place a red line before Iran. And I think that actually reduces the chance of military conflict, because if they know there's a point, a stage in the enrichment or other nuclear activities that they cannot cross because they'll face consequences, I think they'll actually not cross it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Netanyahu telling CNN's" State of the Union" that Iran in the next six months could have 90 percent of what it needs to produce an atomic bomb. Tehran claims it's enriching uranium for peaceful purposes.

BERMAN: Bad weather has postponed the space shuttle "Endeavor's" final flight. "Endeavor" was supposed to take off this morning from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, flying piggyback on a 747, first to Houston and then to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The flight is now schedule for sunrise tomorrow.

SAMBOLIN: The royal family is planning a legal war over topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, but, not everybody in the palace is on board with this fight. We'll go live to the Solomon Islands, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's nice to have you with us this morning. Thirty-nine minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. We're going to get a check of today's weather. So, Rob Marciano joining us from the weather center in Atlanta. Hey, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, John, hi, Zoraida. I hope you had a great weekend.

We have some changes coming, especially from the East Coast. It's been a nice stretch for you, guys, but rainfall is on the way. In some cases, you need it, but not all at one time and not in this amount. Three to five inches potentially across the Tennessee Valley getting into the Ohio River Valley and heavy downpours, and this will cause some of the rivers to rise, especially the smaller streams here over the next 48 hours.

And that means, well, get the galoshes handy. Houston and Lake Charles back to Baton Rouge, the rains are starting to pour in from the Gulf of Mexico. This is deep tropical stuff. And actually, if this disturbance had some time, it would develop over the Gulf of Mexico, but it probably will be lifted up towards the north and east, towards natural and places further to the north and east as well.

So, it's not just a one spot. It's going to see the rainfall. That's for sure. Here's the forecast for the next 48 hours. These brighter colors indicate rainfall that will be in excess of two inches, in some cases three, four, or five inches, and this will begin the stretch into the northeast along the Appalachians up through upstate New York and eventually through the I-95 corridor.

But I think you have one more day of decent weather. Threat for severe weather today across the Florida panhandle just south of Atlanta, and this will be expanding, I think, tomorrow as this front begins to pour south and east. Behind it is some cooler stuff. Temperatures will be at least 10 to 15 degrees below average, and this will get towards the East Coast stuff before too long. So, one more day of some warm stuff and dry.

SAMBOLIN: What's up with that?

BERMAN: You have genuinely offended Zoraida with your weather report this morning, Rob.

MARCIANO: I heard the cackles. What did I say?

SAMBOLIN: I wasn't cackling. I'm just thinking that, you know, --

BERMAN: She's outraged it will be cold and rainy here, and she blames you.

SAMBOLIN: I'm waiting for snow next, Rob, but thanks for that.

MARCIANO: You know, some of this cold air is just almost cold enough for snow across Northern Michigan, but we got some time to wait before you get it in New York.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Rob. Nice seeing you this morning.

MARCIANO: I'll see you in a hour. I'll try not to offend next time.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. CNN going in depth this week on issues that will be vital to voters with seven weeks to go now until America votes. It is not just about the economy anymore. Foreign policy suddenly is front and center in this race for the White House. And as Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, tells us the two candidates can be define by where they draw the red lines in Syria and Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney agree on two crucial national security issues. Iran will not be allowed to go nuclear and Syria will not use its chemical weapons. But if it looks like either might happen, they differ on what could trigger sending U.S. troops into action. On Syria --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have been very clear to the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized that would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

STARR: The White House won't say what it will do if the red line is crossed. Seizing dozens of chemical weapon sites would be tough, requiring tens of thousands of troops on the ground. Romney has openly called for covert action.

ROMNEY: I would instead of watching what's happening in Syria, from a dispassionate distance. I would be leading in Syria by encouraging our friends there like the Turks and the Saudis to provide weapons to the insurgents in Syria.

STARR: But he, too, hasn't said how or when he would use U.S. troops. The bottom line on Syria, President Obama's red line moving or using chemical weapons. Governor Romney, advocates greater U.S. involvement now. On Iran, the candidates agree. Iran cannot be allowed a nuclear weapon.

OBAMA: We are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

STARR: Romney has a different take.

ROMNEY: Clearly, we all hope that diplomatic and economic pressures put on Iran will dissuade them from becoming a nuclear capability nation.

STARR: The bottom line on Iran? President Obama says the regime would have to take direct steps to acquire a nuclear weapon. For Governor Romney, the red line merely having a nuclear capability without actually moving ahead to produce a weapon. But in the case of Iran, many believe the red line already has slipped. MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: We said that any enrichment was unacceptable in the case of Iran, and yet, here they are with hundreds of kilograms, if not thousands, of material.

STARR (on-camera): Neither candidate is advocating war with Syria or Iran. Both of them, in fact, have expressed hope that the sanctions will work. But if the red lines get crossed, both of those countries pose serious national security challenges to the United States.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Thanks to Barbara. Forty-four minutes past the hour. Red faces at Buckingham Palace this morning over topless pictures of Kate Middleton. What the royal family plans to do about it, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in the Solomon Islands this morning, continuing their year-long celebration of the Queen's diamond jubilee. Well, 9,000 miles away in Paris, attorneys for the royals are filing a criminal complaint against the photographer who snapped those topless photos of the duchess while she was vacationing in the south of France.

Now, we're told not everyone in the royal family approved of taking the case to court, but Prince William and Catherine are said to be so livid they felt like they had to take a stand. A lot to talk about here.

Max Foster is traveling with the duke and duchess. He joins us live now from far, far away in the Soloman Islands this morning.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Yes. I mean, they're upset, humiliated, angry. These are all words that the palace has been giving us recently. There is a legal action now. They've got this magazine in France. It's published some pictures, but legal action will ask to take these pictures offline, will ask them to stop producing any more pictures.

They'll also look at civil action which could actually mean that the -- could end up in prison. Criminal action that could pursue the photographer involved, but taking it as extremely seriously. But other media and other countries also published the pictures. An Italian magazine on Monday with a 26-page spread today and a rambling editorial justifying why they've done that.

One of the reasons is you get a new sense of a natural royal, someone who isn't caught up in these pictures of all of the rules of the palace. So, this is a big argument. But in France, they have a good chance of winning this case, because there are strong privacy laws. So, they're not going to pursue legal action in lots of countries, but they are going to pursue them in France.

Catherine and William are firmly involved in this. William is very angry about this. He sees a correlation between what's happening to Catherine at the moment and what happened to his mother, Diana, all those years ago.

BERMAN: All right. Max Foster in the Soloman Islands. A lot to talk about here. Does seem the public opinion very much on the side of the duke and duchess this morning. Thank you very much for that report and enjoy the Solomon Islands.

ROMANS: And what an awesome job. He follows the royals. He gets to go to the Soloman Islands.

SAMBOLIN: I know we were chatting about this, and you know, you have an opinion on this.

BERMAN: No. I mean, I think it's a gross invasion of their privacy. I think it's really unfortunate, however, I think if you are in the royal family at this point, if you are the Duchess of Cambridge, you have to be aware that if you are going to sunbathe topless --

ROMANS: Oh, in a private residence. It's not like Harry who went to a party and was with a bunch of people taking his clothes off. This is a married woman with her husband in a private residence. She deserves not to have a long lens go in through the windows.

SAMBOLIN: Very embarrassing.

BERMAN: I'm not at all comfortable having this discussion.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: So, I will defer to both of you on this.

ROMANS: Poor John.

SAMBOLIN: There we go. Very smart move. Thank you very much.

Fifty minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Christine Romans with this morning's top stories.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Yes. Violent protests in Afghanistan against the U.S. in Kabul. Hundreds of people rallying against a very low budget film that mocks the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, burning cars, firing their guns. An afghan police officials saying at least 15 officers were injured. Police were also forced to beat back the mob in Karachi, Pakistan.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is angry that the Chicago teacher's union has decided to continue its strike. He says he'll seek a court order to end this walkout, a walkout that's entering its second week. This affects 350,000 kids and their parents who are scrambling to find baby sitting for their kids.

Union leaders say they need more time to review a proposed contract that was worked out over the weekend. A 69-year-old retired firefighter has gone missing. Here's what he looks like. Charlie Dowd was traveling on Amtrak from San Francisco to Montreal, but he wasn't on the train when it arrived in Chicago on Friday. His family says he spoke to his son by cell phone Thursday night, and they haven't heard from him since. His luggage, his cell phone, his wallet were all found in his sleeping car.

She made a name of herself by saying "I am not a witch," but now, Christine O'Donnell is saying I'm considering another run. O'Donnell told "Delaware Online," "I think I owe that to my supporters to at least consider a run. People sacrifice, not only came out of their comfort zone, sacrifice to work hard in order to win the primary. And I think that I owe it to them to give it every consideration."

If O'Donnell does jump into the 2014 Senate race and wins the GOP nomination, she will, again, face now Senator Chris Coons.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS (on-camera): You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Fifty-two minutes past the hour.

A packed hour ahead on EARLY START. Of course, we are keeping an eye on the latest anti-American hot spot. Protests exploding in Kabul.

BERMAN: And now, the leader of Hezbollah calling for Muslims to rise up. We'll be talking to Zainab al Suwaij of the American Islamic Congress about this.

SAMBOLIN: Also, a dramatic rescue. A four-year-old boy stuck in a well, falling deeper. Firefighters too big to squeeze in, so they decide to dig.

BERMAN: And coming up, a giant delivery. You will not want to miss this. The National Zoo's giant panda gives birth for real this time. Stay with us. If you don't, you'll regret it forever.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Four minutes before the hour right now. I'm John Berman along with Zoraida Sambolin. We are taking a look at what is trending on the internet this morning.

SAMBOLIN: So, the latest "American Idol" shake-up is now complete. Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban are the new "Idol" judges. They are taking over the seats left empty by Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, and they will join Mariah Carey and AI original, Randy Jackson. He is staying who is sticking around for season 12 despite all those rumors that he was finished with the show.

BERMAN: I will sleep so much better tonight. (LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: I know we all will.

The NFL, the National Football League is yanking one of its replacement officials because from yesterday's New Orleans/Carolina game after he was outed as a Saints fan on social media.

SAMBOLIN: We were talking about this.

BERMAN: Take a look at this picture.

SAMBOLIN: Wondering how was he outed.

BERMAN: Because of this picture. You have to look at this. He's wearing the colors of the Saints nation in Facebook pictures. The side judge, Brian Stropolo, posted pictures of himself in Saints gear, and we don't have it. Trust me, he's in Saints gear, wearing Saints gear before a preseason game last August. Apparently, the league didn't know about his allegiance until ESPN told them.

SAMBOLIN: That's a no-no.

And it's a cub. The National Zoo's giant panda, Mei Xiang, gave birth to a cub Sunday night. This is John Berman's favorite story of the day.

BERMAN: It's the best.

SAMBOLIN: Take a look at this. Zoo staff report they can hear the cub but have not seen it so far. It follows five pseudo pregnancies from Mei Xiang. She gave birth to her first cub in 2005, but he was sent back to China.

BERMAN: We're sending our best wishes to the entire Mei Xiang family this morning. And you know, congratulations --

SAMBOLIN: I'm dying to see the little one, right?

BERMAN: All right. "Saturday Night Live" is back for a 38th season, makes me feel old. They open in midseason form with politics "SNL" style.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Election Day is near and things aren't great. The economy's in the tank. The job market's horrible.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now, even my foreign policy is under attack. But there's something I want you all too know. I'm not worried. Not in the least. Should be.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seems like I would be, but I'm not.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'll tell you why. Our campaign has a secret weapon, and that secret weapon is speaking right now in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Let's take a look.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, I'm Mitt Romney.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I understand the hardships facing ordinary Americans. For example, this summer, one of my horses failed to medal at the Olympics, so I know hardship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He makes me laugh.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's nice to have something to laugh about right now, because people are out of work. They're living with their parents, collecting junk. It's like we got a Sanford & Son economy.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dadat-dada.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Da-da-da-da

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: The election summed up in about ten seconds right there for sure. All right. EARLY START continues right now.