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Clash at the Gaza-Israel Border; Deck the Malls; "Doorbuster" Daze; Millions of Americans Shopping Today; Wal-Mart Workers to Protest Today; Explosion Kills Three in Afghanistan; Arrest Made in Tel Aviv Bus Bombing

Aired November 23, 2012 - 06:00   ET


ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Put your running shoes on, grab your credit cards and your patience. It's Black Friday, folks, and Americans are expected to spend $21 billion, yes, that's with a "b," billion dollars today.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: But you might not be the smoothest shopping day for some folks at Wal-Mart. A big strike and protests planned today at several stores around the country.

CHO: And the Beatles first audition tape rejected. Can you imagine? Well, now that recording is going to the highest bidder, and we'll bring you the details later on this hour on CNN.

BERMAN: That is crazy. All right, good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

CHO: Good morning, everybody. I'm Alina Cho. Zoraida has the day off. Happy Black Friday to you. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east.

BERMAN: We are going to start this hour with breaking news in the Gaza/Israel conflict, new reports of new violence this morning. It happened in Gaza near the Israeli border.

According to Hamas security sources about 700 people were participating in the anti-Israel protests that approached the border. Israeli forces allegedly fired at the protests killing at least one Palestinian man and wounding three others.

We are going to keep our eye on this for you this morning. We'll bring you the latest as it develops.

Now, to the other news today, it is Black Friday in America. Somehow, this shopping frenzy became a holiday tradition. And this year, hard- core bargain hunters face a new challenge with more stores moving their door buster hours up to Thanksgiving night, creating, yes, gray Thursday.

People camped out in the line for hours hoping to score some sweet deals. We have two live reports from some very brave reporters, CNN's George Howell is at a Best Buy in Atlanta and Stacy Cohen is at a mall in Arlington, Virginia.

We're going to start with you, George. Are you surviving? What's it been like there for you, pal?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, John. Pan around, I want to show you what's happening here right now. Fewer people than we saw earlier, but they're still coming in and they have reason to come in, John. I want to show you just sort of the lay of the land here at Best Buy. This is a deal that really caught my eye, $187 for a laptop? I mean, that's one thing.

You look around. There are several TVs like this one, $247 that was regularly $379. Another TV, and I want to show you this over here, this is pretty cool, this laptop bundle. These are the things that they're selling to get people in the doors.

You get a laptop, flash drive, mouse, all of this, you save some $200 on this. So it's really important this day for a lot of these retailers, when you look at this particular Best Buy in Dunwoody, Georgia, wrapped around the store this morning, there were some 600 people waiting to get inside this store.

Great news for this particular store, especially when you consider, John, that there are fewer people shopping this year compared to last, according to the National Retail Federation, 147 million people out this year compared to 152 million last year.

But they're spending more, according to those surveys, big news, good news for Best Buy. Keep in mind, they had disappointing third quarter earnings so they are making sure to get as many people in the store as possible. And so far, John, seems like they're having success.

BERMAN: Here's the thing, George, when you show me those deals I want one of everything. I have to ask you this --

HOWELL: I can try to get you one.

BERMAN: Pick me something up. Have there been any problems? The lines looked pretty reasonable there. People look like they're behaving themselves. Any problems that you've seen yet?

HOWELL: OK, we know in Indianapolis, there were problems and also in Sacramento problems. We know in one case it was a customer who apparently threatened to stab other customers if he was pushed when trying to get into the door.

So nothing happened there, and again, there were a few fights at a Kmart. But you know, all in all, things have been relatively smooth when you look at what happened here at this store. Again, some 600 people all filing through the door.

Smooth operation, no real problems here, but again, a lot of people looking for a lot of deals between today and Sunday. And Best Buy definitely trying to take advantage of that.

BERMAN: All right, George Howell live outside Atlanta today. Thanks very much. Talk to you soon.

CHO: Stacy Cohen has joined a pilgrimage into the Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia. She joins us now. Beautiful backdrop. What's it like over there, Stacy? Good morning.

STACY COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, Alina, you know, I'm not one of those folks that wants all the tech toys. I want to come to the mall. I want to buy some clothes and some jewelry and some makeup and that's what you're going to find here.

If I didn't know it was 6:00 in the morning and pitch-black outside I would think it's a normal day in the mall, but you could see in the hallways right now, somewhat sparse.

I think George said it well when they're expecting not a gangbuster year. But the mall opened at 5:00 a.m. and there were certainly shoppers here. They have deals in every corner.

But a lot of people are turning to online. They have a lot of apps now where you can shop before shopping and find the best deals and not necessarily come to the mall and hunt and gather. You can figure out what you want before you get to the mall.

But we have a steady stream of folks. I think that retailers are really hoping for some good sales. Cyber Monday is coming up, as you know, and they're staying busy at Pentagon City. I haven't gotten to do any shopping yet, but the morning is still young.

CHO: It certainly is. It's only 6:00 in the morning, Stacey, you got plenty of time and all weekend. All right, thanks for the update. We'll talk to you later.

BERMAN: It is 5 minutes after the hour right now. If you are headed to Wal-Mart today, you might be greeted by demonstrators with picket signs. Wal-Mart workers across the country plan to protest over wages, benefits and other issues. They say today is the perfect day to get their message across. Wal-Mart says the protesters make up just a fraction of its workforce.

CHO: New overnight a bomb explosion in Afghanistan has killed three people. At least 90 others were injured when the car bomb went off in the cap of Wardak Province that's west of Kabul. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

BERMAN: Officials in Israel say they made an arrest in Wednesday's bus bombings in Tel Aviv. They say the suspect is an Arab Israeli and a member of Hamas. The group has said it had nothing to do with the attack. More than 20 people were hurt. Police say the suspect used a cell phone to detonate the bomb.

It is now 6 minutes after the hour. Want to get a check of the weather now with Rob Marciano. Rob, man, Thanksgiving was beautiful. That's going to be hard to beat today.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is. And things are going to start to go downhill especially for the eastern half of the country. Good morning, John. If you're working off that turkey hangover you got some issues to deal with across the Great Lakes.

Got some showers embedded in here through Cleveland, Cincinnati. A little bit of white on the map. So you know there's some colder air beginning to drift down from Canada if you live in parts of the upper Midwest and western Great Lakes, you already know what I'm talking about.

Memphis back to Nashville, line of showers and even a couple of embedded thunderstorms here. That's really not the big story. It's what's behind this line, which is going to send a bit of a chill down your spine.

Finally, some dry air into Portland, but not so much Seattle. Rain heavy at times with mountain some snows, travel slow go there up and over I-5. If you are traveling through Seattle or Portland, we'll see some delays through the air.

Nothing major expected although wind will kick up in Detroit and Chicago and Minneapolis. Nothing like what we saw on Wednesday with that dense, dense fog that was keeping Chicago in the soup. Big changes yesterday's high temperature, Chicago, was 63 degrees.

e get out of the 30s today, that's going to be a big improvement. I think we'll probably hang there, 39 degrees with the current temperature in Chicago is 38 degrees and 19 right now in Minneapolis. So there you go.

That's that fall shift, right? Winds will gust to 40 to 50 miles an hour. That will send the wind chill down into the teens and single digits if it's not already there now.

With that wind pushing the cold air it's eventually going to get to the eastern sea board. Before that happens, 54 degrees, not a bad- looking day in New York, 61 degrees in D.C., 69 in Atlanta.

But look at the cool down here for the northeast. We go from 50s today into the 30s in some spots on Saturday and Sunday. So there you go. Thanksgiving is over. Now it's time to move on.

CHO: You were able to drag yourself in after that turkey last night, Rob?

MARCIANO: I rolled in just like everybody else. Felt good. Happy Thanksgiving.

BERMAN: Thanks, Rob.

CHO: You, too. Well, it's hard to make Thanksgiving dinner when you're coping with a life-changing disaster. But the city of New York and volunteers gave victims of Superstorm Sandy something to be thankful for. A lot. Many were given free turkey dinners or provided a bus to restaurants that served up free meals.

Volunteer groups also handed out supplies and warm clothes. Some places had so many volunteers show up they were actually turned away. That's great news.

Quiet day for President Obama after celebrating Thanksgiving with his family and staffers at the White House. The president tweeted this photo of the Obama family, everybody looking a little younger there with a message saying, from this family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

He then called 10 service members in Afghanistan and thanked them for their sacrifice. The president also met with Oregon State University basketball team. The head coach, of course, is Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson.

BERMAN: And this morning first lady Michelle Obama will welcome the White House Christmas tree. This is a look at last year's tree. This year's 19-foot Frasier fir will arrive at 11 a.m. Eastern from Ashe County, North Carolina. It will be displayed in the blue room.

CHO: Thanksgiving not just for the earthbound. The three-man crew aboard the International Space Station celebrated with a big feast including smoked turkey, thermo-stabilized yams, yum. That sounds good, doesn't it?

And Russian mashed potatoes. That's a nod to the two Russian crewmen on the station. They also had corn and cranberry apple dessert. Astronauts, by the way, have been giving thanks at zero gravity since 2000.

BERMAN: All right, feeling lucky this holiday season? The Powerball jackpot keeps on climbing and climbing, Powerball now at an eye- popping $325 million. The next drawing is tomorrow night at 10:59 Eastern.

We want to know what you would spend $325 million on. I would go to town on the dollar menu at McDonald's. You tell us what you would do. Tweet us @earlystartcnn. Tweet us no matter what. Do it right now. We'll be right back.


CHO: Breaking news this morning. Violence erupted in Gaza near the Israeli border. Israeli troops reportedly firing on protesters, as they approached the border, killing one Palestinian man and wounding at least 19 others.

The incident shattering the relative calm that's been in place since that ceasefire between Israel and Hamas took hold on Wednesday. Earlier people in Gaza City had been celebrating the truce. You see them there, both sides claiming victory.

The focus is now turning to talks on keeping that fragile ceasefire in place. Our Sara Sidner is live for us in Jerusalem. Sara, good morning to you. First, what can you tell us about this latest incident?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, these incidents happen every now and then. It just so happens, though, it has now happened less than 48 hours since this very fragile ceasefire went into place.

So far no escalation between either Israel or Gaza, but let me give you an update on some numbers here. According to the Hamas Health Ministry, they have told us that it is now 25 people who have been injured. They say one person was killed in a shooting incident with Israeli soldiers shooting at Palestinians on the Gaza side of the border.

Now, when we spoke with the Israeli military, their story was that there were several groups of men who came up to the fence area, they tried to get over the fence or under the fence, into Israel, and that is when soldiers fired in the air. When they did not stop they started firing at their legs. That's what we're hearing from the Israeli military. So far, the military has not confirmed whether there are any injured or dead. They are investigating at this point in time.

But again, it comes at a very difficult time, because we are less than 48 hours since the cease-fire went into effect. A lot of people very happy that the cease-fire was at least there. Families on both sides of the border very concerned about going through this war-like conditions over and over and over, day in and day out, and happy to hear some calm. But this is another one of those situations that has happened that really makes people nervous, because you never know what's going to happen from here. If there's going to be an escalation on either side and if that's going to break the truce completely -- Alina.

CHO: Still very tenuous.

I saw a tweet, Sara, that you sent out last night about an arrest in that bus bombing in Tel Aviv. The first since 2006, some 24 people injured, got a lot of attention. What can you tell us about that?

SIDNER: Well, we talked to the police, the Israeli police spokesman, and he told us that, yes, there indeed had been an arrest of several hours after the bus bombing in Tel Aviv, we were there on a scene, saw the bus blown up, saw the windows blown out, and a couple dozen people injured. One who had some very severe injuries and may lose an arm.

And what we were told is that they had made an arrest. The person was from Taybeh central Israel. The person was a Palestinian. And that they believe that the bus is actually detonated by remote using a cell phone, perhaps all the way from Ramallah, which is in the West Bank, and that the person got their orders from Hamas operatives in Ramallah.

This is one of those situations where they have looked into it. They are still investigating. They are still talking through it. They're also saying that this suspect has confessed.

So there's a lot more information coming down and a lot more information I'm sure that will be looked into as to who exactly gave the orders as well. But now, they have arrested someone in that bus bombing. Like you said, it's the first time that a bus blast has happened in Tel Aviv since 2006, and really rattled the city there.

CHO: Certainly did.

All right. Sara Sidner live for us from Jerusalem. Thank you, as always. Meanwhile, some Egyptians are calling their new president a dictator. Here's why -- Mohamed Morsi issued an order that says the courts may not overturn any of his decisions until the country drafts a new constitution. It could give him some unchecked powers for months. Morsi also ordered retrials of officials accused in last year's crack down on protesters.

BERMAN: New information about the David Petraeus investigation. The FBI investigating whether he told his military staff to share documents and other sensitive information with his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell. That's according to report from "The Washington Post." FBI agents say they found low-level classified information on Broadwell's computer.

CHO: Interstate 10 in Texas is back open finally after 120 people were hurt in an enormous wreck. Take a look at that. About 100 vehicles were involved in a big chain reaction pileup that happened near Beaumont.

In one of the accidents, a man and woman were killed when an 18 wheeler hit them from behind. Authorities say dense fog might have been to blame.

BERMAN: Sad news from the boxing world. Doctors say that former champ Hector "Macho" Camacho is clinically brain dead after being shot in the face and neck Tuesday night. He was initially expected to survive but his injuries severely affected blood flow to his brain. Family members announced last night they will wait two more days before deciding whether to take the boxer off of life support.

CHO: A problem with the heating and ventilation system is believed to have caused a carbon monoxide leak. It happened at a Pennsylvania jail, a staggering 49 female inmates had to be taken to area hospitals after they became sick at the York County facility. Two prison officials were treated as well, and a handful of inmates were admitted for extended treatment. Everyone has since been released.

It's been called the worst decision in music history. Listen to this -- but now, the Beatles audition tape which was famously rejected back in 1962 is up for auction. The 10 track demo has an asking price of $48,000 and includes a photo negative of the band, as well as a handwritten track list.

The tape has never been released but is said to be in pristine condition, and contains covers of American songs. The band then made up of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best were told guitar groups were on their way out. But they later signed with EMI, of course, and went on to be one of the greatest bands of all time.

BERMAN: They made a few good songs.

CHO: Yes, a couple.

BERMAN: They made a couple of good songs.

CHO: Forty-eight thousand, it's going to go way more than that.

BERMAN: All right. A triple serving of NFL football on Thanksgiving Day. It started with Detroit with -- in Detroit with the Texans, 34- 31 overtime victory against the Lions.

The game was marred by controversy, though. It was a really weird play. A gaffe by Lions coach Jim Schwartz who mistakenly threw the challenge flag after this touchdown run by Houston's Justin Forsett.

Replays showed that the running back was down, but Schwartz negated an automatic review by throwing a challenge flag, and that probably cost his team the game. It was just a mental glitch by a coach. You really don't so that very much. Also a technicality that a lot of people upset that that's how the Lions lost.

In Dallas, the Cowboys lost to the Washington Redskins, 38-31. Washington quarterback RG3, Robert Griffin III, was the star throwing for over 300 yards, four touchdowns. He looked really, really good.

But no one looked better than the Patriots and worse than the Jets. They were the biggest turkey on thanksgiving. The Patriots beat the Jets. They really beat up on the Jets, 49-19, in a game, it wasn't even that close.

The Patriots scored three touchdowns in 52 glorious seconds in the second quarter. It blew the game wide open. This was coach Bill Belichick's 200th win as the head coach. It was dominating. And it kept me up way later.

CHO: Oh, you stayed up --

BERMAN: You know, when they're winning -- when they're scoring that many points how are you going to fall asleep? Every time -- you know, I'd put my head down on the pillow and then I look up and they scored another touchdown. It was great.

All right.

CHO: Missed it.

BERMAN: So we've talked our faces off about the Patriots and about Black Friday and my voice apparently will hold out, at least a little bit more. But, do you guys know what folks are calling Saturday? Here's a hint: it's all about small business. Details after this quick break.


BERMAN: All right. We are minding your business this morning.

U.S. stock futures are up, but it is expected to be a light trading day after the holiday. It is a shortened trading day, as well. Markets close at 1:00 p.m. Eastern today.

CHO: Well, the Black Friday frenzy is in full swing. Want to go back to those live pictures that we were just showing you of a mall in Washington, D.C. You see, 6:25 in the morning, lots of shoppers out and about, trying to get those deals. In fact, 147 million shoppers are expected to hit the stores today and into the weekend.

Plus, we already know that online shopping is up nearly 20 percent so far. And that number of customers, using mobile devices to check out deals online has reached a new record, 28.5 percent. That's according to IBM benchmark survey, which tracks this every single year and it's not even Cyber Monday yet.

CHO: And many small retailers are hoping to get a piece of the action tomorrow with Small Business Saturday. That's the big push from the Small Business Administration, encouraging customers to do their holiday shopping at local small shops tomorrow. Last year, 100 million Americans shopped at independently owned stores.

CHO: It is 27 minutes after the hour. We are following breaking news at the Gaza/Israel border. New reports of deadly violence. We'll have those details straight ahead.