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CNN NEWSROOM

Obama, Karzai Meet This Hour; U.S. Presence In Afghanistan; Divisions Deepen In Gun Control Debate; Two Cities, Two States, Two Outcomes; New Dosages For Some Sleeping Pills; CDC: Flu Activity Drops; Treating Children With The Flu; FAA To Review 787 Dreamliner Problems; American Express Cutting 5,400 Jobs; Ford To Add 2,200 Jobs; Holmes Could Enter Plea Today; Report: DEA Agent Arranged For Prostitute; NYPD: Suspect Targeted Washington Square Arch; Attorneys Want To Exhume Lottery Winner

Aired January 11, 2013 - 10:00   ET

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


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM --

At this hour, Afghan President Hamid Karzai heads to the White House for a face-to-face meeting with President Obama and the U.S. role in Afghanistan's future.

He won a million dollars playing the lottery, but the lucky man turns up dead from cyanide poisoning. Now we're learning about a family feud and what might help police solve the mystery of who killed him.

His remarks from 20 years ago are coming back to haunt this Evangelical pastor, why he's pulling out of President Obama's inauguration.

Plus -- and that, of course, is Justin Timberlake. He's been focusing on his acting career for the past few years, but a new video on his web site suggest the Grammy winner might be going back to the recording studio. NEWSROOM starts now.

And good morning to you, thank you so much for being with us. I'm Carol Costello. We begin in Washington where President Obama will soon meet with Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan.

Karzai's week in Washington has included a dinner with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a meeting with outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, but the face time with President Obama is the meeting that could make headlines because U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan will likely be a key topic.

So, let's bring in White House correspondent Dan Lothian. What's expected to come out of this meeting?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, it's a chance for both of these leaders to sit down and talk about the future of Afghanistan, both economically, the transition that will take place and militarily. The big discussion obviously is what the U.S. footprint will look like in Afghanistan after 2014. President Obama during his first campaign and the last campaign promised to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. It was part of his overall military strategy ending the war in Iraq, winding down the war, and ending it in Afghanistan.

And so this big question, will there be some troops left in Afghanistan after 2014. There's been talk recently that the drawdown could go down to zero, but we heard from Leon Panetta, the Defense Department yesterday, saying that that's a bad idea, that most likely it will be a few thousand troops on the ground there in Afghanistan.

But that's one of the main issues that will be discussed in this meeting here today. And I'll tell you what, you know, when you think about sort of the pressure on the president when it comes to Afghanistan, you have to factor in what the public sentiment is about Afghanistan.

And most recent polling that we have on this dates back to September, a CNN/ORC poll that those who were asked about what was the most important issue facing the country today, only 3 percent said Afghanistan, the majority, 48 percent, saying the economy.

So, Afghanistan, not a big issue for most Americans, and so you can understand both from that standpoint and then financially when you look at the cost of the war, the pressures that are on the president to wind things down there very quickly.

COSTELLO: Dan Lothian reporting live from the White House this morning. We'll bring you President Obama and Hamid Karzai's joint news conference live. Wolf Blitzer will anchor our special coverage that starts at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Also this morning, at the White House, Joe Biden is racing the clock and the Tuesday deadline to suggest ways of curbing gun violence. Today, the vice president meets with members of the video game industry.

Those violent fantasy games always enter the discussion when young men carry out mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the one at the Colorado movie theater in Aurora.

The nation's largest gun lobby, the NRA, though, is angry and apparently backing away from the conversation on gun control. It met with Vice President Joe Biden yesterday and it says the White House isn't really interested in a dialogue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID KEENE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: -- going into this meeting what the president's position on so-called assault weapons ban is, the same position he's taken for years. These are not new positions. The vice president had said we do this with an open mind, but at the meeting he said, no, we've already made up our mind on that. No, there's not going to be an agreement on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: With such deeply divided interests it's easy to see how opposing sides are becoming even more polarized, but common interest can be tested. CNN's Jason Carroll has a tale of two cities and the different ways they work with state governments on gun control.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The New Year under way and already in New York City three police officers shot in two different incidents. Philadelphia, Steven Johnson, a Temple University student, shot during an argument. He's among that city's first homicides of 2013. It was also Movita Johnson Harrell's cousin --

MOVITA JOHNSON HARRELL, LOST SON AND COUSIN TO GUN VIOLENCE: Children are just dying on the streets for no reason whatsoever.

CARROLL: Even before her cousin's death, Johnson was mourning the loss of her son Charles. Shot two years ago. He was 19.

HARRELL: Anger and rage rise to the surface because there has to be something that we can do as a nation to get these guns off the streets.

CARROLL (on camera): In order to battle crimes, cities such as New York and Philadelphia have looked to strengthen their gun control laws, and New York has done so. It has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, including a ban on assault weapons, restrictions on ammunition clips over ten rounds, and mandatory background checks for gun buyers, including buyers from gun shows.

(voice-over): Philadelphia's mayor supported legislation banning assault weapons and so-called straw purchases of handguns in his city. It passed, but was overturned by a state court.

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER, PHILADELPHIA: The state has taken the position that they should be the only ones who can legislate in the area of gun safety and gun regulation. Many of us have a very different position.

CARROLL: A key difference, New York City and New York State are on the same legislative page. Pennsylvania and Philadelphia worlds apart.

RICHARD ABORN, CITIZENS CRIME COMMISSION: Philadelphia, unfortunately, has not had the same support from the legislature in Harrisburg, they have not been willing to pass strong gun control laws, and we see the impact in Philadelphia.

CARROLL: In 2011, Philadelphia saw 17 gun-related murders for 100,000 people, New York City, four per 100,000. Mayor Michael Nutter said he will propose stricter gun control measures again. Those opposed to it, New York's mayor would say this --

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: It would be interesting to see if they have the courage to come with me and explain to the police officer who got killed, to their spouse or their child or their parents that it was a murder we could have stopped and we didn't have the courage to do.

HARRELL: My son could still be here had it not been for someone with a gun. My cousin would still be here had it not been for someone with a gun.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: So, the question, Carol, for people like Mayor Nutter and other mayors across the country who are trying to do the same thing, in Mayor Nutter's situation will he be successful this particular time in trying to get new gun legislation passed?

Well, we reached out to Pennsylvania's governor, here's what he had to say, this is part of a statement that released. It says, if they, meaning Philadelphia, were to craft gun laws in Philadelphia which were more prohibitive than the rest of the state, it would not prevent criminals from obtaining those guns elsewhere and bringing them into Philadelphia. Our state laws must be uniform when it comes to gun regulations.

So, when we mention there in the piece that you've got the city and the state that are worlds apart, it appears that still has not changed -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes, it doesn't sound like it. Jason Carroll reporting live for us this morning.

Just in to the NEWSROOM -- a long time senator said his current term in office will be his last. West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller says he will not run for re-election next year. Rockefeller who is the great grandson of the oil tycoon is in his fifth term in office. He is due to make the announcement in the next hour.

Turning to your health, the Food and Drug Administration is just announcing dosage changes for some popular sleeping pills once prescribed to women. The FDA is recommending sleep aids like Ambien lower their recommended dosages from 10 milligrams to five.

That's because there's an ingredient in the drugs that women don't process as quickly as men. The FDA also said the new labels will advise doctors to consider a lower dosage for men.

It was a bit of better news from the government about this early flu season, 24 states now reporting high levels of flu activity. That's actually down from 29. But it's the youngest patients that can face the biggest health threat from the flu.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen met with one mother and son who made it to the hospital just in time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Darius Carr is so sick with the flu, he's in the hospital. He could have died if not for the quick thinking of his mother. Robbie Carey was keeping a close eye on her son at home. He didn't seem all that sick then suddenly Wednesday night --

ROBBIE CAREY, SON HOSPITALIZED WITH FLU: He couldn't hardly breathe. He was, you know, gasping for, you know, breath, and that was real scary because I thought he was going to pass out at any minute.

COHEN: Robbie immediately brought her 7-year-old son to the emergency room. It's just a short drive away, but by the time they got there, Darius was incoherent.

(on camera): How did you feel in your heart when your own son didn't know who you were?

CAREY: You don't want to think the worst, but as a parent you can't help it, you know?

COHEN: The flu had struck Darius hard, his asthma making it even worse. Doctors had to give him oxygen. Looking for red flags like Robbie did can save your child's life, difficulty breathing, getting better and then sick again, a sign that a second infection has set in, and refusing to drink. And a red flag Darius' mom noticed extreme fatigue.

(on camera): But kids are usually lethargic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, for a while and then usually, they'll perk back up.

COHEN: If there's no perking up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there's a problem.

COHEN (voice-over): Kids with the flue can get very sick very fast. So when in doubt get your child to a doctor.

(on camera): I can't imagine if you hadn't brought him in.

CAREY: That's what I don't even want to think about and I'm just so glad that I did, follow that mom instinct and bring him in right away, you know, that may have saved his life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Elizabeth Cohen joins us from Fort Worth, Texas, now. Elizabeth, the CDC is releasing new information about the number of kids who are dying from the flu. What are you hearing from your sources?

COHEN: What I'm hearing is that this week's report has details on two new flu deaths for kids. That brings the pediatric flu death total up to 20. And as far as cases go, kids who are sick with the flu, this hospital alone here in Fort Worth has seen hundreds, hundreds, of kids every week with confirmed cases of the flu. But it's interesting they just told me those numbers seem to be tapering off a bit.

COSTELLO: Well, at least that's a bit of better news. Elizabeth Cohen is reporting live for us from Texas this morning. Moments ago, the U.S. transportation secretary announced the FAA will review the Boeing 787. This follows a week of troubling incidents including crack cockpit windows, oil leaks and even a fire in the battery. Here's Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY LAHOOD, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Today, we are announcing that we are conducting a comprehensive review of the design and production of the Boeing 787. This review will cover the critical systems of the aircraft including design, manufacturing, and assembly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Boeing has said it's confident in the safety of the 787 aircraft.

American Express says it's going to cut more than 5,000 jobs in an effort to become more efficient. Credit card giant says most cuts will be in its travel businesses, and no surprise it blames the internet for transforming the industry and forcing its hands. American Express said the cuts will be offset by some new hiring, but overall staffing will be reduced.

It's a whole different story, though, at Ford, the company announced it was adding 2,200 white collar workers this year. That's in addition to the more than 2,300 hourly jobs the company announced it was going to add last month.

Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange. So why such robust hiring at Ford?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: OK, well, this is an example of demand, of how demand, Carol, ultimately, you know, drives growth and employment. Now Ford is hiring because they need more people to keep up with growing sales. You look at last year, 2012, it was solid year for Ford.

Its sales they have been rising at a steady. In the U.S. are up 13 percent to $14.5 million, its best annual total in five years plus it added over 8,000 combined salaried and hourly workers last year.

So it's been really a net positive for the sluggish U.S. jobs recovery and now Ford is announcing the biggest addition of white collar jobs in more than a decade. So these jobs are mainly going to be positions that help with product development, like engineering and software jobs.

So what it shows is that the company expects this kind of growth to continue. Plus, you top it off with Ford rewarding its shareholders. The company said yesterday it will sweeten its dividend. It's going to double that dividend. So that's another sign, Carol, of overall strength and confidence for future sales growth at least for Ford -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Are any of the other auto manufacturers hiring? KOSIK: Yes, well, manufacturing -- the manufacturing industry actually has become this sort of comeback kid for jobs as well especially last year, you look at car and car parts manufacturing jobs, they jumped almost 5 percent in December and more than 50 percent for the year.

And it's not just in blue collar jobs, it's also growth in white collar jobs, too, you look at October for General Motors. GM adding 3,000 I.T. jobs in October. Chrysler added more than 1,200 assembly line jobs in November.

Dealerships are also seeing the big gains. So, the great thing about this is, Carol, that all of this is demand driven. People are buying more cars and the fact of the matter is these automakers and manufacturers need more people to make them -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Understood. Alison Kosik, thanks so much.

A man scores $1 million scratch-off lottery ticket and then he wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. He dies hours later. Now, authorities are trying to solve his murder.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: It's 16 minutes past the hour, time to check our top stories.

The man accused of killing 12 people inside a Colorado theater last summer could enter a plea this morning at his scheduled arraignment. A Colorado judge ruled there is enough evidence for James Holmes to stand trial on all 166 counts including first-degree murder.

We're learning new information about last year's scandal surrounding the U.S. Secret Service in Colombia. An inspector general's report said a drug enforcement agent arranged a meeting between a Secret Service agent and a prostitute. This is just days before President Obama -- President Obama's scheduled visit to Colombia. The report also found three DEA agents admitted to paying for sexual services.

New York police say a suspect planned to blow up the arch in the city's Washington Square Park. Police arrested Aaron Green two weeks ago after they found an explosive substance and a sawed-off shotgun in his apartment. Officers had come to the apartment to serve an unrelated warrant against Green's girlfriend.

A lottery winner, a small fortune, a mysterious murder and a family feud, it sounds like the making of a TV movie, but it's the latest investigation in to the death of a very lucky man. The state's attorney in Chicago wants to dig up the body of Urooj Khan to find out who poisoned him. Here's CNN's Martin Savidge.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the story of how a simple scratch may have killed a man. Urooj Khan moved to Chicago from India in the late 1980s and became an American success, eventually owning a string of dry cleaners and real estate, settling into this house on the city's far north side with his wife and teenage daughter.

By all accounts, he was a hard working, well liked man with just one weakness. He loved those scratch-off lottery tickets.

JIMMY GOREEL, CONVENIENCE STORE OWNER: He was heavy on that, you know. There was a time that he would buy a whole book. We're talking about 30 tickets in a book, that's $600.

SAVIDGE: He would win, sometimes hundreds, even thousands. Then last June, he bought two tickets and scratched off a fortune.

GOREEL: The second one was the lucky one.

SAVIDGE (on camera): And what did he win?

GOREEL: A million dollars, a whole million.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): He was all smiles in this Illinois lottery picture. Friends say he was excited about the good he could do with all that money. But a month later, instead of living on easy street, Khan was dead in the Rose Hill Cemetery.

(on camera): On the evening of July 20th, Khan's wife said that she made dinner here at home, and then he went to bed a little less than an hour later. She said she was awakened by his screams of agony.

(voice-over): Khan was rushed to a nearby hospital, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead. Doctors say the 46-year-old died of natural causes. But later that week, an urgent call came into the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office from a concerned relative.

DR. STEPHEN J. CINA, COOK COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: This person must have made a compelling case. You know, we take all -- all information seriously, but this was serious enough to order a full battery of toxicology, including some unusual agents, you know, such as cyanide and strychnine.

SAVIDGE: Both deadly poisons. So acting on the caller's information, lab technicians retested Khan's blood and discovered an old killer.

CINA: When it came back in late-November, it was definitely in the lethal range for cyanide in the blood.

SAVIDGE: I called up science journalist, Deborah Blum, author of the "Poisoner's Handbook." Blum says cyanide poisoning is a horrible way to go and screaming part of it.

DEBORAH BLUM, POISON EXPERT (via telephone): They'll talk about the classic cyanide death scream, right. It's almost an involuntary contraction of your dying muscles.

SAVIDGE (on camera): So it's almost a trademark then of cyanide?

BLUM: It absolutely is. SAVIDGE (voice-over): But how did the poison get into Khan and who could have been responsible? The answers may rest in Khan's stomach. It's one reason the medical examiner wants his body exhumed.

(on camera): I would think one of the things you would clearly focus on is what was the last meal or the last food consumed, would that be of interest?

CINA: Well, as part of any autopsy, we look at the gastric contents. In some cases, we analyze them if it's relevant to the case. So in this case, we certainly would be looking at the gastric contents, but that's part of any forensic autopsy.

SAVIDGE: Khan's widow is 32 years old (inaudible) and she's now inside running the family business. I asked her for an interview, but she said she's simply not read ready to talk. She did tell me that she and her husband were very much in love and that she misses him beyond words and that she supports the exhumation of his body, hoping it will reveal the truth.

voice-over): But court documents suggest all is not so well between Khan's widow and his siblings. They paint a picture of a family deeply divided over the control of Khan's estate, especially his lottery winnings, which after taxes came to about $450,000.

Today, no arrests have been made in Khan's murder, but in Khan's neighborhood, rumors spread and fingers point as a deadly duo as old as time may have struck one once more on Chicago's north side, greed and poison.

GOREEL: That if it's truly murder, it's sad. It gets to the point where I believe when they say money is the root of all evil. It is true.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN, Chicago.

(END VIDEOTAPE

COSTELLO: Wow.

"Talkback" question for you today -- should we welcome pastors in the public square despite their views on homosexuality? Facebook.com/carolcnn or tweet me @carolcnn. I'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Now's your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day, the question for you this morning should we welcome pastors in the public square despite their views on homosexuality?

President Obama asked Reverend Louie Giglio, an Atlanta pastor and ardent foe of human trafficking to deliver the benediction at the inauguration. This is a man with the power to attract 60,000 people in the honorable fight against modern-day slavery, everything was a go, until gay rights groups uncovered this sermon Giglio gave back in the '90s -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REVEREND LOUIE GIGLIO, PASSION CITY CHURCH: If you look at the counsel of the word of God, Old Testament, New Testament, you come quickly to the conclusion that homosexuality is not an alternate lifestyle. Homosexuality is not just a sexual preference. Homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: After a backlash from gay rights supporters, Giglio vowed out telling his congregation, quote, "The issue of homosexuality is one of the most difficult our nation will navigate. However, the individuals' rights of freedom and the collective right to hold differing views on any subject is a critical balance we as a people must recover and preserve," end quote.

It brings up a larger question. You'd be hard-pressed to find many clergymen who blessed same-sex marriage, the Evangelical Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim and orthodox Jewish faith, all reject homosexuality.

Michael Cromartie of the Ethics of Public Policy Center says, why not let Giglio pray. He is not being named to a cabinet position. The truth is all sorts of people deliver prayers who we don't agree with on a number of issues. Still many feel that gay rights like marriage equality is a civil rights issue.

So the "Talkback" question for you today, should we welcome pastors in the public square despite their views on homosexuality. Facebook.com/carolcnn or tweet me at @carolcnn. I'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Good morning. Thank you so much for being with us. I'm Carol Costello. It is 30 minutes past the hour. Time to check our top stories.

The federal government wants to give Boeing's newest airline another look. The Department of Transportation says it will conduct a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's critical systems including design, manufacturing, and assembly.

The federal government says the aircraft are safe to fly. The 787 has had a pretty difficult week, though, incidents include a fire that started in the battery compartment of a Japanese airliner and a fuel leak in another Japan Airlines jet.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai arriving at the White House minutes ago for one-on-one meetings with President Obama. The future of U.S. troops in Afghanistan top the agenda.