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Tornado Warnings for Nashville; Clinton's Last Days; American Missing In Turkey; MLB Investigates New Rumors of Steroid Use; Teen Tennis Sensation Sloane Stephens

Aired January 30, 2013 - 05:30   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A black eye for baseball. Alex Rodriguez among those named in a new report on performance enhancing drugs.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Caught on camera. A woman brazenly attacked in a place where she thought she would be safe.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I am so looking forward to Monday when I have no schedule.


SAMBOLIN: She's not going to know what to do with herself.

Hillary Clinton's last days at the State Department. She talks to CNN about her tenure and her plans for the future.

BERMAN: Interesting.

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Wednesday, January 30th, 29 minutes past the hour right now.

And we are on severe weather watch this morning. There are tornado warnings right now in the Nashville area.

So, let's get straight over to Indra Petersons who is tracking for storm for us -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Once again, we can still see the severe line of storms that's been developing throughout the evening hours and still expected to stay with us all the way through this evening. Now, currently, we do continue to have these tornado warnings in effect up about 10:00 in the morning and we actually have reports about an hour ago right around (INAUDIBLE) of a touchdown of a tornado. We're still waiting to hear reports whether or not -- or official whether or not there actually were some roofs blown off in the area. So, we continue to monitor that. As I zoom out here a little bit, you'll able to see where that line of storms is. And of course, still a lot of severe weather and tornado warnings currently in effect.

And remember, these cells are moving 45, even 75 miles for hour. Very quick to move. You're not going to have much time to take cover, so please, of course, pay attention to the weather radio and all of your surroundings. Looks like we've got a little bit of funky map out there, maybe out towards the entire Portugal. I know that's where we saw a low pressure center yesterday.

It didn't increase severely strong way. Hopefully, we can get you back out here real quickly here to what we're looking at weather-wise. There you go. (INAUDIBLE). And again, notice all that severe weather. Here's the timing of the system. It's going to be going to the east right ahead of that cold front throughout the day today. By the afternoon as we warm up, we're going to see this intensify especially out through the afternoon out towards Atlanta and then it's going to kick off.

We're going to see these warnings continue. Notice how widespread the severe weather threat is really, all the way from the mid-Atlantic region right down through the southeast. The threat will remain with us throughout the day today.

BERMAN: All right. Indra Petersons, thanks so much. Pay attention to these weather warnings, everyone. It is serious.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thirty-one minutes past the hour. It is official. The 94-3 vote the U.S. Senate Tuesday overwhelmingly approved President Obama's choice of John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the nomination of John Forbes Kerry of Massachusetts to be our new Secretary of State is confirmed.


SAMBOLIN: Kerry could be sworn in for his new post as early as Friday. That's Secretary Clinton's final day on the job. So, before stepping down as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton sat down with CNN to talk about what she has accomplished during her tenure at the State Department. Secretary Clinton says when we consider her legacy, Americans must go back to the beginning.


CLINTON: I think we have to go back to my beginning in January of 2009 to remember how poorly perceived the United States was, how badly damaged our reputation was, how our leadership was in question, how the economic crisis had really shaken people's confidence in our government, our economic system, our country. Part of my job in the very beginning was to get around the world and restore confidence in American leadership.


SAMBOLIN: And she certainly did get around the world. Elise Labott is live at our Washington D.C. bureau this morning. And I know that, you know, she says go back to the beginning, but you pressed her on something that everybody wants to know, whether or not she will run in 2016.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what really, Zoraida, everybody wants to know. Yes, earlier in her tenure, people were still wondering about 2016 and she kept saying no, no, absolutely not. This year, I think it's softening a little bit. Let's take a listen to what she said.


LABOTT: In April, you told Wolf Blitzer for 2016 that's not in my future. But you seem to be, I don't know, leaving some wiggle room there.


LABOTT: Have you decided?

CLINTON: No, no. I am so looking forward to Monday when I have no schedule, no office to go to, no responsibilities.

LABOTT: I'm sorry, Madame Secretary, you know the party says that the field is clear and open for you until you make your decision. Have you decided that you absolutely will not run?

CLINTON: Well, I have absolutely no plans to run.

LABOTT: But look at --


LABOTT: You're not saying -- this is not a Sherman-esque statement. I will not run. We heard this morning all of these people asking you if you can run. There's a PAC just registered, Ready for Hillary.

CLINTON: Is there really?

LABOTT: Are you going to tell these people to stand down?


LABOTT: Everyone is waiting for that --

CLINTON: Well, you know, right now, I am trying to finish my term as Secretary of State. And, the president and I had a good laugh the other night because, you know, I am out on of politics right now. And I don't know everything I'll be doing. I'll be working on behalf of, you know, women and girls. I'll be hopefully writing and speaking. Those are the things that I'm planning to do right now.


LABOTT: Zoraida, that's what she's planning to do, but, of course, definitely not. I absolutely will not run. That kind of absolute statement that we're looking for. We also talked about women in the Cabinet. Secretary Clinton leaving their top four women in the new administration and the national security, particular, no women she said that she definitely thinks that there needs a way to go with women in this administration and in the United States.

We talked about her legacy, what she's going to do on her last day. She said she's really looking forward to padding around the house and thinking about her next move, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: You know, Berman is sitting next to me, saying, Elise rules. She rules.

LABOTT: He's the expert on that.

SAMBOLIN: Listen, it wasn't for a lack of pressing her, so thank you for attempting to --


BERMAN: That was categorically the best round of questioning on whether or not she's running that I have seen to date. And everyone is asking --

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Elise. Thank you.

BERMAN: Great job, great job. Love that.

All right. Thirty-five minutes after the hour right now. Some shocking courtroom video here out of Ohio. A man jumps from his seat and chases his ex-girlfriend around the table, tackling her in the corner and punching her repeatedly. This happened in a courtroom. A bailiff uses his taser on the man and finally stops the attack.

The attacker, Shawn Greene, (ph), he's in jail in charges of domestic violence and contempt of court. The woman was bruised and taken to the hospital. That is terrifying.

All right. Thirty-five minutes after the hour right now. And an American woman missing for more than a week in Turkey, now her family is there looking for her, and she may have been caught on camera before she vanished. We're going to go live to Istanbul coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Thirty-eight minutes past the hour. To Turkey right now, a husband and brother are desperately searching for an American woman who vanished without a trace. Thirty-three-year-old Sarai Sierra, a New York mother of two, was traveling through Europe on her own but she was in close contact with her friends and family back home. She was last heard from, however, on January 21st, the day before she was supposed to fly back to New York. She never showed up for that flight. Most of her belongings, including her passport found in her Istanbul hotel room. CNN's Ivan Watson with more.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alone American woman on vacation in Turkey's largest city. This video released by Turkish police shows Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two, in an Istanbul shopping mall on January 20th. She hasn't been heard from, her worried husband says, in more than a week.

STEVEN SIERRA, MISSING WOMEN'S HUSBAND: You know, the fear that I'm not there to protect her, you know? And that bothers me.

WATSON: Sierra flu to Istanbul on January 7th. It was this native New Yorker's first international trip, family and friends say. And she made the transatlantic journey solo.

MAGALENA RODRIGUEZ, SARAI SIERRA'S FRIEND: She did a lot of homework before she left. She did a lot of research about the area, about where she was going to stay, the safest places to go, and the time and days to travel.

WATSON: Sierra's Instragram feed shows photos of Istanbul's stunning skyline and mosques. It also shows photos of the train station and architecture in Amsterdam. Turkish police say Sierra flew from Turkey to the Netherlands and Germany on January 15th and then returned to Turkey four days later.

The manager of Sierra's hotel in Istanbul told CNN he last saw her on January 20th, the same night this security camera video was shot. She left her passport and most of her belongings behind in the hotel, family members say, but not her iPad, which she appeared to be using in the food court of the shopping mall.

This week, Sierra's husband and brother traveled from New York to Istanbul. On Tuesday, they spent the day at police headquarters here meeting with officers from the missing person's unit. Both American and Turkish authorities are working hand-in-hand on the search.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All authorities, everyone from the U.S. to the locals in Turkey, are working this as a missing person. They've elevated it to every level possible. The bureau chief of missing person is looking. So, I know that they're conducting a very logical investigation and they are pulling out all the stops.

WATSON: While investigators work, family and friends hope and pray they can soon bring this missing mother back to her children.


WATSON (on-camera): Zoraida, I spoke with Sarai Sierra's husband this morning by phone, Steven. He's here in Istanbul. He said that he's very worried about his wife, that she could be cold or scared right now. He also said it was wrenching to go to the police headquarters here in Istanbul and to be given his wife's belongings that have been left behind in her empty hotel room and not to see her.

At the same time, he said he was very encouraged to see how seriously the Turkish police are taking this missing person's case and all he can do is wait as they continue their work to try to find his missing wife and the missing mother of these two children back home in Staten Island -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Ivan, you mentioned that police say Sierra briefly left Turkey. She traveled to Amsterdam and then to Munich before returning to Istanbul. Have police said what she was doing in those cities? Did she actually go to visit anyone?

WATSON: We don't know that exactly. The family has said in previous interviews that they knew that she was traveling to other countries and then returning home. The Turkish police have basically given the passport in and out dates, the four days that she was out of the country before she came back here to Turkey.

I can say that as far as Istanbul goes, she was staying in the downtown in an area that is frequented by thousands and thousands of foreign tourists every day. It's pretty safe area. She was in a glitzy shopping mall where she was filmed. And we're hearing reports that some of her social media information, Facebook or whatever, has been shared with the police. But there are lot of -- there's a big mystery.

For one thing, you know, the husband and brother of Sarai Sierra, a church has helped raise funds for them to come here to work on this case, but how does she, herself, pay for all these flights in and around and this pretty extensive international travel. It's a big question to answer right now.

SAMBOLIN: There are a lot of questions in this story. Ivan Watson, live in Istanbul, thank you very much.

BERMAN: Remember, there are two kids, a nine-year-old and an 11-year- old.

SAMBOLIN: It's so sad. I know.

BERMAN: So, it is very sad.

Forty-three minutes after the hour right now, and she is the teen tennis sensation who shocked the world by upsetting Serena Williams at the Australian Open. Coming up, my conversation with Sloane Stephens. What it's like to face and beat one of your idols? Sloane Stephens is a blast. Stay tuned for this interview.

SAMBOLIN: A blast?


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Forty-seven minutes past the hour. Wall Street will be flirting with all-time highs today. We are happy to report the Dow at a five-year high and within reach of the 14,000 benchmark. It's about 200 points shy of an all-time high. The S&P 500 also near a record closing at 1,508 yesterday. Less than 60 points from a record high.

BERMAN: Record high.

SAMBOLIN: I love that.

BERMAN: Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, one of the players linked to a new steroid scandal that is rocking Major League Baseball. A report in "The Miami New Times" says a South Florida anti-aging clinic served as a pipeline to performance enhancing drugs for several players.


TIM ELFRINK, MIAMI NEW TIMES: Bio-genesis like a lot of anti-aging clinics was selling an awful lot of HGH, a number of other drugs, you know, that are widely banned in sports, testosterone, anabolic steroids.


BERMAN: Major League Baseball says it is in the midst of an active investigation concerning the latest steroid allegations. Meantime, A- Rod's representatives deny he had anything to do with the clinic or its owner, Tony Bosch. Nationals' pitcher Gio Gonzalez, one of the favorites for last year's Cy Young Award, is another player named in this article. He also denies ever using PEDs or even meeting Bosch.

SAMBOLIN: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is denying a "Sports Illustrated" report that claims that he used a banned substance while recovering a torn triceps this season. The article claims Lewis was given deer antler spray to speed up his recovery. The spray contain a substance that appears on the NFL's banned list.


RAY LEWIS, RAVENS LINEBACKER: Every test I've ever took in the NFL, every -- there's never been a question if I've ever even thought about using anything. So, it's even to entertain stupidity like that, tell them to go try to get a story on somebody else.


SAMBOLIN: Well, Lewis will lead the Baltimore Ravens as they take on the 49ers this Sunday at the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

BERMAN: Deer antlers are one of the fastest growing substances in nature. So, there's this notion out there in the world among some people that by getting the spray, it will help you recover more quickly, but there's no real science to back that up.

SAMBOLIN: Well, clearly, he thinks it will work -- allegedly thinks it will work. Sorry.

BERMAN: We have a much sports story of a much different nature now. SAMBOLIN: A happy one?

BERMAN: No one seen more stunned than Sloane Stephens when she beat tennis great, Serena Williams, in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. And that in happening, suddenly, everyone was buzzing about this 19-year-old phenom who grew up with Serena Williams' posters on her bedroom wall. Now, she has posters of herself on her wall.


SAMBOLIN: I love that.

BERMAN: I had a chance to talk to Sloane Stephens from her home in Los Angeles.


BERMAN: Sloane, first of all, congratulations.


BERMAN: So, it's been about a week now. Has it finally sunk in how far you got?

STEPHENS: Yes. I'm so much more busier now. I just a lot -- I don't have as much free time as normal, but it's been OK. It's been -- I mean, it's good, I think. So --

BERMAN: Yes. I think it's pretty good. I think it's pretty good to get to the semifinals of a grand slam tournament. I think you could say that. And today, the news, you're 17th in the world. That's the highest you've ever been.

STEPHENS: Yes. That's really good. So, I'm excited.

BERMAN: What's your goal by the end of the year, where do you think you'll be?

STEPHENS: I'm not sure, but one of my friends, we just made a bet that I would be top ten by the end of the summer. So, hopefully, I can get to that goal and then at the end of the year, get a little bit higher.

BERMAN: That's pretty good. Top ten will be kind of amazing now. And as you said, you know, you're starting to get the recognition. A lot of things are pouring in. You're doing Ellen. A lot busier than you were before. And of course, there's Twitter. How many followers are you up to now?

STEPHENS: 60,000 as of last night.

BERMAN: Not that you're checking or anything. 60,000 as of last night, that's fantastic.

STEPHENS: Yes. Not that I --


BERMAN: Shaquille -- you're getting tweets from famous people, too. Shaquille O'Neal tweeted you after your win in the quarterfinals.


BERMAN: He wrote, "When you defeat a legend, you become a legend. Keep it going." What's it feel like to get tweets like that?

STEPHENS: That is unbelievable. I mean like Shaq tweeted me. That's insane. I don't even -- I couldn't even think of anything to say back. I was just so nervous. I think I was more nervous about him tweeting me than like actually the match.

BERMAN: And John Legend and Dirk Nowitzki, I mean, everyone's out there. Everyone is extremely impressed with what you did. Of course, the impressive feet was beating Serena Williams in the quarter finals. What was that like?

STEPHENS: I don't know how I did it, but I did and I was so excited. It was so much fun. And like the energy and all the people that were there cheering, it was such a good atmosphere and I just loved being out there. I wish could I do it again.

BERMAN: A lot of people pointed out that you had a poster of Serena Williams on your wall growing up. Was she an idol or are people making too much of this, do you think?

STEPHENS: I think people make a really big deal out of it, but I just -- I don't know. I did have a picture of her. And I mean, it had to go, but I still have it.

BERMAN: Once you started flying your knee to beat her, that poster goes away. Do you think people make so much of it because, you know, you're both African-American women tennis players?

STEPHENS: Yes, I think so, but I mean, there needs to be a story about everything. So, I think I'd rather it be that than something negative. So, I think it's OK.

BERMAN: You say there has to be a story about everything. You know, I'm from Boston and I watched your father play football, and of course, I've heard about your mother for years when she was a swimmer. You know, your parents were famous. Your relationship with your father was interesting. Not someone you met very many times and then, of course, he passed away tragically in 2009. How did that affect you?

STEPHENS: It was really stuff. Like my stepdad had just passed away and then my dad passed away. So, it was really tough for all of us, I think. But it was just -- I mean, now we've grown so much as a family, me, my mom, my brother. So -- and I think my mom has done a really good job with me and my brother just making sure we're stable and have a good home and a good environment to be around. It's been a hard process, a long one, but definitely a learning one and a good one. BERMAN: Sloane, let me just ask you this finally, a lot of people have talked about in women's tennis, you know, why can't the U.S. produce more competitive women's tennis players. After the Williams' sisters, there's been a big giant gap. Do you think that your emergence is a sign that, you know, Americans are finally producing the quality players again?

STEPHENS: Yes, I think it's a good sign. I think there's -- even not after me, there's a lot of other girls that are below me that are still coming up and playing great tennis and I think it's a really good sign that I'm in top 20 now and there are a lot of girls in the top 100 trying to like get that breakthrough and play some really great tennis.

And I think, I mean, until Venus and Serena retire, we don't have anything to worry about, because there are so many of us. When they are gone and they need someone to replace, I think there'll be plenty willing to step in.

BERMAN: All right. Sloane Stephens, again, congratulations and please come talk to us again when you break number ten in the world by the end of the summer.

STEPHENS: Of course, I will.

BERMAN: Right. Take care.


BERMAN: So, Sloane Stephens is my new favorite athlete, maybe my new favorite person ever. She shares an iTunes account with her mom, so all the music on their iPods is mixed up and her mother listens to Barry Manilow.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness!


BERMAN: -- is that she can't get the Barry Manilow music off of her iPod. It's really amazing. We love her.

SAMBOLIN: What a grounded young lady. That was a great interview.

BERMAN: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: And seemed far more excited about Shaq than winning, right?


BERMAN: She's hilarious.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Fifty-four minutes past the hour. Coming up, a packed hour ahead for you on EARLY START. She's a school girl who was shot by the Taliban for standing up for women's rights. You know her. Now, there's new information on the technology that will make her a skull. BERMAN: Wow!

SAMBOLIN: A live report in the next hour.

BERMAN: Plus, you know, we told you they are indestructible. Hostess making a major announcement. Have they saved the Twinkie?


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Fifty-eight minutes after the hour right now. I'm John Berman. This is Zoraida Sambolin.

SAMBOLIN: You sure?


BERMAN: Looking at me, creeping me out just a little bit. We're going to take a look at the top CNN Trends on the web this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Creeping you out. I don't know why. So, it's a chance to get free tickets and annoy paying customers in the process. Listen to this. A theater in Rhode Island is one of the latest to set aside a special section of "tweet seats", they call them, where people are encouraged to live tweet their impressions of the performance, effect, the costumes, whatever, and then generate a lot of buzz.

The theater says the seats are in the back to avoid distracting others and people are asked to remain discreet while they tweet. I don't know. I don't like this. I like sitting in the back. I'm going to be distracted.

BERMAN: All right. Late night laughs, everyone. Conan and Jimmy Fallon got in the Super Bowl fever. Check it out.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": The first Super Bowl ever where the coaches are brothers. Isn't that cool?


O'BRIEN: Well, here's the latest. Jackie Harbaugh, the mother of the two team's coaches says she would really like the Super Bowl to end in a tie.


O'BRIEN: Yes. However, just to be safe, she's got 20 grand on the Ravens.


O'BRIEN: She didn't want to screw around.



BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.