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Congress Faces Looming Sequester; Hi-Tech Fashion Examined; Paralympian Discusses Career

Aired February 16, 2013 - 14:00   ET


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, everybody. It is 2:00 p.m. on the East Coast, 11:00 a.m. on the West. For those of you who are just tuning in, thanks so much for joining us. I'm Deborah Feyerick in for Fredricka Whitfield. Here are some of the top stories we're following in the CNN NEWSROOM for you.

People in Russia are cleaning up the damage after a meteor blast over the Urals. Officials estimated the destruction at over $33 million. More than 1,000 people were injured in the meteor blast. Divers looking for the meteor in a frozen lake have not found any traces so far.

In South Africa, the country's Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius denies killing his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. Pistorius is spending the weekend in jail. He's charged with the killing of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp with a .9 millimeter gun. A reality TV show featuring Steenkamp premiered just a short time ago despite her death.

And this could come out of the means. Police in Texas shoot and kill a fugitive who had a community on edge and schools on lockdown for days. Guards were driving Alberto Morales to Las Vegas to face sexual assault charges. They stopped for a bathroom break Monday near Dallas. That's when police say Morales stabbed a guard with a pair of eyeglasses and then just took off. He was shot just midnight a few miles from there. The guard who was stabbed will be OK.

You could call it fiscal cliff 2.0. It's just days away unless the president and Congress reach a new budget deal. If they don't massive spending cuts to defense and social programs take effect March 1st. Administration officials are warning it won't be pretty.


JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: There will be disruptions in Coast Guard activities, disruptions in airport activities, big disruptions in cargo and cargo inspections which delays the whole supply chain coming into the country. So there will be many, many deleterious effects.


FEYERICK: Emily Schmidt is in Washington. Emily, we have been down this road before. Here we go again. When we talk about disruptions, are those actual disruptions or sort of belt-tightening moves?

EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deb, really when you hear from these agencies, they are saying a lot of the impacts of all of our lives will be touched by this. They'll start with $85 billion in automatic cuts this year a total of $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. These are cuts meant to trim the deficit. But if it happens, you really could see other cuts in services that you use every day.

We're going to start with the food you eat. The Agriculture Department predicts meat inspector furloughs meaning that meat and poultry and plants would have to shut down nationwide for up to 15 days. The Agriculture Department warns could create a meat, poultry, and egg shortage. You'd end up paying for to get them. The FDA says there would also be about 2,100 fewer food safety inspections every year.

Let's say you want to fly. The Department of Homeland Security says expect longer waits at airport security checkpoints. The department of the interior says if you're going on vacation, there will be reduced hours and services at 398 national parks. Visitor programs at nearly all 561 refuges would end.

Education now, the department of cakes says 86 percent of school districts not be able to make up the losses of sequestration in the next school year, and the cuts could even impact programs you don't even know you need yet.

FEMA says the disaster relief fund for severe weather survivors could be cut by more than $1 billion.

All of these numbers are coming from these letters that agency heads sent to the appropriation, Senate appropriations committee. You can see we would need hours actually to outline all of the cuts that are described here.

FEYERICK: All right Emily Schmidt, thanks so much. We'll see whether they get it done or whether we go to the wire again.

There seems to be an app for just about everything. Now there's one that helps you find your clothing, like, you know, this place jacket. We'll hit the runway at New York fashion week and show you how it works.


FEYERICK: Imagine going to the next level with hi-tech clothing. Smartphone connected gloves and jackets hit the runway this week at New York fashion week. CNN's Laurie Segall talks to one designer who is blurring the lines between fashion and technology.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here at fashion week, you'll see the latest fashions, but what you haven't seen is hi-tech fashion of the future. That's Asher Levine. He's dressed everyone from John Legend to Lady Gaga. Unlike most designers this 24-year-old fashion whiz is sending tech down the runway.

ASHER LEVINE, FASHION DESIGNER: This is the computer chip that we have invented in our premium jackets.

SEGALL: His fall collection, a smartphone connected clothing line.

LEVINE: How many of you have lost your gloves?

SEGALL: The chip connects with tracker app on your smartphone.

LEVINE: We thought to embed it in the items that you may lose or left behind or those really important items. As you walk away, this is your proximity meter. It will flash green in your close and go into yellow and orange and then red and eventually beep if you've walked too far away.

SEGALL: So I've got my smartphone and I can find my gloves using my phone essentially.

LEVINE: Yes. And you could press a button on your gloves and the phone will ring.

SEGALL: Levine is in collaboration with a Bluetooth company called Halo represents the next frontier of fashion.

LEVINE: Technology has always been a part of fashion. You see it even in gym socks, breathable material. Who's to say GPS system isn't what's next. It hasn't been done before. We also have different partnerships with other technology firms where we sit around a table and we go, what are we going do?

SEGALL: That's what he did last season in another feat combining tech and fashion teaming up with maker bot which allows you to print 3-D designs at home. The outcome, printable clothing.

LEVINE: I thought why not be able to download a piece or download something. We thought of, like, sunglasses.

SEGALL: When it comes to what's next, Levine's line experiments with fabric.

LEVINE: We incorporate innovation whether it's a partnership with a technology firm or of our own materials, like this is actually a liquid before it becomes this.

SEGALL: So if hi-tech is the fashion of the future, what does a Levine line down the road look like? Perhaps a weather-reading jacket.

LEVINE: Maybe the next one is we have that device talk to communicate with some sort of air chambers so you can have a device that reads the outside temperature and then when you go outside, it automatically inflates to the ideal level to keep your body temperature at its optimum.



FEYERICK: Well, very cool clothes, and Laurie Segall, now joins us from New York. Laurie, how soon are we going to be able to get these clothes?

SEGALL: Very soon. This is for the fall line. These clothes will hit the store in about August. But what I would say is, Deb, other fashion designers must be looking at this saying OK, to have a GPS tracking chip inside my clothing, that's not impossible. I bet we're going to see not just Asher doing this down the road but a lot of other different designers.

FEYERICK: It seems to make so much sense. What about washing, dry cleaning? Do you remove the chip? That was one of my first questions, actually.

SEGALL: I didn't ask him about that. I think that part of it, the technology could be a little bit clucky at first. But, you know, the kind of materials he uses, he experiments with all this kind of thing. It was very interesting to talk to Asher about the kind of materials he uses. He creates different types of materials. You can imagine he's going to make this so you're not going to have to take it out in the future.

But one of the bags he has, you can take out one chip and put it on your key or a different kind of object so you don't lose them. So this isn't just clothing. You can imagine a future where your house is smarter. You're speaking to your home. This is really just the beginning.

FEYERICK: Very cool. Laurie Segall for us is, always interesting. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

SEGALL: Thank you.

FEYERICK: You don't have to be in New York to enjoy Fashion Week, all thanks Alina Cho taking us backstage in just about 20 minutes.

ALINA CHO CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Deb. Coming up on "Fashion Backstage Pass," I'll take you behind the scenes for an exclusive look at New York Fashion Week. We sat down with super model Naomi Campbell to talk about her legendary career and her notorious reputation for being a diva. You'll see a softer side.

Plus, check out this 18,000 square foot New York townhouse. The owner is the president of Coach and designer of one of Michelle Obama's inauguration outfits. We're also backstage with Alexander Wang. He's the hottest ticket in New York and in Paris with an $80 million empire. And just how crazy does fashion week get? We followed three top people in the business to find out. All of that is next on "Fashion Backstage Pass." Deb?

FEYERICK: Looking forward to it. Thanks, Alina. And the Pope shocked the world when he announced he was stepping down because of his advanced age. He's 85, almost 86. So what about the most famous monarch, England's Queen Elizabeth? She's a year older. Will she follow in his footsteps? It's a royal question. We've got the answer, next.


FEYERICK: Pope Benedict XVI says he's resigning. It is the first time in nearly 600 years that a Pope stepped down. In the Netherland Beatrix says she is done being the queen. What about the world's most famous monarch? Is 86-year-old Queen Elizabeth likely to step aside anytime soon?

Richard Mineards is a columnist for the "Montecito Journal." We are so pleased to have you with us. We have heard from the Buckingham Palace on this issue in pretty broad terms. What are they saying?

RICHARD MINEARDS, ROYAL WATCH: Well, at its simplest, no. Abdication is a tradition in the House of Orange, as you say, Beatrix is abdicating at the end of April. She's 75. She's been 33 years on the throne. Her mother Jules also abdicated as did her grandmother, Wilhelmina.

But with the House of Windsor abdication is a very dirty word and goes back to 1936, as we all know, with King Edward VIII when he abdicated the British throne to marry the American divorcee Wallace Simpson. And since then, abdication is really very much out of the question.

FEYERICK: Well, interestingly though, he abdicated to his brother, obviously, and that's how we have Queen Elizabeth in the line of succession. She ostensibly could hand it down to her son Prince Charles or even Prince William and clearly the baby's just a little too young. We don't know whether it's a girl or a boy. But why not?

MINEARDS: Well, the British constitution is hard and fast. Queen Elizabeth herself blames the abdication crisis on the early death of her father who was Duke of York and then became King George VI. He died in 1952, and they've hated the whole idea of abdication ever since. The queen has repeatedly said that she will reign until her death. So Charles is going to be in for a very long wait. He's 64 now. The queen is going to be 87 in April. And her mother, the queen mother, was almost 102. So he's more likely to be going up the aisle of Westminster Abbey to the throne on his Walker than anything else. It's going to be a short reign like Edward VII. He reigned from 1901 to 1910.

After Charles III, we will have Prince William, who is now only 30. He will have a long and glorious reign one hopes and be on the throne for a very long time. But there will be no abdications. This is firmly set in the constitution. When the queen dies we have Prince Charles as King Charles III for a while and William will come to the throne as William the V. And that's it. The queen is very firm. Abdication is a no go with the royal family. FEYERICK: It's remarkable. Seeing this beautiful young couple up there, you get the sense they have the maturity and they have the wisdom, clearly the duchess of Cambridge now pregnant, pictures circulating on the web, we're not showing them here on CNN. Is this couple ever going to get a break?

MINEARDS: Not really. I think this is what comes with being the future king of England. And, of course, Kate is going to be the future queen. The great thing about it, this couple is enormously popular, and not only with avowed monarchists the older crowd but young people who they've grown up with, they've shown themselves to be very charming, not aloof, regal, and William has been schooled in the constitution by his grandmother. But they're both very, very popular.

That bodes very well for the future of a royal family in Britain, which goes back almost 1,000 years. And, of course, Queen Elizabeth is going to eclipse Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch in British history. Victoria reigned for something like 63 years and seven months.

FEYERICK: We're looking for a very long reign. Richard, thank you so much. We always appreciate having you on and getting your insights into the royal family. Thank you so much.

MINEARDS: My pleasure.

FEYERICK: And you may have heard the famous quote "Sports don't build character, they reveal it." This definitely applies to David Weir, one of the world's top Paralympians. He's driven to succeed in spite of what others may see as a disability. Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Two Olympics, six gold medals, Beijing, London, a handful of world records, world championship titles and six London Marathon wins. David Weir is one of the top Paralympian athletes in the world, competing in long distance races. He's also confined to a wheelchair, all of it pure upper body strength.

DAVID WEIR, PARALYMPIC WHEELCHAIR ATHLETE: I couldn't feel my legs. They can't move. It's called spinal cord transection. It was damage to the nerves in my spine. The doctors don't know the how or when or why. So it was a disability from birth really.

GUPTA: He was just a young boy when he decided not to let his disability keep him from his dreams of being an athlete.

WEIR: I was into sport very early. At school it was my best subject, PE. I wasn't very good at anything else. So I knew that I had to get the sport right if I wanted to succeed in life. And I was very lucky and I was talented at an early age, and wheelchair racing took over my life.

GUPTA: He began training in Ernest at age eight joining team Great Britain by 11 and started winning medals at the age of 25.

WEIR: I've done a lot really in a short space of time.

GUPTA: He's also starting to give back, helping to train the Paralympic athletes of tomorrow.

WEIR: I just encourage them and give them advice and tactics and the way to sit in their racing chair because I've got a lot of knowledge over the years.

GUPTA: Weir says for anyone dealing with any disability, whether they're headed for the Olympics or just want to stay fit, exercise is the best medicine.

WEIR: It makes you forget for a few hours of what's happened and stuff like that. If it's wheelchair racing, basketball, swimming anything just to get out and do something because I think it's just the way of life when you're disabled. Another process of healing I think.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, London.


Well, two fifth grade boys are accused of devious school plot. Police say they had a hit list and weapons to back it up. Details next.


FEYERICK: And here's a look at what is trending online. Facebook says it was hacked last month, but don't panic. It found no evidence that your information was taken. The network became a victim of hacking after its employees logged on to a compromised Web site.

And two fifth grade boys are in police custody after police say they plotted to kill one of their classmate. Investigators say the boys ages 10 and 11 brought a stolen semi-automatic gun and knife to school the goal of killing a little girl who they say, quote, "annoyed them." A classmate reported seeing the weapons and that is when police moved in.

I'm sure we've all been annoyed by a crying kid on an airline flight, but one mom says this man took things too far. Now police are going after him.


FEYERICK: So we've all taken one of those flights. But on this particular one, an Idaho man is accused of slapping a two-year-old boil during a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta. The FBI says the child started crying when the cabin pressure changed. Joe Hundley allegedly used a racial slur then smacked the child in the face with his open hand. He denies it, but at least one passenger says he saw the hold thing. Hundley could face a year in prison. He's already been suspended from his job. I'm Deborah Feyerick. I will be back with you at the top of the hour with the latest top stories. For right now, keep it here for "Fashion Backstage Pass," a behind is the scenes look at the greatest latest hottest fashion from New York with Alina Cho.