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WEEKEND EARLY START

Meteor Blast Shakes Russia; Dorner Died From Gunshot; Olympic Star In Jail; The Week That Was; Bleacher Report; Nike's PR Migraine; Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Aired February 16, 2013 - 06:00   ET

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


SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is EARLY START WEEKEND. Great to see you.

As one space object missed earth, another one made a direct hit. NASA scientists are saying a meteor alert system is crucial.

An Olympic hero may be headed to prison. Why "The Blade Runner's" murder charge has jolted a nation and put Nike on defense now.

What if the difference between life and death was solved? Well, that is what a new study is saying. We're going to ask a nutrition and fitness expert about this.

It is Saturday, February 16th. Good morning to you. I'm Susan Hendricks. Randi and Victor are off today.

And we start with this. Facebook being the latest company to be the victim of an Internet hacking attack. The social media giant says that some of their computers were infected by malware in January, but that no user information was compromised. In the last month, hackers have also gone after Twitter, "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal."

How about this? We survived the near miss from an asteroid. This is what it looked like through a high-powered telescope. Now, remember, when I say near miss, that's in space terms. It was actually around 17,000 miles away. It's called 2012 DA-14. It's about half the size of a football field.

And on the right-hand side of your screen is a small fireball that's over San Francisco. It's likely a small meteor burning up in the atmosphere. But given what happened in Russia this week, you can imagine the concern for those who saw it passing overhead. This morning, they are cleaning up in Russia's Ural Mountain region. That is where a meteor exploded on Friday morning. CNN's Phil Black joins me now from Chelyabinsk.

And, Phil, this shockwave blew out windows, injured around 1,000 people. It really looked like a scene from a movie. How were they feeling and coping today there?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're recovering, Susan, slowly but steadily. Most of the damage, although quite widespread, is not serious. It's largely windows, glasses that were sprayed and broken. Some buildings lost a few. Some lost most of them. Some lost none at all. A few buildings had much more serious examples of damage, like the ice rink just behind me. I'm not sure if you can see it there. That big dark hole, locals here say that that section of the wall was actually blown in by that shockwave from the meteor. But the cleanup and recovery operation is very much underway and it's likely that within a week or so there aren't going to be too many scars from the close encounter this city had with this meteor.

The people themselves, they're recovering slowly, as well. We now that around 1,000 of them suffered physical injuries from that flying glass. Most of them -- in fact, almost all of them, not very serious. But when you talk to them today, what they talk about is the fear, the terror of those few moments where they really had no idea what was going on. When they first saw the bright lights in the sky, those trails of smoke across the sky as well, they say they were awe struck and certainly scared. Not sure what it was.

Then, moments later, that shockwave hit. And that is when they say they felt true terror. Panic, chaos, people screaming and crying, running around the streets, really having no idea what the cause of this was. They did not think it was of natural origin. They thought it was a human problem. Either a weapons test gone wrong. Perhaps a nuclear accident or even an attack of some kind. That's what people have been telling us today. Now, though, they are much relieved to be fairly certain in the knowledge that this was just a cosmic coincidence, a chance encounter with an object from space.

HENDRICKS: Yes, it's amazing that more people weren't seriously injured.

There's an earlier meteor warning system being worked on now in the U.S., Phil. Is Russia considering something like that? Have you heard anything?

BLACK: Russia is certainly very worried about asteroids that pose a threat to the planet. But much of the scientific opinion that has been expressed here and around the world over the last 24 hours or so is that meteors of the size that was seen here are not easily detected or prevented. Scientists say that they enter the atmosphere quite routinely. It's not unusual. But usually it takes place over the ocean or in less populated areas or whatever noise they create, it simply goes unnoticed. What makes this such a rare event is that it took place over this very sizable city, Susan.

HENDRICKS: Yes, I can't imagine seeing that, the fear and panic they felt.

Phil Black, thank you. Appreciate it.

To the scene now. This didn't take long. A passenger who was stranded with thousands of others aboard the disabled Carnival Triumph is now suing Carnival for negligence, fraud, and also emotional distress. Cassie Terry's lawsuit calls the ship, quote, "a floating hell and a floating toilet." She says she was forced to walk through human feces to get to long lines for spoiled food and feared for her life and her health. Carnival says it hasn't seen the lawsuit and cannot comment yet.

Meanwhile, the travel nightmare didn't end for some of the passengers even after they finally got off the ship in Mobile, Alabama. Can you believe this one? A bus taking some of them to New Orleans broke down on the highway. Listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACOB COMBS, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH PASSENGER: Basically we were driving down the road. We're thinking that we're going to get in this warm bed, we're going to have a hot shower, we're going to have a good meal, and he starts pulling over to the side of the road, a rattling in the back. He gets out and a belt's come loose, you know. And so we're there for about an hour before we can take off and we don't get in until 5:00 a.m.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: He must have been thinking, is this really happening? It wasn't over for him. When Jacob Combs finally made it to the airport, his plane for Galveston, Texas, didn't take off for hours. That was delayed too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMBS: On this flight that's supposed to leave at 8:30. And I'm on my phone and I'm not paying attention. And then all of a sudden I look down at my watch and it's 9:30, it's 9:45. It's an hour and 15 minutes past we're supposed to leave. And I couldn't find a stewardess. I didn't know what was going on. We finally took off and I didn't know what happened. But when I landed, Shelly (ph), one of my friends onboard, said I can't believe it happened to us again. She was on the bus. She said it was an electrical problem and that's what caused the delay. And it just -- you know, it's a domino effect. The ship wreck, the bus breaks and then the plane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: Planes, trains and automobiles. Jacob says he is now going to enjoy the sun and kick back at the beach for a little bit before heading back to work. I assume he's going to walk there (INAUDIBLE).

Well, Jesse Jackson Jr. now admits that he used campaign funds for personal expenses. The former congressman reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors. Jackson and his wife were accused of using around $750,000 from his campaign on things like furs, Michael Jackson memorabilia, as well. They will pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars and could still face prison time.

In Chicago, President Obama again called on Congress to act on his gun control proposals. The president spoke about gun violence at a high school in his hometown. President Obama said it's not just a gun issue, it's also an issue of community and responsibility. The president also talked about one of Chicago's victims of gun violence, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happened to Hadiya is not unique. It's not unique to Chicago. It's not unique to this country. Too many of our children are being taken away from us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: Remember, Hadiya was gunned down just days after performing at the president's inauguration. Her parents were at yesterday's speech, as well as Tuesday's State of the Union Address.

And on the subject of guns, we now know how cop killer Christopher Dorner's life came to an end earlier this week. Investigators say it wasn't from smoke or fire from the burning cabin he was holed up in, but from a single gunshot wound to the head. Nick Valencia has been following this story closely.

So that answers the question. But whose bullet was it? Could it have been suicide? A bullet from police? Nick, what do you know?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the autopsy reveals, Susan, that he likely died from a single gunshot wound to the head. But the way things played out in the final moments of the Dorner manhunt, there's a lot of questions. That cabin, was it intentionally set fire to by police? You know, was it a gunshot wound from perhaps one of the police officers from the San Diego -- San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department? We just don't know. But yesterday at a press conference, police reiterated the cause of death and they said they had nothing to do with that fire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAPTAIN KEVIN LACY, SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY CORONER'S DIVISION: While we are still compiling the information and putting our reports together, the information that we have right now seems to indicate that the wound that took Christopher Dorner's life was self-inflicted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: Now, in his manifesto, Dorner said that he would not live long enough to see his name cleared and he wasn't lying.

Also in that press conference, Susan, police showed the weapons that Dorner was using. And they found the weapons in places, in vehicles that Dorner occupied. Things like assault weapons, semiautomatic handguns, tear gas, a military-style helmet and 10 silencers. So this was a heavily armed individual.

HENDRICKS: Yes, that final day in Big Bear was nothing less than really terrorizing for so many.

Nick, there was a $1 million reward offered in the hunt for Dorner. Will anyone get this? Will it be divided? Or is no one getting it?

VALENCIA: Yes, this clause in the technicality. No arrest, no conviction, maybe no money. We don't know what's going to happen with that money. In fact, at a press conference there in front of LAPD headquarters, I asked the police department, what are you going to do with the money? They said, we just don't know. It was pulled together, Susan, by a group of private donors, civic organizations, community organizations. So there's going to be 20 people that are going to have a say in what happens to this money. Does it go to the couple that was tied up? Does it go to the carjacking victim. Does it maybe go back into the city? There was hundreds of hours of overtime used in this investigation. That's going to be a very expensive bill for the city. But this clause and this technicality, if the money doesn't go to anybody, it's going to be another black eye to the reputation of the LAPD. This very same organization that Dorner was so critical of.

HENDRICKS: And maybe the families of those who lost loved ones could maybe get compensated as well.

VALENCIA: Or perhaps the two women that were unjustly fired upon, mistakenly fired upon by the LAPD. Mistaken identity there.

HENDRICKS: Yes.

VALENCIA: We don't know yet.

HENDRICKS: That's a great point, Nick. Thanks so much.

VALENCIA: Thank you.

HENDRICKS: Good to see you.

Broken down, crying in court. Olympian Oscar Pistorius charged with killing his model girlfriend on Valentine's Day. We're going to take you live to Johannesburg for the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: This morning, Olympic star Oscar Pistorius is waking up in jail where he will stay at least until his bail hearing on Tuesday. He is charged with murdering his model girlfriend at his South African mansion on Valentine's Day. Joining me now from Johannesburg is Errol Barnett.

And, Errol, Pistorius says he didn't murder his girlfriend. And now, it seems, that some are actually coming to his defense in this.

ERROL BARNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's just completely shocking for South Africa and people around the world because Oscar Pistorius, the so-called "Blade Runner," has such an inspirational story, overcoming of disability and becoming the first double-leg amputee to compete in the Olympics. The charge that he committed premeditated murder by the prosecution really is shocking to all of those who support him. And there are questions now as to why, then? What could possibly be the reason that he would shoot his girlfriend?

Some are claiming that possibly it was a domestic dispute. But an ex- girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius has taken to her Twitter page to defend him. I'll quickly read you a message that Jenna Edkins sent from her Twitter account saying, quote, "I would just like to say, I've dated Oscar on and off for five years. Not once has he ever lifted a finger to me or made me fear for my life."

South Africans and people around the world are just having this difficult time grappling. (INAUDIBLE). They can't believe he purposefully, with a gun, murdered his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. It's just quite staggering.

HENDRICKS: And, Errol, let's talk about the victim. We're showing pictures of her. Just 29 years old. Her name, Reeva Steenkamp, a model. She was an aspiring TV star, as well, is that right?

BARNETT: Yes. She was also a law school graduate. She used her kind of micro fame to speak out against violence to women. I mean if you look at her Twitter page, she was re-tweeting message about stopping violence against women. There was one report that she was going to appear in a school and give an inspirational speech on that topic.

She was also about to become much more widely known. In Jamaica, last year, she shot a reality show. Now, she's a bikini model. And the premise of this reality show is like many. It's young people frolicking around in exotic locations. Interestingly enough, the production company behind the program is defending their decision to allow the show to premiere here in South Africa today, saying that it's a way for the rest of the world to see and appreciate how beautiful and intelligent Reeva Steenkamp was.

Now, her family, dealing with grief from losing their young -- their baby girl, so to speak, is asking for privacy from the media at this delicate time. So everyone is kind of just having a difficult time reconciling how a sports hero could, in such a brutally way, allegedly, kill his model and TV reality star girlfriend. But prosecutors, it would seem, have enough evidence at this point to feel that they can get a conviction. So "The Blade Runner" will remain in jail until Tuesday, until the next step in this case takes place.

HENDRICKS: Tragic all around. Errol Barnett, thanks so much.

Meanwhile, Nike sponsored Oscar Pistorius. Coming up in just a few minutes at 6:30, how the company is responding to the latest scandal for one of its high-profile athletes.

Catching you up now on "The Week That Was."

Lady Gaga is headed to surgery. The pope is headed to retirement. And there's a big change in the air. In case you missed the headlines, here's a look back.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC "NIGHTLY NEWS": Pope Benedict announces he is resigning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't have the vigor. He didn't have the energy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a moment.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": No! Don't! Oh.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN: Cruise ship from hell.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN: There's sewage sloshing in the hallways.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It smells horrible.

HENDRICKS: A crippled cruise ship, a case of cotton mouth, and a pope calling it quits all made the headlines this "Week That Was."

Pope Benedict floored the faithful Monday after his bombshell resignation.

DAVID LETTERMAN, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": He said he just wants to spend more time with his wife and kids.

HENDRICKS: Actually, he says he's just too old, too tired to go on.

STEWART: Holy quit!

HENDRICKS: Really, though, a pope resigning? That's like lightning striking the -- actually, lightning did strike the Vatican just hours after the announcement.

President Obama lit up the House floor Tuesday night with his State of the Union speech.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The families of Newtown deserve a vote.

HENDRICKS: But it was this moment during the GOP response that everyone was talking about.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: False choices like the one the president laid out tonight.

HENDRICKS: Senator Rubio just couldn't spit it out, so he gulped it down.

RUBIO: I needed water. What am I going to do, you know?

HENDRICKS: He was hot, a little sweaty, and downright parched.

Water's the last thing these guys wanted to see this week. Passengers aboard this Carnival Cruise ship stranded for days on the filthy barge after an engine fire cut off power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were just out there. And like I said, now that I realize that it was like, oh, my God, you know, I can't believe that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just been a horrible experience for us.

HENDRICKS: Some were so happy to be on land, they actually kissed the ground. We are sure many will just fly to their next vacation.

These guys would like that. American Airlines announcing this week they will tie the knot with U.S. Airways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This really is about taking two airlines, putting them together, and providing better service to customers.

HENDRICKS: Post merger, American will be the world's biggest airline.

Meantime, one of the world's biggest stars is down for the count. Turns out Lady Gaga's got a bum hip. It's so bad, she'll need surgery. And that means no more tour. We're guessing no more 10-inch heels either.

And that's "The Week That Was."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENDRICKS: From one star to another, LeBron James is setting records and doing things even Michael Jordan couldn't. Part of our exclusive interview with the king, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: The greatest basketball players in the world. They're in Houston for all-star weekend. But one star is really shining right now. And that is, who else, but LeBron James, who has been playing some record-breaking ball. Joe Carter has more on the king in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Joe.

JOE CARTER, CNN'S "BLEACHER REPORT": Hey, good morning, Susan.

Saying this really, really makes me feel old. But tomorrow Michael Jordan turns 50 years old. You know, he's won six NBA titles in his career. He's considered the greatest basketball player ever. But this week, even Michael Jeffrey Jordan wasn't able to do what LeBron James was. LeBron, the first player in NBA history to score at least 30 points and make at least 60 percent of his shots in six straight games. You know, Michael Jordan says that he prefers Kobe Bryant over LeBron, but even Air Jordan can argue that the king is playing better than everybody else right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN: Most of us don't know what it's like to be on an NBA court and be shooting with that kind of accuracy. Can you compare it to anything in regular life that the rest of us could know how you feel right now looking at that basket?

LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: Well, I mean, I guess I would say, you know, the way I've been shooting the ball, it just feels like you're on the beach and, you know, the (INAUDIBLE) ball. And you just -- no matter where you throw it, it's going to land on the water. Now I haven't shot 100 percent yet, but --

NICHOLS: But you want to. You were close one night.

JAMES: Yes, I was close. I was close. I missed a lay-up. I missed a lay-up.

NICHOLS: And that lay-up bothers you?

JAMES: That lay-up did bother -- after the fact. During the game, I didn't know. But after the fact I said, oh, 13 of 14. You blew a lay- up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARTER: All right. So our own Rachel Nichols and LeBron James get personal. You can hear what they have to say in an exclusive interview. It airs tomorrow on CNN and HLN.

All right, so much for being conservative at the start of the season. Just 10 minutes, 10 minutes into the first practice session was our first wreck of the season. Matt Kenseth is to blame. He triggered the five-car accident. Now, the big issue here, those involved now have damaged cars, which means they'll have to race their backup car next Sunday in the biggest race of the season, the Daytona 500.

All right, let's finish with a hook and a slice on ice. Ain't no snow going to stop these Minnesotans from playing golf. For the past 12 years, they've laid out 18 holes of golf on top of a frozen lake. It's a one of a kind charity event where they use everything but a golf club to hit the ball.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I use a hockey stick. I saw a kayak paddle, a golf club, a tennis racket. I shot something from the National Guard, like a ball out of a cannon thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARTER: All right. So for all of your entertaining sports news, head to bleacherreport.com. Seeing that video, Susan, makes me want to go straight to the Cayman Islands.

HENDRICKS: Yes, makes you want to sit in the golf cart with a blanket on.

Joe, thank you.

CARTER: You got it.

HENDRICKS: Appreciate it.

A professional safety manager finds himself and his wife adrift at sea. We're going to talk to John Gobel (ph) about surviving what many are calling the cruise from hell.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: It is 30 minutes past the hour. Welcome back. Good to see you, I'm Susan Hendricks. Randi and Victor are off today. Thanks so much for starting your day with us. Here are the five stories we're watching this morning. Number one is the meteor in Russia. Today they're cleaning up from the blast.

(VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: Terrifying moments, that is the view from a school in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The shock wave from the exploding meteor broke windows throughout the area. Around 1,000 people were injured, authorities have blocked off a nearby lake. They think the largest chunk of that meteor came down on that lake.

Number two, back in the U.S.: an underground tank at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site is leaking. Officials in Hanford, Washington near the Columbia River say as many as 300 gallons a year of highly radioactive sludge is seeping out. That is far less than one percent of what is stored at the World War II era site. Washington's governor says, the leak poses no immediate public health risk, but he wants the federal government to pay and fix it and to check scores of the other tanks as well.

Number three, the boardwalk is on its way back, that is New Jersey. And crews yesterday started driving pilings in the sand to rebuild the Seaside Heights icon. Superstorm Sandy storm surge wiped out the mile along boardwalk. The $3.6 million project should largely be done by May Tenth. Residents say the project gives them hope the beloved summer retreat will bounce back from last year's killer storm.

And number four, more details on the death of renegade cop Christopher Dorner. According to initial autopsy reports, the 33-year-old died from a single gunshot wound to the head that was likely self-inflicted after Tuesday's standoff with police. Dorner's blamed for killing four people and injuring at least three others as part of a vendetta against his former comrades.

Number five, the bail hearing for Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius has been pushed back until Tuesday. Until then, he will be staying in a South African jail. The double amputee known as blade runner is charged with murdering his model girlfriend on Valentine's Day. His agent says Pistorius denies the murder allegations.

He was such a big name in sports, he had huge sponsorships from companies like Nike, and now Nike is going to have to do some damage control. Something it's had to do before. Zain Asher is covering this angle now from New York.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Susan, Nike has seen so many of its athletes marred in scandal, from Michael Vick to Tiger Woods, Penn State Kobe Bryant, and now, of course, Oscar Pistorius. Nike hasn't officially dropped the athlete. It's still early days, but if charges of premeditated murder prove to be true, Nike will have to move quickly to sever ties.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ASHER: Nike, sponsor behind some of the biggest names in sports now dealing with a publicity nightmare with yet another disgraced star. OSCAR PISTORIUS: They told me that I'd never walk.

ASHER: The company's $2 million deal with Oscar Pistorius, the South African runner and amputee, now hangs in the balance. This after the athlete allegedly shot his girlfriend dead at his home. Charges he disputes in quote, "the strongest possible terms."

JIM HAGGERTY, CRISIS MANAGEMENT EXPERT/CEO, PRCG: At the beginning of any crisis, you have to say something. Very often we call it dressing up no comment as a comment.

ASHER: The sports giant now doing just that saying Nike extends its deepest sympathy and condolences, but as it is a police matter, Nike will not comment further at this time. But Nike's PR migraine doesn't end there. The company now dealing with the unfortunate irony of a 2011 ad with Pistorius saying "I am the bullet in the chamber," an ad that has since been pulled by the company.

OSCAR PISTORIUS: This is my weapon --

ASHER: Scandals are nothing new for Nike. Just a month ago, Lance Armstrong also endorsed by the company admitted to doping. When Nike ended a relationship, it accused the cyclist of misleading them for more than a decade. And then there's Tiger Woods accused of a different type of cheating. Extramarital affairs back in 2009 with at least nine different women.

HAGGERTY: I think in the past, Nike's been very slow to respond and to a Tiger Woods situation or other situations. And that really makes the public question what their true motives are.

ASHER: But not all scandals mean an endorsement breakup. Nike washed their hands of Armstrong, but chose to keep Woods, recently offering him a generous $100 million deal over five years. And Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Michael Vick convicted of animal cruelty in 2007 also got a second chance when Nike re-signed his deal in 2011.

But for Pistorius, things might be different.

HAGGERTY: But certainly it's more serious because it involves a homicide. They should at the very least suspend their relationship, I think, until an absolute determination of whether he's guilty as determined.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ASHER: And Susan, the fact that Pistorius is denying these allegations makes things a lot more complicated for Nike. The case could drag on for months, possibly, possibly even years. Either way, Nike's priority at this point will, of course, be to protect the integrity of its brand. Susan?

HENDRICKS: All right, Zain. Thank you. I appreciate it.

How about this? It was a free vacation. Optician Robin Goebel earned a cruise aboard the Carnival Triumph as part of an incentive program at work and, of course, she took her husband John who works as a safety manager. But when black smoke started pouring out of the engine room, John found himself back in work mode. Joining me now by phone from his home in Belmont, Texas is John Goebel. John, great to talk to you. How does it feel to be back at home finally?

JOHN GOEBEL, PASSENGER ON CARNIVAL TRIUMPH: It's great to be back at home. I was able to reunite with my son Jared, daughter Allison, and very happy to be back at home.

HENDRICKS: Did your kids know while you were on the boat what you and your wife were going through at the time?

GOEBEL: Well, it sort of started out, we got back on the ship after we left Cozumel, and they were having a late night party. And I decided to get a little bit more rest. Turned in early, my wife stayed out with some of her coworkers. And she got back to the cabin very late. And then we were awoken to an emergency at about 5:30. They were requesting team alpha, team alpha, team alpha, report to the engine room six. And I knew that there was something going on.

HENDRICKS: So when you heard "Team Alpha," and you saw the smoke, what was your first thought going through your mind? Did you think you were in big trouble?

GOEBEL: Yeah, I knew that whenever there's a fire onboard a ship, I mean the ships are pretty much self-sufficient and we're relying on the crews to get the fire put out.

HENDRICKS: John, do you think you'll ever go on another cruise again?

GOEBEL: You know, it's funny, I've spent half of my life sailing on ships and I'm also a merchant marine. So I believe I'll be back on a ship again. I enjoy the water. And not so sure about my family and my wife --

(LAUGHTER)

GOEBEL: -- but we just have to take it day by day and maybe just have to see.

HENDRICKS: You may be going on the next cruise alone, John. We appreciate your time, we're glad that you and Robin are safe. Thanks so much.

GOEBEL: All right.

A lurid tale of sex and alleged abuse, the latest in the trial of accused killer Jodi Arias, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HENDRICKS: A smack in the sky. An Idaho man is now charged with assault after he allegedly slapped a small child who was crying on an airplane. Investigators say Joe Rickey Hunley also used a racial slur before hitting the two-year-old. Court paper say the child suffered a scratch below his right eye.

Accused killer Jodi Arias took to the witness stand this week, or what a week it was, detailing the graphic and intense nature of her relationship with ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, the man she is believed to have murdered. Earlier, I spoke with HLN's Jane Velez- Mitchell about whether her testimony will help or hurt her case. A word of warning, though, the nature of the trial and testimony is graphic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, JANE-VELEZ-MITCHELL: This woman has been on the stand for six days and she hasn't even gotten to the day of the killing and she has accused the victim of everything under the sun. Pedophilia, of being a pornographer, being a cheater, beating her, being a sadist, and it's almost as if he is on trial. And that's the way she wants it. Now, she has talked about some very degrading language that he has used with her. And there are texts and audio, sex phone calls to back that up. So, would a woman on the jury who may have been in this situation, a relationship where she was sexually degraded find that this testimony resonates with her and this is her moment for subconsciously or not payback to the man who hurt her? I think it could very well break down along gender lines. It's a shocker. The most ex-rated testimony I have ever heard in open court.

HENDRICKS: Yes, there was a lot of beeping out of a lot of the words in those taped calls. But it seems as though, Jane, at times she was a willing participant. So it kind of goes against what they're trying to paint. Because on those phone calls, she even seems to like it at times. I have a clip. I want you to listen to that and we'll talk about it after.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JODI ARIAS: (inaudible) I got to give you credit as far as your creativity and ideas. I'm game for like almost anything you come up with. But you really are a wellspring of ideas. You are like quite the source.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: So she's saying I'm game, and the defense is bringing this in. Will this help or hurt their case?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sure. On another occasion she says, oh, that's so degrading, I like it. So was she an eager participant in kinky sex games? This has raised the whole issue. And I can't believe we've been talking about this on our show, of erotic humiliation. And the fact that people do actually become sexually aroused by being degraded and humiliated. It's a whole subset of S & M. And in fact, we've had psychologists talking about how often the one who is the bottom, the one being degraded, actually has more power in the relationship than the top. So really it's opened this door to this whole underground world of very kinky things that happen in relationships behind closed doors. Does it equal domestic violence? Does it make her a battered woman? It's a leap, it's a big leap. Can the defense make it? We'll have to see.

HENDRICKS: The prosecutor Juan Martinez, he's been sitting back patiently. We saw a bit of a preview when he was challenging Jodi Arias on the stand with one of the issues at hand. He has a lot of information here to challenge him. What do you think that's going to be like the first day of cross?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, this is already a one-woman show. I've been calling it the vagina monologues because it's so X-rated. And we haven't even gotten to the day of the killing on direct. Then we have the whole cross-examination, I mean this could go on for weeks on end, but I think the prosecutor would be best served by doing surgical strikes. Going after inconsistencies, like, oh, how did she really injure her finger? She claims, oh, Travis kicked her and hit her. Well, in the police interrogation tapes, she said the ninjas who invaded the home, that was one of her lies before they cornered her into admitting she was there. The ninjas hurt her finger. So what he has to do is point out her lies and catch her in these lies over and over again and keep it sure it gets to the point. Because I think the jurors are getting a little bit exasperated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: And you can watch Jane's show and coverage of the Jodi Arias trial weeknights 7:00 p.m. on our sister network HLN.

It was seven days dominated by multiple man hunts and celebrity murders. Here's your week of crime in 60 seconds.

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UM: Burn that god (EXPLETIVE) down!

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HENDRICKS: A week-long man hunt ends in an inferno. On Tuesday, federal and local law enforcement surrounded a cabin in Big Bear, California, where Charles (sic) Dorner was hiding. A blaze broke out after tear gas canisters were fired. Dorner's body was recovered from the ashes. He killed four people during his rampage, including two cops.

In another manhunt, a convicted sex offender escaped authorities in Dallas while being transferred from Miami to Nevada. During a restroom stop, the convict Alberto Morales allegedly stabbed one of the officers and fled. He was found Friday night when authorities shot and killed him.

And Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Thursday, the South African athlete named Blade Runner was arrested when authorities found model Reeva Steenkamp shot to death at Pistorius's home. Pistorius's agent says the runner rejects the murder allegations in the strongest terms. And that's your week of crime in 60 seconds. So what if the difference between life and death was salt? Well, that is what a new study is suggesting. We will ask a nutrition and fitness expert about it.

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HENDRICKS: Well, if you were hoping to take advantage of a key program of the Obama health care overhaul, your time just ran out. Administration officials say they won't take anymore applications for the pre-existing condition insurance plan because of limited funding. It's a stopgap program to help people with medical problems who cannot get private insurance. Starting next January under the new health care law, insurers can no longer turn anyone away for poor health. It's a good thing.

This may make you think twice before you take that next sip of alcohol. Researchers say alcohol is one of the leading causes of preventable cancer deaths. A new study in the "American Journal of Public Health" says drinking alcohol causes 20,000 cancer deaths a year here in the U.S. And it's not just heavy drinking. Researchers say even just one drink a day can put you at risk.

So most of us know it's good to keep an eye on how much salt we're adding to our food. But according to a new study, as many as half a million deaths could be prevented over the next decade if we cut down on our sodium. Deaths, on average, adults in the U.S. eat more than 3,300 milligrams of salt daily. But according to a publication of the "American Heart Association," if we cut that number down to 2,200 milligrams over the next decade, 280,000 to 500,000 fewer Americans will die. And if we cut it down to 1,500 milligrams, 1.2 million deaths will be prevented. Who knew it was that serious. Witness and nutrition expert Desiree Nathanson joins me now. It's shocking to hear those numbers.

DESIREE NATHANSON, FITNESS EXPERT: Yes.

HENDRICKS: How bad is salt for us? We have kind of a layout of the foods that you may find the most salt in.

NATHANSON: Well, first of all, let's clarify, there's a difference between sodium and salt. So, salt refers to table salt, which is sodium chloride, and then sodium can be found naturally in foods. For instance, milk has sodium naturally occurring in it. So, there's a difference between the salt and the sodium.

HENDRICKS: What should we stay away from?

NATHANSON: Well, it's not necessarily staying away from, it's cutting back on. So, we still want sodium, because it does serve a purpose in our body.

HENDRICKS: So, we could still have the French fries and the potatoes chips and be OK?

NATHANSON: In moderation.

HENDRICKS: In moderation. One or two chips.

NATHANSON: Right. Right. One or two times a week. So, sodium helps to regulate the fluids in our body, it helps to transmit nerve impulses and it helps with the contraction and relaxation of muscles. So, it serves the purpose. But as we get too much sodium in the body, then the blood volume increases, the heart has to work harder, and that leads to hypertension, which leads to kidney disease, heart failure and that's where the problems start occurring.

HENDRICKS: So, do you suggest that people really take a look at the sodium content? I just started doing that and it's shocking when you look at some of the numbers here. This is canned soup, 790 milligrams.

NATHANSON: And look at this here. So, there's two servings per can, so 790, that's really close to 1600 milligrams of sodium in this whole thing of soup. And they're recommending for people who are over the age of 51 who have chronic kidney disease, people of African descent, if they stick with under 1,500 milligrams per day. So, this right here would be your entire day's worth of sodium if you're on that low- sodium diet.

HENDRICKS: So, if you think, OK, I want to be healthy, I'll have the soup for lunch, not necessarily the best thing.

NATHANSON: No.

HENDRICKS: And we were talking during the commercial break - frozen foods, "Lean Cuisine," they are filled with salt. Some of them are getting better.

NATHANSON: Yeah. They are just packed with salt. But a lot of the packaged foods like this pizza, for instance, thousands of milligrams of sodium. Cheese has a lot of sodium in it. The bread. One slice of bread could have, you know, 100 something milligrams of sodium. So if you're eating a sandwich let alone a BLT with like three slices of bread you're going to get at least 300 milligrams of sodium.

HENDRICKS: So we want to do all of this in moderation.

NATHANSON: Exactly.

HENDRICKS: What do you suggest that we do it, that maybe has a low sodium content?

NATHANSON: Well, we want to stay away from prepackaged processed foods. I sound like a broken record every time I'm on, but whole fruits and vegetables, we want to eat a lot of those, low-fat dairy products, you want to eat lean meats, whole grains, and then you want to cut back on adding salt to foods. So, table salt, even sea salt, people seem to think that this has less sodium --

HENDRICKS: I thought so too.

NATHANSON: -- per weight, it's the same amount of sodium.

HENDRICKS: So, how practical of a change is this? Do you find that people can do it if they put their mind to it?

NATHANSON: I think a gradual cutback is what we need because our palates have gotten so used to eating these high-salt foods. So, if we cut down gradually, you know, don't sprinkle it on here, don't sprinkle it on this. Just go with what's already naturally occurring in the food, and that should be an easier transition going from 3,300 milligrams, which is what the average American is getting down to the recommended around the 2,000 range.

HENDRICKS: So low sodium.

NATHANSON: Yes.

HENDRICKS: It's acquired taste, but you can do it.

NATHANSON: Yes, slowly.

(CROSSTALK)

HENDRICKS: -- small changes. Desiree, thank you.

NATHANSON: Thank you, Susan.

HENDRICKS: A flash in the sky. This is unbelievable. Russia rocked by a meteor. But should they consider themselves lucky? More on falling space debris just ahead.

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HENDRICKS: Good morning to you, Atlanta. Almost 7:00 a.m. Eastern time. Beautiful shot there, we are expecting snow flurries later today.

Well, for your daily dose of cute, check out this little guy.

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HENDRICKS: It just doesn't get cuter. Born without the use of his hind legs, this piglet has become an Internet sensation after a quick- thinking vet made him a wheelchair from a set of Kinex toys. He has been wheeling and dealing ever since. Proof his owners are hip and humorous, his name, Chris P. Bacon.

For more on this story, you can head to CNN.com. He's now going to be comfy.

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HENDRICKS: Thanks so much for starting your morning with us. We've got much more ahead on "CNN SATURDAY MORNING," which starts right now.