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Pistorius Statement Released; Triple Threat Storm System; Office Depot & OfficeMax Merger; Hotmail To get A Redo; China Spying on America; China Versus The West

Aired February 19, 2013 - 14:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so very much. I'm Christi Paul, in for Brooke Baldwin today. News starts now.

I want to first get you to southern California, where at least three people and a gunman are dead after a chaotic 25 minute shooting spree that spanned an entire county here. Police blocked off this intersection near a major highway in the Tustin area. They say they were called to at least three different shootings and carjackings at different locations across southern California. Now, we're learning this shooting spree came to an end when the gunman turned the gun on himself after killing at least three people.


CPL. ANTHONY BEERTAGNA, SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA, POLICE: The suspect was driving a vehicle that he had taken in the Tustin incident. Reports are that he got out of the vehicle, confronted our victim, who was in his BMW. I don't have any further on his vehicle. He orders him out of the vehicle, walks him to the side of the curb and executes our victim. He then gets in the victim's vehicle and drives to the Micro Center, where that incident occurred.

LT. PAUL GARAVEN, TUSTIN, CALIFORNIA, POLICE: They identified the vehicle. And when they stopped it, the suspect got out and shot himself.


PAUL: And police say they do not have a motive in the shootings yet. But we're going to have more on the crime spree as it develops, obviously, for you.

New developments in the shocking Valentine's Day murder case. We have Oscar Pistorius' graphic account now of the night he shot his model girlfriend dead. This is Reeva Steenkamp. And she's being cremated today. Her family broke down at her funeral.


MIKE STEENKAMP, REEVA STEENKAMP'S UNCLE: We are here today as a family. But there's only one thing missing, it's Reeva. We've got together (ph) (INAUDIBLE) one and I think I'll never -- I will (ph) get over it with the Lord's prayers and a statement (ph) that she stood for, abuse against women. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Well, her family and the prosecution say this was a premeditated murder. The Olympian, known the world over as "blade runner," says that he shot and killed Steenkamp by mistake. Now, I want to read you his account right now detailed in a court document.

He says, quote, "during the early morning hours, I heard a noise and realized that someone was in the bathroom. It fills me with horror and fear of an intruder or intruders being inside the toilet. I thought he or they must have entered through the unprotected window. As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself. I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police.

"When I reached the bed, I realized Reeva was not in bed. That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet. I grabbed my cricket bat to bash open the toilet door. A panel or panels broke off and I found the key on the floor and unlocked and opened the door. Reeva was slumped over but alive. I picked Reeva up as I had been told not to wait for the paramedics but to take her to hospital. Reeva died in my arms," unquote.

Now, Pistorius sobbed softly as his lawyer read these words to a packed courtroom today. Robyn Curnow has been following this story from Pretoria, South Africa.

Robyn, how did the court respond to this affidavit?


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Today was the day we heard Oscar Pistorius' side of the story. Compelling evidence where he paints a picture of a tragedy, an unforeseen event that saw him shoot his girlfriend dead by accident. Now, more is going to be heard in this magistrate's court tomorrow as this bail application continues.

Crucially, the state seems very confident that this wasn't the case. That this was premeditated murder. In fact, they were so confident that they managed to win over the magistrate who said he couldn't rule out that this was premeditated. The state arguing that Oscar Pistorius put on his prosthetic leg, got his nine millimeter gun, and walked seven meters to the bathroom and shot through the toilet door where Reeva Steenkamp was. He says it was a tragic mistake.

These two stories colliding here in Pretoria and the ramifications will be felt across this country as this case is watched with interest. Every detail digested as South Africans wait to hear more in the story of their golden boy who appears to have fallen so dramatically.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Pretoria, South Africa.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PAUL: Robyn, thank you so much.

Now, before Oscar Pistorius was charged with the murder of his girlfriend, he did talk to Piers Morgan. We want you to tune in tonight to see the interview and hear the latest on the case. That's on CNN at 9:00 Eastern, of course.

Have you heard about this Russian boy that was adopted by a Texas family who is dead now? His adoptive parents have not been arrested. But a Russian diplomat blames them, saying they abused three-year-old Max. This is a picture of him here from his obituary, actually. The human rights representative from the Russian Foreign Ministry described the abuse he contends Max suffered.


KONSTANTIN DOLGOV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY (through translator): Upon examination of the body of the young boy, multiple injuries to his legs and his head were noted. And during the autopsy, serious injuries were noted to his abdomen and his internal organs, typical of injuries that are produced by strong blows.


PAUL: Now, the governor of the Russian province where Max is from is trying to remove the boy's brother. He's still in the care of the couple who live in west Texas. CNN isn't naming them, though, since there are no charges against them. And they did decline to comment to reporters. So we have reached out. The incident is intensifying the tensions, though, between the U.S. and Russia, which recently outlawed, remember, Americans adopting Russian children citing previous abuse cases.

Some of the hottest other top stories. Let's roll it here.

General John Allen, the former head of coalition troops in Afghanistan, is retiring. The president accepted his resignation today. Allen says he needs to step down to address a family health issue. He was in line to become the NATO supreme allied commander in Europe. Just last month, the Pentagon cleared General Allen in an e- mail scandal with a woman involved in the David Petraeus affair. Allen is the longest serving leader of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Heavily armed thieves busted into a Belgian airport and stole, get this, $50 million worth of diamonds from a plane full of passengers. I know, it sounds like something out of the movies, right? But police in Brussels say the team of eight breached the airport's security gate, robbed the plane's cargo hold. The whole heist only took a little more than three minutes.


INE VAN WYMERSCH, BRUSSELS PROSECUTORS OFFICE (through translator): The perpetrators were dressed in clothes that resembled police uniforms. And they broke open the fence that was located between two construction sites. Behind the fence, there were two construction sites. They made a hole and they entered the tarmac and they used the same hole in the fence when they made their escape.


PAUL: The bandits didn't use their guns and no one was hurt, believe it or not. The diamonds were heading to Switzerland at the time. We're going to have a live report for you from Brussels in the next hour.

Nestle is recalling some of its products in Europe over concerns that they might contain horse meat. The company says tests found traces of horse meat DNA in two chilled pasta meals. Nestle is also suspending deliveries of all its products that include beef from a German supplier. Now, unauthorized horse meat has been discovered in several foods labeled as beef in six countries in Europe.

Fears today that a California man accused of rape may have found other victims through a Christian dating Web site. Thirty-seven-year- old Sean Banks -- here's his picture -- he's charged with sexually assaulting a woman that he met on On the Web site, he went by the name Raritiy.


LT. MATT NICHOLAS, LA MESA, CALIFORNIA, POLICE: At her residence, he began to become more and more aggressive and ultimately led to a charge of raping her.


PAUL: Investigators say Banks went by multiple names, in fact, online, including Rylan, Rylan Butterwood or Rylan Harbough.

So, let's check out the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as the Dow kind of dances around a five-year high here. Look at the number, 14,036 at the moment. One week ago today, the Dow closed at a five-year high of 14,018. We're going to be watching at the end of this show to see if it can close even higher than that. The Dow still has a way to go, of course, to reach its record closing, which was 14,164 points. That was back in October of 2007.

The manhunt is over. Here's the question now. Who gets the $1 million reward in the Christopher Dorner case? Hear what L.A. Police are saying about that today.

Plus, run, hide, and if all else fails, fight. One city's controversial advice to kids on how to handle a gunman at school.


PAUL: Well, today we got to hear from some of the targets who police say Christopher Dorner hoped to turn into his next victims. Dorner is the former LAPD cop, of course, who killed four people, including two officers, and wounded three others. Now, all of it, part of a vendetta against the Los Angeles force for firing him back in 2008. In his manifesto, Dorner spoke of going after 50 officers and their families. L.A.'s police chief said investigators believe Dorner likely did surveillance of some of his targets' homes. And, today, some of the officers in Dorner's sights actually talked about what it was like being under police protection.


CAPTAIN PHIL TINGIRIDES, LOS ANGELES POLICE: But the whole time, for us, it was being strong so that we didn't instill more fear into the kids. And the xBoxes got used. The TV was on other channels. We played board games. I have to say, out of every -- everything you can find good. And we did in this case, too. We found that it brought our family closer together.


PAUL: Dorner killed himself after police found him in a cabin in Big Bear, which, as you remember, caught fire.

As for the $1 million reward for his capture, here's the thing. LAPD say -- they say it's complicated. Authorities are still trying to sort out who is going to get all of that money.

And today, of course, we're keeping an eye on the Jodi Arias trial. You know this one. Jodi Arias, Phoenix, Arizona, admitting to the gruesome killing of Travis Alexander, her on again, off again boyfriend in June of 2008. Today could be the day that Arias tells the jury her version of the killing, which she claims was self-defense. Just a short time ago, though, her attorney, Kirk Nurmi, began to lead Arias through the ominous weeks beforehand. Quite clearly, there was a lot of disagreement between these two, including some threatening texts from Travis to Jodi. Take a listen to this.


KIRK NURMI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: When he said it was going to get real bad for you, what is the context of that? Was there something behind that threat?

JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: I imagine there was, but I couldn't imagine what it was. But I didn't know what he was capable of. So that bothered me. It worried me.

NURMI: He says, I promise you the punishment will be better than the lie. To you understanding, what did he mean by that?

ARIAS: Um, I don't know. He's --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Speculation.


NURMI: Had he threatened to do something to you outside of this conversation?

ARIAS: Not up to this point he hadn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Seems like very saucy, lurid stuff there. Do keep in mind here that Jodi Arias has given multiple versions of the killing. In version one, she claims she wasn't even there. The current version is that she stabbed Alexander more than 20 times and shot him twice in self defense.

So, coming up, a big, potential merger in the office supply business. What it would mean for you and your copy machines and your filing cabinets and the impact on your retirement fund.


PAUL: Just when you thought mother nature might just take a little bit of a break, parts of the country could see severe weather over the next three days. A new storm system could be a triple threat here too, eventually bringing heavy snow, a blizzard, violent thunderstorms. Severe weather expert Chad Myers.

Seriously? Again?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you're (ph) the double threat. I have a triple threat. Two networks for you in one day. So I had to get in something.

PAUL: Oh, come on. This -- I'm tired of saying the word "blizzard," and I know people are tired of hearing it.

MYERS: Well, we're happy to have you here anyway. To have you on.

PAUL: Thank you, Chad. It's good to be with you.

MYERS: Hey, all right, let's take a look at what we have here. Yes, snow, severe weather, wind, blizzards, ice. I can go on. Maybe we have like quadruple threat. I don't know.

Here it comes. San Francisco, through the Sierra. Very, very, heavy snow. Going to run all the way down toward L.A. Not going to get to L.A. proper, but at 2,000 feet, you will see snow on some of the mountains. If you're standing in the basin of L.A., you'll be able to look all around. You'll see snow on the top for sure.

And then it runs into the southwest through Flagstaff. Christi and I were just talking about how they love the snow in Flagstaff. Got to Snowbowl. I've actually -- I've been down in Phoenix. It's like playing golf and skiing almost on the next day up there in Snowbowl. It's awesome.

And then from Omaha to Des Moines, this area right through here, Kansas, parts of Colorado, you will pick up an awful lot of snow. It could be feet of snow.

Here goes the low. It's dipping on down just south of Albuquerque, making an ice event for parts of Arkansas into Oklahoma. But then there's the snow. And this is going to be an up-slope event that I'm not sure yet how big it will be. As we push this weather and all of this snow up the hill, you can really get front range snow through here. Through even into Denver and points eastward in toward Limon. There could be a couple feet in some spots with that wind just driving it through there.

And then finally on up toward -- a little bit of snow in Chicago. Rain for the deep south. A little bit of ice through Cincinnati. That happens maybe Friday morning. We'll keep it up for you.

And here's the snow totals as they're going to continue to pile up. Everywhere that you see this dark purple, that's -- that's that little spot right there. That's 20 inches. And that's about -- that's Lincoln, that's Beatrice, back toward Kearney and southward, Salina, Kansas. All through Kansas is going to pick up at least a foot of snow. And the wind's going to blow 50. So that's what you have to look forward to.

PAUL: Good heavens. Well, the folks in Phoenix love you, Chad, because you just pointed out that you can golf and then drive a couple hours north and ski on the same day if you choose to.

MYERS: I've done it.

PAUL: I know. It's awesome. Thank you, Chad, so much.

MYERS: You're welcome. All right.

PAUL: Wall Street is abuzz with charter of a merger in the works between two rival companies. Office Depot, OfficeMax, apparently looking to join forces. CNN's Alison Kosik is on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Hey, Alison. So, obviously, first of all, we have to ask, what would it mean if these two companies do merge?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK. Well, first of all, on the downside, it means probably some employees are not going to have their jobs anymore. But on the up side, it shows that business is being done. It's really why you're seeing the shares of Office Depot and OfficeMax surging right now. Shares of Office Depot up more than 12 percent. OfficeMax shares up more than 22 percent. Wall Street likes these kind of deals, Christi, because it shows companies are willing to get out there, spend money and take risks.

The reason they're doing this is because mostly competition. Competition is really pushing them together. Especially competition from Amazon. Also, we saw that sales in the office supply market really went down during the tough times, during the recession in 2007. Those sales are now slowly coming back up. So it may be a good time for these companies to come together. If they do come together, the combined company would make up more than 30 percent of the office supply market. That's just below what Staples has.


PAUL: OK. So, as I understand it, we're also hearing that Microsoft is moving Hotmail users to What's that about? KOSIK: Yes, say bye-bye to Hotmail I guess. Yes, what they're saying is it's time to upgrade to what's known as Outlook. So they're going to try to move everybody who has Hotmail into Outlook. You can still use your Hotmail e-mail. But when you go to the page, it's going to wind up looking very different. The whole interface will be a different experience.

This is really part of a continuing effort by Microsoft to really rehaul all of the products it offers. It's kind of hitting the redo button on everything it offers, from Windows 8 to Office 365. Both now have more of a contemporary look. You can also use the cloud with them. What Microsoft, though, is really looking to gain from transitioning users from Hotmail to Outlook, they really want to get those Gmail users and steal those losers and lure them away from Google. We will see how successful they are.


PAUL: Yes, no kidding. Hey, Alison, so good to see you today. Thank you.

KOSIK: Sure.

PAUL: Cyber attacks against the U.S. An American firm is linking the Chinese government to hacking. I'm going to talk to a man who hacks computers for a living.

Plus, controversial advice to kids from some top law enforcement. What to do if they're confronted by a gunman. And there's a training video here. Our panel is going to discuss it. Stay close.


PAUL: Twenty-five minutes past the hour right now. So good to have you with us today.

If it sound like the same old mumbo jumbo, it is. But there's a serious catch to this month's crisis in Washington. Just for starters. What we're looking at here is a possible loss of 750,000 American jobs by the end of this year if Congress doesn't act in the next 10 days to undo automatic spending cuts that begin March 1st. Funny thing, Congress devised these cuts in 2011 as a threat, more or less. A way to force itself to agree to a smarter way to reduce the federal deficit. Now, 10 days left, still no agreement.

So, as I mentioned, job losses are just the start of this thing. We're also talking about some vital government services potentially gone. Take a listen, if you would, to the president. He was clearly concerned as he spoke late this morning.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country. Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids.


PAUL: The president's answer? Well, he says to prevent those cuts, Congress would have to raise some taxes on the wealthy. Republicans don't want that. After the tax increase on the top 2 percent, they say they're finished raising taxes on the well-to-do, again with 10 days left here. So we'll see what they come up with.

Chinese officials deny waging cyber attacks against the U.S. But a new study from a U.S. firm says otherwise. CNN's David McKenzie is in Beijing to map out what this study found and how significant it really is.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The dramatic allegations are coming from a U.S.-based security firm. They say that not tens, but hundreds of Chinese hackers have been persistently attacking particularly U.S. companies to steal their secrets. They say they're based mainly in these nondescript buildings near Shanghai in China. Not only are they trying to steal company secrets and infiltrate global corporations, but that they are doing it in the cooperation of the people's liberation army, or PLA.

Mandian (ph), the Virginia-based company, says that the Chinese government is aware and could be directing these attacks. And that over years, terabytes of data have been stolen from some very key industries, including aerospace and high tech and IT.

The Chinese government has strongly come out against the allegations saying they are, quote, "irresponsible and baseless." They took the unusual step to point the finger in the other direction, saying that the Chinese are also victims of hacking.

Mandian said it took the unusual step of releasing the research so that other security companies can protect their clients globally and that they could stop the specific hackers by outing them in the public.


PAUL: David McKenzie in Beijing, thank you so much.