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New Developments in Pistorius Case; Winter Storm Warning; Thieves Steal $50 Million In Diamonds; Sen. John McCain Gets Personal; Tiger Woods Compliments President's Golf Game

Aired February 20, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Significant developments in the Oscar Pistorius alleged murder case. Right now testosterone and needles found. But his team says it was not the banned drug as the Olympic star breaks down in court.

Plus, new information of even more charges against Pistorius.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And there is heavy snow headed for states across the country. We're tracking what could be a big brewing winter storm.

BERMAN: And busted by police. An alleged art thief caught on camera near the scene of a six-figure heist. Intriguing.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to have you with us. Twenty-nine minutes past the hour.

It is day two of track star and now murder suspect Oscar Pistorius' bail hearing and some significant developments. This just moments ago. We are still waiting for a decision on bail, but so far, there's been some chilling testimony. The responding officer says he believes the shooting was in no way self defense and that Pistorius had to know his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was inside that bathroom. He described the scene at the Olympian's home. That Pistorius used a cricket bat to breakdown the door.

He also testified two boxes of testosterone and needles were found inside his home. But, the defense says it was herbal medicine. In addition to the premeditated murder charge in his girlfriend's death, Pistorius now faces unlicensed ammunition charges after that was also found in his home. Lots of developments.

BERMAN: And it is developing by the minute. We will continue to bring you the latest on that story as it does develop.

In Kansas City, meanwhile, the search is on for two people who are still missing after an apparent natural gas explosion destroyed a really popular restaurant. Just look at these pictures. At least 14 others are hurt. Witnesses say they could smell gas well before the explosion. Police and fire investigators say it appears to be an accident. There's no sign of foul play. Coming up, we're going to go live to the scene and we'll be speaking to the mayor of Kansas City.

SAMBOLIN: And a large section of the southwest is under a winter storm watch right now. It's already started in California, and over the next couple of days, heavy snowfall is expected from that state to Arkansas. Eight to 10 inches are in the forecast for Central Arizona along with six to eight inches across Eastern Nevada and in the Salt Lake City area as well.

In Southern California, in the mountains, up to half a foot of snow is expected there. And that is where we find Casey Wian this morning. He joins us live from Cajon Junction at about 66 miles east of Los Angeles where some snow has already come down and we hear it is stranding motorists who were caught completely off guard. How are they preparing for all of this snow that is expected in their area?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, it's amazing that so many people were caught off guard. It's been snowing on and off all night long here at Cajon Pass. I'm at 3,100 feet elevation and we are basically on -- right off of interstate 15, which is a major route between Southern California and Las Vegas heading to Utah, Arizona access through here.

The road has been closed on and off all night because of the snow. You can see this is one of the alternate routes behind me. They're requiring vehicles to have chains or four-wheel drive to get by here. The snow at the this elevation, 3,100 feet, not really enough to accumulate or stick. It is sticking at higher elevation elevations. Mostly an inconvenience, though, for motorists. Nothing really severe at the this point.

What we are going to see, though, is this storm moving east, most of it has already moved past this area and it's expected to get a lot more significant as it moves east. But no major problems right now, Zoraida, just a little bit colder than normal, a little bit more snow at lower elevations.

SAMBOLIN: Well, you don't look very cold, but you are storm chaser. So, we're going to continue to check in with you. Thank you very much, Casey Wian.

BERMAN: Casey is a brave party man. So, he could be cold even if he doesn't look it. We want to get to Jennifer Delgado right now who's tracking the system for us from the CNN Weatehr Center in Atlanta. What is the latest, Jennifer?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi there. We are still tracking snow out there, of course, rain. But as we show you on the radar, we really are following two systems, and they're basically -- they're going to marry later on in to the day. Of course, where Casey is out in California, you can see some snow. Of course, we'll see that coming down in those higher elevations.

This is our storm right now that is already starting to produce some snow through parts of Oklahoma as well as into areas. You can see in Arkansas. Now, right now, we are focusing on the area in the central part of the U.S., the central plains. So far, we have roughly about 16 states under a winter weather advisory and warning and that includes Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and some of these locations, we're talking more than a foot of snow.

You start to get some of these winds kicking later into the night. We are going to see potentially some of that snow blowing around. So, let's help you track the storm for you. Again, here's the initial wave that's moving through Texas. We still have to wait for this one to come through. That is what's going to be bringing the snow as well as the freezing rain especially late tonight as well as into tomorrow morning.

As we stop this for you, you can kind of see for yourself that freezing rain really starting to kick in and it's going to be a messy commute tomorrow. We're talking some of these locations, they're going to be picking up between a quarter of ice and that is enough to take down power lines. We'll start to see that system weakening as it moves towards the east on Friday, but still nonetheless, this is going to be quite a mess.

BERMAN: A quarter inch of ice a mess, indeed. Jennifer Delgado, thanks very much.

DELGADO: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-four minutes past the hour. A newborn baby girl is in good condition this morning after an incredibly rough start to her life. That is an understatement. She was found last night stuffed in a plastic bag with several inches of her umbilical cord still attached as well. A woman walking her dogs found the baby near her northwest Houston apartment complex. Investigators say they do not have many leads. They are now asking the public for help in that case.

BERMAN: Just awful. New information in the theft of a painting by Salvadore Dali. New York City prosecutors charging a Greek national with grand larceny for allegedly stealing the painting from a Manhattan art gallery. Prosecutors say back in June, the 29-year-old suspect grabbed the painting. It is grabbed it off the wall, put it in a bag, and left.

The 1949 watercolor is valued at $150,000. It was anonymously returned by mail a short time after it was stolen.

SAMBOLIN: How crazy is that?

BERMAN: That is pretty crazy.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, no news apparently is good news from the front lines in Afghanistan. The U.S. military says for the past month, no combat deaths have been reported. Officials say that hasn't happened in five years. Meantime, a U.N. report says Afghan civilian casualties dropped 12 percent in 2012, the first time those figures have fallen in six years.

BERMAN: That is good news. President Obama is looking for a new man to lead NATO forces. General John Allen, who the president nominated to be supreme allied commander of NATO, is retiring because of what he calls concerns about his wife's health. Allen was the top coalition commander in Afghanistan for the last two years.

You will remember, he was caught up in the David Petraeus scandal when e-mails with a Tampa socialite were made public, but, General Allen was cleared of any wrongdoing.

SAMBOLIN: The Tea Party patriots are apologizing to Karl Rove after sending out a fundraising e-mail. Look at this, it feature a photoshopped picture of him wearing a Nazi uniform. The group opposes Rove's plan to defeat conservative primary candidates who he believes can't win in general elections. Rove says that he accepts the apology.

BERMAN: It's just kind of one of those thing that's never OK.


BERMAN: Thirty-six minutes after the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: Wrong people.

BERMAN: And Vice President Joe Biden -- speaking of wrong people, Vice President Joe Biden working hard to advance new gun control legislation, including a possible assault weapons ban, but, he's not opposed to Americans keeping a shotgun for protection. In fact, he recommends a 12-gauge model. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want to protect yourself, get a double barrel shotgun, have the shells a 12- gauge shotgun, put that double shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you, who's ever coming in is not -- you don't need an AR-15.


BERMAN: It's actually a story he's told before. In an online gun safety chat sponsored by parents magazine, the vice president says he does not support any changes to the Second Amendment of the constitution.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up, Senator John McCain uncut.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: But occasionally, I get a jerk like you here. So thank you.


SAMBOLIN: They say jerk like you. Find out what the testy exchange is all about. That's just ahead.

BERMAN: So, call it the Belgium at job. Details of this diamond heist in Brussels. This really -- this sounds like something better than Hollywood. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Police this morning are looking for an Audi in the search for who stole $50 million worth of diamonds from the cargo hold of an airport in Brussels, Belgium. This is a story with Hollywood written all over it. Eight diamond thieves well-armed, well organized, crashed through the airport fence, pointed guns at the plane's crew, and stole the jewels. Then, they just simply vanished.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Dan Rivers, is in Brussels this morning. And Dan, this is really about as brazen as it gets. What do we know about this case this morning?

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's pretty breathtaking, isn't it? Yes. The police are hunting for this Audi car and the eight masked men who held up a plane, believe it or not, and made off with tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds. I'm joined by the airport spokesman now, Jan Van Der Cruysse. Thank you for joining us.


RIVERS: What can you say to reassure people that this airport is secure?

CRUYSSE: Well, we don't take security lightly just like every other European airport. We have very strict regulations and we comply with them. We're considered by many as one of the best airports in class when it comes to aviation security, but what has happened here goes far beyond normal airport security.

This is about armed robbery on a huge amount of diamonds, high value, and people willing to do almost anything to get their hands on that. And military-style, commando-style that have really raided the airport.

RIVERS: This isn't the first time the airport has been hit. I suppose people would say it's a target just because there are so many diamonds come through here, but also, does that suggest there's a lack of security on the perimeter?

CRUYSSE: The security at our airport is certainly not less than at any other European airport. On the contrary, I would even say. But we are not only the capital of the airport of Europe, also the capital to the diamond capital of the Europe airport (ph). And that means that we have a lot of these high value goods and that makes it attractive for people with wrong ideas.

RIVERS: OK. Jan, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. So, the hunt goes on for these men. But the thing is that these diamonds were uncut many of them. So, once they're cut and polished, it becomes even more difficult to track down where they are because their weight, their shape, their dimensions will change. Back to you.

BERMAN: Dan, the mystery continues. They are still so many question. Dan Rivers in Brussels this morning. Thanks for being with us.

SAMBOLIN: I read it's about $200 million that goes in and out of that airport in diamonds --

BERMAN: It's like the diamonds on the capital of the world.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it is.

All right. Forty-three minutes past the hour. Senator John McCain getting an earful at a town hall meeting near Phoenix.


MCCAIN: This is, well, inexperience (ph). I've had enough. Sir, you've had enough. You've had enough time. You've had enough time, pal. You've had enough time.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): McCain was talking about his illegal immigration bill, and some people in his home state are not happy with it. Things got heated when some residents called for strict deportation programs which McCain opposes.

MCCAIN: Every once in a while, I get someone like that. But the fact is 99 percent people are polite and that's --


MCCAIN: See what I mean, you're just making my point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't listen to us.

MCCAIN: You know something, again, I've had town hall meetings for 30 years. People are very happy that I have town hall meetings and I listen to them and I get back to them.


MCCAIN: And that's what this is all about. But occasionally, I get a jerk like you here. So, thank you. Go ahead, ma'am.

SAMBOLIN: McCain is one of eight senators from both parties working on an immigration plan. He's actually been working on it for a very long time. He says the White House has promised to cooperate.

BERMAN (voice-over): I've been doing a lot of town meetings with John McCain. They are his place. They are his zone. He is not going to lose a battle in one of those town meetings. Right there you saw very --


BERMAN: -- very feisty side of Senator McCain right there.

Forty-four minutes after the hour. And the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs under fire this morning for posting a list on its Web site describing how female students should defend themselves against sexual assault. It advises them to scream loudly, run, and use passive resistant techniques like vomiting, urinating and telling the attacker they have a disease or are menstruating.

After an uproar, the university apologized and explained the list came from a rape defense class and was taken out of context.

TOM HUTTON, UCCS SPOKESPERSON: It was part of a really supplemental information intended for women who had completed a self-defense class on campus that we call RAD.

BERMAN: RAD stands for Rape Aggression Defense.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Forty-five minutes past the hour. Coming up, country star, Mindy McCready's, final desperate days. The e-mail that may have driven her over the edge.

BERMAN: Plus, teaming up with the ring leader of the free world. Tiger Woods talks about the president as a golf partner.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Good morning to you. It's 49 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine Romans with our top stories.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, guys. Lots to follow this morning.

Dramatic testimony happening right now during day 2 of Olympic star and murder suspect, Oscar Pistorius bail hearing. We're expecting a decision on bail at any time. The first officer on the scene just testified he believes the shooting was in no way self-defense and that Pistorius had to know his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was in that bathroom.

He described the violent scene at Olympian's home. He says he believe a cricket bat was used to breakdown the bathroom door and that shots were aimed at the toilet bowl which he says meant someone had to walk in, turn left, and fire at an angle.

He says two boxes of testosterone and needles were also found in the residence, but Pistorius' team says that was herbal medicine. Pistorius also facing a premeditated murder charge in Steenkamp's death, now also charge with having unlicensed ammunition in his home.

The search is on right now for two people who are still unaccounted for after a massive explosion at a popular restaurant in Kansas City. An apparent natural gas blast destroyed JJ's Restaurant. Fourteen people are hurt. Witnesses say they could smell gas well before the explosion. Police and fire investigators say it appears to be an accident.

A close friend of Mindy McCready says a perfect storm hit this troubled country singer in the days before her apparent suicide on Sunday. Private investigator Dano Hanks (ph) says McCready was upset about an e-mail she received from the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services. It included a proposed court order that would have taken McCready's two children from her and sent them to live with her mother in Florida.

The alleged airplane child slapper is now free on $10,000 bond. Joe Hundley of Idaho accused of hitting a crying 19-month old boy in the face and using a racial slur during a fight from Minneapolis to Atlanta. Hundley denies it. He's been fired from his job as an executive with an aircraft parts company.

And a struggling casino that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie predicted would revive Atlantic City is preparing to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The lavish $2.4 billion Revel Casino says it is restructuring and that the bankruptcy isn't expected to affect its guests, its employees, or its vendors. It opened just ten months ago. What a 10-month it has been --


BERMAN: Atlantic City, ladies and gentlemen.

Fifty-one minutes after the hour right now. And Tiger Woods says he is very impressed with President Obama's short game. The world's second ranked golfer and the commander in chief teamed up in Florida on Sunday. Listen to how Tiger describes how it all came together.


TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Yes. He calls up and say, hey, Tiger, you want to play?


WOODS: Obviously, there is a process that's involved and I was invited to play. And, it was an invitation that certainly you don't turn down. Playing with Mr. President was pretty cool. He's a wonderful person to be around and we won.



BERMAN: Good thing, too, right? The Woods-Obama duo defeated U.S. trade rep Ron Kirk as well as Houston Astros owner Jim Crane. As for the president's game, Tiger was actually really complimentary. He said the president has amazing touch, chipping and putting --


SAMBOLIN: What is he supposed to say? Is he going to criticize the president on his golf game?

BERMAN: I think it was George Bush or may have been Bill Clinton who said that after they were president, they didn't win nearly as much at golf. SAMBOLIN: Right. Exactly.

All right. Fifty-two minutes past the hour. Coming up, an adorable mammal using hoops to heal (ph). I love sea otters. It's the one with moves.

BERMAN: Sea otters got game. Next hour, Apple reportedly targeted by hackers.



SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us this morning. Fifty-six minutes past the hour. We are taking a look at the top CNN Trends this morning.

BERMAN: The very top trends and the first one is Paul McCartney. He leads the list of big names who will be taking the stage at this year's Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. The four-day festival begins on June 13th. Bonnaroo has been building up steam as a pretty major U.S. music event of the last dozen (ph) years.

Along with Sir Paul, this year's festival headliners include Tom Petty, Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, R. Kelly, Bjork, and Wilco.

SAMBOLIN: OK. I suspect this is going to go viral. Check out Eddie, the Oregon zoo's slam dunking sea otter. Let's watch.

He's got game. Zoo keepers trained the 15-year-old otter to dunk a basketball to get him to exercise his arthritic elbow. Can you believe it? And once he got the hang of it, he just never stopped, and he's been living at the Oregon Zoo for 13 years. He was rescued off the coast of California where he was abandoned. He can teach you with thing or two.

BERMAN: I didn't even know sea otters had elbows. That's --


BERMAN: He's really good.

SAMBOLIN: That is adorable. I could watch this all day. How cute.

All right. To check out other top CNN Trends, head to

BERMAN: All right. So, late night comics, they've been handed plenty of material lately, and last night, they were taking on Burger King's Twitter page, the birth of four twins, and the sexual orientation revelations from Clive Davis.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": Yesterday, Burger King's official twitter account got hacked. When asked for comment, people who follow Burger King on Twitter were too embarrassed to identify themselves. (LAUGHTER)

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Here's some more wholesome news. On Valentine's Day, a woman named Therese Montalvo gave birth to two sets of identical twin boys. That's not a delivery. That's an Occupy Uterus rally.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": This is scary. A new report shows that Chinese hackers could one day take out America's power supply. Or as it's also known, pulling a Beyonce.


FALLON: In his new memoir, 80-year-old music mogul, Clyde Davis, revealed that he's bisexual. Or as he put it, hey, sometimes, you got to listen to both sides of the record, you know?


FALLON: Eighty-year-old Clive Davis revealed that he is bisexual, which is smart because if you're still trying to have sex when you're 80, you should really take whatever you can get.



FALLON: Go for it.


SAMBOLIN: EARLY START continues right now.