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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Pope's Last General Public Audience; Deadly Blizzard on the Move; Direct U.S. Help for Syrian Rebels?; Increase In Breast Cancer In Young Women

Aired February 27, 2013 - 06:30   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: One last public audience before the sun sets on his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI addressing pilgrims who flock to St. Peter's Square for his final public audience. The pope telling them that he is aware of the gravity and novelty of his resignation.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And he said the church has been through stormy waters, but God will not let it sink. A very historic morning in Rome, in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican this morning.

Christiane Amanpour is live. She's there covering it.

Good morning, Christiane.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Zoraida. And it's all about yellow and white. I'm wearing my papal colors today because this has been really quite a historic moment and unprecedented. Not for more than 600 years has a pope resigned. And, right now, we've seen all these crowds flock out of St. Peter's Square now because that early morning audience has been over the last half hour.

So, the pope had been around St. Peter's Square for his final general audience in his pope mobile. Huge cheers there from the crowd there, and then when he left, again, a huge cheer after his final blessing and as he processed out in the pope mobile back inside the Vatican.

He did, as you say, speak about this very tough decision to step down. He talked about his own strength. He talked about how this was a novel, he understood how it was a grave, serious decision, but that he was at peace with it.

Listen to how he addressed the crowds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPE BENEDICT XVI, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): In the last months, I have failed. My strength has diminished, and I have requested God with insistence in my prayer to illuminate me with his light to make me come to the right decision, not for my own good, but for the good of the church.

I have done -- I have taken this step in full awareness of the gravity and seriousness and novelty, but also with the profound serenity in my soul. Loving the church means to have the courage to make difficult choices, having always before you -- having always before you the good of the church and not your own.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Well, the pope talked about being serene. He talked about a profound serenity. But in many instances, there is anything but serenity in the Vatican, because he himself, the pope, referred, if only obliquely, to the incredible scandals and allegations that have been rocking the Vatican, rocking the Catholic Church, from the United States to Europe and elsewhere, over the last 14 years or so.

I'm joined now by John Allen, our Vatican correspondent, with very special and long insight into the papacy, into all the issues that surround it, and into all this transition.

First, John, he is not known for being a very emotional pope, but today, I felt that he was.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: You are absolutely right, Christiane. I mean, I covered the man not merely during the eight years of his papacy, but during much of the 20 previous years when he was right hand man of John Paul II.

And one of the things that's always striking about Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI, he's always been uncomfortable being the star of the show. He likes as much as possible to take himself out of the equation. For example, John Paul II liked to celebrate his mass in St. Peter's Square. You almost had a kind of rock arena field sometime. Benedict XVI has gone back inside the St. Peter's Basilica, because he wants the focus to be on the service, not the star.

And yet, today, in a way, for his finale, his swan song, it was in many ways, an uncharacteristically, personal, emotional, kind of self- revelatory moment which he talked about the internal struggle that led him to this decision to resign and how much his hopes for the church are with, not only the entire people of the church, but obviously the man who is going to follow him, even the cardinals that will have to elect him.

AMANPOUR: And that is key really because of so many challenges facing the church, not only opportunities to grow in many parts of the world, and to shape the coming reality of the Catholic flock around the world, but these challenges.

And can a pope in the 21st century be sort of a recluse like Benedict was? Not a recluse, but not John Paul II rock star? Can he really retreat inside the Vatican or does he need to really have that extra mile of transparency and accountability as well to convince Catholics that this is going to be a clean house afterwards?

ALLEN: Well, I mean, in terms of how available he needs to be to people. I mean, I think John Paul revolutionized the papacy for all times in that regard. I mean, prior to that, people didn't really necessarily expect to see the pope all the time. I mean, they knew their local bishop. They knew there was a pope in Rome, but they didn't expect to be, you know, getting messages on Twitter and seeing him on TV, and waiting for the next time the show was going to come to town, you know?

Now, of course, there is this universal expectation that the pope is going to be an extraordinarily public figure. Benedict XVI said himself this morning, he understands that when you become pope, you lose your privacy. You become the property of the world.

Now, in terms of the transparency and accountability thing, I think everyone will recognize that the Catholic Church is in a way a pre- modern institution struggling to come to terms with the post-modern world and getting up to snuff so to speak in terms of transparency and accountability as part of the task.

AMANPOUR: Indeed it is, John. Thank you for that.

And we'll be checking in regularly throughout this day, because although no more public visions of the pope right now, he will be going back inside. There are more meetings and, of course, all of this building up to his final good-bye which will be at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow when he leaves the Vatican and then at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow, that's Roman time, that signifies the end of his papacy.

John and Zoraida, back to you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Christiane.

And hundreds of flights canceled, motorists are stranded, power lines down and at least three people are dead. This deadly blizzard is on the move after making a mess from Texas to Illinois. Several roofs collapsed like this one in Kansas City, due to the accumulation of several inches of read wet snow.

Jennifer Delgado has got her finger on the live at the CNN center -- weather center in Atlanta.

Is this storm weakening at all, Jennifer?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is. You know, I heard you a moment ago saying you were tired of hearing about the storm, we will start talking about it very quickly. We are still dealing with some snow for areas including Chicago, Green Bay, as well as in the Kansas City.

Now, the snow is very light out there. Talking maybe one to three inches, some lake-effect setting up off Lake Michigan. How about a look at Kansas City? We showed you a look out of Chicago earlier.

Well, here's a live view. This is interstate 70 at 18th Street. I want to show -- while there is light snow coming down, cars are moving nice and smooth.

Now, over toward the east, it's a different story. We are talking about some of these locations. We could see snow, developing, especially through parts of New England. It's coming down right now, and some rain along Interstate 95, as well as 93. Boston, you're just looking at rain, snow north of that. But overall, it's winding down. And that's good news. But for the ski resorts, eight to 12 inches of snowfall for parts of New Hampshire, as well as Vermont. And a wintry mix, and this is going to stick around through tomorrow and again wider view. Quiet, but temperatures generally right about seasonal for this time of the year.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Jennifer, thank you.

DELGADO: You like that. Yes.

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

And, just now, we are learning of a deadly ambush by militants in Afghanistan. Seventeen people dead, including 10 Afghan police officers. Officials say they were killed as they slept. This happened in Afghanistan's Ghazni province. We're going to bring you more details as they become available.

SAMBOLIN: And a developing story this morning, scary moments for the University of Maine's women's basketball team.

While traveling to a game in Boston last night, their bus went off Interstate 95 near Georgetown, Massachusetts. That's just north of Boston. It came to a stop on the shoulder of the roadway.

Take a look at the picture. The bus driver was airlifted to a hospital. Police he may have suffered some kind of a medical incident. The team's coach and three players were treated for injuries as well.

BERMAN: The U.S. is moving toward giving Syrian rebels direct aid, including sending nonlethal military equipment and providing strategic military training. Now, sources stress that for now, the U.S. is not considering providing weapons to the rebels. A senior Obama administration official says Secretary of State John Kerry is discussing changes with the European allies this week.

SAMBOLIN: Taking a look at the top CNN trends.

How is this for standing out in a crowd? Take a look -- 6'7", tatted up, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman is in North Korea. He's there with three members of the famed Harlem Globetrotters. Take a look at that hair, to put on a show for fans while they film a TV documentary.

And the Worm is tweeting from within, saying, "Maybe I'll run into the 'Gangnam Style' dude while I'm here." One problem, he happens to be in South Korea.

BERMAN: I mean, he's close, he's close. He's in the bordering country.

SAMBOLIN: Close enough really?

BERMAN: Close.

Dennis Rodman, good job. All right. Buzz kill. Drinkers in three states are suing Anheuser- Busch for allegedly watering down its beers.

SAMBOLIN: What?

BERMAN: The $5 million class action suit accuses the company of overstating the alcohol content in its beer to boost profits. Now, a couple of the plaintiffs have some pretty impressive statistics.

SAMBOLIN: Really?

BERMAN: Two brothers in Pennsylvania say they buy six cases of Anheuser-Busch a month. Now, Anheuser-Busch says these lawsuits are groundless. Their beers are in full compliance with all alcohol labeling laws.

SAMBOLIN: And so, they tested this out and they didn't get the buzz they used to get? I don't get it.

All right. Coming up, disturbing news about a rise in breast cancer in young women. We will see if scientists have an explanation for this.

BERMAN: And a high school student using a phone camera catches a thief stealing from other students. But wait until you see who the culprit is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Oops. You caught me, asking Soledad who is still across the way, asking what's coming up on "STARTING POINT" here.

BERMAN: Shortly, we will hear from Soledad about what's ahead on "STARTING POINT."

But until that moment comes, we're going to tell you about the big news that's been happening all morning.

Pope Benedict saying good-bye, appearing before his final audience in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican this morning, speaking to some 50,000 pilgrims, at least. They gave out 50,000 tickets there. They may have been thousands and thousand more who came to hear him speak.

He said that loving the church sometimes means having to make tough choices and by that means stepping down.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, he said that public life was complicated for him and he's looking forward to going into solitude to a life of prayer, he says that he will continue.

You know, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the Catholic Church right now. The conclave is about to get together to decide who the new pope will be. And as you saw, we're taking a look at the pictures of the crowds. All of these different banners and all of these different languages, there to do something that really is historic, to actually say good-bye to a pontiff. BERMAN: In addition to, no doubt, covering that giant, historic news today, Soledad O'Brien here now to tell us what else will be going on "STARTING POINT".

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Lots happening.

Of course, we're going to be talking about the pope and his final public good-bye, which you've been talking about all morning. Also, we'll be chatting with the former CIA officer John Kiriakou, you know, he's heading off to prison. He's got 30 months ahead of him. So, we'll talk to him about what he thinks is behind his sentence and does he feel like he's been scapegoated?

And then, it's been a year, as we mentioned yesterday, since George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. So, where is does the case stand right now?

We heard yesterday from Trayvon's mom and dad. Today, we're going to talk to Zimmerman's defense attorney. Mark O'Mara will be our guest.

That and much more is ahead on "STARTING POINT" this morning.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Looking forward it. Thank you.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

SAMBOLIN: It is 45 minutes past the hour.

In cases of advanced breast cancer in younger women are actually on the rise. That is the alarming headline just published in "The Journal of the American Medical Association." Senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins us now with the very latest. What exactly did the study find?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Zoraida, I will tell you, these findings came as a real surprise to a lot of people. The study, it compared the number cases of metastatic, in other words, breast cancer, that spread among young women in their 20s and 30s and around that age to what it was years ago.

So, let's take a look at the numbers. This really spells it out. In 1976, there were approximately 250 cases of metastatic breast cancer among young women. And today, it's more like 850. As you can see, that is a big difference, and this is especially alarming because when young women get breast cancer, it's often a much more aggressive type of cancer.

So, this really, I think, has gotten a lot of doctors thinking is the study correct? What's going on here? And if it is correct, obviously, something needs to be done.

SAMBOLIN: Under 40 normally does not get a mammogram. What do you think is driving this increase?

COHEN: You know, it's really not clear. Some of it may be that we're better now at diagnosing breast cancer than we used to be. MRIs are better. We have digital mammograms which are better than other types of mammograms. Doctors, they really don't know. They think maybe it's because women are delaying childbirth and that can, sometimes, be linked to increase rates of breast cancer.

More women are taking oral contraceptives and that also might be linked to increase rates of breast cancer. But truly, they don't know. This is the first really big sign of this. So, they haven't developed really well-formed theories yet.

SAMBOLIN: So, Elizabeth, do you think then that doctors are going to recommend that women under 40 start getting regular mammograms as well?

COHEN: You know, I don't think so. It is still so unusual for women under 40 to get breast cancer. That I don't think -- this is what they tell me. They don't want all women to start getting mammograms because of a relatively small number of cases, and I put the emphasis on the word "relatively small number of cases."

Mammograms have down sides. You'd be giving women radiation every single year when, again, this is a relatively unusual occurrence. And also, and one of the issues of mammograms is you get these false positives.

SAMBOLIN: Right.

COHEN: So, you scare women and also you then -- they then have to get more testing which has problems of its own. So, before we start telling young women to get mammograms, there would have to be a lot more thought and work put into this.

SAMBOLIN: All right. We really appreciate this information. I would imagine that any woman under 40 who has a history, nonetheless, should be going to see her doctor.

COHEN: Yes. That is a different story. If you have a personal history or family history of breast cancer, different ball game.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, senior medical correspondent, thank you very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Forty-seven minutes after the hour right now, and there has been a fatal great white shark attack off the coast of New Zeeland. Police in boats were actually firing shots at the shark as it was attacking the body of a male surfer that he just killed that just happening 220 yards offshore.

Officers say the shark believed to be up to 14 feet long, rolled over, and vanished just after the police opened fire.

SAMBOLIN: And school warning people to stay indoors this morning after a sophomore at Coastal Carolina University, that's in Southern California, was shot to death right on campus. That incident happened last night at a residence hall at the school which is not far from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Police are searching for the gunman who they say left campus in a vehicle.

BERMAN: Jack Lew, the president's choice to be treasury secretary, could be confirmed as early as today. The full Senate said to take up the Lew nomination after he sail through the finance committee that happened yesterday.

SAMBOLIN: And a student sting snares. A California High school teacher allegedly stealing from her students. Can you believe this?

BERMAN: No.

SAMBOLIN: When after kids in Justine Betti's (ph) gym class reported money and other items missing from their backpacks, the sophomore took matters into her own hands. She hid in a gym locker and caught the allege d theft on a cell phone camera.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTINE BETTI, STUDENT: I didn't want to believe that she would do something like that, because she was so nice, but then she did it. We feel like we did the right thing, but it's still, like, you know, kind of hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Tough pill to swallow there. The teacher, a 30-year veteran, has been placed on administrative leave while the school district and the police investigate.

BERMAN: That is --

SAMBOLIN: Outrageous.

BERMAN: Crazy.

All right. Forty-nine minutes after the hour. So, sports news. It got ugly last night. A brawl on the basketball court. Oh, man. The punches flying there. That is not supposed to happen. We will tell you why and the outcome, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Basket brawl. The Pacers and Warriors getting into it last night. It's build over into the crowd in Indiana. Joe Carter here with this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Joe.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, guys. You know what, I hear Paces, brawl, and crowd, I think Ron Artest, 2004, the palace. You know, things went that bad last night, but it was a pretty good scuffle. It started with the Pacers' Roy Hibbert and the Warriors' David Lee. They're the two who initially get into it under the basket.

They started mixing it up, the pushing that gets both teams heated -- I want you to have watch out for Stephan Curry. The guy gets man handled by Hibbert. The big man just tosses Curry aside. Not once but twice, and that's because Curry while he's a foot shorter and about 95 pounds lighter.

When all said and done, six technical were handed out. Indiana's Roy Hibbert, he was ejected from the game and should probably expect a suspension pretty soon. The Pacers, though, did go on to win that game.

Number one Indiana taken down by unranked Minnesota last night. Hoosiers were manhandled in the paint. Minnesota pulled on rebound after rebound. You know, the Golfers really needed this win to keep there NCAA tournament hopes alive. The loss pretty much guarantees Indiana will lose their number one ranking. Gonzaga, of all teams, could be the new number one next week.

Daytona 500 winner, Jimmie Johnson, is making the rounds in the talk show circuit. He was on Letterman last night, and of course, during his moment, you know who came out?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: If you were racing this, then you have something --

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would have a hard time turning that one.

LETTERMAN: Oh. And what was it like with your buddy, Danica Patrick, there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was in the race? I didn't hear about that.

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN: There you go. Good luck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARTER: Everybody is tired of hearing that. First impressions are everything, especially at the NFL combine. Shamarko Thomas -- boy, he has this one fast. He played defensive backward (ph) in Syracuse during his 40-yard dash. His foot gets caught in the turf and does a face plant. Ouch. Our editor does a good job, though, replaying that.

His day, though, wasn't all that bad. He did run the 40-yard dash, then, he actually up the fastest 40-time of all safeties. But ouch. There goes his pride riding (ph) to the turf.

For all your entertaining sports news, including Minnesota's huge upset over number one, Indiana, go to BleacherReport.com.

SAMBOLIN: Your editor is a guy, right? Your editor is a guy?

BERMAN: That was awesome, Joe. I can't believe --

SAMBOLIN: That's a guy moment that you do that and repeat over and over again. The face into the turf.

CARTER: Yes. That's what we have to do. We have to make a point. (LAUGHTER)

CARTER: Really embarrass (ph) him more and more.

SAMBOLIN: Exactly. Joe Carter, thank you very much.

EARLY START back after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Thank you for being with us, everyone. That is all for EARLY START today. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "Starting Point" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.

O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome, everybody. Our "Starting Point" this morning, the pope's final audience. The leader of the Catholic Church addresses at least 50,000 followers in St. Peter's Square, a day before he officially resigns. We'll take a look at this historic moment and what it means for the Catholic Church. CNNs Christiane Amanpour will join us live from Rome.

Then, that brutal winter storm is still going strong. Thousands of people waking up to a snowy mess and canceled flights, and they're bracing for more ice and more snow.

BERMAN: Two days away from $85 billion in forced spending cuts, and both sides just playing the blame game. Is there still time to stop pointing fingers and find a solution?

Then, from basketball bad boy to American diplomat. What on earth is Dennis Rodman -- yes, Dennis Rodman, what is he doing in North Korea?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And the pope's resignation certainly not without controversy. Allegations of corruption, mismanagement, and money laundering have long surrounded the Vatican. So, what kind of financial legacy will the pope leave?

O'BRIEN: This morning, we are talking to New York congressman, Steve Israel. Illinois congressman, Aaron Schock is our guest. We'll have an exclusive interview with John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer who's going to prison for leaking information that led to an outcry about waterboarding.