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North Korea Threats; Rice: I've Let So Many People Down

Aired April 4, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Anxious hours from North Korea to Washington. The White House treading carefully, trying to figure out if Kim Jong-Un means business.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Did you see this towering inferno caught on camera?


ROMANS: New information from the scene of this high-rise firefight.

BERMAN: So, will the other shoe drop at Rutgers University? The basketball coach already fired for abusive behavior caught on video. Now, his bosses are taking heat.


BERMAN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS (on-camera): I'm Christine Romans in for Zoraida today, Thursday, April 4th, and it's half past the hour. Let's get you up to date.

New developments and threats from the Korea this morning. The north is threatening to block workers from the south from entering a shared industrial complex, even saying they might shut the whole thing down. It's also promising the nuclear attacks against the U.S. warning, quote, "The moment of explosion is approaching fast," while the Pentagon is scrambling to move a ballistic missile defense system to its U.S. bases in Guam two years ahead of schedule.

There's also word out of Washington this morning that it may be time for the U.S. to turn down the volume on this. Jim Clancy live for us in Seoul, South Korea. Jim, new reports that the north moved a midrange missile to the east coast. U.S. already responding by deploying missile defense system. I mean, what do you make of these actions? It's troubling.

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what you make of it is, what we're hearing are a series of threats coming from the north that say be very afraid of us, and I think South Korea and Washington are saying, we'd rather be prepared, and that's what they're doing. They're responding. They're taking some of these threats seriously, but at the same time, many people say that this is, after all, just bluster.

You look at the missile threat, itself. The U.S., for some weeks now, has been anticipating a test of a North Korean missile system to come at some point. That's why they moved a couple of missile destroyers as well as that radar platform off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, to monitor that very, very closely.

And the move on Guam, yes, it's reflected there, but it's not thought that even today that North Korea has missiles that would be capable of hitting Guam with any kind of accuracy. The range is that far but not an accurate range -- Christine.

ROMANS: So, what's the significance, Jim, of North Korea's action and threats regarding this industrial complex? I mean, I know that it's seen as one of the rare symbols of cooperation between these two countries. So, saying that the south can't go -- people from South Korea can't go to work there really is making a statement about ratcheting back that cooperation, isn't it?

CLANCY: Yes. Well, you know, they haven't gone all the way. They've threatened to go all the way today and pull out their 53,000 workers. Of course, that's going to cost them. Really, North Korea has been angered by the media right here in Seoul that have been quick to point out, while he's making all these other threats, he wasn't closing down that complex because he's earning that hard currency, and he likes that hard currency.

The north said again today, that's insulting, and if you say it again, we're going to pull out all of our workers. Well, somebody probably will say it again. You know, Kaesong was closed back in 2009, similarly during the heightened tensions because of U.S./South Korean joint military maneuvers.

It could happen again. Whether or not it has a future, this is the bigger question. There's no other area for them to cooperate, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Jim Clancy live for us this morning in Seoul. Thanks, Jim.

BERMAN: Thirty-three minutes after the hour. Government offices in Kaufman County, Texas, will be closed today, so co-workers can attend a public memorial for slain D.A., Mike McLelland, and his wife, Cynthia. A funeral will follow tomorrow.

Investigators still trying to see if there's a link between their killings and the deadly shooting of chief felony prosecutor, Mark Hasse, almost two months ago. A law enforcement official conceived to CNN, we haven't come close to charging anyone.

ROMANS: Alabama getting tougher on abortion providers, lawmakers passing a bill that makes clinics raised their standards to the level of emergency health care centers. It also makes it a felony for anyone other than a physician to perform an abortion. It requires doctors to ask pregnant minors about the father. Alabama's governor is expected to sign that bill. BERMAN: New information this morning about a monster apartment fire in Russia. The flames raced up this 40-storey residential skyscraper in Chechnya on Wednesday. It may have been caused by a short circuit. Look at those pictures. More than 100 firefighters were able to put out the fire a few hours ago. Dozens of people were evacuated. Amazingly, look at that, amazingly, no one was hurt.

ROMANS: Wow! New fallout from that video showing the Rutgers University basketball coach physically and verbally abusing players at practice this morning (ph).

BERMAN: The coach, Mike Rice, has now been fired, and this morning, the school's athletic director and its president are under scrutiny for their handling of the case. CNN's Pamela Brown has been following the story for us. Good morning, Pam.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. It appears that this story is far from over. In the wake of the firing of Mike Rice, now, the attention is shifting to athletic director, Tim Pernetti. He took full responsibility for making the decision to keep Rice on board back in December. And then, after the video was released, he changed his tune.


BROWN (voice-over): After a 24-hour tidal wave of public outrage over this video --


BROWN: Mike Rice's three-year tenure as Rutgers University head basketball coach abruptly came to an end Wednesday. In a mea culpa, he acknowledged his behavior was out of bounds.

MIKE RICE, FORMER RUTGERS HEAD COACH: There's no explanation for what's on those films, because there is no excuse for it. I was wrong, and I want to tell everybody who's believed in me that I'm -- that I'm deeply sorry for the pain and the hardship that I've caused them.

BROWN: Rice was initially suspended for three games and fined back in December, but after the video went viral, athletic director, Tim Pernetti, scrambled to defend his decision. Here's what he said Tuesday.

TIM PERNETTI, RUTGERS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: We're taking this first offense as an opportunity to re-educate Mike Rice on the Rutgers standard.

BROWN: On Wednesday morning, an about-face. Pernetti announced Rice was fired after attempts to rehabilitate him.

VOICE OF JON WERTHEIM, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: The statement that the athletic director's attempt to rehabilitate someone who engaged in repeated behavior like this is really pretty appalling. And again, the precedent for having even kept him for this amount of time is pretty gully. And Rutgers does not come out of this looking particularly good now.

BROWN: Rutgers students are reacting to the fallout, some saying Pernetti should go, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the athletic director's probably going to get fired now. He deserves, you know, he let it go on for this long.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, why did he wait this long and wait for, you know, it to be public and blow up on national television on ESPN, on YouTube, to go, OK, maybe we should stop this because we're getting, you know, negative exposure.

BROWN: And for the first time, we're hearing from former players who were subject to Rice's attacks. Tyree Graham spent two years playing for Rice and says he was just trying to motivate players.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not as bad as, you know, the media right now is making him seem. Coach Rice, you know, he's one of those guys that, you know, he's very passionate. Don't get me wrong, but at the same time, a lot of those times on the film when he's ejecting up a player or throwing a ball at a player, he was really joking.

BROWN: A local basketball coach, Rick Pitino, who's known to get angry on occasion, says Rice's extreme behavior is well beyond the norm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I've never seen anything like that before. And I'm sure that there's a different side of him that really cares about his players, but that was difficult to watch to say the least.


BROWN (on-camera): And now, New Jersey state officials saying that they plan on holding hearings over how the university handled the situation.

BERMAN: A lot of professors there upset also. You have to see this in your piece. Everyone there talking about it.

BROWN: Yes, that's right. In fact, there are, at least, 10 faculty members signing a petition to fire the university president as well.

ROMANS: I wonder if there are coaches across the country who are taking a good hard look at how they motivate students, motivate athletes -- dial it back a little bit --

BROWN: Yes. It's interesting to see if there's a change in the culture here.


BROWN: So, we'll see what happens.

ROMANS: Thanks, Pam.

BROWN: Thanks.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this morning.

BERMAN: A little bit more of an inspiring story to tell you about right now in the world of sports. Louisville's Kevin Ware speaking out for the first time since suffering that horrific leg injury during his team's NCAA regional final victory on Sunday. The 20-year-old sophomore says he won't let the injury hold him back from continuing his career.

Ware talked with CNN's Rachel Nichols about all the support he's received, including one fan from the White House.


RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The first lady, Michelle Obama, called you.


NICHOLS: And rick Pitino says you're now the coolest guy he knows. He said -- your coach said the president calling you, OK, fine. He calls sports people, but Michelle Obama?


WARE: Yes. I'm sad because I don't even remember speaking to her, but that's what they were telling me that she called.

NICHOLS: Please call him back.

WARE: Please.


WARE: If she called -- please call again, please. I really would appreciate it because it's a once in a lifetime thing, you know? And I know the president kind of picked us to lose in Indiana in his bracket, but I'll forgive him. When I speak to him in the White House, I'll forgive him.


BERMAN: He still holds a grudge against the president for picking against him. You can tell it there. Mrs. Obama, please call him back. It would be nice.

ROMANS: The painkillers, he can't remember.

BERMAN: Ware plans to be with his Louisville teammates. He does plan to be with his teammates in Atlanta for the final four this weekend.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, stunning prison footage, inmates with guns, shooting up drugs, all caught on the camera of a smuggled cell phone. This morning, the search for an answer to how, how in the world this was allowed to happen? BERMAN: And President Obama giving a little back to the government straight from his very own bank account.


BERMAN: Welcome back. We have video this morning that will make you look twice, three times, you know, even more. Take a look at this shocking prison footage found in a state, showing inmates behaving dangerously and living in just deplorable conditions. The men in charge of running that jail and others in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, Sheriff Marlon Guzman, is set to take the stand this morning.

He will testify about those conditions under oath as part of a hearing over proposed jail reform. Sara Ganim now with more on that chilling tape.


SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An inmate with a gun in a cell packed with prisoners. Another appears to be shooting up heroin, all caught on video on a cell phone smuggled into the jail. Inmates free to roam, even leave. This incredible footage was shown in a federal courtroom in a lawsuit over how to pay to fix horrifying prison conditions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No gloves on. No net on his head. That's how they want to feed us. Right (inaudible).

GANIM: The footage is several years old and was recorded at the now- closed house of detention in Orleans Parish. The Southern Poverty Law Center said this facility was not alone. Many others just as bad in Orleans Parish are still open. They, along with several former inmates, sued the sheriff, Marlon Guzman, last April. He's in charge of running the jail.

As shocking as it is to watch this video, reading the details in the lawsuit is just as disturbing. Mental health patients denied care, inmates, beaten by staff and raped by other prisoners, guards, instigating fights. This father lost his 32-year-old son to suicide in the prison two years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hearing some of the testimony and looking at some of the video of the jail itself, I cannot imagine the conditions of any human being living in those conditions.

GANIM: Southern Poverty Law Center and the sheriff's office reached a settlement in December. It was agreed that changes would be made to make the prisons more safe, but change costs money, money the city says it doesn't have. That's why the case is still in court. The city's mayor says taxpayers are already investing more than $200 million to build new facilities.

In a statement to CNN, the mayor said, quote, "I cannot, in good conscience, cut vital services or raise taxes to put even more money into an office where waste, fraud, and abuse run rampant." Instead, he wants the federal government to step in and take control from the sheriff.

PAM HITZMAN, FORMER INMATE'S MOTHER: He's been aware of these conditions since 2008, and the conditions have gotten worse.

GANIM (on-camera): All of this takes us back to a disaster the New Orleans area just can't seem to fully recover from, hurricane Katrina. In a statement, the sheriff said these were temporary facilities he was forced to use after the storm flooded parish prison. Eight of those temporary jails still house inmates today.

Sara Ganim, CNN.



All right. President Obama deciding to donate five percent of his $400,000-a-year salary back to the treasury department. The White House says he wants to share in the sacrifice being made by federal workers who are affected by those forced spending cuts. The president will cut a check every month for the next 12 months totaling $20,000.

You know, it doesn't -- a little bit of a reality check, Berman, it doesn't really make too much of a dent, 20 grand in the grand scheme of what we owe. According to estimates, the Office of Management and Budget must cut 7 million from the 89 million remaining in its annual budget.

BERMAN: I don't think he's doing it to wipe out the debt.

ROMANS: I know. I know.

BERMAN: I think it's more symbolic in solidarity if the other federal workers will be furloughed.

ROMANS: Symbolic, but then, when you look at just how much every month the government spends more than it takes in, you know, 20 grand --

BERMAN: There's a problem there.

ROMANS: It doesn't hurt him. It doesn't help the treasury. It's just an interesting story.

BERMAN: There you have it.

So, it is official, another interesting story, we might say. Jay Leno out again. Next, a look at the legacy that he leaves behind at "The Tonight Show."

Plus, we're going to get David Letterman's response.


ROMANS: After weeks of rumor and speculation about the future of Jay Leno and "The Tonight Show," NBC has made it official now. Late-night host, Jimmy Fallon, will replace Leno next year, and the show will return to New York. Fallon addressed the transition during last night's monologue.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": You guys probably heard the news I'm going to be taking over for "The Tonight Show" next February.


FALLON: But don't worry, until February, our focus is right here on whatever this show is called.



ROMANS: CNNs Nick Valencia now with a closer look at NBC's seismic shift in late-night, take two.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Today, I accepted a new position. i am going to be the head basketball coach at Rutgers University. Thank you very much!


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a touch of his trademark humor, Jay Leno announced he'll step down as host of NBC's "Tonight Show," a spot he's had for over 20 years. Stepping into the gig will be 38-year-old Jimmy Fallon, a seemingly strategic move by NBC to attract a coveted younger viewing audience.

MAGGIE FURLONG, WEST COAST EDITOR, HUFFPOST TV: You know, Jay Leno's getting up there in years. Yes, he has a great audience. Yes, they're very loyal, but they're getting older, too. Jimmy brings in the young audience, the advertiser dollar audience.

VALENCIA: TV critic, Maggie Furlong, says leno's departure will mark a new era in late-night entertainment.

What kind of legacy will Jay Leno leave behind?

FURLONG: You know, Jay Leno will always be in that list with Johnny Carson and Jack Paar, and these late-night guys that made "The Tonight Show" what it was today.

VALENCIA: As part of the change, "The Tonight Show" production will leave its Burbank California studio and return to its original home in New York. Fans lining up to see Wednesday's "Tonight Show" taping had mixed reaction to the news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would be sad to see Jay go. We love him. We've spent years watching him. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I still don't believe it's true. I really --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's true, mom. Jay's kind of old. He's got to go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jimmy, he's an up-and-coming, you know, I love Jimmy.

VALENCIA: Reports about a possible "Tonight Show" switch-up have been circulating for weeks. Leno and Fallon hinted at the change and even joked about an alleged rivalry in a skit earlier this week.

FALLON: Jay, can I ask you something? We're still friends, right?

VALENCIA: The friendly exchange is quite a contrast from 2009, when NBC tried to change up "The Tonight Show" by installing Conan O'Brien. The peacock network seems to be laying the ground for a smoother transition this time around.

LENO: I want to congratulate my good friend, Jimmy Fallon. He is a hell of a guy.


LENO: He's going to do a great job. Jimmy, don't let it slip into sixth! We're counting on you!

VALENCIA: And for Leno loyalists, he'll still be on air for another year.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Hollywood.


ROMANS: Another year.

BERMAN: Another year. As we said, everyone talking about it, including David Letterman. Letterman had plenty to say about the NBC late-night shake-up on his show last night.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": How many of you folks earlier today saw the white smoke coming out of the chimney at NBC? Anybody see that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ha! We have a new pope!


LETTERMAN: I got a call from my mom today. She says, well, David, I see, you didn't get "The Tonight Show" again. (LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN: You got to know, mom (ph).



BERMAN: So, letterman even had a Leno-themed top ten list last night and pointed out that he'll soon be the only network late-night host not named Jimmy.

ROMANS: OK. More rain forecast for parts of the south with a chance of severe thunderstorms across Florida and Georgia. Who's going to get it next? We've got Jennifer Delgado for that.

BERMAN: That's right. Hey, Jennifer.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, guys. You're right. And we're getting it down here right now in Atlanta, but it's going to be making its way towards parts of the northeast as we move through tomorrow. But right now, on the radar, you can see a lot of lightning off the coastline of Florida as well as to the south of Louisiana, and a little bit of that snow, a little bit of a sleet mix through parts of Oklahoma.

That's very light stuff. It's not going to amount too much, but as we focus on Atlanta, maybe you're going to be flying into or out of here today. Expect some delays around, because we are going to see some of these storms potentially trying to get stronger as we go through the afternoon. National heavy rain for you, but down towards Central Florida, that's where the heaviest rainfall is coming down, still some lightning right across Sarasota.

And speaking of Florida, we are going to see the chance, as I said, for some of those storms to become strong, bringing potentially large hail as well as damaging winds, and we can't rule out that isolated tornado, and that includes even the southern part of Georgia, that Florida panhandle and down towards peninsula. So keep an eye to the skies as we always say to you.

Rainfall totals two to four inches across Central Florida. As we move up the coastline, for areas like Georgia as well as into the Carolinas, one to two inches of rainfall. And as I said, that will be making its way through the mid-Atlantic and northeast on Friday. So, get ready for the rain. But for today, a lot of sunshine around for the northeast and the same for the southwest.

High temperatures look a lot better for today. We're talking 50s out there as well as the 60s. I think you'll take that in New York. Back over to you two.

BERMAN: Baby steps. Thanks, Jennifer. We appreciate it.

DELGADO: Baby steps are right. BERMAN: Fifty-five minutes after the hour right now. And for five years, he wore a prison uniform, now, he's wearing an NFL Jersey. This is an amazing story of second chances, coming up.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. A quick look at what's trending on CNN right now. From prison to the pros, the Atlanta Falcons have signed Brian Banks for a shot at an inside linebacker position. Banks spent five years in prison and five more on probation for crimes he did not commit.

A classmate accused him of rape when he was just a 16-year-old high school star bound for USC. She later recanted. Banks' record was wiped clean last year, and now, he gets a chance to play.

ROMANS: That story gives me goose bumps. I wish him all the best. EARLY START continues right now.


BERMAN (voice-over): Missile crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Washington walking a fine line as the north threatens a nuclear attack.

ROMANS (voice-over): Murder at one of the most secure spots in America. A manhunt under way right now after a shooting at Ft. Knox.

BERMAN: Shark attack at a vacation hotspot. New this morning, a surfer survives after being bitten just off the beach.

FALLON: You guys probably heard the news I'm going to be taking over for "The Tonight Show" next February.


LENO: I want to congratulate my good friend, Jimmy Fallon. He is a hell of a guy.

ROMANS: Passing the baton on "The Tonight Show." Leno's out, Fallon's in. And while you were sleeping, both hosts had little something to say about it.