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What to Expect with Oil Prices; Are Airlines Better or Worse; Does Red Meat Cause Cancer; Beyonce, Jay-Z Questioned About Cuba Trip; Mike Tyson Fights for Another Boxer; Halle Berry, Michael Kor Help U.N. World Food Program.

Aired April 8, 2013 - 13:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Alison, we're all starting to plan our summer vacations already. The weather's getting good. Do you think it's going to be cheaper or more expensive to take that vacation?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I think it's going to probably be a little cheaper. The good news is that oil prices are falling, Suzanne. Analysts are saying more refineries are getting access to cheaper and passing the savings onto customers. And oil supply is strong meaning oil prices are down as well. Look where oil prices are right now. They're at $93 a barrel. This time last year, they were at $105 a barrel. So we've come quite a ways from last year. Also, older less fuel-efficient cars are being replaced. More people are buying newer cars that get better gas mileage. Gas prices really are better now than they were last year. You know, last year they were around $3.93 a gallon. So they're doing better now. They're 34 cents lower right now.

I want to show you a map. If you are one of the lucky people, you're in yellow. That's where the lowest prices are. But if you are in the redder areas like New York I filled up for $70 for my tank yesterday. So I'm still seeing sticker shock. I'm not in the yellow areas just yet.

MALVEAUX: Wow. $60, $70 that's pretty high. I'm doing about the same I think. Yes.

All right. We'll still wait. We'll wait a little bit lower.

Thanks, we appreciate it, Alison.

Crowded flights, seats too tight, rising ticket prices, all in the latest Airline Quality Report. That is out today.

Zain Asher's been digging through all of that.

And, of course, you know, Zain, we travel all the time. It's rough out there, right? There are a lot of things that could go wrong. Is it getting better or worse?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Actually, it's over all getting better. But you have problems like over sales, crowded flights, also tight seats. Complaints are up a whopping 20 percent from a new study as you mentioned on airline quality from Wichita State University, also Purdue as well. United Airlines the worst offender. Overall, by the way, complaints could rise this year because of all the recent mergers we have coming up. Mergers do temporary mean a temporary spike in complaints, things like lost baggage, computers and record integration between two companies can be tricky. We have the merger between American airlines and U.S. Airways expected to be completed this fall. Who knows? Things might get worse again before they get better -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Oh, wow. Zain, I mean, is anything improving here. They don't give you a pillow anymore. Anything better?

ASHER: Overall, things are getting better. Airlines are scoring pretty high for being on time. That's partly because of fewer planes in the sky. So when you have fewer planes in the sky, there tend to be fewer delays. On-time arrivals improved for eight of the 14 airlines. So you want to get somewhere on time, the best airline is Hawaiian Airlines. That's the best. Partly because Hawaiian Airlines mainly travels to warm weather areas, Hawaii, California, that kind of thing. They're not going to be delayed for snowstorms or blizzard.

Also mention that lost luggage is actually at a 25-year low. Virgin America gets top marks there. Pretty good. But not many bags go missing on its watch, mainly because of the fees. Fees are actually encouraging people to actually check-in their bags -- I'm sorry, put their bags on a flight as opposed to check them in. What might actually be worse for business might actually be better for consumers -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: All right. Little good news there.

Thank you, appreciate it, Zain.

This is about Beyonce, Jay-Z. Little backlash here. They were all smiles visiting Cuba last week. Well, there are some lawmakers who have questions about that trip. They think they could be in trouble. We'll have that up next.


MALVEAUX: Her political toughness earned her the nickname the Iron Lady. Well, today, leaders from around the world are remembering former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher died today of a stroke. She was 87 years old and Britain's first and only female prime minister. Played a major role in also ending -- helping end the Cold War.

If you love a good steak, listen up here. New study shows there's a link now between a compound found in red meat and heart disease. So we've heard before that it is the fat in red meat that can be bad for your heart. But this seems to be something different. And, of course, it's getting a lot of attention.

Elizabeth Cohen joining us to talk a little about, what do we mean by this, this compound in red meat?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a compound I think most people haven't heard of. It's called carnitine. It exists naturally in meat. The long and short of it is your body metabolizes it into something called TMAO. When they looked at adults, they looked at human beings, they said, wow, people with high levels of TMAO are more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke. And when we give carnitine to lab rats, their arteries get clogged.

MALVEAUX: So should people be eating less red meat? Is that the conclusion of all this?

COHEN: This is not a proven cause and effect. The folks who make these products say, look, no one thing is going to cause heart disease. It's genetics. It's a bunch of things. This is what the meat institute has to say. The meat industry says this should not prompt any dietary changes and consumers who enjoy red meat should continue to do so with confidence. However, there are some doctors that say this is yet another reason to limit your consumption of red meat. If this makes you nervous, don't eat it. One of those things everybody has to decide for themselves. This is not written in stone this compound is terrible for you and going to give you a heart attack. Not written in stone like that at all. If it makes you nervous, don't eat so much red meat.

MALVEAUX: Some more vegetables.

COHEN: A lot more vegetables.

MALVEAUX: Elizabeth, thanks. Appreciate it.

It's college day, of course. Basketball fans waiting for the big dance. Louisville battling it out with Michigan for bragging rights. NCAA championship game live report, next.


MALVEAUX: Tonight is the night. March Madness coming to an end with the championship game. According to some experts now, March Madness is a fever that has a lot of people calling in sick. You know who you are. According to a new report, 12 percent of workers say they have called in sick so they can watch a game. They estimate that the NCAA men's basketball tournament's going to cost companies $134 million in lost wages. Some of the damage has already been done. Most of it actually, most of the work missed early on in the tournament. Suspect that many Michigan and Louisville fans also might call in sick.

Joe Carter at the Georgia Dome where all of this is playing out.

Hot, hot, hot, right? Are you going to call in sick tomorrow? You'll be here, I assume, yes?

JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes. I'll be here bright and early. We're first-in, first-out. That's how we roll.

MALVEAUX: All right.

CARTER: Great game tonight. I think unlike college football, college basketball actually got it right. We have the two best teams in the country playing tonight for the national championship game. Of course you've got the number one offense in college basketball, the Michigan wolverines against the number one defense in college basketball, the Louisville cardinals. Speaking of Louisville, what a great day for Rick Petino, the legendary coach elected into the basketball coach of Hall of Fame, he's been a head coach in the coaching ranks for over 30 years. He's been to seven final fours over his career. And tonight if he wins he could be the first coach in college basketball history to win national championships with two different schools. Louisville was in the final four last year, essentially the same team. They do not want to leave tonight empty handed like they did last time.

Speaking of their opponent, Michigan, some have said Michigan is a team of destiny. The reason why I say that is because this team has really turned it on at the right time. Coming into this tournament they've beaten powerhouse basketball schools like VCU, Kansas, Florida, Syracuse. This team, coined by a fan as the Fresh Five trying to do what the Fab Five could not do 20 years ago and that's win a national championship. And to think that this school and this team could create a legacy that guys like Chris Weber, Jawan Howard (ph), the most famous names in Michigan basketball history could not do. I mean, the Fab Five, when you say Michigan, that's what you think of. The bald head, the baggy shorts, the black shoes, the black socks, the bad attitudes. They were the bullies and bad boys of college basketball 20 years ago. To think this team could create a legacy that the Fab Five could not is incredible -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: It's going to be hot. We have to watch. We're going to watch all that.

I have Louisville, in my bracket, I have Louisville going all the way.

CARTER: I have Louisville going all the way in one of mine too, but I think it's Michigan's night. I don't care so much about my bracket. I think it's Michigan tonight.

MALVEAUX: All right. We'll place a bet on that. We'll see how you do.

Thanks again. Appreciate it.

Beyonce, Jay-Z, a controversy now in Cuba. What it's all about, next.


MALVEAUX: Family and friends gathered today at the funeral for movie critic Roger Ebert. The crowd packed into a church in Chicago and listened as his wife spoke. He died on Thursday at the age of 70, just two days after announcing that his cancer had returned. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel all spoke at the funeral.

Beyonce, Jay-Z used to being in the spotlight, but not like this. Two Republican lawmakers from Florida want to know why they ended up in Cuba last week. They were there to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary, but the U.S. has tough rules against traveling to that communist country. And even though the restrictions have loosened a little last year, most Americans who travel there have to have special license or permission here. So did they? That is the question.

Rafael Romo joins us.

Rafael, you've been covering this. Have they responded, first of all, to the lawmakers?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN LATIN AMERICA CORRESPONDENT: They have not. Not to the lawmakers, not to Cuban officials, not to us for that matter. We've been trying to reach them. But listen, when somebody goes to Cuba, there's the political aspect of it. There's the legal ramifications. But then there's the fact that it's Beyonce and it's Jay-Z. And no matter where they go in the world, people are going to go wild. And I want to show you --


MALVEAUX: They went nuts.

ROMO: I want to show you this part of the video where people, who had been waiting for them outside the Saratoga Hotel in Havana, Cuba, when they see them, listen to the reaction that they had.


UNIDENTIFIED CUBAN RESIDENT (through translation): I'm very happy that such a high level figure is here in Cuba.

UNIDENTIFIED CUBAN RESIDENT (through translation): I really wanted to see her because I like many of her songs. I'm very happy that she came to Cuba.


ROMO: So young people in Cuba just crazy about the fact that Beyonce had chosen to be there in Havana.

Now, a couple of people who are not too happy about the fact that they were there are two Cuban-American lawmakers from Florida. They wrote a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department saying the following, "Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports describe the couple's trip as tourism and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda." It goes to the Castro regime, which is a big no-no, and there are laws that restrict travel.

MALVEAUX: What do they need to do? We don't know if they got permission or not, but what do they need to do? Do they need to go to the State Department and get a special dissertation or how does it work?

ROMO: For the average American, it's very difficult to go to Cuba unless the State Department sanctions the trip. It has to be an educational or cultural exchange. If it's anything other than that, or if it's an official with the U.S. government or a U.S. State going, otherwise, it's just very difficult and it's a violation of travel regulations under the State Department.

MALVEAUX: If they didn't get permission, what could they face?

ROMO: They're going to face a fine. I mean, this is not a case where they would face a huge legal battle or even jail. They're going to face a fine. But then again, it's more about what they did and how they did it and whether they told anybody with the U.S. State Department that they were going and what they were doing.

MALVEAUX: All right. We await their

ROMO: Yes.

MALVEAUX: Thanks again, Rafael. Appreciate it.

Just ahead, on CNN NEWSROOM, Halle Berry taking on a surprising new role.


HALLE BERRY, ACTRESS: This has been the biggest surprise of my life, to tell you the truth.


MALVEAUX: Why she's collaborating with fashion designer, Michael Kors. That's up next.


MALVEAUX: Took a little longer than usual, but Washington's cherry blossoms finally blooming, gorgeous there. Really spectacular. Temperatures finally hit above 60 degrees in D.C. over the weekend. Got to love that.

Former boxing champ, Mike Tyson, in another fight, this time, not the kind of fight you might be thinking. He is taking on the political establishment, trying to get a fellow boxer pardoned. Jack Johnson was the first African-American heavyweight champ and in 1913 he was convicted and a charge of transporting a white woman across state lines for immoral purposes. Johnson eventually married the woman.

Take a listen to part of Tyson's interview and what he told Don Lemon.


MIKE TYSON, BOXER: They had a meeting briefly with Senator Reid and he's all for it, man. I'm just so happy that somebody with the clientele and the prestige that Senator McClane and Senator Reid. 114 years ago this happened, and I think posthumously, it is a wonderful thing.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Obviously, you have to be able to relate to this man.

TYSON: Yes. Not even a little bit. Jack Johnson was by himself. I had the NAACP. I had so many black organizations, I had white organizations, I have white powerful lawyers taking care of me. I'm a multi, multimillionaire when I'm going through my problems. Jack Johnson is by himself. He has a few preachers. And Jack Johnson was against black power movement and all that stuff. He was about getting it for ourselves. He was never accustomed to black people sticking together.


MALVEAUX: Senator Harry Reid himself, a former boxer, said Tyson's cause was an example of one great boxer standing up for another.

Up next -- this is very touching -- a 7-year-old goes the distance. Why he's got fans on their feet.


MALVEAUX: Oscar-winning actress, Halle Berry, and fashion designer, Michael Kors, teaming up to fight world hunger. They're adding star power to a campaign to raise money and awareness for the United Nations World Food Program.

Kors and Berry sat down with Alina Cho after she revealed that she was pregnant with her second child.




BERRY: Thank you.

CHO: How do you feel?


BERRY: I feel fantastic. This has been the biggest surprise of my life, to tell you the truth.

CHO: Really?

BERRY: Thought I was kind of past the point where this could be a reality for me. So it has been a big surprise and the most wonderful.

CHO: Girl or boy?

BERRY: I don't know. I don't know. But healthy.

CHO: Halle, as a mother, what does it mean for you to be involved with the U.N. World Food Program?

BERRY: Especially now, being a pregnant woman and already having a child, it is so important what happens to the baby while they're in utero. The first 1,000 days is fundamental. Good nutrition during that time period, fundamental for your baby to develop properly and normally and live a normal life. CHO: And, Michael, I know you've been involved with fighting hunger for a very long time, on the local level and now the United Nations. Why is this so near and dear to you?

MICHAEL KOR, FASHION DESIGNER: I'm a guy who likes to see results. And, you know, you see that this is a solvable problem. The food is there. You can change someone's life immediately.


MALVEAUX: You can learn more about the campaign and how you can help tomorrow when we bring you more of Alina's interview with Halle Berry and Michael Kors. That will be on AROUND THE WORLD, at noon eastern tomorrow right here on CNN.

And this story, very inspiring. A 7-year-old boy who was battling brain cancer, well, he got to play on the field with his favorite football team. Jack Hoffman suited up with the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers for a scrimmage game on Saturday. And you got to check it out. Watch.




ANNOUNCER: Blockers out in front.


He's running to midfield. Listen to this crowd. And Jack Hoffman, young man that, as I mentioned, has been --


MALVEAUX: No way. That's so awesome. The team rushed to the end zone, lifted him up on their shoulders. Just an incredible moment for that kid and for everybody. Way to go, good for him.

That is it for me. But CNN NEWSROOM continues.