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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

North Korea Warns South Korea to Evacuate Foreigners; Japan Deploys Patriot Missiles; Iran's New Nuke Facility; Kidnapped to Cuba; Louisville Outlasts Michigan

Aired April 9, 2013 - 05:00   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A dire warning out of North Korea. Foreigners in the South told to get out or take shelter in case of what it calls all out war.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: "Star Wars" in the Persian Gulf. Take a look at this. The U.S. Navy's answer to Iran's nuclear program: laser cannons that can torch a plain in instant.

SAMBOLIN: Wow.

And spotted in Cuba. Two young boys abducted from Florida allegedly by their own father. Now comes the hard part: how are we going to get them home?

BERMAN: And win for the ages. What a day!

Louisville finding inspiration from a fallen teammate and my bracket to capture college basketball's national championship.

SAMBOLIN: I kind of like this game, Berman. This was a cool game.

BERMAN: This was a fantastic game. This was like --

SAMBOLIN: This is the way to have a championship game.

BERMAN: Fantastic! Congratulations to Louisville. It is a great morning.

And good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Tuesday, April 9th. It is 5:00 a.m. on the East.

So, let's get started. We begin with a dire warning from North Korea. The communist North warning South Korea to come up with a plan to evacuate foreigners should the two countries go to war. North Korea's ironically named Asia Pacific Peace Committee said this morning, quote, "If there is to be a war, we do not wish to see foreigners in South Korea to be harmed."

CNN has reporters all over the story this morning. Diana Magnay is live in Tokyo with the war preparations that are going on in Japan. But, first, we're going to go to Jim Clancy, who is live in Seoul, South Korea. Jim, what do you make of the warnings? And what has the response been so far?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, you know, I was watching television, watching North Korean television, Zoraida, when this came on. Even though I don't understand Korean, you can tell by the tone of the anchor they're very fierce when they deliver these kinds of things. It's like you explained, we don't want to see foreigners harmed, looking out for our welfare.

They said that -- they advised the South they should have some measures to protect people are working for companies, working at institutions. Or even tourists that are coming to South Korea in order to protect them in case of war.

Obviously, just a veiled economic threat that they would like to see, of course, some disruption in South Korea's economy -- one of the tiger economies, the fourth largest in Asia. They're not going to see that. The response has been very calm. It's been very cool. It's been very clear, too.

Stay put. Stay calm. That's the message.

And some embassies are saying really we're not going to react to every one of these threats that comes out of the North. They expect more. This is a tactic meant to put pressure on everyone -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Tom Clancy live for us, thank you very much.

BERMAN: This is truly an international crisis. Japan has deployed missile defense systems at three locations around Tokyo. Patriot missiles are now in place in the central district of Ichigaya and in the suburbs of Osaka, as well as Narashino.

Our coverage of the Korean crisis continues now with Diana Magnay, who is live in Tokyo. And, Diana, tell us more about these preparations.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Actually, the missiles behind me, two Patriot missile batteries that you can see there were deployed overnight here at the ministry of defense, right in the heart of central Tokyo. So, residents waking up and seeing these war machines where normally they see a baseball park.

But this isn't the first time that they've seen that, John. There have been Patriot missiles deployed in this spot and around Tokyo three times since 2009. And that's every time that North Korea has announced it will launch a satellite.

So people are getting used to it to a certain extent. And these deployments come in conjunction also with war ships, destroyers being moved into the Sea of Japan. They also have a missile interception system onboard.

And I was talking to a security analyst earlier. He said, you know, even though Pyongyang is just 800 miles from Tokyo, if these systems work and all the tests would suggest that they're pretty effective, then they should keep the Japanese Archipelago safe.

But North Korea isn't actually targeting Tokyo or Japan. It simply accused the Japanese of really blindly telling U.S. policy. But it has said it will strike U.S. military bases in Japan. And Japan, of course, is home to 38,000 U.S. troops.

So that is what Japan is worried about. These missile systems almost just a reassurance for the Japanese people and to show that they are putting forward a sort of minimum care required to protect the Japanese people, while it's also showing they're not cowering to North Korea.

BERMAN: All right. Diana, live in Tokyo this morning -- literally standing in front of a patriot missile battery. Our thanks to you.

SAMBOLIN: Four minutes past the hour. New this morning in Iran, the government says it had inaugurated a brand new uranium processing facility. It is located in the country's central province of Yazd.

The announcement came just hours after the U.S. Navy released video of a laser attack weapon that's been deployed to the Persian Gulf. The demonstration shows the laser bringing down a drone. The weapon is reportedly meant as a warning to Iran not to step up activity in the Gulf if tensions over its nuclear program build up.

BERMAN: So the search for two kidnapped Florida boys taking a dramatic turn. The focus this morning now on Cuba. Law enforcement has confirmed that 2-year-old Chase Hakken and 4-year-old Cole has arrived safely in Cuba. They were allegedly abducted by their father Joshua who sailed the whole family there.

Victor Blackwell is live in Tampa. This is getting stranger by the moment, Victor. What's the latest?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this also could now start an international political fight. It was the Hillsborough County sheriff's office here in Florida that first reported late yesterday that they received information that the Hakken family had arrived by boat in Cuba. So, of course, we asked them to elaborate. They would not.

But what we know this morning is that the U.S. State Department says U.S. officials in Havana are aware of the situation and involved. And it's indeed the Hakken family, if they're in Cuba, this is what authorities say is the end of a plan that started here on Wednesday.

Here's what happened on Wednesday. Authorities tell us that Joshua Hakken came here to Hillsborough County into Tampa and went to his mother-in-law's home, the grandmother of 2 and 4-year-old Chase and Cole Hakken. Tied that woman up and took the children and ran off.

There was a search for a car and then a truck and then this boat we realized we were told by authorities that he purchased just days after this kidnapping, we're told by authorities.

So this now, as you said, has become an international incident. We're still waiting for confirmation from the U.S. government exactly why or how they ended up in Havana, Cuba.

BERMAN: So, Victor, there is no extradition treaty between with the U.S. and Cuba. The question is what happens? Might Cuba send these people now back to the U.S.?

BLACKWELL: You know, Joshua Hakken is described by authorities as someone who has anti-government views. And he likely knew that if indeed he is in Cuba. There are about 70 fugitives in Cuba. That's an estimate from the FBI. And many of those people have been there for decades. So, we do not know.

But what we do know that when he comes back, if he comes back, he'll face charges of kidnapping and child neglect and false imprisonment. That's just for what happened here according to authorities in Tampa, not to mention the charges from Slidell (ph) when in 2012 the two boys were taken from him in a hotel -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Victor, our thanks to you. Victor live in Tampa this morning.

SAMBOLIN: And happening right now, hundreds of people evacuated from their homes as strong gusty winds fueled a brush fire. So, so far, it's burned about 170 acres just north of Los Angeles. It started in a building and it quickly spread to nearby hillsides as you're taking a look there. About 400 firefighters are trying to get things under control right now. No injuries have been reported thankfully there.

Meanwhile, plunging temperatures and heavy snowfall in other parts of the country despite the fact that we are well into spring now.

BERMAN: Well into spring.

SAMBOLIN: Millions are bracing for another shot of winter from Colorado to Minnesota, Utah to the Dakotas. Severe thunderstorms and hail have already pelted parts of Kansas.

BERMAN: Look at that.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, those are large pieces of hail there. And reports of tornadoes touching down in northern Colorado as well.

Anything else in store for them? Jennifer Delgado is tracking the system from the severe weather center. Jim Spellman is live in Golden, Colorado, where they could see a foot of snow.

Jim, let's start with you. Paint a picture for us.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just starting to switch over from rain to snow. It was shocking last night, Zoraida, right around sundown. It dropped 10 degrees, 20 degrees, 30 degrees in the course of an hour here.

Now, as you can see, the roads are still clear. There are about 400 plows on the roads in Colorado ready to keep everything moving as best they can. At the airport, a few flights canceled. They'll be doing de-icing all day. They actually canceled school in Denver and most of the suburban counties this morning.

The first school day of the year here almost half way through April. They're taking the storm very seriously. They expect it to be an all day snow event. And even though it will be fun for the kids, treacherous driving conditions. It's already sort of a frozen rain here that's coating this bottom layer. It will be covered by snow in the next hour or two.

So a late spring surprise here for everybody that was wearing shorts yesterday. They're taking it very seriously and want to keep everybody safe -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: They should. But those poor folks. Man, it is spring time. We're going to check back in with you. Thank you.

BERMAN: And, of course, thank you for bringing CNN the very first pictures of snowflakes in Colorado today.

The question is: just how bad will this system get? Jennifer Delgado is tracking it for us. Good morning, Jennifer.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, he's on that breaking news for us right now. You know what? The snow is going to be increasing. And here it is on the radar right now. We're starting to see that little snow burst moving through. You can see from Colorado Springs up to Denver, right along 25.

Now, as we go through the morning hours as well as into the evening, the snow will be kicking up. The winds are already gusty out there. But, look what's happening. We're also seeing a warm area where the lightning is firing up anywhere along this line we're going to continue to see showers and thunderstorms.

Snow coming down right now through parts of the Dakotas, as well as Nebraska. Yes, we're talking about some impressive snow totals, especially for this time of the year. We're expecting three to six inches in some parts, yes, a foot of snowfall.

And you can see for areas like North Platte as well as into Rapid City, four to nine inches of spring snowfall. I know you don't want it. But the reality is you're going to get it out there.

Look at these winds right now. Very gusty. As we go throughout the day, the visibility is going to be dropping down. Those winds right now, 28 for Rapid City, for North Platte at 18, and then for Denver, we're looking at gusts at 25.

Now, you saw the lightning on the radar. Today, we do have a severe weather threat. Many areas in that slight risk category, but if you're in the red this is our moderate risk. This looks like our first moderate risk for the season. And that means we're going to be looking at some of the storms producing the possibility of some hail, of course, some damaging winds. You certainly want to be cautious when you're going to be out there for today.

On a wider view, fire threat down towards the Southwest. Of course, very windy conditions. Still even out in the Southwest and including areas like California. I know they've been battling fires there. But over towards the East and the South, guys, we are talking about -- we need to hear a round of applause -- high temperatures near 80 degrees.

That is New York City, Washington, D.C., Zoraida (ph), she just keep grumbling on. She gives the high five to John. John is always silent. Whenever I give him good news, he just kind of sits there.

BERMAN: Well, I was going to say, I don't want to gloat. But apparently we do want to gloat a little bit here.

SAMBOLIN: I'm OK with it.

BERMAN: Jennifer Delgado, thanks so much.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So do you say Louisville or do you say Louisville?

BERMAN: I say winners. I say NCAA champ is what I say.

SAMBOLIN: All right. The Louisville Cardinals drawing inspiration from injured teammate Kevin Ware, overcoming Michigan 82-76 last night to win college basketball's national championship. Both teams play with a lot of passion and a lot of pride for 40-heart pounding minutes.

BERMAN: It was awesome.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

Rachel Nichols sat down with Ware right after the big win.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You told me before this that you were going escalator up to that net if you had to. Instead, they brought it down to you. What was it like when you got to cut down the nets after you've been through?

KEVIN WARE, LOUISEVILLE CARDINALS: It meant everything. Honestly, just being in the position. I didn't know they were going to actually do it. So, they told me. It was shocking.

But just being able to cut the net down and celebrate with my teammates is everything to me.

NICHOLS: How you would wrap up this week for you, everything you've been through, the lows, the highs, the injury, and then watching why your team?

WARE: It was all worth it. This was a great, great game. I really enjoyed every moment of it.

NICHOLS: And the reception you got from everyone around the country and the fans tonight?

WARE: It was big. The support has been keeping me in my good spirits. Honestly. That's what's getting me through.

So, I just want to say thank you to everybody.

NICHOLS: And next year, you're going to be back here playing instead of watching?

WARE: I'm praying so.

NICHOLS: We'll watch you at the nets again. Thank you, Kevin.

WARE: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: We're going to have much more on the big game. Rachel Nichols one-on-one interview with Louisville coach Rick Pitino and the next half hour of EARLY START.

But I got to mention, for Michigan, Spike Albrecht, was it five three pointers?

BERMAN: He was insane.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable. So, congratulations to you this morning.

BERMAN: This kid is 5'11," 170.

SAMBOLIN: And a freshman.

BERMAN: And he didn't play that much all year. He goes on the court with Tray Burke in foul trouble. He drains three after three after three. And then Kentucky's Luke Hancock comes off the bench and drains three after three.

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the CNN bracket challenge.

SAMBOLIN: Go for it.

BERMAN: I want to congratulate Ashleigh Banfield, who managed to win. But really the answer is what happened between us. I had a dramatic come from behind victory.

SAMBOLIN: No kidding.

BERMAN: I toppled you at the very end. I finished sixth. You finished 11th, which puts me five full places in front of you.

SAMBOLIN: Congratulations, Mr. Berman. By the way, my bracket was completed by my 14-year-old son.

BERMAN: See, if you won, I would get all the credit. Now you're blaming your kid.

SAMBOLIN: I'm not blaming. Look how well he did for a 14-year-old.

BERMAN: That (INAUDIBLE) was going to be here.

SAMBOLIN: Good job, Nico (ph).

BERMAN: Fourteen minutes after the hour here.

She went looking for a taste of the great outdoors. She ended up eating dirt and fighting off wild animals. One teen's firsthand tale of getting lost in the wilderness, that's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Seventeen minutes after the hour here. Let's bring up to date.

There are some major new developments this morning in the Korean crisis. North Korea warning the South to start making plans to evacuate foreigners should the two countries go to war.

Meantime, Japan is preparing for the worst as the rhetoric from the North reaches a fever pitch. Batteries of Patriot missiles have been deployed in three sites around Tokyo in case any missiles are launched.

SAMBOLIN: And news developing in Serbia this morning. At least 13 people including a child reported killed in a shooting spree right outside of Belgrade. The police chief saying a man in his 60s went into five different houses and just started firing away. Other media report the gunman killed his own son and that he tried to kill himself and his wife.

They're reported in serious condition right now. There's no word on a motive.

BERMAN: An airport worker in Minneapolis busted for stealing stuff from passenger's checked bags. David Vang is accused of swiping about $85,000 worth of jewelry --

SAMBOLIN: Wow.

BERMAN: -- electronics, guns, and other items. Wow.

Authorities say Vang only stole from bags connecting through the Twin Cities, making the thief harder to track. Surveillance cameras finally exposed these crimes. Vang's wife is also charged.

SAMBOLIN: And we're hearing now from the second of two hikers who survived after being lost in a southern California wilderness for days. Eighteen-year-old Kyndall Jack is telling her story at least the part that she remembers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KYNDALL JACK, RESCUED HIKER: I only remember the first night and the last thing I remember the first night was fighting off some animal with Nick. And then I just remember the last day scooting down a little hill -- actually, it wasn't little. It was a cliff, and then just resting on my little rock for the rest of the time being.

I know I ate dirt, tried to eat dirt and rocks and I came to the hospital with a big mouthful of dirt. That's all I remember.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: So both teenagers were dehydrated when found in separate locations a day part. Jack also suffered a hand injury and scrapes and bruises.

BERMAN: What a harrowing story. Fighting animals. It was a little strange.

SAMBOLIN: It is a little bizarre.

BERMAN: Nineteen minutes after the hour.

So the new boss out at J.C. Penney, the old boss --

SAMBOLIN: Back in.

BERMAN: Back in. Sounds like a song from the Who. More on this bizarre corporate shake-up, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-three minutes past the hour. We are minding your business this morning.

Wall Street kicked off corporate earning season late yesterday, first to report aluminum maker Alcoa posted better than expect the profit despite lower sales.

BERMAN: Stock futures overall are a bit higher this morning. But, Christine Romans, J.C. Penney in for a day, huh?

SAMBOLIN: She's all over this, right?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Look, I thought Ron Johnson would have been fired by now, quite frankly. He lost a lot of customers. He lost a lot of money. He lost a lot of confidence in this company.

Penny shares are up. But they're all over the map this morning in early trading. Look, that is Ron Johnson.

This is a guy who was hired because he was a genius over at Apple who helped design those apple stores to be this go-to place, slick, appealing to young people, appealing to people who have money to spend on consumer products.

Well, guess what? IPads are different than sweat suits and towel sets. And he changed JCPenney so much so quickly that JCPenney's core audience said, I don't like what I see. They took their money and went elsewhere.

I'll tell you what? I went in recently, because there was all this drama about JCPenney and Martha Stewart and Macy's were actually fighting over a Martha Stewart brand in court right now. I went in. I said why are sales falling so badly? What has this guy done to JCPenney?

I walked in. First thing I noticed, there weren't checkouts. There weren't counters with checkouts. There were people who had mobile checkouts like at an Apple Store. I saw women all over the store with merchandise who didn't know where to check out, didn't have a place to put their purse to find their coupons.

That's what women have done for JCPenney and men for years. He changed it so much, sales fell 28 percent in 2012, a whopping 40 percent drop during the most important time of the year, holiday season.

The board slashed his salary last week. You know what? Some board members said, forget it. We've got to go back. We've got to press the reset button, Mike Ullman.

Wall Street not happy with that choice, by the way. So, they tried to like undo what they did to make this a relevant and fresh company. On top of all that, JCPenney back in court with Macy's over the right to sell Martha Stewart branded products.

If JCPenney doesn't the right to sell this stuff they want to sell, you know, they've got warehouses full of Martha Stewart branded products that the judge says they can't sell. It is a total corporate mess.

This is a massive leadership flameout that I haven't seen since as my producer said, new Coke. It's been since new Coke that you've seen such a dramatic try to change a brand that didn't work.

BERMAN: Now they're going back to classic.

ROMANS: Really.

BERMAN: They're trying to at least.

ROMANS: Stock is up a little bit. I'm going to be interested to see -- it's been cut in half. The stock has been cut in half. It's about $15.80 a share now. Cut in half.

Look at that. If you are a shareholder in JCPenney, a board member at JCPenney, an executive of JCPenney, you look at that chart and you are terrified. And --

SAMBOLIN: You got to listen to your consumers.

ROMANS: And he cut a lot of workers, too. So, workers who lost their jobs, they're mad, too.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thanks, Christine. It is 26 minutes past the hour.

It's hard to feel bad for a guy that just lost his job. When you hear how much money he'll get on his way out the door, perhaps you won't feel that way.

BERMAN: A lot. It's the latest twist in the Rutgers coach abuse scandal. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)