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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Hacking Suspect Charged With Murder; "A Threat To The World"

Aired May 30, 2013 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Dangerous storms rumbling across the country, tornadoes tearing down buildings, flash floods leaving communities under water, and there's a lot more on the way today.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, one of the men accused of butchering a soldier on the street faces a judge. We are live.

ROMANS: And a new mystery virus spreading like wildfire. No prevention, no cure, and it's killing half the people it infects. The new warning from the World Health Organization.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans this morning.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Twenty-nine minutes after the hour.

Right now, we're going to start with the dangerous weather threat. It is growing this morning, and really, a lot of states are in its path. Many of those states are the very same ones that were dealt such a severe weather blow just a week ago.

People in central and southeastern Michigan surveying the damage after tornadoes destroyed homes and uprooted trees last night. Unfortunately, more is on the way.

ROMANS: In Illinois, security cameras captured the moment, the very moment a flash flood just about ripped the doors off a college building.

BERMAN: Look at that.

ROMANS: This happened at the main entrance of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg. The rushing water was so strong. It also tossed the furniture around there.

BERMAN: And you have to look at this video, weather drama on the field during last night's Texas Rangers/Arizona Diamondbacks game. The Rangers ground crew rushing to try to get a tarp on the field, really struggling to control it. I've never seen anything like this, and I watch a lot of baseball. Suddenly, rain, wind and lightning moved in. The weather, you know, as you can imagine, definitely postponed the game.

ROMANS: Wow! Look at them trying struggle to get a hold of that tarp. BERMAN: That's crazy.

ROMANS: Seems to be no relief for the storm-weary. That's for sure.

BERMAN: Our meteorologist, Indra Petersons, is tracking all of this for us. She is outside in the heat.

(LAUGHTER)

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Hard to believe, and it's 5:30 in the morning. Already a little sticky, about 70 degrees right now in New York. Don't let this fog fool you, seven (ph) degrees, 70 percent humidity, and we have about another 20 degrees to warm up today. That's what it's going to feel like in the northeast. Let's take a look at some of these maps.

We're expecting a heat wave, that three days of temperatures in the 90-degree mark. That's a big jump. Look at these temperatures, up about 15 degrees from yesterday, 16 from yesterday, definitely a lot of heat out there. Let's go ahead and click to the next map, if we got that for you. We're going to be talking about, yes, 90s. New York 91 today, Friday 91, Boston looking at the 90s. It's a little bit there, but really, West Virginia all the way to New England continuing to see this warm-up.

All right. Let's keep these maps moving. We're talking about definitely some severe weather out here. We're looking at the warm, moist air really mixing in with that dry air behind it. So, again today, that severe outlook is still going to continue with us. Today, that severe outlook stretching really kind of shifting to the east. So, today, really from Iowa down through Texas, we're looking for that threat for the severe weather.

That's a good 15 million of us. We saw these tornadoes picking up yesterday. Similar picture expected today. Heavy rain, large hail and the threat for tornadoes. Now, right now, we're seeing a slight risk. There is a potential. We will upgrade that because we're looking at a lot of instability in the atmosphere, and unfortunately, that means we're going to be staying very vigilant today.

We saw what happened just a few weeks ago. Just a few minutes can save someone's life. So, the key here is, everyone, pay attention.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks a lot, Indra. Important words of warning.

ROMANS: Barbara has been downgraded to a tropical storm again after making landfall in Mexico. That storm packing 75-mile-an-hour winds, crashed ashore on the southern pacific coast. Barbara could dump up to 20 inches of rain, 20 inches in some spots before dissipating later in the week.

BERMAN: The Chinese baby rescued from a sewer pipe, a dramatic video seen around the world, is home this morning with his maternal grandparents. The newborn known only as patient 59 was drinking formula as he was nursed back to health at the hospital. Rescuers had to carefully cut the pipe surrounding him in sections in order to get the baby free. So far, police do believe the 22-year-old mother's story that it was all a terrible accident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Jiang song, vice director, police (through translator): The girl was at her rental place. That day she felt stomach aches, so she went to the toilet. It was actually close to her due date and the baby just slid out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Hmm. So far, no charges have been filed. Firefighters and other rescuers involved visited the baby at the hospital and sent clothes, formula, powder, and diapers to the family. We're going to have a live report from China on how that baby is doing. That's coming up next hour on EARLY START.

ROMANS: Happening now, one of the two prime suspects in last week's brutal hacking death of a British soldier is due in court this hour. Twenty-two-year-old Michael Adebowale will formally charge with murder yesterday. He and another suspect allegedly ran over Lee Rigby and killed him in broad daylight using cleavers and knives. Frederik Pleitgen live from London this morning. What do we expect to happen in court today, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Good morning, Christine. Yes, essentially, this is an arraignment that's going to be happening here. It's not going to take very long. Usually, what happens is that the suspect, in this case, of course, Michael Adebowale, will appear before the judge, and then, it's going to be most formality. He's going to ask him for his name, also for his place of residence.

It's not going to be much more than that. One of the things authorities, though, are doing here is they want to get everything in this case right. It took a very long time for them to actually file these charges. If you recall, the murder of that British soldier, Lee Rigby, is a week ago, and the charges have just been filed now.

One of the reasons, of course, was that after all this happened, there was a standoff with the police and Michael Adebowale was shot and he was just recently released from hospital, but the police is still gathering evidence, which might seem quite strange because there was so much out there, so many videos out there, but they are still asking people to phone in, to give them new details, because they want to make this case air-tight.

And that's one of the reasons why it took so long. So, today's going to be a formality, but then, this trial is going to be done in a very, very professional way, Christine.

ROMANS: Frederik, what can you tell us about Lee Rigby? His family has released a statement?

PLEITGEN: Yes. His family has released a statement. His Fiancee, of course, released a statement as well, saying that she's obviously heartbroken by all of this, that he was a great fiance, then basically talking about their grief, and also, of course, issuing a thank you to the nation of England, because one of the things that's happened is that there's been this big outpouring of support and grief for this family.

There's a big sea of flowers at the scene that's over 100 yards long. It is something that many people are comparing with the death of Lady Diana so long ago, that the outpouring of support is that big. So, they issued their thanks for that. One of the interesting things that's been going on is that the support comes from all sides of the community here in England, of course, from the Islamic community as well.

ROMANS: All right. Frederik Pleitgen, thank you so much for that report, Fred.

BERMAN: Staff Sergeant Robert Bales about to plead guilty to the massacre of 16 Afghan villagers. He's doing that in order to avoid the death penalty. Bales' lawyer says military prosecutors at Joint Base Lewis-Mcchord in Washington State have agreed to the plea, but a spokesman for the base would only say a plea hearing is set for next week. The gruesome shooting spree last year is considered to be one of the deadliest war crimes by a single U.S. soldier after September 11th.

ROMANS: Iran is lashing out at Senator John McCain over his visit to Syria to meet with foreign-backed militants. Iran's foreign ministry accuses McCain of meddling in Syria's internal affairs. A ministry spokesman says McCain's meeting with commanders of armed opposition groups goes against U.S. claims that it is seeking a political solution to the situation in Syria.

BERMAN: Ahead on EARLY START, a dire warning. Health officials say it is their greatest concern on Earth right now, a virus with no known cure. It appears to be spreading. We'll tell you who should be concerned, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Forty minutes after the hour right now. Chaos at Costco when a woman with a knife started acting very strangely while serving pizza samples inside the store. Other employees called police to arrive and told the woman to put the knife down. When she refused, they tased her, but she kept coming at them, and that's when the bullets started flying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People were screaming and running for the doors, and I said, OK, I'm the guy from behind the -- the employee like leapt over the counter and ran out the door. I'm like, well, this is real! So, I think I'm also going to make my exit and just get out of here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The 38-year-old woman died. One of the deputies was treated for injuries that may have come from a ricocheting bullet. ROMANS: This morning we're hearing for the first time from the humble hero who helped expose the plot to blow up his high school. Seventeen-year-old Truman Templeton said he was not the only one aware of fellow student, Grant Acord's bomb-making obsession, but he became increasingly worried that his friend was not just bragging or joking about blowing up the school. Truman says when he no longer felt safe at school, he told his mother what he knew.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMAN TEMPLETON, SCHOOL BOMBS PLOT TIPSTER: The tipping point for me was when I was, you know, just worried about being in school and I thought at that point, OK, this school's supposed to be a safe, secure environment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The mother told a law enforcement friend who notified police. During a search of Acord's bedroom, investigators say they found two pipe bombs, two Molotov cocktails, and two explosives made from drain cleaner.

BERMAN: Quite an arsenal.

A scary, new warning from the World Health Organization about a virus they say could threaten the entire planet. There are already 49 cases of this new strain of a coronavirus in eight countries. There's no prevention, no cure, and it's killing half of the people it infects. CNN's Mary Snow reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hollywood movies like "Contagion" are sobering reminders of the real threat of deadly viruses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The average person touches their face three to five times every waking minute. In between, we're touching door knobs, water fountains and each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we have the virus, no treatment protocol, and no vaccine at this time?

SNOW: Reports of a new strain of a coronavirus overseas is nowhere near the movie version of an outbreak. So far, there are no reported cases in the United States. Its name, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. The World Health Organization is calling it a threat to the world.

GREGORY HARTL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: This is of grave concern to us here internationally in WHO, because there are so many unknowns around the virus which so far has killed 55 percent of the confirmed cases.

SNOW: Cases have been linked from the Middle East to the U.K., Germany, France, and Tunisia. So far, 27 people have died with the largest number in Saudi Arabia.

Should people be concerned about this?

DR. W. IAN LIPKIN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: People should always be concerned whenever there's an emerging infectious disease, because we don't really know. We don't have ways in which we can predict and project and appropriately prepare for some of these.

SNOW: Ian Lipkin is leading a team of scientists at Columbia University to investigate the virus, which is in the same family as SARS and the common cold. Symptoms include fever and severe respiratory problems. Patients have also developed pneumonia and kidney failure. Officials have found some clusters of cases where the disease has been transmitted between family members or in a health care setting. Researchers are looking at whether it was initially passed from animals to humans.

LIPKIN: The original host, the original reservoir for the virus in SARS was a bat. And we think based, on our analysis and the sequence of this virus, that it also originated in a bat.

SNOW: Where?

LIPKIN: Well, probably somewhere in the Middle East.

SNOW: Health officials don't know much about how the virus spreads, but at this point, travel warnings have not been issued.

DR. MARK DENISON, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: I don't think we should be concerned in terms of travel to the Middle East or to anywhere in the world right now, but to just be aware of it. Most of the cases and illnesses have been associated with the elderly and those with pre- existing or severe underlying medical conditions.

SNOW (on-camera): The World Health Organization is so concerned about this virus because there's no known treatment and no way to make a vaccine, not just yet. Doctors are currently working on that. In the cases that have been found in eight countries, all have been linked to the Middle East.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Those stories always terrify me. Those, you know, unexplained, we don't know what it is and how it's killing people, but it is. There are only eight cases, but it travels so quickly, because just like that movie clip, we touch our hands, we touch our face, we touch everything so many times during the day. Things spread so quickly.

BERMAN: Yes, and the words that scare me are no cure.

ROMANS: Exactly.

BERMAN: All right. Forty-four minutes after the hour. Coming up, the exercise fad that will explode your brain and make you ask why. Why? Prancercise, it's real and it's coming after you. Hide the kids.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Sunrise over New York City today. It's always nice when the sun comes up, so much better than the alternative. It is going to be a hot day, though, here in the city.

ROMANS: Your intro was pointing out. It's going to be 24 degrees hotter, 24 degrees. That's, wow!

BERMAN: Ninety-seven, it says later, 97 degrees there. Oh, my goodness! I didn't even see that.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: That is unfair and unnecessary.

ROMANS: All right.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Just stay inside.

Some of the country's biggest music stars are coming together to raise money during a huge tornado relief concert. Country music star and Oklahoma native, Blake Shelton, joined by Usher and many, many others. Shelton's wife, Miranda Lambert, broke into tears while she sang. Then everyone welled up when a tornado victim spoke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALLISON CASTILLA, OKLAHOMA TORNADO VICTIM: I just want to say that when bad things happen, good people step up to help. And I want to thank everyone who stepped up, who is stepping up to rebuild the place we call home. Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, Vince Gill, it was a really, really packed stage last night with some pretty big names all trying to help Oklahoma.

BERMAN: Good for them. What a great show.

See, overwhelmed by your inbox? Google is making organizing Gmail users' inboxes automatic. They say this will help. The new customizable version groups mail into categories that appear as tabs, primary, social, promotions, and updates. It's supposed to let users quickly see what's new and decide which e-mails to read and when. This rolls out in the next few weeks. If you don't like it, Gmail will let you go back to the classic inbox. I'm pretty sure this will mean that I will not respond to e-mails for at least six months.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: So, I apologize in advance.

ROMANS: All right. Too cute alert! An extremely rare set of baby twin, twin giraffes!

BERMAN: One's very much taller than the other.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Just -- come on.

BERMAN: Oh, maybe those aren't the twins.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: They're just taking their first baby steps. The brother and sister named Nikato and Waswa were born on a wildlife preserve in Texas earlier this month.

BERMAN: Welcome to them.

ROMANS: Very cute.

BERMAN: All right. There's a trail-blazing, and frankly, terrifying workout that is setting the internet on fire. It's called prancercise, and it may sound crazy to you now, but I guarantee, when you hear more about it, crazy doesn't begin to cut it. There are simply no words. Our Jeanne Moos has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wild horses couldn't keep us from reporting on this new exercise routine. Why exercise when you can prancercise? Is it a workout or is it a spoof? It is definitely something to behold. Let's pick up the pace.

JOANNA ROHRBACK, CREATOR, PRANCERCISE: With the prancercise strut, it's really hot.

MOOS: The outfit, the jewelry, the 1980s style. Is this real?

(on-camera) When you prancercise, what's it make you feel like?

ROHRBACK: Um, it makes me feel liberated.

MOOS (voice-over): Sixty-year-old Joanna Rohrback (ph) of Florida invented prancersizing 25 years ago.

ROHRBACK: It didn't start catching on until this week, I think.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: When blogs started featuring the video she put online last year. She'd already written a book and created a website. She describes prancercise as --

ROHRBACK: Springy, rhythmic, movement forward, similar to a horses gait, ideally induced by elation.

MOOS: She's elated by the web's sudden discovery of prancercise, even if much of the commentary is mocking. On "Huffington Post," her fitness routine was put on the comedy page.

(on-camera) The web, though, can be kind of harsh.

ROHRBACK: Oh, I know it can, but you know what? I'll take all of it, the harsh, the goof, everything, because hey, that's what getting famous is about, right?

MOOS (voice-over): The lady's got horse sense. There are four modes of prancercise, most of them done wearing ankle weights.

ROHRBACK: We're going to really cut the noose and let it loose with the prancercise gallop.

MOOS: Joanna says prancercise is great aerobic exercise, low impact on the body, and lots of fun, reminded us of an episode of "Friends," in which Rachel discovers that running unself-consciously, like a goofball, can feel great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel so free and so graceful!

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: See? Even Jennifer Aniston prancercises.

ROHRBACK: Now, it's your turn.

MOOS (on-camera): I'm channeling my inner horse. Exhausting.

(voice-over) As for all that mockery, Joanna takes it in stride.

ROHRBACK: Well, maybe my presence, because I'm not a youngster and I'm not wearing, you know, the usual pierced earrings and the punk hairdo.

MOOS: She's a horse of a different color, all right.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Looks like she's in good shape, John.

BERMAN: I actually want to revive my ridicule. I'm thrilled if this woman has found a way to stay fit. Fitness is important, but I'm not sure it's real still. (LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: I still can't believe something like that actually exists on Earth and is legal.

Anyway, still ahead, the scandal that has maroon seeing red. What Maroon 5's Adam Levine said on "The Voice" that has people questioning his patriotism?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. So, trending this morning, memo to Adam Levine, the mic is always hot. The Maroon 5 front man finds himself pledging allegiance to America after muttering some rather unpatriotic words on an episode of "The Voice" this week when two of his team members were voted off. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM LEVINE, SINGER: I hate this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Ooh, that comment where he said "I hate this country," that led to some angry tweets for Levine. For example, "I think I hate maroon 5 just as much as Adam Levine hates America," and "Adam Levine just said "I hate this country" on TV. Not a smart move, dude, not smart at all."

Levine tweeted by responding that -- they shared the definitions of joke, humorless, and misunderstanding. He later released a statement saying, "I obviously love my country very much and my comments were made purely out of frustration."

ROMANS: A new cartoon super hero who set to debut on a children's network this week and is sure to raise some eyebrows. This show is called "Shezow" on the Hub Network. It's about a 12-year-old boy named Guy who uses a magic ring to turn into a superhero who is not a guy. That's right, "Shezow" is a girl superhero.

Critics call the show gender bending. They claim it's too confusing for a cartoon that is aimed at seven-year-olds. The Hub Network disagreed. They compare "Shezow" to Bugs Bunny saying she's a lighthearted cartoon character who makes kids laugh by wearing a dress and a wig.

BERMAN: I don't think it's any more confusing than a robot that turns into like a car or a helicopter.

ROMANS: Or like a sponge that talks and breathes in the bottom of the ocean.

BERMAN: Which is pretty confusing when you really think about it.

ROMANS: It's very confusing. BERMAN: All right. So, tonight is the night. A new national spelling bee champion will be crowned. 281 finalists whittled down to 42 last night. This year's event, it is more challenging than ever because the kids not only have to spell the words at the stage of the competition, they have to know the meanings, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN HAMILTON, SPELLING BEE CONTESTANT: Then the vocab came along, I thought, this is going to be harder than I thought.

ABIRAMI RATNAKUMAR, SPELLING BEE CONTESTANT: I think that it just kind of -- might of overwhelmed me a little bit. It definitely made things a lot harder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Kids who are like 10,000 times smarter than I am competing tonight. Good luck to all of them.

EARLY START continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS (voice-over): Tornadoes, (INAUDIBLE) and a dangerous heat wave, Americans from coast to coast bracing for brutal severe weather today.

BERMAN (voice-over): New developments in the explosion at Toontown. A Disneyland employee accused of setting off the bomb.

ROMANS: And an American grandmother arrested in Mexico speaks out for the first time. Her emotional words from jail.

BERMAN: Wait till you hear what she -- so heartbreaking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

ROMANS (on-camera): And I'm Christine Romans. It's Thursday, May 30th. It is 6:00 a.m. on the nose in the east.

Developing this morning, a persistent, unrelenting threat of severe weather in parts of the country already torn up by tornadoes.

BERMAN: We could see some dangerous storm threats today. It just keeps on coming. Metereologist, Indra Petersons is following all of that for us. Hey, Indra.

PETERSONS: Yes. It's been such a tough week. A lot of severe weather out there, and unfortunately, as we go through today, even more severe weather could be back in the forecast.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PETERSONS (voice-over): Storms raged from Texas all of the way to New England and had nearly half of the country in the danger zone. And in Texas, dangerous hail and fierce winds causing many to worry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this hail. We're going to have broken windows.

PETERSONS: This video was shot in Corinth, Texas. Look at the hail bouncing off of the ground.