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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
"Major Progress" On 29,000 Acre Wildfire; Boston Bombing "May Have Been Averted"; Steven Seagal Takes On Diplomacy; Fort Hood Suspect Paid $280K Since '09 Shooting; An Apology From George Zimmerman's Defense Team; Douglas Confession: TMI or FYI?; A Fight To Save A Young Girl's Life
Aired June 3, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next, six members of Congress travel to Russia with a '90s action movie star. Is the U.S. betting our homeland security on Stephen Segal?
Plus, deadly tornadoes last week killed 18 people including three seasoned storm chasers. Those moments in the eye of the tornado told by the men who knew them.
And in Michael Douglas give a bedroom related explanation for how he got throat cancer? Unfortunately, he did and I read about it half way around world and it's vile. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. We begin OUTFRONT tonight with breaking news. Firefighters say at this moment that they are making major progress in containing a threatening wildfire in Southern California. These images give a sense of the scope of what's happening there.
The power house fire burning in the Palmdale area north of Los Angeles broke out Thursday afternoon and it's already scorched more than 29,000 homes. It's destroyed six homes completely and threatened up to 1,000 more.
Dan Simon is in Lake Hughes, California. Dan, they're using the words major progress. It sounds promising, but when we see those images, it's like an inferno. How are things looking?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, no question about that, Erin. Let me show what you we're seeing behind me. This is one of several homes destroyed in this wildfire. You can see all this charred debris. If we pan the camera, you can see all this vegetation, charred vegetation, which is fueling this wildfire.
I want to give you a sense of how dry these conditions are. You can see this brush. When you kind of grab these leaves in your hand, they just kind of crumble apart. This is fuel for the fire. There is so much of it. That's why 29,000 acres have been scorched.
But as you said, crews are making progress. We've seen a number of aircraft in the sky douching these flames with water. Right now, they say this blaze is 40 percent contained. There is a risk in terms of the wind. The winds are relatively calm right now, but crews are concerned that the winds could pick up and push this fire even further -- Erin.
BURNETT: Dan, the weather has been so strange. I mean, it seems worldwide just such a cold spring in Europe, a cold spring in the east coast of this country. You've had tornadoes coming so late to the center of the country and now wildfire season is just starting. But forecast for the summer looks bad. Why is that?
SIMON: You know, it's because you see a lot of this stuff, dry conditions. We haven't had a lot rain in parts of California in the spring and over the winter. There wasn't a whole lot of snow and we're seeing a pattern throughout the west coast, places like Utah, Colorado, Oregon, also facing an extreme fire risk.
So crews are trying to get out in front of it. They're trying to tell homeowners, listen, the best thing you can do is clear the area around your house, clear out some of that brush to see if you can minimize the risk. They say it's going to be a very, very active wildfire season.
BURNETT: Unfortunately, we're going to see more of this inferno-like images coming from California. Thanks to Dan Simon who is covering that live there for us.
Our other top story tonight, our next best diplomatic hope -- this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you some Special Forces guy or something?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm just a book.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My God, we're going to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: No. OK. He's not really a cook. He's action star Stephen Seagal beloved by Russians and perhaps a key diplomatic player for the United States there, too. Yes, I'm not joking around. Here's why. The six-member congressional delegation just returned from Russia and when they were there they met with Russian parliament members and this is crucial, security officials in an effort to investigate who knew what when about the Boston marathon bombings. So who's responsible for those crucial meetings with Russian security?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN SEAGAL, ACTOR: The embassy is great and the embassy probably did take it and set it, but I was -- I did request that that meeting occur. And I think I have a little something to do with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So do we need celebrities to gain access to foreign officials and incredibly insecure zones? Don't tell me you forgot about -- yes, these two, Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-Un. Democratic Congressman William Keating, whose Massachusetts district includes parts of Boston was on that trip with Seagal and joins us now on his first television interview since returning Saturday.
I know you were there. You had a chance to meet with a lot of people there in Russia. Congressman, I just want to ask you though, so people can understand how these things come about because it does seem so strange right now with Dennis Rodman's role, Steven Seagal's role. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, the Republican from California praised Seagal saying went out of his way to set up the meetings with high level officials in Russia including the deputy prime minister. Was Stephen Seagal integral in this trip?
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM KEATING (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, things can get hyperbolic pretty quickly, but one thing people should understand is these trips don't happen by accident. There's a lot of planning by the State Department. There's a great deal of work by the Speaker's office, and there's a lot of work by on some of the trips.
In this instance, there was enormous amount of work by the State Department setting this up. In my own committee staff was there prior to this, about two weeks before, helping to set it up and be on the ground, particularly from my home state of Massachusetts, surrounding the issue of the tragedy in Boston with the marathon bombing.
BURNETT: And do you feel any frustration, sir? You know, I mean, obviously this is an issue of crucial national security for this country and for you an emotional and personal one as well. That, you know, I know you say things can get hyperbolic. But that it seems that at least now you have literally celebrities who somehow are important in some of the most crucial relationships this country has whether it's Stephen Seagal or Dennis Rodman. I mean, it seems a little frightening to regular Americans that these people seem to be important and if not more important than our government and getting access.
KEATING: Well, in the perspective of our own country, if you look at our own political campaigns and the involvement of different types of celebrities, it's a way of life now in our country and not. From my perspective, I was there for not the entire trip, but, you know, there is an element of help by someone that knew contacts in the country does business there.
But that's not to really take the side light from my perspective of what we learned that could be helpful in cooperation between two countries that are both expert on high intelligence issues, buying issues if you will, dealing with terrorist issues and how that can save lives.
BURNETT: What did you learn? There are so many questions about what the Russians really told the United States and security officials here, intelligence officials and whether if the United States, did they give us enough information that had we acted on it we could have prevented what happened in Boston or not? KEATING: I say, this I learned a lot of the specifics about March 4th letter that was sent from Russia to the CIA and the FBI. In that letter, they talked about an operation they had where they were trying to work and see who is channelling the country who is going to be involved in terrorist activity and was a page and a quarter letter. It is one that went on to detail at that point, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and their concerned about him.
And the fact that they detailed his background specifically. They mentioned that they wanted to be aware, if was coming back into Russia. What happened nine months later, he was in Russia and the Russians didn't even know it. So that was significant piece of information I learned.
I know that you can't go back with a crystal ball and say what would happen. I do know this. The director of counter-terrorism probably one of the most respected people in Russia said if we have the level of cooperation, we already have since the Boston bombing that that may have been averted.
BURNETT: Thanks to Congressman Keating. Appreciate your time.
Still to come, the trial of a man suspected of carrying out the Fort Hood massacre is set to begin this week. Here is the thing that is going to shock you. He's been banking hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary paid by you in the meantime.
Plus, George Zimmerman's defense team is forced to apologize for something they said about Trayvon Martin. And we're going to tell you exactly what happened on that.
And then did he or didn't he? Actor Michael Douglas causes a stir for the reason that he says he got throat cancer.
BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, Fort Hood outrage. So there was an army judge today that ruled that the Fort Hood massacre suspect, the man accused of slaughtering 13 people, can represent himself in court. Major Nadal Hassan is asking for a three-month delay as he prepares his case.
This has been dragging on for a long time. Victims' families have complained the case has already taken way too long to get to trial and what is even more insulting they say is this. Hassan, you see him there. You know he's been behind bars since the November 2009 shooting, November of 2009. It is now the spring of 2013, almost the summer. Ever since that time the shooting happened, collected his government paycheck, paid for by taxpayers.
Chris Lawrence is OUTFRONT with this special report.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): -- accused of mass murder is asking for another three months to prepare his defense. And by then, he'll have another $20,000 in his pocket courtesy of the government that is trying to convict him. Major Nadal Hassan is accused of murdering 13 people and wounding 30 more in a mass shooting in Fort Hood, Texas.
Witnesses say he shouted "God is great" before opening fire inside this building on base. On the day of the shooting, Hassan was making $6,000 a month in base pay and as the months rolled on, the checks kept coming. He benefitted from mandatory pay hikes that pushed his salary past $7,000 a month. The U.S. government has paid Hassan $280,000 since the shooting and he'll easily clear the $300,000 mark by the end of August.
NEAL SHER, VICTIMS' ATTORNEY: It is a tragic irony.
LAWRENCE: Attorney Neil Sher is representing more than 100 victims or family members in a civil lawsuit against Hassan and the government. He says because the government classified the attack as workplace violence and not terrorism, no soldiers are eligible for Purple Hearts or the benefits that come with combat injuries.
SHER: And you couple that with the fact that this person is drawing his salary while in prison and you can imagine how the victims feel. It seems that it's just pouring salt on this very open and painful wound.
LAWRENCE: But the UCMJ clearly states no forfeiture may extend to any pay or allowance before the date on which the sentence is approved. And the defense officials say the military is following its own law. It can't simply stop paying a soldier who is not been convicted.
BURNETT: Chris, I mean, I understand you are reporting there they said they can't do anything about it, but this just seems so outrageous. You know the law getting in the way of common sense to some people, paid for four years. Is there anything the Army can do to avoid paying him his full salary?
LAWRENCE: Look, Erin, there is no way for the military to just demote a major back down to captain or lieutenant. Ironically, if this was a lesser offense, there are ways in which a commanding officer could say dock half a month's pay for a couple months.
BURNETT: Paid for four years. Is there anything the Army can do to avoid paying him his full salary?
LAWRENCE: Look, there is no way for the military to just demote a major back down to captain or lieutenant. Ironically, if this was a lesser offense, there are ways in which a commanding officer could, say, dock half a month's pay for a couple months. But that doesn't apply when you're being court-martialed for premeditated murder.
Ironically, the banks, at least, for a while did what the government couldn't. Bank of America dropped Hassan's account right after the shooting. And for months and months after that, nearly a year, he could not find a bank willing to take his Army deposits. It took about that long for his lawyer to set up a trust and write checks off that trust before he eventually found an out-of-state bank that he was able to set up a new account with. Erin?
BURNETT: Chris, all right. Thank you very much. That's pretty incredible. Makes us all think twice about what the government should do or could do, and the banks could actually get it done.
And now to an apology from George Zimmerman's defense team. So, an attorney for the man who's accused of shooting Trayvon Martin told a judge last week that video from the teen's cell phone showed him beating up a homeless man. That video is among evidence that defense attorney Mark O'Mara's office says they're going to use or are considering using at Zimmerman's trial.
But as it turns out, O'Mara says he got it wrong. The footage actually shows two homeless men fighting over a bike. Obviously totally different than Trayvon Martin beating up a homeless man. That is a pretty significant mistake. And O'Mara put out a statement saying, "Although it was unintentional, it is a particular concern to us because we are and have been committed to disputing misinformation in every aspect of this case, not causing it."
David Mattingly has been following this case for us. He will all the way until the end. David, how significant is this development, this error?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anytime you get this close to jury selection, which starts next Monday, you have to be concerned with the credibility of the attorneys as well as the credibility of George Zimmerman himself. So when you have the lead defense attorney coming out and saying I made this huge mistake, I'm apologizing for it, you have to wonder how it's going to be affecting potential jurors.
Also what's significant here, the public has never seen this. And it's possible we may never even see this in a court -- in the courtroom, and the jury may not be able to see this at all. So at this moment, what it may say about the credibility of George Zimmerman's defense team, that is what's most important as we go forward with jury selection.
BURNETT: And what is Trayvon Martin's family saying about this? I know that they've been fighting back against, you know, recent, you know -- other things the defense is saying that have been very pejorative about Trayvon Martin.
MATTINGLY: Right, this has been an on going feud that really went up a couple of notches when the defense team released a lot of material from Trayvon Martin's cell phone showing unflattering pictures of him, suggesting that possible drug use, a fondness for guns, a fondness for fighting. So this has been going back and forth.
And now with this apology that the defense attorney has put out, there was an immediate response by the attorney Benjamin Crump, representing Trayvon Martin's family. They're staying on message. They're saying that this was something that was -- has been on going with the defense team, pointing out completely that Trayvon Martin was an unarmed teenager that night. So, again, staying on message that George Zimmerman is the one responsible for this -- for this trial in the first place.
BURNETT: And we just -- I'm curious, David. There has been this cell video that they had to apologize about the homeless man came out. There's also been other revelations. I mean, are we going to keep hearing more and more little dribs and drabs like this, and one of them could be explosive? Or do you think we basically know the evidence that they have at this point?
MATTINGLY: Well, we do have something coming up at the end of this week: a hearing to determine whether or not expert testimony will be allowed from the prosecution regarding those 911 calls. What they were able to hear in the background. So that's going to be significant. That's going to be a fairly big fight because if that is allowed in as evidence, then the defense is going to say well we're going to need more time to come up with our own experts and possibly delay the trial some more.
Every point is going to be contentious. And you know that everything is so polarizing about this case, it's going to be argued in minutiae all the way to the bitter end.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, David Mattingly. As we said, he's going to be covering that trial for us OUTFRONT.
Still to come, a 10-year-old girl desperately needs a lung transplant. The government says it cannot help. Does it add up?
Plus, 18 people who were killed in last week's deadly tornadoes, three celebrated storm chasers are among them. And one of their colleagues is going to come OUTFRONT to talk about what it was like inside the storm and whether these people were courting danger or truly victims.
And what's going on behind the counter of your favorite fast food restaurant? We have the story behind what we feel is an extremely disturbing photo.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, a fight to save a young girl's life. Big question tonight is whether the government can save it. Sarah Murnaghan's family says it can. They say the government can help the 10-year-old get the lung transplant she needs to survive. But government officials say, no, it's not that simple. Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT with the story.
SARAH MURNAGHAN, NEEDS LUNG TRANSPLANT: I lost two teeth.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This new video capturing a tender moment with 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan in her hospital bed.
JANET MURNAGHAN, DAUGHTER NEEDS LUNG TRANSPLANT: Let me see.
CARROLL: Sarah has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that attacks the lungs. She desperately needs a transplant and has been waiting 18 months for lungs to become available from another child. Her parents say getting modified lungs from an adult would give her a fighting chance, but federal guidelines prevent her from getting priority on the adult donor list.
J. MURNAGHAN: This isn't just about Sarah. This is about all children. They are not being treated fairly or equally. It's unjust. It's not within the Constitution. My child's civil rights are being violated. As all children are.
CARROLL: The Murnaghans have hired an attorney and today sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, formally requesting her to step in and help. This after Sebelius e- mailed the family last Friday, telling them she did not have the authority to change the guidelines, writing, "I know that this is not the answer you were hoping to receive and I can't begin to imagine how difficult this situation is. My prayers are with you."
FRAN MURNAGHAN, DAUGHTER NEEDS LUNG TRANSPLANT: We were devastated because now we're left with very few options to save Sarah's life.
CARROLL: Sebelius has asked for a review of transplant policy, but a change could take years. Sarah's family says action needs to be taken now, as time for Sarah is running out and she knows it.
F. MURNAGHAN: She followed up and asked us, if I go to sleep, will I wake up tomorrow? As a parent, I'm -- there's nothing more devastating than to have a child look in your eyes and ask that type of question. She's very aware that this is a serious situation.
CARROLL: Despite her situation, Sarah says she still has hope.
J. MURNAGHAN: Did you know that everybody sent in prayers for you?
S. MURNAGHAN: Yes.
J. MURNAGHAN: What do you think of that?
S. MURNAGHAN: Thank you for saying prayers.
CARROLL: And, Erin, Pennsylvania lawmakers now weighing in on the issue. Senator Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania saying today he does believe that Secretary Sebelius does have the authority to change the guidelines. Also, Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania writing a letter to Secretary Sebelius asking for clarification on the current policy on lung allocation and whether or not it's unfair to children under the age of 12.
Many in the medical community say this story is another important reminder of how more organ donors are needed, not just for children but for adults as well. Erin?
BURNETT: Thanks very much to Jason Carroll. A human face on something you may think about and statistics but is about lives.
And still to come, can your iPhone be hacked through your charger? Apparently a new and rather frightening risk.
Plus, (INAUDIBLE) says it has a revealing problem solved.
And later, the story of a storm chaser who gave his life doing the thing he loved.
BURNETT: And welcome back. We start the second half of our show with stories where we focus on our reporting from the front lines.
And I want to begin with the White House which today announced new sanctions on Iran's nuclear program. The target is now Iran's currency, the rial. And while this is a bold move by the administration, many say, expert Kenneth Kasman (ph) says it's an effort to forestall calls for more difficult measures, like forcing other countries to stop buying Iranian oil altogether. Of course, the biggest buyers of Iranian crude oil continue to purchase it.
Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency said today that inspectors still have not been allowed in at Iran's crucial Parchin nuclear site and that even if they were, the agency now says they wouldn't be able to find anything because Iran has cleaned up the area.
Well, CNN has obtained exclusive photographs of Reeva Steenkamp, the late girlfriend of Olympian Oscar Pistorius. And they show her transformation from a young woman to a professional model. These images were actually taken eight years ago by a friend showing then 21-year-old Reeva modeling for the camera. They were taken at the same beach where her parents recently scattered her ashes.
Here is a mature Reeva in photos that she commissioned for an unidentified special someone. They were taken just months before her death.
The trial of Pistorius, meanwhile, formally begins tomorrow.
Well, Mac or PC. More and more of you are probably Mac lovers. If you're a Mac lover, you probably long touted your gadget as, well, guess what I don't have to worry about viruses and spam. I'm an Apple guy. But a team of Georgia Tech searchers say they discovered how to hack into an iPhone or an iPad in less than a minute using a malicious charger. They say they were able to inject arbitrary software into current generation Apple devices on the latest separating system and all users they tried this on were affected.
They reached out to Apple for a response. We haven't heard back yet. The researchers are going to present their findings at a conference later this month.
And OUTFRONT has learned that customers of Lululemon's Luon yoga pants. I've never tried those, thank goodness, because apparently, they were rather sheer in the rear. The company said in March they discovered a problem with an unacceptable level of shearness in the pants. I wonder what is an acceptable level of shearness in yoga pants.
Anyway, Lululemon says it has now fixed the problem and is bringing back Luon to store shelves. The retailers warned the pants which are 20 percent of all women's bottoms in its stores, that's a significant pant for them, they said those pants could affect its bottom line by $40 million.
It has been 669 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
Well, stocks gained some steam despite bad economic data. Manufacturing contracted in May at the fastest pace in four years. Construction spending didn't rise as much as economists thought. Obviously, negative news.
And now our fourth story OUTFRONT: deadly twisters.
So, tonight, authorities are scouring the river banks and piles of debris in Oklahoma for six people who remain missing after last week's deadly storm system tore through the Midwest of the United States.
Now, the line of storms which spawned a number of tornadoes claimed 18 lives at least including three seasoned storm chasers. We want to emphasize that word "seasoned". These are people who spent their careers doing this, in a scientific and formal way. Scientists who fearlessly pursued these storms in an effort to better understand and save lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM SAMARAS, STORM CHASER: Boy, the ingredients are coming together for a pretty volatile day.
BURNETT (voice-over): A chilling prediction by veteran storm chaser Tim Samaras on MSNBC just hours before he and his team were caught up in the middle of a deadly tornado.
SAMARAS: We're looking for the very special type of storm called a super cell. A super cell is a very violent storm that is very capable of large hail and pretty destructive tornadoes. BURNETT: That call shortly after 2:00 p.m. Central Time. It will be four hours later, at 6:10 local time, when a powerful EF-3 tornado forms just west of Oklahoma City. It packed winds of up to 165 miles an hour.
Samaras, his 24-year-old son Paul and their tornado-chasing Carl Young were tracking the tornado when it took a sharp and sudden turn to the north, the three men unable to escape the storm's fury. Their mangled car was found in a ditch. Other storm chasers on the road were just barely able to outrun the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down! Duck down! Duck down!
BURNETT: This SUV owned by the Weather Channel was picked up and tossed from the road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody get down.
BURNETT: A near death experience for meteorologist Mike Bettes and his two colleagues.
MIKE BETTES, METEOROLOGIST, THE WEATHER CHANNEL: I'm getting picked up, you know, tumbling, being airborne. It was -- it was violent. It was rough. Yes, truly, the scariest moment of my life.
BURNETT: And the family of Tim Samaras who always knew his job entailed so much risk, they're still stunned that his life could have ended this way.
JIM SAMARAS, TIM SAMARAS' BROTHER: I just could never think it would ever happen to him because of his level of expertise, years of being able -- of doing this and safety in all of his training, everything else he's done.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now is storm chaser Dave Holder, he was a colleague of Tim Samaras'. He's on the phone from Denver.
Dave, I know you spent time chasing storms with Tim. What was he like doing his job?
DAVE HOLDER, STORM CHASER (via telephone): Tim was one of the best in the field by far. He was somebody that everybody I had talked to in the storm chasing business admired and was very, very well-respected. Just, you know, when you list off a few of the best chasers that we know of, Tim Samaras would always be on the top of that list.
BURNETT: And, Dave, you know, the thing is, a lot of people said, well, look, were these people just -- they have the image of storm chasers as well it's amateur people do it for fun. They court this danger and it's awful these things happen. But why are these people doing this to begin with?
Tim was not that kind of person, right? He was out there trying to find a way to predict these things and save lives, right?
HOLDER: Right. Yes, the fact that people think of storm chasers as all just adrenaline junkies is definitely a misnomer. Tim was one of the people out there that was trying to collect the scientific data that enables us to really kind of learn more about tornadoes as they're really hard to understand just by taken out perspective.
Of course, he had to get somewhat close to them to get data from them, to get the probes in their paths. Unfortunately, that, you know, it's just -- it kind of goes along with the whole business and nature of trying to get data from these incredibly destructive tornadoes.
BURNETT: And, Tim -- Dave, I know you're a professional as Tim was. But I wanted to just show a picture to our viewers to sort of bring home this point I want to make, according to radar scope.
I want to show you of the dots on the screen, each of these dots to our viewers represents a weather chaser. All right? Each of those red dots represents a weather chaser in the area of last week's tornado. There are a lot of dots.
Weather producers say there could have been three to four more times chasers out there than the red dots show. The screen is littered with them.
You know, Dave, you know these storms. You don't want to interfere with traffic and you know what you're doing. But are there a lot more people out there who are, quote-unquote, adrenaline junkies who don't know what they're doing, who are putting other people's lives at risk if not they're own by doing this?
HOLDER: Yes. I mean, I think it's definitely something that's going to have to be addressed here in the very near future. Obviously, there are storm chasers out there trying to collect data like Tim was, who are doing a valuable asset to the community.
However, I can tell you that it seems like the number of chasers has gone well up dramatically these past few years, maybe because of the advent of new technology, like mobile internet and such.
We are getting to a point where there are maybe too many chasers on the road. The fact that maybe if you want to go out there and see tornadoes that maybe, you know, you take a course to try to understand these, go with the tour company, do something where you're not actually contributing to the traffic on the road and making yourself, you know, kind of a hazard really, because there were a lot of chasers.
The other thing that was pretty crazy about that day was the number of local people out. I noticed a lot of people out, even with their families. And this is something I've noticed on the rise as well, just people going out and trying to see tornado. I think what happens is that we have all the chasers out and then the addition of all these local people who want to come out and see the tornado, see, you know -- basically just get if line with the other people.
So, we just have this massive amount of traffic kind of circling around a tornado and, of course, when you have a tornado that is very violent and shifting directions and the road network isn't the greatest and then you're going to get into big time trouble.
HOLDER: So, yes, there are a lot of chasers. I think a lot of -- there are a lot of locals out there who -- I mean, this can't continue the way it has been.
BURNETT: All right. Well, hopefully, what you're saying and these tragic deaths are something that will wake people up. I mean, families being out there, obviously, is totally a horrible thing to contemplate. Thanks to David.
And still to come, Disney says its theme parks are the happiest places on earth. But that happiness is costing you a lot more money.
Plus, did Michael Douglas blame a sex act for his throat cancer? We have the audio.
And our "Outtake" for night, China versus the giant panda.
Ands tonight's shout-out, gross behavior. We want to show you a photo on Facebook. We'll hold this up for a second. This is a Taco Bell employee, supposedly, licking taco shells. Want to go Taco Bell anybody?
No. Taco Bell is releasing a statement saying they are investigating the incident. They say it's a prank, at least they think so. And that taco shells were not served to customers.
Our shout-out goes to the internet for outing the bad behavior possibly found at America's restaurants.
We'll be back.
BURNETT: Sad news out of the happiest place on earth tonight. I'm sorry to report, prices at Disney's parks are going up again, even as the economy still struggles and Disney World in Florida announced adult admission to the Magic Kingdom is going to increase by $6 to $95 which is, I just find amazingly high. A single day ticket of Disneyland in California is going to go up to $92 from $87.
The price changes are going into effect on Sunday. And they're going to mean huge jumps for season passes.
So, basically, if you want to visit a princess, you're going to have to spend more like a prince. Well, maybe not exactly like a prince -- which brings me to tonight's number: $20 million.
That is the amount of money a Saudi prince reportedly spent at Disneyland Paris last month.
According to the reports, 21-year-old Prince Fahd Al Saud and 60 of his closest friends, I always imagine one of those guys when they're going on their European frees, spent three days at the French resort to celebrate his college graduation. $20 million brought him exclusive access to certain parts of the park, private show with what is being described as rare Disney characters.
What do you think, 20 million bucks at Disney World? Bob Iger was happy.
All right. Now, let's reach to our sources around the world. It's time for "Outer Circle".
And we want to go to Turkey. This is amazing. You know, this is just amazing. I just came back from the Middle East. This is the only story people there are talking about.
The largest anti-government protests in a decade are spreading throughout the country. It localizes getting bigger or bigger. Thousands have been injured. At least one dead in the past two days alone. Fear has spread from the capital Ankara to Istanbul as riot police has responded to protesters with tear gas and water cannons. It all began Friday with a handful of protesters holding sit-ins against the prime minister, Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ivan Watson has been in Istanbul covering this story. And I asked him about the move today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, as you can see, the crowd here is peaceful. It's gathered in the thousands. They've been here since Saturday. After 36 hours of clashes with Turkish riot police who were attacking any group of more than 50 people here with tear gas and water cannons. I saw an old lady get knocked over in front of the Starbucks over here. And that's remarkable considering this is effectively the Times Square of Istanbul, Turkey's largest city.
Now, the riot police have pulled back, but the clashes have spread to other cities across this country. And the battle of wills between demonstrators who really vented a lot of their anger at the excess use of police force is against the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who's been elected to office over the course of the last decade. He hasn't really helped matters because he keeps calling these demonstrators extremists and members of marginal groups -- Erin.
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BURNETT: Thanks very much to Ivan. Of course, very difficult issue, protest against Islamist leader who is very clearly democratically elected with a mandate. Now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360".
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin.
Yes, we're going to have more from Turkey, of course.
Also, urgent warnings tonight in Colorado. The sheriff's office in Jefferson County sending out a tweet to residents saying leave now, 100 homes at risk for fires burning there. Wildfires in California as well. We're going to have more on both of those blazes ahead tonight.
Also this, 50 days, 11 operations later, Erika Brannock leaving the hospital. She's the final victim of Boston marathon bombing to go home. Her recovery was hard enough without having to cross paths with the surviving alleged bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Randi Kaye has that report.
Those stories, also the tragic start of a family who left their home to escape the incoming tornadoes in Oklahoma. Their home survives. Sadly, the family did not. Also, the death of the storm chasers there.
All that and tonight's "RidicuList", a lot more at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, looking forward to seeing you in a few minutes. I just have to say, by the ay, you're looking not a day over 25.
COOPER: Oh, thanks very much.
BURNETT: Happy birthday.
COOPER: Thank you.
BURNETT: All right.
Our fifth story OUTFRONT, TMY -- TMI, I'm sorry, TMI or FYI?
In an interview with London's "Guardian" newspaper, actor Michael Douglas was asked to blame heavy drinking, drugs and smoking presumably as the causes of his throat cancer. Well, he answered the question and they were recording it.
And, you know what? I don't want to talk about this. So I will let Michael Douglas tell you why he says he got throat cancer.
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MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ACTOR: Without getting too specific, this particular cancer is caused by something called HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus.
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BURNETT: Sure glad you didn't get too specific there, Michael.
But this is a serious. He's saying his cancer was actually caused by HPV, human papillomavirus, which -- human papillomavirus, which can be contracted through oral sex.
So did Douglas do something that's going to change things and help public health? Did he cross the line? Does he really know what caused it?
OUTFRONT tonight, Stephanie Miller and Reihan Salam.
All right. This is definitely a third rail topic here, Reihan, but, you know, neither Douglas nor his spokesperson is a medical expert. We don't know whether he knows for certain that this is what happened. We don't know if anyone can know for certain if this is what caused his cancer.
So, we wanted to talk to a doctor. We talked to Eric Genden, an ear, nose and throat specialist in New York. And here's what he said.
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ERIC GENDEN, MD, PROF. AND CHAIR OF OTOLARYNGOLOGY MT. SINAI MEDICAL CENTER: Well, I can't speak specifically to Michael Douglas but I can tell you that this is an epidemic and, in fact, HPV virus, the same virus that has been responsible for cervical cancer in women, is the main cause of throat cancer in young men between the ages of 35 and 65. So, very well possible that his viral -- his tumor could have been caused by the HPV virus.
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BURNETT: So did he do something good here by talking about that?
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I actually do think he did something good. When you look at the number of HPV-related cancers overall, actually, it's about 33 percent cervical cancer. It's actually over 37 percent oral cancer, the kind of cancer that Michael Douglas had.
And I actually think that, you know, look at Michael Douglas' wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, who talked about her bipolar disorder in a very public way. That was another thing folks were very uncomfortable about, but that's an area where she really raised awareness about a serious issue that affects a lot of families.
So, I think that in this case as well, he's saying look, a lot of us think of HPV as something for women to worry about and not for men to worry about. That's a serious mistake.
BURNETT: And the only way -- the only way you can get throat cancer from HPV is through that sexual act?
SALAM: Look, I mean, there might be some other mechanism, I can't say that I'm really an expert on HPV-related cancer -- BURNETT: You're saying it's more prevalent than cervical cancer and obviously, there's now a vaccine for girls to get on that. There's awareness on that side.
SALAM: Virtually, everyone who is sexually active in this country is engaging in oral intercourse. And so, that's something people have got to know about.
BURNETT: Stephanie, what do you think? Michael Douglas, smart or over the line?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: Erin, let's just stipulate first of all, there is no politically correct way to talk about this. Maybe I'm a little cynical because I'm out here in Hollywood. My first reaction was, is he doing this because he's playing Liberace in HBO's "Beyond the Candle Opera," and he wants to remind us that he's straight and not having sex with Matt Damon? Was it too much information for his wife, for us?
I don't know. I think you bring up the point it's a little medically murky. I don't know. It could have been a cause. Smoking and drinking could have been a cause.
My first reaction as a woman was wow, thanks a lot, Michael. Thanks for putting that out there.
MILLER: I mean, honestly, when he said the cure is cunnilingus, that's a little medically murky, isn't it?
BURNETT: Well, he also didn't say -- I mean, obviously on a serious level, he may not have any idea. I'm sure he has no idea from whom he contracted it. It would probably have been nice for his wife if he clarified. His ex-wife came out today and talked about it and was a little upset.
MILLER: Yes, well, one would think. And again, I know some doctors said it could be many, many years ago.
MILLER: But I think you're right, it's a subject area that, you know, I think it could be both. I think Michael Douglas is a great actor. I think this could be educational.
But you're right, it's a little sort of oh, is this medically proven or is it one of the things that causes it and so I think --
SALAM: Let's be fair to Michael Douglas here. He was asked a question about whether or not it was smoking or drinking. He said no, actually it was this.
He was having a conversation with someone. It was very frank conversation. I don't think he was necessarily thinking this was going to be broadcast all over the world. I think that he was trying to get at something that was true and I think the byproduct of it is that a lot of men might be more thoughtful about having safe sex and whether or not they ought to think about HPV.
So, if that's what happened, that's the outcome of this, I think it's very good news. So, good for Michael Douglas.
BURNETT: Well, that's true. I mean, if it does raise awareness, he will have had a real contribution.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you. We appreciate it.
And let us know what you think on this, whether you think it's something that's going to help save lives or not.
Still to come, a giant panda war.
BURNETT: Every night we take a look outside the day's top stories for something that we call the OUTFRONT "Outtake", and tonight, the Chinese government made the cut. It has declared a war on lavish lifestyles. So, for years, the country's political and military elite have abused the system with many government officials on the backs of regular Chinese people traveling first class, dining at premium restaurants and buying designer goods on taxpayers' dimes.
Now, China's new president has had enough. He's launched a campaign that has seen 3,600 prosecutions of corruption in just over the first quarter of this year. That's pretty incredible.
But is this the reality? Because when one of our producers who was in China last week, he saw this in a local newspaper. It is a giant panda made from 74 Vuitton handbags. It is part of a display featuring 23 animals made from designer handbags.
And the exhibit is in China. Why? Well, because they love those handbags. It is in fact Vuitton's second largest market. Civil servants earn modest incomes in China, and yet they find ways to get the things they love that cost tens of thousands of dollars. That doesn't add up.
Just last year, it was reported Chinese officials were charged in an estimated $57 billion worth of personal expenses on government-issued credit cards. So when it comes to giant designer pandas, the Chinese taxpayers are the ones who have to bear the load.
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AMINA AKTOUF: I have moved around my whole life and the one thing that always seemed to remain constant was football. It was always there for me, no matter where I went. It was the one thing that always welcomed me with open arms.
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BURNETT: That was Amina Aktouf, who just graduated from the communications school of the American University Dubai. She was born in America and lives in Algeria. Her film "Same Love" highlights the power of soccer.
Now, I just returned from Dubai this afternoon after seeing many journalism and film projects from students there. They were mostly young women, and whether clad in tight jeans or long abayas, they wanted to know how to get ahead and get to the top. Their ambition was inspiring and their passion for their work is worth sharing. These Middle Eastern journalism and film students will go far and tonight I wanted to celebrate them, striving to make a difference in the Middle East.
"A.C. 360" starts right now.