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British Soldier Killed; Angelina Jolie Returns To Red Carpet

Aired June 3, 2013 - 05:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour this morning.


BERMAN (voice-over): And happening right now, firefighters are battling this ferocious wildfire just north of Los Angeles. Thousands of homes evacuated because of the so-called powerhouse fire, which has now grown to more than 25,000 acres, and officials say it is only about 20 percent contained at this moment.

Meanwhile, in New Mexico, a wildfire burning out of control near the town of Pecos. Officials say the fire fueled by severe drought conditions has burned nearly 7,500 acres there and forced the evacuation of some 100 vacation homes.

ROMANS (voice-over): The tornado death toll in Oklahoma now stands at 16. Oklahoma City's fire chief saying they've recovered five bodies yesterday several miles from a storm drain where they likely sought shelter during Friday's storms. The search continues today for six other people who are missing, among them, an eight-year-old girl.


BERMAN (on-camera): So, some states once reeling are now recovering from tornadoes. They should get a bit of a reprieve today, but they are not completely in the clear. Meteorologist, Indra Petersons, has today's outlook. Hey, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Good morning. We're watching that same system. It's actually pushed all the way to the northeast and look at all the heavy lightning, that thunderstorms that are going to be with us today. That's what we're going to continue to monitor as well as we've been talking about all these brush fires on the west coast. Unfortunately, no good news there.

We don't have strong winds, but the heat is on. Temperatures are expected to rise over the next several days. Also, we're going to be monitoring as far as the severe weather is a low, again, exiting out of the Rockies. Every time that happens, it enhances our chances right on the plains. So, today, yes, we do have a slight risk in the area, but unfortunately, for the next several days, it's going to stay centralized right there in that Kansas/Oklahoma area. It just really doesn't seem to be leaving this time of year. The other thing we're watching are these heavy rains. We have the Missouri River and the Mississippi River really producing a large amount of rain right there around St. Louis. Keep in mind, in January, beginning of this year, they were negative 4 1/2 feet.

Now, they're looking at flood stages, talking about 30 feet of water out there. So, of course, flooding also major concern as more rain still expected in the area. Really a lot going on weather wise.

BERMAN: All right. Indra, thanks so much.

So, a lot going on overseas, too. Turkey bracing for a fourth straight day of violence after protesters and police clashed overnight. These protests are getting worse. Protesters threw rocks at riot police who fired tear gas and water cannons. This started out as just a small demonstration in Istanbul against government plans to demolish a city park, but it turned into something much bigger. Protests across the country against the ten-year rule of Turkey's prime minister.

ROMANS: The second suspect to be charged in the murder of British soldier, Lee Rigby, set to appear in a London courtroom this hour. Michael Adebolajo is the man seen in the gruesome video shot moments after the soldier is killed, and a bail hearing is also being held today for the second suspect in that case, Michael Adebowale.

CNNs Atika Shubert joins us live from outside the Westminster Magistrate's Court in London. Atika, what's happening now?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, Michael Adebolajo has just arrived a few minutes ago. I don't believe he's in the court yet, but this is basically his first court appearance. He'll state his name, address. He'll hear the full charges against him and find out which -- if this will be referred to the central criminal court. So, it's expected to be a pretty quick hearing, but it will be the first time we will have seen Adebolajo since the incident, and of course, that video that you mentioned.

Now, the other suspect, Michael Adebowale is expected to appear via video link at his bail hearing. Again, that's just really going to be a small, official proceeding. We don't expect anything significant to come out of these two hearings, but again, it's the first time we're seeing them after the attack.

ROMANS: So, Atika, 12 people, so far, arrested in the case. Have police determined whether the attack was organized by a specific terror network?

SHUBERT: You know, there's no indication of that yet, and police haven't given us any indication how all of these people are connected. All of them -- most of them appear to be young men. We don't know, you know, if they're related, if they're friends, acquaintances. We do know that two of them were apparently arrested on suspicion of illegally supplying firearms. There was a revolver involved in this incident. But other than that, we just don't know, and there's no indication of a wider terror plot here, although, this is being treated as a terror attack by the government.

ROMANS: All right. Atika Shubert for us in London. Thank you, Atika.

BERMAN: Thirty-four minutes after the hour. The first cases of the sometimes deadly MERS virus are now being reported in Italy. They're identified by the world Health Organization as two female patients and a 45-year-old man. The man may have been infected during a recent trip to Jordan. Of the 53 known cases reported since last September, 30 patients have died.

ROMANS: An apology from the attorney for accused shooter, George Zimmerman. Mark O'Mara now says a video taken from Trayvon Martin's cell phone doesn't show two of the teen's friends beating up a homeless person. O'Mara made that accusation in court last week. The defense team says the video actually shows two homeless people fighting over a bike.

BERMAN: So, it's being billed as the Romney retreat. Three potential Republican candidates for president are expected to attend a private event in Park City, Utah later this week hosted by the 2012 Republican nominee. New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, Wisconsin congressman, Paul Ryan, and Kentucky senator, Rand Paul, each looking to make an impression on big-money donors who will be in attendance.

ROMANS: The Supreme Court finishing up its remaining caseload. Justices will meet today and for the next three Mondays to announce their rulings. Twenty-eight cases are awaiting opinions, including a few high-profile decisions on affirmative action, same-sex marriage, voting rights, and human gene patents.

BERMAN: So, it has come down to game seven. Lebron James and the Miami Heat, although the Miami Heat aren't really helping Lebron James. It's just Lebron James hosting the Indiana Pacers tonight for the right to advance to the NBA finals against a very well-rested San Antonio Spurs, and at their age, they need the rest. The Heat looking to repeat as champs. The Pacers coming into game seven looking strong, though, they have never won an NBA title.

ROMANS: Angelina Jolie breaking her silence and stepping on to the red carpet for the first time since her double mastectomy. The star joined partner, Brad Pitt, at the London premiere of his new movie, "World War Z." Jolie and Pitt talked openly about the surgery and their decision to go public with a very private matter. CNN's Erin McLaughlin live from London this morning. Good morning.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. Well, I think it's safe to say that Angelina stole the spotlight at yesterday's premiere. She looked absolutely radiant. And for the first time, she spoke to the media about her ordeal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Hundreds of photographers and thousands of applauding fans greeted Angelina Jolie For her return to the red carpet.

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: I feel great. I feel wonderful and I'm very, very grateful for all the support. It's meant a lot to me.

MCLAUGHLIN: Angelina didn't disappoint. She was a vision in a backless, floor-length San Laurent gown. Her best accessory, longtime love Brad Pitt in matching black. Angelina was on hand to support Brad at the premiere of his zombie movie --

BRAD PITT, ACTOR: We're getting out of here.

MCLAUGHLIN: "World War Z." It was Angelina's first red carpet appearance since she'd announced that she'd had a preventative double mastectomy. The mother of six was at times emotional.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have Brad and the kids --

JOLIE: I get moved to talk about it, yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: It was her decision after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation which increased her risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

CARLOS GREER, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: Ever since Angelina Jolie announced that she had a double mastectomy, everyone was wondering, what was she going to look like? And when she appeared on the carpet with Brad Pitt, she looked absolutely stunning.

MCLAUGHLIN: She has become an inspiration to millions since her brave revelation.

JOLIE: I've been very happy just to see the discussion about women's health expanded and that means the world to me. And after losing my mom to these issues, I'm very grateful for it.

MCLAUGHLIN: Angelina's biggest fan says he is thankful to have his fiancee, healthy and happy, by his side.

PITT: It's actually her decision to undertake -- to go beyond that and share it with others because she realizes that this is not available for everyone and it should be.


MCLAUGHLIN (on-camera): Because Angelina was in London yesterday supporting Brad, she was unable to attend her aunt's funeral. According to media reports, Debbie Martin's (ph) funeral was also on Sunday. Martin passed away from breast cancer after years of fighting the disease. She, too, had the BRCA genetic mutation, though, by the time they discovered it, she already had the disease.

We understand from reports that Angelina has been in contact with the Martin Family to offer her support -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much, Erin McLaughlin, for us this morning live in London.

BERMAN: Thirty-eight minutes after the hour.

So, a mom, a dad, and an adorable little girl. It sounds like your typical Cheerios commercial, but, it's creating a whole lot of controversy.




UNIDENTIFIED KID: Dad told me that Cheerios is good for your heart. Is that true?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It says here that Cheerios has whole grain oats that can help remove some cholesterol, and that's heart-healthy.

BERMAN (voice-over): So, as you can see, the ad features a mother who is White and a father who is Black, which for some reason, apparently, is too much for some people. A flood of disturbing racist posts poured into YouTube, forcing the comment section to be shut down. According to General Mills, the majority of responses to the ad, they say, have been positive, thankfully.


ROMANS: I wonder how much is it a statement on the ad and how much is the statement on the crazy things people say online? I mean, you could say the sky is blue and there would be a thousand racist posts, you know, online. I mean, people say really crazy, crazy things, and that's clearly a sweet ad. I mean, sweet.

BERMAN (on-camera): It's a lovely ad.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, a mother's desperate plea.


VOICE OF JANET MURNAGHAN, SARAH'S MOTHER: I'm praying that somebody sees this story and is in a position to save my baby.

ROMANS (voice-over): Yes. Why she's begging the feds to change some rules and other parents to help get a transplant for her 10-year-old daughter.



BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START. This morning, park rangers are searching for a California teen swept over a waterfall at Yosemite National Park. Nineteen-year-old Alla Kelman (ph) was swimming in the Merced River on Saturday when he was caught in the current and he went over the 590-foot Nevada Fall. Authorities say it's impossible to survive that kind of drop. Kelman was visiting the park with a Sacramento Church group.

The parents of a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who desperately needs a new pair of lungs and may only have weeks to live, they're hoping and praying for a miracle this morning. Sarah Murnaghan has end- stage cystic fibrosis, but because of her age and federal guidelines that no one seems willing to override, her parents fear Sarah has been left to die. Here's CNN national correspondent, Susan Candiotti.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sarah Murnaghan's lungs are getting weaker and weaker. The 10-year-old with cystic fibrosis is now in intensive care. Wise beyond her years, Sarah knows she needs a transplant and is in a battle for her life.

SARAH MURNAGHAN, NEEDS LUNG TRANSPLANT: No. I'm never going to -- never, never.

CANDIOTTI: Sarah's parents also are not quitting, frustrated because Friday, the federal government refused to intervene.

JANET MURNAGHAN: Somebody needs to stand up and say this isn't right. This is a human issue. This isn't politics. This is a human issue.

CANDIOTTI: Even though Sarah's at the top of the child's transplant list in her region and has been waiting for 18 months, federal guidelines disqualify her for an adult lung until she's 12, unless, every other adult on the waiting list turns down a donor lung.

In an e-mail obtained by CNN, Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, told Sarah's parents she's not authorized to intervene but is ordering a transplant policy review, adding, quote, "I know this is not the answer you were hoping to receive. My prayers are with you."

JANET MURNAGHAN: She says, oh, I'm so sorry. I know this isn't what you wanted to hear. It is in her legal authority. We're going to let a kid die over red tape?

CANDIOTTI: It's a battle Sarah shares with other children, comparing her lungs' disease with CF to a boat filling with sand.

SARAH MURNAGHAN: Close your eyes and pretend that you're on the boat, but sand sinks your boat, but we're going to be OK.

CANDIOTTI (on-camera): Tell me what you think her chances are now, given that the secretary did not step in?

JANET MURNAGHAN: If you directly donate your loved one's lungs to Sarah, the law cannot change that. And Sarah will use them and create a positive, wonderful life and legacy for your loved one. I'm praying that somebody sees this story and is in a position to save my baby.

CANDIOTTI: For now, Sarah says life is all about possibilities.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Janet Murnaghan, the mother of 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, will join us live in the seven o'clock hour of "STARTING POINT" this morning. And you see a mother who is so desperate there. Also, it is a reminder that there are a lot of people who need organs and there aren't enough people who donate organs, and that is the cruel math of this story, that a mother has to go out and beg and plead and plead for lungs for her child.

BERMAN: Make sure if you want to be an organ donor that the little box is checked on the driver's license, whatever you can do.

ROMANS: And more than that, but that your family knows, because, sometimes, the box is checked, and you know, it doesn't matter. You need a family person who's in there who says, look, please, please consider my loved one for organ donation, you know? It's really important to do that.

BERMAN: It's a great point.

Coming up, a wild ride in a stolen ambulance that lands two paramedics in the hospital and an ambulance out of commission in the side of a building.

ROMANS: And a group of boy scouts break the rules, wearing their uniforms in a gay rights parade in Utah. Could they face retribution?


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. In Kansas, the trial continues for a former police officer accused of murdering his wife.


ROMANS (voice-over): Prosecutors claim that Brett Seacat shot her and set her house on fire because she served him with divorce papers. Seecat claims his wife, Vashti, was depressed and that she set the fire before killing herself.

BERMAN (voice-over): New questions this morning about the status of Rutgers University's newly hired athletic director, Julie Hermann. The "Newark Star Ledger" reporting the school officials have postponed a series of scheduled meetings with Hermann. She was hired to turn Rutrger's troubled athletic program around, but Hermann's now under fire herself after revelations of verbal abuse and allegations of sex discrimination surfaced. She was supposed to begin work later this month.

ROMANS: New video showing the very moment of impact when a strong earthquake hit Central Taiwan on Sunday. You can see a room starting to shake. You can see the chandelier swinging wildly. There it is. At least one death reported from the 6.2-magnitude quake.

BERMAN: So, a man accused of stealing an ambulance with two paramedics still in back of it is now under arrest. Police in DeKalb County, Georgia, say a patient at Emory Hospital got behind the wheel and started driving Saturday afternoon. He went nearly three miles before crashing into a chiropractic office.

The paramedics were in the back doing paperwork. Luckily, they suffered only minor injuries. Police say the alleged ambulance thief may have had some mental or emotional issues.

ROMANS: In Salt Lake City, some boy scouts and adult volunteers march in uniform, in uniform at the city's gay pride parade. That defies a scout council's letter that said they shouldn't take a political stance while in uniform.


DAVE MCGRATH, FORMER SCOUTMASTER: Scouts have a duty to this nation. My duty's clear. I stand for all Americans. Some of us are gay.


ROMANS: Late last month, the Boy Scouts of America voted to end its ban on gay scouts. The organization continues, though, to ban gay and lesbian scout leaders.


BERMAN (on-camera): Coming up, an NBA star now apologizing for using a slur. We will tell you what Roy Hibbert said and what the NBA is now doing about it.

ROMANS (on-camera): And is it a boy or a girl? Kim Kardashian's reveal has fans going wild on Twitter, next.

BERMAN: Oh, stick around for this. This is good.


ROMANS: All right. Welcome back. It's three minutes to the top of the hour. Taking a look at the top CNN Trends on the web this morning. Marriage, it winds up really as a man's world. Researchers at the University of Chicago find a woman is less likely to get married and more likely to get divorced if she has just the potential to make more than her husband.

And once she is married, a woman who could be out-earning her husband is less likely to be working. The authors of this report say it explains a lot about the gender gap, who gets married, and the types of jobs women are taking.

BERMAN: Indiana Pacers star, Roy Hibbert, is apologizing for using a gay slur on Saturday following game six, the playoff victory over the Miami Heat. In case you missed it, here's the comment that earned the 7'2" center the biggest fine of the NBA season, $75,000.


ROY HIBBERT, INDIANA PACERS: I really felt that I let Paul down in terms of having his back when Lebron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint because they stretched me out so much, the homo, and --



BERMAN: Not funny. Hibbert released a statement saying, "I apologize to those I have offended, to our fans and to the Pacers organization. I sincerely have deep regret over my choice of words."

ROMANS: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are expecting a girl. The reality TV star mom-to-be made this big reveal on last night's season premiere of her "E!" reality show, "Keeping Up With The Kardashians." It looks like her step-dad, Olympic champ, Bruce Jenner, isn't a huge fan of Kanye West. He told "Extra" that Kanye is, quote, "never around."

BERMAN: I totally lost the office pool on the Kardashian baby.

ROMANS: The baby is due next month.

BERMAN: All right. So, this is you. Go ahead.

ROMANS: Oh, things went from bad to worse for Will Smith this weekend. First came really bad reviews for his new film "After Earth," then, disappointment at the box office. The $27 million take was Smith's worst summer opening ever.

BERMAN: I saw some brutal reviews for that film, like (INAUDIBLE) look awesome.


BERMAN: "Fast and Furious 6" was number one for a second straight weekend followed by "Now You See Me." "After Earth" was third.

You can check out all of the top CNN trends. Do it by heading to

EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS (voice-over): Nature's fury hits the west. More than 25,000 acres go up in smoke near Los Angeles as thousands more burn in New Mexico. We'll have the latest from the fire zone.

BERMAN (voice-over): Sixteen dead in Oklahoma after this other powerful punch from a tornado. Authorities now looking for the missing and mourning three veteran storm chasers.

ROMANS: And what is Steven Seagal doing in Russia? The Hollywood action star's latest part trying to help the Boston marathon bombing investigation.

BERMAN: This is strange. Doesn't even begin to cover it.


BERMAN: All right. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS (on-camera): And I'm Christine Romans. It's Monday, June 3rd. It's 6:00 a.m. in the east.

Let's begin with the fire danger out west. A massive wildfire burning out of control still north of Los Angeles. It has already destroyed six homes thousands more, thousands more homes being threatened right now. The fire threat also severe in New Mexico where draught conditions are fueling a major wildfire there. CNN's Stephanie Elam live in Palmdale, California, for us. Good morning, Stephanie. What's it like on the ground there?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, I wish -- I hope it doesn't look like I'm afraid to look at you because that's not the case. It's just the winds are so fierce right now. And this is the issue with this fire, because the winds are so strong that it is just blowing the fire into different places, and that's what happened Saturday night. But it's not just here. There's other parts within the western region that are also up in flames.