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Wildfires Raging in Three States; Midwest Flooding; Dzhokhar in His Own Words; A "Cymbal" of Patriotism; Miami Heat Advances To NBA Finals

Aired June 4, 2013 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Watching the water and the wildfires as the Mississippi rises and flames churned through acreage in the West. We'll have the latest.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev makes a call to his parents. We'll tell you what he said and what they're saying about his conversation from prison.

BERMAN: So, it is the best way to prevent a nasty sun burn. But now, researchers say sunscreen could also fend off wrinkles. This story really caught my eye. We'll have the surprising results up ahead.

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is 30 minutes after the after hour right now.

ROMANS: We start this morning with wild fires. A dangerous wild fire is threatening lives and property in three state rights now.

In New Mexico, 8,000 acre fire has forced the evacuation of 100 homes. Late last night, it was only 5 percent contained. In Jefferson County, Colorado, residents keeping a close eye on a wind-driven fire that has already forced thousands of evacuations. Dozens of acres have burned there as homeowners are being warned to be vigilant this morning.

And 32,000 acres and six homes have been destroyed by the Powerhouse fire north of Los Angeles. But firefighters there are finally beginning to gain the upper hand with that blaze now 60 percent contained.

BERMAN: If the fire is enough for you, a flooding emergency in Missouri, a breached levee forcing hundreds of residents in West Alton, Missouri, near St. Louis, to evaluate. Officials say the Mississippi River in the St. Louis area is currently more than 10 feet above flood stage, and forecasters say severe flooding is possible there today.

ROMANS: Severe storms have now claimed at least 18 lives in Oklahoma City since Friday. There's a slight risk there for more dangerous weather today.

Meteorologist Indra Petersons following the developments for us. Good morning.

INDRA PETERSONS, METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Yes, unfortunately, now, we're still in tornado season, so we're watching the slight risk area. A bulls eye, once again, typically where we see it right around Oklahoma City. Also including exterior portions of Oklahoma, all the way through Kansas and to Missouri and, once again, down through Texas. So, that's what we're going to be watching.

All the ingredients still there. A lot of that warm moisture, of course, the cold and dry air behind it, all that kind of mixing in to produce a little bit of a higher threat than we did see yesterday, thanks to low kind of exiting out of the Rockies.

Speaking of lows, we're also watching what could eventually turn into a tropical depression, only about a 30 percent chance right now, but nonetheless, it was actually tropical storm Barbara that went right through Mexico and picked up even more moisture in the Gulf and the warm waters this time of the year, and all of that could be kind of streaming into Florida. We could see even more heavy rains, that they have been dealing with so much. And, yes, with the rain, we continue to talk about the Midwest.

I mean, think about all the storm systems that have really headed through the Plains and Midwest the last several weeks, all of that has just inundated them with rain. And, yes, we're talking about right now, 40 feet of water. And beginning of the year, they were the top 10 driest at the Mississippi River, and now, they're in the top 10 highest amount, of course, in that flood stage.

Unfortunately, a lot of water out there and more showers still on the way as we got through the next five days.

BERMAN: That is just a huge difference.

PETERSON: Huge, 45 feet.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Indra, so much.

Boston fire chief, Steve Abraira, is stepping down after receiving harsh criticism from his top deputies. Thirteen of them sent a letter to Boston's mayor, saying Abraira failed to show leadership during the Boston marathon bombings. Abraira was hired in 2011 and was the city's first fire chief who did not come up through the ranks in Boston. In his resignation letter, Abraira claimed he never had the support of many of his firefighters.

ROMANS: The parents of the Boston marathon bombing suspects are talking about their first and only conversation with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev since their son was placed under arrest. The Tsarnaevs played audio recordings of the conversation during an interview aired on British television.

CNN's Phil Black is live in Moscow with the details. So, they talked to their son. Still lot of questions, though, here this morning.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed, Christine. They spoke to him about a week ago. They say it was a relatively brief conversation. They were not allowed to discuss details of the Boston case itself, but it was emotional and it seems to have largely been dominated by the parents asking questions about the welfare of their son.

His mother Zubeidat Tsarnaev asked him if he was in pain. This is how he replied. He said, "No, of course not. I'm already eating and I have been for a long time. They are giving me rice and chicken now. Everything is fine."

His mother said be strong. And he replied, "Everything is good. Please don't say anything."

So, it sounds like some of the exchanges were ordinary but clearly quite emotional for the parents as well. His mother (AUDIO GAP). She expected him to be upset, to be demanding answers about what's going on, instead she said, he was calming her down and telling her that everything was going to be OK -- Christine.

ROMANS: What are the parents saying about his case?

BLACK: Well, they say the subject of his guilt or innocence did not come up in the conversation at all, and they say there's no question there because they believe their sons are the victims of a set up.

We know from U.S. officials that Russian security services had concerns about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother and their radicalization long before the actual Boston attack. The mother didn't speak to that allegation specifically but what she did do was speak with some pride about just how religious she is and how religious Tamerlan was.

This is what she said. She said, "Tamerlan and I, we pray because it is an obligation. That's our religion. How not we pray? Then what Muslims we are. So, that's Tamerlan used to say to Dzhokhar, you know, we are not Muslim, we cannot call ourselves Muslim if we don't thank our Allah five times a day as it's written in Koran."

And one final point, Christine, the parents still say at this stage that they have no intention of traveling to the United States.

ROMANS: I think there's an outstanding warrant for her arrest actually on a charge in Boston.

BERMAN: Shoplifting.

ROMANS: A shoplifting charge, so that would be difficult for a lot of reasons.

Phil Black, thank you so much, Phil.

BERMAN: Thirty-five minutes after the hour.

A second person has reportedly died in violent clashes during anti- government protest in Turkey. Turkish media reporting the 22-year-old was killed during demonstrations by unknown suspects carrying firearms. The protests have united demonstrators from across the political spectrum against a common foe really. Security forces who earlier unleashed tear gas and water cannons on them during protests.

We could find out whether a Colorado judge will let accused movie theater shooter James Holmes change his plea. Holmes' attorneys have asked the court to let him plead not guilty by reason of insanity in a deadly massacre at a movie theater outside Denver. Twelve people died, another 70 people were injured.

ROMANS: New developments in the Fort Hood massacre case. A military judge ruling suspected gunman Nidal Hasan can represent himself at his own court martial. The army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people deemed physically and mentally capable of defending himself against murder charges. Jury selection in that case begins Wednesday.

Just a few hours, at the White House, President Obama is expected to nominate three candidates to fill vacant seats on the U.S. court of appeals for the D.C. circuit. That court is often referred to as the second most important court in the country after the Supreme Court. The presumed nominees are attorney Patricia Millett, law professor Cornelia Pillard and district judge Robert Wilkins.

ROMANS: You may want to slather some sunscreen on your face after you hear this. A new study finds that it can slow down or even prevent wrinkles and saggy skin. Research was done over several years in Australia. Most of the people taking part have fair skin and they used an SPF-15 sunscreen. Those who applied it every day had tighter and smoother skin than those who didn't.

This apparently was the first study that really shows a difference. The report is published in the annals of internal medicine. Researchers say that sunscreen makers did not pay for that study.

BERMAN: You know, as a parent, there's nothing more tedious than constantly slathering that stuff on your kids and everyone, but the study shows it pays off. It really can make a difference.

ROMANS: Between the sunscreen and the bug spray my kids sort of just walking ready for battle, you know?

BERMAN: But if it's a difference between wrinkles and no wrinkles, man, anything when it comes to vanity.

Thirty-seven minutes after the hour right now. And Taco Bell makes you want to run for the border, me at least, but this imagine may have you running from the hills. This is a guy French kissing some taco shells.

It popped up on the company's own Facebook page Monday. It appears to show the employee licking a stack of taco shells, going to first base with those taco shells. Taco Bell says they think the shells never reached customers and a full investigation is underway.


BERMAN (voice-over): Do you ever wonder what goes on behind closed doors at fast food restaurants?

You certainly hope it's not this -- a gross picture of an employee at a California Taco Bell licking a stack of taco shells. It's the latest in cringe worthy fast food employee incidents. This picture made it on Taco Bell's Facebook page.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's absolutely disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think is absolutely horrifying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should be fired right away.

BERMAN: Taco Bell officials are investigating the restaurant and employees involved. The company released this statement, "When we learned of the situation, we immediately contacted this restaurant's leadership and although we believe it is a prank and the food was not served to customers, we're conducting a full scale investigation and will be taking swift action against those involved."

AMBER VANDERZEE: I think I'd give him a benefit of the doubt and think he was doing it as a funny thing with his coworkers and was going to throw them away hopefully.

BERMAN: But the damage might already be done. The photo has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and has now gone viral.

TOBY ADEBOYEJO: I'm not completely sure what's up with social media nowadays where everyone posts their bad behavior on Facebook. It's something like you don't post that on the Internet. It's not a good idea at all.

BERMAN: Taco Bell is not alone when it comes to disturbing employee posts. Earlier this year, a KFC worker in Tennessee was fired after this photo was posted on Facebook, apparently show her licking a pile of mashed potatoes.

And last summer, a photo of this Burger King employee standing in two containers was letters was posted saying on online forum, with the words, "This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King." That employee also shown the door.

Frank or not, these imagines are still hard to swallow.


BERMAN: Although I'm laughing. It's disgusting. It is just gross.

But why the fascination with licking the stuff. KFC, they're licking the mashed potatoes. Here, they're licking the taco shells. This is just bad practices. ROMANS: And it's a really good way to lose your job. I mean, it's just a really good --there are 12 million people unemployed in America and that might be another one. Twelve one million and one.

BERMAN: That's the fast track to the unemployment line.

ROMANS: All right. Gross, Berman. Thank you for bringing me that.

BERMAN: My pleasure, any time.

ROMANS: At 6:40 Eastern Time, coming up, the Heat make it happen, beating the Pacers to head back to the NBA finals. Can they take it all?

BERMAN: And give this kid a big ovation. Jeanne Moos has the story of a 13-year-old who turned an epic fail into a patriotic recovery. Love this story.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

So, we're getting our first look at a newly discovered gaseous planet located about 300 miles from earth. This was a piece of gassy planet. The planet scientists are calling HD 98506B.

It can be seen in a new photograph released by the European Southern Observatory. It was spotted by scientists working on a very large telescope in Chile. It's orbiting a relatively young star one believed to be only 10 million to 17 million years old.

ROMANS: So, what's percussionist to do when your instrument suddenly breaks while playing the national anthem and you're left with nothing but your hands. One teenager managed to think on his feet and is now being saluted for it. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Oh say can you see, the kid playing the cymbals --


MOOS: So, what's a 13-year-old to do suddenly one cymbal short. All eyes were focused on Andrew Pawelczyk. You can practically see his thoughts racing. His desperate but well executed salute to the flag cracked up classmates at Eisenhower Junior High in Darien, Illinois, especially the girl playing the big bass drum.

(on-camera) Just to be clear, Andrew didn't drop the cymbal. The thing broke.

(voice-over) They have leather straps you hold on to. Andrew is left holding the traps.

(on-camera) You have about 10 seconds there, what did you consider? What were your options?

ANDREW PAWELCZYK, PATRIOTIC PERCUSSIONIST: I considered running and get a new pair and then I considered trying to pick it back up without the handle.

MOOS (voice-over): But with various war veterans in his family history, Andrew opted to salute and ended up bathed in internet glory.

"Dude nailed it." "That was the greatest save in the history of saves."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His parents are really proud of him.

MOOS: Musicians lose control of their cymbals all the time.


MOOS: Losing a cymbal is no reason to reach for Cymbalta.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Depression hurts, Cymbalta can help.

MOOS (on-camera): The thing about Andrew is that he used his head. Actually, so did this guy.

(voice-over): But nobody is saluting him. Andrew says he wasn't embarrassed but his mom --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I was mortified.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was like, oh no, what's he going to do?

MOOS: "When in doubt, salute," someone commented.

(on-camera): So, what's whole salute patriotic symbolism? Let's see it.

(voice-over): He may seem klutzy, but he's a symbol of turning fail into win.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: That kid is a genius.

ROMANS: Man, and he just taught me something I have needed for ten years. The next time the prompter freezes --



ROMANS: I'm just going to salute and you can take it to break. Can we do that? That would be awesome. BERMAN: Coming up, could it be two in a row for Lebron and company? The Miami Heat head back to the NBA finals. Our "Bleacher Report" is next.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. So, the Miami Heat took care of business last night against the Indiana Pacers, winning a sudden death game seven. Jarred Greenberg has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hey, Jarred.

JARRED GREENBERG, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, John and Christine. It's deja vu all over again in Miami. And you know, there's nothing better in sports than a decisive game 7. And as the cliche goes, big time players stepped up and big time games. The first guy you're going to see, that's not exactly who we are referring to. Somebody cute? A funny Joan Rivers line please.

All right. Ladies, you can open up your eyes now. Recently retired David Beckham also in Miami as was this guy, the world's best baller. Lebron James scored 18 first half points and nearly injured the rim with his head. Lebron James finished with 32. Dwyane Wade snapped out of his slump, scoring 21 points. He blow-out the Pacers earning their third straight trip to the NBA finals. Miami welcomes San Antonio for game one on Thursday.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: I've had multiple dreams about it and, you know, to see a dream become a reality, I'm just very blessed. Our team is blessed and, you know, we're just happy that we're able to represent the eastern conference in the finals.


GREENBERG: A legend has died. Deacon Jones was the cause of dozens of quarterbacks have sleepless nights. The first ball hall of famer introduced football fans to the term we now use on the regular, the sack. The NFL was forced to make rule changes because of how dominant Jones was during the 1960s and 1970s. Jones played for three franchises, most notably, the Rams. Deacon Jones died of natural causes at the age of 74.

Think your child throws a nasty temper tantrum? At least, they don't do it on national TV. Michael Youzhny doesn't want to go in for dinner just yet, but he clearly needs a nap. Fourth round of the French Open, Youzhny not accepting the fact that losing might be due to user error and not equipment problems. Tommy Haas took care of Youzhny in less than 90 minutes.

Don't let Youzhny near Rafael Nadal's birthday cake. The seven-time French open champ had no issues getting his birthday party on time. The old man now in his late 20s at 27, well, he's moving on to the French quarterfinals.

Time for Tuesday tricks brought to us by incoming freshman at the University of Southern Cal, Zach Smith (ph). The long snapper starts off pretty basic then because who wouldn't think to take your football skills to a basketball court. Man, look at him getting it done from distance, wow.

BERMAN: Really?

GREENBERG: From the basketball court.

BERMAN: No way.

GREENBERG: And then, threading the needle through the car. Hey, let's get a moving target involved, what do you say, because the standing's full stuff (ph) is too easy, right?

BERMAN: The golf cart? No.

GREENBERG: You bet you. Zach Smith, impressive. Honestly, guys, I think the most impressive thing about this is he's not even yet a freshman in college, hasn't even stepped on campus yet at Southern Cal. He already knows how to impress the ladies.

BERMAN: Yes, because there's nothing sexier than a long snapper.

GREENBERG: You said it, not me. I'll tell you, high school seniors graduating going into college, take note, Zach Smith.

BERMAN: All right. Jarred, thanks so much.

ROMANS: The UK is marking 60 years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. The celebration of her 1953 coronation happening right now at Westminster Abbey. This is new video of the queen's arrival. It's a lower key affair, relatively speaking. That all the pump and circumstances of the diamond jubilee. We've got more now from CNNs Max Foster in London.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sixty years ago this week, the 27-year-old Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in a grand ceremony in Westminster Abbey. It was an occasion steeped in tradition and religious symbolism. The first coronation held in the exact same spot was for William the Conqueror in 1066. The Queen returns to the Abbey to mark her coronation with special guests and close family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a moment of celebration. It is a moment of great pride and admiration. I mean, you could go on and on and on. I mean, it's just -- what she has achieved and what she has seen over the last 60 years, I mean, for anybody to try and get their heads around would just be -- I mean, any normal person would just be like, wow, you know, that's incredible.

You know, as well as being -- having a huge sense of pride about being, you know, the sovereign of this country for the last 60 years and also the common wealth, you know, it's also the proud of being able to show supporters as grandchildren and children to show that she's got a very supportive family around her, which, you know, I think anyone in that position certainly needs.

FOSTER: Another grandchild, Prince William also attending Tuesday's service, will be crowned there himself one day. He'll be accompanied by his wife, the duchess of Cambridge who is bearing the unborn third in line to the British thrown.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


BERMAN: That is all for EARLY START this morning. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. "STARTING POINT" begins right after the break.