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Cirque du Soleil Death; Texas Abortion Battle; Many Triggers Of Aggressive Driving

Aired July 1, 2013 - 06:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. Hope you're having a good morning. Thanks for coming back to NEW DAY. I'm Chris Cuomo.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Bolduan. We're here with news anchor Michaela Pereira. It is Monday, July 1st.

Wow, July 1st. Can you believe it?

Coming up in this half hour: horror 50 feet in the air. An acrobat killed during a live Cirque du Soleil performance. How safe are these shows?

CUOMO: Then, we're going to take through this road incident from Florida. I mean, everybody knows we get angry on the road, but this turned deadly. Why? We'll take you through it this morning.

A lot of news to get to on NEW DAY. Let's get to Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Breaking news and tough news to report this morning. An elite team of 19 firefighters, most of them from the very same unit, killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire northwest of Phoenix. An Arizona forestry official says they were part of a Hot Shot crew that dug fire lines, but he said the safety zone they created was not big enough to keep the fire away.

Officials say that fire has burned 6,000 acres and destroyed some 100 structures.

More rain could be on the way in the Southeast after heavy rain led to flash flooding a and water rescues in North Carolina. One man who dropped off his daughter for her first day of school had to be rescued. He said there was so much water, his car was floating. Some businesses in the area resorted to sand bags to try to keep the water out.

Gay pride events around the country celebrating last week's Supreme Court decision on DOMA and California's Proposition 8. About one and half million people turned for San Francisco's 43rd annual gay pride parade, the biggest turnout ever. Some same sex marriage resumed Friday in California. So, there were also newlyweds on hand for Sunday's parade.

Not something drivers in San Diego were expecting to see. Hot air balloon shaped like a giant panda came in for a crash landing. Not sure what exactly caused the balloon to deflate as it headed for a freeway there, but the pilot was able to bring it down safely in a ravine.

And a great news to report, nobody was heart, performances stole the show. Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder took part in an all-star tribute to Mr. Charlie Wilson who earned a lifetime achievement award. Drake led the field with 12 nominations, won the night's big award, Video of the Year for "Starting from the Bottom".

Those are the headlines.

CUOMO: I'm not anti-drake, but I was loving the rendition of Charlie Wilson's song.

PEREIRA: And life time achievement. Isn't that something?


PEREIRA: A night he won't forget.

CUOMO: Making me feel a little old.

And that was a good time to move on. Let's get to the tragedy at Cirque du Soleil. The show is canceled at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas after one of the acrobats fell to her death during a performance. Thirty-one-year-old Sarah Guyard was being hoisted in to the air on a wire Saturday when she plummeted to the stager below.

CNN's Dan Simon is live in Las Vegas with more. Dan, what do we understand about this?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Chris. First of all, anyone who has ever been to a show can tell you about the incredible stunts these performers do. What happened at the MGM appears to be nothing more than a tragic mishap. It also happens to be the first death in Cirque's 30-year history.


SIMON (voice-over): It's an edge of your seat show that features an incredible array of the acrobatics, pyrotechnics and larger than life sets.

Cirque du Soleil performers are highly skilled and intensively trained. But an accident on Saturday night claimed the life of a 31- year-old performer. Acrobat and aerialist, Sarah Guyard featured in this cabaret show died while performing the production of "Ka" at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"The Las Vegas Sun" quotes witnesses that say Guyard was being hoisted above a vertical stage like the one seen here during the show's finale when the acrobat fell into the hollow pit 50 feet below. According to those account, some audience members thought the fall was part of the show until they heard screams from the stage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could hear people crying and all the actors were basically looking down.

SIMON: Guyard reportedly a mother of two pictured here at a camp called Cirquefit taught physical fitness and circus skill to kids.

In a statement, Cirque du Soleil's founder says, quote, "I am heart broken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated with this news."

The accident is an unfortunate reminder of the dangers of performing in high flying shows.

Just last week, a performer in the Cirque du Soleil production of Michael Jackson One suffered a concussion after falling from a slack rope. And in 2010, a stunt man fell 30 feet off the stage at the Broadway production of "Spiderman." He suffered numerous injuries, including a fractured skull, broken ribs, and broken vertebra.


SIMON: Back here in Las Vegas, Guyard was born in Paris and spent more than two decades as an acrobat. And, Chris, as you might expect, performances of "Ka" will be suspended until further notice.

Back to you.

CUOMO: All right. Dan, thank you very much.

You know, we were just saying here. It's amazing they don't get hurt more often. But coming up, we're going to hear from a woman who performed with Cirque de Soleil for ten years and she'll tell us why she would not perform today.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that will be a very interesting conversation. We're going to have that ahead.

But still ahead next, the abortion battle simmering in Texas. Lawmakers will be back in a special session today trying to push through a sweeping bill. Will it pass, though? We're live in the Texas state capitol.

CUOMO: Take a look this. It's at a car show in Poland. Sports car out of control. Look how many people it takes out. Why do things go so wrong?

We'll tell you when we come back.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Texas lawmakers are preparing to do battle once again today. They're taking up the state's controversial abortion bill in another special session after it failed in dramatic fashion last week.

Democratic Senator Wendy Davis, you remember this, kept up a some 12- hour filibuster to help shut down the bill. But Republicans say they're certain this time the bill is going to pass.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is live in Austin today. It will be a dramatic day, that's for sure.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, my goodness, it certainly will. This is at full political boil. Protesters from both sides of this emotional will descend on Austin as the entire country watches to see how it plays out.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): It was a filibuster heard round the Lone Star State and beyond.

STATE SEN. WENDY DAVIS (D), TEXAS: I intend to speak for an extended period of time on the bill.

MARQUEZ: A Texas sized protest scrambling politics here setting the stage for today's legislative battle. A test of political will.

DAVIS: These are matters of personal liberty. In Texas, we hold very dear to intrusions against our personal liberty.

MARQUEZ: And catapulting a state senator on to a national stage.

DAVIS: What they now have to confront is that the eyes of Texas, the eyes of the country are watching.

MARQUEZ: The fight over strict limits to abortion availability, preventing them after 20 weeks and imposing rules so tough on clinics, most might be forced to close.

That fight now intensely personal.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R). TEXAS: She's the daughter of a single woman. She was a teenage mother herself. It's just unfortunate she hasn't learned from her own example.

MARQUEZ: The state senator and her now famous pink tennis shoes versus Texas Governor Rick Perry.

DAVIS: You know, what's offensive to me is that he's made this very personal to Texans overall.

MARQUEZ: The political brawl energizing Democrats confounding Republicans now whispers that a fell filibuster could came a political avalanche.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Are you going to run against him for governor?

DAVIS: I don't know. I have to go to work on this bill for a little while.

BLITZER: Sounds line a maybe to me.

MARQUEZ: A Democrat in the governor's mansion here? Unthinkable a week ago. A maybe today.


MARQUEZ: Now, there is almost no doubt that this bill will pass at some point. The question is when. Today, we expect to see rules hearings. That will get contentious.

We expect to see the bill go back through the committee process and to the floor of both the House and Senate. It could be a done deal in as few as nine days.

Kate, Chris, back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right. Miguel, watching it for us on the ground in Austin -- thank you so much.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a fatal shooting on a Florida highway all captured, and a 911 call you have to hear. A manhunt is under way and the question, why police now think it may be a case of extreme road rage?

BOLDUAN: And take a look at this. This toddler making her way across a pool. Look at that little thing. Should she be swimming alone?

The viral video that has many parents scratching their heads this morning.

CUOMO: She just took a breath and --

BOLDUAN: I know.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. Police are hunting this morning for a gunman after a driver was shot to death on a Florida highway. It happened during the victim's frantic 911 call to police. He was saying another driver was threatening him with a gun. The deadly shots captured on the call. CNN's Holly Firfer reports.


HOLLY FIRFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Saturday shopping trip turned deadly for Fred William Turner Jr. after he was gunned down on Interstate-4 in Tampa. Yet, another unexplained incident of road rage. Turner called 911 as he got in his car and left a Tampa, Florida store. He told police a man he did not know was following him.

SHERIFF DAVID GEE, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA: We know that, at one point in time, this person did pull up beside him and showed him a hand gun.

FIRFER: Police say they don't know why Turner was being followed. He told the authorities he had not done anything to provoke the man, but while still on the phone, he was killed.

GEE: During the time he was on the call with the highway patrol, they actually heard the shooting or series of shots.

FIRFER: His death, the latest incident connected to road rage, another example of an alarming number of such cases being reported. June 9th in Maryland, an off duty New Jersey police officer allegedly shoots and kills another motorist. June 17th in Southern California, a fight between two businessmen breaks out in rush shower traffic and is caught on a cell phone video.

In fact, according to AAA, there were 1,300 road rage incidents last year alone. In 300 of those, someone died. Many across the country wonder what is going on. Studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show aggressive driving can be blamed on many factors, including traffic delays, the anonymity of being shielded in a car, to increase commuting distances and durations.

When the temperatures rise, tempers can flare. The summer months show an uptick in the number of incidents. As 34 million Americans are expected to hit the road this Fourth of July holiday week and record temperatures expected in parts of the country, officials are hoping that cooler heads will prevail.

Holly Firfer, CNN.


CUOMO: We have road rage and then you have homicide.


CUOMO: I mean, that's what this is.

BOLDUAN: This is an interesting one. I think, yes. Road rage -- I don't know about that.

All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, we'll have the very latest of the heartbreaking, truly heartbreaking tragedy in the Arizona. Almost an entire team of elite firefighters lost on the front lines, 19 men in all.

CUOMO: And the video you just have to see. Watch this car slides into a crowd at a rally in Poland. What happened there? Why were those people standing so close? When we come back.


CUOMO: Just about seven minutes before 7:00 a.m., but we are ready here, and we're kicking off 30 minutes of commercial free news. Let's start with our political gut check, all the stories you need to know coming out of Washington.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Congress has taken off on their week long Fourth of July recess, but, they've left quite a lot of unfinished business behind on Capitol Hill, including student loan rates that are set to do double today. Jake Tapper, CNN's chief Washington correspondent, the host of "The Lead," us here to talk more about this. Chris and I keep talking, this is the story in Washington that people are not talking enough about. We've got immigration, we've got NSA leaks, but the student loans could double today, will double today. It could be thousands of dollars more for each student. How can Congress let this happen?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Typical Washington, D.C. dysfunction is the short answer to that. I mean, everybody knew this date was coming, and yet, no compromise was able on to be achieved. I do have some decent news, though, Kate, which is that according to the administration and Congressional sources with whom I've spoken, there is some optimism that this will be taken care of next week or the week after that.

And, that the lower rates will be retroactive so that, ultimately, students will not have to pay the higher rate. I do have reason to believe that there is the basis for a compromise to come together. So, I do think people will be able to get together on this.

CUOMO: Hey, Jake. It's great having you on the show, first of all. Thanks for doing it. And, what's your best sense on this issue of why they're letting the students fall in the hole like this? They wouldn't do this to the banks, would they?

TAPPER: Probably not. But I do think right now there's this impasse about whether or not the loan should be -- the rate should be kept at 3.4 percent or they should be tied to the economy. There's a different -- there's a disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on that. There's also a question of if they do go -- if they're tied to the market, whether or not they should be capped so they never go above, say, eight percent.

And there's a lot of disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on that. There is grounds for a compromise, though, like I said, and I do think that ultimately with the knowledge that they would be able to fix this retroactively, the members of Congress went on their vacations and decided they would come back and deal with it later.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Speaking of things as they've kind of left to deal with later, the Voting Rights Act following the Supreme Court decision, there's been some discussion that Congress should quickly take up to kind of rework the formula in order to have some of these restrictions and limitations that the Voting Rights Act had put into place, kind of fixed and put back into place.

Candy Crowley had the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on and he made it pretty clear that you shouldn't get your hopes up, because it didn't really look like Congress was going to be moving on that. I mean, is there any chance that a Congress this polarized could try to take on something so touchy and sensitive and really controversial at this point?

TAPPER: There's a chance that they could deal with this, but Kate, I do think this is something that is much more of a longer term project. The Department of Justice is just now meeting and discussing what formula they would suggest. Remember what the Supreme Court struck down was the idea that these states that were judged to have had voting problems in 1965 should continue to have to submit their changes to voting before they're done.

The president, when he was giving a comment on this, a response to this in Africa, talked about how there could be remedies that are not based on jurisdiction, meaning not necessarily the same southern states that were in the Voting Rights Act to begin with. This is the kind of thing one Republican on Capitol Hill told me that benefits from taking place on a long methodical away from the spotlight --


TAPPER: -- type of way as opposed to a lot of attention and trying to do it very quickly. So, I do think it's possible something will happen, but it's a much more long-term project.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I think that you're -- that's absolutely a fair point. Jake Tapper, great to see you, Jake. Thanks for waking up early.

TAPPER: Thanks, guys. Great to see you. Congratulations on the new show. Very exciting.


CUOMO: See you on "THE LEAD."

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much. See you on "THE LEAD."

CUOMO: See you on "The Lead" at 4:00.

BOLDUAN: Four o'clock eastern. Don't miss it. Jake Tapper, the host of "THE LEAD."

Hear that music? That means it is time for the "Rock Block," everyone. A quick roundup of the stories you'll be talking about today. First up, Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right. Good morning, guys. Good morning to you at home. First up, in "U.S.A. Today," one run for Boston close to the finish line. Hundreds of runners have participated in this gigantic coast to coast relay race, the raise in money for victims of the Boston marathon.

In the "Wall Street Journal," a judge rejecting an appeal to dismiss conspiracy charges against dozens of Atlanta educators in a major high school cheating scandal.

And from the "Washington Post," Gettysburg, Pennsylvania marking the 150th anniversary of the battle that helped determine the outcome of the civil war. Sunday crowds came out to see an enormous re-enactment of it. Lots of photos were snapped at that.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Look at those crowds. Amazing.

CUOMO: Really get it down to the details. All right. Time now for Christine Romans who has all the business news you need to know. It's Canada day. It's the first day of a new quarter.


CUOMO: This is perfect reason to have a rally today.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Look, half the year is gone now, right? Both the Dow and the S&P 500 up 13 percent in that first half. And despite all that worrying last week, markets ended with gains last week. The Dow and S&P up about one percent. The NASDAQ up a little bit more than that.

There's a recovery in housing, but first time home buyers are missing out. In May, first time buyers accounted for only 28 percent of existing home purchases. That's down from 34 percent a year before. Starting this week, there may be some relief for struggling homeowners. Borrowers with mortgages backed by Fannie and Freddie. Mortgages at least 90 days behind will start receiving offers from lenders to lower their mortgage payments. Watch the mail.

BOLDUAN: Any help you can get is a good thing. You got it. Christine, thanks so much. Let's get straight to Indra Petersons in the weather center with what you need to know before you head out the door this morning.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I wish I could help you guys on the weather front, but once again, we're still dealing with these blocking highs. Why do we call them blocking highs? They're literally blocking all other weather from entering those areas. So, we have huge domes of high pressure, one right over the Bermuda high of an east coast and the other one we know about in the west coast.

So hot and so dry, all that sinking air bringing temperatures good 10, 15 degrees above normal. Still looking at those temperatures good 15 degrees above normal in the east coast with that blocking high. We're talking about more rain. If we could only get the rain where it's hot and the heat where it's raining, it would be a lot better, but unfortunately, can't do that for you.


BOLDUAN: That would be pretty amazing. Indra, thanks so much. We'll be back with you.

Now top of the hour, which of course, means it is time for the top news.