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Obama Urges Morsi to Call for Early Elections; Snowden Searches for Asylum; What Does it Take to be a Hot Shot?; STEM Industry Boasts Highest Earning Internships

Aired July 2, 2013 - 13:00   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: George Zimmerman's best friend takes the stand in the second-degree murder trial. We're bringing you up to the minute developments and live testimony from the trial.

We're also following other big news stories today. This hour, protesters packs the streets of Cairo. They are calling for the Egyptian president to resign or else.

And this, a man without a country? More governments say no to Edward Snowden's request for asylum.

This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Want to get right to it. We begin with a president trying to hang onto power and the millions of protesters who want him out.

That is the situation. You're looking at the live pictures. This is out of Egypt, of course, an important U.S. ally in this unstable region. You have crowds that are jammed into Tahrir Square; that is in Cairo. Opponents now giving Mohamed Morsi until this evening to step down. If he does not, they plan to march on the presidential palace. The military has given both sides until tomorrow to work out their differences.

Well, Mr. Morsi shows no signs of giving in but today President Obama urged him to call at least for early elections. And he warned the military against carrying out a coupe. Want to bring in our Reza Sayah -- he is live in Cairo - to give a sense of what is taking place on the ground now. Reza?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, I'm having a tough time hearing you but let me describe this incredible scene here outside the presidential palace where the crowds are getting bigger and they're certainly louder. And you get the sense that they feel that they're getting close to accomplishing this unlikely mission of toppling President Morsi and this Muslim Brotherhood-led government from power.

We'll tell you why they're getting excited, because the clock is ticking for the deadline on Wednesday. Of course, yesterday, the armed forces came in and they told the government and the opposition factions that you have two days to resolve this conflict and fix things. Otherwise, they said, they were going to step in and put forth a road map out of this conflict. And they would supervise it.

Over the past 24 hours, really nothing has changed. So indications are that we're getting closer to armed forces stepping in. Today, there are reports that the armed forces are giving a few more details about what would happen tomorrow if this conflict is not resolved. And according to those reports, the armed forces would suspend Egypt's controversial constitution that's just months old. They would dissolve parliament and they would set up some sort of counsel that would take over the leadership for yet another transition.

So who would have thought, Suzanne, two and a half years ago when Egypt went through this historic revolution, we would be on the verge for Egypt's revolution, part two.

MALVEAUX: And, Reza, if you could explain -- I know we're hearing those loud noises in the background -- what you're actually hearing here and whether or not you think that, if Morsi doesn't step down, if he says, OK, I'll call for early elections, will that be good enough for those crowds to leave Tahrir Square and lave peacefully?

SAYAH: That's still an unknown, but his options seem to be running out. If he stays put and defies the military's orders, then not only is he going against the opposition factions, the liberals, the moderates, even some supporters of the old Mubarak regime, now he would be going up against the armed forces' directives too.

He could reach out and say, "Let's have early elections." That seems to be an option. But if you get a sense from the people behind us, they get the sense that that's not going to happen, that that's unlikely. You would think there would be meetings between the president, the armed forces, and the opposition factions. That's not happening. So that signals that that's not an option, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, Reza, we're going to get back to you. We see fireworks and what looks like a light show behind you there. Please let us know if that turns into something that is violent.

As we mentioned, President Obama is urging President Morsi to hold new elections. President Obama says that the government should represent all Egyptians including those people you saw in the streets, the demonstrators.

I want to bring in my colleague, Wolf Blitzer, to talk a little more about this, give it some context here, Wolf. Because, I mean, it's a really difficult situation the United States is in. For decades, we supported Hosni Mubarak before the Egyptain people turned on him. Now you've got the first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in decades here and they want him to go. What kind of leverage does President Obama have when he says, "Look, Morsi, hold these elections early. Make this thing move. Make this happen."

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: I'm sure the U.S. has some leverage over and some influence over President Morsi but what's happening on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria and other places in Egypt, obviously, is much more powerful. And also what's happening within the Egyptian military, which is still such an important institution, a critically important institution, in Egypt. That's a lot more important than the U.S. and the 1.5 billion that U.S. taxpayers provide Egypt in military assistance, economic assistance every year.

While that's very important, what's happening in Egypt right now is so much more important. And for all practical purposes, these past couple years has seen a disaster unfold in Egypt. The economy is in ruin. Unemployment has skyrocketed. There's virtually no tourism in Egypt right now, which was a source of so much foreign currency for the Egyptian economy, so much work for Egyptians. They basically have the Suez Canal's revenues that they get from transit going through the Suez Canal.

But this is an awful situation in Egypt. And it looks like President Morsi is either going to have to step down, call for new elections, or this escalating tension will get way, way out of control.

MALVEAUX: Wolf, we know perhaps a president has options when it comes to carrots and sticks here. Is it possible that he could use that aid, that aid you were talking about to Egypt ,as a tool, as leverage if you will to force the president to either have early elections or to step aside?

BLITZER: Well, most of that U.S. aid and it's significant, more than billion and a half dollars a year goes to the Egyptian military. There's some foreign aid for economic development and social needs and stuff like that; that's a few hundred million dollars basically. But most goes to the Egyptian military and, right now, it's the Egyptian military that the U.S. is counting on for all practical purposes to try to get stability, to try to get some coordination.

Remember, a lot of those Egyptian generals, many of them spent quality time in the United States over these past several years training, whether at Ft. Hood or Ft. Stewart in Georgia, other places. And so much of the Egyptian military is U.S. weaponry, F-16s and Abrams battle tanks, stuff that the Egyptians got, purchased, in the United States mostly through U.S. credit funding. So it's the Egyptian military that, ironically, the U.S. is relying on right now to try to bring some sort of stability back to that country.

MALVEAUX: All right, Wolf, we're going to be paying close attention to what happens in Tahrir Square over the hours and days to come. It's going to be critical. Thanks, Wolf, really appreciate it.

Crews are struggling to get control of the Arizona wildfire. That is the one, of course, that killed those 19 firefighters. Right now, officials, they're holding a news conference. At last check, the fire was zero percent contained. That is right, zero percent. It has burned more than 8,000 angers.

Now, the military is sending in four specially equipped planes to try to help put out that fire. We're going to be monitoring what the officials say at the press conference and bring you the very latest. We'll be listening in. Also ahead this hour, a look at the grueling job of those elite firefighters known as hotshots.

And Edward Snowden casting his net pretty wide here. This is a search for a country that, any country, that's going to take him. He put out this release through WikiLeaks group naming 21 countries where he's requested asylum. That list includes India, China, several European countries as well.

His options are dwindling, however, because some have already said it's not going to happen. Russia, Poland, India have basically all said no. Other countries including Germany say he can't ask for asylum unless he is within the borders. So that pretty much rules them out as well as options.

So which country is a front-runner in the Snowden asylum lottery, essentially? Jill Dougherty is following this from the State Department. Snowden, does he have any idea? Do we have any idea?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the leading candidate at this point, since Ecuador seems to be cooling its heels on this, would probably be Venezuela. They have indicated, the president, Maduro, has indicated that they would be open to giving him a visa. But one of the problems is, Suzanne, and this is plagued him, he's technically many this no man's land, in this limbo at the airport transit lounge in Moscow, and he doesn't have a way to get to those countries.

I mean, most countries even that would be open to giving him some type of asylum require him to physically be in the country or be, let's say, in the embassy which is considered the territory of a country -- and he cannot do that. So that's one of the complications.

Now, you know, the State Department has been reaching out to countries that possibly might be destinations for Mr. Snowden. They won't say precisely which countries they've been talking to, but they are saying -- a senior official is saying, "We're not going to list them but we have been and will continue to be in touch with the countries through which he might transit or serve as the final destination."

So it's pretty obvious that they are contacting any country that looks like it's on the list.

MALVEAUX: And Jill, a couple countries on the list that a lot of people have been talking about as real possibilities, Ecuador being one of them, but also Venezuela and possibly Nicaragua. Do we have any sense that those countries are any closer in the process of perhaps granting him asylum?

DOUGHERTY: Well, you know, Venezuela certainly -- and the president interestingly, President Maduro, was -- I believe he still is, he might have just left, but he was in Moscow. And he spoke about this. Very critical of the United States. Very open to the possibility of getting a visa to Snowden, but then again saying he hasn't received an application in Snowden. So I think you'd have to say, they would be -- Venezuela would be one of the countries. Of course, their relationship with the United States is a bit complex. It's actually been kind of improving. So you'd have to look at the leverage that the United States has with them.

MALVEAUX: All right, Jill Dougherty. Thank you so much, Jill. Appreciate me.

Here's also what we're working on for this hour. He says that he is the best friend of George Zimmerman. We are talking about Mark Osterman. He's taking the stand in his friend's trial essentially. We're going to bring live coverage when you see that little small - well, you see the big screen there - that is where we're going to bring you in about 15, 20 minutes or so, when they resume live.

Plus, we're going to take you inside the dangerous world of elite fire-fighting teams. These are the guys known as hotshots. What it takes to join the ranks and what kind of job they face, up next.


MALVEAUX: This is pretty unusual. This is something you usually don't see on an international president trip. Well, President Obama and former President George W. Bush standing side by side in Tanzania. That was earlier today. They were laying a wreath to honor the 11 people killed in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombing in Dar es Salaa.

For President Obama, Tanzania is his last stop on his African tour that also took him South Africa and Senegal. During the trip, President Obama praised Bush for his efforts in Africa while Bush backed him on criticizing the NSA leaker.

And they are on a tour. They're pushing for gun control, but former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband are also showing their support for the Second Amendment by firing guns. That's right. For Giffords, it was her first time firing a weapon since a gunman shot her and killed six others in January. That was back in 2011.

Well, she and her husband, Mark Kelly, they are visiting seven states to push for expanded background checks on gun purchases. They're calling it the Rights and Responsibility Tour. They visited a gun range, this was in Vegas yesterday, and today they're in Alaska.

Crews battling the Arizona wildfire that killed 19 firefighters. Well, they are now getting some more help. A Pentagon official tells CNN that the military is now sending four specially-equipped C-130 planes. This is from Colorado to Arizona.

We've learned that one of the planes has actually already arrived, and this the Yarnell Hill fire. This is just northwest of Phoenix. It's scorched more than 8,400 acres. That's about 13 square miles. We're talking about extreme heat, parched conditions, shifting winds, that have all made it tough to get it and get a handle on this fire.

The fire fighting planes will be able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds.

The 19 firefighters who died in Arizona, they were part of this elite group. They were known as hot shots. Some of them compare them to special op forces or in military Navy SEALS or Army Rangers. Well Randi Kaye shows us what it is like to be one of the best.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When hot shots get the call they head to the center of a blazing wildfire, an inferno that oftentimes only they can stop. Hot shots go where equipment can't.

These elite firefighting teams are specially trained to use chain saws and pulaskis (ph) to clear brush and cut a fire line through the dirt. A line that could stretch a mile long. It's their job to hold that line. John Segar is a former hot shot.

JOHN SEGAR, FORMER HOTSHOT/NATIONAL INTERAGENCY FIRE CENTER: When the fire burns up to that line the fire will put out embers. Some of those embers actually do cross the line and the hot shot crew or any of our fire crews will patrol the line and look for those embers and try to get to them.

KAYE: Segar, likened hot shot teams to military special ops units. He says they're the best of the best in wildfire suppression, highly motivated and highly trained, which is why they get the toughest assignments.

SEGAR: Their physical fitness training prior to the season, and if it's a slow season during the season, includes running, long endurance hikes. Any types of push ups, sit ups, the whole aerobics, cardio, physical fitness routine.

KAYE: There's a rigorous physical test to qualify as a hot shot, including a three-mile hike in 45 minutes while carrying a 45 pound pack, and a mile and a half run in ten and a half minutes or less. Because of the physical endurance required, most hot shots tend to be younger in their 20's and 30's.

It's certainly not an easy gig. Hot shot crews are on call 24/7 during fire season, about six months out of year. They're sent to where the terrain is most severe and the weather is typically hot and dry. They are exposed to wind and dust and all kinds of poisonous plants. Crews sleep on the ground and if they are lucky they get to shower every couple of days.

The job keeps them away from home for several weeks at a time working 14 days on and two days off. The hours are long too, often stretching into 16 hour shifts.

SEGAR: They travel all over the country. So, it is very difficult. It's very difficult to maintain a family life. Our firefighters adjust to that. Families adjust to it just like families in the military service adjust to it. It's not an easy life.

KAYE: The U.S. Forest Service says hot shot crews began in southern California in the late 1940's. They got their name hot shot from always being in the hottest part of the fire. This isn't the first devastating loss they've suffered. Back in 1994 nearly 20 years ago, nine members of the Primeville, Oregon hot shot were killed when they were trapped fighting a Colorado fire on Storm King Mountain.

Some firefighters tried to survive by wrapping themselves in fireproof shelters like these just like the 19 killed in Arizona. While all hot shot team members tend to love the outdoors and thrive on a challenge, they know the dangers and what can happen when the wind shifts.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.


MALVEAUX: Our thoughts and prayers to the 19 families who lost those hot shots from that fire. We'll be right back.


MALVEAUX: Disaster strikes Russia's space program. Take a look at this. This was shortly after launch. This is a Proton-M rocket veering wildly, then slowly exploding in flames. No one on board. There were no immediate reports of anyone on the ground being injured. You see it there, the explosion. Three navigate satellites were destroyed in the process. The Kazakhstan launch was broadcast live on television. Further launches are now suspended while the explosion is investigated.

Extreme weather keeping a firm grip on much of the United States here. Historic and deadly headwave expected to shatter more records across the west, as well as parts of the northeast, are cleaning up from dangerous floods and storms. From Georgia to New England, we could see two to three more inches of rain in the next few days.

This, a brazen jewelry heist. This is Atlantic City, New Jersey. Police looking for three smash and grab robbers who took half a million dollars of jewelry from a hotel and casino. They escaped in a car that was waiting by and police say they are using surveillance pictures to try to see if they can track down those guys.

In Ohio, a brave 7-year-old boy risks his own life to save his family from a fire. Dicoda Taylor's grandmother says the little boy was asleep on a couch when he smelled smoke coming from the kitchen. That's when he crawled to his parents room.


DICODA TAYLOR, SAVED FAMILY FROM FIRE: I crawled under the fire. I had to cover my mouth like this to keep from breathing in the smoke.

DANNY TAYLOR, FATHER: If he wouldn't have done that we would have choked out from the smoke. By the time I woke up I was starting to choke on it. He was my hero for the day.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: He is a hero. The family of five made it out safely through a back window. He's showing it to you there. They were taken to a hospital to get checked out for smoke inhalation, and like he said the home was destroyed.

And we are watching, you see that small little screen there? That's the Zimmerman trial. It's expected to resume. Just moments away. We'll see who the mystery witnesses will be that they call to the stand. That's continuing in about five or six minutes. We'll take it to you live.


MALVEAUX: Let's take a quick check of the markets here. The Dow has been showing some strength today. There you see it, it is at 14,991. It got a shot in the arm this morning from some data showing that manufacturing demand in May was better than expected.

Do you want to make 80,000 bucks a year? Well, you could try being an intern at a tech company. That's right. Christine Romans explains in today's "How To Speak Money."

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. S-T-E-M. And these fields are driving the good-paying jobs. It's no secret that students studying STEM make more than those studying liberal arts when they graduate. According to payscale, STEM majors make almost 20 grand more a year right off the bat.

But, a new report from Glass Door shows they could also make a lot of money even before they graduate. Look at the top five highest paid internships. Vmware, it's a software company, it claims the number one spot. Interns make about $6,700 a month on average. Annually, that adds up more than $80,000. eBay comes in a close second paying $6,500 a month. Exxon Mobil lands at the third spot, followed by Facebook and Google.

Notice a trend? Those internships are mostly at tech companies or petroleum engineering. These companies need to fill hi-tech jobs like software engineers and they'll pay to get the best.

Remember STEM jobs are the future. They will drive the growth of the industries that are paying the most money for students. The U.S. is lagging behind China, India and others on STEM education. We can't afford to lose that edge in innovation (ph) and you can't afford to have a $200,000 degree that leaves you unemployed. Be very careful what you're studying, what you're good at, and what the economy is rewarding. If you're not a math guru, if you're not a science freak, don't worry. Liberal arts majors can still make a very good living if they are working in fields that are STEM-related. Back to you.