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Bank Standoff Over; Violence in Cairo; Hannah Anderson's Online Conversation; Airline Deal Blocked

Aired August 14, 2013 - 05:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning: an intense 12-hour hostage standoff is finally over. And police shoot and kill the gunman after he opened fire on his captives. We are live at the scene.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also, breaking overnight: Egypt's military forces moved in to clear protests. We have reports of beatings, arrests and deaths. At this hour, police continue firing tear gas and bulldozing tents. This situation is unraveling by the minute. And we are live in Cairo with the latest.

SAMBOLIN: And new details on rescued kidnapped victim Hannah Anderson. We hear from her for the very first time since her traumatic ordeal. Find out why she did not run.

BERMAN: Fascinating.

SAMBOLIN: It really is.

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

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's Wednesday, August 14th. It is 5:00 in the East.

We're going to begin this morning with a tense 12-hour standoff at a bank in Louisiana. It is now over, and this morning with the hostage- taker dead and two of the hostages shot. It happened in St. Joseph, that's near Louisiana's northeast border near with Mississippi.

Alina Machado is live there with the very latest. And, Alina, what you can tell us?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, this is still a very active scene. We're going to zoom into the bank so that you can see the police remain here. Investigators continue to comb the bank for evidence.

Now, Louisiana state police have identified the alleged hostage-taker as 20-year-old Fuaed Abdo Ahmed. Authorities say Ahmed walked into this bank, the Tensas State Bank, with a gun and took three bank employees hostage. Over the course of 12 hours, police say Ahmed made several demands. The man even released a female hostage. But, then, just before midnight, local time, a SWAT team stormed the bank because the gunman, according to police, threatened to kill the hostages. Now, Ahmed was shot dead. Police say he shot dead both hostages before he was killed.

The man and women who were shot were taken to separate hospitals in the area. And at last check, according to police, they are listed in critical condition -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Alina, thank you very much. We'll continue to check in with you there.

BERMAN: We're going to turn now to Cairo, we have some majoring troubling developments overnight. Police have moved in, firing tear gas and guns as they try to break up two massive sit-ins there. These sit-ins were filled with supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy.

The pictures we're getting back are very, very dramatic this morning. We have conflicting reports on the number of deaths and injuries.

Let's get the latest from Cairo right now. Ian Lee there for us.

Ian, what can you tell us? What's the latest there this morning? We can see these pictures. The situation is clearly unraveling. I'm told right now we don't have Ian.

But I can tell you is that the situation has been very fluid. Overnight, troops from the government, the military, moved into the sites of these two sit-ins. At these sit-ins, they have been fortifying the area lately, protesters, they've been building stone walls, they've been storing rocks, even gathering bird shot to use against the police in the military, in the event, that the authorities moved in to break up the protest.

That now has apparently happened. As we said, we're getting conflicts reports about the number of dead and injured, anywhere from a handful to much more than that.

These pictures that you're looking at right now is very, very dramatic, as I said, this situation has been developed overnight and continues to develop through the morning. We'll bring you the latest as it comes. We'll get the reporters in Cairo as soon as we can. Obviously, the situation is very, very intense.

Three minutes after the hour.

And new this morning, the surprising online discussion of just what kidnapping victim Hannah went through. The mother of one of Anderson's closest friends tells "The Associated Press" it was Hannah who answered questions on the social media site, That just days after she was rescued from a family friend, James DiMaggio, who took her captive after her mother and brother were found dead in his burned down house.

Among the questions Hannah apparently answered, "Did you want to go with DiMaggio?" Her reply, "No, not at all." "Why did you run?" she was asked. She wrote, "He would have killed me." "Why didn't you run?" she was said.

"How did you separate from your mom and brother?" She answered, "He tied them up in the garage." Then she was asked, "Are you glad he's dead?" Hannah Anderson replied, "Absolutely."

Meantime, a fund has been established to raise money for Hannah and her family. We have a link on our website

All right. I am told now we do have a reporter up in Cairo.

Ian -- Ian, there were go -- Ian, tell us what's the latest right there.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, we have an ongoing security operation at one of the two major protest camps of the supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsy. Earlier this morning, one of the other camps was cleared by security forces who made arrests but the ongoing clash at the main protest camp has seen at least seven people killed. And dozens injured on the pro-Morsy, pro-president -- former President Mohamed Morsy side.

Also, the interior ministry saying two of their security officers have been killed in the clashes that is ongoing.

Both sides saying -- on the security forces side saying they're only using tear gas. On the protester side saying they're peaceful protesters.

But what we're hearing from the ground is that gunfire has been used at that protest. Both sides claiming the other side is using weapons, live rounds, to attack the other. A very chaotic scene right now if you're in Cairo.

BERMAN: And, Ian Lee for us in Cairo. No one is backing down here, correct? You still have the authorities, the military-backed government going after the protesters? You still have the protesters calling for the return of Mohamed Morsy. Those protesters refusing to leave this site.

This only seems to be escalating.

LEE: That's exactly right, John. And I can tell you the ongoing clashes happening at the main protest site. I'm also hearing reports of around Cairo, there are supporters of ousted president also taking to the streets. And there have been clashes in other areas, other districts.

The government has shut down the national rail service in attempt to kind of isolate all of these incidents. The Brotherhood has condemned that, saying they're trying to stop the protesters from voicing their opinions. But this does seem to be escalating of sorts as the day progresses, since the early morning raid took place, really, without any warning.

BERMAN: OK. You can see the development on the ground right now in Cairo. Ian Lee, we'll check back with you in a little bit. Appreciate it. Thanks, Ian.

SAMBOLIN: Six minutes past the hour.

New developments now in the case of a vicious beating on a school bus in Florida. This is all captured on surveillance camera. The 13- year-old victim told authorities three teenagers tried to sell him marijuana, when he refused, they beat him up in retaliation.

Now, state officials are recommending nine months of court-supervised probation for two of the teenagers you see there. There's no recommendation yet on the sentence for the third teenager. Prosecutors tell a judge they want a stronger sentence and plan to use this surveillance video in order to make their case.

BERMAN: Also in Florida, Trayvon Martin's father is being honored by Florida A&M University's football program. Tracy Martin was named an honorary captain after delivering a moving speech to the team last weekend. The coach says his players were inspired by Martin's message perseverance through hard times.

Martin will perform the pregame coin toss for Florida A&M season opening game against Mississippi Valley State. That happens on September 1st.

SAMBOLIN: And we have two dangerous wildfires to tell you about this morning. First, let's take a look at this blaze. The Elk Fire east of Boise. It's grown to 100,000 acres. It has destroyed at least 71 buildings, including some homes in that area. There are evacuations in place. And the fire is only 5 percent contained.

And near Park City, Utah, the Summit County Fire is raging. It has now destroyed 12 homes, another 15 structures destroyed. It's a 4,000-acre fire. It is also just 5 percent contained.

BERMAN: The fires look awfully big.

Indra Petersons at the weather center watching them for us. What's the weather hold out there?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, unfortunately. It looks like that fire danger is going to build over the next few days. You can actually see the red flag warnings, high temperature and low humidity, not a good combination.

And it looks like the danger will build into Idaho as we go through tomorrow. Another way to look at it, it's really this ridge of high pressure building throughout the area. Thursday looks to be the hottest day, in fact, temperatures could get close to 100 degrees. Good news by the weekend, we'll start to reverse that pattern and see some cooler temperatures and even humidity going into the area.

A little bit of different picture, though. Notice, we have that cold front in the Northeast. Look what that leaves behind. Cooler temperatures, temperatures a good 10, even some case 15 degrees below normal today. Cleveland today high of 68. Do you see there, 77, New York, 74.

We are loving this beautiful weather, kind of sticking around in the Northeast. But down to that south area, we're talking about that cold front being now stationary. So with that, we are still talking about the threat of rain.

And it gets a little bit complicated, not only are we dealing with that heavy rains and that stationary front and all that moisture puling out of the Gulf. But now, all eyes again on the Tropics. So, in the Caribbean, there's a 30 percent chance of development. It gets interesting when you watch that low potentially go as it does develop.

What we're looking for is all of that tropical moisture mixing in with that stationary front. So, with that enhanced rainfall, 3 to 5 inches but when those come together, 8 inches of rain throughout the weekend. You know, they just literally soaked (ph) --

SAMBOLIN: Terrible.

BERMAN: We don't need that one bit. Indra, thanks.


SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

It is 10 minutes past the hour. A major airline merger is on hold this morning. The Justice Department is stepping in to block American Airlines and U.S. Airways from joining forces. It's a deal that would leave you with fewer choices in the sky.

Here is Rene Marsh with much more.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It would be the largest airline in the world. But Tuesday, before the $11 billion deal could take off, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit challenging the merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways, saying passengers would lose big.

Consumer advocates agree.

(on camera): Because you've been saying all along that this should not happen.

CHARLIE LEOCHA, DIRECTOR, CONSUMER TRAVEL ALLIANCE: This is really good news for consumers because we were going to lose an incredible amount of competition within the United States -- and when we lose competition, that's never good when it comes to price control.

MARSH (voice-over): The Justice Department used a flight today to illustrate what's at stake. They say this round trip from Miami to Cincinnati costs $471 on U.S. Airways and $751 on American. If the two airlines merge, the Justice Department says U.S. Airways' aggressive discounting could disappear. Opponents say it would reduce competition, cut service and increase fees. At airports like Reagan National near DC, where the two carriers operate, a combined airline would control 69 percent of the take-off and landing slots.

In a joint statement, the airlines say they plan to fight the lawsuit. This spring, the CEOs defended the merger.

DOUGLAS PARKER, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, U.S. AIRWAYS GROUP: And by putting these two networks together, we ought to be able to provide better service, more efficient service, to consumers.

THOMAS HORTON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, AMERICAN AIRLINES: This is creating enhanced competition in the U.S., because today, you have two really big global airlines, United and Delta. And this create a third as a competitive counterbalance to that.

MARSH: The Justice Department says the companies they can thrive on their own.

LEOCHA: So they're going to do just fine. They're not going to go away and be reduced to nothing.

MARSH (on camera): Well, the Justice Department saying they don't have a problem with airlines making money, but they do have a problem with reduced competition. And they say these two airlines compete directly on thousands of routes.

Rene Marsh, CNN, Reagan National Airport.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Rene for that.

So, for the second time this year, an Air Force nuclear missile has failed a safety and security inspection. This time, the 344th missile wing at Malmstrom Air Base in Montana, seen to be unsatisfactory waiting for un-tactical errors during exercises. This is not be one for nuclear missiles.


BERMAN: This missile wing operates and maintains one-third of the nation's Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

SAMBOLIN: Hooters.

BERMAN: So, I don't --

SAMBOLIN: Hooters is taking a stand against embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

Yes. More than a dozen women have accused Filner of sexual harassment. Now four Hooters in the city have posted signs saying, quote, "The Mayor of San Diego will not be served in this establishment. We believe women should be treated with respect." The parent company later tweeted its support. Quote, "Our hooters girls in San Diego have spoken. Not a corporate gig, but we support our girls."

BERMAN: Just for the record, on the subject of hooters, just to remind people here, of the two of us, which one actually has been to Hooters? And why do you go?

SAMBOLIN: I love the wings.

BERMAN: There we go. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen.

SAMBOLIN: I do. You --

BERMAN: I've never been, in my life --

SAMBOLIN: Send me pictures if you've been in there.

BERMAN: Thirteen minutes after the hour.

In a completely separate note, I promise, Anthony Weiner, an uncomfortable squirmy debate with opponents for mayor, and maybe, though, a bigger battle with the Clintons.

SAMBOLIN: You knew that was coming.

And an alleged murder for plot busted in Florida. Why police say a businessman wanted his entire family dead.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone.

So, is the Clinton boom falling on Anthony Weiner?

Yesterday, we told you how Weiner seemed to drop a hint about Hillary Clinton's presidential plans. He was asked about his wife Huma and her potential role in a campaign by "BuzzFeed's" Ben Smith. Listen to what he said.


BEN SMITH, BUZZFEED: Do you know what her role in Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign is going to be?


SMITH: What will it be?

WEINER: I'm not telling you.


BERMAN: So, a lot of people heard that and thought, oh, really? Is Anthony Weiner implying that Hillary Clinton has a set campaign plan and Huma is a part of it? But a spokesman from Mrs. Clinton now says, no, writing, "We have absolutely no clue what he was talking about. Maybe his campaign does, doubt it, though." That was the zinger there. That's a little dagger there.

Clinton, of course, has yet officially to declare her intentions for 2016.


BERMAN: She has yet to declare what she's doing.

SAMBOLIN: Eighteen minutes past the hour.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker a step closer to becoming a New York senator. He won the New Jersey Democratic primary in a special election to replace the late Senator Frank Lautenberg. So, Booker will face Republican activist Steve Lonegan on October 16th. If elected, he will be the first African-American elected to the Senate since President Obama.

BERMAN: We could hear today from convicted leaker Bradley Manning. The former army private is expected to speak in his defense during the sentencing phase of his court-martial. He was convicted last month of espionage for giving a trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks. He could face up to 90 years in prison.

SAMBOLIN: A Detroit police commander facing disciplinary action after an e-mail containing the bra sizes of some 20 female officers was mistakenly sent department-wide. The woman had provided their height, their weight and their bra size in order to be fitted for bulletproof vest. At least one has reportedly now filed a grievance.

The Detroit police chief plans to meet with the officers to offer a personal apology. The department says the incident was a clerical error, and definitely not a lapse in judgment.

BERMAN: What you're not seeing is Zoraida shaking her arms at the camera here, apparently not convinced about the clerical error.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

BERMAN: Nineteen minutes after the hour.

SAMBOLIN: It would be nice to talk to them. Don't you think it would be nice to them?

BERMAN: A lot to learn there, no question.

A South Florida businessman being charged with trying to hire a hitman from El Salvador, to murder his wife, his mother-in-law, his brother- in-law and his 9-month-old baby. Prosecutors say Jason Simeon (ph) rigged his home with explosives and wanted to wipe out his entire family after his wife told him she wanted a divorce.

Simeon is president of Bulldog Tactical Equipment, a firm that supplies tactical and assault equipment to government law enforcement. That's a weird one, huh?

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it is.

And today's "Road Warriors". We've all been there. You find a really cheap airfare, you book it and you realize all that you save has been eaten up by all those crazy fees.

Well, one airline has rolled out a program that may put an end to that frustration -- may. United Airlines will now let you pay for a year's worth of checked bags. You can do that up front.

For $349 a year, you can check one bag on each flight within the United States. The cost goes up, depending on where you fly, how many people you're traveling with. But is it really worth it?

Currently, United charges $25 to check your first bag. So, travelers would have to fly seven round trips just to break even here.

So, a little extra leg room is what you're looking for, you can pay a starting price of $499 a year to be automatically upgraded to United's premium coach section economy plus. There's no guarantee that those seats will be available. United will continue to sell them individually and offer upgrades to their top-tier frequent flyers.

BERMAN: I'm not good at math.

SAMBOLIN: That doesn't sound like a good deal.

BERMAN: No, terrible.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, very.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up, Men's Wearhouse claims you like the way its new ad looks without its famous spokesman. "Money Time" is next.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It's "Money Time", commercial-free with Christine Romans.

Great to see you.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning you guys. This is a $12 billion tweet, right?

Activist investor Carl Icahn yesterday tweeted that he bought a large stake in Apple. He said he thought Apple was extremely undervalued. He also said he spoke to Apple chief Tim Cook about it and there was more to come. That tweet added more than $12 billion to the value of Apple's stock. The billionaire Icahn says he thinks that Apple shares should be trading at $700. They closed yesterdays at $489 a share.

OK. This is the first new Men's Wearhouse ad without the iconic founder George Zimmer. For years, "you're going to like the way you look, I guarantee it" guy, you remember him? He was the face of the company. But over the summer, they parted ways. This new commercial is a departure from the more traditional advertising the company was known for. Uh-huh.

There he is. You have to see how Men's Wearhouse customers take a look at this brand-new look on television. But, yes, he kind of ogles that school girl. Ogles, I guess ogles is --

BERMAN: Whatever it was, it's not cool.

ROMANS: Anyway. All right. There might be a great hidden pool of untapped credit out there in the market. You've heard this, right, that to have a credit history, you have to have a credit card and use it?

Well, guess what, the credit score company Vantage Score says maybe not. It says there are millions of consumers out there who may be immigrants or recent college graduates who don't have credit card history, but they are still good credit risks. The company says there are 30, 35 million people like this and that at least a third of them would be prime credit customers, even though they don't have the large credit history. It calls it a sweet spot.

Finally, affordable housing becoming harder for average buyers. According to the National Association of Home Builders, just 69.3 percent of homes were affordable in the second quarter, that's down sharply from the first quarter. The NAHB calculates this affordable index for a family earning a median income of $64,000.

As home prices rise, as mortgage rates start to rise a little bit, affordable is something that will start to slip out of reach to some families again.

BERMAN: It ain't easy.

ROMANS: It ain't easy.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, thanks so much.

SAMBOILN: All right. Coming up, a violent day on the streets of Cairo. Police moving in to break up sit-ins. The protester, they are fighting back. We're going to be live there with the latest.

BERMAN: And honestly, who would do this, a father accused of using his daughter to hide drugs. She's only 2. That story's still to come.