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Coke Defends its Soft Drinks; Judge Orders Parents to Rename Son; Sports Announcer Challenges View of Disabled People; Glow-in-the- Dark Rabbits Bred in Turkey; UPS Cargo Plane Crash

Aired August 14, 2013 - 08:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It's all right, or is it? That's going to be one of the questions we take on for you here.

Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, August 14th. I'm Chris Cuomo.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I am Kate Bolduan.

Let's get straight to news anchor Michaela Pereira for the five things you need to know for your new day.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, watching some breaking news. The pilot and co-pilot are dead after a U.P.S. cargo plane crashed this morning in Birmingham, Alabama. The Airbus A300 went down as the pilots were preparing to land at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport.

Violence erupting in Egypt. Military security forces in Cairo opening fire on supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy. A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood says over 200 demonstrators were killed.

Face-to-face. Direct peace talks. The first in five years taking place between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Jerusalem. Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners as a condition for resuming talking.

Bradley Manning expected to address the court today when the sentencing phase of his court martial gets underway. The former Army intelligence analyst was convicted of stealing and leaking classified documents. He faces up to 90 years in prison.

And at number five, former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. scheduled to be sentenced today. He pleaded guilty to using hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal expenses and faces up to two years in prison.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to check in at for the very latest.

Changing directions for a moment. You having a Coke this morning instead of coffee? Well, Coke is releasing a new ad campaign this morning. It is aimed at quieting some of the concerns over artificial sweeteners in their beverages. The ad is part of Coke's "Coming Together" campaign to fight obesity in America. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now with more.

Good morning to you, good doctor. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

PEREIRA: Is this just sort of the expected push back after one of the items -- or one of the ingredients in their drink got -- came under a lot of fire?

GUPTA: Well, you know, the ingredient being aspartame, one of the artificial sweeteners. There's a lot of co-mingling of terms here and I think that they want to set the record straight on some of this.

First of all, is it safe? That's one of these things. Is what you're drinking, what this product is, safe? And there's been quite a bit of research specifically on that and I think people think of safety with respect to cancer, with respect to actually causing disease. And I think, you know, you could say that it is safe. The FDA has said it is safe. The American Cancer Society has said it is safe. So I think that was one of the first things.

But this really goes back to these couple of big studies that came out, we've talked about them in the past, that says, look, people who drink these diet drinks also tend to have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, things like that.

What is going on here? Is the diet soda somehow causing that or is it that people who already have those types of diseases go and start drinking more diet soda? And that's part of what they're trying to sort of unravel here but showing again that it's safe. That's their primary thing.

CUOMO: Can we answer the question by what they're telling us?

GUPTA: In terms of safety?

CUOMO: Obesity, the links to things types of things we're worried about.

GUPTA: Well, you know, I mean, I think if you look at it from the macro level you say, look, people put on more calories, put on more weight. We know those things are linked to obesity and diabetes. If you're drinking diet drinks, non-caloric drinks, how would that work exactly? How could they possibly be causing that?

What these studies suggested was that, could they - could a diet drink still raise your insulin level, for example, and as a result of that you go forage for sugar. Or could it be that when you eat or drink something so sweet that your body sort of is getting duped somehow and therefore you need to go actually find the calories now with that sweetness. Those have not been proven, but that's sort of what, I think, you know, scientists are trying to unravel. But for the time being, when you look at this ad campaign, which I did very carefully, and read the papers that come along with it, the main point is that this is safe. The FDA agrees with us on this.


BOLDUAN: Now, Coca-Cola, they sent us a statement and we should read it. And they say this, in part, "low and no calorie sweeteners offer a great way for people to manage their calories while still enjoying the sweet taste of the beverages and products that they love." But it goes on to say, "we know that people have questions about aspartame, so we created this print ad to address their concerns and make it easier for them to get the facts."

It also - but, at the same time, it almost seems to make the issue more confused. What do you think the basic takeaway is for people who want to or are questioning whether they should get a diet soda?

GUPTA: Well, you know, i think, first of all, the name "aspartame" is going to scare people no matter what.


GUPTA: I think it has for a long time. It will continue to do that. I think that for people who are looking - you know, are concerned about their weight, they definitely want the soda. A diet soda -- a lot of people who work in the weight management world will say diet soda may be a good option if you're trying to actually cut back on calories. Or just drink water. You know, I mean -


GUPTA: I hate to sound so glib about it, but, you know, people have had these concerns for a long time and despite the science behind aspartame not causing cancer, there is a lot of people who still believe that, for sure, you know, and the -- Coke has lots of options, as do a lot of other beverage companies.

CUOMO: Not the biggest selling point for a product that it won't cause cancer?

GUPTA: No, that's right.

CUOMO: You know?

BOLDUAN: Well, that's true.

GUPTA: But that's where they're sort of coming from, to Michaela's point. I mean, you know, you see the backlash, people saying, well, that stuff causes cancer -


GUPTA: It has all these safety problems. We want to be clear on that. It may have some of these other issues, which the science is still trying to deal with, but the science that we do know, you know, this is 30-year data now, we should be able to say that.


CUOMO: All right, good to know. Sanjay, thanks for being with us.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Sanjay.

PEREIRA: Thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You got it.

CUOMO: We go from that important stuff and now to "The Good Stuff." In today's edition we could call it, how to be a perfect spouse, because certainly this is the ultimate gift from a wife who missed her husband. Like many husbands, Joe Battles (ph) was promising to fix up the basement, right? We all do that. A little carpet, you know, some paint and tiles, the basics, but he never got the chance to because Joe Battles was sent away to the battlefields of Afghanistan. So his wife, Mary Kate (ph), decided to fix it up for him. You see Joe is a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan. So his wife started with some green and gold paint.


CUOMO: Then there was the pesky ceiling. But like many of us, Mary was on a tight budget, so friends chipped in. But the real change happened when Mary put word of the project up on FaceBook, mentioned that Joe was in Afghanistan and the Packer stuff came pouring in, logos, decals, memorabilia, a foosball table and, of course, lots and lots and lots of beer.

BOLDUAN: That's strong (ph). (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: It took months, but by the time Mary was done, Joe's basement went from zero to green and gold bathed hero. Here's what Joe came home to.

PEREIRA: Oh, my.

CUOMO: This is the moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is the carpet, tile done already? Umm.











UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you do?


BOLDUAN: I love her giggle.




BOLDUAN: Exactly what I would say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I finished the basement for you, baby.




CUOMO: A true male fashion understated and expletive and then just simple thanks.


CUOMO: But that's not the best present of all. The best present is Mary Kate was a Bears fan before she met Joe and the ultimate, some would say, aspect of love, she converted.

PEREIRA: She converted.

BOLDUAN: There you have it.

CUOMO: She converted. I mean that's bigger than changing religions, especially when it's Bears and Packers.

BOLDUAN: We all need something, right?

PEREIRA: Oh, my.

BOLDUAN: My husband (ph) -

CUOMO: So now that -

BOLDUAN: That's great.

CUOMO: That is the good stuff, right?

BOLDUAN: And we're glad he's back safe and sound.

CUOMO: A spouse and then when the word goes out, the vibe to help those who are protecting our freedom, returned in kind.

PEREIRA: That's so amazing.

BOLDUAN: Good stuff.

CUOMO: Great. And the story came from you.

PEREIRA: Well done.

CUOMO: So, please, keep telling us about the good stuff so we can give you the good news.

BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a Tennessee woman - a Tennessee mother is appealing a decision that would force her to change her son's name. There's his little face right there. The judge didn't like the name Messiah, mom does, and she's ready to fight back. We're going to talk to her live.


CUOMO: Welcome back.

Now, have you heard about this story? A Tennessee judge ordered a mother to change her son's name from Messiah to Martin. Listen to the judge's reasoning. This is her in her own words.


JUDGE LU ANN BALLEW, CHILD SUPPORT MAGISTRATE: The word Messiah is a title and it's a title that has only been earned by one person. And that one person is Jesus Christ.


CUOMO: OK. Now that is a sitting judge whose job is to apply law to fact. Joining me now is the little boy's mother, Jalessa Martin.

Jalessa, might I say, you've got a gorgeous baby boy sitting on your lap.

JALESSA MARTIN, MOTHER: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: And look how good he's being. Boy, oh, boy, he should have gotten an award in there. Look at him, he's staring - he's going to be staring right at the camera. He's hearing the voice. This is great.

All right, so, let's begin at the beginning here, Jalessa. How did you wind up in court? How did this come to this point?

MARTIN: I actually went to court for child support.


MARTIN: And me and the father, we couldn't agree on Messiah's last name.

CUOMO: OK. So you were battling over the surname because you two have different names, obviously. And the judge decided -

MARTIN: Yes, we do.

CUOMO: So the judge is trying to help you through this and how did the name become the issue instead of the support payments?

MARTIN: She just plainly came out and said, I'm going to change his first name because she didn't like it.

CUOMO: So you're there for support money fighting over - you know, fighting over money with the baby's father. The name was kind of extra. Whether or not you name the kid on time, there's no set period for when you have to do it. And then this comes out. What did you think when the judge said, by the way, I don't like the name?

MARTIN: I was shocked. I couldn't believe it.

CUOMO: So, she sends you away with the father to come up with a different name. You can't, right? You then come back and then a little unknown part of this story is, you didn't pick Martin, the father didn't pick Martin, the judge picked Martin, right? Tell me about it.

MARTIN: Yes. She gave us a recess and told us she was going to give us an hour to pick another name for Messiah and if we didn't she was going to give him the name that she wanted him to have, which was Martin.

CUOMO: So she named the kid Martin DeShawn McCullough, right?


CUOMO: McCullough being your -- the father's last name. Now, what was your reaction to this and what was the father's reaction when the judge determined the name?

MARTIN: We was both really shocked. And she really wouldn't let us even say what we have to say - what we had to say. So there was really nothing we could do at that point.

CUOMO: Did you know that there was something off about the judge saying that's Jesus' name, you can't use it?


CUOMO: You know, Messiah, it turns out, is the fourth most popular of boys' name after Major. It's like tied with Major. Did you know it was that popular?

MARTIN: Yes actually I did.

CUOMO: So what do you make of this --

MARTIN: I heard it several times.

CUOMO: What do you make of the situation? Were all the lawyers in the room telling you, you know this judge can't do this, this judge can't do this. Were they letting you know that you were right in your instincts?

MARTIN: Yes I had several people come up to me during the recess actually and tell me that -- what the judge was doing wasn't right and she had no right to do that to us at all.

CUOMO: So you're going to call your baby Messiah you're fighting for that right. What do you call him as his nickname when on the house? Big boy, what's he's getting called?

MARTIN: Siah or Siah or Messiah. Either one. Siah.

CUOMO: Now assuming you win, what do you want to say to the judge?

MARTIN: I'm sorry that you have your own beliefs, but you have no right to change my child's name.

CUOMO: You're going to have some story.

MARTIN: That's all.

CUOMO: You're going to have some story to tell him when he gets older.

MARTIN: Yes, I am.

CUOMO: Boy, oh, boy. Pick him up. Let me see the legs on that kid, he's a big kid. I want to see the legs, I always measure the kid by the -- oh he's got good, he's got good legs on him. He's going to be strong and good.

Look at him, this kid's perfect. That's what I'm talking about. He's laughing at me, as most people do. Jaleesa, thank you for bringing that beautiful boy. And I hope you get what you want.

MARTIN: You're welcome.

CUOMO: See you later, Si.

MARTIN: Thank you.

CUOMO: See you in 20 years when you take my job.

MARTIN: Bye, bye.

CUOMO: Because you're very telegenic.

BOLDUAN: I mean the sweetest face in the world.

CUOMO: Can you believe that?

BOLDUAN: I didn't even listen to you that entire time, Chris. I was staring at that adorable kid.

All right let's move on now to this week's "Human Factor".

A sports announcer stepping out from behind the microphone and changing how people look at those with disabilities. Here's CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's Wednesday night at the ballpark in Syracuse, New York. Up in the press box calling the game, Jason Benetti, the voice of the Syracuse Chiefs. Although he has a loyal following few would recognize him off the field.

JASON BENETTI, SYRACUSE CHEIFS: I like that people are surprised.

GUPTA: Benetti has a mild form of cerebral palsy and he's lived with the stares and the glares that come with being different. But he's overcome that. He's wicked smart and he's got degrees in journalism and law and Benetti knows his condition is something to be proud of, as he says. And now does television, as well as radio.

BENETTI: If my look is an issue for somebody on television, great. I'm going to change your mind.

GUPTA: Benetti realizes he's also an inspiration to young people who have disabilities. This month he hosted a group of campers with Chat, that's an organization who helps children who cannot speak use advanced technology to speak.

BENETTI: It's fantastic. I -- I love seeing the light bulb go off for people because many light bulbs have gone off for me.

GUPTA: Eventually Benetti would like to write more, but for now life is full of locker rooms, player interviews and books of stats. And for Benetti, he'd have it no other way.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


CUOMO: Great story. Power of human potential.

We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY, when we come back, look at that. Nice shiny bunnies. I love it -- what? Shiny bunnies why are they glowing in the dark? Should they? We'll tell you about it.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Let's give you a quick look at our "Top Stories" of this hour.

Breaking news a pilot and co-pilot were killed when their UPS cargo plane crashed this morning. That Airbus A-300 went down as the pilots were preparing to land at Alabama Birmingham-Shuttlesworth airport.

Muslim Brotherhood officials claim over 200 demonstrators were killed overnight in clashes with the Egyptian military in Cairo. Our Arwa Damon and her team were in the thick of it and had to run to safety when automatic gunfire broke out. We are pleased to say that they are safe and unhurt.

Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson's ex-wife taking the stand in his wrongful death trial today. The Jackson family suing concert promoter AEG Live claiming it is -- it is -- they are responsible for his death.

CNN will be on top of all these stories throughout the day. You can always go to as well for updates.

CUOMO: All right it is time for JB's NEW DAY award of the day award. But we must get to the couch first. So let us away and watch this strip.


CUOMO: The man with his own music.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So today what I want to do is I want to talk about rabbits, folks. When it comes to rabbits, I think we can all agree that the most impressive rabbit ever comes from mighty python and the Holy Grail. Look at this rabbit.


BERMAN: That is one cute rabbit.

BOLDUAN: I was thinking Roger Rabbit.

BERMAN: Seriously, no, no, no.


BERMAN: This is much more fearful that Roger Rabbit.

BOLDUAN: Wow ok.

BERMAN: But as impressive as this rabbit is, there are now rabbits that are probably even more groundbreaking. Behold.


BERMAN: Do you see this. Those rabbits are glowing in the dark. Glow in the dark rabbits, folks. These were bred in a Turkish lab by scientists who injected fluorescent protein from a jelly fish into a bunny embryo. It makes sense right?


BERMAN: So two of the eight rabbits in the litter ended up glowing. How would you like to be the six rabbits by the way who didn't glow?

BOLDUAN: I'm safe.

BERMAN: It's like being a Muggle rabbit right? Like seriously.

BOLDUAN: Muggle rabbit. CUOMO: I would rather be the nonglowing one.

PEREIRA: Me too.

BOLDUAN: Why is this important JB? Why would we want glowing rabbits?

BERMAN: Let me tell you why this is important? Scientists say that this will help them usually at some point to research. They can track where genes are going in this case, but I think it will help them in another area, too. I am giving these bunnies, "Blank like Rabbits" award. No longer we'll be doing something like rabbits have salacious connotations. From now on when someone says they blanked like rabbits, it will mean they glowed. Right?

PEREIRA: I figured out where you were going but I'm with you now.

BERMAN: They glow like rabbits.

BOLDUAN: Glow like rabbits.

BERMAN: They blank like rabbits. They glow in the dark.


CUOMO: Gumby's got nothing on you with that stretch.

PEREIRA: That was a bit of a stretch.

BOLDUAN: Wow, even Gumby reference, even better.

BERMAN: Not bad.

BOLDUAN: That's the award of the day. Those bunnies probably on the market soon. Do you want a glow in the dark bunny, though? There is the question we'll leave you with.

We'll be right back.


BOLDUAN: It is the final countdown, unfortunately. Three hours is not enough for us. Did you guys ever decide if you actually wanted a bunny?

CUOMO: No. The answer is no.

PEREIRA: No. Too many more things to clean up.

BOLDUAN: Glow in the dark or non-glow in the dark.

PEREIRA: Neither?

CUOMO: They're bad for kids. No kids should have them.

BOLDUAN: Ok. I guess that is decided. All right. I think that is it for us on NEW DAY. CNN's "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks. Have a great day.

We begin this morning with breaking news.

And hello and thanks for joining me, I'm Carol Costello.

Before dawn in Birmingham, Alabama, a huge fireball lights the sky. A massive car cargo plane for UPS slams into an empty field next to the airport. The two people confirmed dead are said to be the pilot and co-pilot. They were the only people onboard flight 1354 which had originated in Louisville, Kentucky. Those living in neighborhoods near the airport realize the death toll could have been staggering.


SHARON WILSON, WITNESS TO PLANE CRASH: We were in bed and we heard something go over the house and it sounded like a plane had gave out of fuel and a few minutes later we heard this loud boom.