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Violence Erupts at Barricaded Mosque; Expanding Medical Marijuana in New Jersey; New Accuser Comes Forward; Heavy Rains Forecast Across Southeast; Abducted Teen Out in Public; Fresh Violence Erupts in Egypt; Immigrants Impact Business; MLB Doping Scandal Widens; A-Rod Denies Leak Allegations; No More Blown Calls?; NFL's First Female Ref?; Stocks Fall For Second Straight Week; Wall Street Hits Summer Slump; Blackberry Might Be For Sale; Hotel Fees About To Hit Record High; Cost Of Raising A Child: $241,000; CIA Says "Area 51" Does Exist; Tornado Survivors 60 Back To School

Aired August 17, 2013 - 11:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to begin overseas.

The crisis in Egypt taking a new deadly turn.

After days of bloody street battles, violence erupts again this time during a tense standoff at a packed mosque. We'll have the latest on the clashes and what the conflict means for the United States.

And a dreaded deja vu for parts of the southern U.S., areas already flooded are getting hit with more drenching downpours, and even more rain could be on the way.

Plus, the super secret site known as "Area 51" portrayed for years in sci-fi flicks as the government's holding ground for aliens. Well, now the CIA admits it actually exists.

We begin this morning in Egypt where for a fourth straight day gunfire is ringing out in the streets of Cairo. Violent clashes have broken out this morning between security forces and protesters backing ousted President Mohamed Morsy. It is all happening at a mosque where pro- Morsy demonstrators had been holed up overnight. State TV reports the violence began when troops surrounding the mosque heard shots being fired from on top of the mosque, but Morsy supporters accuse security forces of firing those first shots.

The violence comes at the end of a week marked by rage and bloodshed. Our Frederik Pleitgen is live for us now in Cairo. So Frederik what is the situation on the ground right now?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes we're getting some information just now Fredricka that apparently the last people, the last Morsy supporters have now left that mosque. Again, this is something that has just crossed. We're trying to confirm it.

There had been 150 people still holed up in that mosque. Now the latest information that we've just gotten literally seconds ago is that apparently the Morsy supporters have now left that mosque and turned themselves in. But of course this standoff was going on through the entire day.

And as you said there was gunfire ringing out here over Cairo that you could hear as apparently there was a shooter in the minaret of that mosque, who opened fire on security forces who are sort of besieging that -- that mosque during that standoff. The security forces then returned fire. You could see that the minaret of the mosque was bullet-riddled.

And of course, all of that is doing a lot to further fuel the flames here in Egypt. One of the things that we've seen is that yesterday there was a massive death toll -- the government now saying that 173 people were killed in clashes in that area. In total, Fredricka, according to official counts, since Wednesday more than 700 killed here in clashes in Egypt and you can just see how this country seems to be continuing to descend into chaos -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: My goodness huge numbers there and it really does appear to be there's no end in sight. Meantime, Egypt's military we understand is ordering massive arrests. Who exactly is being targeted?

PLEITGEN: Well, they're arresting people who they say are endangering the state security here in Egypt. Most of them, of course, are supporters of Mohamed Morsy or members of the Muslim Brotherhood. There have been several senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood who have been arrested.

Of course Mohamed Morsy himself, the ousted president, is arrested, and his detention was prolonged by a further 30 days. That happened on Thursday. Another prominent person who was also arrested is the brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri, of course, the leader of al Qaeda. He's also a prominent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood here in Egypt. He was arrested as well. The authorities here have confirmed apparently also on charges that he is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And all of this is happening as the government itself announced today that they are thinking of trying to start a motion to make the Muslim Brotherhood illegal, to ban this organization, which, of course, is what it was under Hosni Mubarak and that is a significant step in all of this chaos that's going on here -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Oh that would be an extremely significant move and quite astounding given that it was the Muslim Brotherhood which helped bring its newly democratic elected leader, the first one ever, only to be ousted a month later. All right thank you so much, Frederik Pleitgen, appreciate that.

All right Reuters is now reporting a blast at the Egyptian consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Witnesses say the small explosion damaged the building, but so far no casualties are reported. It's unclear right now if this is linked to the unrest in Egypt.

The U.S. is condemning the crackdown in Cairo and has canceled joint military exercises with Egypt, but the President is under increasing pressure to do more. So what are his options? We'll put that question to Major General James "Spider" Marks coming up. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he'll sign a bill to expand medical marijuana options for children. But some changes need to be made first. It's a big win for a father who has been fighting to get edible medical marijuana for his 2-year-old daughter, Vivian, who has a rare seizure disorder.

Alina Cho joining me live now from New York with more on this. So Alina you know what are the changes that Governor Christie wants?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Fredricka you'll recall that this father, Scott Wilson, actually confronted Governor Christie this past week and said, "Please don't let my daughter die, Governor." That got a lot of media attention.

Governor Christie did indicate he will sign this bill that's been sitting on his desk for a couple months now if the New Jersey state legislature agrees to three provisions. Number one, edible forms of marijuana would be allowed but it would only be given to minors. Number two, he wants to keep in place this requirement that parents get a note from the pediatrician a psychiatrist and a qualifying doctor for a prescription. Some parents believe that that's too strict a requirement, but they say they can live with it. And three, Governor Christie also supports removing this three-strain limit on the kinds of marijuana that can be prescribed.

Now, that means little Vivian, who has severe seizures would be able to get this edible oil-based marijuana strain that she needs. In fact, here is what Vivian's father told our Wolf Blitzer on "AC360" last night. Watch.


BRIAN WILSON, SAYS DAUGHTER NEEDS MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Overall, you know, this was a victory for us but not a victory for all the patients in New Jersey. The lifting of this three-strain limit was a huge victory for us and for everybody in the state. The edibles was just really confounding decision on the edibles. We were not expecting that. I don't think anybody was expecting that. They're only allowing expanded edibles for children or for minors.


CHO: Two-year old Vivian has a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. It causes severe seizures. She's on a special diet and special medication and she wears that eye patch there because seeing certain patterns without it can actually bring on more seizures.

Her parents believe that they have tried everything and that the only thing that will control Vivian's seizures is this special form of medical marijuana.

Bottom line, Fredricka, is this is a victory for this family. If the state legislature goes along with Governor Christie's suggestions, these families, like Vivian's family, will be able to get the medical marijuana that they need to help their children.

And you can see there, it's a -- it's an emotionally charged story and one that we'll be following very closely -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And so I wonder then, you know, Alina, if everyone is on board, the signatures, the approval all takes place, how soon are we talking the availability? How soon will Vivian be able to get this edible form of marijuana?

CHO: You know, it's hard to say. There is a dispensary in the state of New Jersey and it's just a matter of getting that strain to that dispensary so it can get to the people who need it. It could be -- it could be weeks. It could be months. It's hard to say.

But -- but -- but definitely her parents say that they need it right away. And I can tell you, Fred, this is a huge first step. And the Governor is calling on the legislature to act swiftly on this measure.

WHITFIELD: All right Alina Cho thanks so much for keeping us updated on that.

CHO: Ok.

WHITFIELD: Of course overall it's a story that everyone is talking about these days. Is marijuana harmful or helpful? CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta cuts through the smoke on America's green rush and journeys around the world to uncover the highs and the lows of weed tonight on CNN at 8:00 Eastern Time and Pacific.

The list of accusers against the San Diego Mayor continues to grow. A 16th woman has now come forward to say she was sexually harassed by Bob Filner. The Mayor himself is nowhere to be found. And he has left a behavior therapy program and so far we haven't even been able to see him or get him on the phone to get his comment.

But we do know the identity of the latest woman who says Mayor Bob Filner would not let her work in peace. Kyung Lah has her story.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Walking slowly, assisted by a cane, 67-year-old great grandmother Peggy Shannon says Mayor Bob Filner repeatedly harassed her for months on the job stopping by her desk at the senior citizens service center in the lobby of city hall. She alleges he once grabbed and kissed her on the lips and even told her, think I can go eight hours in one night?

PEGGY SHANNON, ALLEGE VICTIM: Mayor Filner, I am a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother. I have three sons, four grandsons and two great grandsons. As our Mayor, you should be but are not a role model for any of them.

LAH: Shannon is the 16th woman to publicly accuse the Mayor of sexual harassment but the first senior citizen.

(on camera): A great grandmother doesn't surprise you?

JAN GOLDSMITH, SAN DIEGO CITY ATTORNEY: At this point, nothing would surprise us. LAH (voice-over): San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has been leading an internal investigation on Filner. Pressure is building to find a way to oust a mayor who doesn't want to budge. Goldsmith says he may have found a way. Laid-out in his memo to the city council, the city's charter has a little-used section about firing city officers for unauthorized use of city money. CNN obtained the mayor's credit card statement showing charges at a San Diego hotel, restaurants that are, indeed, says the city attorney, personal expenses.

GOLDSMITH: Somebody that's so brazen and abusive in personal often, often that translates into the same type of conduct in financial affairs.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, San Diego.


WHITFIELD: All right we'll keep you posted on that investigation.

Hey, take your essential belongings and pets and go now. That was the order, the warning, in fact, coming from Idaho authorities to residents in the Sun Valley area. This after the beaver creek blaze sent massive walls of fire close to homes and resorts in the area. At least 1,600 homes have been evacuated near the towns of Hailey and Ketchum. The fire is only six percent contained and has burned roughly 64,000 acres.

All right. We go from one weather extreme to another. Heavy rains are in the forecast from the Gulf Coast to the southeast coast.

Joining me now, CNN meteorologist Jennifer Delgado. I think the southeast has seen so much rain, I don't know if people remember what sunshine looks like.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I know, right? You know it's hard to believe that it's summer because it certainly feels like fall. A lot of rain has come down. Look at some of these totals out there. Over the last 48 hours, four to six inches, including areas like Panama City. And speaking of Panama City, let's take you for a live view. Maybe you can't go to the beach today.

Well now here is your view. It doesn't make you feel so bad when you're missing out on this rain, right, Fredricka? Well the rain is going to continue to come down as we go through the next couple of days.

Back over to our graphics here. As we look at what's happening on the radar, heavy rainfall hitting parts of the Gulf Coast. Of course, we're talking about the Florida Panhandle area. The rain is going to be here today, tomorrow, in fact, we're talking some locations could pick up more than six inches of rainfall. Certainly this is going to lead to some problems with flooding. We have flood watches really all across parts of the southeast in anticipation of this heavy rainfall.

And for the tropics, we continue to follow an area of low pressure spinning in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Mexico and this system here has about a 40 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone. Now, all of the thunderstorm activity, all the convection, it's to the northeast of the center. So it's not organized at all, so right now it's at a 40 percent chance.

On a wider view, we continue to follow the fires burning in Idaho. And we do have a red flag warning in place there. That means winds up to 30 miles per hour and it's going to be very dry with low relative humidity values.

And then in the northeast, it's going to be stunning out there, Fredricka. We're talking about a lot of sunshine out there and temperatures in the 70s and lower 80s.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness.

DELGADO: I know.

WHITFIELD: Ok a real hodgepodge.

DELGADO: I know. Right a little bit of everything out there.

WHITFIELD: I know. Ok thanks so much, Jennifer. I appreciate it.

Kidnap victim Hannah Anderson appearing in public. Her father and friends tell us how she's doing.

And Area 51 -- it's been the subject of movies and many conspiracy theories for years. Now new information has been revealed that gives us insight into this rather mysterious place.


WHITFIELD: Kidnapping survivor Hannah Anderson appeared in public for the first time this week as she was rescued in the wilderness in Idaho last Saturday a week after a family friend abducted her. On Thursday night her family and friends held a fundraiser for her, and as Casey Wian reports, she made a surprise appearance.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, Hannah Anderson looked uncomfortable, perhaps a little scared as she hurried past a dozen cameras or more without speaking to reporters when she walked into that fundraiser. Once she was inside though, people who were there said she was much more comfortable. What she really wanted to accomplish was to thank all of those people who have supported her throughout her ordeal and are continuing to support her going forward.


WIAN (voice-over): Hannah Anderson's arrival at a fundraiser for her family came as a surprise to her relatives and friends.

BRANDON FAMBROUGH, HANNAH'S COUSIN: This night was an unexpected reunion, honestly. All our friends were here. It was like we haven't skipped a beat.

WIAN: The media were invited to Boll Weevil Restaurant in Lakeside, California, but weren't allowed inside during Anderson's reunion.

BRETT ANDERSON, HANNAH ANDERSON'S FATHER: Hannah sends her love. She's doing good day by day. And we'll just keep moving forward from here.

WIAN: Wearing "Hannah Strong" and "Pray for Hannah" T-shirts, neighbors, friends and the teenager's grandparents helped raise money for Anderson's mother and brother's funeral.

ANDERSON: I wanted to say thank you all for coming. This is a small community that we're a part of and the community came together putting on this great fundraiser for Hannah and hopefully her future in healing.

WIAN (on camera): What has it meant to this community to have to go through this ordeal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's horrifying that that guy did what he did. It's just sickening to me and I just want to put them all to rest.

WIAN (voice-over): The fundraising event drew a large crowd, raffle ticket sales, cash donations and 20 percent of the restaurant sales all donated to the Anderson family.

ANDERSON: We have a lot of expenses in front of us and right now we're just looking for her future and get her settled.

WIAN: A family hoping to help Hannah adjust after she was allegedly kidnapped by her father's best friend.

FAMBROUGH: You keep hearing the term Uncle Jim. He really was like an Uncle Jim to them.

WIAN: Meanwhile, we're still learning new information about what police discovered at DiMaggio's burned-down home. This newly released search warrant obtained by CNN affiliate KFMB says that police discovered a handwritten note and letters from Hannah the detectives say proves DiMaggio had control over that house.

Police also recovered incendiary devices leading them to believe the house fire was caused by human actions.


WIAN: Given what we've learned about Hannah Anderson's kidnapping, some of the other items that were seized by police, very, very chilling -- empty boxes that once contained camping gear, an empty box that once contained handcuffs, and lots of ammunition -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Casey Wian, thank you so much for those details.

Tonight the full story of this unimaginable crime and rescue -- CNN brings you the dramatic details of the kidnapping and heroic effort that led to the rescue of Hannah Anderson. That's CNN tonight at 6:30 Eastern time.

The U.S. has close ties to Egypt's military. Is there anything the U.S. can do to influence events there?


WHITFIELD: Another violent day in Egypt. More clashes between security forces and protesters backing ousted president, Mohamed Morsy. How big a role should the U.S. play in this crisis? Political editor Paul Steinhauser finds out Americans favor a cautious approach.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Hey, Fred. The U.S. should steer clear of the unrest in Egypt. That seems to be the message from the most recent polling on the upheaval in the Middle Eastern country. More than three-quarters of Americans questioned in a National Journal Congressional Connection survey said that Washington should mostly stay out of the events in Egypt.

And six in 10 said that U.S. aid to Egypt should be reduced or eliminated. Cairo gets more than $1 billion in U.S. aid per year.

The poll was conducted last month well before this week's outburst of new violence. A Pew Research Center survey conducted around the same time found a drop in the number of people who said the unrest in Egypt was very important to American interests -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Paul Steinhauser. Appreciate that.

So those polls show most Americans favor a cautious approach, but the escalation of violence also means the White House is finding itself with fewer options in its military alliance with Egypt. The biggest move so far has been the canceling of joint military exercises scheduled for next month.

James "Spider" Marks is CNN's analyst and former commanding general of the U.S. army intelligence center. All right -- good to see you.


WHITFIELD: I'm doing pretty good.

So explain this military relationship between the U.S. and Egypt. Why is this so important strategically?

MARKS: Well, first of all, it's in the very, very volatile obviously very important Middle East. The Suez Canal runs right through Egypt and in order for oil to transit, commerce to transit, freedom of any type of activity, you need to have access to the Suez Canal. So the United States' presence in that region is incredibly important.

Also Israel is a neighbor of Egypt. And over the course of the last three decades, Israel and Egypt have figured out how to cooperate and get along. That's extremely important and it's been the anchor of our stability in the region for that amount of time.

The actual military exercises that have been in place with Egypt since 1980 followed the Camp David Accords that were in place and have been an ongoing exercise series with not only the Egyptian military but other friends and allies in the region and have been quite successful in terms of establishing forms of military interoperability. That means how do you work together both at the highest strategic levels and then field training exercise at the very lowest levels, and those are trust-building exercises. We figure out how they work, they figure out how we work, and our military equipment, our training, our education, and our doctrine look very, very much the same. So it's an important relationship that we can't abandon.

Now, the fact that the President has canceled Bright Star, which is the name of the exercise for this year is not a big deal. We'll be able to overcome that, but I do think the aid that we provide Egypt is important and we need to hold onto that, not declare that we're going to withdraw it.

WHITFIELD: What if it were to be temporarily suspended, not necessarily ended throughout, but suspended as a result of the current turmoil?

MARKS: Well, absolutely. I mean, you could suspend it and say, look, here is the quid pro quo. You do this, we'll then reinstate. There could also be some -- what's known as either civilian or commercial aid that could take place through USAID. That's not as significant in terms of its size and its ability to impact what's going on.

What has to happen right now clearly, Fred, is that the violence has to subside so the only way that's going to happen is through some type of military action. Diplomacy at this point has a very strong military flavor.

WHITFIELD: What do you mean military action? Meaning U.S. military involvement in the crisis in trying to quiet things down? What do you mean by that?

MARKS: No, Fred, not at all. What I mean is those relationships are in place. They're very strong. They're very broad. They're very rich in terms of their culture and history.

The United States does have influence, but they are losing that influence, and the key influence they have right now is that our militaries cooperate and they know each other awfully well.

What we should do immediately is we should have a very open communications with the Egyptians. I'm confident we are, and most of those are probably back channel coms and we need to get the military -- the Egyptian military, to reduce their -- change, alter their rules of engagement. They should be armed but they should have very strict engagement criteria. They should not be shooting into those crowds.

Look, the Muslim Brotherhood is not a large, significant threat. It's losing its relevance. The people don't want them there anymore. They've lost their -- any form of legitimacy, and it can subside if the military can learn to act with a little more restraint, which it has not yet demonstrated. That will happen --

WHITFIELD: But I'm sure in a large part that's created a real problem for the U.S. to even offer or initiate dialogue with whom? I mean the leadership is nonexistent right now, or at least a clear form of leadership is nonexistent.

MARKS: Well, there's no form of leadership that's viable in terms of the Muslim Brotherhood directing activities because what you have is a lot of local violence that's taking place and the Muslim Brotherhood has said "This is disassociated from our affiliations. These are not our folks. We're a peaceful group." Clearly, that's not the case.

WHITFIELD: All right.

MARKS: Military, however, is in charge. That's our line of communications.

WHITFIELD: All right. James "Spider" Marks, thanks so much for your time.

MARKS: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. It was Boston's turn to let Yankee Alex Rodriguez know what they think about him. Meanwhile, A-Rod is responding to new allegations that he sold out fellow players.

But first a Midwest city wants to give a warmer welcome to immigrants. As Tom Foreman shows us in this "American Journey" report -- it's just good business.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. Welcome to FroYo, hello.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Frozen yogurt is a hot commodity amid the summer heat of St. Louis and nobody is happier about that than Jason Jan. When he came from Malaysia 15 years ago, he hoped to open a business and now he has a string of places like this. And nothing but praise for his adopted home.

JASON JAN, BUSINESS OWNER: It's a great city to raise my kids and most importantly, it has been very immigrant-friendly.

FOREMAN: That is a message local leaders are desperate to get out, ever since a study found this area lags far behind other cities in attracting immigrants. The nonprofit international institute here serves 7,000 a year but that's half as many as expected in a town this size.

The institute is now a key component in the Mosaic Project, an ambitious plan to make this area much more inviting to immigrants.

CHARLIE DOOLEY, ST. LOUIS COUNTY EXECUTIVE: St. Louis wants to be an open and welcoming community. And that's what we're going to do.

FOREMAN: That's county executive Charlie Dooley and Mayor Francis Slay.

MAYOR FRANCIS SLAY, ST. LOUIS: Our goal is to be one of the top ten cities in America in terms of increase of population of foreign-born residents by the year 2020. That's our goal. FOREMAN: So the city is helping immigrant groups connect with loans, opportunities, education. This is not just a feel-good measure. A study found immigrants are more likely to open businesses, create jobs, raise wages and pursue higher degrees than the general population. And at places like Washington University in St. Louis, the plan is working for many foreign-born students.

BO BI, STUDENT: This place is getting more and more closer to my home. I mean, that is a very strong feeling.

FOREMAN (on camera): so you could stay.


FOREMAN: It's still early in this plan and leaders are feeling their way through the process, but they're convinced that tens of thousands of jobs could hang in the balance. As for Jason Jan, well, the jobs he's created may be permanent. He's applied to become a U.S. citizen. Tom foreman, CNN, St. Louis.



WHITFIELD: In sports, we're supposed to be talking about the game, right? Well, in baseball the doping scandal is still the topic in the locker room, and Alex Rodriguez is talking. Joe Carter is here with more on that in today's "Bleacher Report." Joe?

JOE CARTER, HLN SPORTS: Hi, Fred. Yes, "60 Minutes" is reporting that Alex Rodriguez's people, really his inner circle, leaked the names of Ryan Braun and even his own teammate Francisco Servelli to Yahoo! Sports after the Biogenesis investigation started back in late January, early February. But Rodriguez, he said last night before the game that he expects more accusations, more stories like this to keep coming in.


ALEX RODRIGUEZ: We're all going to have to get ready for a bumpy road. It's going to get worse every day. I would expect bigger and bigger stories it to come out every day. It's frustrating for the game because the game is doing so well. It's such a big series. The team is playing relatively well. I think we're excited about playing obviously one of the best teams in baseball in Boston.


CARTER: Of course, Friday night was A-Rod's first game in Fenway since the suspension. As expected, he got no love from the Red Sox fans. Alfonso Soriano, on the other hand, well, that guy showing plenty of love at the plate. He had the big bat again. Soriano, he's on fire. He's hit five home runs in four games. He's driven in 18 runs over that span, 18 RBIs in 4 games. That's ties an MLB record.

Speaking of the MLB, they're planning to expand instant replay next season. Right now only umpires can review boundary calls like whether a home run is fair or foul, but under the new proposed system, managers will be able to challenge calls for review. Now, balls and strikes can never be reviewed, but plays at bases, fair or foul balls, trapped catches, those can all be reviewed. Before this is implemented in 2014, umpires and players are going to have to vote on it. Then owners will have to approve it.

Sarah Thomas is a 39-year-old mother of three. Now, she was actually the line judge in last night's Saints/Raiders preseason game. And this was an audition for Sarah to possibly become the first full-time female referee in NFL history. Now, she is absolutely no stranger to being the first in this profession. Seven years ago at the collegiate level, she was the first female to officiate a division one football game.

She was also the first female to officiate is bowl game. She will go back to refereeing college games and she'll be open for a possible position if one comes available in the NFL sometime this fall.

WHITFIELD: Go girl. We'll be watching. Thanks so much, Joe, breaking more barriers on the gridiron.

You may need to be a pro athlete to afford a child these days. I'll have the latest numbers right after this.


WHITFIELD: It's been a tough couple of weeks on Wall Street. The major stock indexes are still up about 20 percent for the year, but right now it looks like there is a summer slump going on here. CNN's Alison Kosik.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The summer doldrums are setting in on Wall Street, Fredricka. The Dow dropped for the second week in a row, this on news that both Wal-Mart and Cisco called the global economy, quote, "challenging." A regional manufacturing report showed activity slowed down last month and we got weak retail sales in housing numbers.

Blackberry may be for sale. The company announced it formed a special committee to explore strategic alternatives. That's corporate speak for a possible sale, but could also include a partnership of some kind. Analysts say that could be difficult. Blackberry isn't worth what it once was. The company's stock is down more than 90 percent since 2008.

Hotel fees are on track to hit a record high, and industry study expects fees to hit $2.1 billion this year. They've been rising for almost 10 straight years except during the recession. More people are traveling. That's a good economic sign, but hotels are also finding new fees to tack on. Most of the fees are found at high end hotels, resorts, and in major cities.

And finally it costs a heck of a lot of money to raise a family. The USDA said this week it costs $241,000 to raise a child through age 17. That's up about $6,000 from the year before and doesn't even count college. Most of the money, 30 percent, goes to housing. That's followed by child care, education, and food. Generally, the older the child gets, the more money he or she requires -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Great. That's very encouraging. Thanks, Alison.

All right, what were all those lights in the sky? New details emerge about what was really going on at Area 51.


WHITFIELD: For generations we've heard about Area 51, the place in Nevada that's synonymous in popular culture with government secrecy and UFOs. It turns out it really does exist. Here is CNN's Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hollywood has long showed an obsession with Area 51. From aliens to UFOs, it helped fuel a perception that the government has been holding on to top secret information about this remote facility in the Nevada desert. Until now, it had only really existed m places like "the x files" on television but newly released CIA documents officially acknowledge the site for the first time. Annie Jacobsen spent several years researching Area 51 publishing her finding in a book.

ANNIE JACOBSEN, AUTHOR, "AREA 51": It's become a national pastime and a great debate about aliens and the locus of this is Area 51.

SIMON: But if you're looking to gain insight into aliens or spaceships, you might be disappointed. The report makes no mention of those things. Instead, it says that Area 51 was a testing site for the government's aerial surveillance problem during the cold war. Not that sensational. But it's likely to cause more fascination about this mythical place.

JACOBSEN: I think any document that comes out about Area 51 stirs up the pot of intrigue. People are inherently fascinated with Area 51. It says so much about national security secrets. So I think any new release makes people even more interested.

SIMON: The documents obtained through a public records request by an academic researcher may put an end to questions about the site's existence, but experts like former CIA Officer Bob Baer, who calls it one of the agency's biggest secrets, says the debate will rage on about whether we're really alone.

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: This isn't going to go away. The myths about Area 51 will always be out there. I don't even know what went on there, and I was in the CIA a very long time and people that worked out there have told me recently they didn't know all that was going on there. So there's sort of, you know, secrets within secrets, and it will always remain a mystery and always remain a place of fascination.

SIMON: Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: Something else that's out of this world, or two things, two people, Avery Friedman and Richard Herman. They're going to be joining us in the next hour per usual to talk some of the most fascinating legal cases. We've got a couple straight ahead. Michael Jackson's ex-wife appearing in court this week, gentlemen, as part of the Jackson family's lawsuit against concert promoter AEG, a quick reaction, Richard, you first. Did she help the family's case?

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You remember Deb Rowe. She's the one that gave up all parental rights. Anyway, does she think that AEG knew Michael Jackson was addicted to Propofol and other narcotics? We'll find out.

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Some people think the defense flipped on this thing. She's a hostile witness, so why would the defense call her? The unusual twist and more is coming up.

WHITFIELD: And another case, as it pertains to parental rights, we've got a feud going on between a biological father and adoptive parents over a girl named Veronica. Much more of that and of you two next hour. All right, it's an iconic memory of a tornado that destroyed much of Moore, Oklahoma. I'll talk to the family you see here as they return to school for the first time since that tragedy.


WHITFIELD: The first day back to school symbolizes something big for the town of Moore, Oklahoma, a step toward recovery. Their last school year came to an abrupt and tragic end when a massive tornado hit on May 20th. Two elementary schools were left if shambles and seven students were killed. Nick Valencia has more on yesterday's first day back.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There a lot of emotions when it's time to go back to school, especially when part of that school is not there anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look there. That is destroyed. I don't know how we survived this.

VALENCIA: I met Dylan Ellis nearly three months ago, in the days immediately following the EF-5 tornado that wrecked Moore, Oklahoma and left 24 people dead. The word hero got thrown around a lot during those days, but Ellis really was nothing short of one.

DYLAN ELLIS, STUDENT: I see her start to go up. I jump on her, and I grab on to the bottom of the lockers that were in the ground, and then once it's over I push her out of the way, and all of the debris starts to hit me.

VALENCIA (on camera): How did you think so fast? How did you think of doing what you did?

ELLIS: I just thought of her as my family. What would I do if they started to go up, didn't think, just did it.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Like most of the students who survived the tornado, Ellis had a lot of time over the summer to think about what happened. Excited, nervous, anxious, those are some of the feelings he said he has had about starting eighth grade, and after everything that happened he said he is just ready for things to be back to normal again.

WAYNEL MAYES, FIRST GRADE TEACHER (via telephone): It is going to be a process to get back, but it's going to eventually get the way it was before.

VALENCIA: First Grade Teacher Wayne Lamaze wishes it was that easy, and her school took a direct hit for the tornado, and she laid on her student and played music as the debris rained down on them.

MAYES: They don't want to go to school, the ones I had last year, and they saw me this summer and they said I don't want to go to school, and that breaks my heart because they kind of lost their innocence.

VALENCIA: As she welcomes new students to their temporary buildings this year, she says the most difficult part for her will be making them feel like they are safe.

MAYES: A thunderstorm might scare me, but there is so much love in the world and that's what we are going to teach the children, too, and that's the strength we have to draw on.


WHITFIELD: And there's one photograph from that awful day the tornado hit that has become quite iconic. A teacher's assistant, her husband, rushing out of the school with the daughters, their mother, bloodied right there and the father cradling his little girl. The parents are in that image and also joining us live with their 10-year-old daughter, Jordan. Good to see all of you.

So, you're a teacher's assistant at Briarwood Elementary. What was that first day back like? Could you help but think about that tragic day?

LADONNA COBB, TEACHER'S ASSISTANT AND MOTHER: The first day back was a lot of emotions. It was exciting, nervous, a little chaotic. We're in a completely different place. Lots of new things we have to learn. End of the day procedures. It was a little bit crazy and a little bit stressful, but we made it through.

WHITFIELD: And Jordan, what was the day like for you, going back to school.

JORDAN COBB, STUDENT IN BRIARWOOD ELEMENTARY: I was scared because there was going to be thunderstorms because we get scared a lot. I get scared a lot and it was exciting to just see all my friends.

WHITFIELD: I'm sure that was really comforting and you know, Steve, I wonder, did you kind of have butterflies for both Ladonna and Jordan heading back to school?

STEVE COBB, FATHER: Yes, I was worried. I didn't know how they were going to handle it. And I actually showed up to pick them up from school. Just so I could be there for that first day. I wasn't there in the morning. I was actually out of town. It was kind of chaotic. You know, everybody trying to pick up their kids and like my wife said, we're in a different facility for the school year, but I was nervous about it. I was hoping that it would go well and I think it was a little hard at first, but I think you know, just getting back to school, getting back to a normal routine is going to help and everything's going to do a lot better.

WHITFIELD: So, Ladonna, now, you are in that temporary school that your husband was just mentioning, but do you know much about the newly rebuilt schools and how they will be equipped? Whether you and other survivors of that tornado will kind of be consulted on what's needed the next go round, if there is another go round.

LADONNA COBB: I know that we've been extremely blessed to be at Mayest. They have just given us everything we need. I know that it's a process. They're still working on the new school. Insurance, you know, I don't know exactly, I know that hadn't begun building it yet. It's supposed to be ready for next school year, so we'll just see I guess.

WHITFIELD: Steve, there are a lot of people who are still not in their regular homes yet. They haven't been able to rebuild or just yet and they are in temporary shelters. Give me an idea of what it's like being in the community. What are people saying, thinking, feeling?

STEVE COBB: You know, we were kind of lucky in a way that we had sold our house two months before the tornado had hit. The tornado went through that area where our old house was and it's still there, but just right down the street. You know, all the houses are gone. So, we were lucky in the fact we moved just about a mile and a half away and our new house is untouched. So we went from one house, another house that's still standing and doesn't have damage, but the other people we know that live in the neighborhood, I think for the first probably month or so.

And the maybe first couple of months, everybody that had to be in that area and that was still living in that area, were walking around in a daze a little bit and were still just trying to figure out what happened and trying to understand why it happened and we're still really concerned and upset. But I think as time has gone on, people I've talked to that are in other houses, not living in that area right now, folks that are still living there in that area that had their houses still, it just takes a while.

With all the debris being there and getting cleared off and that stuff and we start seeing new things go up, I think that's really going to help a lot because when you just see debris everywhere, it's hard to forget what happened.

WHITFIELD: Well, it is hard to forget what happened when we see that iconic image of you as a family emerging from that debris, hard to believe that was just over three, there's that image, three months ago, but we wish you and your community the best as it tries to recover. Steve, Ladonna and Jordan Cobb, thanks to you, appreciate it, all the best to you.

LADONNA COBB: Thank you so much.

STEVE COBB: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Oprah Winfrey sat down with our Anderson Cooper to talk about race and her new movie "The Butler." Find out what she has to say about the use of the "n" word.