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Fire in California; Egypt Clashes Continue; New Jersey on Medical Marijuana

Aired August 17, 2013 - 16:00   ET


PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: And you're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Pamela Brown filling in for Don Lemon. Great have you with us on this Saturday.

We turn first to Idaho where more than 2,000 people have been forced from their homes by a raging wildfire near the Sun Valley Resort. Just take a look at these flames here whipped by high winds there today, and there is a new mandatory evacuation order for folks in the towns of Ketchum and Haley. The sheriff office put it this way: take your belongings and go now.

The wildfire has already scorched 64,000 acres at least. More than 600 firefighters are trying to control the blaze at this hour and the fire is threatening second homes OF people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis.

So I want to go straight to the fire line in Ketchum and that's where we find KIVI reporter Roland Beres. He is standing by there. Hey there, Roland. I know that firefighters have a lot of obstacles they're dealing with now trying to contain this fire. What are they doing to hold it back?

ROLAND BERES, KIVI REPORTER: Well, tell you what, today they're expecting terrible weather conditions. It's a red flag warning out there. High winds, higher than yesterday, which was considered to be a critical day and they also have what's called a number six haze (ph) index, which means the instability in the atmosphere is huge and really hard for them to control. At this point what they're doing is they're putting fire trucks in neighborhoods all over the place. In Haley and in Ketchum soon as well to protect homes that might be hit by flying embers. It's one of the big things they're concerned about today (INAUDIBLE) as thing start to heat up.

BROWN: It looks just horrible. What about homes damaged, injuries, that kind of thing?

BERES: You know, it says a lot about the firefighters and the fact that this is the number one fire in the country right now. They've brought in tons of resources and they have protected structures very well. Only one home has burned so far. No homes, no structures, burned last night, which is very significant.

We had a huge influx of firefighters from around the country, another 1,000 expected today that are coming in to the Haley area. You wouldn't believe the campsite that they've set up down there for all these firefighters, but they're doing an excellent job of controlling the blaze at this point, which is trying to work its way up the highway 75 corridor into Ketchum. And that is the real worry today.

BROWN: Yes, absolutely. And hopefully people are helping to make their job a little bit easier by heeding warnings and evacuating the area. Roland, we appreciate your report there. Thank you.

BERES: You bet.

BROWN: Much of the country is having a soggy summer. The southeast is getting slammed once again this weekend and there's a danger of flash flooding that has already drenched ground takes on more water.

CNN meteorologist Jennifer Delgado has a look at what's to expect.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Pamela, the big weather story today, flooding once again across parts of the south east and some locations we're expecting over the next 48 hours two to four inches of rainfall. Anywhere you see it in orange and red, we can essentially six inches of rainfall. So, yes, more flooding woes for sure for parts of the southeast.

You see all the flood watches we have in place in green. A lot of these are going to last until tomorrow. We have flood warnings out there, and this is in anticipation of the heavy rainfall, the ground is just so saturated. And why is this a big problem across the southeast? We're following a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico, and this system here has a 30 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone. But the problem is, all the convection, all the thunderstorm activity to the north of that center location and this is fueling all of that moisture providing that flow right on top of this stationary front.

That's what's causing all of our problems across parts of the southeast and it's it's not going anywhere anytime soon. As we go through today, tonight, as well as tomorrow, that's stationary front, it's going to continue to linger across the region squeezing out more rainfall and eventually lift up towards the north, but not before we get more rain.

Now the west, yes they need the rain, but in fact, in Idaho, they still have a lot of red flag warnings out there and that means we're going to be dealing with wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour. In addition to that, single digit relative humidity value. Certainly that is not what we want to see across that region. Pamela?

BROWN: Now just making it difficult for those firefighters out there. Thank you so much. Jennifer Delgado.

Meantime, Scotland Yard is looking into stunning new information about the 1997 deaths of Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed. Police in London say this is not a reinvestigation but the specialist crime and operations command will assess the new information. The British Press Association reports the new information includes the allegation that Diana and Al Fayed were murdered by a member of the British military.

The pair died following a high-speed crash in Paris as their Mercedes was followed by paparazzi, as you'll remember. An inquest that ended in 2008 found the deaths were the result of "grossly negligent driving of the following vehicles and of the Mercedes."

Well, Britain's Prince William is headed back to work this week after taking some time off following the birth of his son, Prince George. Before going back to work to his job at the Royal Air Force, he sat down with CNN's Max Foster to talk about his new baby, his wife Katherine, and of course, his most important title, Dad. You can see parts of the interview Monday morning on "New Day" with Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo. It's going to begin at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time.

A horrible tragedy for one family in Indiana. This fiery highway crash, take a look here. We're going to show you right here. It killed four children and three adults, all relatives from the same extended family. Police say during a traffic backup, a big rig rammed their SUV from behind knocking it into another tractor trailer truck. All seven people in that SUV died. One of the truck drivers was hospitalized and the other was not hurt.

The death toll continues to rise in Egypt. Clashes broke out between security forces and protesters holed up in a mosque. We're going to take you to Cairo for a live update right after this break. Stay with us.


BROWN: And in Egypt today, troops and police crack down on a place protesters have been using as a safe haven, a mosque in central Cairo.

You can see security forces kicked and fought their way inside that mosque and forced everybody out. Witnesses say police fired weapons at the mosque itself. It's been an especially explosive few days there in Egypt. More than 700 people are reported dead in street battles between the military and crowds of Egyptians who want their elected president Mohamed Morsy back in office.

Our Reza Sayah is in Cairo right now. He has been there covering the violence for us over the past few days. Reza, what's the situation there at the mosque? Is the standoff completely over?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The standoff is over. A number of people were detained. A number of people were let go, and now what the interim government is doing is trying to create the impression that things have calmed down and the country is moving forward according to plan. The interim president's adviser held a news conference today and he confidentially declared Egypt is as united add ever and most Egyptians have the same vision for the future of Egypt and he blamed extremists for the nearly 800 people who have been killed over the past six weeks and he suggested the most pressing problem Egypt is facing today is a war on terrorism.

Now, based on the events of the past six weeks some might question that assertion, but when you have an intense conflict like this, there's always an information war and you get the impression that this government is pushing forth in making gains in that information war where both sides want to portray themselves as the good guys and the other guys as the bad guys. They're pushing forward, this war on terrorism narrative, and they're also being very critical of anyone who's not sync with that narrative and that includes the international media.

Here's some of what the interim president's adviser had to say earlier today.


MOSTAFA HIGAZY, ADVISER TO EGYPT'S INTERIM PRESIDENT: We are not facing any political struggle. We are facing war. War waged by extreme forces.


SAYAH: Before the adviser to the president took the podium, journalists at a news conference today were shown a movie, a five- minute movie, where we saw mutilated bodies. Buildings that were attacked and the movie, suggestions it was elements within the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for those incidents, but yet again, the government not providing hard evidence linking those incidents to the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Brotherhood organization, Pamela, but there certainly is hard evidence they're really aggressively pushing this war on terrorism narrative in an apparent effort to justify this deadly crackdown that we've seen against the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters over the past few days.

BROWN: And of course, the Muslim Brotherhood also trying to push their narrative as well, Reza. In light of this, do you see the violence being tamped down at all in the coming days? You know, we heard from President Obama asking for both sides to come together and reach a peaceful resolution. Do you see that happening at all there?

SAYAH: Yes, You've touched on a couple of points there. First off, based on what we heard today at the news conference, it is highly unlikely. My impression is virtually impossible for Mohamed Morsy, the former president, to be reinstated again and it's going to take a miracle for senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders to be part of the next political landscape, because they're increasingly being linked to allegations of terrorism.

As far as whether the violence is going to be clamped down, the next few days are going to be telling. Will the security forces, will this government, have the capacity to tamp down on the Muslim Brotherhood and these demonstrations? Will the Muslim Brotherhood go away quietly? For now they're saying they're coming back to demonstrate. We'll keep an eye on things in the coming days.

BROWN: And we're also hearing government authorities considering banning the Muslim Brotherhood altogether. So the situation still unfolding there in Egypt. Reza, thank you. Well, there seems to be two sides to a suspected killer and kidnapper. James Dimaggio is accused of taking off with Hannah Anderson after killing her mom and brother. We got new details from someone who knew him best.

But first, meet two extraordinary men, one who is redefining our (INAUDIBLE) and another who has invented a device to help fight cancer and he's only 19 years old.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us in this week's THE NEXT LIST.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This week we talk to two remarkable innovators. (INAUDIBLE) is a Danish architect who is bringing his unique design to the skyline of Manhattan.



It's a (INAUDIBLE) from being horizontal to being almost vertical, opening up the entire (INAUDIBLE) for the sun and the bottom like the southwest corner is 42 inches so it's really the height of the handrail and here you are like 430 feet so you have this sort of (INAUDIBLE) from a human scale to the city scale in one single building.

ROBERT A. STERN, DEAN, YALE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE: It's the kind of idea that when you see it, you say, how come nobody's thought of it before?

GUPTA: And nobody thought a 19-year-old could come up with an anti- terror device or a new technology to fight cancer. That is, until Taylor Wilson came along.

TAYLOR WILSON: I've always been really passionate about solving problems and really passionate about changing the human condition. You know, I want to change lives and save lives. And I think my technologies can do that.


ANNOUNCER: THE NEXT LIST agents of change is brought to you by University of Phoenix. Let's get to work, and by - Lexus, the golden opportunity sales convenient is here, but don't wait. Like all golden opportunities, this one is fleeting. Go to for more stories of people changing the way we think.


BROWN: Vanderbilt University has suspended one of its football team's top players over a rape case that has stunned the campus. Police accused Chris Boyd and two others of trying help cover up an alleged rape at the school by advising players indicted last week. Four other Vanderbilt players face charges linked to the alleged rape itself. All four were kicked off the team and suspended from the school.

Kidnapping survivor Hannah Anderson is trying to be strong, exactly one week after FBI agents rescued her and killed her captor and longtime family friend, 16-year-old Hannah made her first public appearance this week as we see right here, at a fund-raiser held for her near San Diego.

Meanwhile, bizarre new details are emerging about the case. Letters from Hannah were among things seized from the home of accused murderer, James Dimaggio. Also records show that Hannah and Dimaggio called each other 13 times before he allegedly killed Hannah's mother and brother and then kidnapped Hannah. But San Diego authorities told the "Los Angeles Times" Hannah is a victim and not a willing participant.

An accused killer, James Dimaggio has an unstable childhood. An acquaintance says Dimaggio's father an abusive man, addicted to methamphetamine. Miguel Marquez has new details on the man accused of kidnapping Hannah and killing her mother and brother.


ANDREW SPANSWICK, ACQUAINTANCE OF JAMES DIMAGGIO: He was sort of the guy in the middle of the group of friends.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Andrew (INAUDIBLE) knew James Dimaggio and her sister for half a dozen years. He calls the technician at the Scripps Research Institute quite simply a normal guy.

SPANSWICK: He wasn't loud or outgoing and he wasn't shy and retreative or isolative. He was very much sort of the friendly guy that just was along for the ride, but didn't really stick out one way or the other. There was nothing odd about him.

MARQUEZ: Or at least that's what everyone thought.

Dimaggio grew up like the Andersons in the San Diego suburbs with his sister and mother, his parents were divorced, and his father was not a stable influence.

SPANSWICK: The father was a methamphetamine addict and metamphetamine is a cruel drug it makes people delusional, it can make them violent. It can make them very abusive, both just physically also emotionally.

MARQUEZ: His friend says they were protected from some of it until their mother died. Dimaggio and his sister, Laura, ended up living with their father, a car salesman where they suffered years of abuse.

SPANSWICK: Jim was sort of abandoned with Laura by their father who thought they would just leave them with macaroni and cheese, and boxes of it. And Jim would go out and fish, catch fish to feed him and his sister.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BROWN: And tonight, CNN brings you dramatic details of Hannah's kidnapping and the heroic effort that led to her rescue in the Idaho wilderness.

Anderson Cooper's special report "Kidnapped The Rescue of Hannah Anderson" airs tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Well, New Jersey could soon make it easier for kids to have access to medical marijuana. Up next, we're going to meet the family who has pressured the governor to change that law.


GUPTA: Pamela, I'm going to have much more of my investigation into medical marijuana including the story how it may have saved the life of one little girl.

Also, dame details on a groundbreaking new test to diagnose Alzheimer's perhaps a full decade before the onset of memory loss and five foods you should never eat including some you'd never guess. You get all that and much more ahead at 4:30 Eastern.

BROWN: We all want to hear about that. Thank you, Sanjay.

Governor Chris Christie may be on the verge of expanding medical marijuana options for New Jersey patients. Christie said yesterday that he would sign off on a medical marijuana bill if a few specific changes are made to that bill. The issue gained traction this week after the father of a sick child confronted Christie and demanded action.

The father is fighting to get edible marijuana for his two-year-old little girl who has a seizure disorder. Other parents have asked Christie to help their sick children as well. Alina Cho spoke to an emotional mother in New Jersey.


ALINA CHO, CNN, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fourteen-year-old Jackson Stormes is totally fine one minute, eating his lunch, and the next, he's on the floor suffering from a seizure. Jackson has a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome.

JENNIE STORMES, WANTS EDIBLE MARIJUANA FOR SON: He can be going about having fun, playing basketball, jumping on the trampoline, watching TV and just boom he has a seizure. That's brain damage. That's a traumatic brain injury. So it's like having a car crash. He's had eight today.

CHO: Mom Jennie who is also a nurse says she has tried every thing.

JENNIE STORMES: This right here is his medicine he takes every day. Morning, afternoon, evening.

CHO: Nothing works.

JENNIE STORMES: Good job. Go slow. Good job.

CHO: The only remedy that does work she says without severe side effects is an edible form of medical marijuana. Something she was able to give her son last year when they visited California.

JENNIE STORMES: Speech went up. Cognition went up.

CHO: The problem is, this special strain of medical marijuana legal in California so far is illegal in New Jersey, where they live. The story gained national attention this week when an angry father of a two-year-old girl, Vivian who has the same condition as Jackson, confronted New Jersey's governor Chris Christie with cameras rolling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, don't let my daughter die, governor. Don't let my daughter die.

CHO: Two days later Governor Christie sent a medical marijuana bill which has been sitting on his desk for two months back to the state legislature saying he would sign it under these conditions. Edible forms of marijuana would be allowed but only for minors. In order to qualify, parents would still be required to get approval from a pediatrician and a psychiatrist as well as a prescription from a qualifying doctor.

Christie would also want to keep in place a provision that would placed no limits on the number of strains of marijuana New Jersey could dispense.

JENNIE STORMES: So it's unlimited strains now and edibles are allowed? We won. Jack can get his medication in New Jersey. The side effects of the drugs my son's on now, death, anorexia, diarrhea, insomnia, increased seizures. Side effect of marijuana is lethargy and irritability. I'll take that any day of the week. You know, quality of life is going to be huge. I was told by the doctors way back when my son went past the age of two. Amazing. He's a gift. He deserves treatment.


BROWN: And Alina Cho joins us live now. So, Alina, a lot of parents like the mother that you interviewed, very anxious for this to become law. How soon do we think this could happen?

CHO: Well, as you know, Pamela, the governor has urged lawmakers to act swiftly on this measure. Once the state legislature agrees to the governor's proposed change, Governor Christie says he will sign the bill into law right away, and if all of this is done quickly, this special strain of medical marijuana could actually be available in New Jersey legally as early as next month.

Now, for people like Jackson's mom, Jennie, this means everything. Right now Jennie Stormes says she can't go anywhere with her son, because of his severe seizures, but if he's able to take this medical marijuana, she says they'll finally be able to enjoy life as a family, even something, Pamela, as simple as going to the grocery store with her son. That's something she can't do right now. And she says if her son is able to take this special strain of medical marijuana he will be better and he'll be able to go out. She says something as simple as going to the store. That will be a great gift for her.

BROWN: That's pretty special. But you know, Alina, some parents are saying, "Look, this law doesn't go far enough. That there's still obstacles in place for these parents to gain access to medical marijuana." Tell us about that.

CHO: Well, you're right. There's a provision in the bill that Christie supports that would still require parents to jump through some hoops to get this medical marijuana for their children. They would need a note from a psychiatrist and a pediatrician, and also a prescription from a qualifying doctor.

Now, there are about 250 qualifying doctors in the state of New Jersey. Pretty easy to find. However, some parents would argue, "Listen, my son or daughter has epilepsy. It would be one thing if you say you need a note from a neurologist, but why make us go through all of these hoops?" That's something they say they're going to fight down the line. You can bet they will.

BROWN: Absolutely. Alina Cho, thank you.

CHO: You bet.

BROWN: And Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why he reversed his position on medical marijuana, watch "Weed: A Dr. Sanjay Gupta Investigation" tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time only here on CNN.

Well, thank you so much for joining us. I'm going to be back at the top of the hour with all the day's news, and we'll see you then.