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Cutting Aid To Egypt; Musician Abducted; NCAA: Marine May Play "Immediately"

Aired August 20, 2013 - 05:30   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START. Happy you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Christine Romans. John Berman is off today. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

SAMBOLIN: And we have two big developments in Egypt this morning. They have that nation on -- sorry, on knife's edge. First the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie. He is the latest official in the party that backs ousted Mohamed Morsi to be picked up by police and accused of inciting violence.

That's just hours after a court acquitted the country's former ruler, Hosni Mubarak on one charge. He's been in custody ever since he left power following a revolt two years ago. And his lawyers say he is entitled to be released on bond. The death toll from nearly a week of violence in Egypt is now approaching a thousand people.

And there is late word this morning that the U.S. is now temporarily holding up some military aid to Egypt, but not all of it, and the decision is also not permanent. The U.S. gives more than $1 billion of aid to Egypt every year. And as Chris Lawrence tells us, some U.S. companies have every reason to want that money to keep flowing.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Obama administration could say enough is enough and cut aid to Egypt. But some American companies want to keep that money flowing because they are the ones cashing in.

JOEL JOHNSON, THE TEST GROUP: You're buying U.S. equipment from U.S. contractors.

LAWRENCE: The U.S. doesn't cut a check to Egypt, it deposits the aid in an account at the Federal Reserve Bank. That money pays defense American contractors to build the weapons and parts for Egypt. That includes $400 million to general dynamic for tank kits and $2.5 billion to Lockheed (ph) for F-16s. Big companies got these contracts in part by sending legions of lobbyists to Capitol Hill.

They reminded lawmakers that if the Boeings and Lockheeds can't build weapons for Egypt, all those small town suppliers from Lima, Ohio to Oxford, Michigan will get buried. JOHNSON: Joe with company "X" has made this particular piece of a tank for 20 years. And that's what he does. And he's very good at it. But if I don't give him an order for six months, I'm not quite sure what's going to happen to old Joe and his workforce.

LAWRENCE: Former congressman, Jim Kolbe, used to control the purse strings on Egypt. He heard that pitch year after year, and it worked.

JIM KOLBE, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: The contractors have a vested interest in keeping the process going forward.

LAWRENCE: Kolbe says the U.S. has put itself in a bind, cutting the aid won't get the government enough paying off the defense contracts it already signed.

KOLBE: It's going to end up costing the taxpayers a lot of money and getting nothing in return.

LAWRENCE (on-camera): We reached out to Lockheed and General Dynamics who basically said, look, we're honoring our contracts in good faith and don't want to comment on what the U.S. government may or may not do. The bottom line, even though the U.S. has only transferred about half of this year's $1.2 billion into the Egypt fund with holding the other 600 million doesn't really save any money and may end up costing jobs.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, the Pentagon.


ROMANS: And the U.S. wants to keep influence in the region specifically because the Suez Canal and its position in the global energy trade as well. Very, very sticky situation for the U.S. right now.

Meantime, out west here, fire crews fighting the good fight. Dozens of wildfires now burning in 11 western states, but there is some good news on the fire lines in Central Idaho. Authorities are giving some evacuees the green light to return home this morning. But 2,000 homes remain threatened by the Beaver Creek fire which is now spread across more than 160 square miles near Ketchum and Sun Valley. That fire is less than 10 percent contained at this hour.

SAMBOLIN: Indra Petersons is tracking the weather for us this morning. Any help for those firefighters?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, eventually. It's going to take a little bit of time. We have red flag warnings today, which does mean fire danger in the area and the reason for that is, well, when you think of storms, you think of rain, you think of wind, and you think of lightning. But if you take out the threat of rain, you're just left with wind and lightning. And unfortunately, that's a threat today.

The reason for that is something we call Virga (ph). When it's really dry at the ground, the rainfalls out of the clouds, but actually, evaporates before it hits the ground, and that's what we call a dry lightning. You just have the threat of lightning which could fuels more fires and the gusty wind that could spread the fires that are already on the ground. It's going to take several days of rain in the area before you eventually moisten up the atmosphere all the way to the ground and actually see that rainfall.

And that's what they're expecting as we go towards maybe about tomorrow and the end of the week. But for today alone, you can tell the storm is pretty light. It's going to take some time to get more and more moisture in the area to start to switch that dry pattern into more of a rainy pattern. Complete opposition problem, though, in the south. It's just so wet. This is yesterday's radar.

Once again, seeing all that tropical from the gulf all the way up into the Carolinas. And it's thanks to the stationary front that literally has not moved. It's been all summer long above record rainfall. Some places 15 inches above average. Take a look at the stationary front still in place. Now, we're going to go to Wednesday. Notice the changes here.

We will we see a cold front starting to make its way into the Great Lakes. The stationary front in the southeast still stays in the area. So, one to two inches of rain, even two to four inches additional rain and some of those heavier downpour is going to be possible.

The biggest change as the week goes is cold front is going to start cooling us in the Great Lakes and possibly produce some severe weather in the Great Lakes by tomorrow. But either way, I mean, unbelievable amount of rain in the southeast. The flooding threat is so high.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Indra.

ROMANS: All right. The president's task force offering up recommendations for areas hit hard by superstorm Sandy last fall. The report warns coastal communities that a climate change and rising sea levels will create increased flooding in the future. It calls for a new electrical grid that can better withstand extreme weather and a streamlined federal review process for Sandy rebuilding projects.

SAMBOLIN: Senator Ted Cruz from Texas is renouncing his Canadian citizenship. The Republican who's been speculated as a 2016 presidential contender was born in Calgary to a U.S. mother. That may technically give him dual citizenship, and some have actually questioned whether being born in Canada makes him ineligible to be president in the first place.

Cruz has now issued a statement that he will give up the Canadian rights he didn't even realize that he had saying, quote, "Nothing against Canada, but I'm an American by birth, and as a U.S. senator, I believe I should be only an American."

ROMANS: All right. Could a resignation be in the works for San Diego mayor, Bob Filner? He met with representatives for the city Monday night for mitigation. And CNN affiliate, KGTV, says the meeting was designed to include a discussion of a possible resignation from the position. Filner has been under fire for weeks now. More than 15 women have come forward to claim he sexually harassed them.

The mayor has proclaimed his innocence and a recall effort in the city is now underway. He went away for rehab, behavioral therapy, I guess, --


ROMANS: For a while. Came back --

SAMBOLIN: A very short while.

ROMANS: A very short while. Now, he's back and meeting with representatives of the city.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. A physicist who's long question the official cause for the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 is now asking for more information about what was going on at the time that jet went down. Thomas Stalcup (ph) has filed two lawsuits now claiming his Freedom of Information Act requests were not adequately answered.

So, this is what he wants to know. Were there military exercises or missile test going on at the time of that crash? Stalcup is among a group who believe it was a missile that brought the jet down killing 230 people on board.

ROMANS: Some California inmates on a hunger strike could soon be force fed. A judge ruling doctors may force feed certain inmates who are dying even if state signed do not resuscitate orders beforehand. Prison officials argue that inmates may have been coerced into refusing food as part of a protest against the state's solitary confinement policies. One hundred thirty-six inmates taking part in this hunger strike which began back on July 8th.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, this is a shocking crime that has people in this country and half way around the world rattled. The murder of a 22-year-old baseball player from Australia attending Oklahoma's East Central University in the small town of Duncan. That's about 80 miles south of Oklahoma City. There's his picture right there. Christopher Lane (ph) is his name.

He was out jogging when police say three teenagers shot him in the back. Why? Because they just wanted to kill someone. Lane's family is now struggling to cope with what happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's left his mark, as we know. And, there's not going to be any good that comes out of this because it was just so senseless. It's happened. It's wrong. And, we just try and deal with it the best we can.


SAMBOLIN: It is senseless, and apparently, random. The teenagers, age 15, 16, and 17 have been arrested and are expected to be charged with first degree murder. Police say the suspects had plans to carry out another killing, but they were stopped before they could go through with it. Apparently, they were caught on some surveillance video. Incredible. For fun, police say. For fun.

ROMANS: And that is front page news in Australia where Christopher Lane (ph) is from.

All right. Another bizarre twist in the story of 16-year-old Hannah Anderson abducted by a family friend who police say killed her mother and brother. Her captor, James Dimaggio, left a life insurance policy that named Hannah's paternal grandmother as the beneficiary. Not clear what their relationship was or if the money was meant for Hannah. He was rescued -- she was rescued -- Hannah was rescued and Dimaggio killed by the FBI on August 10th in Idaho.

SAMBOLIN: A pretrial hearing today in Cleveland could determine if accused copycat serial killer, Michael Madison (ph) will face the death penalty. Last month, the bodies of three women were discovered in plastic bags near Madison's East Cleveland home. Investigators say Madison may have been influenced by Cleveland serial killer, Anthony Sowell.

ROMANS: A judge is expected to decide today if a 19-year-old Florida woman will stay behind bars for having sex with an underage female classmate. That's after new allegation surfaced that Kaitlyn Hunt (ph) violated an order not to contact the classmate. On Monday, prosecutors withdrew a plea deal that would have kept her in jail.

Hunt was charged with two felony counts after the parents of the 14- year-old went to authorities. Hunt's family say their relationship was consensual. But in Florida, a person under the age of 16 is not legally able to consent to sex.

SAMBOLIN: Let's go to Oklahoma now where supporters of the biological father of a three-year-old girl are demanding that she stay there and not be returned to her adoptive parents. Veronica has been with her biological dad, Dustin Brown (ph), since 2011 when a court ordered he should have custody because of their native heritage.

Despite earlier renouncing -- he renounced his rights earlier. Her adoptive parents from South Carolina want a Supreme Court fight to get that little girl back. But Brown has refused to turn her over. The matter is now before the courts in both states and it is also before the Cherokee nation.

ROMANS: Incredible pictures to show you this morning from Russia where crews had to release two brown bears. That's the bears in the care are being airlifted out. They were stuck in the path of floodwaters in a region east of Moscow near the Chinese border. The flooding is the result of torrential rain, and it's forced some 20,000 residents from their homes. It's being called the worst flooding in that part of Russia in more than 120 years.


All right. So, coming up, a pop star attacked in the street, robbed, and beaten. He is sharing his story. That's coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Remember this, "Wherever You Will Go." It was a big hit for The Calling. That was back in 2001. And now, it's lead singer is telling a really scary tell about being abducted, beaten, and robbed just days before announcing plans for a comeback. Alex Band tells CNN The Calling played a music festival in Michigan last weekend, and as he was walking down a street in the town of Lapeer, this was early on Sunday, two men grabbed him, forced him into a mini-van and beat him. He says they wanted money and they put a gun in his face.


ALEX BAND, LEAD SINGER, THE CALLING: I was like bring me back to my hotel. I was like, I will find every dollar I can. Please don't kill me. I was crying, you know, I'll admit it. I was scared and I was pleading for my life. And then, it occurred to me, I was like, you know, I just found out a couple weeks ago that I'm going to be a dad. He said it's your lucky day and he kicked me out of the car on to the train tracks.


SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness. So, Band says that that fall on to the tracks broke a bone in his lower spine. He is now recovering, and he insists this isn't a hoax or an attempt to get attention for the group before it re-launches. Oh my goodness. What a horrific tale.

ROMANS: Really wish him well.

All right. Changing gears now to a very strange story from the sports pages. The "Times of London" says Maria Sharapova, the richest female athlete in the world, she wants to change her last name just for the duration of the U.S. Open to Sugarpova. That's the name of her line Candies.

Oh, and if that isn't enough, she apparently wants to wear Sugarpova logo, a pair of lips on her tennis attire during the tournament which begins next week. Newspaper says she plans to have her name back to normal once the tournament ends.

SAMBOLIN: I think it's brilliant. Brilliant advertising. Let's take look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan join us now. Sugarpova.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Sounds good to me. Good morning, guys.


BOLDUAN: Good morning, so far. We're tracking -- Chris is in the --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Yes. I'm getting the information right now. One of the stories we're going to be following for you is a developing one. A plane was transferred from Baltimore. It was going from Baltimore to Austin. It wound up in Memphis. Why? A passenger lost it and tried to open the emergency exit and leave the plane.

Luckily, there were members of the military on board. They were able to restrain the passenger. The plane was OK, but we don't understand the situation. It's developing. We're going to try and get more details. We're going to report it out for you this morning. That will be what we start off with.

And literally, we're getting the information as I'm here writing it in front of you as opposed to just signing my name and trying to find the best signature for --


CUOMO: -- every morning.

BOLDUAN: We're also watching a lot of weather, tracking dozens of wildfires burning out west. Eleven states now are fighting relentless flames. Just look at the video. Thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes. We're going to be live in Idaho where one fire is so bad it's being called a beast by emergency crews. We're going to watch that.

And we're also going to meet a 12-year-old girl who survived a bear attack this weekend. Well, she was simply out for a jog, which she does quite often. In fact, the bear came after her not once, but twice. And she survived and she's going to be joining us to tell her tale and also tell us about some of the lessons learned from that experience and what she did to survive that. It's amazing. Twelve years old. What courage. We're going to talk to her.

ROMANS: Amazing.

SAMBOLIN: She has a great attitude about it, too. I just love that girl. Can't wait to see that. Thank you, guys.

And coming up, a U.S. marine home from serving our country barred from playing college football. We told you about the story yesterday. It's caused a huge uproar across the country. We have an update for you next in this morning's "Bleacher Report."


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-one minutes past the hour. After receiving harsh criticism for their initial ruling, the NCAA has reversed their decision regarding former marine, Steven Rhodes. They are allowing him to play football this season. Andy Scholes joins us now with more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." So, the pressure got to them.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, it sure did, Zoraida. You know, when Middle Tennessee State hits the field for their first game on August 29th, the former marine, Steven Rhodes will be in uniform. Thanks to the NCAA finally realizing how ridiculous their initial ruling was.

Originally, they said Rhodes was going to have to sit out this season and have only two years of eligibility all because he played in a recreational league during his five years in the marines. But after relentless criticism, the NCAA reversed the ruling yesterday and said Rhodes can play immediately and he will maintain all of his eligibility. Rhodes was thrilled to hear the news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was ecstatic. You know, I found out in the middle of practice. And they had me, man, ever since. It was just a blessing. God works in mysterious ways. I mean, He worked things out quickly.


SCHOLES: The war of words between A-Rod and Major League Baseball is heating up. MLB officials challenged the Yankee slugger to waive the confidentiality clause in a drug testing agreement and allow all the evidence they have to go public. A-Rod's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, says the move is a publicity stunt by Major League Baseball and they couldn't (INAUDIBLE) without approval from the Players Association.

A-Rod is currently appealing his 211-game suspension and has accused the Yankees of mismanaging his medical pair.

All right. Well, I think we know what John Berman is doing on vacation. Wait, that's not John Berman. That's clip diving sensation, Orlando Duque, jumping 75 feet from a helicopter into the Hudson River. Red Bull Diving World Series will be diving into Boston Harbor this weekend. So, they decided to give the Big Apple some love and publicity for their sport at the same time.

Well, Red Sox at the giants last night, this foul ball heading down the left field line. Check it out. Three giants converge on the ball as the ball girl. She must forgot that she's not supposed to catch foul balls. Luckily for her, Joaquin Arias (ph) was able to make the grab. She's little embarrassed, but --

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness.

SCHOLES: -- no harm done.


SAMBOLIN: I got to tell you, Andy, it's more likely that that's where you would have found John Berman than jumping out of a helicopter.


SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you Andy, we appreciate it. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-seven minutes past the hour. Taking look at the top CNN Trends on the web this morning. Recognize that song? Katy Perry may have a hit on her hands. Her latest single, "Roar," the one that you're hearing right now is set to sell more than a half million downloads. So, that would match her previous biggest single, "Fireworks" back from 2010. Perry's new album "Prism" is due out in October. That was good.

All right. So, Lady Gaga is telling her fans stop threatening those who disagree with me. Posting an open letter on her Born this Way Foundation's Tumblr page just days after her fans started attacking Perez Hilton over the Twitter (ph) feud. Gaga wrote this, quote, "Sending threats of any kind using hateful or abusive language and the provoking of others on the internet is not supported by me or anything that I stand for."

The singer and the blogger have been battling via Twitter over comments that he made about her song and those she may back about him stalking her. So, stop threatening him.

All right. That's it for EARLY START. Time for "NEW DAY." A lot going on this morning. Take it away, Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Zoraida. That's good for Lady Gaga. We were -- (ph) the break. Good stuff. All right. Thanks so much. See you soon.

CUOMO: Got to keep controls down. Take a look at your clock, almost the top of the hour, that means here on "NEW DAY," time for your top news.