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U.N. Inspectors Visiting Syria Attack Site; Jodi Arias Hearing; Tiger Comes Up Short At The Barclays; Justin Timberlake's Big Night at the VMAs

Aired August 26, 2013 - 05:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Chemical weapons investigation right now. Inspectors looking for proof at the Syrian government slaughtered hundreds of its own people as world leaders discuss what could come next. We're live.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: And will it be life in prison or death for Jodi Arias, the woman who brutally murdered her lover heads back to court this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's some people in our house.

PEREIRA: A child called for help, trapped inside her home when intruders break in. How her quick thinking kept her safe and how police catch those suspects. Brave little girl.

BROWN: Absolutely. And welcome back, everyone to EARLY START. Time to rise and shine on this Monday. Happy Monday.

PEREIRA: And we are hopefully --


PEREIRA: It is 31 past the hour.

BROWN: And this morning, the White House said to be considering its options if Syria did, indeed, cross President Obama's red line with the chemical attack on its own people. The Assad regime is giving U.N. inspectors access to the site of the alleged attack in a suburb of Damascus. But U.S. officials say it is too little too late, and believe it, there is almost no doubt chemical weapons were used.

Meantime, military leaders from the U.S., Europe, and Arab nations meeting in Jordan to discuss the deteriorating situation in Syria. CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Amman, Jordan this morning. And Nic, a meeting going on right now. Any idea of what these leaders are saying? Do you think they're leaning toward intervention, do we know?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Getting very few details here. We're told they're discussing as the regional stability, the Syria crisis. It's a very sensitive issue for Jordan. Jordan thinks of it this way, small country, the king not as popular as he was. The fear that if Jordan takes a strong position against Syria, Syria could fire missiles, chemical weapons even into Jordan, commit terrorist acts inside Jordan.

That's a concern. Four U.S. warships in the region armed with cruise missiles potentially again could be used. But what's happening in that meeting it's so secret, there will be no press conference afterwards, we're told. We don't know where it's being held or even any of the details of what's being discussed, Pamela.

BROWN: Well, here's what we do know, a country that's not at the table, Russia. No big surprise there. Russia's foreign minister urging the U.S. and other countries not to get involved, to wait for U.N. weapons inspectors to do their job. How big of an influence does Russia have on what happens in Syria?

ROBERTSON: Huge. Absolutely. Look at it this way, if you will. Bashar al-Assad didn't give permission for the U.N. weapons inspectors to go to that site until Russia said that he should. He needs Russia backing them up, military advice, military support. He needs their veto at the U.N. Security Council. So, what Russia says is going to have a huge influence on what Bashar al-Assad does.

That said, they want to keep him as an ally. They don't want to see him go down. So, it seems that the Russian position is not going to change over these chemical weapons already made it clear. They believe that it was the rebels behind the attack and that the United States and some of the United States allies are trying to use this as a pretext for intervention in Syria, which they warn against -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Nic Robertson there in Amman, Jordan, thank you.

PEREIRA: Back stateside now, the big burn near Yosemite National Park is still only seven percent contained this morning. Some 2,600 firefighters are battling that massive blaze which has already consumed some 130,000 acres. It's forced thousands of evacuations. The rough terrain in the area is making it very difficult for crews to fight the fire.

Jennifer Delgado is in for Indra Petersons, and she's tracking the conditions firefighters are facing out west. One of the challenges for them is that it's just so, so dry. It would be nice if they had some relief in store in the form of rain, but it doesn't look likely.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, definitely, Michaela. Unfortunately, we are going to be looking at still dry conditions across the region. Look at the temperature right now. Forty-five degrees is the relative humidity at 48 percent. The winds right now are fairly calm. Now, as we go throughout the afternoon, we are going to see those wind gusts anywhere between 10 and 15 miles per hour.

But we're happy to report, we don't have any red flag warnings out there. So, the weather conditions are actually going to cooperate today. We do have a zero percent chance of rain today, but for tomorrow, we are talking a 30 percent chance for some isolated storms to pop up there. You're thinking it sounds good, but unfortunately, some of those storms could trigger some lightning.

And of course, all that dry fuel out there, that can make conditions even worse. But just to make matters even worse, of course, we're looking at Yosemite, nice and dry there, unfortunately. But look at the rain across parts of the southwest. Unfortunately, we can't get any of that across Yosemite. Right now, we are talking about the flooding potential threat for parts of the southwest.

And that means any of these areas, you add in about one inch of rainfall. You could see some flash flooding there, and that's all especially going to be worse because we do have a burn scar across the region. So, we've talked about fires, we've talked about flooding potential. And then, late summer heat wave across parts of the Midwest where we're going to see heat index values up to 110 degrees.

That includes parts of the upper plains. Look at the numbers that we are talking about for today, 101 for a high in Des Moines. Minneapolis, I've got a problem with this, 100 degrees for you, 94 in St. Louis. Some of these temperatures running 20 degrees above average with the heat in place, and we have a front in place.

We are going to see the potential for some severe storms to pop up across parts of the upper Midwest. We are talking about damaging winds as well as hail and the potential for isolated tornado. So, again, we'll continue to follow the fire. But guys, across parts of northeast, you have comfortable temperatures. We'll some rain moving into New York later into the afternoon.

PEREIRA: All right. Jennifer Delgado looking at the weather across the nation for us. Thanks so much for keeping an eye on it for us.

BROWN: It is 5:36 in the east. And convicted murderer, Jodi Arias, will be back in court this morning. At the hearing, a judge could set a date for her penalty phase retrial. Arias was convicted back in May of killing her boyfriend, but the Arizona jury couldn't decide on the death penalty.

And we can get more now from CNN's Ted Rowlands.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, duly empanelled and sworn in the above entitled action upon our oath do find the defendant as to count one first degree murder guilty.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): after listening to four months of testimony, it took three days for the first jury to find Jodi Arias guilty of first degree murder, but they couldn't decide between the death penalty or life in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No (ph) unanimous agreement.

ROWLANDS: Arizona law allows prosecutors one more chance at death. If a new jury still can't decide, Arias will get life in prison and a judge will determine whether or not she's eligible for parole. The new trial won't be as long because the original first-degree guilty verdict still holds.

DWANE CATES, ARIZONA ATTORNEY: This new jury isn't going to have nearly the information that the old jury did. And the jury that made this decision saw every gruesome detail, saw all the lies, saw everything.

ROWLANDS: Finding new jurors who haven't heard of the Arias case will be difficult given the intense media coverage of the first trial. Finding witnesses that will stand-up for Jodi Arias will also be tough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Martinez, are you angry at me?

ROWLANDS: Defense domestic violence expert, Alice LaViolette says after she testified, she was inundated with online abuse including death threats. She has no intention of going through that again, even though her testimony could make a difference.

Why don't you want to go back?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Threats to my life. Threats to my family. My family doesn't want me to go back.

ROWLANDS: In the end, Jodi Arias may end up being her own best chance for avoiding the death penalty.

JODI ARIAS, CONVICTED FOR 1ST DEGREE MURDER: Either way, I'm going to spend the rest of my life in prison, either a life that is shortened or not. If it's shortened, the people who will hurt the most are my family. I'm asking you, please, please don't do that to them.

ROWLANDS: Arias pled for her life during the penalty phase of her first trial this after spending 18 days on the witness stand during the trial. What, if anything, she says to the new jury may determine if she lives or dies.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Phoenix.


PEREIRA: Penn State has reached settlements with seven of Jerry Sandusky's victims, one of them, his adopted son.


PEREIRA (voice-over): As you recall, Sandusky is the ex-assistant football coach serving at least 30 years for child sex abuse. There's no word on just how much money these seven victims received in the settlement. The amount is being kept confidential. The university set aside some $60 million for payouts. It is facing about 30 lawsuits.

BROWN (voice-over): Amanda Knox says she is not planning to return Italy for a retrial. She was convicted of killing her British roommate when they were college exchange students, and Knox served some time in prison. But that conviction was overturned last year because of a lack of evidence. And Knox moved back home to Seattle, as you may recall. But there's a chance Italy might ask to have her extradited for the new trial.

PEREIRA: In Australia, hundreds of people attending a memorial service for Christopher Lane. He is the college baseball player who was shot and killed in random in shocking act of violence in Oklahoma. Police say his killers were three bored teenagers. They're now facing first-degree murder charges.

Lane's two former baseball teams played a game in his honor after the memorial service. The funeral will be held Wednesday.

BROWN: And to another disturbing story now. Police near Baton Rouge say an eight-year-old boy shot and killed his 87-year-old grandmother while she watched TV in her home. They think the child did it intentionally after he played a violent video game. Under Louisiana law, the boy is too young to be charged. He is now back with his parents. The gun reportedly belonged to the victim.

PEREIRA: The family of a 12-year-old Florida boy who died from a rare brain eating parasite is donating his organs. Zachary Reyna (ph) he passed away over the weekend. It is believed that he was infected while playing in a water filled ditch near his home some three weeks ago. Doctors tried using experimental drug that had saved the life of an Arkansas girl battling the very same illness.

BROWN: Some scary moments for passengers on board a Delta Airlines flight, forced to make an emergency landing because of smoking fumes in the cockpit. The Boeing 757 en route from Cancun to Atlanta landed in Montgomery, Alabama Sunday when pilots reported the smell. Fire officials on the ground determined that there was no danger. The plane was carrying 187 passengers and they were put on another plane.

PEREIRA: Two people under arrest this morning charged in a home invasion robbery in Florida. Police say they would not have been caught without the help of two brave children, a 13-year-old girl and her 11-year-old sister were home alone at the time of the break in. They immediately hid in the bathroom and called their father. He told them to call 911.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's some people in our house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are they doing?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just entered.

ROMEL BRYAN, FATHER OF DAUGHTER WHO CALLED 911: It's very, you know, a terrifying feeling to know that your daughter, your kids are in danger and you can't get there immediately.


PEREIRA: Well, dad says his girls are OK, and he's thankful for that. But he said that he is still having nightmares about that break-in. Likely, those girls will for some time as well. You got to make them feel as safe as possible going forward.

Coming up, controversy over a child's cancer treatment in Ohio. The hospital claiming chemo would save her life, but the family wants to handle things their own way. How the courts may get involved? That's next.


BROWN: Welcome back to EARLY START, 5:45 in the east. An illegal battle in Ohio has a 10-year-old little girl's life hanging in the balance.

The young Amish girl was diagnosed with cancer back in April. After one round of chemotherapy, her parents ordered doctors to stop, claiming the chemo was killing her.


DR. ROB MACGREGOR, AKRON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Her family opted to not continue additional -- traditional chemo therapy and was seeking more of a holistic or a natural way of treating this disease. It's our obligation to do what's ethically and legally right by the child.


BROWN: Well, after the parents refused request to continue her treatment, the hospital sued for emergency guardianship. A judge denied that application and the hospital is appealing the decision.

PEREIRA (voice-over): I would like to introduce to you on this Monday, the bare knuckled babes. These young Texas ladies really don't worry about breaking the nail. They're noodlers. That means, they get into the water and they grab themselves a huge cat fish with their bare hands. No pole, no net, no bait, just a really good grip. One of them, 19-year-old Lucy Milsap (ph), won a tournament this summer by noodling a 72-pounder.


CRYSTAL STAGGS, "BARE KNUCKCLE BABES": You don't understand the rush, like, people think we're crazy, and, maybe we are.


STAGGS: It's more interesting. It's more fun. You know, there's nothing like sitting in a boat and being bored waiting on the fish. Why not go to the fish?

(END VIDEO CLIP) PEREIRA: People think they're crazy. The sport was illegal in Texas until just a couple of years ago, but apparently, the girls have a great time. It's quite a rush.

BROWN: how big?

PEREIRA: I think you not might be an EARLY START/New Day outing.


PEREIRA: Anyone?

BROWN: Chris Cuomo likes to fish.

PEREIRA: Anyone?

BROWN: Does Chris do that?

PEREIRA: I think we should find out if they want to go with us. Captain, will you let the three of us go noodling in your boat?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Yes, I would let Pamela, Michaela, and Kate go noodling.


CUOMO: Yes. And I would sit in the boat --



CUOMO: -- with a big bat for when you actually got something.


CUOMO: They're way too tough for me, those guys.


PEREIRA: Good morning, guys. How are you?


BROWN: Happy Monday.

BOLDUAN: We're great. We're happy you guys are good, too (ph). There's a lot coming up in the next hour.

CUOMO: We're going to be talking Syria. Obviously, when we interviewed the president last week, he was very deliberate and cautious and we needed more information. Well, now, there seems to be a lot of information on the table. The question is, what will happen next? The president met with his national security team, spoke to European leaders. The big question, what's going to happen? Are we planning responsible (ph) get into it? BOLDUAN: And we're also going to be talking a very different story and a very different fight. Mogul, Donald Trump, facing a civil lawsuit back in the headlines this time over claim his for profit investment kind of university he tried to call it made false statements about classes and is basically, according to one very important person, a bait and switch operation.

We're going to talk with Mr. Trump, himself, live as well as New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, exclusively who filed this lawsuit. Whenever Donald Trump is involved, you can be sure it's a battle royal.

CUOMO: Yes. This is a big one. It's going to be an interesting one to look at.

BOLDUAN: We'll have that.

CUOMO: We'll do that right here on "NEW DAY."

PEREIRA: Can't wait. No noodling.

BROWN: No noodling. Yes.

BOLDUAN: Not today.


PEREIRA: Not today. We'll take that for another day. Thanks, guys. See you in a bit.

BROWN: And coming up here on EARLY START, an amazing prize for an amazing half-court shot. The big reason this Colorado State student has to celebrate this morning. The "Bleacher Report," up next.


BROWN: Tiger Woods was battling a bad back all week, but he still nearly won the Barclays Tournament this weekend. Andy Scholes joins us now with more on this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hey there, Andy. Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, Pamela. Well, Tiger was fighting through back spasms while trying to chase down Adam Scott in the final round of the Barclays Tournament yesterday. Take a look at the highlights of this one. Tiger on 13. Check it out. Right after his second shot, he's going to drop to his knees in pain. Ball goes in the water for a bogey.

Tiger Woods rallied, though. He birdied 16 and 17, then on 18, he needs this put to force a playoff with Adam Scott. It's going to come up just as short. Tiger finishes tied for second. Scott wins the tournament.

California and Japan squaring off yesterday in the championship game of the little league world series. California with a tying runner on first in the final inning. Japan is going to turn the great double play to end the game. They win 6-4 to claim their third world series title in the past four years.

Turning now, a freshman at Colorado State had three chances to make a half-court shot to win a year free tuition, but he only needed one. Andrew Sneewhite (ph) is the lucky winner. He was selected in a random drawing at the Preston Rally (ph) to take the shot. His tuition is now going to be paid for by a group of Colorado State head coaches.

All right. Milwaukee Bucks center, Larry Sanders, got himself a couple of sweet new tattoos that he proudly posted pictures of on Instagram over the weekend. We'll take a look at them. Pamela, see any problems with this tattoo?


SCHOLES: Receive is misspelled. Clearly, he missed the I before E except after C less than in grade school. And I guess, his tattoo artist did as well, because he spent hours putting that on his hand. He did not realize receive is misspelled. But Larry Sanders, he just got a four-year, $44 million contract, so I guess he can pay to have it fixed.

BROWN: I don't feel too sorry for him, I guess, in that case.


BROWN: But just the pain of that. My gosh. All right. Andy Scholes, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

BROWN: We'll be right back. Stay with us.


BROWN: And welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Just about 6:00 in the East on this Monday morning.

Well, there you hear him. It was Justin Timberlake's night at the MTV Video Music Awards. JT won Video of the Year for "Mirrors." He was also given the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, celebrate Timberlake reunited with his former N'Sync band mates. A lot of anticipation for that.

Also, Bruno Mars took home the moon man for Best Male Video, "Locked Out of Heaven." And Taylor Swift won the Best Female Video Award for "I Knew You Were Trouble." And Miley Cyrus, well, she sure dig (ph) at the Twitterverse going showing plenty of skin during her performances last night at the VMAs.

First, Miley came out with some furry friends and got everybody twerking with the performance of "We Can't Stop." And then, after tripping down to almost nothing, Cyrus joined Robin Thicke to help perform his big hit, "Blurred Lines." A little R-rated performance there, we can say.

All right. That's it for EARLY START. Time now for "NEW DAY." Take it away, Chris and Kate.


BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Pamela. We'll see you in a little bit.

CUOMO: All right. It's almost the top of the hour and that means it's time for your top news.