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Fire Destroys Part of Jersey Shore Boardwalk; Deadly Colorado Flooding; Working on a Syrian Deal; Working On A Syria Deal; Duchess Of Cambridge Steps Out; Measles Making Comeback

Aired September 13, 2013 - 08:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Dr. Sanjay Gupta with what you need to know.

Your NEW DAY continues right now.



ANNOUNCER: What you need to know --

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Putin has invested his credibility in transferring Assad's chemical weapons and ultimately destroying them.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, and welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Friday, September 13th, 8:00 here in the East.

Coming up this hour, more meetings now on the agenda between U.S. and Russian officials to discuss the chemical weapons situation in Syria. Secretary of state John Kerry says talks will come later this month, more talks, but he has some words of warning. We're going to have the latest and also discuss the conflict with Peter Beinart of "The Daily Beast."

CUOMO: It is worth holding your morning up for a second just for this story.

BOLDUAN: Just for this picture.

CUOMO: This is a Utah dad you're looking at and his shirt may tell the story. Why did he do this? Well, here's a big hint, it's about what his daughter was wearing, but what a story this is, I know a lot of people out there who are feeling what this father felt. So it's worth the watch this morning and a nice set of legs on top of that.

BOLDUAN: I'm sure he'll appreciate that. Let's move back to our big story this morning, there is more misery for two New Jersey shore communities that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy. They'll have to rebuild part of the iconic boardwalk again, after a massive fire that damaged or destroyed 50 beachfront businesses. It's said to have started at an ice cream stand.

CNN's Don Lemon is live in Seaside Park, New Jersey.

Don, the sun has finally come up so you can get a better view of how it's looking.

What are you seeing?

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And actually, I got a chance to go back and get an exclusive look with one of the business owners that you guys spoke to earlier, John Sundermann, Big Hearted John's and his business is completely done.

And, Kate, I've got to see as well, the fire trench they dug and we'll try to get some of that video to you in this broadcast, if we can get it up on the air.

But just to show you here, the fire department, fire trucks are still on the scene, some 35 different fire departments still putting out hot spots under the board walk and what they're saying here is that what Hurricane Sandy didn't destroy, this fire destroyed the rest.


LEMON (voice-over): A state of emergency on the Jersey Shore, hundreds of firefighters battling a massive inferno that raged into the night. The fire finally under control.

The fast moving blaze destroying dozens of businesses in a six-block stretch in just hours, along the boardwalk between Seaside Park and Seaside Heights, two communities hit hard by Superstorm Sandy nearly one year ago.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I said to my staff, I feel like I want to throw up.

LEMON: This amateur video shows the fire erupting at this ice cream stand just after 2:00 p.m. on Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't go in there!

LEMON: Within hours, the fire engulfed block after block, spread by high winds gusting over 30 miles per hour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My manager came in the stand and told me to get out because there was smoke coming up through the boardwalk. We ran away and turned around again and there were flames coming out of the building.

LEMON: The inferno so big, first responders had to pump water from this nearby bay. The fire eventually contained by a 25-foot wide trench built by firefighters.

DOUGLAS IANNOTTI, RESIDENT: Within 15 minutes more flames than I had ever seen in my life. I got scared. It's amazing. It's terrible what is going on, it really is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's horrifying what is going on here. The whole down, the people that grew up here, people that work here are suffering a lot of damage.

SARAH GOMEZ, RESIDENT: After everything that we just went through for rebuilding everything, especially the shore, and to know that it's all burning down now. I'm sorry.

LEMON: The thick black smoke could be seen for miles. Governor Chris Christie urging the public to stay out of the area.

CHRISTIE: My advice to you, in fact, my admonition to you is: do not come here. Do not travel. Stay away.

LEMON: This area near the Funtown Pier, one of the few stretches of boardwalk that survived Sandy, now has fallen victim to this incredible fire.

The neighboring roller coaster washed into the ocean, became a symbolic image of Jersey strength. Repairs of the boardwalk after Sandy completed in time for its summer season, reopening this May.

The state's resolve being tested once again.

CHRISTIE: And, listen. This is us. So, we're -- you know, as soon as this is over, we'll pick ourselves up, we'll dust ourselves off and we'll get back to work.


LEMON: And, Chris, if there is any good news in all of this or minor injuries, minor smoke inhalation, no one died in all of this and there was just a mini press conference held by the ocean county fire coordinator, that coordinator said this fire, Chris, was more like a forest fire, because of the winds, because of those winds upwards of 35 miles an hour and those trenches that they're having to dig, they dug one, that one didn't hold, they had to dig another one, and it was right into that new boardwalk, that $8 million boardwalk they had just repaired from Sandy.

CUOMO: Thank you for that, Don.

And also we had the mayor tell us that they have the blueprints of the area so they know how to rebuild and because they've done it before, they know they have the resolve, people have showed themselves to be truly Jersey strong.

So we're going to go from this story about the fire to the devastating flash flooding going on in Boulder County, Colorado. It's being blamed for three deaths this morning and there's more heavy rain in the forecast. The National Weather Service confirming a wall of water 20 feet high came crashing down a mountainside wiping away homes and washing out roads. Twenty feet high.

George Howell is on the scene live from Boulder.

What's the latest, George?


So we have some new news to report. According to the National Guard, the town of Lyons, which is about 15 minutes away from where we are here, the town of Lyons, will be evacuated at daybreak, and with more rain in the forecast, you see streams like this cutting off neighborhoods, the situation out here remains volatile.


HOWELL (voice-over): Overnight, residents along Boulder Creek were warned to get to higher ground for fear of this -- fast-moving water carrying dangerous debris, steadily rising, emergency crews struggled with relentless rain throughout the night as historic flooding has devastated the area around Boulder, Colorado.

Rescuers spent Thursday evacuating the worst-hit neighborhoods, getting people and pets to safety. In the small town of Lyons, officials describe the scene as a 500-year flood. Many residents were urged to stay in their homes. Dramatic scenes played out across the region, like this one in Aurora, a partially submerged car and a woman stranded on top, this firefighter came to her aid. The entire neighborhood of Erie, evacuated, fire crews saving precious lives.

GOVERNOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: We have declared it was a disaster for the flooded areas, requesting emergency declaration from FEMA.

HOWELL: This washed out road in Jefferson County left residents in Jamestown completely cut off from the world, no roads and spotty communication. The trouble began Wednesday night after an unusually powerful storm dumped more than half a foot of rain in a 19-hour period. You can hear the flood sirens blaring in this video taken by a student at the University of Colorado.

In this video, water raging from Boulder Creek gushed on to campus.

Thursday, two people were rescued from this horrific scene, trucks twisted and dangled over rushing water. And then this heart-pounding rescue, a man trapped in an overturned car for more than an hour. It was with a race against the clock, rescuers finally pulling him to dry land.

LT. ROB WILLIAMS, NORTH METRO FIRE RESCUE: Fortunately, the windows were up and they had a good air pocket in the vehicles. And we were able to go over to it and break the window and get them out.


HOWELL: So, you know, the situation changes minute by minute. Just last night on my iPhone I got that emergency alert that woke me up. My producer heard that siren blaring, warning people to get to higher ground. So, you know, this is definitely a changing of a volatile situation.

And then to recap that breaking news, the town of Lyons just near us here in Boulder, the town of Lyons is expected to be evacuated at daybreak. That is according to the National Guard.

BOLDUAN: All right. George, thank you so much.

You see how fast the water is moving behind you, you see what danger everybody is facing in just a little bit of water to look.

Let's get to meteorologist Indra Petersons and get an update on the track of the system drenching Colorado as well as the rest of your weekend weather.

Good morning, Indra.


I mean, the thing to put this all in perspective is remember this area has an average 15 to 20 inches of rain since just Monday, many places seeing anywhere from 70, even 15 inches of rain in just four days. So, that's obviously the problem, this huge amount of rainfall. Today's forecast we're still looking for rain in Colorado, but we're going to see more rain farther to the south in New Mexico.

The reason for that, a little bit of a shift in the wind that changes everything, instead of it coming out of the South, bringing moisture farther up to the north. We're going to see the low slide across and more westerly winds. So, with that, we're not going to see it enhanced onto the Rockies and, of course, it's not going to make it as far up towards Colorado. Unfortunately, we're talking about more rain in a place that has already flooded.

All the way to the Northeast, look at the rain that cruised through yesterday, severe weather overnight. What does that mean for us now? Well, high pressure is in place and cold air is dropping down from Canada.

These are the highs look at Cleveland. You'll be 17 below normal this weekend. Chicago in the 60s, Charleston in the 60s. Allentown there, you get some 70s and, unfortunately, it looks like it's lingering all weekend long. Some people like football, not one of them, sorry, you'll like the cool weather, I know.

BOLDUA N: That's why you're not allowed to sit at the table.


PETERSONS: I'm going to get a lot of bad tweets right now.

BOLDUAN: That's well-deserved.

PETERSONS: Hey, hey.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.


CUOMO: All right. Another major story we're following this morning is the international debate over Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry just announcing that he'll head to Jerusalem this weekend to talk with Israeli leaders about the crisis.

And today, Kerry is meeting again with Russia's foreign minister in Switzerland. They have been discussing a Russian plan to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control.

CNN's Jim Sciutto is following the story for us. He is live in Geneva with the secretary of state.

Jim, good morning.


I just saw the Russian and American delegates go back into session. They are meeting again. As you mentioned, Secretary Kerry and Lavrov will meet again later in New York this morning as discussions continue.

So, you can see how easily the time line on these talks can grow but also the subject matter, because Kerry and Lavrov will not just talk about chemical weapons in Syria but possibly a broader diplomatic solution to the civil war in Syria.

As you mentioned, a busy schedule for Secretary Kerry. He's going to go from here to Jerusalem. I'll be joining him to discuss with Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. plans for peace in the Middle East. The subject of the Syrian talk is certainly to come up as well.

As for these talks, here's Secretary Kerry told us this morning that they've gotten off to a, quote, "constructive start."


SCIUTTO (voice-over): Day two of crucial talks aimed at a diplomatic solution to the Syria crisis. And the U.S. and Russia still at odds over the time line for the Syrians to comply. But this morning, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that both countries are committed to finding a solution.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think we would both agree that we had a constructive conversation. We are committed to try to work together beginning with this initiative on the chemical weapons in hopes that those efforts could pay off and bring peace and stability to a war-torn part of the world.

SCIUTTO: U.S. officials say the burden is very much on Syria to prove it is committed.

KERRY: This is not a game and I said that to my friend, Sergey, when we talked about it initially. It has to be real.

SCIUTTO: American and Russian experts here are moving immediately to the nuts and bolts of cataloguing, collecting and destroying one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons. First test of Syria's commitment say U.S. officials will be whether it provides a full accounting of its stockpiles, including exact locations.

Syrian President Assad made his own demands in a new interview on Russian TV saying, quote, "Syria will accept the Russian plan if America stops military threats and if other countries supplying the rebels with chemical weapons also abide by the agreement."

However, Secretary Kerry was quick to reiterate the U.S. reserves the right to take military action.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Should diplomacy fail, force might be necessary.

SCIUTTO: The negotiation's most skeptical observers are the Syrian opposition, described by one U.S. official as upset and distrustful of the entire process.

Those doubts were magnified by rebel claims first reported on CNN that Syria has moved some of its weapons to Lebanon and Iraq, claims quickly denied by the Iraqi government. And looming over the discussions, a gaping trust deficit between the U.S. and Russia, a point highlighted in the seemingly lighthearted moment just as the talks began.

KERRY: Can you give me the last part of the translation, please?

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: You want me to take your word for it?


KERRY: So, little early for that.



CUOMO: All right. Jim, let me ask you something. You said constructive talks was how they were described before. Now, in this kind of mystery vocabulary of diplomacy, constructive talks are much better than frank discussions, right, but not as good as productive talks, right?

SCIUTTO: No question. In diplomatic speak, frank would mean they're practically throwing chairs at each other. Productive would mean something better.

In my experience, though, the diplomats aren't following a glossary to exactly describe where they stand. I think, though, it is reflective. These are difficult talks. The U.S. and the Russians still have very real disagreements on whether there should be a threat of military force. They know they have a lot of work to do, and that's one reason why they have to extend these talks later to New York later this month around the U.N. General Assembly.

So, still a lot of work to do.

CUOMO: Always trying to decode what's being told. Jim Sciutto, very good to have you to help us with that. Appreciate the reporting this morning.

Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris.

So, how realistic is a deal when it comes to Syria? Joining us now to discuss the continuing negotiations is Peter Beinart, senior political writer at "The Daily Beast." Peter, it's great to have you in as always. You know, Jim really laid it out really well. Today is wrapping up a second day of meetings between Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov. What do you think people should take away from these meetings, so far?

PETER BEINART, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, THE DAILY BEAST: I think, unfortunately, the chances of success are very low, even if the Russians and Bashar Assad really wanted to give up all of their chemical weapons, there's a civil war going on in Syria.

The Pentagon has estimated it would take 75,000 troops to secure the inspectors who would have to go from rebel to government-held areas to try to get these chemical weapons and there's no real incentive for Bashar Assad to want to get rid of those weapons once the threat of U.S. military force recedes.

BOLDUAN: And the challenges are immense, there's no question about that. I mean, hear from Secretary Kerry, he said very clearly that the threat of U.S. military action, it remains on the table. Well, you also heard the same -- just yesterday, Assad is saying that they'll only agree to the Russian proposal if the military threat is off the table. If you can't get beyond that point, where do you go from there?

BEINART: Right. Once the U.S. military threat goes off the table, the Syrian incentive to cooperate disappears. But the American military threat is only as compelling as Congress' willingness to vote for military action and the whole reason we're here in the first place is because it looked like President Obama was going to lose that vote in Congress.

BOLDUAN: That's an excellent point and the immediate concern is as Jim Sciutto was bringing up is verifying where and how much the chemical weapons stockpiles are. We're seeing reports out yesterday from the rebels, they believe that Assad is moving some of the chemical weapons out of the country. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting this morning that the regime has been moving the chemical weapons around the country, possibly to 50 different sites in previous months.

How confident, really, do you think the Obama administration can be that they're getting a full account of this?

BEINART: Remember what happened in Iraq. Iraq wasn't having a civil war. There were inspectors there for a decade and we still didn't know on the eve of the Iraq war. Of course, famously, we were wrong about what kind of weapons he had. This is extremely difficult to do. And for Bashar Assad, it's entirely rational for him to move these chemical weapons.

They're an evil weapon, but for him, they're a way of keeping himself in power in the middle of a war.

BOLDUAN: And diplomacy is always a delicate dance and watching it happen can, sometimes, feel like watching paint dry to watch diplomacy at work, but what do you think -- what is your expectation from where things move from here, especially we keep talking about they're facing a very short timeline to decide one way or another.

BEINART: The administration is playing a very bad hand here. I think the only thing they could credibly say is that it's not likely that Bashar Assad is going to use those chemical weapons again during this war. But I think if they continue to hold to the line, then they're really going to be able to get all of the chemical weapons out of there. Unfortunately, reality is going to let them down.

BOLDUAN: The reality in the situation seems to be getting worse by the day. Peter, it's great to see you. Thank you so much. Have a great weekend. We'll be talking much more about this next week.

BEINART: Thank you. You, too.

BOLDUAN: There's clearly a lot of news developing at this very hour, so let's get straight to John Berman in for Michaela for the latest. Hey, John.


And making news this morning, the Taliban claiming responsibility for an attack on a U.S. consulate in Herat, Afghanistan. Officials say a truck sped toward the front gate, insurgents then fired on security guards before the truck exploded. No Americans were reported killed, but at least nine people were hurt and the building was damaged.

A day after Americans paused to remember the attacks of September 11th, al Qaeda's leader released a message with new threats against the U.S. Ayman al-Zawahiri called on followers to quoted, "land a large strike even it takes patience" He cited the Boston marathon bombings and encourage forcing the U.S. to spend more money on security to hurt the American economy.

CNN has learned that Jeffrey Zients will succeed Gene Sperling as the president's chief White House economic adviser. Zients is the former acting director of the Office of Management Budget. He also served as the nation's first chief performance officer. The official White House announcement is expected to come later today.

A rare and killer amoeba found in the water supply of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Officials are now flushing the water lines with chlorine to kill this parasite. Last month, the boy who played in the ditch there came into contact with the brain-eating amoeba and died. The parasite enters the body through the nose. Few people survive it. Officials, however, say the water is safe to drink. Interesting.

All right. So, you may have received a freebie if you were buying United Airlines tickets Thursday. The carrier was briefly selling tickets for free on its website. The airline says it accidentally filed fares for zero dollars. This fund lasted about 15 minutes before United got wise and stopped selling the tickets online. The big question, of course, now is will United honor the free tickets? No word yet from the airline. Here's betting, I wouldn't count on it.


BERMAN: I wouldn't count on it. No. Not free air fares.

Finally, on the subject of flying, sometimes, you fly the kite, and sometimes, the kite flies you. This is insane YouTube video from Russia. Believe it or not, a speedboat pulling a guy in a raft, lifting him up over the water. I guess, this is real. It is, in fact, awesome.

CUOMO: It is.

BERMAN: Real cool.

BOLDUAN: That's not even a speedboat. That's a jet ski.

CUOMO: I think he's on like a tube that he's cut some holes in. I don't think it was meant to be a kite.

BERMAN: -- a water toy.

CUOMO: Yes. It's like one of those water toys. I'm using tube in the general sense.


CUOMO: That is what my kids accuse me of doing every time i drag them on the tube. They're trying to hydroplane that over the water. That is awesome.

BOLDUAN: Daddy, you're trying to kill us. Wow.

BERMAN: That is insane video. Only from Russia, folks.

CUOMO: That is awesome.

BOLDUAN: I'll do it.

CUOMO: I'm going to try to duplicate that this weekend.

BERMAN: Don't get (ph) your kids.

BOLDUAN: Call me when you need me to come to the hospital. CUOMO: I'll put you on the tubes behind my boat.

BERMAN: It's a water toy. Not a tube.

BOLDUAN: I'm moving on.

CUOMO: Whatever it is.

BOLDUAN: I'm moving on.

CUOMO: He's always correcting me.

BOLDUAN: Because he's always right.

The duchess of Cambridge out for her first official public appearance since she gave birth to Little Prince George. Duchess Catherine was accompanied by Prince William at a charity event. It comes almost eight weeks since the couple became new parents, and the same day William announced his plans to leave the British military.

Let's head to our royal correspondent, Max Foster, in London with much more. This was -- everyone was waiting for that first picture.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And it was the first night they left Little George at home, Kate. They actually left him with William's former nanny. She's now 71 years old. So, it was a bit of a nervous night for them. It was their really first big night out.


FOSTER (voice-over): It was the duchess's first red carpet appearance since giving birth to Prince George less than eight weeks ago. The world's most famous new mom didn't disappoint in a dazzling sequin dress. She was accompanying her husband for the Tusk Awards for conservation workers in Africa.

PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: As you might have gathered, Catherine and I have recently become proud parents of a baby who has a voice to match any lion's roar.


FOSTER: It's a cause close to his heart as he explained to me for a CNN documentary airing this Sunday.

PRINCE WILLIAM: For me, it's a sense of freedom, being out in the middle of nowhere in Africa, just seeing the beauty of nature and the natural world is just phenomenal. It's fantastic.

FOSTER: There's a lot of change for the new father. William announced he's leaving the military after seven and a half years to focus on his conservation and other charity work. And in the next few weeks, he moves with his family into a grand new apartment, the Kensington Palace. With more focus on royal engagements, we'll be seeing a bit more of the duke and duchess at events like this.


FOSTER (on-camera): There was a sense I think, Kate, that the military isn't a long-term option for William. He needs to be doing more royal work. It doesn't work with being in the military, but we're expecting to hear next year about a new public service job of some kind. No indication what that will be, but certainly, for the next year, in a way it's a year off whilst she gets used to being a parent and living in London again.

BOLDUAN: Well, they look great as always. No question about that. Max, thank you very, very much.

And reminder to all of you this Sunday, be sure to watch Max's special "Prince William's Passion: New Father, New Hope." That's Sunday, September 15th, 10 o'clock eastern.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, who wears short shorts? It was a great ad. This guy. We're going to talk live with the father who wore daisy dukes and wore them well. Why? To stop his daughter from wearing them in public herself. Did his plan work? We'll tell you.

Also, there's no reason why there should be a measles outbreak in this country in the year 2013. We all know that, but there is one. So, why? Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to tell us the disturbing reason when we come back.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. This could be the worst year for measles in nearly two decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 159 cases in this country between January and August. So, what is behind the resurgence? Well, health officials say parents who object to vaccinating their kids.

Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is here with more on this, this morning. So, Sanjay, how concerning is this report, do you think?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, you hear the number 159 and you may say initially that doesn't sound like a lot. But let me give you the context. Back in 2000, we thought we had measles essentially leaked (ph), eradicated, that there wouldn't be a problem with this anymore. So, any number is really kind of concerning.

There's been about 50 to 60 cases a year roughly since 2000, and now, you point, 159 by August. If that trend continues, Kate, this could be the worst measles numbers in about two decades. So, that's quite concerning. And we also know that, you know, we know the consequences of measles.

We know that more people are not getting their kids vaccinated than ever before. And as you say, that's at the heart of this issue. So, numbers high this year could be even higher in years to come.

BOLDUAN: And this isn't just one place and one outbreak. GUPTA: Right.

BOLDUAN: There was a major outbreak last month at a church in Texas, another one in New York, two very different parts of the country. What are the factors on how this -- what are the factors that play in how this spreads?

GUPTA: The biggest thing that links these two different parts of the country together are that you have pockets of people who object to vaccinations, aren't getting them, and we see the consequences of that very quickly when it comes to measles. So, the not getting vaccinated not only for the children, but people in the surrounding community are more at risk as well, extended family, people who live in that particular community, health care workers.

So, all of that is of concern. We don't see it spreading into the general population yet, Kate. I think to your question, but that's the concern is that, right now, it's clustered to pockets, but all of a sudden, if you introduce someone who is not, who is susceptible for whatever reason, they could become a carrier and all of a sudden, you could see a wider spreading of this.

BOLDUAN: And as if people need to be reminded the risks are so high. It is so contagious for why your kids need to be vaccinated. I know it's a source of much debate, but, there is science behind some of this. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, it's great to see you, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You got it, Kate. Good morning. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Of course. And don't forget, of course, to tune in to "Sanjay Gupta M.D." It airs Saturday, 4:30. eastern, Sunday 7:30 eastern, of course, right here on CNN.

CUOMO: And tonight, be sure to catch a re-airing of Sanjay's powerful documentary "Weed" at 10:00 p.m. on CNN.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a marriage that ended days after it had just begun with a fall, or a push, maybe, down a cliff. We've got a live update out of Montana on that case.