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Philippines Ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan; Searching for Loved Ones; Christie Sidesteps 2016 Talk; Navy Bribery Probe Widens; Locker Room Revelations

Aired November 11, 2013 - 05:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: At least 10,000 people are feared dead. There is no food, no water, no electricity. This morning, the people of the Philippines are facing unimaginable destruction after Typhoon Haiyan, but help is now on the way.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Top intelligence officials punished in a Navy scandal involving bribes, trips, prostitutes. How far up does this misconduct go?

SAMBOLIN: And startling revelations. The embattled Miami Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito, the shocking behavior he says is accepted in the locker room and why it's more brotherhood than bullying. He says it's a culture.

ROMANS: Interesting.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. Really glad you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's Monday, November 11th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East. Berman has the day off.

Happy Veterans Day, everybody.

SAMBOLIN: It's nice to have you with us, Christine.

ROMANS: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, we begin with the unimaginable horror that is unfolding this morning in the Philippines. More than 10,000 people now feared death in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Drinking water and food cut off to millions of people. There are bodies littering the streets and actually hanging from trees as well as. Entire villages are gone.

Haiyan has been downgraded to a tropical storm but it is still a killer, slamming into northeast Vietnam overnight and we're already getting reports of deaths and widespread destruction there as well.

It's such a tragedy. We're going to begin our coverage with Andrew Stevens. He is live in the Philippines. He is in the devastated town of Tacloban.

Can you tell us what's happening now?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right now, it's evening right now. I'm at the airport which is shattered by this huge tropical storm surge which came through here early on Friday morning, around about 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning. This is just a shell here, but it's turning into a crucial point for recoveries and for getting relief supplies out to people.

At the moment, we are seeing relief planes coming in on a fairly regular basis and people walking out from the center of the city. It's about 10 miles or so to the center of the city. People are now taking it upon themselves to get out of the neighborhoods and get here and they are being given food and supplies, whatever they can.

But you have to remember, this is just a trickle of people coming out. This is a city of 200,000 people. We're getting supplies coming into the airport and they still have to get into town. They have opened the road into town. In fact, we came out to the airport on that road today. But it was absolutely jam-packed with vehicles. Not one of them that we saw, and we were probably on that road three or four hours, was actually a relief truck.

So, there's an enormous gap at the moment between the needs and the supplies. What people wanting and what they are getting here, there has been -- there has been boots on the ground, if you like. So, law and order is starting to be reestablished. The last couple of days, we have seen widespread looting. But looting that becomes a very sort of provocative word here, when you're looking for food and water just to survive and you break into a shop to get it when there's nobody else to help you, is that looting?

But, certainly, so much needed here, Zoraida. It's going to take an awful lot of aid. The Americans, as you said, the U.S. has come in. We saw a C-130 out here today.

It really gets moving tomorrow. The helicopters are expected to arrive. That's what they need. They need lift, they need to get into town with big scales of supplies before they really start to get to grips what is a devastating event here and enormous crisis for on the humanitarian side.

SAMBOLIN: Andrew, I have a couple of questions for you. There are a lot of people looking for their loved ones. They haven't heard from them.

Is there anything that they're doing in order to help that process along? I know that there roads are just impassible right now. But what are they doing to identify the people that are missing?

STEVENS: Well, it's actually very primitive. They have set up one of the city hall for what passes for city hall. They basically set up a board where you can register your name and hope your relatives will come and do the same and look for the list of names.

The problem is there is no communications here. We have a satellite phone and we've been obviously using it constantly, and a number of people who come up to us and said, please try to use the phone. A lot of people with relatives overseas, outside the Philippines, wanting to use the phone, just to tell their family that they are alive.

But imagine living here, you've as, I met so many people, have lost members of their family or don't know where they are, they have no means of communication. There is no real plan to link these people up.

And again, until communications are restored which will take another few days, we are told, it's going to be very, very difficult to link these people together.

SAMBOLIN: Before I know you were in the middle of the storm. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

STEVENS: Well, as you can imagine, it's a frightening experience. We had moved from our hotel, which is right on the sea shore which we heard later was devastated by there storm surge. We were in a hotel. We were sheltering on the fourth floor of this very, very strong hotel.

We obviously, no one really, I suspect, experienced a storm of this magnitude getting what we're hearing about wind speed 150 miles an hour. Near the eye, we're talking 195 miles an hour. It's just hard to believe that sort of wind speed. That would actually make it a category 6 if there were such a category, that's what I was being told.

We were there. It's wild haze, it's noise, smashing windows, huge objects being thrown, around you, and then there's a storm surge. The black money water they say swirling around coming up. We didn't know how far it was going to come up. It just kept coming and coming and people trapped in their hotel rooms on the ground floor and we managed to help get a couple of people out.

Thankfully, it stopped around (INAUDIBLE), receded fairly quickly, and the wind started to die and we were OK. But it is truly a frightening experience and truly extraordinary to see that nature can actually have that sort of force, that sort of fury. It's just amazing.

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely horrifying. We're going to continue to check in with you. Thank you so much, Andrew Stevens, live for us in the Philippines.

ROMANS: The desperation in the Philippines is being felt across the Pacific, 7,000 miles away in California. The state is home to more than 3 million Filipino people, and one family in Los Angeles is still waiting to find out if a loved one somehow survived.

Here's our Stephanie Elam.



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since Typhoon Haiyan hit, Nino Arena and her sister Marie had been scouring social media, looking for any sign that their half sister Dailene Arena (ph) is alive.

ARENA: It's daylight over there, at least we get more progress. We get more news.

ELAM: The family believes the 20-year-old Dailene rode out the storm with her job with APAC Customer Service, just south of hard hit Tacloban City, in Palo, instead of heading back to her home in Jaro.

ARENA: She commutes every day, but for this particular day, she decided to stay there, because of the bad weather. The last text message we got from her is just her asking if her mom is OK.

ELAM: For Nino, the pictures of the aftermath of the typhoon hit home.

ARENA: I studied in that city, Tacloban, and looking at the images and looking at the people there, I could see myself in that place, I could see my half-sister in that place. It's very personal.

ELAM: Perhaps the strongest cyclone in recorded history, Typhoon Haiyan slammed the Philippines with a force three and a half times stronger than Hurricane Katrina in 2005. That unnerves Nino who is constantly swapping messages with Dailene's brother. He's safe in Manila.

ARENA: Construction is strong, but it has only a ground floor and he's really close to the water.

ELAM: Despite the devastatingly high number of people that may have died, Nino remains optimistic.

(on camera): How is the hope level within your family?

ARENA: It's high. You believe in Divine Intervention and we believe that she made it.

ELAM (voice-over): Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.


SAMBOLIN: And tonight, we sure to watch "AC360." Anderson Cooper will be live from the Philippines. That is starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

And if you would like to help the victims of the typhoon, go to

ROMANS: All right. Some other news we're following this morning:

Nuclear talks with Iran scheduled to resume in 10 days after weekend negotiations in Geneva failed to reach an agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry promising to keep current economic sanctions against the Iranians in place while pursuing a deal to dismantle their nuclear weapons program. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is blasting the talks and calling them dangerous. He's sending a top security official to Washington to meet with congressional leaders this week.

SAMBOLIN: And expectations are low as we wait for the first official enrollment numbers for Obamacare this week. Officials have indicated they expect very low numbers after a rocky rollout of the Web site last month. That's putting pressure on the White House to delay the March 31st registration deadline. But so far, the administration has resisted those calls.

ROMANS: Meantime, New Jersey's newly reelected Governor Chris Christie says President Obama should apologize because he didn't tell people the truth about keeping their own insurance coverage under Obamacare. But when asked about his own presidential ambitions, Christie is keeping coy.

Here is how he responded when he was asked if he expected to serve out all four years of his term as governor.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I'm the governor of New Jersey. That's my job and that's what I asked for, for four more years. And that's what I intend to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All four years?

CHRISTIE: Listen, who knows? I don't know. I'm going to continue to do my job and finish the job, when everybody is trying to figure out what life is going to bring you a few years from now, I didn't expect to sit here four years ago, George. So nobody can make those predictions.


ROMANS: All right. Christie is refusing to give his position on immigration reform or nuclear talks with Iran. But he is not pulling punches on Obamacare, calling the president -- calling on the president to deal with the debacle, quote, "head on."

SAMBOLIN: Still, millions of Americans pausing today to give thanks to veterans for their service to our country. President Obama will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. That's scheduled for this morning. He will be joined by the first lady, along with the vice president and Dr. Jill Biden.

ROMANS: And video of a homeless veteran remarkable transportation --

SAMBOLIN: Incredible. Come to the TV.

ROMANS: It's going viral. I want you to watch this.

U.S. Army veteran Jim Wolf battled alcoholism, homelessness and poverty for decades.

Watch as he takes in the change of his own appearance. The video has over 9 million views and produced in part by a nonprofit that helps homeless veterans.

I want you to watch this. Wow. He's now attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the first time.

SAMBOLIN: It has to be my favorite video of the day. Look at that hug.

ROMANS: Congratulations and good luck to him.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, indeed.

So, let's get a check of the workweek forecast.

Guess who is back? Indra Petersons is back from vacation.

We are so happy to have you back, Indra.

ROMANS: Good morning, Indra.


Ready for a big change and some cold air. First, you're going to notice a lot of winds. And take a look today, as a cold front is expected to pass through the region. We're going to be talking about strong winds really gusting from Minnesota all the way through New England overnight tonight. We are talking about 20 to 40-mile-per- hour winds and that always happens when we are looking for change and we know what is. The jet stream really dipping down and bringing a lot of cold air with it.

Let's take a look at the front as it makes its way across the country and we are seeing snow flurries and see more of that especially if you're around the lakes. Here is the frontal system through the Ohio valley and overnight tonight in through the Northeast. So, with that, we're talking about some heavier amounts of snow across the lakes and even some rain today in through the Ohio Valleys.

Remember, it's a cold system. So, for the most part, it's usually moisture starved unless it's off of the lakes and getting moisture there. So, pretty much right there, about 3 to 5 inches right off Lake Erie and maybe 1 to 3 inches around the other lakes. Pretty much everyone else not really seeing much other than a dusting.

The big story is the cold air behind this front that is going to bring in the chill. Look at these temperatures. Chicago, you're expecting to be 16 degrees below normal tomorrow. D.C., your high will only be 43 degrees on Tuesday. And this drops even more. New York City, your high on Wednesday is only expected to be 41 degrees.

So I'm back and this is what I have for.

ROMANS: At least she has a smile.

PETERSONS: Right? Got to give something.

ROMANS: A Monday morning smile. You're going to be cold! SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Indra.

PETERSONS: You're welcome.

ROMANS: Coming up, two add millers stripped to their access to classified information placed on leave and the latest on a bribery scandal that's rocking the U.S. Navy.

SAMBOLIN: And did you hear about this? An apology from CBS. How the network says it was misled in a recent "60 Minutes" report about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Plus, my dear folks, it is time for your morning. Tweet us with your own original verse. It can be about anything you so desire, #earlystart, #morningrhyme so that we can see. We'll read the best ones on our air. That's in our next half hour.


ROMANS: Good Monday morning to you.

Welcome back to EARLY START this morning.

Two U.S. Navy admirals had been placed on leave in a widening bribery scandal. The men were stripped of their access to classified material following allegations that officers sold secret information to a Malaysian defense contractor known as Fat Leonard.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gifts and bribes, from Lady Gaga concert tickets -- to prostitutes, just the tip of a scandal reaching the Navy's top ranks. With two admirals in charge of naval intelligence now potentially implicated.

In an extraordinary move, Vice Admiral Ted Branch and Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless have had their access to classified materials suspended and not been charged, but allegations have been made CNN is told did their personal conduct.

All part of an investigation into alleged inappropriate contacts with this man called "Fat Leonard." His real name? Leonard Francis, a Malaysian businessman who runs a company that provides services such as fuel and tug boat services to Navy ships.

Three Navy officials already arrested are accused of accepting large sums of cash, hookers and all-expense paid trips in exchange for steering Navy ships to ports where Fat Leonard's company operated.

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, NAVY CHIEF OF INFORMATION: It's a worrisome case and deeply concerned about this. We have indications that several naval officers and even some civilian employees have been taking bribes and inappropriate gifts.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. attorney is implicating new a bribery scheme.

STARR: CNN's Kyung Lah caught up with one of the officers charged, Commander Michael Misiewicz outside of court.

MICHAEL MISIEWICZ, NAVY COMMANDER: I'm sorry. I can't comment.

STARR: Court documents say another Navy commander, Jose Luis Sanchez, allegedly asked Francis, Fat Leonard, for pictures of prostitutes for motivation. And a few days later, Sanchez sent a Facebook message to Francis, saying, "Yummy. Daddy like."

CAPTAIN KEVIN EYER, U.S. NAVY (RET): He is very charming and very social. Whereas I might be at this party and I'll have a Budweiser. You know? Leonard is drinking Dom Perignon.

STARR: All of the defendants charged have pled not guilty.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Barbara.

Four people are dead after a single engine plane crashed in the waters off Grand Bahama Island. This was on Sunday. Emergency response teams found debris from the plane floating into the Atlantic. It is believed to have been a sightseeing tour. The identities of the victims have not been released but they are thought to be Americans. Officials say the plane departed from Florida.

ROMANS: An arrest this morning for a shooting at a popular New York ice skating rink over the weekend. Police say it was all over a jacket. A 16-year-old from the Bronx is charged with wounding two people on the ice at Bryant Park in Manhattan after demanding one of them hand over his coat. Both victims are expected to survive but one of them, a 14-year-old, caught in the gunfire may be paralyzed.

SAMBOLIN: It's a big relief this morning after 2,000-pound satellite predicted to crash into Earth burned upon re-entry. Much of the satellite had already disintegrated into high atmosphere. The European space agency says there had been no reports of any damage. The 16-foot satellite was launched in 2009 to map variations of he earth's gravity in 3D.

ROMANS: There is a lot of stuff in orbit up there. You can bet --


SAMBOLIN: -- come crushing through, right?

ROMANS: Coming up, new developments this morning in the NFL bullying scandal. Suspended Miami Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito claiming he got a threatening text too.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

For the first time since being suspended from the Miami Dolphins, Richie Incognito is finally speaking out, and he says he is not to be blamed for Jonathan Martin leaving the team.

Andy Scholes joins us with more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

What did he have to say?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, good morning, guys.

Well, Incognito had plenty to say during FOX's NFL pregame show. He described his relationship with Jonathan Martin, saying it was far from bullying, and he talked about how Martin sent him text messages like the one he is being criticized for. >


RICHIE INCOGNITO, NFL PLAYER: The week before this went down, Jonathan Martin text me on my phone. I will murder your whole f'ing family.

Now, do I think Jonathan murder was going to murder my family? Not one bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He left that text for you?

INCOGNITO: He texted me that. I couldn't tell he was going to kill my family. I knew it was coming from a brother. I knew it was coming from a friend. I knew it was coming from a teammate. That just puts in context how we communicate with one another.


SCHOLES: Incognito went on to say that martin texted him the Friday after he left the team and one of the text read, "I don't blame you guys. I blame some of the stuff in the locker room. I blame the culture. I blame what was going on around me."

Now, we are still yet to hear directly from Jonathan Martin about any of this. The Dolphins play the Bucks tonight on Monday night football.

Last night, the Saints and Cowboys squared off on Sunday night football. Rob Ryan facing his former defense coordinator for the Saints faced his former team since being fired. He got his revenge. Saints set an NFL record with 40 first downs in the game and set a franchise record with 625 yards of offense. New Orleans absolutely dominated Dallas, 49-17.

After the game, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, maybe we made a mistake firing Ryan. I'm guessing losing by more than 30 points will have you second-guessing some of those decisions.

ROMANS: I guess so.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you so much, Andy.

You know, I just wanted to add that Incognito also did say it was inappropriate for him to use those racial slurs. It was part of that interview as well.

ROMANS: For some people, there is a very clear line right there.

All right. Coming up, the marines, now on the ground in the Philippines. Search and rescue efforts under way in the aftermath of this monster typhoon. Officials confirming the death toll now could top 10,000.


ROMANS: Total destruction. Thousands feared dead this morning in the Philippines as search and rescue efforts begin in the aftermath of the Typhoon Haiyan and the deadly storm still on the move.

SAMBOLIN: On air in addition. "60 Minutes" apologizes for a botched report on the Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead. Why they claim they were misled.

ROMANS: And the country's tallest building may lose its bragging rights. Why the New World Trade Center, a monument to the victims of 9/11 could be disqualified from holding the record. We'll get to that.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Thirty minutes past the hour here.

It is worse than hell -- those are the words of a survivor surveying the horror and destruction in the Philippines. International officials with the Red Cross fearing more than 10,000 people were killed by Typhoon Haiyan. Millions without power and they have no food or water.

Haiyan a tropical storm now is still causing death and destruction. In Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of people have evacuated and half a dozen deaths have already been reported there.