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NY Train Derailment; Relaunch; Fire Near Boston's South Station; Truce In Thailand; Cyber Monday Now Mobile Monday

Aired December 3, 2013 - 05:30   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: But investigators have yet to determine if human error or mechanical failure is to blame for this. CNN's Jason Carroll spoke with a member of the NTSB team.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That curve, it was going 60 miles per hour and then accelerated to 82 when he should have actually been slowing down, that train was speeding up?

EARL WEENER, NTSB: That's correct.

CARROLL: And so, what does that tell you? Anything at all?

WEENER: At this point in time, I can't really say.


SAMBOLIN: Right. They're not sure exactly that caused the train to speed up. Was it the operator or was it a malfunction? Crews have now removed the train cars from the track as this investigation intensifies. Authorities question the locomotive engineer, William Rockefeller, Jr., who was among those injured. They're in possession of his phone and they are waiting on drug and alcohol tests as well.

Four passengers died in this accident. More than 60 others were injured. Let's not forget the victims. They are 54-year-old Donna Smith, 59-year-old James Ferrari, 35-year-old Ahn Kisook, and 58-year- old Jim Lovell. CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke exclusively with the Lovell family.


FINN LOVELL, JIM LOVELL'S SON: My dad was not a victim. I don't want him to be known as a victim. Jim Lovell was so much more than just a victim. He was a loving father, a great dad, best friend, uncle, great co-worker. Just always had a smile on his face, never had anything bad to say about anyone. One of the best people you could ever meet and I just want to say I am so proud and blessed that I was able to call him my father.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: What a tribute. SAMBOLIN: I apologize for calling him a victim. Crews are back at work at the accident site in the Bronx this morning. We will be there live as well at the top of the hour for "New Day."

BERMAN: Other news this morning, in just a few hours, President Obama will launch a new campaign to try to refocus the public on the benefits of Obamacare and ease concerns among Democrats.


BERMAN (voice-over): The White House will emphasize one benefit each day until December 23rd. That's the deadline to sign up for coverage for January.

This is all happening as the website saw its first major test after Sunday's re-launch. The site got close to 800,000 daily users. That is supposed to be able to handle. People in some states got a page to put them in line to get help. That's a new function to the sign. Even with the signs of protesters, there is still plenty of doubts about whether the site can enroll millions of people as planned by the end of March.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Vice President Joe Biden's important to Asia taking on a new importance and amid rising tension between Japan and China. Biden is in japan this morning meeting with the country's prime minister. At issue, an island chain in the East China Sea that is controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.

China wants all aircraft flying over the islands to identify themselves to Beijing. The state department says U.S. military and government planes won't recognize China's claim of an air defense zone. Biden will also visit China and South Korea on his week-long trip.

BERMAN: A top Republican senator who's a frequent critique of the Obama administration takes aim again, accusing the White House of lies and cover-ups during a Google hangout session yesterday. Texas senator, John Cornyn, said he believes the terror attack that killed four americans in Benghazi was a cover-up from the beginning.

He now says the lack of accountability is resurfacing as the White House tries to explain problems with Obamacare.


VOICE OF JOHN CORNYN, (R) TEXAS: I think the current administration has taken lying to a new level.


BERMAN: Cornyn is running for re-election next year. He has said he wants to scrap Obamacare and replace it with a different kind of overhaul.

SAMBOLIN: A top U.N. official says there is massive evidence linking the Syrian regime, including President Bashar al-Assad to war crimes and crimes against humanity during the country's nearly three-year-old civil conflict. The U.N.'s human rights chief says the evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of Syria's government including the head of the state. The report also linked Syrian rebels to the commission of war crimes.

BERMAN: An American in prison in Cuba is now appealing directly to President Obama. Wrote a letter, Allan Gross (ph) did, a former government contractor. It's expected to be delivered today. In it, Gross says the president should intervene personally in his case. This is part of a new strategy by Gross' family to put direct pressure on the White House. "The Washington Post" obtained a copy of this letter.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): It is 34 minutes past the hour. Let's get a check of the weather. Are we talking snow again?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We are, but not yet. See, I'm going to start on the positive side this time, right?


PETERSONS: Nice smile.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Indra. Thank you.

PETERSONS: A little bit of drizzle in the southeast, but let's talk about temperatures, because this is what we like. Look at these temperatures. They're amazing. In Atlanta, 72 degrees. Looks like as we get through Thursday when the average is 58. Even here in new York City, we're talking about temperatures above normal.

SAMBOLIN: Nice! Thank you!

PETERSONS: Enjoy it because it's all changing.


PETERSONS: Of course. Look at the snow totals we've already seen from the system out west. You can actually see pretty good amounts. This system today continue to push to the east and diving farther down to the south. So, seeing some snow even through Colorado today. Let's talk about kind of what we're expecting out of this. I mean, heavy amounts of snow, one to two feet of snow, especially pushing in through Colorado today and even as far east as Minnesota.

So, the system not only will be bringing snow but a lot of cold air is expected to dive down with it. And notice, as the system makes its way east by the end of the week, we're going to be talking about more rain in the southeast. Yes, some snow kind of from New York back through Texas, but it's always this middle zone right in between where you have that transition where you get some freezing rain.

But once again, it will be causing a lot of problems toward the end of the week from Illinois kind of stretching back again in through Dallas. We had so much problems -- so many problems with freezing rain even just last week. But again, here's the temperatures across the country at least for now. Still very mild and look at how warm again it is into the southeast today. Mild on the east coast. We're like, you know, a couple of days.

SAMBOLIN: It's actually wonderful. Thank you, Indra.

BERMAN (on-camera): The evil (ph) meteorologist, Indra Petersons.


BERMAN: Thank you so much for that.

Next, violent protests have been taking place all over Thailand, but this morning, a temporary truce. We are live with the very latest from Bangkok.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, what killed Paul Walker? New information to the star's deadly crash coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Thirty-nine minutes past the hour. After days of violence and unrest in Thailand, opposition protesters suddenly find no opposition from the Thai government. Both sides in this conflict have called a truce and it is expected to last several days. CNN's Paula Hancocks is live in Bangkok with all of the details. What can you tell us?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, that's right. There is a truce for at least the next couple of days at least, and this is because both sides decided to step down from these protests and from the violence because of the king's birthday on Thursday. Now, the king here in Thailand is much revered, very much loved by all Thai people and neither side wanted to be seen to be making a political hate during that time.

So, this isn't a political solution. This is just a temporary truce until the king's birthday has passed. Now, as you say, we have seen on Sunday and Monday some violence very localized violence, but still, violence on the streets of Bangkok. Protesters were trying to get into government tanks, which is the feat of political power here in Thailand.

We saw some of the protesters with sling shots, with rocks and throwing water bottles and, in return, tear gas and water cannons and also rubber bullets were used. A fvery different scene this Tuesday with more of a festival atmosphere. And interestingly, at the same spots, whether it's vicious clashes were going on, we saw the protesters and the fleet coming together once the barricades were lifted and hugging and shaking hands and taking photos with each other, showing that there was no animosity between them.

So, certainly, it is a very different atmosphere on the streets of Bangkok than it was over the past couple of days. Back to you.

SAMBOLIN: How bizarre that change like that. You wish it would last. All right. Paula Hancocks live for us. Thank you.

A Connecticut state attorney says he will not appeal the release of 911 calls from the Sandy Hook School massacre.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): The seven calls replaced inside the school were 20 first graders and six staffers were shot to death last December. A judge ruled to allow their release last week but acknowledged the anguish it could cause the victims' families. The tapes are expected to go public Wednesday.

BERMAN (voice-over): The man accused of killing a TSA officer and wounding two others at Los Angeles Airport is due in court Wednesday. Twenty-three-year-old Paul Ciancia (ph) was wounded in the November attack, shot by airport police. He's not expected to enter a plea at this time. Prosecutors have left open the possibility of seeing the dead penalty.

SAMBOLIN: Charges against the so-called Facebook killer have been upgraded to first-degree murder. Police in Miami say 31-year-old Derrick Medina (ph) shot his wife and then posted a picture of her dead body on Facebook. Detectives say he claimed self-defense when he shot 26-year-old Jennifer Alonzo (ph) in August.

But police say forensic evidence indicates Alonzo was on her knees with one arm raised in front of her at the time of the shooting.

BERMAN: A man suspected of having tuberculosis caused quite a scare for passengers on board a U.S. air flight. The man was removed from the flight, wearing a medical mask shortly after the plane landed in Phoenix on Saturday.

He had been cleared to fly by TSA agents in Austin, but midway through the flight, the Centers for Disease Control notified the TSA that the passenger had do not board status.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The flight attendant came down from the front of the aircraft. She was carrying a mask. She approached a slender man at a window seat about halfway down. Everybody was aware of this, watching this. She told the man to put the mask on.

REBECCA SUNENSHINE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, MARICOPA COUNTY DEPT. OF HEALTH: I did interview the individual directly. He is very cooperative and wants to know just as much as anyone else whether he has active tuberculosis.


BERMAN: Arizona public health officials are not recommending passengers on the plane seek medical care because they say their risk exposure is actually very, very low.

SAMBOLIN: And we are following breaking news from Boston. These are really dramatic pictures. Fire crews battling an eight alarm fire overnight in a building. This is near south station. So, free to chime in, John. I know you know this areal really well. Officials say the fire blew out windows on the first three floors of that building. Where exactly is that located?

BERMAN: It's right near the convention center in Boston. It's 327 Summer Street there. As you said, not too, too far from south station. An eight-alarm fire. I've seen reports, it's a five story building that was under renovation.

SAMBOLIN: And, are there a lot of residences near that area --

BERMAN: It's primarily a business area. It's primarily a business area and not sure --

SAMBOLIN: Let's hope there are no injuries. We're going to continue to follow this developing story for you and bring you the details as they're available.

Other news now. A tourist in Hawaii has been killed in a shark attack in the waters off Maui. Fifty-seven-year-old Patrick Briany of Washington State was fishing off of his kayak. His feet were dangling over the side when he was bitten. A friend who was fishing with him wrapped a tourniquet around his leg and sought help from a nearby charter boat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We noticed in the distance there was a body lying flat out in the kayak. We all helped get the entire kayak with the body into the boat. He passed away some time before.


BERMAN: It really does seem like there's been an alarming number of shark attacks in Hawaii this year. Thirteen in all, eight along in Maui. A German tourist died in August after being bitten.

SAMBOLIN: A Florida woman is hospitalized this morning with serious facial injuries after a vicious bear attack. The victim was walking her dog near her home in Longwood. That is just north of Orlando. This all happened just last night. She managed to break free, run to a neighbor's house for help. Her dog was not hurt. Wildlife officers have not yet found the bear, but the attack happened near a conservation area known for frequent bear sightings.

All right. So, let's take a look at what's coming up on "New Day." Chris Cuomo, kate Bolduan, good morning to you.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right. We have new information about the train derailment and it's all about speed. How fast it was going on the street parts? How fast it was going on the curve, when the braking the curve, when the throttle was released. A lot of new information to wade through leading us to the same questions, however, why did this happen? What was the cause of the speed? Two main possibilities. Brakes or operator error? We have a former investigator here to take us through it.

BOLDUAN: We're also going to be following up on the investigation to what happened to Paul Walker. There's new video out that captured the fatal wreck as it was happening. Plus, we're learning more about the investigation into his death and we're going to talk with a drag racing expert. He's going to be talking to us about what could have gone wrong.

We're talking about the car, the whole situation. There's a lot to talk about there because people are still shocked of his untimely death.

SAMBOLIN: Got to be really terrible for the family to have to watch that video. Thank you, so much guys. We'll check in with you soon.

Time now for the "Morning Rhyme," our tweets of the day. Go for it.

BERMAN: This one is from our friend, Julie Benoit (ph). She writes, "An advent calendar for Obamacare, each day he'll show you what is there."


BERMAN: This is actually really appropriate, because in a few hours, the president will start this new push to get people to sign up for Obamacare, and every day, until December 23rd, the White House is going to promote a new benefit.

SAMBOLIN: Julie, nicely done.

BERMAN: So, it is like an advent calendar.

SAMBOLIN: I love that.

BERMAN: Beat that.


BERMAN: Tweet us with your own morning rhyme. The hash tags are morning rhyme and EARLY START.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Coming up, could tax-free online shopping be coming to an end? Say it isn't so. "Money Time" is coming up next.



BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is "Money Times."

SAMBOLIN: And he's telling us to shut up. (CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: -- because we want to know, are these legitimate deals? Yes.

ROMANS: It looks like there are a lot of good deals in tech and there might have been a lot of good deals in clothing, but I think you're going to get some really good clothing deals later on the season, too. So, you can hold the phone on that one. you know, we're talking about Cyber Monday, but we're going to change -- I'm officially changing the name to Mobile Monday. There.

BERMAN: Wow! It happened just now! Mark your calendars.

ROMANS: Thirty-percent of the online purchases were made on mobile devices and that's a really big, big percentage. Early estimates suggest that online shopping was up 19 percent from a year ago. The grand total spent $2 billion. It's a record. Wal-Mart, more than half of its traffic came from smartphones and tablets both on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Wal-Mart says they think the same thing happen when they crunch their numbers for Mobile Monday, we're calling it. Here's what people bought, toys, video game consuls like Xbox 1 and PlayStation, Kindle Fires, and I said clothing. But watch those deals on clothing. There's going to be some cheaper deals on clothing and toys later in the season.

BERMAN: God bless you.

ROMANS: She's allergic to the Mobile Monday. OK. I'll go back to -- but you know, Cyber Monday -- it was called Cyber Monday because people would shop on the weekend and then they go to work and do their online shopping because they had fast internet. Well, that was like so, gosh, five years ago. Right now, people are just shopping online on Monday. It was also the biggest on the biggest online shopping day ever.

Interesting, the Supreme Court -- or she's allergic to the Supreme Court -- declining to hear a case regarding something that affects all online shoppers. Sales taxes and why you should be paying it. States lose about $23 billion a year in uncollected sales tax from web retailers. The Supreme Court yesterday decided not to get involved in appeals from and

The court let stand the ruling from a New York court requiring internet retailers to collect sales taxes even if they have no physical presence in the state. Do you follow me? The issue effectively ends tax-free online shopping for lots of people. Brick and mortar companies complain that they're putting a competitive disadvantage when they are required to collect sales taxes and then online companies are not.

And the online companies are furious because it's different state-to- state and it's just been a real mess there, but the Supreme Court is not going to weigh in on this. I want to give you a quick peek at the markets. Dow and the major market, they all fell after the Black Friday results showed that consumers spent less than last year. Gold tumbles. Gold stocks mostly fell as well. Concerns about the fed withdrawing stimulus using a big pull-back in gold this year. The ten-year treasury, that's a key interest rate indicator, it climbed again. Look at that.

It means higher mortgage rates likely. Higher rates for car loans and the like. Krispy Kreme had a very bad day. Krispy Kreme, that makes me hungry just looking at it, fell 11 percent in after-hours trading. The company disappointed people. It hinted that it would be selling fewer doughnuts next year. Apparently, the doughnut business is a little down in the mouth.


ROMANS: I did that for you, Berman.

BERMAN: That was great.


BERMAN: I'm groaning but it's groaning with appreciation.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

ROMANS: -- some doughnuts now. It's 5:53 in the east. Let's go get some doughnuts.


BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up for us next, new evidence released in that deadly crash that killed Paul Walker as the star's family speaks out.


BERMAN: Paul Walker's father is talking about the death, the tragic death of his son. Paul Walker III says he went numb when his brother told him the tragic news on Saturday.


PAUL WALKER III, ACTOR'S FATHER: Paul has been killed. One of those times you literally like freeze. I made it a point every time I saw him and my children, to hug them and kiss them and tell them, every other sentence, if I could, you know, "I love you." You know, as a father, that's a fear you always have that one of your children will go before you.


SAMBOLIN: A surveillance camera near that crash site in Santa Clarita, California, captured the moment of impact. You see the smoke start to billow from the high-powered Porsche after it crashed into a light pole and burst into a flame.

BERMAN: Fans have been leaving tributes and memorials at the scene. Last night, Walker's "Fast & Furious" co-star, Vin Diesel, stopped by. He used police cruiser's loudspeaker to thank the crowd.

SAMBOLIN: So, right now, police believe speed was a factor in this crash, but they don't think Walker or his racing team partner, Roger Rodas (ph), were drag racing. Rodas was behind the wheel. Autopsies are set for today.

BERMAN: And Jeff Brooke (ph) from "Drag Racing Online" magazine will be on "New Day" this morning to talk more about what might have caused this crash because there are still so many questions.

SAMBOLIN: That is it for EARLY START. "New Day" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The train was traveling at approximately 82 miles per hour as it went into a 30-mile-an-hour curve.

CUOMO: New details this morning. The train that derailed in New York was traveling way too fast. But why? Brake failure or operator error?

BOLDUAN: Happening now. Vice President Biden in Asia at this hour landing right in the middle of an air space standoff between the U.S. and China. Can he stop the escalation?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Breaking overnight. A surfer off the coast of Hawaii attacked and killed by a shark. Attacks there on the rise sharply three times the usual. What's behind the rise?

CUOMO: Your "New Day" begins right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: All right, everybody. Good morning. It is just Tuesday. Everybody's getting mixed up on the days, not me, though, not me.

BOLDUAN: Oh, I am, that's for sure.

CUOMO: We want to show you pictures live of the scene of that train derailment in the Bronx, New York. They're still working there. A lot of it is about the federal investigation. Now, the trains have been put back on the track. The track is being restored. But, new questions all about speed. Nearly triple the speed limit, that train was going, as it came around the curve where it, of course, went off the track.

So, let's bring in CNN's Rene Marsh joining us this morning from Washington. She has the very latest. What do we know, Rene? RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, we now know how fast this train was going, but we still don't know why. And this morning, investigators have more questions for a man who may have the answers.


MARSH (voice-over): NTSB investigators continue searching for clues this morning and questioning train engineer, William Rockefeller (ph), for a second day in hopes of learning why this Metro North Train was going so fast.

WEENER: From the event recorders shows that the train was traveling at approximately 82 miles per hour as it went into a 30 mile-an-hour curve.

MARSH: That's nearly three times the speed limit for this curving stretch of track. The train's speed is even higher than the maximum speed of 70 miles per hour in the straightaway north of the crash site. Deepening the mystery, the NTSB says the train inexplicably when from 60 to 82 miles per hour in two minutes before hitting the curve and jumping the track.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: For a train to be going 82 miles an hour around that curve is just a frightening thought.

MARSH: Mechanical problem or human error? It's still too early to tell. Investigators say the train made nine stops before jumping the tracks and there were no reports of brake problems.