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North Korea Leadership Shake Up; Florida Bear Attack; Jacoby Ellsbury Signs With Yankees; Pentagon's Most Powerful Woman

Aired December 4, 2013 - 06:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. military stopped ground shipments out of Afghanistan all in an effort to ensure the safety of drivers and contractors following protests in Pakistan over U.S. drone strikes. This affects the outgoing shipment of equipment as the military winds down its combat mission in Afghanistan. The affected route accounts for the vast majority of ground traffic of U.S. military cargo through Pakistan.

New details shedding light on why U.S. military vet Merrill Newman was detained in North Korea. State media there releasing an e-mail apparently written by Newman six months ago.

In the e-mail, he reaches out to surviving members of a once top secret guerrilla group Newman trained during the Korean War. Newman was pulled off a plane at the end of a 10-day visit. He has been held now for more than a month.

A fourth student at UC-Santa Barbara has come down with meningitis. Students there began getting sick about three weeks ago. In fact, one has had to have both legs amputated. Health officials are expected to give hundreds of students a powerful antibiotic. The strain of meningitis is similar to the one that sickened eight students at Princeton University. Federal officials are allowing the school to vaccinate students next week with a drug that is not yet approved in the United States.

Kind of cool news here. Singer Billy Joel will be a regular staple at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Kind of an unusual arrangement, but Joel struck a deal as the gar garden's first entertainment franchise. He'll have his own logo. Joel is set to play a show a month at MSG for as long as fans want to hear him play. The run begins with four already sold-out shows starting in January of next year.

Apparently, he told "USA Today" that now he can commute to work and it takes out the schlep factor, which I can relate to.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: After years of touring, I say go for it.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What a gift to the city. I'm totally biased on this. Billy Joel is a local legend.

BOLDUAN: In this situation, it's OK to be biased.

PEREIRA: This is very cool. CUOMO: They'll have chance. And then, sure enough, people are like, oh, wonder if it will work. All the first four shows, bam, sold out.


PEREIRA: We saw this happen in Vegas, right? Celine did those --


CUOMO: It's awesome.

PEREIRA: You're going to go every month.

CUOMO: As much as I can. As much as I can.

BOLDUAN: And he's going to take us.

Coming up next on "NEW DAY": amazing video of a volcano erupting in Italy this week. You've just got to see this. We'll have more on that ahead.

CUOMO: And listen to this, Bob Dylan charged in France with inciting racial hatred in a Rolling Stone video. Could the folk rock legend really face jail time? We're going to take you to Paris.

But, first, we'll leave you with this.


CONAN O'BRIEN, COMEDIAN: America's teenagers are 30th in the world in math. Yes. Luckily, America's teenagers will never understand the report because they're 85th in reading. But you know what? We're number one in Candy Crush, I have to say.



BOLDUAN: Let's go around the world now starting in North Korea.

A major leadership shake-up with the high profile leader ousting his own family member. CNN's Paula Hancocks has that from Seoul, South Korea.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kim Jong-un is likely to have fired one of North Korea's powerful men, his uncle Jang Sung-taek, that's according to South Korea's unification minister. Lawmakers here in Seoul also say that Kim may have ordered the public execution of two of his allies. This is a claim that CNN cannot independently verify. But if true, it is a major shake-up in a country that's currently holding two American citizens prisoners for what it calls hostile acts against the state.

Back to you, Kate. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Paula, thank you so much for that.

Now to Italy where Mt. Etna has erupted again, believed to be the 19th time it's done so this year. Ben Wedeman is in Rome with the very latest.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just in case you were weary of the mundane concerns of mice and men, take a look at these images from Mt. Etna in Sicily, Europe's most active volcano. Now, even more active after a third crater has crack-opened, spewing fire and brimstone into the sky. Etna has been active for more than 2,000 years, and all this sound and fury has a silver lining. Volcanic ash has made the slopes of Etna ideal for grape cultivation, producing some of the best wines in Italy.

Cheers, Kate.


BOLDUAN: Cheers to you, Ben. Thank you so much.

Bob Dylan under investigation in France. Could he face jail time for controversial comments he made in "Rolling Stone" magazine?

Jim Bittermann has that story from Paris.


JIM BITTERMAN, CNN SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: Bob Dylan responsible for inflaming racial hatred? It's hard to imagine, Kate, but that's what a Croatian group is claiming after an interview in "Rolling Stone" magazine back in 2012 in which the Croatians claim that Dylan obliquely compared them to the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis. In fact, Dylan has not been charged.

But if he were to be charged and if were to go to trial, and if he were to found guilty, he could go to prison for a year and fined $65,000. But the lawyer for the group says they'll drop everything if he'll just apologize -- Kate.


BOLDUAN: All right. Jim, thank you, from one of the best views in Paris.

CUOMO: Right?

Take you to Florida. Officials say wild bears are turning into a menace. A hunt is under way for one such bear, dangerous, the wild animal mauled a woman walking through her own neighborhood.

CNN's John Zarrella is in Miami with more on this. JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, you know, wildlife officials here in Florida are saying that this may in fact be the worst attack they have ever seen by a Florida black bear.

Imagine this, a nightmare for a Florida woman, she's walking her dogs in her neighborhood, suddenly the dogs start barking and bolt. The next thing she knows, she's being attacked by a black bear.


ZARRELLA (voice-over): Traps have been set, wildlife officers, biologists and sheriff's deputies are combing the woods around the community of Longwood, north of Orlando. They are trying desperately to catch a black bear that has become not just a nuisance but a danger.

A woman identified as Susan Chalfant is attacked while walking her dogs. Her face bloodied, she makes it to a neighbor's house. He calls 911.

CALLER: A woman's, I think, been mauled by a bear. She's bleeding. And she needs immediate help.

911 DISPATCHER: OK, are you with her right now, Steve?

CALLER: Yes, my wife's with her right now. We have her in the house. She's pleading for quick, quick help. She's in severe pain.

ZARRELLA: Chalfant is going to be OK. Neighbors say bears are no strangers to the community, which sits near wildlife conservation area. There's even a bear alert sign at the neighborhood's entrance. They've been spotted in trees and here, one is just casually walking down the street broad daylight.

They have become way too comfortable with the surroundings, says one resident, Richard, who didn't want his last name used.

RICHARD, LONGWOOD RESIDENT, FLORIDA: There's an actual walkway of the bears between my home and the immediate neighbors. We see them on a regular basis, especially the night before garbage pickup.

ZARRELLA: If home owners are not really careful with their trash, wildlife officials say it's a no-brainer. The bears are going to keep coming.

KAREN PARKER, SPOKESMAN, FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE: Unless we get full cooperation with everybody in every neighborhood around here, the bears are going to come in for a free lunch. They're going to stay where the food is.

ZARRELLA: Unprovoked black bear attacks in Florida are extremely rare. The first ever documented by the wildlife commission was last year. The problem, biologists say, is that people are now living in areas the bears once called home. And bears like to roam. Biologists have been capturing bears --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we got home. Let's back off.

ZARRELLA: Fitting them with GPS collars and microchips to better understand their movements which inevitably means at some point, they'll cross paths with people.


ZARRELLA: So, how do they know if they catch a bear that they got the right one? Wildlife officials say they'll do DNA testing. They can match fibers, hair from the bear or blood from the woman on the bear. If they do get the right one, it is more than just likely that it will, of course, be euthanized -- Kate.

CUOMO: The next level will be due process concerns about the bears and they'll start having litigation about it. As the habitats continue to shrink, we're going to have more and more problems like this that will happen, just an eventuality.

BOLDUAN: Terrifying for that community. That's for sure. Thank you, John.

CUOMO: Many like it, they're not going to be alone with this.


All right. Let's get over to weather and talk about snow, Indra. How much snow?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that's the thing. We've seen so much already, there's more of it. Bigger concern will be the freezing rain threat as we go in through tomorrow.

Let's talk about the snow, first, still looking at heavy snow in through Colorado, also out towards Minnesota today, over a foot of snow is still possible and also visibility very poor with icy roads for anyone trying to do a commute this morning.

Let's take a look at what is expected to happen as we move in through tomorrow. Notice the systems where they are currently. As we really kind of go into tomorrow, look at Thursday at noon, notice the pink here. That's a wintry mix.

Our biggest concern is for freezing rain, that always translates into a lot of airport delays but also dangerous conditions, not only on the road but you think about power lines coming down, also think about trees, those limbs breaking off depending on how much of that ice you can get.

Now, Thursday night, we look at that threat expanding. Keep in mind farther north, more likely rain and sleet, we're really concern with again. Really kind of out towards southern portions of Missouri back in through Texas to see more of that it freezing rain.

System still stays us as we go in through Friday. Notice the Northeast starting to see some of that light rain and looking for a kind of showered weekend. Again, as far as the National Weather Service offices, they're all putting out different amounts. So there's a lot of variety out there, a lot of discrepancy, as to how much of this freezing rain we'll see. This is normal. We're not close enough to get a good handle on this.

Just want to point out, though, if you have plans as you go through the weekend, there's another system behind it. So, really, two chances to really get stuck and see a lot of damage, including those power lines and power outages as we go throughout the weekend.

So the other side of the story will be the temperature drops. Look at this, we're looking about Dallas, today 80 degrees. Notice Friday, down to 31 degrees. Same thing Little Rock, goes from 70 down to 32 degrees. We're talking about temperatures a good 30 to 40 degrees below normal.

And you want to talk about the dangerous side of this, notice the temperatures below freezing. When you add in the wind chill in through tomorrow morning, Bismarck, we're talking about negative 31. Denver tomorrow morning, negative 14 degrees as they are trying to go to work.


PETERSONS: S a lot of dangerous conditions out there temperature-wise and of course on the roads.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: All right. Coming up on "NEW DAY", new information in the crash that killed actor Paul Walker and his friend. More video showing that moment of impact, raising questions. Also, why autopsy results have been put on hold?

BOLDUAN: And she's now the highest ranking woman at the Pentagon, but did you know she's also the inspiration for Tom Cruise's girlfriend, the flight instructor in "Top Gun"? Much more on that, ahead.


CUOMO: Welcome back to "NEW DAY", friend. We have the real-life top gun story for you in just a moment, but first, a quick check of sports headlines with Andy Scholes in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Andy, somebody's getting rich.


ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes. Good morning, guys. Well, you knew missing the playoffs for just a second time in 19 years wasn't going to sit well with the Yankees. So, they're doing what the Yankees do, that spend big bucks on all-star free-agents, and this time around, they're stealing Jacoby Ellsbury away from the rivals, the Boston Red Sox.

Yankees reportedly signing the centerfielder to a seven-year, $153 million contract. That's the fourth largest deal in Yankees history. Ellsbury is going to have to shave his beard, because the Yankees have that no facial hair policy.

All right. Warriors/Raptors game last night, the NBA looked like a snoozer. Toronto had a 27-point lead in the third quarter, but then Golden State mounted an epic comeback. The Warrior used a barrage of threes to outscore the Raptors 42-15 in the fourth quarter. They came all the way back to get the win, 112-103. It was the seventh biggest comeback in NBA history.

All right. Trending on today, you ever think of inviting your favorite pro-athlete to your wedding, you know, just to say they were invited? That's what one couple did with Peyton Manning. And check it out. They got a handwritten response. The couple posted a pic of the RSVP online. Manning respectfully declined the invite but did give them a pretty cool autograph.

CUOMO: Good deal there. And Chris, I know you're a big Yankees fan. They spent $240 million on Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann, so far, this off season. What do you think?

CUOMO: Peanuts, baby. Peanut. Got to give to get.


BOLDUAN: Can we go back to the Peyton Manning. That just shows how -- what a great guy he is.


BOLDUAN: I can still love Peyton Manning.

CUOMO: -- just plain humanity --

BOLDUAN: It's because he played for the colts. There we go. All right.


PEREIRA: She is the most powerful woman in the Pentagon. Her name is Christine Fox. She's been named acting deputy secretary of defense. But get this, nearly three decades ago, she was the inspiration for the character played by Kelly McGillis in the blockbuster movie, "Top Gun." Remember this scene?




PEREIRA: So, let us what is real and what is fiction? Christine Romans is here with that. Once again, Christine Fox breaking barriers by getting this post --

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. This is essentially the COO if there were such a title of the Department of Defense, the highest ranking woman ever working at the DOD. And look, she's somebody who comes with a little bit of celebrity, because she is the inspiration for that Kelly McGillis character from the 1986 movie, "Top Gun," you know? She was the inspiration for Charlie, but there are kind of a lot of differences.

PEREIRA: There are some differences.


ROMANS: Right. She was the mathematician, Charlie was an astrophysicist. She didn't really train top gun pilots, but she worked a lot with the program, and she really was -- they called her legs, she had that nickname legs because you could hear her coming in the 1980s at the top gun train school because you could hear the heels clicking on the pavement, something which was unusual then.

BOLDUAN: So, are there more similarities? Like, why was she chosen to be modeled after? Why was -- she chosen for the character --

ROMANS: It's a great Hollywood story, right? I mean, here, all these super macho guys fighting in fighter jets and here's this super smart mathematician woman who is telling them what to do. She told "People" magazine, this really interesting article in 1986 that, you know, I mean, she wasn't really in there lecturing the fighter pilots. Listen to a clip and I'll tell you kind of what is fact and what is fiction. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hard cross, I could immediately go to guns on them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But if it's speed is too fast. It's a little bit too aggressive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Too aggressive? Yes, I guess when I see something, I go right after it.


CUOMO: Sweet move.

ROMANS: That was a good movie. That was a good movie.


ROMANS: She said she never really lectured the pilots. She was more likely to be talking to the guy in the backseat, she had to know his radar, his mission, his weapons. She's the weapon specialist. She was the science, the math, the practice, the defense behind what was happening in those the planes.

CUOMO: Blah, blah, blah. What about the fact --


CUOMO: But does she say, but I never ever had anything happen like what happened in the movie.

ROMANS: That's all Hollywood, my friend.


PEREIRA: They say she was a really straight arrow, a genuine straight shooter.

ROMANS: A genuine straight arrow. And now -- you know, most recently, she made news, believe it or not, because she was -- she's very against the sequester. She was someone who's running budgets over at the Department of Defense. She knows how those budgets work and she says that it is dangerous to think sequester doesn't matter. So, she's someone who's very well respected, highly regarded, really knows how the Pentagon works.

CUOMO: Decidedly less interesting than talk about the movie.


PEREIRA: To our "Must-See Moment" today

BOLDUAN: That's true. Sequester, I fell asleep. "Top Gun," yes.


PEREIRA: Remember this little guy, trick shot Titus? He's back.

CUOMO (voice-over): He's been working on his game.

PEREIRA: he's been working on his game. More exciting video of what is probably the best compilation of trick shots you can see, making various shots from a building in Spain as high as seven stories, even joined in the couple -- in video by a couple of special guests. Titus got up close and personal with Bradley Cooper, lucky, Channing Tatum, also lucky. And there, you know --

BOLDUAN (voice-over): I want to see it. Go, do it, do it.


ROMANS (voice-over): No way.


PEREIRA: I love it. It's a great compilation if you need just a little pick me up.


PEREIRA (on-camera): That's your "Must-See Moment" today.

CUOMO (on-camera): Love it. You know about Titus (ph), never looks at any of the celebrities. He's always focused on the game, looking at often at distance, thinking about the next shoot --


PEREIRA: Be the ball, Titus.

CUOMO: Very impressive.


BOLDUAN (on-camera): Through the entire show, looking out camera (ph).

CUOMO: I'd just like to make the shot. I'll start there.

BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next on "NEW DAY", startling revelations about the deadly train derailment in New York. The engineer admitting to nodding off just moments before the accident. Does that happen more often than we think? We're going to take a look.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know his actual state. I just know that there was a lapse.

CUOMO: Shocking admission. New information about what the engineer says happened just before the crash. New this hour, industry experts on the changes that could have prevented this accident.

BOLDUAN: Happening now, a brutal snow and ice maker slamming the Rockies and upper Midwest, but it's set to move south and east, making for a nasty couple of days. We're tracking it all.

PEREIRA: Frequent complainer. Is this man the most demanding customer in America? His repeated complaints have now gone all the way to the Supreme Court. Will his complaining make your service better? He joins us live.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: What you need to know --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We may never satisfy the law's opponents. I think that's fair to say.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to "NEW DAY". It is Wednesday, December 4th, seven o'clock in the east.

We have new developments for you in that deadly train derailment in the Bronx. The investigation reveals the brakes were fine and the driver apparently admits being in a daze moments before the accident.

BOLDUAN: Also breaking overnight, the NTSB removed the rail union from the investigation for violating confidentiality rules. CNN's Nic Robertson is in the Bronx overlooking the crash site with much more. Good morning, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. The NTSB says that the Association of Commuter Rail employees did break the confidentiality agreement to be part of the investigation into this accident. They say that because their representative came along, talked after the NTSB press conference, it wasn't so much what he said but it was the sort of things that he was explaining and the insights that he was giving.

So, they have now excluded that union from being part of the investigation, but we've heard from the lawyer of the train engineer and he has told us that the engineer actually had a good night's sleep before the derailment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a major train wreck, five cars on its side.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): We're hearing, for the first time, from the firefighters as they arrived at the scene of Sunday's deadly train derailment in the Bronx. This morning, new details about the man at the controls, the train's engineer, William Billy Rockefeller. His union representative saying he was nodding off and caught himself too late.

ANTHONY BOTTALICO, GENERAL CHAIRMAN, ACRE: He's extremely distraught over it and he feels for the families.

ROBERTSON: In the minutes after the derailment, according to a senior law enforcement source, Rockefeller told first responders, "going along and I'm in a daze. I don't know what happened." NTSB investigators say that ten-year veteran driver was on the second day of a five-day shift.