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Mourning Mandela; Travel Is A Nightmare

Aired December 6, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Remembering a hero and a legend. We are mourning the death and celebrating the life this morning of Nelson Mandela. A special coverage of the former South African president whose message of equality and decency changed the entire world. We're live.


BERMAN (on-camera): Welcome back to "EARLY START", everyone. I'm John Berman.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michaela Pereira. It is 31 minutes past the hour. This is a very special edition of EARLY START.

A whole lot of tears, dancing, a few wistful smiles this morning. The world is remembering Nelson Mandela. His unbreakable spirit squashed apartheid in South Africa. Few men in history single handedly changed so many hearts and so many minds in the face of such duress.

Let's bring in our senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon, who is live in Johannesburg. You're seeing the very country that he essentially changed. You're watching them pay their respects -- Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're talking about a nation being in mourning, but this is also, at the same time, a nation very much celebrating the man whom very few here can actually find words to describe. He has been called a hero, a legend. But for so many of the people here that really felt the profound impact of what Nelson Mandela's essence truly was.

They are at a loss for words to describe how they're feeling right now. The crowd behind us gathered in front of his house in Johannesburg, has been singing, chanting. They just finished singing the national anthem now. A little bit of moment of silence. It was here in this house where he passed away last night at around 8:50 p.m. local time.

His body was then moved to a military hospital. It will be embalmed over the next three to four days before going to a soccer stadium here in Johannesburg for a public memorial. The casket will then lie in state in Pretoria before finally moving on to be buried in Mandela's ancestral hometown. We are expecting South African president, Jacob Zuma, to show up here in the next half hour. A lot of people have been talking to us about what Nelson Mandela has meant to them. One young man we met, a 23-year-old Black South African University student was really emphasizing how different his life was today to the life that his father and his parents went through back during the years of apartheid. A police officer also comparing the past and the present.

And everyone emphasizing had Nelson Mandela not made that decision that he made when he was released from prison to choose reconciliation versus revenge, this country could have very easily ended up like an Iraq or Syria.

At this point in time, this is a country that is truly saddened by the loss, but many people saying that they also feel a certain level of joy because this legendary man who was so sickly in his final years is finally going to be able to rest in peace.

PEREIRA: Arwa, thank you so much for that. At 71 coming out of prison and then still becoming president after that. In fact, those sunset years for so many people, but some of his most active years.

BERMAN: You said something really interesting. You said he changed so many minds. He also changed hearts. One of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela, he said, "If you can learn to hate, you can be taught to love."

PEREIRA: It's a powerful message and it comes at a time when I think a lot of people are feeling such unrest in our world. So, it will be interesting to see how this legacy, his legacy, one that he worked his life over to create, if you will, will be felt and translated for today's world.

BERMAN: Let's hope.

PEREIRA: All the living U.S. presidents are paying their respects now to Nelson Mandela. President Obama speaking at an event at the White House last night.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight, our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela Family in South Africa. They're grieving the loss of a man, a moral giant who embodied the dignity and the courage and the hope and sought to bring about justice not only in South Africa, but I think to inspire millions around the world and he did that. The idea that every single human being ought to be free and that oppression can end and justice can prevail.


OBAMA: That's what --


OBAMA: That was a Supreme Court justice who said yes.



PEREIRA: The president is expected to travel to South Africa for one of the memorials or the funerals, we're not sure which, but the president has, indeed, ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff here in America through Monday.

BERMAN: Of course, the former presidents are now weighing in as well. George H.W. Bush who welcomed Mandela to the White House after his release from prison says "Nelson Mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailers following 26 years of wrongful imprisonment, setting a powerful example of redemption and grace for us all."

PEREIRA: Meanwhile, President George W. Bush also sending condolences to the Mandela Family saying "President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time. He bore his burdens with dignity and with grace. Our world is a better place because of his example."

BERMAN: And President Clinton who was in the White House when Mandela was elected president of South Africa. The two leaders developed a close personal relationship. Bill Clinton says, quote, "All of us are living in a better world because of the life that Madiba lived. He proved that there is freedom in forgiving, that a big heart is better than a closed mind and that life's real victories must be shared."

PEREIRA: Jimmy Carter, our former president, also paying tribute to Mandela saying his passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide. And that is the thing. For generations of people worldwide to think of those young people in South African, to think of their parents and their grandparents, the different South Africa, the different world they're seeing.

We'll have more coverage of Nelson Mandela's legacy still to come on "EARLY START".

BERMAN: The other big story we are following this morning, the vast majority of the United States dealing with the effects of a deep freeze, including major travel headaches. More than 500 flights have been pre-canceled. That's so bad they're canceling them before they're even supposed to take off. They've been canceled around the country because of the bitter weather.

PEREIRA: And getting around by car is not any easier. It's really dangerous. In fact, icy conditions caused that seven vehicle wreck along Interstate 540 in Northern Arkansas. Four people sent to the hospital. We're told their injuries are not life-threatening.

BERMAN: Most roads in the entire state of Oklahoma are considered slick and hazardous this morning. A state of emergency has been declared in all 77 counties. The state has now activated emergency operation center to help people affected by the bad weather. At least three dozen people have been injured there.

PEREIRA: It's bad in Denver, too. The drivers there having to exercise a whole lot of patience. The city is dealing with packed snow and ice on the roadways. There is more forecast to add insult to injury. There's more snow in the forecast for tomorrow night.

BERMAN: And supplies of food, gas and flashlights flying off the shelves in Memphis, Tennessee. A state of emergency has been declared ahead of a storm that's expected to wallop that state today. Road crews are treating bridges and overpasses and major roads with salt and sand and trying to get ready. Massive power outages are expected.

PEREIRA: So, we'll bring in meteorologist, Indra Petersons, live in Memphis, Tennessee this morning. Last time, we were talking about the fact that they've instituted this new way to -- we measure storms and hurricanes. They're measuring these ice storms now?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Things are just starting to ramp up here in Memphis. Just in the last few minutes, we're starting to see a little bit of rain come our way. So, we know that threat of freezing rain so close here in the distant. What we're worried about here, the National Weather Service has issued an ice impact index of a category three ice storm here in the Memphis area.

What does that mean? That means the threat of over half an inch of ice on those power lines which means power outages here could last about a week. But just north of us, they've already seen so much ice. They've already seen about an inch of it right around Jonesboro, also Ft. Smith. Arkansas also saw about an inch of ice. So with that, they have in Jonesboro a category 5 ice storm potential.

That means they can lose power for weeks. Let's take a look at the satellite right now and show you the radar where exactly the system is right now. You can actually tell overnight is some plenty of damage already these little balls you're looking at, those are storm reports of freezing rain that we have already seen and they've stretched from Indiana all the way back in through Texas.

So with that, we know farther to the north. We've seen smaller amounts of that ice accumulation. About a quarter of an inch or so is that half an inch, the threshold we really start to get concerned with these power lines coming down and that is the mention earlier. We have already seen just north of us looks like northwestern portions of Arkansas really getting those largest amounts so far.

Here in Memphis, we're talking about just the next few hours really starting to switch over from rain to freezing rain. With that, we could see about a half an inch of freezing rain in this region. And with that, we talk about the potential again for the power lines to come down in this area. And it looks like maybe around next several hours, we'll start to that switch over. It will take some time to switch over, but we'll still be dealing with that threat for freezing rain as we go throughout the day today.

It really doesn't taper off until overnight tonight as the system starts to push farther to the south and into the east. Now, keep in mind, though, once the system starts to exit off, people are going to be very cold and there is another system behind it. It could bring similar impacts as we go in late Saturday in through Sunday. So, talk about these temperatures. That's the reason that this arctic plunge.

We're talking about temperatures 20, not (ph) 30 degrees below normal. Talk about -- we're talking about freezing potential here with temperatures of again about 20 to 30 Degrees and with the wind chill feeling like it's negative 30 degrees. Of course, that's around the Dakotas. Here, we're talking about freezing temperatures the next week or so, guys.

PEREIRA: All right, Indra. Indra was able to hear us. We were talking about the fact that they have instituted -- the National Weather Service instituted this new wave categorizing this ice storms to give people an idea of just how bad they are. They're talking about a category five in some of the areas of the Southern United States.

BERMAN: Which means power outages possible for weeks.

PEREIRA: Thanks, Indra.

BERMAN: Forty minutes after the hour right. And our special coverage of the life of Nelson Mandela continues throughout the morning. Next, we will speak live with one of Mandela's closest friends. That's coming up after the break.


BERMAN: As the world mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela today, one man grieves for his close friend of 67 years and a fellow anti-apartheid activist. That man is Ahmed Kathrada, and we are honored to have him join us now on the phone from Johannesburg.

First of all, we are very sorry for your loss and the loss of your entire nation. You were very close with Nelson Mandela. You wrote a beautiful, beautiful tribute to him. And you talked about how you had a special nickname for each other. You called each other Madolla (ph), which means old man.

VOICE OF AHMED KATHRADA, FRIEND OF NELSON MANDELA: It means old man, but it's also a term of respect, term of easy interaction, and basically a term of friendship.

BERMAN: How do you want the world this morning to remember your great friend?

KATHRADA: How? What did you say?

BERMAN: I said how do you want the world this morning to remember your great friend?

KATHRADA: Well, you know, the first message is emotion, feeling of emotion, of course, when (INAUDIBLE) in hospital. I've known him for 67 years. I knew him as a strong man. He was a boxer. He (INAUDIBLE). Big man. And then, I visited him in the hospital, it was just the shadow of himself. And that was really, for me, the saddest, most traumatic feeling that I ever experienced.

From then on, we accepted the fact that he's not going to be long with us, but a real feeling and trauma was when I saw him in the hospital.

BERMAN: Difficult. It was a very long goodbye in so many ways. Where do you think he found his courage throughout his life? In what lesson can that teach the rest of us?

KATHRADA: Well, I mean, his courage. What I can, of course, say that one of his main qualities was courage and his leadership. It was his courage that make us decide that prison (ph) must be fought politically and not legally, not permanently, and it was the leadership that he gave because (INAUDIBLE) who went in the witness box followed his lead when he said go in the witness box, proclaim your political belief.

Don't ask for mercy. Don't apologize and we don't appeal. And that's how the whole case was conducted under his leadership and of course, until the very last day among our lawyers, the expectation of -- but it was a collective sigh of relief --

BERMAN: Ahmed Kathrada, you describe Nelson Mandela as a big man. I think that might be the understatement of the century. Thank you so much for joining us this morning, and again, we are so sorry for the loss of your great friend who you endearingly called old man. Appreciate it, sir.

PEREIRA: It's interesting when you think about the fact that South Africa shared him with the world. He was an icon around the globe, but he was a friend and a father and a grandfather and a great grandfather. That's the other thing to remember. That was his friend for 67 years.

BERMAN: Through 27 years in prison. Remarkable.

PEREIRA: All right. Let's take a look at what our friends on NEW DAY have prepared for the show. Good morning, Kate, Chris.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, you guys.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's what we're going to do. We're going to keep balancing it out, the man and then the message and the symbol that he became. Of course, we'll be remembering South African president, Nelson Mandela.

We're going to talk to people who knew him very well including family and friends like Richard Branson, former British prime minister, Tony Blair, and we're going to look at the life and the legacy and discuss how it could be carried forward, because certainly, he would want that most of all.

BOLDUAN: Definitely a celebration of the amazing life that he lived. And we're also going to be watching very closely that enormous ice storm that's affecting so much of the country this morning. Dangerous icy conditions have already caused several accidents and flight cancellations to talk about again, unfortunately. We're going to have what you need to know and track where the storm is headed for you this morning.

BERMAN: All right. We look forward to seeing all of that, guys. Thanks so much.

PEREIRA: I'll join you in a few moments. Thanks, guys.

Coming up, "Money Time" with Christine Romans. Big, big report coming out.


PEREIRA: The November jobs report is due out in, what, less than two or three hours. What it could mean for you and your family coming up next.


BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is "Money Time." And Christine Romans is here. Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. We're having this interesting discussion about on a morning when we're talking about the life and the success of Nelson Mandela. I think it's so interesting to point out that here's a man who was able to, after 27 years in limestone line (ph), right, work with some of the world's most successful and shareholder only driven CEOs to both raise money and to change the way business was done.

BERMAN: He was a pragmatist in many ways.

ROMANS: Absolutely. So, just another way this man, I mean, in every realm of modern life he was a real leader and a hero even in business. I just think that -- it really bears remarking on this morning as we talk about and honor his life.

Meantime, the big business story I'm going to be watching today, two and a half hours, the jobs report for November. Whether Ben Bernanke decides to pull back on this $85 billion a month stimulus program could depend on what these jobs numbers -- excuse me -- are looking like. This morning's report will be the last big reading on the economy before the Fed's next meeting.

Keep this date in mind: December 18th, the final day of the Fed's next two-day meeting. If this morning's jobs report is the strong one, that could be the day the fed says it's paring back its big huge bond buying program, the one that has kept interest rates, though, for a very long time.

But investors have been scratching their heads over the past few days about how strong the economy is because we are getting some good economic news. I want to be very clear. We are getting some good economic news. Look at that, GDP 3.6 percent, jobless claims 208, below 300,000, home sales, new home sales up 25 percent. But I keep putting an asterisk. See the lusters (ph) kept --

BERMAN: I see it. I see it.

ROMANS: Because each of these comes with a little bit of an asterisk. GDP companies were ramping up on their inventories. Now, they're going to sell them. Jobless claims might have been because of the way the holiday sales fell. And you still got mortgage rates so low that that's been very, very good for home buyers.

But I think, John, you're going to see mortgage rates moving up. I think they're going to start -- we've already seen them moving up 4.46 percent, we learn, yesterday as a 30-year fixed mortgage rate. I think into next year, John, you're going to see five percent mortgage rates. That seems like it could be bad, right?

Except, except people Zillow and other say, that means the banks might actually be riding more loans for first time home buyers who haven't been able to qualify quite yet. It could, in the end, end up being a very good thing.

BERMAN: And loosen up the market.

ROMANS: And loosen up the market.

BERMAN: What's your expectation for the jobs report today?

ROMANS: A 180,000 is expectation for the jobs report today. It's going to come out at 8:30 on the nose, maybe 183,000. The jobless rate probably fell to 7.2 percent. This will be a pretty important number. The economy looks like it's getting better, John. So, we want to see this trend continue. Are we turning a corner? And does that mean the stock market stops rallying? That's what we'll find out --

BERMAN: Big, big decisive jobs report. No one covers it like Christine Romans So, stick around at 8:30. We'll tell you all about it. We'll be right back.


BERMAN: CNN's continuing coverage "Remembering the life of Nelson Mandela" continues right now on "New Day."


CUOMO (voice-over): This morning, we have lost one of our greatest leaders. We celebrate a freedom fighter and a hero as the world reacts to the death of Nelson Mandela with an outpouring of love and grief.

OBAMA: Let us pause and give thanks to the fact that Nelson Mandela lived with a more universe toward justice.

CUOMO: We're live in South Africa as the nation mourns and millions the world over remember a legacy.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Plus, dangerous ice storm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's real slick roads -- stop, you slide.

BOLDUAN: Perhaps the worst in decades. Flights canceled, thousands without power. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the sixth time that I've had to stop and get the ice off of there.

BOLDUAN: But millions more in its path. We're live across the storm zone.

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


CUOMO (on-camera): Good morning. Welcome to "NEW DAY." It is Friday, December 6th, six o'clock in the east. We have two major stories this morning. The world, of course, mourning iconic leader and freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela.

BOLDUAN (on-camera): And here in the U.S., we're tracking a very dangerous ice storm. Forecasters saying it could be the worst ice storm ever for the region. People are waking up without power this morning, but millions could end up losing electricity for weeks, they fear, this as temperatures continue to plummet.

CUOMO: We'll get to what's going on now and tracking it across the country just a moment, but we want to begin with the growing reaction to the passing of Nelson Mandela. Here is a live look at the crowds that have been gathered outside the late South African leader's home. They're not merely somber. You'll see, they're singing and dancing. They're celebrating the man who taught so many how to face adversity with a smile.

Nations, of course, showing their respect. Flags around the world, at the White House we'll show you, see it, half-staff. This morning, honoring the anti-apartheid leader's life and legacy. We're going to follow the developments from every corner of the world. Let's begin with Robyn Curnow. She's in Johannesburg -- Robyn.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the news came just before midnight South African time that Nelson Mandela had gone.