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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

"Undriveable Roads"; Mandela Remembered; Couple Charged In "Thrill Kill" Murder; Popcorn With That Stock

Aired December 9, 2013 - 05:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Thousands of flights canceled and passengers stranded for days. The deadly winter storm making a mess of plans, not to mention a huge part of the country. Indra Petersons is tracking the storm for us as snow continues to fall this morning.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): One of the greatest gatherings of world leader that this planet has ever known preparing to honor Nelson Mandela. Chris Cuomo joins us live from South Africa.

PEREIRA: A newlywed couple accused of a shocking thrill kill. Police say they used Craigslist to lure their unsuspecting victim.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

PEREIRA (on-camera): And I'm Michaela Pereira. It is 30 minutes after the hour.

BERMAN: It's great to see you this morning, but for the eastern half of this country it was a wet, and in some cases, white weekend, dangerous too with ice, slick roads messing up travel plans turning this all into a real nightmare for millions.

PEREIRA: Air travel majorly impacted by this storm. Look at the board with delays and cancellations continuing. This morning, thousands of flights were grounded this weekend. Hundreds more are on hold today. Many of those cancellations are at Dallas/Ft. Worth, a major hub slammed with cold weather and extensive ice.

This morning alone, more than 700 flights into and out of DFW have been canceled and some travelers have been waiting days to get out. Moderate heavy snow also causing problems at Washington, D.C. airports. If you're flying today, always, always, always call your airline. Maybe follow your airline on Twitter, and sometimes, they get an advanced word out on the Twittersphere.

BERMAN: There were pileups across the country. The roads a mess, too. Slick, dangerous, and in some cases, undrivable. This wreck near Racine, Wisconsin. Officials say there were 60 crashes in this area on Sunday and at least one person was killed and dozens more injured. Those driving and riding in cars and buses on Interstate 94 say the conditions there were simply horrible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUIS ALANIS, BUS PASSENGER: You can barely see down the road. And I was on my phone, and next thing I knew, I looked up and just swerving through cars, dodging cars, and we ended up in the ditch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PEREIRA: Scary moments there. A major wreck near Kansas City, too. A chain reaction crash on Interstate 70 leaving a person, an adult, and a child critically injured. Seven cars and a tractor-trailer all involved in this. Across the country, at least seven people have died in storm-related incidents.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh! Oh, my gosh!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That picture and that sound amazing. That is what happened, folks, when temperatures rise and ices pile up for days. It comes sliding off of that five-story building. This was in Plano, Texas. That ice on top of the building was said to be two inches, thick. Wow! Amazingly, luckily, no one was hurt.

Some of those cars were damage, though. And as for those who saw it happened, they say the whole thing was just terrifying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLE JAIME, PLANO RESIDENT: My dog started barking and I heard the ice starting to break away from the roof. You could hear it.

Don't walk on the sidewalk, anybody!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PEREIRA: Indra Petersons is tracking the storm for us this morning. And, I think the big question is, are we out of woods or are we going to still see some of these temperatures and the amount of snowfall?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Literally all over. Talking about more rain and more ice and more snow and definitely temperatures. A lot of places facing wind chills at negative 30 degrees. There's so much going on. We'll talk about the snow we've already seen, and we keep talking about the ice. Look at all the snow. Philadelphia saw about eight inches and even New York saw a little bit of dusting of snow yesterday. That system is still in place this morning.

The bigger concern of course remains to be the icing. So, just here in south of New York kind of going all the way through Virginia, we have that threat of ice. The bigger concern today especially right out towards Roanoke where they could see about a quarter of an inch, but regardless, when you have icing, you have freezing rain even out towards Dallas and D.C. They're talking about delays thanks to freezing rain currently being reported in that area. So definitely check your flights if you're heading that region.

Snow, yes, it's still out there, but primarily, just into New England today, also dusting coming off the lakes. We'll be watching for that, but this is what I was talking about these deadly temperatures this morning. We were talking about wind chills that feel like negative 30 degrees. Definitely concern this morning. You can see that cold arctic air really in place and expecting to stay here for several days.

Notice New York only about 34 degrees as your high today. And even if you add in that wind chill, we're talking about 20s just in New York, D.C. about 34, Cincinnati 27. So, really, a lot of concerns still stretching across the nation and another system making its way overnight and through tomorrow. So, we're definitely not out of the woods yet.

PEREIRA: All right. Well, keep watching it. Thanks for the outlook.

In other news now, it's back to work today for the U.S. Senate returning from a Thanksgiving break.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEREIRA (voice-over): More than two weeks after Democrats went nuclear angering Republicans and some in their own party by changing the rules over filibusters. Democratic leader, Harry Reid, plans to finish out work on some of the president's nominations and on the defense spending bill before another holiday break.

It's not clear if Republicans might turn to other procedural moves to try and slow down the majority party.

BERMAN (voice-over): So, one area where Republicans and Democrats actually seem ready to agree on is a budget. Yes, an actual federal budget for the first time in two years. House and Senate negotiators are set to be close to completing a deal after months of negotiations agree to as part of the plan and the government shut down. "The Washington Post" says the deal would roll back some of the budget cuts known as the sequester and take some action to reduce the deficit.

But overall, this is not a grand bargain that people have been talking about for years. This is really tiny, tiny stuff that they're agreeing to here.

PEREIRA: South Africa and the world continue to mourn Nelson Mandela. Sunday was a national day of prayer in that country. Millions paying their respects to the former president and anti-apartheid activists. Now, preparations are now under way for a memorial service that will be held tomorrow.

Dozens of world leaders are expected to join and honor his contributions to the world. President Obama will leave the White House just a few hours from now to join in those memorial moments and celebrations.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PEREIRA (on-camera): Chris Cuomo has made his way to South Africa. He's outside Mandela's home this morning. So glad to see you there. Maybe you can set the scene for us what you're seeing and what you're feeling on the ground there, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michaela, I have to tell you, the long goodbye is in full effect. It just continues to grow. We're here outside Nelson Mandela's home in Johannesburg. And, the streaming of people, the memorial grows, the singing, the dancing and interestingly, Archbishop Desmond Tutu had said the greatest memorial from Mandela would be the people. And that's what we're seeing.

True reflection of what they call the rainbow nation here. So many different faces and faiths joining in song and remembrances of Nelson Mandela. And you have to remember, not since John Paul II, the pope, departed have we seen energy like this from around the world. There are billions of members of the Catholic Church.

So, for Nelson Mandela, essentially, a politician to get 90 different heads of state, celebrities from all over the world. People just streaming in, flooding to try to get to South Africa is unheard of. Now, the big moment will be the memorial tomorrow when they're going to pack the soccer stadium here that was big enough for the World Cup, but the 90,000 seats not even close for all of the people who want to come.

And I think that the message is clear you're hearing. Nelson Mandela was a man, but he was also much more than that here and abroad -- Michaela, John.

PEREIRA: And Chris, you probably had a chance to talk to some of the people. And you talked about it at the rainbow nation. It cut across black and white and cut across generations. The impact, I'm sure, you're getting a real sense of it being among the South African people?

CUOMO: And it's the context. Remember, apartheid literally meant apart neighborhoods. You know, they were segregated, white, black, colored, Indian, that categories. So to see the reverse of it, just this beautiful mixing going on here and everybody has the same message. There is loss, but there is reference and there is a responsibility which is a word we haven't used much yet looking forward to the future.

You hear a lot of that work undone and needing to do better, needing to come together more. But it really is something to behold to see. I mean, you'll just see behind me the nature of the faces. Most of this is not media. The cameras are coming, but the people who are here in full celebration of this man who meant so much to this nation and the message that extended far beyond.

PEREIRA: And it's so beautiful to see that it is a celebration. Yes, of course, we're all mourning the fact that this great man is no longer walking amongst us, but his work and legacy continues on and it's now a celebration of his life. Chris Cuomo, you'll be there for "New Day" all morning long and we'll talk with you again in the coming hours. Thanks so much.

BERMAN: Thirty-nine minutes after the hour.

And coming up next for us, a shocking crime rocking a small Pennsylvania town this morning. A young newly married couple arrested accused of using the internet to lure the victim. It all seems like it was a deadly game.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to "EARLY START", everyone.

A small college in San Antonio is in mourning today after one of their own was shot and killed during a traffic stop.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (voice-over): Twenty-three-year-old Cameron Redus from the University of the Incarnate Word was pulled over on a street just blocks from the campus on Friday morning. He was reportedly driving erratically and got into some kind of altercation with the university police officer who stopped him.

Witnesses tell the San Antonio express news, they heard the officer yelling, "stop resisting" and then someone say, "oh, you're going to shoot me?" Seconds later, there was gunfire and Redus was dead. Many gathered this weekend to remember him. Friends say he was a gentle person. They all say this doesn't make any sense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEC CONTE, FRIEND: It's hard to even think that he's gone, like, he was here three days ago. We just saw him and closure is one of those things that is going to take time.

SARA DAVIS, FRIEND: The story just doesn't really make sense to any of us. And I think we're mostly just angry and want answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: What a tragedy. The officer has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation into what happened continues.

PEREIRA (voice-over): Now to Central Pennsylvania where newlywed couple are accused of murder. Police say they did it just for the thrill of it. Police say 18-year-old Miranda Barbour and her 22-year- old husband, Elytte, lured a 42-year-old man with a Craigslist ad promising him female companionship, but then they murdered, stabbing and strangling him in a car last month.

The couple then allegedly dumped the body, went to a Wal-Mart, and bought supplies to clean it up and then went to a strip club. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN MAZZED, SUNBURY POLICE CHIEF: They told us that they intended to kill somebody together. They had tried to kill other individuals and failed and this happened to be one that actually worked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PEREIRA: Police say Miranda Barbour insists her husband was not involved, that she acted alone, but that she blacked out and doesn't remember what happened. Both are due in court later this month.

BERMAN: A famous hiker is due in a Denver court today facing domestic violence charges. Aron Ralston is the man who cut off his arm to escape a canyon in Utah. He became the subject of the film "127 hours." He was arrested Saturday night at a home in Denver on assault and wrong's to minor charges, but details of what happened have not been released. A woman who owns the home apparently was also arrested in face of similar charges.

PEREIRA: Rock duo, Heart, are backing out of a planned concert at SeaWorld, the result of CNN film's "Black Fish." Sisters, Nancy and Ann Wilson did not elaborate on their reasons why but posted a note on Twitter saying their concert in February has been canceled.

A spokesman for the park said it respects the decisions by Heart, the Barenaked Ladies and Willie Nelson to not perform blaming a, quote, "small group of misinformed individuals for denying fans their concerts" "Black Fish" raises questions about how SeaWorld treats killer whales in captivity.

BERMAN: After a glimmer of hope, 11 more whales have been found dead in Florida. They're believed to be part of the pod that was seemed stranded in the Everglades last week. Fifty-one short fin whales were spotted Tuesday. They appeared to be headed for deeper waters, but somehow, for some reason, they turned around and headed back to shore. The latest deaths would bring the total to 22. Wildlife experts say that disease could have played a role in their death.

PEREIRA: Fans by the thousands paid tribute Sunday to actor, Paul Walker, killed a week ago in a sudden California car crash. Many going to the very spot where he died in Santa Clarita. Some driving suit up cars similar to the ones from Walker's "Fast and Furious" series. Fans and celebrities alike have been showing up there for days. This impromptu even was organized on Facebook and car clubs was not officially sanctioned by his family.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA (on-camera): Yes, absolutely.

BERMAN (on-camera): Well, let's take a look at what's coming up on "New Day." Kate Bolduan joins us now. Hey, Kate. KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, you guys. And as you guys well know, we're going to be covering the big storm, and we were talking a big storm that's hitting the United States, creating travel and commuting nightmares for much of the country. Chris, you talked to him just a few minutes ago. He is live in South Africa this morning for us for Nelson Mandela's memorial.

He's going to be looking at all of the preparations under way for what is going to be an unprecedented event attended by dozens of world leaders including President Obama and the first lady. Of course, we're going to have much more coverage in honoring Nelson Mandela coming up.

And then, a live "New Day" exclusive. We're going to talk with a man who fell asleep on a flight. That's not unusual. We've all done it. Well, then, he woke up alone on a cold dark plane after it had landed. He was trapped for nearly an hour. It was locked, really. How does this happen today? We're going to talk to him and figure it out.

BERMAN: It's a great question. I can't wait to see what he says about that.

PEREIRA: I'm a little concerned, too. Now, I'm never going to sleep on a plane, Kate.

(LAUGHTER)

PEREIRA: You'll have to sit next to me and --

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: All right. We'll see you in a few minutes, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Kate.

It is time now for our morning rhyme. And as Kate said, there's a big, big storm out there today! So, today's tweet comes from Francois --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: "Watching you makes my morning bright. Please, will you drive my sleigh tonight?"

PEREIRA: You got it! We will.

BERMAN: I love that one. Kudos to you, Francois.

And of course, you all can come up with your own "Morning Rhyme." Tweet us with the hash tags morning rhyme and EARLY START any time of day, any day of the week. We love getting them --

PEREIRA: I didn't even commit to this today. I feel sort of --

BERMAN: Inadequate.

PEREIRA: (INAUDIBLE)

BERMAN: Yes. I think that's the word you're looking for.

PEREIRA: And nothing rhymes with that!

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Coming up for us, falling further behind when it comes to making money. The troubling statistics on the income gap. "Money Time" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to "EARLY START", everyone. It is "Money Time" which means Alison Kosik is here this morning.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Let's talk about some money. Let's talk about stocks. Stock futures are higher this morning after the Dow on Friday had its best day in two months. The Dow rocketed 198 points to close at 16,020 after a better than expected jobs report for November. So far this year, gosh what a year. The Dow is up 22 percent. NASDAQ is 35 percent. The S&P 500 up 27 percent.

It's OK to go ahead and look at that 401(k). Just to give you some perspective, the average return on the S&P 500 is about eight percent. Now, there are few things we're keeping our eye out for this week. Today, investors are going to be watching how sales for McDonald's did in November. They'll also be listening for any new information about a looming Federal Reserve decision to cut back on its $85 billion month bond buying program.

Three fed presidents will be speaking later on today. Also, stay tuned for a potential budget deal. That could come as early as this week. And the big economic report coming out, retail sales for November. That will be released Thursday.

The gap in what people earn is growing fastest among 35 to 44-year- olds and that's according to bankrate.com. The gap grew 21 percent from 1992 to 2012 and that was more than any other age group. The most troubling aspect in this, at least, according to Bankrate, is that these are really the prime earning years. Many believed to be the most important for retirement savings.

The biggest culprit? High unemployment and stagnant wages. Among all Americans, the income gap widened 10 percent over the past 20 years. The income gap is widest among seniors, although, it's growing at the slowest rate.

Let's all go to the lobby and get ourselves some stock? AMC Theaters gearing up to go public and its most loyal customers are getting a chance to buy shares usually only reserved for the big-time investors. Members of AMC stubs rewards program are going to be offered the same price as banks and those big Wall Street institutions. That's at least according to a letter from the company's CEO, Jerry Lopez.

Now, this isn't the first IPO to try to widen its access. Google and Facebook did in this past something similar, but AMC is the first company to include the small investors. It makes you want to really kind of get into these rewards programs more and more if this guy is willing to do it.

BERMAN: I didn't know that movie theaters had rewards.

KOSIK: I know. You know what's funny, they don't publicize it a lot but just ask. You know, a lot of them do. And you're going to go to the movies any way. Even if you don't get some stock, you earn points to get free popcorn.

BERMAN: I want one of those movie seats. If they give me one of the seats, then I'm in.

KOSIK: I don't think that's happening.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Thank you, Allison. Great to see you this morning.

Coming up for us next, trapped on a plane. A sleeping passenger wakes up to find his plane empty, the doors locked. What he says happened next coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. We have stunning images to show you from Brazil where soccer fans rioted in the stands during a game on Sunday, shutting down play for more than an hour. Look at that. Just chaos. This was during a key contest for two prominent Brazilian teams. Wow! This is raising even more questions ahead of the World Cup.

The game had already been moved from one of the team's home stadiums because of concerns over fan violence. Amazingly, only four people were injured in this chaos there. Just crazy.

All right. Imagine waking up all alone inside an airplane. This happened to a man flying from Louisiana to California. Tom Wagner was on board at United Express jet on Friday. He was headed for Houston and delay over there. He was set to make a connection when he fell asleep. When the plane landed, no one woke him up. None of the passengers or crew members. Nobody said a thing.

So when he finally did wake up, he realized the plane was dark and cold and the door was locked! He was inside alone! He had to call his girlfriend who got through to workers who got him out. The airline says it is investigating what happened. It sounds like an amazing story. I have a whole lot of questions about how it all went down. The good thing is, Tom Wagner will talk live exclusively with "New Day" coming up in the 8:00 a.m. eastern hour.

"New Day," in fact, begins right now. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God!

BOLDUAN: Happening now. That massive ice storm on the move now dumping a dangerous mix of snow, rain, and ice throughout the northeast. Millions readying for a brutal commute. Meanwhile, hundreds still stranded at the Dallas Airport.

CUOMO: The world remembers. We're live in South Africa readying for a giant memorial, the size of which the world has rarely seen. Four living U.S. presidents attending as well as tens of thousands from around the globe.

PEREIRA: The frozen thunder like it's never been played on before. The wild day in the NFL. In one game, five touchdowns in less than two minutes, and another, this, the longest field goal ever.

CUOMO: Your "New Day" starts right now.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome to "New Day," everyone. It's Monday, December 9th, six o'clock in the east. I'm Kate Bolduan here in New York.

CUOMO: And I'm Chris Cuomo in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kunjani to all of you. That's a traditional Zulu welcome. And boy, the rainbow nation of South Africa is in full effect as they prepare for what promises to be a truly epic memorial for Nelson Mandela. We will be here with live details of what's to come.

But first, let's get back to Kate with this morning's top story -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Chris, we'll be checking back in with you. Thanks so much.

Let's begin, though, back here at home with a massive winter storm, icing the east coast. Air travel is an absolute nightmare. More than 1,100 flights already scrubbed today following 2,800 cancellations on Sunday. It's not much better. If that's not bad enough, people have been forced to sleep on cots at the airport a. not where you want to be spending your weekend and it's not looking any better on the roads, unfortunately.

A Highway nightmare from Wisconsin to Maryland. Hundreds of wrecks, some of them deadly. We've got this storm covered like no other network can, beginning with meteorologist, Indra Petersons, in the CNN Weather Center. How is it looking now, Indra?