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House To Vote On Budget Proposal; U.S. Taking Troops To Conflict; Student Dies After Frat Ritual; Fake Translation At Memorial?; Elle Macpherson Conspiracy Claim; Could Versus Should

Aired December 12, 2013 - 07:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Glad to have you with us. Here are some of the stories making news at this hour. Here we go again. Yet another taste of winter when it's still officially fall, a little reminder winter begins December 21st. More arctic air has sent temperatures into a nose dive in many parts of the country. Chicago reporting below zero temperatures already early this morning, more snow could be hitting the northeast this weekend.

The House expected to vote today on the budget deal announced this week. It would increase spending modestly over two years in an effort to reduce the deficit long term and avoid another government shutdown next year. That vote could prove tricky for Republicans also facing major brush back from conservative groups angry about higher spending.

The U.S. military is set to begin flying forces into the war-torn Central African Republic to help stop violence there. Officials say two planes will unload troops in the capital city and leave quickly to avoid violence. Air lifts are expected to continue for about a week. Discussions are on going about what other help the U.S. can provide.

A 19-year-old New York City college student died after suffering major brain trauma during a fraternity retreat this weekend. The young man was reportedly blindfold and made to carry a heavy object then tackled repeatedly. The game is called glass ceiling. Police say an ambulance was never called. When he was finally driven to the hospital, that young man was already unconscious.

An update now to a story that we've been following, the Colorado 6- year-old who was accused of sexual harassment for kissing a girl on the hand has been allowed to go back to school and the offense has now been classified as misconduct, not sexual harassment. Hunter Yelton's mother had argued the girl was fine with the kiss because she and Hunter considered themselves boyfriend and girlfriend. Those are your headlines at this hour. Chris, over to you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Mich, thank you very much.

Now to the translator at Nelson Mandela's memorial, am I using the wrong word calling him a translator? You decide for yourself. The man is now defending his performance despite criticism from around the world that he was faking the whole time. He tells a Johannesburg radio station he's perfectly qualified, actually qualified and adding he's getting treatment for schizophrenia. The question, is he sick and that's what happened with his interpreting or is he a fraud? For now, what was he even trying to say? That's what we're trying to figure out here.

We'll bring in Jon Wolfe Nelson. He is an RID certified American sign language interpreter and a consultant with Sign Talk. I want to start, first of all, thank you for doing this. Appreciate it.


CUOMO: Let's start with a little bit of sound of what was being said and what was being done at the same time. Can we play that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Men, women and children must live side by side, dreaming the same dream, realizing that the crucible of time in our land, we salute you.


CUOMO: OK, obviously one of the grandchildren there speaking in English. It's being translated into South African, we believe. What's your general impression of what you saw or didn't see?

NELSON: What we see a person gesticulating rhythmically. They seem to be actually creating some sentences. You see him pausing. It looks like he's thinking about what the next part of the interpretation.

CUOMO: Do you recognize this as sign language?

NELSON: I'm not a linguist and I do not know South African sign language. But this does not look like sign language.

CUOMO: So if you don't know South African sign language, why is this still instructive of being wrong to you?

NELSON: Well, we can see here that he's not using any facial expressions.

CUOMO: Let's stop here for a second. You're saying the face itself, it's too stoic.

NELSON: Exactly.

CUOMO: What are you supposed to do?

NELSON: Well, any interpreter, any person who uses any sign language is going to use their face and body to convey the intent, the emotion.

CUOMO: That's part of the training.

NELSON: Absolutely.

CUOMO: It's not just style. You're supposed to do it.

NELSON: That's the important aspect. We are trained.

CUOMO: And the hands, you said that you kept seeing a rhythmic, a pattern, but to you that could be more dance moves than actual sign language.

NELSON: They look like gestures and they're repetitive.

CUOMO: All right, so this is him doing his thing. Now, we want to also show him -- let's go to the next clip. OK, let's say not understanding South African vernacular and translating is relevant. This woman is also doing South African. She's doing the same type of translation that he is. If you watch, I'm no trained translator, but it seems like they're doing very different things. What do you pick up here, Jon?

NELSON: Very different. Again, interpretations going to vary from interpreter to interpreter because of the lens they bring to the job and how they choose to represent the message. This woman is actually creating phrases. It looks like she's using actual language. This is not.

CUOMO: Right? OK. Just to be clear about it, your best guess, is this man a trained translator?

NELSON: No, absolutely not.

CUOMO: So he doesn't really know what he's doing? Schizophrenia, you're not a psychologist, I understand, but if that were the cause, when we looked at an earlier example of him translating, we noted the same types of traits. Have you ever heard of somebody having some type of breakdown that destroyed their ability to translate?

NELSON: I have not. If the person knew sign language, one would assume that regardless of their mental state they would actually still be able to create language for themselves. This is not sign language.

CUOMO: Obviously I don't mean to block here. They seem to be doing very different things in frequency, in direction of their hands and in mimicking what is being said by the actual speaker?

NELSON: Absolutely.

CUOMO: And the face is very active. Seems she is using oral references.

NELSON: Yes, she's mouthing some of the words and using her face to indicate what she's expressing, the intention and the spirit of the speaker as well. This gentleman is not.

CUOMO: What is the chance that you could get away with this in the United States? Where you could do what he's doing and somebody wouldn't seem to know right away? NELSON: Unfortunately you'd be surprised. We actually see in our field a large number of people who may take a few sign language classes, know a little bit of sign language, purport themselves to be a sign language interpreter and go into the field and earn money portraying sign language interpreting without actually knowing what they're doing, being trained or certified.


NELSON: That's a good question. At Sign Talk all interpreters are vetted for their credentials, they are screened and personally interviewed. It's a good question. We do writing and talking about the rights of disabled people in the United States. Within we take that from paper to action every day in the field, there's a big disconnect.

CUOMO: I guess really we're waiting for people, obviously, I don't understand sign language so I can't judge it. You're waiting for people who are deaf to basically come forward and say that person was way off. If you don't have that urgency and you don't have that setup where people are comfortable coming forward and there's a mechanism to complain you may not know.

NELSON: That's true. Better on the front end, include deaf people in the conversation about hiring interpreters. We often talk about the rights, how to get people access to language and information but we don't include them when we take their rights from paper into real life every day.

CUOMO: So just to be clear, unless we learn something about the psychology of this, the illness of it, that changes our analysis, is this man a real translator?

NELSON: In my opinion, no.

CUOMO: It's not about the language barrier. You have another example here. She is demonstrating things you would recognize as translating?

NELSON: Absolutely. As stated by Bruno Drukken, who is the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, this person is not known to the South African deaf community. If they had included this people in the conversation when preparing such a memorial event, they would have known that.

CUOMO: Because as we keep saying, the real harm here isn't so much about him, it's about all the people who were hearing impaired that didn't get to appreciate what was said that day.

NELSON: It's about a gentleman who stole the voice of one of the greatest peace activists of our time. He silenced his voice because he decided to do a fraudulent thing and cut off access to deaf people all over the world to messages being delivered on this historic day.

CUOMO: Well said. Jon, thank you very much for joining us.

NELSON: Appreciate it. CUOMO: Thank you. Kate, over to you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris, thank you.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, Elle Macpherson, the super model, is accused of less than model-like behavior. Why she's being called out in a huge lawsuit against her husband.

Later, the big debate about cell phones on planes begins today. Are Americans ready to fly the chattier skies?


BOLDUAN: It sure is it appears. Let's get back out to Indra Petersons with the latest in the sinking temperatures that seems to be happening everywhere -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That number is deceiving, Kate, 24, because it doesn't have the wind chill outside. It's a whopping 14 degrees, cooler than the 18 it felt like this morning when you were here. We're fighting over things like this penguin hand warmer. I'm holding coffee, not because I want to drink it, because it keeps my fingers warm. I know I am not alone. A huge chunk of the country this morning below freezing, pretty much only in the south they have temperatures that are above normal.

Temperatures again, with the wind chill, look at that, look at Chicago and the negative teens below normal. Let's talk about what we're expecting today. Yes, we'll still be seeing some lake-effect snow. Keep in mind if you are anywhere around Michigan, Minnesota, you're talking about temperatures that feel like negative 20 to negative 25 degrees below normal. That's where this chill becomes downright dangerous.

We talk about the effects Ontario, 1 to 2 feet of snow off of the lakes. The big story remains more cold air and another storm expected to come into the region. It will produce a big snowmaker by the end or the beginning of the weekend, A couple days away. From the northeast back to the Midwest, look for more snow another round of wintry mix.

That going to be the concern when you talk about New England back through Missouri and of course rain in the southeast. These temperatures, there you go, we're taking you day by day, staying well below normal. This is not going to change as more arctic air moves in towards up.

BOLDUAN: That is the cutest hand warmer I have ever seen.

PETERSONS: Isn't it? We'll fight over this in 10 seconds, I promise you that.

BOLDUAN: I don't want to see a brawl, Indra. Play nice. Thanks so much.

Stunning allegations against this morning supermodel Elle Macpherson, the $100 million wrongful death suit claims he was piloting without a license and caused the death of a close friend. He alleged her, pressuring a grieving widow to accept a payout. Here's CNN's Nischelle Turner.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former supermodel Elle Macpherson's billionaire husband is at the center of a bombshell lawsuit. Daria Pastakova filed a lawsuit for a whopping $100 million. The suit alleges Sopher caused a helicopter crash that killed her husband, Lance Valdez in November of 2012. According to the complaint, he was recklessly flying and controlling the helicopter as he attempted to land the helicopter.

Turbulence suddenly hit when the chopper was less than ten feet off the ground. Sopher allegedly pulled back too sharply on the controls causing the helicopter to spin out of control and rear backwards some 75 feet, causing it to crash violently into the ground. Valdez's widow alleges he flew the aircraft without an up to date and valid helicopter pilot license.

After the crash, she says Sopher duped her into this contract giving her 2 million in insurance proceeds. An effort she alleges in the complaint to conceal that he was piloting the helicopter for the primary purpose of avoiding his own personal liability.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is a case of someone who was defrauded into signing away her rights. If they can show those kind of shenanigans, I think that will go a long way to convincing a court that that release should be taken back.

TURNER: An alleged cover-up involving a billionaire, married to a world renowned celebrity. It may not be a coincidence that the 34- page complaint reads more like a compelling Hollywood script than a court document.

CEVALLOS: This complaint was not written for the court. It was written for you and for you. I think it's a good piece of strategic paper ring to get the public aligned against the defendants in this case.

TURNER: CNN reached out to the lawyers for comment. They didn't reply. A rep said the supermodel had no comment. Nischelle Turner, CNN, Hollywood.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Nischelle.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, you expect to hear crying babies, sneezing, coughing and other sounds on a plane, but what about cell phone check? Who's for it? Who's against it, cell phones on a plane. Tweet me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BOLDUAN: It's the only way to intro Brett Larson is Lady Gaga. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's a very important day for anyone who flies on a plane. The FCC begins their debate period on whether to lift the ban on cell phones in a flight. Just as a new poll is released showing how most people feel about the propose leap.

Brett Larson is the host of "Tech Bytes" and is joining us now. I'm going to talk to my cell phone through this whole interview. The FCC is starting this little comment period so basically, what they're going to decide, if cell phones are or not harmful, if they harmfully interfere with flight.

BRETT LARSON, HOST, "TECH BYTES": I think they have concluded that the technology is such that yes, you can have cell phones on planes. They're not going to go down because of that. How many times have you been sitting there and you're in flight and someone's phone rings. So, clearly, even in those little moments, you can see ha the technology is safe. It is now going to come down to is this a good idea.

BOLDUAN: Who decides that?

LARSON: I think the consumers. My guess is the lawmakers are going to say fine. Some airplanes are going to make bank on this. They're going to say we have great cell service in a pod. We can put you in a pod and no one going to be bothered by you. Like we saw with train systems and we don't have this on subways, I think they're going to inevitably have to do some sort of quiet zone on a plane where you can go behind a partition and sit there and you're not going to be able to sit and talk.

CUOMO: They used to have a smoking session. So, yes or no?

LARSON: I say yes, consumers don't want it.

BOLDUAN: I think the marketplace going to eventually say they don't want cell phones on the plane and Quinnipiac University poll agrees with me. Should cell phones be used on planes? Yes, 30 percent. No, 59 percent.

PEREIRA: It's going to come down to airlines making the decision or you can apply with cell phone conversations with us.

LARSON: Delta has come out and said no. Other airliners are looking into it.

BOLDUAN: They charge for Wi-Fi. Could they charge for voice calls?

CUOMO: Remember the phones on the backs of the planes?

LARSON: The superman movie.

CUOMO: Now, I guess it's not fair to say that we have phone, we know it going to work out. You had to pay for those phones. It was expensive. This will be different because anybody can do it.

LARSON: That may be what the airlines going to do. It's $8 a minute.

CUOMO: There's $150 surcharge from security you'll need from all angry passengers. Brett Larson, thank you very much. Appreciate it. More to be seen here.

Coming up on NEW DAY, the sign language translator accused of being a fraud speaking out to CNN. Hear what he says about the Mandela memorial, his revelations and his schizophrenia. That's the cause. The interview you have to see coming up.

BOLDUAN: And also that debate that we are having on this story. A Texas teenager gets probation for drunk driving, killing four people. Many are wondering how is that possible. He pinned the wreck on his parents for spoiling him. At least that's what would happen during sentencing and it seemed to work. That story in our next hour.


CUOMO: New this hour, speaking out the now infamous interpreter accused of signing gibberish explains himself to CNN.