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EARLY START

Two Wins Mega Million Jackpot; Sochi Major Snub; Federal Reserve to Decide Changes on Stimulus

Aired December 18, 2013 - 05:30   ET

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


PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Well, these other two people who actually did win the jackpot unlike us, they won big, $636 million, as John said in the Mega Millions lottery that was drawn last night. And the prizes for each of them, of course, will be huge. The winning numbers, here we go, 8, 20, 14, 17, 39 with the Mega Ball of 7.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Darn. Darn.

BROWN: Alison, I was like -- I guess you didn't --

KOSIK: I'm not a loser, John.

BROWN: But -- you did, you won something, didn't you?

(CROSSTALK)

KOSIK: I'm not a loser. I won -- I won one of the lesser prizes. I won a dollar for each -- for three tickets. I'm $3 richer today, I guess. If you don't factor in the money that I spent on the tickets.

BROWN: At least you're not a loser.

(LAUGHTER)

KOSIK: All right. So let's talk about those -- those winners. The two winning tickets, those were sold in Georgia and California. One was purchased at the Gateway newsstand at Alliance Center in Atlanta. The other at Jenny's Gift Shop in San Jose.

Now this was the second biggest Mega Millions jackpot in history. Just $20 million shy of the record prize given out in March 2012. So it is too early to know exactly who won, whether each ticket belongs to one person, a group or family, maybe even co-workers. Either way the prize is going to get divided. It's going to get divided off at least in half.

And the way the lottery works, the cash option is already about half the total so even though the big number was $636 million, it's really only, only worth about $341 million in cash. You go ahead and factor in state taxes and Washington share and each of the winners are likely only going to walk away -- ha, ha, only. Only walk away with around $120 million.

That's still not too bad, right? As for the number of people who jumped in for their chance to win, this is amazing. In Florida, lottery officials there are saying that their sales topped $8,000 per minute on Tuesday. Oh, my gosh. One New Hampshire store clerk said she had to change the rolls of printer paper four times in the course of just a few hours. So that's despite, of course, the overwhelming odds that most people just -- you wouldn't win.

And everybody knew that. But you know, it's the ultimate fantasy to put down that money and say, I'm going to win. Because you're likely to get hit by an asteroid or a comet. You're more likely get hit by -- bitten by a shark or get struck by lightning. More -- you're more likely to have all that happened than win the Mega Millions but two people clearly have beaten the odds.

Got to note, though, that the people who won the jackpot are likely going to have to eventually come forward publicly. Only six states allow lottery winners to stay anonymous. And California and Georgia are not two of them. But it may take a while to know who won.

California gives winners up to a year to claim their prize. Georgia allows up to six months giving them plenty of time to call a lawyer.

BERMAN: Yes, lawyer up.

KOSIK: Yes. Lawyer up. Watch out for all the phone calls from relatives.

BROWN: Yes.

KOSIK: You know, get all that together before they begin their lives as multimillionaires. And it's not too bad for the 20 second prize winners either. Each of them getting $1 million.

Gosh, you know, I would be thrilled to just be second place.

BROWN: I know. I know. It's so -- it's all relative, though, because you hear a million? You're like a million when you're up against $636 million.

KOSIK: I'll take it.

BERMAN: You have your $3 so, you know.

KOSIK: Again, I'll go buy a cup of coffee.

BROWN: Yes.

BERMAN: Enjoy that coffee, Alison.

BROWN: There you go.

KOSIK: I will. Thanks.

BERMAN: Appreciate it. Thirty-three minutes after the hour, and the motive is still unclear in the deadly shooting near that hospital in Reno, Nevada. The gunman opened fire in a neurology office near Renown Regional Medical Center. At least one person was killed and two others wounded before the gunman turned the weapon on himself.

The entire building was locked down as SWAT teams went room to room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they're all detained here. We'll get you out as soon as we can. But if you can stay in this room, that would be really (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, guys.

TOM ROBINSON, RENO DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF: As far as the suspect goes, we still don't have a solid identity on him yet, but we are working several leads on who he is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Police say they don't think that the shooting was random.

BROWN: A fast-moving snowstorm is heading out to sea today, taking with it some of that intense cold that left much of the country shivering for the last week. That cold snap that socked the nation has now turned deadly. Taken the life of a homeless man in New Hampshire.

BERMAN: The cold is also being blamed for a lot of car accidents like this one here in New York. A massive 32-car pileup, the result of black ice that quickly formed on an expressway. This was a mess. However, the injuries from that scene luckily are said to be minor.

BROWN: And a tragic drowning in Chicago after a tourist fell -- to the city fell into the icy Chicago River. The 30-year-old was walking with friends when she apparently slipped early Tuesday morning. Rescue crews searched under the ice for some 15 minutes before finding her.

And just last week, a 31-year-old man also fell into the river but was rescued in time. Doctors warned hypothermia can set in very quickly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. RAHUL KHARE, NORTHWESTERN MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: As your temperature goes down, your disorientation occurs. You get very confused. It's hard for the people to -- who are in the water.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: I think the storm has lingered a lot longer than anyone thought it would. It's been more deadly than anyone thought it was going to be.

Let's find out what's going to happen next. Let's go to Indra Petersons now for a look at the forecast for today.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we definitely have a couple more storms. This is kind of a weird season, storm after storm continuing to roll in as we get here towards winter.

Let's talk about the amounts that we saw yesterday. A lot of variation, we did know the farther north you were, you are going to see those higher amounts. That's exactly what we saw. In fact today, still around Maine there is that potential for a few more inches of snow. But we are going to be watching, of course, for some lake- effect snow. We're going to continue to see that especially off of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Temperature-wise, we know, it is cold. And this is key in the northeast. We're staying cool. It will rebound nicely very quickly.

What we're going to be watching is Memphis, Atlanta, places like this in the southeast. Look how high these temperatures are starting to climb. Near the 70s. That is key, as another system is expected to make its way through. There's actually two out here. Number one, so all you got to watch is a little bit faster. Number two, good news in California, some showers right around that Big Sur Fire. That's the good story here today. This is the one that could bring some severe weather.

Let's show you how they move. All you want to watch is the pacing here. That first one going to be making its way across very quickly in towards the Midwest. You're going to notice some light snow showers there. Well, most likely here in the middle of the week towards the end of the week, by Friday or so, the northeast looking for some light rain out of this.

It's that second system that's going to be more powerful. You're going to notice, you're going to have that blend, you're going to have that cold front go right up against where all that warm is -- warm air is I showed you in the southeast. And with that, this is what we're going to be watching. It's still far out. But we do know there's going to be a severe weather threat.

Bad timing Saturday and Sunday, places around the gulf, then spreading into the Carolinas towards, of course, Florida by Sunday.

BERMAN: And you're talking straight line winds there, severe, severe winds and possibly tornadoes.

PETERSONS: And possibly tornadoes, which is unbelievable to say this time of year.

BROWN: Right.

BERMAN: December.

BROWN: We'll keep an eye on it. Thanks, Indra.

BERMAN: Thanks very much.

Thirty-seven minutes after the hour. In a great bipartisan experiment in Congress, well, it could reach a conclusion today. With the Senate set to give final approval to that compromised budget deal that will keep the government running through 2015. On Tuesday, 12 Republicans joined with Senate Democrats to end the debate on the plan. That potentially means it was guaranteed to pass. It easily cleared the House last week. President Obama has said he will sign the bill.

BROWN: India is fighting back against what it calls a barbaric treatment of one of its diplomats in New York. A consular official was arrested last week on charges she faked document for her housekeeper's visa. Police strip-searched her and held her in a cell with other females before she could post bond.

And now officials in India are taking action. Take a look. Removing security barriers right outside the U.S. embassy in New Delhi, and stripping U.S. officials of their diplomatic I.D. cards.

BERMAN: It's a mess.

BROWN: Yes.

BERMAN: Thirty-eight minutes after the hour, a helicopter crash has left six American service members dead in Afghanistan. This happened in the southern part of the country. Officials originally blamed a mechanical trouble, but now two senior U.S. officials tells CNN the Pentagon is looking into reports the troops may have actually survived the crash but were killed by mortar fire after the chopper went down. As of now, we have to tell you those reports have not been confirmed.

BROWN: The Obama administration is strongly denying reports the West now does not think Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should leave power. U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, telling a foreign TV station the White House position has not changed and Assad should go. Reuters quoted opposition forces who say that they were told by Western officials that there's growing fear if Assad leaves, Syria may collapse into chaos.

Peace talks between the government and the rebels are scheduled for next month.

BERMAN: Iran may be coming back to the nuclear bargaining table. The foreign adviser to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini told the official Iranian news agency that the, quote, "situation is ready for Iran to reach a final agreement with world powers."

The Rouhani government reached an interim deal last month but pulled out of further talks to protest how sanctions are being enforced.

BROWN: Don't expect to see President Obama at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The White House announcing the commander in chief won't be attending and neither will be the first lady, the vice president or any former president for that matter. Instead, the administration plans to send a delegation, including tennis great Billie Jean King who is openly gay. Pretty symbolic there, I would say.

BERMAN: This is the first time since 1988 that no president, former president --

BROWN: Right.

BERMAN: -- or vice president or former vice president from the U.S. has gone to the Olympics. A clear signal, I think.

BROWN: To Russia's --

BERMAN: Yes.

BROWN: -- ban on gay.

BERMAN: It will be interesting to see how Vladimir Putin and the Russians react to this.

BROWN: Yes. Yes.

BERMAN: All right. Forty minutes after the hour.

Coming up, disturbing new details released in a deadly school shooting. How a Colorado student may have mapped out his revenge.

BROWN: Plus, a teenager checking into a hospital for a routine procedure now on life support. What went so wrong? We're going to have that story and more just ahead.

BERMAN: This is terrifying.

BROWN: Right.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Startling new information about last week's deadly attack on a Colorado high school. The sheriff in Arapahoe County says the gunman had written numbers on his arm that seemed to correspond with classrooms and the library at Arapahoe High School. Also on his arm, a Latin phrase meaning "the dye has been cast."

Pierson burst into the school on Friday and shot a classmate before moving to the library and shooting himself in the head. That classmate Claire Davis is currently hospitalized in a coma.

Faculty are being allowed back in the school today to collect their belongings as a principal of another Colorado school that suffered gun tragedy, Columbine, is warning don't expect life to move on quickly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANK DEANGELIS, COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: What I hear a lot of times is, well, the sooner we get back into school and we get back in classes and we get back to normal, things are going to get back. Things will never be normal again at Arapahoe just like Columbine. We had to redefine what normal is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Students are expected to be allowed back into the school on Thursday but classes will not resume until next month.

BERMAN: That'll be so hard.

Murder charges for the man accused of opening fire at Los Angeles International Airport. 23-year-old Paul Ciancia has now been formally indicted for killing a TSA officer and wounding two other officers and a traveler at the airport. The charges carry a possible death sentence but prosecutors have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty.

BROWN: A court appearance today for a Harvard University sophomore police say was behind a bomb threat that paralyzed a campus earlier this week. 20-year-old Eldo Kim is accused of e-mailing threats to university police and "Harvard Crimson" newspaper on Monday morning claiming there were explosives in four buildings. They were evacuated and searched but nothing was found. Kim was among those scheduled to take final exams on Monday.

BERMAN: A bad, bad decision if true.

A wildfire burning in Big Sur, California, continues to grow. The fire has now scorched nearly 800 acres destroying at least 22 homes. The good news is it's now about 20 percent contained. Big Sur Fire chief Martha Karstens is among those who lost their homes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTHA KARSTENS, CHIEF, BIG SUR FIRE BRIGADE: Until it happens to you, you feel sorry for them, but literally, I went out to fight a fire. I had my purse, I had my cell phone and my glasses, and I didn't know I was going to be trying to save my own home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Yes. More good news, there are no injuries reported from the fire. And crews hope to contain it by Friday. The cause is still under investigation.

BROWN: A woman is dead, a man seriously hurt after an explosion in Birmingham, Alabama. This happened shortly before 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Police say the man and woman were asleep at a first floor apartment when all of a sudden something exploded and the building collapsed. They were trapped under a concrete slab that had fallen from the first floor. Fire officials suspect a natural gas leak was to blame for this.

BERMAN: A lot of questions.

BROWN: Yes.

BERMAN: Absolutely. And a lot of questions here, a huge concern, after a routine operation turns tragic for a California family. And now they want to keep their daughter on life support, despite doctors saying that she's brain-dead. Thirteen-year-old Jahi McMath is now on a ventilator at Children's Hospital in Oakland.

She went to the hospital last week to have their tonsils removed. But something went very, very badly wrong. The family has now presented the hospital with a cease and desist letter saying they alone should decide if she should die.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NAILAN WINKFIELD, MOTHER: I'll take my daughter off of life support because I love my child. And I walked her into that hospital and she was perfectly fine. There was nothing wrong with her. She had no health problems. Even when she got out of the surgery, I talked to her and the only thing she said was that her throat hurt and that she wanted a popsicle.

And once she got to ICU, that's when everything went bad. So I don't want her off life support because I really feel like she can wake up. I feel like it's just been a rough week for her. And if they just give her some more time, she'll be able to wake up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That is so hard. The hospital says it will abide by the family's wishes but it's not been given permission to speak about the case and correct what it calls misperceptions about what happened.

BROWN: Sad story there.

Well, astronauts are set to spend the weekend walking in space to try and fix a problem with a broken cooling line that is crippling the International Space Station. The first space walk is scheduled for Saturday and could last as long as six hours. If needed a second space walk is planned for Monday. And if the problem not resolved by then, the astronauts could spend Christmas day working again.

Hopefully they don't have to do that.

BERMAN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

A growing number of teens think pot is not dangerous. An annual survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found less than 40 percent consider it dangerous, compared to 60 percent back in 1993. The rate of use actually stayed steady. But the report also found fewer teens are trying fake marijuana known by names like K-2 and spice.

BROWN: Well, we know that Christmas can be an expensive holiday. But one man near Chicago is finding out this firsthand because of this, right here. This extraordinary light display. It contains 100,000 lights and more than a mile of extension cords.

Yes, and wait until you hear the price tag. I know you're wondering, the price tag for the electricity that keeps the display lit up, try $1600. No big deal.

Dominic (INAUDIBLE) even had an extra electric line installed just to handle this display. He says it is worth it just for the good time he had decorating it.

Hope it is worth it.

BERMAN: You know, somewhere, Clark Griswold is smiling at that.

(LAUGHTER)

What a display, that is. By the way, not all the lights there are white, just saying.

Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan join us now.

Good morning, guys.

BROWN: Good morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Good morning, you guys.

CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Well --

BROWN: So we're here, we didn't win, did we?

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: That's exactly right. But the big question is who did win, right? Mega Millions jackpot, $636 million. Not one but two jackpot winning tickets. So we're going to be live at the two locations that sold tickets to the winners, San Jose and Georgia.

BOLDUAN: And a very different story that we're following this morning. India is retaliating against the United States. An Indian diplomat was arrested in New York on visa fraud charges. Well, now American officials are feeling the heat because of it overseas. India is even removing security barriers at the U.S. embassy there, if you can believe it.

So are officials there in danger? What is going on? We're going to get -- we're going to dig into it?

BERMAN: That's a serious mess going on right there.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

BERMAN: All right, guys. We'll see you in a little bit.

BROWN: OK. BERMAN: Coming up for us next, we could know today if the taper is coming to an end. A big announcement from the Fed. Maybe -- it sounds complicated but this could mean a lot for you and your money. "Money Time" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Great to see you this morning. It is now "Money Time" and Alison Kosik is here with that.

KOSIK: We're taking about the taper. It's all about the Federal Reserve and what it decides to do with the taper. Will it do a mini taper, a micro taper, maybe even a mega taper.

BERMAN: A tiny taper? A Titanic taper?

(LAUGHTER)

KOSIK: So funny, isn't it? But this is really a big deal. We're going to find out this afternoon because that's when Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, is going to be giving his last press conference after the Fed makes its decision.

Bernanke will be finishing up his term in January. And the big question for investors has been when this will happen and by how much the Fed will bin reeling back its stimulus program.

So far the Fed has pumped $3.8 trillion into the bond market over the past few. That's kept interest rates unusually low. When while some economists, actually most economists, expects no changes to be announced after today's Fed meeting, there is a group who feel a mini taper could be in the cards.

BERMAN: It's sort of a tapelette (ph).

KOSIK: Yes, exactly. Like a tabet (ph)

BERMAN: A tapertini (ph).

KOSIK: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: You've probably (INAUDIBLE) with that.

BERMAN: Yes.

KOSIK: It is kind of interesting. Deutsche Bank actually thinks Bernanke could announce a $10 billion reduction in the $85 billion a month that he's been pumping into bonds and that's because the economy seems to be getting back on its feet. You look at the jobs, they're bouncing back not all the way yet.

GDP has been better than expectations. The housing market continues to rebound. Auto sales are on a tear, so you add that to the market strength. And for the year, the Dow is up 21 percent. The Nasdaq up 33 percent. The S&P 500 up 25 percent.

Whoo. Not too shabby. But rates have always been rising. The 10- year, which is an important benchmark for mortgages, is up sharply since the beginning of the year. And how are the markets expected to react to a mini taper? Probably not much.

The predominant thinking on Wall Street is that a small taper is already factored in. One thing that investors will also be listening carefully for is what Ben Bernanke might say today about jobs going forward since the jobless rate is now at 7 percent. Bernanke could decide to actually push the Fed's jobs threshold rate lower than 6.5 percent, because that's where it currently stands.

And that would actually have big implications for interest rates down the road. So you may see a little bit of tweaking going on. And it's going to be interesting. 2:00 comes the decision, 2:30 is the press conference.

BERMAN: Yes. It's complicated and the language sounds complicated but it's hugely important to everyone and their 401(k)s and their jobs and the markets starting at 2:00.

KOSIK: Yes. (INAUDIBLE).

BROWN: We do.

KOSIK: OK.

BROWN: All right. Thank you, Alison. Appreciate it.

KOSIK: Thanks.

BROWN: And coming up right here on EARLY START, George Zimmerman, from accused killer to artist? Bids for artwork reported to be his skyrocketing on eBay. How much it's going for this morning may be a head-scratcher. We'll right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. George Zimmerman's artistic star continues to rise.

So, as we told you, he posted this painting of a blue American flag on eBay earlier this week. The price tag, he listed it at $50. Well, so many people have now bid on it, it's now going for, get this, more than $110,000. And there are still three days left to bid.

$110,000. I have to say this is eBay. I have my doubts about whether anyone will actually shell out that kind of money. Nevertheless, seems like a big deal right now.

We're going to have more on this story coming up on NEW DAY. Art critic Jerry Salts will join Chris and Kate to talk about George Zimmerman, the artist. That's in the 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time hour of "NEW DAY."

BROWN: Wow. I saw Chris read about this yesterday saying, can someone explain this, please?

BERMAN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: All right. "NEW DAY" starts right now.