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Duck Dynasty Star Speaks; Priest Found Dead; Target under Fire Again; Starbucks 365

Aired January 2, 2014 - 08:30   ET


JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And they broke a record with that temperature this morning. Next three days, guys, it doesn't get much better. The northeast will even be waking up in the single digits over the next couple of days.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Completely uncalled for. Jennifer Gray, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: That big storm that's bearing down on us is definitely one of the things you should know, but there are five others that you should know for your new day. Here's Ana.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Finally rescued. A helicopter airlifted 52 passengers from that ship that's been stranded since Christmas Eve in Antarctica. They will likely be taken to an Australian ice-breaking ship and then off to Tasmania where they should arrive by mid-January.

Number two, Americans are now receiving health coverage under Obamacare. More than 2 million people have signed up, but it's still unclear just how many have paid their first month's premium. Now, the policies don't take effect until then.

Seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is in critical but stable condition. It's been three days after Schumacher suffered brain injuries in a skiing accident. He has had two brain operations and is still in a medically induced coma.

Hollywood is mourning the loss of actor James Avery, best known for his role as Uncle Phil on that hit '90s sitcom "Fresh Prince of Bel- Air." Avery died Tuesday following complications from heart surgery. He was 68 years old.

Hackers may have compromised information for millions on Snapchat. Hackers say they were trying to prove a point about privacy. Now, Skype was also the target of the Syrian Electronic Army, which posted messages on Skype's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Of course, we're always updating five things you need to know, so go to

PEREIRA: All right, Ana, thank you so much for that.

The stars of "Duck Dynasty" breaking their silence. Star and family patriarch Phil Robertson was suspended last month over remarks that were viewed by many as anti-gay and racially insensitive. Now with dad reinstated his son says it's time to move on. Just one problem, a new video coming to light with even more shocking comments. CNN's Pamela Brown is following it all for us and joins us now.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here we go again. Just a few days after A&E lifted its suspension of "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson. The star is in hot water again. This time for an unearthed online video from three years ago showing Robertson suggesting to a crowd it's a good idea to marry teenage girls. It's yet another controversy for the family and the network to address.


BROWN (voice-over): Phil Robertson, the patriarch of A&E's hit show "Duck Dynasty," is starting off the new year with a new controversy. A video has surfaced of Robertson from 2009 in which he advises men to marry women at a very young age.

PHIL ROBERTSON: You wait until they get to be 20 years old, the only picking that's going to take place is your pocket. You got to marry these girls when they're about 15 or 16 (INAUDIBLE).

BROWN: Robertson married his own wife Kay when she was just 16 and he was 20.

MIKE PAUL, PRESIDENT, MGP & ASSOCIATES PR: What is the tipping point to get it kicked off the air? And the answer thus far is, nothing. There are more and more people who are watching the show and more and more people who are buying their products to show support.

BROWN: The family has been the center of a media firestorm since comments Robertson made in an interview with "GQ" magazine in which he discussed his opinions on African-Americans and gays, describing homosexuality as against nature, saying "it's not logical, my man, it's just not logical."

ROBERTSON: Pain's a good thing.

BROWN: A&E suspended Robertson from filming and Robertson issued an apology. After a flurry of online support, the network reinstated him to the show saying they "decided to resume filming 'Duck Dynasty' later this spring with the entire Robertson family."

Phil Robertson's son, Willie, addressed the issue of his father's initial comments on Fox News during this New Year's Eve coverage.

WILLIE ROBERTSON, STAR, "DUCK DYNASTY": I think we all learned a lot and we're just ready to move on and the family's happy and we're ready to go.

BROWN: A lot of this may have come down to money, with 14 million viewers per episode, "Duck Dynasty" is A&E's top rated show and "Forbes" magazine estimates their endorsements and merchandise brought in $400 million in 2013.

PAUL: Ultimately it comes down to audience, because the advertisers and the interest groups are all going to follow what the audience says. And what the audience has said thus far is, we like the guy.


BROWN: CNN's attempt for comment from A&E and the Robertson family about that latest video were unsuccessful. Now, a lot of the show's fans have been unsurprised by the various videos that have emerged since the show from the start has been about the Robertsons as a backwoods Louisiana family, according to these fans. Now, new episodes of the show are scheduled to air starting January 15th. So we'll have to see if any more videos surface.

BERMAN: They're online. People are going to start going through them, I bet, piece by piece.

PEREIRA: Yes. Yes.

BERMAN: All right, Pamela, thanks so much.

BROWN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Next up for us on NEW DAY, a community in shock over a beloved priest's death. While this community searches for peace, police search for a possible killer.

PEREIRA: Target facing more tough times. A data breach we told you about here on CNN and now botched gift cards. What else can go wrong for the company?


BERMAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone.

Now to a possible murder mystery unfolding in California. A Catholic parish there is reeling. One of its beloved priests is dead and the circumstances surrounding how he died surrounded in mystery. Ana Cabrera has that story for us.

CABRERA: So important to know, we don't know for sure how he died, but right now Father Eric Freed's death is being treated as a murder investigation. As authorities continue to process the scene, a colleague in the religious studies department at Humboldt State University remembered his friend this way, saying, quote, "this was not some stuffy clergyman. He was very much someone that you could sit down and speak with. He connected with everybody."


CABRERA (voice-over): Just hours after celebrating the start of the new year, this was the scene outside of St. Bernard Church in Eureka, California. Police tape covering an entire block.

CHIEF ANDY MILLS, EUREKA, CALIFORNIA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: This morning at about 9:00, officers were summoned to this location to check suspicious circumstances in the rectory and found one person who appeared deceased.

CABRERA: Although police officials stopped short of identifying the deceased, Eureka's mayor confirmed it was the body of beloved Roman Catholic Priest Eric Freed, found inside the church's rectory.

MAYOR FRANK JAGER, CITY OF EUREKA: Everybody know it's Father Eric. Father Eric was a friend of mine, a tremendous person in this community.

CABRERA: The circumstances surrounding the death remain murky. What is clear is that this may not have been an accident.

MILLS: Since it was not a normal circumstance or what we'd expect in a normal death investigation, investigators have been called and we've assembled a team with as much expertise as we can possible muster to make sure that this investigation is through and complete and timely.

CABRERA: While authorities continue processing the crime scene and searching for his 2010 Nissan Altima, they admit there are no solid leads, yet. Now mourners are remembering Father Eric as a man of the community, kind, warm, deeply involved, trying to make sense of his troubling death.

JAGER: Those of us that believe in prayer, this is the time for that, and hope we can find out who did this.


CABRERA: Authorities are following up on tips and, as we mentioned, they're trying to figure out where he may have left his car, searching for any clue that might shed light on what happened inside that church in the very early morning hours of New Year's Day.

BERMAN: It's so awful. And so often you look to your priest for guidance through tough times like this and, of course, this time he's the one who's been lost.

CABRERA: And apparently he's only been in the community for three years or so and has already kind of carved a path for himself. He's a professor at the university teaching courses. He had really connected with the Japanese-Americans there because he had spent time in Japan. So it's just such a mystery.

BERMAN: Let's hope they get some answers.

Next up for us on NEW DAY, another bump in the road for Target stores after revealing that 40 million of their customers' debit and credit card accounts were hacked and now there's a problem with their own gift cards.

PEREIRA: And talk about the ultimate daily grind. You are going to meet the woman who lived off of Starbucks only for an entire year. Why on earth did she do it? We'll talk with her live.


PEREIRA: This might go down as the roughest holiday season for Target of recent years. Just two weeks after announcing that massive payment data security breach the retail giant now facing another bump in the road. Target saying Wednesday that some of the gift cards it sold over the holidays were not fully activated.

CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik joins us. I'm just imagining the nightmare, you have a great load of stuff, and you're checking out grandma's given you a gift card and boom it doesn't work.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And boom it shows no value. And you think, oh my God I got this gift card. How can there be no value. So for Target this is a one-two punch because, you know, they just went through this whole breach of security with the credit cards and now this.

The good news is that Target says that the number of cards affected was less than, let me get this right, less than 0.1 percent of the total amount of cards sold over the holiday season. So a Target spokeswoman saying look, this isn't a huge problem. We are aware -- she's saying -- that some Target gift cards were not fully activated and we apologize for the inconvenience.

The good news is Target is going to go ahead and honor these gift cards that are having this glitch. Customers can bring the faulty cards to any of the Target customer service desks, or they can call this number -- grab a pen if you have one handy -- 1-800-544-2943.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: How do you know if you're one of the affected people?

KOSIK: Good question -- right. Walk up and say hey I had 50,000 bucks on this, really.

PEREIRA: Yes -- on the honor system.

KOSIK: No, no, no. They won't take the honor system, what they can do is they can track it. So when you bring it to the desk there's a number on the back, Target can go ahead and track it and see how much money is on there so you can go ahead and use it.

It's really kind of a lesson for those of us who get gift cards in the future, some of the advice that I'm hearing is when you get that gift card, keep the receipt with you, maybe wrap it around the card and hold it with you so you always have the receipt. Also there is that number on the back of most gift cards so you can call and get the value.

BERMAN: So Alison is there any sense yet of how damaging this has all been for Target this holiday season because they've had a world of problems so far.

KOSIK: Oh, yes. I mean especially around the holiday season when you're getting that crush of customers and so many customers have been affected by this, we're already getting indication that sales may have taken a hit over the holiday season that what Target wound up doing is offering that 10 percent off. When this came to light it offered that 10 percent off over the weekend.

But you know, one analyst is putting it this way. This is just one more black eye, this is from actually Brian Sasi (ph), one of my favorite retail analysts who says, "It really makes you question the internal operations of Target. That Target at this point has to do everything perfectly. It can't afford to lose any more confidence.

And that's really what's at stake here is confidence in going to the store and knowing that when you make that purchase, am I going to walk out with someone else walking out with my number and me not even knowing it.

PEREIRA: Well this is -- it's not as though they're running out of an item on store shelves. These are pretty massive problems in terms of they're big deals. The data breach was a gigantic issue.

KOSIK: Right, it's a huge issue and it really does come down to confidence.


KOSIK: And Target is certainly taking a hit -- it took a hit with sales, there were some indications in December. We will see what retail sales numbers come out in the coming weeks.


CABRERA: And obviously as you've been covering business over so many years, you know, is this a situation where you think that Target has some internal problems really going on, the fact that these things can slip through the cracks or is it coincidental that there's multiple issues that they're talking about?

KOSIK: Well clearly something was wrong here, my bet is that they're going to really fix it and they're going to fix it good. And there is a good chance here that Target can recover from this. It's just a matter of all these people were affected, who will be reaping the ramifications of it in the future.

You know, the crooks may have gotten off with all this information, credit and debit card numbers, customer names, CVB number -- that's that little number in the back of the card that you use where you do an online purchase or over the phone purchase.

These are really detailed information for your cards, but many experts are saying if you're worried at all, go ahead and have your card switched out to a new number if you're worried about what the future brings with these crooks having this kind of information.

PEREIRA: Wow. Another thing to watch out for -- Alison.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up for us next on NEW DAY, imagine eating only meals from Starbucks for an entire year. One woman actually did this. You will not believe what it cost her. And she's going to join us live to explain why on earth she bothered doing this right after the break.


BERMAN: Welcome back everyone.

You have to check out what heavy rains have done in Hawaii. They opened up a sink hole on the big island that swallowed up a truck. The driver here thankfully is OK. He managed to climb out through the window. The rains there have set records in some places and triggered some pretty serious landslides. Look at that.

PEREIRA: We should never doubt Mother Nature. She'd be fierce.

BERMAN: No, I'm a believer.

CABRERA: If only we could control Mother Nature when it's convenient for us.

PEREIRA: How fortunate. We've seen a number of these sink holes opening up along the California. We saw some of them in the Los Angeles area, aging infrastructure, et cetera. This one -- boy, what a surprise -- how terrifying.


PEREIRA: It's deep too. Look at that. Glad to know he's OK.


PEREIRA: All right, imagine this -- 24/7, 365 days Starbucks. That is the life our next guest lived. She challenged herself to eat and drink only items that could be purchased from Starbucks or its partner stores for an entire year. Her year just ended and I feel like she probably has a new challenge she set for herself.

She's joining us now, her name and it is her name, Beautiful Existence -- we'll talk to her about her name in a moment. She joins us live bright and early from Seattle, Washington, where it is awfully early. Thank you so much and Happy New Year. Good to have you with us.


PEREIRA: So the question that begs to be asked, Beautiful, is why, oh why would you do this?

EXISTENCE: Starbucks is the third year that I've done challenges. And I go in for a year and set myself a challenge around a brand to live and Starbucks was eating challenge for me. And I've been focusing on Pacific Northwest brands and they were the first year for me to focus on Pacific Northwest brands and I knew that with the other items that they own like La Boulange and Evolution Fresh that my menu options would be a little bit more diverse than just bistro boxes. And I felt it was something that I could do while I discovered the brand and the community that is around Starbucks and I did.

BERMAN: Miss Existence, if I can call you that.


BERMAN: When I go to Starbucks I have a hard time finding one thing to eat. Forget the coffee for a second. Everyone knows the coffee. I have a hard time picking out food if I want to get myself filled up. I have a hard time finding one thing -- you found a year's worth of food. How do you do that?

EXISTENCE: Yes. Actually I was really lucky this last year because they introduced La Boulange so they changed their menu options with that and they also opened up a like a Teavana store around here and they had different food options with that.

And like I said, Evolution Fresh kind of changes their food menu items every season as well, so I actually had quite a few things that had changed during this last year that offered me really great variety just besides that they had, you know, the different brands, they actually kept changing the food items as well. So it was actually really easy for an entire year to find something new all the time with them.

CABRERA: Of course, everybody wants to know, what happened as far as did you gain weight, did you lose weight, were you able to maintain?

EXISTENCE: Yes, absolutely. So for one month I actually took on Christine Hall's Starbucks diet challenge and I lost weight. Absolutely Starbucks puts together menu items and protein bistro boxes and, you know, sandwiches that have a calorie count. So as long as you're active and as long as you really monitor, you know, the intake of your calories you absolutely can lose weight and I did.

This year because I knew that I was going to go into a really active sporting challenge year in 2014, I kind of increased my athletic vigor in 2013 and I did not gain weight at all.

PEREIRA: We should point out your next challenge for yourself is mastering every sport featured at REI, which I need to talk to you about in a whole other segment because that's amazing.

I'm curious -- we talked about the impact to your waistline. What about to your pocketbook? I go to Starbucks and get a coffee and I feel like I spent a lot of money. How did you do this financially?

EXISTENCE: Well I had money on cards that I had been saving before this challenge for sure, and I had a lot of support from family and friends, I will tell you that. And I did not allow myself to go to the malls. I didn't go shopping. I barely got anything that I would have liked to have gotten.

PEREIRA: How much did you spend a month?

EXISTENCE: Well, I have all my receipts, and I tallied them up last night, it's like a big huge stack, like seriously, like a big stack.

PEREIRA: Wow. EXISTENCE: For the year, and every month I broke out what the month was and I'm missing some receipts because sometimes you know, something would happen and I'd miss a receipt but I tallied it up last night and I spent over $7,000 last year.

CABRERA: And you're a mom, too, right?

EXISTENCE: I am, yes.


CABRERA: What did your kids make of this?

EXISTENCE: Well, they like going to Starbucks and getting a cookie or my youngest one knows the Starbucks logo really well now, he's three, and points to it and says, "Mommy". He told me last week that he wanted a hot chocolate from Starbucks.

BERMAN: You're like I'm never going again, never again.

PEREIRA: Oh, my.

CABRERA: You created a monster.

PEREIRA: Listen, we are impressed that your next challenge again mastering every support featured at REI. You've only done two of the sports, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Ultra-marathon and ice climbing you say are the most daunting. We wish you luck. Please be safe and maybe check in with us and let us know how the challenge is going this next year.

EXISTENCE: Yes, absolutely, absolutely.

PEREIRA: Beautiful Existence survived a year on Starbucks alone -- my, my, my. We haven't even talked about her caffeine intake.

BERMAN: Hats off.

PEREIRA: That's it for us today on NEW DAY time for "NEWSROOM" with Fredricka Whitfield -- Fred.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks so much, Michaela, John, Ana -- I don't know. I'm getting a charge just by hearing her story. Who needs any more caffeine? You're very motivated. You all have a great day.

PEREIRA: You too, darling.

WHITFIELD: "NEWSROOM" starts right now.

Happening right now in the "NEWSROOM", millions of people in the crosshairs of a major winter storm --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay off the roads. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seems like it's been snowing since the winter got here.


WHITFIELD: Twenty-five states will be hit, some will see up to a foot of snow and parts of the East Coast are bracing for blizzard conditions.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The helicopter is here to take us home.


WHITFIELD: They're ever enthusiastic. The snow dragon to the rescue trapped for nine days in the ice off Antarctica. Passengers on board a Russian research ship are finally going to head home.

Edward Snowden should get asylum says the "New York Times" in a surprise editorial that claims the NSA leaker deserves a deal because he did the country a great service.

And Snapchat users, you've been hacked!