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Maryland Mall Shooter Identified; Energy Costs; Beatles Honored; French President And Partner Separate; Wawrinka Upsets Nadal In Australian Open; Dodger Stadium Freezes Over For Hockey; Big Apple Overshadows Super Bowl Town; 300 Plus Sick On Royal Caribbean Cruise; Rape Suspects Walk Free In Florida; The Beatles' Long And Winding Road
Aired January 26, 2014 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
These are the stories topping our news at this hour. The man who opened fire inside a Maryland mall has been identified. Will it get police any closer to learning why he did it? What investigators are learning today.
And staying warm is a struggle with temperatures below zero. It doesn't help if your propane bill doubles of. Some families' propane costs are higher than their mortgage payments.
And it's going to be a special night at the Grammys for the Beatles -- coming up, what Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr remember about the first time they came to America.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
WHITFIELD: And we begin with this breaking story.
A brain-dead pregnant woman has been taken off a respirator and ventilator after an emotional legal battle. That's after a Texas hospital said today it would not fight the judge's ruling to turn off Marlise Munoz's machines.
Nick Valencia is live for us now in Fort Worth, Texas, outside a hospital there.
So, Nick, is the family reacting?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The family, we're only hearing them through their attorney.
But I want to get to that statement, which read, in part, Fred, it says: "Our client, Erick Munoz, has authorized us to give notice that today, at approximately 11:30 a.m. Central time, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Marlise Munoz's body was disconnected from 'life support' and released to Mr. Munoz. The Munoz and Machado families" -- that's the parents of Marlise Munoz -- "will now proceed with the somber task of laying Marlise Munoz's body to rest, and grieving over the great loss that has been suffered." They continue by saying, "May Marlise Munoz finally rest in peace, and her family find the strength to complete what has been an unbearably long and arduous journey" -- that journey lasting about eight-and-a- half weeks.
Marlise Munoz was legally pronounced brain-dead on November 28. Now, before an hour before we got this statement from the family's attorney, we got a statement from the hospital. And I want to read that. In part, that read: "From the onset, JPS has said its role was not to make nor contest law but to follow it. On Friday, a state district judge ordered the removal of life-sustaining treatment from Marlise Munoz. The hospital will follow the court order."
Now, Fredricka, all along, JPS Hospital has maintained that they were simply following state law and that they did nothing wrong because they had no legal precedent to go off of. Now, I reached out to the vice president of communication for the hospital asking if they still plan on appealing the judge's order, because they still, despite removing Marlise Munoz from the ventilator, have the opportunity to appeal. They told me, Nick, we're going to follow the court's mandate -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: And so now what is next?
VALENCIA: Now it's moving onto the grieving process for the Munoz family, finding a funeral home to continue on with the burial for Marlise Munoz.
We did reach out to the attorney beyond this statement to try to get comment to see if Erick Munoz will be making any on-camera statement to talk about this anguishing time for the family and really all involved in this entire situation. We have not heard back from the attorney or from the Munoz family -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you so much from Fort Worth. Keep us posted.
VALENCIA: You bet.
WHITFIELD: And new details in that deadly mall shooting in Maryland. Police have identified the gunman as 19-year-old Darion Marcus Aguilar.
And officials gave chilling details about what happened exactly yesterday.
Erin McPike is live for us now in Columbia, Maryland.
So, Erin, what more have we learned about what happened and what may have happened leading up to that shooting?
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, investigators have determined some of the logistical details, like what the shooter did when he got here and how he got to the mall.
But they are still trying to figure out why. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MCPIKE (voice-over): The gunman now identified in Saturday's terrifying shooting at this mall in Columbia, Maryland.
BILL MCMAHON, HOWARD COUNTY POLICE CHIEF: Darion Marcus Aguilar is the shooter.
MCPIKE: But police still aren't talking about a possible motive, although they say the 19-year-old Aguilar lived in the same College Park, Maryland, neighborhood as one of the victims, 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo.
MCMAHON: We haven't been able to verify any type of relationship at this point between him and either of our victims. We can't establish that there is one. We have not been able to establish there is not one. That is an open question.
MCPIKE: Surveillance videos, police say, reveal that Aguilar arrived by taxi at this upper-level mall entrance around 10:15 Saturday morning walking by a children's carousel and carrying a backpack with two homemade devices.
Over the next hour, they say, he went downstairs and back up into skateboard shop Zumiez, where Benlolo working alongside the other victim, 25-year-old Tyler Johnson of Mount Airy, Maryland.
Aguilar fired six to eight shots, investigators said, killing Johnson and Benlolo, and the gunfire injuring another woman in the foot on the floor below.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody started running. And they said, somebody is down there and he has got a gun. And I heard at least eight to 10 gunshots.
MCPIKE: As witnesses ran away in the chaos, authorities say he then killed himself with Mossberg .12-gauge shotgun he bought last month in neighboring Montgomery County. Police finished searching the mall early Sunday morning, but it remains closed.
MCPIKE: Now, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said that the mall is likely to reopen on Tuesday, though it could be earlier.
And when that happens, there will be an increased security presence here -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Erin McPike, thanks so much in Columbia, Maryland.
So, people scrambled for shelter inside that mall, crawling on their hands and knees to find a safe spot. And once they were able to get out, they described what they heard and what they saw in those moments of terror.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the back of my store working with my other co-worker. All of a sudden, these two people just run to the back of our backroom saying somebody is in the mall shooting. Some people were going towards the one exit. A lot of other people who didn't know where the exits were, were just going the other way and just hiding out in rooms.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People started running and they said somebody is down there and he has got a gun. And I heard at least eight to 10 gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard somebody say shots fired. So I grabbed a kid and I looked. Three people fell to the ground. Grabbed the kid and ran, had mother follow me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People dropped everything. They left their strollers. Their stroller is still there, coats, phones, bags, everybody, shoes. I saw people's shoes just sitting there. Food was knocked over. Everyone just started running. Kids were running. You just ran and you just run to the nearest place you could find.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were in the backroom waiting. We turned off our lights and stayed in the backroom to wait for further information.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were in the back of the store in the fitting room area. Literally, just where do you go? You're in a sitting room area. If someone is going to come in, you're still just as vulnerable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did call 911 to see if it was true. They did say, yes, ma'am. Please seek shelter. I did hear the helicopter land on, I'm assuming, on our roof.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone was scared. It was pretty chaotic at the time, people running by the store, people ducking down on the floor in the candy store. But we just kind of took control and said, come on, guys, and got everybody in the backroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just crazy. It was one of those things that you see on TV, but you never expect that you will go through.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A number of SWAT teams and other arriving, just like the -- getting out of their vehicles and putting on body armor and carrying assault weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the SWAT team was going from store to store trying -- telling people to get out, because when everybody left, not all the stores closed their doors. I think that they were still looking at each and every store trying to find the guy, I guess.
There were a lot of kids back there who were crying, and a lot of mothers who were holding onto them crying and shaking and not knowing what's going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Incredible moments. Five people in the end were hurt in that shooting. They were all treated at the hospital and released.
A 19-year-old Russian man in Pennsylvania has been arrested and charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Police in Altoona say they found a homemade bomb and bomb-making materials while investigating an alleged marijuana growing operation. They say the man told them that he wanted to blow things up, but later said he planned to detonate devices in a field and was not going to blow up anything. He's being held on a half-million-dollars bail.
Health investigators are trying to figure out what's making hundreds of people sick on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. A crew from the Centers for Disease Control is boarding the Explorer of the Seas in St. Thomas today to investigate the gastrointestinal illnesses. A resident of St. Thomas caught up with a frustrate passenger and then sent this video into CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People just would like to know what's it been like being on the ship with the virus and everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terrible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrible? Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will never come back again, not on this cruise line.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes? Yes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were here with them two years ago, the same thing. The ship was overrun with this sickness. You know, any -- sicknesses can evolve, but it's the most disorganized trip I have ever been on in my life. I'm almost 80 years old. It's sad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. OK. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The ship left New Jersey on Tuesday. It skipped a stop in Haiti and went straight to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to be sanitized yesterday.
This is the second Royal Caribbean ship to get hit with sicknesses this month. Dozens of people suffered similar symptoms on the Majesty of the Seas just a few days ago. Coming up, how you can protect yourself from getting sick if you plan to be on a cruise ship any time soon.
The U.N. envoy mediating Syria peace talks says Syria will allow women and children to leave the besieged city of Homs tomorrow. But Syria's opposition said on Twitter the face-to-face negotiations have stopped. The two sides are now in separate rooms. It could be a bad sign for the talks aimed to end a conflict that has claimed more than 100,000 lives already.
And here in the U.S., there is outrage today over comments made by venture capitalist Tom Perkins. He has compared the experience of wealthy Americans to a deadly Nazi campaign that preceded the Holocaust.
In a letter to the editor of "The Wall Street Journal," he wrote -- quoting now -- "Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its 1 percent, namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American 1 percent, namely the rich."
Perkins is a co-founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which invests in technology firms.
OK, it's been 50 years since the Beatles invaded America and changed the pop music landscape forever. Well, tonight, the two surviving members will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys. The recording academy has not said if Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will be performing together tonight. But if they do, it will be the first time since 2010.
Coming up, McCartney and Starr opening up about what it's like and what it was like to launch a pop culture revolution.
The French president and his partner calling it quits. What's that say about his character?
And why the cost of heating your home in this country could skyrocket.
WHITFIELD: Winter isn't at all loosening its grip on much of the U.S. More bitter cold temperatures, snow and high winds are expected. Chicago public schools will, in fact, be closed tomorrow. Snow and high winds made it almost impossible to see in South Grand Forks, North Dakota.
WHITFIELD: All right, millions of Americans are shivering from the bitter cold and some are also shuddering at the cost to actually stay warm. The price for propane has almost doubled in some ways.
George Howell introduces us to three families who say they weren't prepared for these record prices.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 12 million Americans use propane to heat their homes. And with this particular winter, we're finding that the demand is up, the price is up as well, and the supply is limited. Want to take you on a tour of three different families to show you how they're trying to deal with it. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they're going to gouge me this bad, yes. My propane will cost me more than my mortgage payment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sure as hell don't want to pay $4,000 a month or so for propane.
HOWELL: Do you think homeowners are prepared for the price of propane right now? It's over $5.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not. Nobody would have thought this was going to happen.
HOWELL: Does this keep you warm?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I have blankets on the couches. Kids have double blankets on their beds. I don't know what else to do.
HOWELL: How much did it take to fill this up?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I only got 500 gallons. That's all they give me yesterday. Natural gas ain't out here. It's propane or nothing. What do you do? You buy it and like it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's horrifying, you can't turn your thermostat much lower without freezing your pipes. All of our appliances run on propane.
SANDY BENCHIN, RESIDENT: How could it go up from yesterday at $2. 69 a gallon to $5 today? How can that happen?
HOWELL: How are people going to deal with this if the price keeps going up?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They either have a choice. You pay for the propane or you pay for your house to live in. What are you going to do?
HOWELL: States are taking steps to provide some relief, easing restrictions on propane trucks. Ten Midwestern states, 14 on the east coast, and nine southern states are allowing more than 23 hours of service to get more propane to the places that need it. But help can't come soon enough with people dealing with temperatures that continue to drop and prices that keep shooting up.
George Howell, CNN, Crete, Illinois.
WHITFIELD: President Obama's State of the Union address only two days away now. In a minute, I will ask a couple of former presidential speechwriters what they think the president needs to say in this speech.
WHITFIELD: As President Obama prepares to delivers his 2014 State of the Union address this week, we're going back to some of the promises and the pledges made in his 2013 address.
Today, CNN's Tom Foreman looks at what the president said about changes to Medicare and where it stands now.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president underlined the rising cost of medical care for senior citizens as a serious worry and promised big changes to Medicare.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn't be based on the number of tests ordered or days in the hospital. They should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive.
FOREMAN: He unveiled several proposals to cut costs, make wealthier seniors pay more and encourage better care, but the Republicans had their own ideas about improving Medicare.
The two plans collided in Congress. Neither could overcome the opposition, and this is a measure that has effectively stalled.
WHITFIELD: All right. Tom Foreman, thanks so much.
So, that was President Obama in last year's State of the Union. This year, the president is trying to recover political ground following a rough couple months that saw his approval rating dip to 43 percent. And he's expected to lay out proposals on economic growth and creating more jobs for middle-class workers.
Joining me now, Clark Judge. He's a former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan and is the founder of White House Writers Group.
Good to see you.
CLARK JUDGE, FORMER REAGAN SPEECHWRITER: Good to see you.
And Michael Waldman, he has been a speechwriter in the Clinton White House and is now president of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU Law School.
Good to see you as well.
MICHAEL WALDMAN, FORMER CLINTON SPEECHWRITER: Great to be with you.
WHITFIELD: All right, so, Clark Judge, let me begin with you.
If the president is going to spend time on jobs and the economy in his speech, what does he need to say specifically to really win people over on Tuesday?
JUDGE: Well, what he should say is not what he will say.
What he should say that with the amount of jobs now still two-thirds of what -- recovered from what were lost in the recession, that -- and with new business creation, which is where most jobs -- new jobs come from, at a low, and with the United States having dropped in world rankings to being not in -- no longer in the top 10 best countries for new business creation, he should say that we are going to do things to cut and streamline regulation, reduce taxes, and do all the things that make new businesses bloom and jobs bloom.
But that's not what he's planning to do. He's told -- or his people have told the press that they are going to focus on income redistribution. They are going to focus on higher minimum wage. Only about 3 percent of the population gets the minimum wage. And more than half of those are either teenagers or in their early to mid-20s, significantly more than half.
So he's focused on one hand the wrong areas and areas which are in the minimum wage, peripheral to lowering the unemployment rate. He should be focusing on more jobs and more new business creation and more growth in the private economy. And that's not where he's going.
WHITFIELD: And, Michael, a State of the Union should also be a time, a place in which the president can boast of certain accomplishments and promises to do more of that. You would think that health care would be one of those high points that the president would want to kind of highlight. But it's unlikely that he's even going to mention the words health care, or do you disagree, that it is something that he will try to celebrate in his State of the Union?
WALDMAN: Oh, I would be very surprised if he didn't talk about health care and the progress they see and how the health care law is affecting things as it's come online.
Look, I think that I would be quite surprised if President Obama gave a great Ronald Reagan State of the Union, which is what I think Clark just outlined. I think he's going to set out his vision of how to keep the economy growing.
And I think it's sort of interesting. He has not always been so willing to claim credit for the growth of the economy since the collapse that preceded his arrival, not pointing fingers backwards, but to point out the economy is starting to pick up steam.
The problem is that Washington, government, Congress, is gridlocked, is paralyzed, and it's hard to get grand bargains or anything else, minimal bargains, to legislate any further progress. So, I think he's got to point to what's going on not in chamber or Congress, but out in the country and talk too about some of the areas. There are a few where there's actually a chance for progress.
I will give you one example. Last year, a year ago, he talked about what a disgrace it was that people in this country have to wait on line to vote for hours. He appointed a bipartisan commission. Well, that Republican and Democrat-led body proposed a really strong set of reforms last week, and there's also a bipartisan bill in Congress to fix the Voting Rights Act, which was gutted by the Supreme Court.
That's kind of a surprising area for bipartisan progress, given how contentious voting is. That's something where he can talk about...
WHITFIELD: And you think that will be showcased?
WALDMAN: I would hope it would be showcased.
And, again, I think that unafraid and unambiguous pride in what they have done is something we can expect, but not couching everything based on whatever the House Republican Caucus is going to be willing to pass.
WHITFIELD: All right, Michael Walden, Clark Judge, thank so much, gentlemen.
Of course, we will all be watching Tuesday evening. This political programming note, you at home, you can be watching, too, live right here on CNN President Obama delivering his State of the Union address. What impact will it have on the midterm elections? CNN will have the details live from Washington starting 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday night right here on CNN.
All right, which city is hosting next Sunday's Super Bowl? If you said New York, you are wrong -- why some in the real host city say their town is getting the cold shoulder these days.
WHITFIELD: Paris may be the city of love, but one high-profile romance there ended. French President Francois Hollande has split with paramor. The news comes after weeks of media buzz surrounding his alleged affair with an actress. CNN's Jim Bitterman reports from Paris.
JIM BITTERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, this long-running soap opera is apparently now over. It began two weeks ago when a magazine revealed that President Hollande had allegedly been slipping out at the back door for a tryst with a movie actress. When the first lady heard that, she was hospitalized for a state of exhaustion. She stayed at the hospital for a few days and then went through an official presidential residence where she was until yesterday.
Yesterday she left the residence. Shortly thereafter, the president himself called the press, the semi-official news agency here to say that he was, in fact, ending his shared life with Valerie. She sent out a tweet thanking the palace for their devotion and help over the last 20 months that she has been first lady.
She went off to India today. She will be in India doing work for a nongovernment organization and President Hollande is preparing for a trip to Turkey apparently now as a bachelor president -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: OK. Jim Bittermann with the hard tale facts there from Paris.
All right, a stunning upset at the Australian Open, outdoor ice hockey in Southern California and then desperate measures for Super Bowl tickets. Here is CNN's Joe Carter with all of today's "Bleacher Report."
JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Wow, Fred, this is a stunning loss, Rafael Nadal, the number one tennis player in the world upset by Stanislas Wawrinka in the finals today. Before today's match, Wawrinka had never won a set against Nadal, much less a back. It's all because Nadal hurt his back, injury that happened early on in the match. The trainer worked on his back every chance he could, but it really never loosened up.
Nadal's game is all about power. He's an aggressive player, but with the injured back he wasn't the same. Wawrinka, the 28-year-old from Switzerland played second fiddle to the most popular player, Roger Federer. This time he's the king. He learned this grand slam title the hard way. He's the first player in 21 years to beat a number one seed and number two seed in a major tournament. He beat Djokovic and Nadal to win the title.
You don't hear this every day. Dodgers Stadium hosted its first ever outdoor hockey game last night. Temperatures in the mid-60s throughout the game. Ice held up well and obviously as you could see. It is much more than a hockey game. It was a spectacular event. Kiss was there. The UFC marching band, even a volleyball court next to the ice rink, NHL legend Wayne Gretzky dropped the puck and 55,000 people filled the stadium to watch the Anaheim Ducks win 3-0 over the Los Angeles Kings. The Ducks remained best team in NHL. Now there are more outdoor games, two at Yankee Stadium and one in Chicago at Soldier Field in March.
Trending on "Bleacher Report," how far would you go to win NFL playoff tickets? This Seattle woman shaved the side of her head and got at 12th man tattoo in the same area. That's certainly a permanent statement of support. Get this, the woman did not win the playoff tickets. She actually lost the radio contest to a guy wearing a Seahawks-themed Batman suit, which we do not have a picture of.
But the fight to win tickets is still not over. The woman, Fredricka, has now asked talk show host, Ellen, for Super Bowl tickets. She said if Ellen gives Super Bowl tickets she'll shave the other side of her head and get an Ellen tattoo. We'll see if it works. That's your "Bleacher Report." Back to you.
WHITFIELD: All right, CNN's Joe Carter with that "Bleacher Report." Thanks so much.
All right, the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos are arriving in New Jersey today ahead of next Sunday's Super Bowl, even though the big game is actually being played in the town of East Rutherford. Another city across the Hudson River is actually getting all the credit. CNN's Alexandra Field has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid all the excitement, there's a little confusion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Super Bowl XLVIII in New York. Congratulations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can only send one of you to cover the game in New York.
FIELD: This is MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the host of Super Bowl XLVIII.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell them they better get a geography lesson.
FIELD (on camera): Did you think this would put you on the map?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
FIELD (voice-over): It's a small town, just 9,000 people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stadium is right here nine miles away.
FIELD: A detail that looks to some as if it's been overlooked.
MAYOR JAMES CASSELLA, EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY: I was just talking to a radio host in Seattle and he didn't even realize the stadium was in New Jersey until a couple weeks ago. That says something.
FIELD: In New York City, the NFL is transforming Times Square into Super Bowl Boulevard. But in East Rutherford there isn't a single banner in sight, only one small sign that the mayor had to order himself and because it uses the trademark phrase "Super Bowl" the NFL could object.
(on camera): What happens if you're told to take it down?
CASSELLA: Well, I think it would be pretty dopey of them to tell us to take it down.
FIELD: Do you feel like you were let out in the cold here at all?
CASSELLA: I'm used to it.
FIELD: That sounds like a little New York, New Jersey rivalry.
CASSELLA: You're kind of used to it. You know, you accept it, life goes on.
FIELD: Is there a little New York, New Jersey rivalry playing in here? How would you answer that?
CASSELLA: I'm sure glad I'm next to the biggest city in the world. That's how I make my living. My New Jersey answer, I'd like to kick them in the shins.
FIELD (voice-over): Town officials say there has been no effort to promote East Rutherford, but NFL insists that New Jersey isn't getting the short straw telling CNN there's more activities in New Jersey than New York. Players are staying in Jersey City, training and media appearance will be held in state. Come game day, the mayor says his town will feel proud, even though East Rutherford has taken a back seat, even though the mayor will have to find his own seat.
CASSELLA: I also will be sitting in my lounge chair, recliner watching the game.
FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, East Rutherford, New Jersey.
WHITFIELD: More than 300 people aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean are sick. So how can you protect yourself when on a cruise? We'll talk with a medical expect next.
WHITFIELD: Health investigators are trying to figure out what's making hundreds of people sick on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. A group from the Centers for Disease Control is boarding the "Explorer of the Seas" today to investigate the outbreak of gastrointestinal illness. This the second Royal Caribbean ship to get hit with sickness this month.
Dr. William Schaffner is the chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He's joining us from Nashville. Good to see you.
DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: Hi, Fred.
WHITFIELD: So Doctor, what makes ships seemingly so susceptible to outbreaks like this.
SCHAFFNER: What happens is a passenger comes on board unknowingly having the virus. The virus spreads so readily and then you have all those people in a confined space over a long period of time. This is an easily transmissible virus person to person.
WHITFIELD: So there is nothing you as a traveller can do or perhaps even the ship to actually detect that somebody may have an illness that's likely to spread. So what do you do to try to protect yourself just in case?
SCHAFFNER: So when you're on the ship, avoid people who are sick. Keep your hand hygiene up. You might want to avoid group activities and for goodness sakes --
WHITFIELD: On a ship? You're surrounded by people.
SCHAFFNER: Exactly. But you do what you can, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Wow. OK, so the CDC is now inspecting. What are they going to be looking for?
SCHAFFNER: Well, they will be looking for modes of transmission and try to determine actually what the cause is. You know, it's 90 percent likely it's a norovirus, but could be another cause of gastrointestinal illness.
WHITFIELD: OK, so I envision anybody who has a trip coming up, they will have a bottle of Purell like attached to their clothing no matter where they go on that ship, but what do you recommend, and besides, you know, washing your hands frequently, what do you recommend people ought to do to make sure they, their families, stay well.
SCHAFFNER: Well, I think hand hygiene is paramount and staying away from sick folks. If you're going, have a good time because after all, that's what it's all about.
WHITFIELD: OK. Is there anything in general perhaps these cruise ships do to try to keep the ship as safe as possible?
SCHAFFNER: Yes, actually they have a rigorous prevention program in place. Some friends of mine from the hospital have gone on a ship and say they are more attentive to hygiene than we are in the hospital. So they are trying very hard to do their best to prevent the spread of these viruses.
WHITFIELD: All right, well, happy sailing to all those who have any trips upcoming. Great advice from you Dr. William Schaffner. Thanks so much.
SCHAFFNER: A pleasure.
WHITFIELD: All right, the shocking story out of Florida you won't believe, getting away with rape. We'll bring that to you next.
WHITFIELD: Suspected rapists with DNA proof against them have gotten away with their crimes. Not because they escaped, but investigators dropped the ball. CNN's Randi Kaye reports from Hollywood, Florida with a shocking story that's capturing the nation's attention.
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tucked away inside this police department in Hollywood, Florida, may be the only evidence that could prevent a rapist from attacking again, yet for years that evidence has set untouched, ignored by law enforcement. That was until dozens of so-called rape kits were discovered in a first floor property room during an audit.
(on camera): In all 94 unprocessed rape kits were found in a refrigerator here. The police chief said some date as far back as 2005, which means for nine years they have been sitting here collecting dust. No analysis, no suspect, no arrests and the men who committed those rapes may still be on the streets.
(voice-over): And what about the women who were raped. All these years they thought police were searching for the men who raped them, after all they did their part allowing doctors to swab their skin and collect bodily fluids, all part or the rape kit. But the city and law enforcement dropped the ball. And what's worse, it's unclear if the victims know if the evidence they gave authorities was ever tested.
Why? Because officials in charge of the rape kits at the time refused to answer our questions. Hollywood's Chief of Police Frank Hernandez wouldn't talk to us, but did talk to one of our affiliate TV stations. He took the job last August long after the rape kits were forgotten about.
CHIEF FRANK FERNANDEZ, HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA POLICE DEPARTMENT: These are things that happened way before I got here. Best I can tell, lack of proper procedures, systemic problem.
KAYE: Chief Fernandez said they are slowly making progress though, 22 of the lost rape kits considered to be most critical have sent to a lab inside the Broward County Sheriff's Department for analysis. The chief said some arrests have already been made. Still too many women across the country are getting caught on the wrong side of this mess. Like Carol Bart from Dallas, Texas, who in June 1984 endured the most terrifying experience of her life.
(on camera): Did you think you were going to die that night?
CAROL BART, RAPE SURVIVOR: I did think I was going to die that night. I believed he was going to kill me.
KAYE (voice-over): After a night out with friends, a man grabbed Carol and spent the next three and a half hours raping her. More than two decades later, a call to police in 2008 to check on her case revealed something shocking. Carol's attacker was still on the loose because police had ignored the most crucial piece of evidence, her rape kit.
(on camera): How did you feel about the fact that your kit had been sitting on the shelf for so many years?
BART: They had just let them stack up and stack up and stack up. That's unacceptable.
KAYE (voice-over): Carol's kit was located and analyzed. It turns out just four months after that the man who raped her was identified. Adding insult to injury Joseph Houston couldn't be charged because the statute of limitations had run out. So the clock is ticking on testing all the evidence in Florida.
(on camera): What's even more baffling is that Hollywood, Florida, a beach community with about 145,000 people is hardly someplace that's overrun with crime. According to neighborhood scout, a web site that compiles nationwide crime rates based on FBI data, Hollywood had 38 rape cases last year, 38. What we want to know is how with numbers like that the Hollywood Police Department couldn't manage to process the rain kits.
(voice-over): But again, answers were hard to come by. We were shut out at city hall and by city officials, too.
FERNANDEZ: It's an alarming amount of time, an alarming amount of rape kits.
KAYE: The chief is promising to make up for lost time.
FERNANDEZ: I can't account for what happened in the past. I can only account from my point going forward. I'm going to ensure that never happens again.
KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Hollywood, Florida.
WHITFIELD: All right, let me know what you think about this story. You can share your thoughts on my Facebook page and tweet me @fwhitfield.
If you shop at Michael's, the chain may be the latest victim of hackers. The company has not confirmed the security breached yet, but says it has learned of possible fraudulent activity on some of its customers' payment cards and wanted to alert them just in time.
Starting today it will cost you $0.49 to mail a first class letter. The $0.03 jump is the biggest increase in more than a decade. It comes as fewer Americans are using snail mail to pay bills and keep in touch. One way around the hike, forever stamps. You buy them at the current rates and they are valid forever even if the price drops again.
Coming up, the Beatles long and winding road, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in a playful and candid conversation about what it was like to launch a music revolution.
WHITFIELD: They are icons, legends responsible for a music revolution. Tonight the Beatles will receive a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award 50 years after invading the U.S. surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr sat down with Larry King back in the day, in 2007, to talk about their legacy and what it was like to come to America for the first time.
LARRY KING: You guys, frankly, pinch yourselves? Do you get up in the morning --
RINGO STARR, BEATTLES: I pinch him.
PAUL MCCARTNEY: And he pinches me.
STARR: Risky, even on national television. We just don't care. Pinch. You know what I mean.
MCCARTNEY: Once a day, otherwise -- tell him. He wants to know. Larry, you know what, of course we do. We were just kids from Liverpool. Yes, it is quite amazing, because as time goes on, it kind of becomes more and more of a phenomenon. The young kids, you know, talk about it as if it's history, which it is.
STARR: I think the most excited thing is you expect people other age to know the music, but actually a lot of the kids know the music. If anything is left, we have left really good music. That's the important part, not the mop tops.
KING: You joined them after they were --
MCCARTNEY: We were nothing until he joined us.
STARR: I joined and they got this record deal and look what happened. Everybody feels that.
MCCARTNEY: We were good. You wanted to join us. You begged to join us. You were really good.
KING: Were all of you friendly?
STARR: I'll tell you -- OK. I can tell you, we loved him. We were in Hamburg. We were a good little group.
KING: Big in Germany.
MCCARTNEY: Hamburg. Not Germany, Hamburg. Ringo was in another group. We thought he was the very best drummer we had ever seen and we wanted him in the group like that. We were big fans of his.
STARR: And I was big fans of theirs.
KING: Did you think the Beatles would make it make it.
STARR: We thought we would be really big in Liverpool, really.
KING: Big at home.
STARR: Then we sort of were big in London, you know, England, Sweden and Denmark. We didn't do it overnight. We had to go on a lot of planes.
KING: When it took off, that first trip to the United States, what was that like?
MCCARTNEY: That was something else, I must say. We didn't know that crowd and pandemonium was bog to be at the airport. We took off. We knew it was going to be good. The thing is, we were pretty sure of ourselves. You had to be to do what we did. We knew we were good, had a degree of success, but we didn't know that. We came down the stairs.
STARR: To backtrack a little bit, George had come on holiday in America. Used to in Europe the big crowds and adulation. He came back, because he was going into record stores there, if you got the Beatles, never heard of them. Came back and said, it's going to be really hard, they don't know us over there. By the time we arrived, it was great.
WHITFIELD: And five decades ago, the Beatles arrived in the United States for their first American tour and launched that British invasion. See it all unfold as it happened with rarely seen footage and interviews from the band that led the British invasion. The special episode at the upcoming CNN original series, "The '60s, The British Invasion" premiering Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. We have so much more straight ahead from the CNN NEWSROOM and it gets restart right now.