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After The Storm; "An Unfortunate Incident"; Sanitizing A Ship

Aired January 30, 2014 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The south still frozen this morning, still iced over after a historic winter storm turning roads into skating rinks that left thousands stranded, kids sleeping in schools. This morning, there is hope. When the ice will finally melt? We will know when the cleanup begins. We're live.


ROMANS (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Great to see you this morning. I'm John Berman. Thirty-one minutes past the hour right now and we are following this developing story down south.

In Atlanta, across that region this morning, in some ways, it is the morning after, after one of the most difficult days they have had in recent memory. These pictures tell the whole story. Residents trying to get moving again after roads and many cities just paralyzed by a few inches of snow. Today, drivers will begin returning to their abandoned cars in Atlanta. They had to just leave them on the roads after being stuck there for more than 20 hours in some cases.

Many children are waking up at home for the first time in two days after spending the night at their schools. It has been fatal, this weather, for some people. The death toll across the region stands at the least ten right now, this, as the questions over responsibility and the consequences are mounting.

Our Victor Blackwell is live in Atlanta for us this morning. Victor, how do things look this morning?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, the Atlanta Metro Area is virtually shut down. Government offices closed, or at the very most, asking essential employees to come in. Schools closed. A few are welcoming students back, but with a significant delay. Georgia emergency management officials have issued a civil emergency alert, asking people to stay off the roads, unless, there is an emergency.

So, they're trying to clear the patches of ice, the stretches of ice, and already this morning, we've heard reports of crashes because of cars skidding on that ice. And this morning, there is the recovery. You know, on Tuesday when this storm hit, so many people, thousands of people abandoned their vehicles. They walked four, six, eight, ten miles to get home or to get to some warm place, often just a grocery store or a home depot that was open for the evening.

Now, they have to get back to those vehicles. Members of the National Guard, the Georgia State Patrol, they're helping these people get back to their vehicles. Unfortunately, in many cases, those vehicles have been towed. So, now, they have to figure out which tow company has the vehicle, how much will it cost. So, it's a nightmare. You say it's the morning after, but the nightmare continues even this morning on day three, John.

BERMAN: You got to get back to these cars. Some may be out of gas, some might not start, some might not be there. Victor, this does sound like an incredible mess. One officials in the area will have to answer for for some time to come. Victor Blackwell for us down in Atlanta this morning. Thank you so much.

ROMANS: So, there in Atlanta, they weren't going anywhere. The storm was bad for drivers who were going someplace, including the one behind this wheel of this car in Woodstock, Georgia. It spun out on a slippery road, hit a fire hydrant, then dropped into a sinkhole, a sinkhole full of water.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water kept flowing out from the hydrant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got out of the car, got out safely.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long before this happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably 30 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see it happen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I was back there and all my school stuff was in it, And i was like, uh.



BERMAN: This is just one of thousands and thousands of accidents from Alabama to Virginia. Check out that scene in Virginia Beach, which got hit about nine inches of snow. That's a car that hit a home. The driver and three people in the house had to go to the hospital. Thankfully, none of the injuries are said to be serious.

ROMANS: In North Carolina, the snowfall is less than expected, but the problem is actually the cold. Roads are frozen, so schools are closed and many offices are telling their workers today to stay home in North Carolina.

BERMAN: In Alabama, more than 11,000 students had to spend the night at their schools. They are finally home this morning. The last of them finally making it back just a few hours ago. Because of this weather, many districts there decided it was safer to keep the kids in school than send them back home during the storm. The principals and teachers at these schools did amazing, amazing work.

ROMANS: All right. Also from Alabama, this piece of good news, in spite of the bad. In Birmingham, Darshea Jones (ph) went into labor two weeks early. She called an ambulance. The ambulance got into an accident. No ambulance. So, she had to call 911 to figure out what to do. The dispatcher went into coach mode, walking her and her boyfriend through exactly what to do at home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It don't even snow in Alabama like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was thinking, like, oh, my God! What the heck are we going to do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She asked me. She said, "Have you ever done this before?" I said, "No. We're going to learn this together." And I heard the cry and I was like, oh my God! I have brought a baby into this world.


ROMANS: Dispatchers are so cool under fire. Mother and child are doing fine. They've named the baby, and I love this, John. They've named this little baby, Winter.

BERMAN: I like that.

ROMANS: I love the look on the dad's face.


ROMANS: Love the look on the dad's face.

BERMAN: That's the look most dads have on their face no matter what anyway. It's a look of sheer terror. So --


ROMANS: That goes for like 18 years.

BERMAN: Exactly.

Thirty-five minutes after the hour. Indra Petersons is watching the forecast for us today. And really, Indra, the big question so many people want to know, will it get better in the south? Will it thaw out?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. They have to deal with these morning hours right now where the temperatures are actually cooler. So, you definitely still have moisture on the ground, some more icing concerns in these early-morning hours. But again, as we go to the afternoon, conditions will improve as temperatures start to go up. Very easy to see a 12-hour loop, the storm making its way offshore.

Just right now, seeing showers left over in the Florida area. Might want to notice, though, on the west coast, look at this, big change. Finally seeing some rain in California. But again, let's take you back down to the south where they do have a hard freeze this morning. What does that mean? Temperatures in many places below 20 degrees. So, of course, that's the reason for the concern in the morning hours, that anything left on the roads will freeze, especially over bridges and overpasses.

So, southeast, though, by the afternoon, gets a lot better. We talked about temperatures climbing today, but those temperatures will also climb to the next several days, eventually to even above normal. Same thing in the northeast, conditions start to improve. But then again, into the upper Midwest, there comes the cold air again. They are used to it, but it means not only cold air, but some snow into the mix.

So yes, three systems, one, two, three, all the way through Saturday, rolling on through, none of them too big, but Minneapolis kind of a hotspot today, about four to six inches of snow. Keep in mind also some gusty winds. So, 40, 50-mile-per-hour winds out there could mean a lot of that blowing snow and poor visibility. Another look out towards the west coast, I showed you that. This is the pattern they were stuck in forever, guys.

I mean, definitely tough conditions out there. Red flag warnings and fires, thanks to this huge dome of high pressure. That guy squashes down today. That's good news. they have rain, but it's the same guy we're going to be watching to see whether or not we get showers on Super Bowl Sunday. Early this morning, we had showers in the forecast. As of now, we don't. Still a big question.

ROMANS: All right, Indra.

BERMAN: Stay tuned.

ROMANS: Thank you, Indra.

All right. President Obama today taking his case to the American people on the road in the Milwaukee area and in Nashville, trying to drum up support for some of those programs he laid out in the state of the union address. This is a day after stops in Maryland and Pennsylvania.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm hoping that Congress goes along with this, but I'm not going to wait for Congress. I could do more with Congress, but I'm not going to not do anything without Congress, not when it's about the basic security and dignity of American workers.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: One program already in the works. The president has directed the treasury secretary to make new rules for a starter retirement plan, a starter retirement plan to help lower-wage workers save for retirement. About half of American workers work for companies that don't offer a 401(k) or a retirement plan. The president says more people have to be invested so that they can build for retirement.

BERMAN: The president's out there selling his plan. Meanwhile, Republicans are spending a second day at their annual winter retreat in Maryland where top leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner plan to release a set of principles for an immigration overhaul. This includes giving probationary status to many illegal immigrants, but they say they will only move towards making those principles law if the rank and file agree. That is a tall order.

ROMANS: So, he says he's sorry. New York congressman, Michael Grimm, now apologizing to a reporter for threatening to throw him off a balcony, swearing at him, and saying he'd break him in half like a boy. Grimm made the threat just after the state of the union when the reporter asked him about a campaign finance allegation. Now, Grimm initially defended his outburst, but now says he shouldn't have done that.


REP. MICHAEL GRIMM, (R) NEW YORK: This was an unfortunate incident that shouldn't have happened. And you know, I'm sure my Italian mother is going to, you know, be yelling at me saying, "you weren't raised that way," and she's right.


GRIMM: She's absolutely right. The bottom line is, I overreacted, and my emotions got the better of me. I lost my cool, and that shouldn't happen.


ROMANS: Grimm says the reporter has accepted his apology. The two are planning to have lunch together sometime next week.

All right. U.S. stock futures show investors favoring Wall Street to Asian markets this morning. There was a sharp sell-off in Japan's Nikkei overnight. The selling less ugly in London and stocks look to start the day positive here in the U.S., and we'll take that because it's been a rough start to the year. All of this after word the Federal Reserve will slow the amount of cheap money it's throwing into the global economy.

That worries investors in emerging markets, emerging markets that have depended on all of that stimulus for growth. But it is also a sign that the Federal Reserve believes the U.S. economy is doing better. We're going to hear more on just how the economy is faring later this morning with a reading on gross domestic product for the fourth quarter.

There'll also be a weekly report on jobless claims. Both will be really important, sort of mile markers in the recovery here.

BERMAN: All right. Not worrying investors this morning, more trouble for Justin Bieber in his native Canada and also here in the United States. Problems all over North America for Justin Bieber. In Toronto, he had to push his way through this crowd to get into a police station. Why? He was surrendering in connection with the assault of a limo driver back in December.

This happening in Canada was just a few hours after his lawyers in Florida entered a not guilty plea on his behalf in Miami Beach on DUI charges. Now, in Los Angeles, stay with us, and it's the Bieber triangle. Police are still looking into whether he was responsible for pelting a neighbor's home with eggs.

And now, the White House will likely respond to a petition on its website calling for Justin Bieber to be deported. Why? Well, more than 175,000 Americans have signed this petition. The White House says it does respond to web petitions with more than 100,000 signatures, so expect some kind of statement, believe it or not, from the White House.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, a neighbor's complaint leads to a shocking discovery inside a California teacher's home. It will make your skin crawl, the next story. Whoo! Right after the break.


ROMANS: We should know by tomorrow if federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Boston marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.


ROMANS (voice-over): The justice department confirms attorney general, Eric Holder, will announce a decision by the end of this week. Tsarnaev faces 30 criminal counts for the April 15th bombing that killed three people and injured 260 others.

BERMAN: Breaking overnight, Missouri has executed Herbert Smulls who had been granted a last-minute stay by the Supreme Court. That stay was lifted late Ednesday and Smulls was put to death by lethal injection for the 1991 murder of a St. Louis jewelry store owner.

ROMANS: Due in court today, a Massachusetts high school student charged with killing his teacher. Fifteen-year-old Philip Chism (ph) is set to be arraigned on additional charges in the murder of 24-year- old Colleen Ritzer (ph). Police say he raped his teacher, and they claim he admitted to killing her, apparently, with a box cutter. Chism pleaded not guilty in December.

BERMAN: This morning, we are finding out more about the deadly shooting at a Maryland mall. Police say they have found no connection between Darion Aguilar (ph) and the two people shot and killed at a skateboard shop over the weekend, but they do say he wrote in his journal about killing people and he said that he was ready to die. Aguilar took his own life after the shooting. ROMANS: Toronto mayor, Rob Ford, is in legal trouble. The admitted crack smoker now being sued for allegedly trying to have his sister's ex-boyfriend beaten up in prison. The suit claims Ford wanted to keep Scott McIntyre (ph) quiet about Ford's abuse of drugs and alcohol. McIntyre was jailed for threatening the mayor, saying he would expose his, quote, "unsavory practices." Ford's lawyers deny the accusations.

BERMAN: Near Los Angeles, a school teacher is facing charges this morning after police raided his home and pulled out hundreds and hundreds of snakes, both living and dead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was unfortunate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a search warrant. Come to the front door!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stench is overwhelming, and everybody who comes to the house for a party is just, like, they don't want to come. It's like, what's that smell? Smells like something's dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're very cold, and it appears that most of them haven't eaten in quite a while. There's various stages of dying and dead and underweight.


BERMAN: Which she says while holding a very large snake. William Buchman (ph) was arrested but has not appeared in court yet. He's an elementary school teacher in Newport Beach. A neighbor says that Buchman (ph) used to breed snakes, but it is not clear why he had so many in his home now, hundreds and hundreds.

ROMANS: I think I saw a count of 700 snakes in that house.

BERMAN: Christine Romans will never be the same again.

Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo with us.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, my good friends. How are you?

BERMAN: Good, except we're freaked out by the snakes. Other than the snake thing, we're doing great.

CUOMO: (INAUDIBLE). So, we're going to be talking about the weather this morning. The ice storm still crippling the south. Why? Why is it taking so long? Why are those cars still there? And we heard about people being trapped for hours, right? And you think, all right, hours, that would be bad. Imagine, 18 hours. That's a whole day. Imagine doing it with a six-month-old baby and limited provisions. How did they get through the night? You'll meet them on the show and hear their story.

Plus, you're going to hear from Good Samaritans who did the right thing. And you're going to hear the questions of accountability, because somebody here -- here's a surprise -- did the wrong thing, OK? This should not have happened. It's not the way you're supposed to have planning, especially in America's ninth largest city. So, we're going to talk about that.

We're also going to talk about how to keep the city and the game safe, OK? Security's a big deal. We talk about it with the Olympics upcoming all the time. We have rare access inside the FBI command center on Super Bowl Boulevard. We're going to show you the high-tech lengths they're going to to prevent an attack here in the city, in New Jersey and at the game, itself. How's that?

BERMAN: Really cool. Interesting to see that. Thanks so much, Chris.

Coming up for us next, hundreds sick on board a cruise ship in the Caribbean. They're finally home this morning, but what's happening on board the germ-ridden boat in just 24 hours? That will shock you, if you're not shocked already, coming up next.


ROMANS: Happening today, a deep cleaning for a cruise ship where hundreds of passengers got sick. "The Explorer of the Seas" now docked again in New Jersey after nearly 700 passengers and crew came down with some sort of a stomach bug likely norovirus.


KIM WAITE, SICK CRUISE PASSENGER: You could see absolutely everyone sitting there being sick in buckets, in bags. It was awful. And they just gave us a number to wait, and I had to wait three hours to be seen.

DANIELLE PANEPIANCO, CRUISE PASSENGER: We were looking forward to staying warm and being on our honeymoon and enjoying our time together, and we're never going to get that back.


ROMANS: Royal Caribbean is giving passengers refunds and credit toward a future cruise. The ship will be off limits for 24 hours, but it is scheduled to head out again on its next journey tomorrow, on Friday.

This morning, state and water company officials in West Virginia are rejecting new claims over just how dangerous a chemical spill was into the water supply saying it's unlikely residents inhaled formaldehyde while showering. The officials say that chemical leaked into the water supply only produces formaldehyde at 500 degrees, and that's way hotter than any shower.

Coming up, a very happy birthday for Facebook! Profits up, but the future may not be so bright. I've got that story for you in "Money Time."


ROMANS: Good morning! Welcome back to EARLY START. It's "Money Time." We've got stock futures showing maybe some stabilization on Wall Street. Maybe investors can breathe a little easier today after those big, recent, sharp losses. Stocks look like they're going to open higher. Dow futures are higher this morning. The market in London slightly lower. In Asia overnight, a really ugly, ugly morning, a sharp sell-off in Japan's Nikkei.

Here in the U.S. today, we're going to hear more about the health of corporate America and the U.S. economy later this morning. We've got a number of brand name companies, including U.P.S., ExxonMobil. They're going to let us peek under the hood of their financial condition. They're going to have quarterly results out.

The government releases its first snapshot of GDP, gross domestic product, for the fourth quarter, so that could be a market mover. That's at 8:30.

Quite the birthday gift for Facebook. The social media giant turned 10 on Wednesday. Facebook is getting long in the tooth. It reported record results even better than what Wall Street had expected. The news came after the closing bell on Wall Street yesterday, and Facebook's stock is soaring in premarket trading. It is up 12 percent.

Facebook says it now has 1.2 billion users. That's a big number. But the pace at which it's adding users isn't keeping up with past quarters. Watch that. A lot of questions about how the age of their users, too, they want that really young, young user, and there's not as much good growth there.

All right. Hottest money story, hottest money story this morning, no question. Google selling its Motorola Mobility smartphone unit to China's Lenovo. Motorola Mobility has been a money loser for Google, which it bought just about a year and a half ago, and it's a muscle move for Lenovo. Lenovo already the world's largest PC-maker. With this purchase, it says it will now challenge Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market. Google stock, in case you own it, is up more than two percent in premarket trading. Watch Facebook and watch Google this morning.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ice was awful. I must have fallen five times.

CUOMO: Frozen city. Thousands of cars still littering Atlanta's highways. Schools and businesses remain closed. Anger at officials now boiling over. We have new details on commuters' horrors and new insight into what went so wrong.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Decision day. The jury in Amanda Knox's retrial now has the case. Deliberating at this hour. What happens if they find her guilty? We're live from Italy. CUOMO: Super security. We have rare access inside the FBI's command center ahead of Sunday's big game. The new technology they're using to keep the city and the stadium safe.

Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to "NEW DAY." It's Thursday, January 30th, six o'clock in the east. And we begin in Atlanta because simply it's not over. The nation's ninth largest city still choked in ice from a perfect storm. Roads, businesses, schools, all still shut down for hundreds of people who abandon their cars. They're saying today is the first chance to retrieve them. Even though cops say they may not even be where the people left them. Imagine that.

And this morning, thousands of tired tortured Atlantans are demanding to know how two inches of snow shut down their entire city.