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New Mammogram Study; Shaun White Falls, Finishes 4th In Halfpipe; FBI Offers Reward In Laser Attacks

Aired February 12, 2014 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening right now, snow, sleet and worse of all, ice, battering the south. Thousands of flights canceled. Schools and offices shut down. People being told stay off the road. Stay home. This storm is already turning deadly. And when it's done with the south, it is heading north, putting millions and millions more in its path.

Indra Petersons is tracking the weather that will really paralyze parts of this country all week.


BERMAN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour. Starting to dig out in the south, forecasters using words like "potentially catastrophic," "historic," as they described this winter blast that's bringing the south to its knees. Millions of southerners primarily in Georgia, the Carolinas hammered right now with snow and ice overnight and into this morning.

Ice is coating the roads, the tree branches, power lines, making it tough to get around, potentially, knocking out power to thousands in the storm's path. Air travel also messy this morning. Total of about 2,500 cancellations and climbing.

BERMAN: Yes. And if it sounds familiar to you, Atlanta and the surrounding areas are trying to avoid a bad case of deja vu after that city's botched response to another ice storm two weeks ago. Cobb and Fulton County schools, they are closed today, meaning, the kids will not get stuck on buses this time or left in school gyms.

22,000 tons of salt, some 70,000 gallons of brine, and 45,000 tons of gravel were on hand to treat Georgia's main roadways with another 180 tons of additional salt and sand on standby. They're taking this very, very seriously. Right now, the city of Atlanta is wet and freezing. These are live pictures right now from the roof of a camera there at our CNN center in Atlanta. And the camera is, right now, covered in ice.

ROMANS: Thirty minutes ago, it was wet now. It looks real icy there. North Carolina still bracing for the worst of it. Two to four inches of snow and sleet expected to begin falling by midmorning. Ice accumulation getting heavier this evening and into tonight.

BERMAN: South Carolina is handling this, too. They're under a winter storm warning for today and tomorrow. Areas of the northwestern part of that state could get as much as eight inches of snow.

ROMANS: All right. Indra Petersons is very busy this morning tracking the winter storm for us. Where it is now and where it's headed? She's here with us onset.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. The biggest thing everyone's worried about and they keep talking about is the ice. The question is, why the ice? Because once you get the ice on those power lines, they weigh 30 times stronger or heavier, I should, to potential to bring that power out sometimes for days. Now, this is the second wave we're looking at right now.

The first wave that went through yesterday brought many places about a quarter of an inch of ice. The second system could bring even potentially more ice out there and even some stronger winds which has become more catastrophic, and that's why the National Weather Service is saying the potential is there for a historical ice storm to start taking place into the southeast. Right now, right along the gulf, still seeing some rain, but now transitioning Atlanta, now seeing that freezing rain.

So, the next few hours is really what we're going to be concerned with as the temperatures continue to drop. Check these numbers out. We talked about that threshold. Right around half of an inch is when those power lines weigh so heavy. Atlanta could see upwards almost about an inch of ice out there. Columbia, South Carolina, over an inch.

The potential is there, guys, to have power outages, potentially, even as much as a week. And it's not the only story. We also the threat of some heavy snow as the low starts to climb up the coastline, pull that moisture off the coast. D.C., you got your biggest snowstorm you've seen in almost four years. You remember February, 2010 we could see more snow and some central, we could have potentially double the amount of snow.

Here's what we're looking at and notice the temperatures as they drop down. We'll start to see the transition throughout the day. Sometimes, you'll have rain, sometimes, you'll have sleet. sometimes, you have ice, sometimes, you have snow. It will all -- throughout the day, but notice that threshold. Into the southeast, you have the potential there for that freezing rain. It continues to make its way up the coastline.

We start dealing with the ice storm, the second half of the system Wednesday in through Thursday. Overnight tonight becomes a heavy snowstorm. So, so much to talk about. And the -- word potential I know, because it is all potential. All these things have to come together perfectly for these things to happen.

BERMAN: We'll be following it minute by minute, though, over the next day. Thanks so much, Indra. ROMANS: All right. The fight over the debt limit ended before it began.

ROMANS: The House voting to raise the government's borrowing limit for the year with no conditions. This ends about three years of fights over this, right? Twenty-eight Republicans join nearly all Democrats to pass it. House Speaker John Boehner essentially deciding not to demand concessions in exchange for passing this thing. The bill now heads to the Senate for final approval.

BERMAN: As promised in the state of the union address, President Obama will sign an executive order today raising the minimum wage for federally contracted workers to $10.10. He'll be joined at the signing ceremony by some of the workers who helped to elevate the issue in recent months culminating with that state of the union pledge. The White House expects roughly 250,000 workers to benefit from this.

ROMANS: New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, is back on his home turf this morning after spending the day in Chicago at a Republican fundraiser. He told the crowd there the lane-closing scandal won't get in the way of his work. This morning, he's attending a superstorm Sandy fundraising event at the shore.

Also new, state police repeal his helicopter did not fly over the George Washington Bridge during those closures last September. His flight history came into question when investigators issued 18 new subpoenas on Monday. And finally, Christie has learned that he can use campaign funds to cover the costs of legal fees for that investigation.

BERMAN: I think this may be one of the biggest stories of the day. A major startling medical study is raising serious doubts about mammograms. You need to pay attention to this. Researchers found that death rates from breast cancer were the same in women who got screened, in those who did not.

Even worse, one in five cancers discovered with the test are treated and were actually not a threat to the patient. The study followed 90,000 Canadian women over a quarter of a century. Critics point to earlier studies that found mammograms effective. But again, what is so startling about this is it says really no difference between getting a mammogram and not, and in some cases, the study even says that mammograms may be harmful.

ROMANS: It was a big study. It was a meticulous study. Some of the early morning commentary is about this one. So, it's really getting a lot of attention on the front pages of the newspapers across the country.

BERMAN: And it needs to be talked about a lot today. So, everyone understands --

ROMANS: All right. Stock markets higher around the world right now. Strong trade data for China. And you know what, the world is super happy about the new U.S. fed chief that her plan is to stay the course here. Her remarks yesterday really lifting markets around the world. In Asia now for the fourth day in the row, Europe is following, too. U.S. futures are higher right now.

Yesterday, for the first time, the world heard from Janet Yellen as the new chairwoman of the Federal Reserve. Investors like what they heard. The Dow rallied 190 points on the day the largest one-day percentage gain since mid-December. The S&P 500 now less than two percent from an all-time high. NASDAQ is now on the plus sides for the year.

BERMAN: All right. Aiming for gold but not getting it. More disappointed than glory for the U.S. in Sochi. One of America's best known Olympians, in fact, I would say he's best known with formally the best hair, he is going home from Sochi empty-handed. Andy Scholes in Atlanta with the details in the "Bleacher Report." Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys. You know, when it came to a sure thing in this Olympic, Shaun White at least medaling in the halfpipe competition was one of them. You know, he was looking to become the first U.S. men to win gold in the same even three straight Olympics, but unfortunately, for him and team USA, things did not go his way yesterday in the finals.

In his first run, White, watched him come down here, he slams into the pipe on the way down. Now, he tried to pull out all the stops in the second run but it just wasn't enough to medal. He ended up finishing fourth in the competition. So, for the first time since 1998, the U.S. did not medal in the men's halfpipe, but they made up for it in the women's luge.

Erin Hamlin brought home the bronze medal become the first American ever to medal in the luge event. That ended a 50-year drought for the Americans.

All right. In the men's free sprint, a Russian skier was having a miserable run. He was three minutes behind the leaders -- he had crashed and one of his skis broke. That's when Canadian ski coach, Justin Wadsworth, jumped in action, ran onto the course to help the Russian. Now, the two didn't know each other. They didn't even speak when he was out there.

Wadsworth replaced the broken ski with one of the spares he had had with him for his team. Wadsworth who is a three-time Olympian himself said "I wanted him to have dignity as he crossed the finish line." Awesome stuff.

All right. American speed skater, Shani Davis, will look to make history later today when he goes for the three-peat in the men's 1,000 meters. Davis has taken gold in the past two Olympics in the event, and if he does it again today, he'll become the first American man to win an Olympic event three times in a row.

Here's a look at the current medal count. Norway on top right now with 11. Canada right behind them with nine. Team USA hanging in there with seven. This morning, guys you saw a historic finish in the women's downhill. A Slovenian and Swiss skier finish with the exact time of one minute, 41.57 second. They're going to share the gold medal. And third place finished just a tenth of a second behind them. So, one of the closest finishes in Olympic --

ROMANS: So, do they have like a custody agreement for the gold? They have to go back and forth or do they each get a gold?

Scholes: They each get a gold. I had a question about that, because each country gets a gold medal for their medal count.

BERMAN: Interesting. We'll have to look into that. Intrigue at the Olympics. All right. Andy, thank you so much.

ROMANS: A tie is a tie.

BERMAN: Intrigue and just travesty at the Westminster Dog Show. It was a familiar breed, all-too familiar in the winner's circle last night. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Best in show this evening is the wire Fox Terrier.



BERMAN: There you have it. A terrier, again. This one named Sky, took the top prize in the 138th event. It's the 46th time that a terrier have some kind has won. I've got to say, it's a nice looking dog there, but you know what dog has never won?


BERMAN: A lab. No lab has ever won. It's the most popular dog in America. It's never won. Instead, we get these things.

ROMANS: But I'll tell you, the lab win's America's hearts. More people have --

BERMAN: So, give it a trophy for once.


BERMAN: Come on! What's with the terrier. Liberal bias here. I don't know --


BERMAN: Some kind of bias at work here.

ROMANS: Oh my. OK --

BERMAN: And the outrage.

ROMANS: The outrage. Investigation by Berman. Coming up this morning, a new reward to catch criminals blinding pilots and putting passengers in danger. We have a laser warning for you right after the break.


BERMAN: The FBI is offering big bucks to help stop blinding laser attacks on pilots. These attacks have spiked from 300 in 2005 all the way up to nearly 4,000 last year. Officials say that many of the incidents go unreported. Now, for the next two months, 11 cities and San Juan are offering $10,000 for information leading to arrests. The dangerous midair distraction has hospitalized several pilots with burned corneas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have no idea what just happened. Your entire cockpit turns green. If I was the only pilot on board that helicopter that night, there's no way I could have landed the aircraft. So, initially, it's the shock. It's the unknown factor. It's not knowing how bad your eyes were burned.


BERMAN: Last year, there were an average of nearly 11 attacks each day. And although, lasers have never actually caused a crash, officials worry that they could and soon will.

ROMANS: Meantime, Congress is a step closer to banning in-flight phone calls. A House panel has approved a new bill that would require the Department of Transportation to issue the prohibition. A move they were actually already considering. But it would not affect the FAA's decision last year, allowing passengers to search the web and send e-mail on their phones.

And you know what the polls show, most people want to be able to search the web. They don't want to listen to you talk to your husband or wife.

BERMAN: Yes. Not just you but anybody, really.

ROMANS: You in particular. Yes. You and everyone else.

BERMAN: All right. The suddenly single French president, Francois Hollande, attracted a slew of celebrities to the White House for the state dinner in his honor. That's Mary J. Blige. She was there. She performed at the event. The guest lists also included actress, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She plays "Veep" on HBO. She sat next to Vice President Joe Biden. That's pretty cool. Actor, Bradley Cooper was there, basking the Globe, his second straight Oscar nomination. Have you met Bradley Cooper?

ROMANS: He was right here on this program one day. Yes.

BERMAN: Interesting. We're checking the internet for that, Romans.


BERMAN: The event was the seven-state dinner of the Obama presidency.

ROMANS: Oh, John. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Kate Bolduan joins us this morning. Save me, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I get that excited when John Berman gets to sit next to me. I'm like, John Berman has been on the program before and I get very excited about it.

BERMAN: You haven't gotten that excited --


BOLDUAN: I keep it inside. I'm not as emotive as Christine.


BOLDUAN: Let's put it that way.

ROMANS: It wasn't emotion. The problem was I stop talking and breathing, but go ahead.

BOLDUAN: Talking and breathing, two problems when you're on live TV.

All right, guys. Coming up in the show where, of course -- the storm is making its way through the south. You guys have been covering it as well. Our reporters are throughout the region. An important story. We're going to be covering that.

But also, our other big story of the morning, the loud music murder trial. The defendant, Michael Dunn, has taken the stand. The jury could have the case this afternoon. We're going to breakdown what Dunn said and also what happens next. Our legal analysts are here and they're going to help us out with that one.

And then, the long-time veteran newsman, Tom Brokaw, he has revealed that he has cancer and he's battling cancer. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to be here with what you need to know about multiple myeloma, the treatment and chances for recovery. We're going to be talking about that.

BERMAN: One of the super class (INAUDIBLE) journalist. All right. Kate, we'll see you in a little bit.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, a new water warning in West Virginia. A new one. Residents on edge after a second chemical spill into their water supply. The very latest on that after the break.


ROMANS: The trial of the Florida man who shot and killed a teenager could go to the jury today. Michael Dunn took the stand in his own defense. He said he fired at Jordan Davis' SUV because he thought he saw a weapon after an argument over loud music. Dunn described the moments after the incident, but he had no good answer when he asked why he never called police.


MICHAEL DUNN, ON TRIAL FOR SHOOTING TEENAGER: And we were there looking out the windows like a waking nightmare. Every car was a red SUV. I mean, to us. We thought we had just -- well, made them go away. And that they were going to come back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't call the police?

DUNN: No, never did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just called the police at the store, correct?

DUNN: I didn't call the police at all until the following morning.


ROMANS: Dunn's fiancee also couldn't back up Dunn's testimony. He said he'd seen a weapon.

Police in Maryland have announced a new lead in a 39-year-old cold case. Two sisters, Sheila and Kate Lion (ph), just 12 and 10 years old, vanished from a crowded shopping mall in 1975. Tuesday, a 59- year-old former carnival ride operator was named a person of interest. Lloyd Lee Welch (ph) has been in prison since 1997. Now, investigators say he may have been involved.


CHIEF J. THOMAS MANGER, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD POLICE: Our cold case squad has been able to identify a man who is currently incarcerated as a convicted child sex offender. And we have established that this man was at Wheaton Plaza on that day and may have had contact with the Lion girls.


ROMANS: They described Welch as a drifter who has multiple convictions for sexual offenses against young girls and say he was seen paying attention to the girls that day. But they stopped short of calling him a suspect.

A court day today for federal prosecutors and lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The surviving Boston marathon bombing suspect seeking a trial date no earlier than September of next year. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to the April 2013 attack that killed three and wounded more than 260 people at the Boston marathon. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has authorized prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

West Virginia officials will begin testing the water inside people's homes amid safety concerns, following last month's chemical spill. An estimated 10,000 gallons of coal-cleaning chemicals leaking into a river outside Charleston. That left 300,000 people without tap water for days. Now, earlier this week, several state officials declined to call the water safe to drink.

And in some places, a do not use alert is still in effect for pregnant women. Meanwhile, another spill is causing new water warnings in the state. More than 100,000 gallons of coal slurry believed to have leaked in Eastern West Virginia, blackening six miles of this creek.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there should be no stream in West Virginia that runs like this. Around coal mining areas, around chemical plants, around fracking, the water quality of the state of West Virginia has to take precedence over the profits of those companies.


ROMANS: State environmental officials say it was caused by a malfunction inside the plant.

All right. Coming up, important information if you have a Greco car seat in your car right now. Millions of child car seats being called unsafe. The story next in "Money Time."


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START this Wednesday morning. It's "Money Time." Stocks soared yesterday and they're pointed higher again. We've got a debt ceiling deal in Washington that's pushing futures higher. We also have strong January trade data from China that's driving European markets toward another day of gains. Markets in Asia already closed and they closed up.

Amazon is hiring 2,500 workers for full-time jobs with benefits. The jobs will be in fulfillment centers around the country. Amazon says the new employees will be eligible for health care, 401(k) bonuses, and stock awards. Now, the company boasts (ph) to pay its workers 30 percent more than traditional retail jobs. Do the math, expect these jobs to pay maybe in the mid to high $20,000 a year range.

Amazon's stocks taking a hit in the premarket trading this morning. But overall, again, it looks as though stocks could move higher when the opening bell rings.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not kidding. We're not just crying wolf. It is serious business.

BOLDUAN: Breaking news. A potentially catastrophic storm hitting the south right now. major cities shut down, hundreds of thousands may lose power, and then, the storm turns north. We're tracking it all.

BERMAN: Taking the stand. A black buster day in court. Michael Dunn testifying in his own defense. Accused of killing a teen for playing music too loud. So, did he help or hurt his case? The jury set to get the case today.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Olympic first. History made in Sochi. Two competitors tying for gold. We have the breakthrough results. Plus more on Shaun White's disappointing run and this moment that everyone's talking about showing the true spirit of the Olympics.

BOLDUAN: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

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


BOLDUAN: Good morning. And welcome to "NEW DAY," everyone. It is February 12th, six o'clock in the east. I'm Kate Bolduan, of course. John Berman joining us this morning. Chris is on assignment.

We begin this morning with a big story. Dangerous deep freeze. A winter storm that some forecasters are calling potentially catastrophic for the Deep South. People in Georgia and the Carolinas are hunkering down, getting hammered with snow and ice overnight. Among the big concerns of course, ice on roads, tree branches, power lines, pretty much any ice anywhere.