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Arrest Warrant Out For Yanukovych; Report NSA Spying On Germany; Jason Collins Makes History; Drug Lord Captured; Netflix to Pay Comcast for Access

Aired February 24, 2014 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news overnight. Ukraine's president wanted and on the run, accused now of mass murder. Right now, the country in chaos and on the brink of financial collapse. We are live.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Winter's new attack. Temperatures taking a big plunge across the country, up to 30 degrees below normal. And you know what? There's even more bad news beyond that! Indra Petersons tracking the very latest.

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. What an introduction for Indra! That's so mean!

BERMAN: I know. I know. I feel bad about that, but it's true! It's the news. I'm John Berman. Great to see you this morning. About 30 minutes past the hour.

And we do have breaking news from Ukraine. No longer the president. Viktor Yanukovych is now an alleged criminal. An arrest warrant issued overnight for Yanukovych whose current whereabouts are unknown. He's a man on the run. He's wanted for mass murder of Ukrainian citizens. Right now, political uncertainty reigns in Ukraine after a weekend of turmoil that forced Yanukovych to flee the capital.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live in Kiev this morning. Nick, what's the latest?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, quite remarkable last four days. I mean, literally, on Thursday morning, we heard the gunfire down in the streets near from me and that seemed to have sparked the end of Yanukovych's administration here. Since then, it's been a very swift spiral down. Those mass murder charges against him, clearly, prosecutors think he personally ordered those shootings back on Thursday.

But really, this is a man who as recently as Wednesday was talking about a truce, perhaps, with the opposition and is now running around the south of the country. We heard he was in a private house in Balaclava earlier on yesterday and is now thought to be somewhere else inside premier (ph). Not sure exactly where. He's told his personal bodyguard he has no longer need for them and should go back to working for the government. He seems to be shedding everything as he goes. And even in (INAUDIBLE), the main city there. So, that's the -- mayor effectively had just said, look, I'm leaving your ruling party. Yanukovych has actually just been denounced him as well, and "I have no desire for this part of the country to secede from the rest of Ukraine."

That's another worry in the background, the different parts of the country. The pro-Russian might go there very separate ways. So, Yanukovych very much on the run here. Frankly, yesterday's man. We're now all focused on this new government here. We need a prime minister almost to get Ukraine back on its feet.

The pressing issue, as you mentioned, John is the money. $35 billion, that's what the government here has just asked the ministry of finance has just asked America but also Poland and anyone else who will step in, presumably the European Union to come up with, an urgent problem here. That started this whole crisis in the first place because Russian economic pressure meant that the government here was less willing to sign a cooperation deal with the European Union.

But really, the people behind me still mourning the dead will soon wake up to the fact that, unfortunately, there's a lot of nasty, difficult work ahead for this country. Its economy is in tatters. It now needs a government to pull it back together again, keep the country together and afloat and try to clean up the mess of the past few days -- John.

BERMAN: Very difficult situation, as you say, Nick. That country has just been teetering politically, still very much teetering economically, and in need of some solutions. Nick Paton Walsh in Kiev for us this morning. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. Happening today, the nation's governor is getting more face time with the president. President Obama addresses the governors' annual winter meeting in Washington, D.C. The president hosted the gathering at a White House dinner Sunday night, which included a number of governors who hope to have his job in 2016.

He appealed to the state leaders to work with him on key issues like the economy, education, health care in what he hopes will be, quote, "a year of action."

BERMAN: Really big news from the pentagon and U.S. defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, putting out a new budget, which would shrink the army to its lowest troop level since before World War II. Pentagon officials say the budget cuts will result in a military that's too small for any protracted foreign occupations.

The Hagel plan also calls slashes in military benefits -- calls for slash of the military benefits, limiting pay raises and increasing health care premiums, but also reduces housing allowances. He is also recommending a one-year pay freeze for top military brass.

ROMANS: What will the U.S. presence in Afghanistan be after this year? One of four options reportedly being considered by President Obama would leave 3,000 troops behind, based in Kabul and the American installation at Bagram. Military commanders have recommended that 10,000 troops remain in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Hagel expected to brief his NATO counterparts in Brussels this week on what the U.S. is thinking.

BERMAN: A German newspaper says the NSA no longer is spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel and has turned its attention to other senior German officials. The paper cites a high-ranking NSA employee as a source. President Obama ordered a halt to surveillance on Merkel's cell phone after revelations caused an uproar last year. Among the alleged new targets, the German interior minister who is a top Merkel confidante.

ROMANS: All right. Joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea going forward as scheduled today. They come as families separated for decades on the Korean Peninsula are reuniting. These drills taking place despite North Korea's threat to cancel those cross-border reunions if the drills are not scrapped, but Pyongyang ultimately agreed to go ahead with those emotional reunions.

The war games are said to involve some 10,000 South Korean troops and 5,000 American forces.

ROMANS: A touch of spring enjoyed by millions over the weekend, including yours truly. Now the start of the workweek brings a new wave of arctic cold for much of the country.

BERMAN: Yes. Did you like that weather over the weekend? Well, it's over! Indra Petersons is here with the cold, hard facts here. Hey, Indra.


INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Your week's going to be horrible. Cue me, right? I mean, I feel like it's a trend this winter. Once again, we are talking about this cold, arctic air really starting to dive down each day, making its way farther down to the southeast. Yes, we know the drill by now. Let's talk about the temperatures we saw yesterday. It looked good, right? D.C., 64 in New York, 54.

And notice, even the south, almost near 70-degree temperatures. Now, let me flip you into what we are looking for today. Not so pretty. Not as bad yet, but either way, you'll notice that big difference, especially just 30s in towards New York City, but look right here in the Midwest. That's where that cold air is first starting to dive down today. Temperatures there already below normal.

Look at this trend, we're talking about average for Chicago being 38. By Wednesday, looking for just 10 degrees. A lot of single digits are going to be out there, especially by Wednesday, making their all the way down even to the southeast. Other side of this, the system already moving out today. That cold air moving in.

So windy, not only is it cold, but cold and windy. That is the worst when you're trying to walk outside. And then, yes, if it's not bad enough, by Tuesday and through Wednesday, we're going to throw in a little bit of snow up towards D.C, also New York City, and Boston. You're welcome.

ROMANS: Oh! 1.8 inches is nothing.


ROMANS: Nothing.

BERMAN: No, not for the 12 feet we received in the last three weeks.


BERMAN: Haven't gone to school since September, it feels like. All right.

ROMANS: Thanks, Indra.

BERMAN: Thirty-seven minutes after the hour. Thanks, Indra.

An oil spill shutting down a 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi River. Coast guard officials say the spill happened after a barge ran into a tow boat between Baton Rouge and New Orleans over the weekend. Public drinking water intakes on the river were closed as a precaution. Officials do not know how much oil was spilled. Luckily, no one was hurt. At this point, all the barges have been secured.

ROMANS: The S&P 500 pushing for a new record high, almost there, just 12 points short. And stock futures are higher this morning. A little bit higher. The S&P 500 hit dozens of records last year but has yet to close at a high in 2014. There have been concerns about slow economic growth and turmoil overseas, but those fears, at least for now, have subsided. The major average is up three to four percent this month.

What happened to that correction in January? Forget about that! Even more support to stocks today is news that the world's richest countries are pledging to add $2 trillion to the global economy over the next five years, maybe in terms of, like, big infrastructure projects, structural reforms. The goal is to boost economic growth, this coming from that G-20 meeting in Australia.

Remember, for years, we've been talking about austerity. Now, they're really focused on growth.

And another conference to tell you about, the mobile world Congress in Barcelona. Samsung expected to unveil a new Galaxy smartphone. Rumor is it will have a fingerprint sensor, something the iPhone already has.

BERMAN: You're looking at their watch. They're very proud of right there --

ROMANS: Yes, absolutely.

BERMAN: -- which I can't figure out for the life of me how I would use, but you know what, they know more than I would.

ROMANS: Well, you're such a 20th-century guy.


BERMAN: Let me go to 19th century world.

All right. Breaking news overnight. There was history was made on the basketball court. You're looking at Jason Collins right there, the newest center for the Brooklyn Nets and the first gay player, openly gay player to appear in an NBA game or any game for any of the four major professional men's sports.

Collins signed a ten-day contract with the Nets Sunday afternoon, and just a few hours later, he was on the court playing in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.


JASON COLLINS, FIRST OPENLY GAY NBA PLAYER: It was weird and that, you know, I'm usually, like the background, one of the background players, and it's weird, obviously, this. But at the same time, it is what it is, and it's part of life. The most important thing is that the team got the win. That's all that I've ever cared about.

I don't care about scoring. I don't care about -- I care about my team winning and, you know, helping my teammates get open, making their job easier.


BERMAN: Collins finished the game with two rebounds and a steal in the Nets' 108-102 win over the Lakers. He also finished with five fouls. The guy played 11 minutes and had five fouls, and that's what I think he really is there for, you know? He's a big man, over seven feet tall. He's six fouls on the basketball court. He can defend the best centers in the league and showing up for the Nets last night. Good to see it.

ROMANS: All right, coming up, a major bust in the war on drugs. A Mexican cartel leader, a notorious cartel leader, goes to sleep, wakes up, gets arrested after more than a dozen years on the run. Whoa! What happens next, after the break.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone.

Prosecutors in New York want to prosecute an alleged Mexican drug lord captured over the weekend. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office says authorities want Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman extradited. The head of the Mexican drug cartel and notorious boss is believed to be the head of a cocaine empire worth billions known as shorty. He avoided police for years using bribes, safe houses, and homes connected apparently by underground tunnels. ROMANS: This morning, gas lines are slowly returning to service at a long island mall where a carbon monoxide leak killed one and wounded 27 others. This happened at a popular seafood restaurant. A store manager, 55-year-old Steven Nelson, found dead in the basement of the restaurant. First responders say they quickly became light-headed and they immediately evacuated the restaurant and two others.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just told us to get out of the building and that there were people who were passing out in legal sea foods.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were eating dinner, place was jammed, an hour wait. And just very calmly, the wait staff came and told us that we have to evacuate the building.


ROMANS: So, the town does not require carbon monoxide detectors, but authorities are blaming a faulty water heater flue. The store has been cited for having defective equipment. As of Sunday night, another employee was still hospitalized in stable condition.

BERMAN: The trial of Robert Kennedy's daughter, Kerry Kennedy, begins today in New York. She is charged with driving under the influence after a 2012 collision with a tractor-trailer. Prosecutors say Kennedy knew her judgment was impaired by a sleeping pill. The defense says she must have taken the pill accidentally.

The charge does carry up to a year in jail. But with no prior record, Kennedy is very doubtful she will see any jail time if convicted.

ROMANS: This morning, officials in Colorado are searching for a convicted child rapist who fled a group in a home where he was serving parole. Fifty-one-year-old Eric Hartwell (ph) apparently cut off his ankle monitor and disappeared from independence house in Denver Friday evening. Hartwell had been ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised parole. Cut the monitor and is gone.

BERMAN: Nevada police trying to track down a driver who ran over an elderly man at a suburban Las Vegas gas station. Surveillance video captured an awful scene. Look at that. It's terrible. Witnesses say the victim argued with the driver before the car just took off.


SHAYELA RODRIGUEZ, WITNESSED HIT AND RUN: I heard someone screaming. And when I turned around, the only thing that I could see, it's California plates, a silver car running away. I saw an old white man on the floor right there on the pump 5, and then the only thing that I could see, just call 911 so they can help him.


BERMAN: Police say they're treating the attack as attempted murder. The victim suffered serious leg injuries. He's still hospitalized. ROMANS: All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo joins us now. Happy Monday, Chris!

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Happy Monday to you, my friends. Today, the title of the show could be ramifications and repercussions. That's what we're going to be talking about this morning. We're going to start with the Ukraine. Situation matters, echoes of Syria. Is this really about what's going on just inside the borders or is there a bigger game afoot between Russia and the U.S.?

Why? Well, you're looking at the president right now. He's on the run. The tide is turning with the opposition versus the administration there. There is a warrant out for his arrest. The question is, will Russia support him? The U.S. is telling them not to. What happens if they do? We're going to break down different scenarios there, what it could mean for U.S. involvement.

We have Christiane Amanpour on to talk about what is going on and what this means for the rest of the region. And obviously, Vladimir Putin will be at the center of that discussion as well.

And then, under the title of ramifications and repercussions, we're going to be talking about Alec Baldwin. No stranger to controversy, kind of an exile out of New York. He said he was doing a movie in Honolulu, Hawaii. But while there, he wound up kind of getting it all off his chest. A really long narrated column that, you know, he told it to somebody else.

We're going to talk about it this morning and find out why he says he's quitting public life. That's it. It gets me choked up when I talk about Alec Baldwin.

BERMAN: It leaves you speechless. There's so much to talk about this morning.


ROMANS: Chris, it doesn't fit on the banner.

CUOMO: Ramifications and repercussions. You know where I got that from? Eddie murphy said it in the movie "Life." Anybody eats my corn bread, there are going to be ramifications and repercussions!

BERMAN: The first and last time the film "Life" has ever been quoted on morning --

CUOMO: He then gets a real beating in the movie after saying it. So, hopefully, the same doesn't happen on the show this morning.

BERMAN: All right. Chris Cuomo, great to see you. We'll have to wait and see.

ROMANS: I like "New Day."

BERMAN: "New Day" is short. Ramifications and repercussions?

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Chris.

BERMAN: All right. Doctors searching for clues this morning after a mysterious illness is paralyzing kids in California. We will have this story coming up next.


BERMAN: New reports this morning of another possible norovirus outbreak in a cruise ship after several passengers and crew members fell ill over the weekend. The Holland America Ship just ended a week-long Caribbean voyage when officials say over 100 passengers and crew members suffered from vomiting and diarrhea. This comes just a month after hundreds on board. Two cruise ships in the Caribbean were sickened by norovirus.

ROMANS: The "L.A. Times" reporting that California public health officials are investigating a mysterious polio-like illness that's inflicting children there. It causes severe weakness or rapid paralysis in one or more limbs. Now, officials have been tracking the illness since the first known case in 2012 when a doctor requested polio testing for a child with severe paralysis.

That raised concern, because you know, polio has been eradicated in the U.S., and that child had not traveled overseas. They're trying to figure out what this is.

BERMAN: All right. Paula Deen says she's back. The fallen Food Network star continues to try to rehabilitate her image. So, before making chicken and dumplings at a food and wine festival in Miami Sunday, Deen wanted to make one thing perfectly clear. She says she is sorry for the racial comments that nearly ruined her career.


PAULA DEEN, CELEBRITY CHEF: I have heard on more than one occasion. So, that's why it's important to me to say this to y'all, that I never apologized. So, if anybody did not hear me apologize, I want to apologize for those that did not hear me.

BERMAN: The private firm is now said to be investing as much as $100 million to help Paula Deen rehabilitate her image.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, better streaming ahead. Details of the big deal between Netflix and Comcast to get you over that internet speed bump. That's in "Money Time," next.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. It's "Money Time." And for those of you who follows me on Twitter. We should let you know that John Berman has been tweeting under my handle. So --

BERMAN: It's your fault. You leave your phone sitting there.

ROMANS: I disavow anything that Berman has been tweeting --

BERMAN: That's all my --

ROMANS: -- because I'm all about the market today. I'm all about the market today. Look, S&P 500 within spitting distance of a record high this morning, just 12 points shy. Problem is, the bull market is nearly five years old and investors are wondering how long this thing can last. Maybe fed chief, Janet Yellen, could nudge it to record when she delivers testimony on Capitol Hill. Stocks rallied two weeks ago when Yellen said she would end the Fed's stimulus program only gradually.

All right. This is a big story for you, Netflix users. Streaming movies on Netflix will get faster, at least, for Comcast customers. But it could go further and set a precedent for negotiations between Netflix and the other big broadband providers. For now, Netflix will pay Comcast for direct access to its network. Usually, it goes through a middle man. The change means faster streaming.

Netflix and broadband providers have been fighting over this direct access. Netflix wanted it for free, but Comcast wanted to be paid, because look, streaming Netflix eats up a big chunk of the network and slows it down.

OK. All of you college grads out there, be careful what you buy, because your alma mater may be tracking you. Colleges across the country from Brown University to Colorado State are using advanced data mining to estimate how much their alumni can donate. The higher the number, the more calls you'll get asking for money.

Schools rely on third-party companies to provide data on your income, your bonus, stock purchases, information on whether you own a big- ticket item like a yacht or a jet, John Berman.

BERMAN: Or both.

ROMANS: You can check out CNN Money for more, but this I find terrifying. Not only do you pay them on the front end, they want your money, the more successful you are. If you're employed and you're buying stuff, they know about it and want you to give more money.

BERMAN: It really is crazy. And they'll call you and they send you notes and they have students call you and send you notes.

ROMANS: I know. She doesn't live here anymore. Click.

BERMAN: They know everything.

All right. Have a great rest of the day. "NEW DAY" starts right now.