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June Jobs Report Shows More Jobs Added; Hurricane Arthur Bears Down on Holiday; Colorado Woman Tries to Help Terrorists; Hurricane Arthur Heads for N.C.; Georgia Father Back in Court

Aired July 3, 2014 - 09:00   ET


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, ladies. The ladies show over there today, I like it. Have a great day.

NEWSROOM starts now.

Good morning, thanks so much for joining us. I'm Ana Cabrera. Carol has the day off. Glad to have you with us.

Let's start this morning with news just in on the strength of the economy and moments ago we learned 288,000 jobs were added last month. Now that pushes the unemployment rate down two notches to 6.1 percent. This is now the lowest unemployment rate we've seen since September of 2008.

Joining us to discuss, CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans and Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange.

Christine, let's start with you. Break down these numbers for us. Just how significant is this?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's pretty significant. It shows you -- Ana, I want to show you here five months in a row of 200,000 plus jobs, net new jobs, created in the economy. This shows you a trend, it shows you that employers are a little more confident, they're seeing more demand in their business and they're starting to hire workers.

We talked a little bit about that unemployment rate. You pointed 6.1 percent, really important to put that in context, too, because that's the best we've seen in a very, very long time, the best since really 2008 when this crisis was first really grabbing hold.

Now what we need to see is more people starting to get in the labor market to go out there and start to try to find jobs, that could drive that unemployment rate up in the months ahead, but for now at least it shows things are moving in the right direction, and when you look at the overall recovery, you can see just how far we've come.

I mean, the CNN Money headline this morning is, the economy -- jobs recovery finally hits its stride. This is the jobless rate. Ten percent. Can you believe that? Ten percent. Remember back in 2009, it has been a slow, slow crawl out of that hole but that seems as though the last few months it's beginning to do a lot better than we had expected -- Ana.

CABRERA: Good stuff. Christine Romans, thanks.

And, Alison, let's bring you in now. I know these numbers just came out about a half an hour ago. Is Wall Street reacting at this point?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Opening Bell rings, Ana, in about 29 minutes, to be exact. We did see futures which are an indication of how stocks are going to open. Futures ticked up a little bit, nothing huge, nothing to really write home about but still we are seeing that stocks will open higher.

Now there is this saying here on Wall Street, buy on the rumor, sell on the news, and that seems to be what could be happening here, so investors went ahead and bought in a little early. We did see stocks over the past couple of days rise a little bit more. So the expectation was this jobs report was going to be good.

So on the day that the news comes out, you may see a little bit of caution play into the trade, so there is some question whether or not we could get to that psychological milestone of 17000 today.

One other thing to keep in mind, as much as this report is certainly a solid jobs report, investors oftentimes and Wall Street oftentimes looked at it a little bit differently, and as far as the jobs number goes, now that sort of bar of expectation is being raised, so that 288,000 jobs that were added in June, you know, Wall Street would like to see now a number with maybe a three in front. If you saw a three in front, one trader told me, you may see a stronger response at the open.

Once again the Opening Bell ringing in a little less than 30 minutes -- Ana.

CABRERA: We're a little closer to that 300,000 mark.

KOSIK: Definitely.

CABRERA: You know, 200,000 was kind of a big benchmark.

So, Christine, Alison, thanks to you both and we'll check back in with you, Alison, in a little bit.

Now to Arthur, and millions of Americans nervously watching and bracing for what has become a hurricane. It's churning now off the coast of South Carolina, bearing down on 4th of July celebrations, all the way to New England.

Right now, this is a category 1 hurricane, upgraded from a tropical storm just hours ago. Strong enough to force evacuations along North Carolina's outer banks and deceptive enough to not be properly feared. The biggest danger now may be the rip currents for those who decide to ignore the warnings and wade into the surf.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: So this is a very serious time. We don't want people to mess around with this hurricane and for those who are a little further north, we want them to, you know, stay out of the water.

This is no time to put your stupid hat on. Don't get brave just because you see some good waves out there. Stay out of the water, hatchet down and make sure we don't have to come rescue you and put our emergency workers at jeopardy.


CABRERA: Don't put your stupid hat on, he says.

We are covering all the angles. Alina Machado is in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, meteorologist Indra Petersons is in there to the north in Kill Devil Hills.

Let's begin with you, Alina, since you're further south along the coast. I know you've seen some stormy weather there already. Are people taking this storm seriously?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, they are, but here in Wrightsville Beach right now, obviously we're getting a bit of a break but I promise you, just a little while ago it was very -- a very different picture here.

Just take a look, not many people in the water. The surf is definitely rough. Most of the people we're seeing out here are just walking along the shore, taking in the waves, but staying out of the water, which is exactly what officials here in Wrightsville Beach are asking people to do, stay out of the water, because even if it's calm right now Arthur is churning in the Atlantic and he is causing rip currents. And that is a very real danger on a day like today.

Now we have been seeing periods of high winds and heavy downpours here in Wrightsville Beach and we are expecting to continue to see that throughout the morning and the afternoon -- Ana.

CABRERA: Stay away from the water. We know that storm surge is still coming.

Alina Machado thanks to you.

Watches and warnings now blanket the coast there. Let's travel about 230 miles north. Meteorologist Indra Petersons is on the beach in Kill Devil Hills.

What are you seeing there, Indra?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Ana, we're still seeing that change in the wind as well. We keep seeing them strengthen really every half an hour or so. Right now seeing about 20-mile-per-hour steady winds. And once in a while you get one of these strong gusts that really kind of blow things around here. We know it's only going to deteriorate even further now that Arthur is a category 1 hurricane and strengthening.

That is the key here. Still about 115 miles or so offshore of Charleston, South Carolina, but it's progressing to the north- northeast at about nine miles per hour. The biggest impact expected to be right here on the outer banks overnight tonight in through the hours of tomorrow morning, likely at 85-mile-per-hour winds. That is again still a stronger category 1 hurricane expected to make landfall in this region.

Then it's going to catch up with the jet stream. It's going to move really quickly staying south of the northeast, though. But you may feel the impacts in combination with that cold front there with some of that heavy rain. But keep in mind, if you look at the most westerly track here we could see that have impact around Cape Cod on the 4th of July in those evening hours. That's something we're going to be monitoring very closely, I should say. And then it heads out toward Halifax by Saturday evening.

As far as how much rain we're expecting, we're going to have a good two to four inches. The bulk of the rain staying offshore, remember, but two to four inches, possibly three to five inches, closer to the shoreline. As far as the waves, though, 15 to 20-foot waves can be seen out there, in f act right where the center is we're already seeing some 25-foot waves out there and yes, we have that storm surge as well.

So still got another two to four feet of water can be here in addition to that and remember this is going to be falling or potentially making landfall at high tide so even more water has the potential to make its way into this region. So much to think about when you have that threat, of course, for conditions only to deteriorate, fresh on everyone's mind is Irene, just in 2011 the intersection of the highway really had two points where we saw that highway break apart on Highway 12.

Everyone is hoping the new engineering in that region will hold together this time -- Ana.

CABRERA: You look at your picture and it's certainly a case of looks can be deceiving because it looks so beautiful, so tempting for people to go out and explore this nice day and it's not a nice day, so Indra Petersons, thanks for your warnings, for your report.

We have a live picture right now from Folly Beach, this is South Carolina. You can see those waves lapping on the shore there. Certainly a much stormier image than what we're seeing up further north in North Carolina.

Again, everybody warning to stay away and prepare for what could be the worst but hope for the best.

Indra Petersons and Alina Machado continuing to stand by for us.

Also just in this morning. The American embassy in Uganda has issued a warning for U.S. citizens about an attack that may happen in the next few hours. The specific threat here is against the international airport in the capital city of Kampala. Something is supposed to happen in five hours by an unknown terror group. The warning lacks specifics but it suggests air travelers may want to rethink their plans.

Still to come, a young Colorado woman is in custody, accused of trying to aid terrorists. CNN's Pamela Brown is covering this story this morning.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, this 19-year-old woman arrested for allegedly wanting to join terrorists overseas and wage jihad. We're going to have more on this story coming up.


CABRERA: Checking top stories this morning.

Police in Louisiana have questioned 20-year-old Justin Odem in the shooting on Bourbon Street early Sunday that left one person dead and nine others injured. Twenty-one-year-old Brittany Thomas died yesterday from gunshot wounds that she suffered when two men opened fire on that crowded street after an apparent argument. Three victims remain hospitalized. Police are still looking for a second person of interest in this case.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is another bus coming to our city and where can I be when for this next protest to protect that bus from coming here?


CABRERA: That was from a town hall meeting last night in Murrieta, California. And with more undocumented immigrants possibly arriving in the Southern California town tomorrow, there are concerns the protests there could get uglier.

Earlier this week, protesters blocked three busloads of undocumented immigrants who were arriving from Texas, and this afternoon, Texas Governor Rick Perry will testify at a Homeland Security hearing on the surge of unaccompanied minors still streaming into his state.

The family of a Mississippi girl mauled in a dog attack is still adamant that they were asked to leave a Mississippi KFC because of the girl's scars. And now the family of Victoria Wilter says they will not accept a $30,000 donation from KFC. KFC conducted its own investigation and disputes the family's claim.

OK, listen to this, a 19-year-old Colorado woman says she fell in love with a man she met online and she wanted to travel halfway around the world just to be with him, but she's now under arrest accused of trying to help terrorists.

The FBI says Shannon Conley planned to meet up with a man who is a member of ISIS, that terror group that's fighting in Iraq. And authorities say Conley wanted to serve as a nurse in an ISIS camp. CNN's justice correspondent Pamela Brown is picking up the story from

here -- Pamela.

BROWN: Yes, this is quite a story, Ana. We're learning from authorities that this 19-year-old Denver woman's ultimate goal was to get to Syria to fight with the terrorist group ISIS. In fact, the FBI says it spent months trying to dissuade her from her plans, to no avail.


BROWN (voice-over): A Colorado teenager arrested and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. 19-year-old Shannon Maureen Conley taken into custody by the FBI, as she attempted to board a plane to Turkey at the Denver International Airport in April. Her goal, authorities say, to unite with the radical Islamist group ISIS in Syria, and marry a jihadist she met on the Internet.

According to a newly unsealed criminal complaint, Conley discussed her radical beliefs with federal agents over the course of an eight-month investigation, referring to U.S. military bases as targets and telling investigators that she thought she could plan an attack on U.S. soil but could not carry it out because she lacked the means and opportunity, ignoring warnings that aiding terrorists would result in her arrest Conley told investigators she needed to go overseas to be trained in jihad.

The teenager became the subject of an FBI investigation after a pastor who feared she was planning an attack at a local church reported what he saw as suspicious activity to police.

GEORGE MORRISON, SENIOR PASTOR, FAITH BIBLE CHAPEL: She became more -- a little bit more hostile. Then eventually we came in and said, listen, it's just probably better that you not come back.

BROWN: According to court documents, Conley told investigators that she hates the people at the church, asserting, "if they think I'm a terrorist, I'll give them something to think I am."

According to the complaint, agents recovered material about jihad and al Qaeda from her house, in addition to DVDs of Anwar al Awlaki, the American militant killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. The teenager joins a growing list of Americans who have been detained for attempting to join terrorist organizations abroad.


BROWN: And according to the recently unsealed criminal complaint, Conley even received military training in an effort to train jihadists overseas about U.S. military tactics.

And, Ana, when the FBI encouraged her to join a humanitarian aid organization instead, she allegedly said it was not an option because it would not solve the problem of protecting Muslim lands -- Ana.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Pamela Brown, thank you so much. Still to come, should a father stand trial for leaving his baby in a

hot car for seven hours? A judge must decide this today.

Victor Blackwell is in Cobb County, Georgia, with more.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the big questions are, what will we learn about the state's case against Justin Ross Harris and will he be walking out of the Cobb County jail today after the death of his 22-month-old? We'll talk about it in just a moment.


CABRERA: As we monitor the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, this pictures come to us from Carolina Beach in North Carolina, where Arthur appears to be moving in, you can see how stormy it is there, already raining, the waves really lapping up on the shore. They're expecting a two to four-foot storm surge.

We also have live pictures monitoring from Cure Beach, just north of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. The barrier islands are being evacuated in North Carolina right now as they prepare for hurricane Arthur to pick up steam and come closer and closer. We'll continue to follow that story throughout the hour.

But now was it murder or simply a horrible accident? This is the question everyone has been asking, since Justin Ross Harris left his 22-month-old son Cooper in the hot car for seven hours, killing him.

This afternoon, prosecutors will try to persuade a judge that Harris should stand trial on charges of murder and second-degree child cruelty. His defense attorney will likely argue this was simple negligence, not murder, that Harris tragically forgot to drop his son off at day care.

Let's bring in CNN's Victor Blackwell at the courthouse outside Atlanta.

Victor, set the scene there for us.

BLACKWELL: Well, Ana, we took a walk through this courthouse, just kind of mapping our day and we walked by clusters of people and this is all they're talking about. What will we learn today about the state's case against Ross Harris and the charges of second-degree child cruelty and felony murder? We know now that Chuck Boring, the assistant district attorney will be working this case for the D.A.'s office.

We're told to expect six to ten witnesses and we're almost certain those witnesses will include the patrol officers who were there back on June 18th, when this dead 22-month-old was pulled out of the vehicle, also the lead investigator in this case, the defense attorney, Maddux Kilgore (ph), will have an opportunity to cross- examine them. And maybe that will be the first opportunity we'll get a glimpse of the defense.

Thus far, Max Kilgore in public through media has not spoken about how he defends his client against the charges.

That's the first portion. If a judge determines that the charges are warranted, we'll move into the bond hearing and the judge will have to determine if Ross Harris is a threat to society, if he is a flight risk, if he's deemed to be those things, he likely will not get bond but quite possibly we could see Harris leave the Cobb County jail today. We're told by jail officials that could happen pretty quickly.

CABRERA: Victor, I can say as a parent, it's hard to fathom anything like this happening, that it could be more than an accident, but we know that it's those internet searches that investigators have already released, and made public, that may be a key to the case for the prosecutors. What more have we learned as far as what evidence they may present?

BLACKWELL: Well, the sheriff, rather the police chief here in Cobb County has said that they have physical evidence, testimonial evidence that proves this is more than just simple negligence. Another important question is, will we see Leanna Harris, this boy's mother, in court today.

We know that during the bond portion, we could see some character witnesses to try to get Ross Harris out of jail as he awaits trial. Will his wife be one of those character witnesses? We don't know that as of yet.

We know that the sheriff here has not planned for additional security, but we know in the defense of her husband at the funeral on Saturday, Leanna Harris says she's absolutely not angry with her husband. Will she repeat that here today? Will they explain the internet searches? We probably won't get the full defense but maybe a hint, a peek at what is to come during the trial.

CABRERA: And bond is still an issue?

BLACKWELL: Say that again?

CABRERA: Bond is still an issue here?

BLACKWELL: Yes, bond will be decided. If the judge determines that those charges of second-degree child cruelty are warranted, the charge of felony murder, they'll go into the bond hearing and that could be a large portion of what we see today, scheduled to start at 1:30 Eastern and last for about 90 minutes.

CABRERA: A lot of us want answers on this one.

Thank you. Victor Blackwell reporting. Keep us posted, certainly.

Still to come, hurricane Arthur is gaining strength and taking aim at the holiday. Meteorologist Indra Petersons is on the North Carolina coast.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Here in the outer banks, we continue to see the winds strength. We're expecting landfall overnight tonight. We're going to have the full details straight ahead.


CABRERA: Hello, again. I'm Ana Cabrera, in for Carol Costello. Thanks so much for joining me.

Millions of Americans have Fourth of July holiday plans on their minds. It's getting close, but hurricane Arthur is even closer this morning. And it's strengthened from a tropical storm several ago. It's now swirling off the coast of South Carolina, and Arthur could push ashore with storm surges of up to four feet. Evacuations are underway for thousands who live on North Carolina's outer banks. Emergency officials are warning, this is a category one storm, but do not take it lightly.


CRAIG FUGATE, FEMA DIRECTOR: Does it pass over the outer banks or a little bit to the west or to the east of there. That will tell us the damage. But the focus right now is getting people to evacuate. The more people that evacuate makes it a lot easier to go in there and clean up afterwards. We're not doing a lot of search and rescue operations and hopefully again with the storm, we don't have loss of life.

But that depends upon people heeding those evacuation orders, staying out of the water and taking steps now to get ready.


CABRERA: How bad will it be? How are people preparing? Let's get the latest from North Carolina coast, where it's sunny but windy already.

Meteorologist Indra Petersons is there in Kill Devil Hills.

Hey, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I think everyone here is wishing it could stay like this, beautiful and sunny. But every half an hour or so, you can hear the winds continuing to pick up. Still about 20 miles per hour, because the system is 100 miles offshore from Charleston, South Carolina, but those winds have strengthened so Arthur is a stronger category 1 hurricane at 80-mile-per-hour winds there, still making its way to the north-northeast, slowly 9 miles per hour.

But the biggest impact should be right here on the outer banks this evening in through tomorrow morning. So that's the concern here. Now, after that it's expected to quickly pick up with the jet stream, head towards the northeast but it's going to stay south of the northeast. That doesn't mean you're not going to feel the effects of anything, because you a cold front, you felt it yesterday, you're going to feel that combination of the cold front with the moisture from Arthur. That's going to enhance rainfall there. Now, the farthest western portion of Arthur that track shows it could

impact Cape Cod Friday evening. That's the Fourth of July at nighttime, and then it makes its way to Halifax on Saturday. By then it will hit cooler waters and should be a remnant low.

So, lots to talk about, heavy rain, three to five inches is what we could be seeing. Storm surge, another two to four feet at the time of high tide so that's a pig concern out here, and, of course the waves already seeing 20, 25-foot waves where the center of Arthur is right now. So as it approaches closer this evening, with he could be talking about some 15 to 20-foot waves out there.

And fresh on everyone's mind is Irene. If you remember back in about 2011, what we saw here was highway 12 that got ripped apart in two places and the concern is they may see that again. Hopefully, there has the new construction that will hold this time as Arthur makes its impact this evening.

CABRERA: All right. Fingers crossed. Indra Petersons, thank you.

Of course with Hurricane Arthur now skirting the South Carolina coast, we should check in with the emergency management division there as well. Indra is in North Carolina, Derrec Becker is the public information coordinator there in South Carolina, joining us by phone.

Derrec, thanks for taking a few minutes of your time with us. What you guys seeing there right now?


Well, obviously, there's a lot of attention with Hurricane Arthur.