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North Korea Tests Missiles; Oklahoma HIV Scare

Aired March 30, 2013 - 15:59   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. A look at our top stories right now.

We begin in North Korea, where the country is declaring a state of war on the south. The fiery rhetoric coming from the North Korea's young leader has been picking up speed in recent weeks. And it's not just Seoul in the crosshairs. Pyongyang says it's targeting several U.S. cities including Austin, Texas. Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence reports.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Fred, there's a lot of folks in Texas right now wondering how in the world did we get on North Korea's bull's eye list? Now, U.S. officials aren't that worried about folks in Austin right now. But they are very concerned about the north's latest moves.


LAWRENCE: Look past the picture of Kim Jong-un putting North Korean rockets on standby inside his military command. There is a chart marked "U.S. mainland strike plan," with missile trails aiming at Hawaii, California, D.C. and, for some reason, Austin, Texas. It's wishful thinking on Pyongyang's part. They can't reach the U.S. yet. But tens of thousands of American troops are well within range of a more limited strike, something short of an all-out attack.

CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR: I think it's more in the sense of North Korea kind of getting right up to the edge, stumbling and then falling over the edge.

LAWRENCE: Former ambassador Chris Hill says the real danger is the North shelling a border island like it did in 2010. Hill says there is a wild card here that worries the U.S. Jong, inexperienced Kim Jong Un's desire to prove himself as a leader.

HILL: Because I think the North Koreans have their doubts about whether this kid is really up to this.

LAWRENCE: So far Pentagon officials says the North's rhetoric has not been matched by any actual military moves. But it has no foreseeable end game and could go on for a while.

North Koreans protested on the streets one day after the U.S. flew long range stealth bombers on a training run, coming within 50 miles of North Korea's border. Some say although the flights may reassure South Korea of U.S. protection it could lead to unintended consequences.

JOHN PARK, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: China viewing this as alarming escalation. The second is that the North Koreans almost received a validation in terms of their missile development program.


LAWRENCE (on camera): Senior defense officials say there was an intense debate over whether to send those B-2 bombers all the way up to the White House and senior levels of the National Security Council. He says the full range of options was considered with some urging the U.S. to do more than just fly the bombers and others say the U.S. should hang back, hold back, and do less. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. Chris Lawrence, thank you.

A second apology now from Alaska Congressman Don Young. The veteran lawmaker came under fire this week after he used a slur to refer to immigrant workers. At first he said he didn't mean it in a degrading way. But then Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner slammed Young and demanded a full apology.

Some good news for former South African President Nelson Mandela. He's responding to treatment for pneumonia and is breathing without difficulty. The 94-year-old was admitted to a hospital this week for recurring lung infection.

And rescuers have plucked more than 220 people off ice flows that broke away from shore in Latvia. The bigger of the free floating ice sheets was just off the capital with 181 people stranded on it. Another was near a resort town. One person was treated for possible frostbite.

Screenings are under way right now for thousands of dental patients in this country in Oklahoma, in fact, who may be facing a life threatening health risk. The patients were urged to get tested for HIV and hepatitis after visiting this office in suburban Tulsa.

CNN's national correspondent Susan Candiotti joining us live now. So what kind of turnout has there been of this testing?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, about 200 people so far - we'll get final numbers later this day. The state is asking about 7,000 patients to be tested after Oklahoma dental inspectors found alleged evidence of deplorable conditions - that's what they call them - at the dental offices of Dr. Scott Harrington. They are calling him a menace to public health.

Now some of these allegations include using expired drugs, using rusty dental equipment inside patients' mouths. This is an oral surgeon. Also allowing dental assistants to administer sedation using IVs. That, authorities say, is simply never allowed.

All of this started, Fred, after inspectors discovered that a former patient tested positive for both HIV and hepatitis C. A subsequent test proved he was negative for HIV. However, authorities are very concerned of possible cross contamination because a lot of the patients there do suffer from some infectious diseases. So a lot of patients when they learned of this, very angry and worried that they have to come in for screenings. They're scared, too. Including an 18-year-old that we spoke with as well as her mother. This young lady had her wisdom teeth extracted almost two years ago.


MARISSA SMITH, PATIENT: HIV and hepatitis B and hepatitis C are really hard things to live with. I have been to a lot of, like, school things about them. I have learned about them through the years. You know, some of my family is living with it. If I get sick like I could be sick for a long time, you know. It just freaks me out a little knowing this could kill me.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Do you think he should be charged?

MELISSA WOOD, MOTHER: If this turns out to be the case he certainly should lose his license, you know, for definite. I don't think he should be allowed to practice anymore. You know, as far as criminal charges, you know, I don't know what will happen with that. But, you know, how do you say you're sorry to 7,000 people that you could possibly have infected?


CANDIOTTI: Now authorities say they do not suspect that there is a major outbreak here. But they are concerned enough that they want to have everyone screened anyway and trying to alert - rather avoid anyone feeling any sense of panic. At this time the doctor doesn't face any criminal charges. However, the state is putting together evidence that the district attorney is aware of and he could decide to press criminal charges at a later date if there is evidence of that. So far, Fred, we have been unable to reach the dentist or his lawyer. And those screenings, Fred, they will continue next week.

WHITFIELD: OK. Susan Candiotti, thanks so much, in Tulsa.

All right. A major court victory this week for Oscar Pistorius. He is the South African runner accused of murdering his model girlfriend. CNN's Dan Rivers has the story.

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, there is continuing fascination about the story of Oscar Pistorius here in South Africa. Of course, on Thursday this week he won the right to travel abroad. It opens up the tantalizing prospect of him competing possibly maybe in August in Moscow. There will be an enormous media circus around him if that's the case. Of course, he hasn't spoken publicly since he was arrested for the shooting of his girlfriend

Also there were reports in the papers here of him running out of cash, of him being extremely depressed, reports of him crying and reading the Bible a lot. His family obviously, terribly concerned and wants him to get back into training. That's going to be very difficult for him to concentrate on given that his trial is set to start on June 4th for the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's day. Fred.

WHITFIELD: Remarkable. All right. Thanks so much, Dan Rivers.

All right. Rising to the ranks of Bruce Springsteen requires a whole lot of skill and of course, hard work. But it also helps to have a really strong name like Clive Davis behind you. Get the inside scoop from Mr. Davis about what it takes to find a talent like "The Boss."


WHITFIELD: Phil Ramone, the man behind legends like Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan has died. His son says the 14-time Grammy- winning producer died this morning. He didn't reveal the cause. But it was reported earlier this month that Ramone was hospitalized for an aortic aneurysm.

Over his long career Ramone collaborated with people like Madonna, Paul McCartney, Bono and Etta James. Aretha Franklin tweeted, "This is so shocking. Truly one of the great names in music has gone on, but the melodies will remain." Billy Joel says, "I have lost a dear friend and my greatest mentor. The music world lost a giant today." Phil Ramone was 72 years old.

Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston and Bruce Springsteen are all enormously successful musicians with one thing in common - the man who supported them along the way. Clive Davis is a legend in the music biz. He is the chief creative officer for Sony Music Entertainment and he just released an autobiography. I got a chance to talk with him about his incredible career which started, interestingly enough, as a lawyer.


CLIVE DAVIS, CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICE, SONY MUSIC ENT.: The fates were good, luck went my way and the firm that I went to work for represented Columbia Records. I became their general counsel for five years and then overnight I was made head of the company. So I was thrust into it. Never knowing that I had a natural ear and gift for music or that it would become the passion of my life.

WHITFIELD (on camera): So this natural sere for music and this real knack for discovering talent or recognizing talent, what do you suppose that quality is? What is it that you look for when you tap into those kind of, you know, keen interests that you have?

DAVIS: Well, my first signing really - you know, you hear about that (INAUDIBLE). I saw the first artist, Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the holding company at the Monterrey Pop Festival. It changed my life. If the word epiphany has any meaning that's what happened. And I knew I had to step forward and make my first creative musical signing move. So that's what I did. I signed Big Brother. She was so charismatic. She was a white soul sister that I had never seen. I don't think anybody had ever seen the likes of before.

And I trusted my ears after that as we launched Janis and I signed blood, sweat & tears, and Santana and Bruce Springsteen. After a while you know you're looking for the headliner, you're looking for someone who can take an audience out of its seats. If it's a singer- songwriter like Springsteen who has become, with Bob Dylan, the musical poet laureates of America, you're looking for that incredible lyrics - intense, depth, imagery - to distinguish them. So it's a combination and it depends on the artist that you are really appraising.

WHITFIELD: So it was one thing, you know, a very big thing to have that knack to be able to identify that musician, that artist, has that it thing. It's another for that artist who entrusts their career in you. What was it that you either promised or what could you exude to those artists that they said, "You know what? Sign me up. I want the to be with you, Clive Davis."

DAVIS: Well, it was the first one that you have to cross that bridge. I had a connection with Joplin whether it was trust, integrity. We had an instant connection. But then when you start building the track record. When you find that each of the artists as I said Blood, Sweat and Tears and Santana and Spring - when they start becoming successful, you start building your track record, you start building your expertise.

And I do want to emphasize I take none of this ever for granted to this day. So that I keep my ear fresh. I'm afraid of going over the hill. So I make sure peers of mine did go over the hill. I make sure that currently I listen to every new record as it hits the charts so that it takes, you know, vigilance.


WHITFIELD: Well, all that success also comes with tragedy. Clive Davis, he was very close to Whitney Houston. He still has a strong reaction when he hears her music.


DAVIS: You know, it rips your heart out is what it does.


WHITFIELD: Clive Davis tells me what Whitney was like in the days before she died.

But first, this week's "Next List" goes behind the scenes of the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to make it (INAUDIBLE) feel like an old book or maybe some comfortable clothes that have been worn, shoes that have been walked in for miles and miles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For instance, Dan has already mentioned that there is no phrase for thank you in (INAUDIBLE) but they have something like 42 words for horse. I mean it's a horse-based culture. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It started kind of an imagined time that was about 1,000 years before the action of the series. I kind of conceived how the language would look at that point. And then evolve the language over a period of a thousand years. In doing so it kind of helps to make the language more authentic.


WHITFIELD: Before the break we showed you part of my interview with music recording legend Clive Davis. He worked with Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin. But one of the most famous voices he launched to stardom is Whitney Houston. He told me about their relationship.


DAVIS: Regarding Whitney, I was there when her career began. I discovered her when she was 19. We embarked on this odyssey breaking every record in the record books. Seven number ones. 22 million with her first album. She was a workhorse. She went all over the world. You know, to break in every country. "The Bodyguard" is still the best-selling sound track. So when you realize the magnitude of her talent and I know her as a person. It was sad and tragic that she couldn't deal with the lethal issue of drugs.

And so it's too recent, you know, to really - I did the best. I have an extended chapter in this book about, a, our relationship. B, the sides of her the public did not know. And then, you know, the few days right before she died, she was full of life, looking forward to. So, yes, it's painful. We were more than just an artist that I signed in my administration. We were creative partners. I worked with her to find every song she ever really recorded that's become a standard today.

WHITFIELD: I didn't know her. But hearing the song gives me chills. I wonder if for someone, such as yourself, to know her so well, so intimately, to really be so ingrained in her life oh, what hearing her music, looking at the pictures does to you.

DAVIS: You know, it rips your heart out is what it does. Because she was full of life. And contrary to the tabloidal reports, I mean, she loved music. It permeated her soul. When she and I were together it was 48 hours before she passed away. She was playing me the music from her new movie "Sparkle." I was working with Jennifer Hudson. I was playing other songs. I was finding for Jennifer. So that whether in the industry all of us, Babyface, Alicia Keys, those that wrote, produced, arranged for that glorious voice, we knew there was no one like her. It's very, very painful. That this tragic talent so prematurely came to an early demise really.

WHITFIELD: Your book is beautiful because of the words you speak. And then also as soon as you open the book, the jacket - there is a photograph. It's remarkable photo. I wonder the story behind this photo when you look at the talents of Alicia Keys, you, Rod Stewart, Carrie Underwood, Pink. And there's Whitney, front and center. DAVIS: Every year I throw a party the night before the Grammys. We all celebrate music. It really has become the sort of sought after party each year. A picture was taken from "People" magazine every year. It became a tradition and that year Alicia and Whitney and (INAUDIBLE) and you know, there's Leona Lewis, Rod Stewart, and Carrie, they gathered before the evening and we took this picture.

WHITFIELD: It's beautiful. Clive Davis, thank you so much for sharing your story, your life story and that of so many other music legends. You are a legend. "The Soundtrack of My Life" is a beautiful book. Thanks for your time. Pleasure talking to you.

DAVIS: Thank you. Thank you so much.


WHITFIELD: Clive Davis talking about that was the toughest chapter for him to write, that of Whitney Houston.

Coming up tomorrow, another legend of the stage, screen and television joining us. I will talk with Rita Moreno, tomorrow afternoon. She too has a memoir out. We talk about everything under the sun from career to romance to self-discovery.


WHITFIELD: A look at our top stories.

It could be weeks before thousands of dental patients in Oklahoma are able to breathe easier. Right now, many are taking HIV and hepatitis tests after an investigation uncovered unsanitary tools used at this dental office. It was bad one health worker said it nearly made her sick. The dentist, Scott Harrington, surrendered his dental license earlier this month.

The Pentagon says North Korea's latest threat amounts to nothing more than war mongering rhetoric. Today North Korean media announced that Pyongyang was entering a state of war with its southern neighbor. It also compared the U.S. to a ripe pumpkin saying it was vulnerable to attack. Earlier author Gordon Chang had this to say.


GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR: On Monday of this week, we had an agreement announced between Washington and Seoul that the United States would participate in retaliation against low level provocations. That really brings us in. We also, of course, have a defense treaty with South Korea that obligates us to protect South Korean territory. I think that we'll probably participate in a retaliation if the North Koreans reach out and do something horrible which many people think that they will. So this is a dangerous situation right now. It's not going to get any better.


WHITFIELD: Today's comments were just the latest in a string of increasingly belligerent threats coming out of Pyongyang.

Seventeen T.S.A. workers who are facing termination for not following screening procedures will be suspended instead. The agency says many of the workers didn't violate the rules intentionally. The TSA originally sought to punish 44 workers. Four were fired.

And here is a look at what's trending online. A former South African president, Nelson Mandela, is resting comfortably in the hospital this afternoon. The 94-year-old was admitted this week suffering from pneumonia. Doctors say the treatment is going well.

And "American Idol" seems to be falling in the ratings this season. The singing competition had just over seven million viewers on Thursday. That's the lowest number in the show's 12-year history according to Entertainment Reports.

And nearly three million Facebook users are showing support for same-sex marriage by changing their profile photos. On Monday, the human rights campaign started asking people to use its pink on red equals sign on their pages.

All right. That's going to do it for me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Much more of the "CNN Newsroom" continues at the top of the hour with Don Lemon. Right now, keep it here for "Sanjay Gupta, MD."