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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Royal Baby Watch; Severe Weather Watch; Ohio Bodies Found; Roller Coaster Nightmare;

Aired July 22, 2013 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: The news millions are waiting for from London. Kate is now in a hospital in early labor as the world watches. We are live.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Amazing rescues. Massive downpours in Arizona. Flash floods leaving motorists trapped.

PEREIRA: Emotions running high more than a week after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin. This weekend dueling protests ignite across the country.

ROMANS: Good morning, everyone. It is Monday. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. Nice to see you.

PEREIRA: Nice to see you, too. I'm Michaela Pereira. It is Monday, the 22nd of July. And it's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We begin this morning with some very big news from London after weeks and weeks of waiting. Word in to CNN this morning that the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate, is now in early labor.

Let's go live to St. Mary's Hospital in London.

Max Foster, the payoff is on its way, my friend. You've been waiting there patiently in a heat wave. And now it would appear the time has arrived.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, guys, it was unbelievable. We had this sort of rumor a few hours ago that she'd come in, then it got confirmed a couple of hours ago. So she came in about four hours ago, 6:00 a.m. UK time.

I'm told the labor is progressing normally. So that's good news. They arrived around the back. Just Kate and William in a car. And another car. It wasn't a big motorcade that many of us had been expecting. She's inside. A full medical team. Her own medical obstetricians, two of them. Plus the hospital staff. It's a teaching hospital. She could not be in better hands.

PEREIRA: Max, are you getting updates in terms -- we just got this update that she's in early labor and that things are progressing well. How are they supplying these updates to those of you camped outside?

FOSTER: Well, there's a general e-mail went around and then a few of us can chat on the phone as well. So that's how we're getting the updates. We're not going to get a lot of updates, I have to say. And the point about her coming in at the early stages of labor. It was interesting because there was talk about her having to be induced. This is overdue. There's no sign that that would happened because she'd have to be induced in the hospital. But she's in labor as she came in. That doesn't really imply she was induced.

But to give you a sense of the interest in the story, Dave, if you swing the camera around, this is one of three press pens here. It's gone completely mad. I mean, I'm partly to blame. As soon as I got the e-mail from the palace, I came hurtling out of the cafe and everyone sort of grabbed their ladders.

This is one of the press pens. Then you've got Buckingham Palace. They got a whole set up there as well. I mean, this is -- in terms of media saturation, we are up there.

PEREIRA: Absolutely. We talked to you last week and you could see a few other press areas set up and some people talking. But just even listening to you, there's a buzz behind you. The excitement certainly is growing.

Max, we'll talk to you again this morning. Thanks so much for that update.

ROMANS: And now let's bring in CNN royal contributor, Katie Nicholl. She's covered the royal family for more than a decade. She's with us live this morning at Buckingham Palace.

You know, and Katie, one of the reasons why the world is so captivated by this impending birth is because this would be Diana's first grandchild. And this is, you know, Will, who so many of us had watched really grow up since his mother's death in 1997. And it is the third in line. This baby will be third in line to the throne whether it's a boy or not.

KATIE NICHOLL, CNN ROYAL CONTRIBUTOR: It will be historic whether it's a boy or a girl. I think a lot of people here are hoping it will be a girl because of all the historical implementations that that will have. I don't know if you can see the crowds around me. But everyone here is gathered at Buckingham Palace.

In fact behind me at the gate is where the easel will be posted at some point later on today when the royal baby arrived announcing the weight, the sex, possibly the name. And it will be here in keeping with royal protocol and historic traditions that everyone will find out first about the birth.

ROMANS: Wow. What about the Queen, Prince Charles, what will their role be once -- you know, once the birth is announced?

NICHOLL: Well, Prince William is under strict instructions to telephone the Queen as soon as the birth had happened. He will make that call on a specially encrypted phone. Royal protocol dictates that the Queen must be the first to be told before anyone else about the future heir. Although this is a couple who have done things very much their own way, they have added a modern touch to their marriage, to their engagement, to everything else, this will go by royal protocol and the queen will be told first.

ROMANS: All right. Grandma gets the first phone call, I understand it. I can understand it.

Katie Nicholl, thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

PEREIRA: And I was just thinking that now there are going to be grandmothers around the nation that are going to start saying, you must call me on an encrypted line, and I must be the first to know.

ROMANS: I called my grandma very quickly but --

PEREIRA: You did? They are the queens of our family.

ROMANS: This is true. This is very true. All right.

PEREIRA: Another big story we're watching is this extreme weather stretching from coast to coast in normally dry Phoenix. Thunderstorms triggered flashfloods that washed out roads leading to some pretty dramatic water rescues. Emergency responders were busy. Helicopters even needed to pluck drivers that became trapped in their vehicles by the rushing floodwater. As much as two inches of rain fell in the Phoenix area on Sunday.

ROMANS: Meantime, thousands of residents and tourists now being allowed to return to their communities near Palm Springs, California. They have been evacuated for days because of the massive mountain fire. That's burned nearly, wow, 30,000 acres. Heavy weekend rains were an immense help to crews battling this blaze. That blaze has destroyed seven homes. It's burned more than a dozen other structures. The fires are now -- we're glad to report 68 percent contained.

PEREIRA: That is really good news. And while the searing heat across much of the country has been followed by a cool wave, many folks are still being impacted by severe weather.

Indra Petersons is tracking that.

Good morning to you.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning.

PEREIRA: And I think this is going to be one of those summers that's going to be remembered for some intense weather.

PETERSONS: It really doesn't stop. Right? The heavy rain that we had in June, July now it's been the heat. And it looks like we all wanted relief from that heat again. But now we have to pay the price in terms of rain to get that relief.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETERSONS (voice-over): After a weeklong heat wave, structured thunderstorms and flash flooding battered the nation. In the West, thunderstorms in Las Vegas, Nevada, snapped trees and utility poles.

Watch as this amateur video captures a lightning strike that knocked out power to the area. And look at this photo taken at Wrigley Field in Chicago Friday night during a Pearl Jam concert. Heavy lightning delayed the show for almost three hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pearl Jam is awesome. They played about six or seven songs. And then they came out and said, that was it.

PETERSONS: In Cleveland, Ohio, Saturday, an EF-1 tornado ripped a wall off this building at Ursuline College.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When it came to the woods here to our left, went over this building. The building right now is unstable.

PETERSONS: Down south, a flash flood washed out this road in Hall County, Georgia, leaving 100,000 families stranded

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And my husband was going to try and walk home and get our boat and come pick us up. And in southern California, residents were allowed to return home after the rain helped firefighters battle stubborn wild fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a blessing that, you know, we can come back to work and come back to our homes.

PETERSONS: This as we learned five lives were lost in Wisconsin from last week's heat wave.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Try to shake and she didn't -- then I called 911.

PETERSONS: An elderly woman was found dead inside her un-air conditioned home. Her body temperature, 110 degrees.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PETERSONS: Well, the good news is we are seeing relief from the heat today. Temperatures much milder across the country. Unfortunately, it does mean more rain is in the forecast. And of course we'll have the threat of some heavier thunderstorms right along that cold front.

The relief finally here. It was a long week, guys. It feels so much better already.

ROMANS: It was a long week.

PEREIRA: There you go.

ROMANS: Thanks, Indra.

All right, turning now to Ohio and a startling discovery there. Three decomposing bodies found and a man is now in custody. Police are still asking why and they're searching for clues.

Here's Katie Murray. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATIE MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Law enforcement and cadaver dogs scour a chilling scene. An area in East Cleveland, Ohio, where three bodies were found all wrapped in layers of plastic and taped up. Neighbors are in disbelief.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is very, very upsetting.

MURRAY: According to authorities all three victims appear to be young African-American women. A car in the garage where one victim was found led investigators to this man, 35-year-old Michael Madison is now in custody after a standoff with police. Madison was convicted in 2001 of attempted rape and is a registered sex offender but has not been charged yet in connection to this case.

GARY NORTON, JR., EAST CLEVELAND MAYOR: We are protecting the public from him right now. He will receive his due process. But he has lot of questions to answer. And he owes this community a lot.

MURRAY: Investigators think Madison could be a copy cat, mimicking the crimes of convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell.

RALPH SPOTS, EAST CLEVELAND POLICE CHIEF: Every day it was about 250 feet proximity to where he lived. The M.O. was the same. Each body was wrapped in several plastic bags. We definitely believe that it would probably be tied to him.

MURRAY: Sowell was sentenced to death in 2011 for killing 11 women in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The search continues as authorities fear the worst.

NORTON: I hope and pray we do not find more bodies. However, we are dealing with a sick individual. And we have reason to believe that there might be more victims.

MURRAY: East Cleveland's mayor calls this case atrocious but is relieved Madison is now off the streets.

NORTON: We know that if he had been out for one more hour, there's no telling what would have happened.

MURRAY: A representative for the suspect could not immediately be reached.

I am Katie Murray, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Troubling story there.

Meantime, the Massachusetts police photographer in trouble for leaking these pictures of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is getting a lot of public support this morning.

Sergeant Steve Murphy faces disciplinary hearing as soon as this week for handing to a magazines photos he took of Tsarnaev's surrender to police. He said he did it to protest "Rolling Stone's" cover photo which some have said glorifies the bombing suspect.

Now a Facebook page called "Save Steve Murphy" has racked up more than 30,000 likes. Many of the comments thanked him and say that people are glad he leaked those photos.

PEREIRA: President Obama's comments on the George Zimmerman verdict are still resonating this morning. The president saying it could have been him 35 years ago walking down that Florida street. Mr. Obama called for a review of Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law and others like it around the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'd just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Stand Your Ground law maybe something that needs to be reviewed by the Florida --

CANDY CROWLEY, ANCHOR, CNN'S STATE OF THE UNION: In Arizona?

MCCAIN: By the Florida legislature or any other legislature that has passed such legislation. Obviously, a lot of things need to come up for review.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And you know, there were more rallies this weekend after the verdict. In Houston, about 1,000 demonstrators demanding justice for Trayvon. They squared off against several dozen supporting George Zimmerman. It remained peaceful, though, with many police present. There were rallies Saturday in about 100 cities, 100 cities, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami where Trayvon Martin's father spoke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FATHER: It was overwhelming. It just goes to show the love and the support that our families and friends have for us here in Miami as well as across the country. And it sends a message to the nation that we are not going to sit back and let our children be killed and don't say anything about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PEREIRA: Another deadly weekend on the streets of Chicago, police investigating now several shootings since Friday that left at least six people dead and more than a dozen wounded. More than 200 people have been killed in the city of Chicago this year already.

Coming up on EARLY START, so many unanswered questions as a woman plunges to her death at a Texas amusement park. ROMANS: And the world awaits. Duchess Kate is in early labor with the next prince or princess. We are live and we'll cross the pond with the latest.

PEREIRA: What do you think? Girl or a boy?

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: I don't know.

PEREIRA: I think it's a girl.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Investigators are still trying to figure out what went wrong at a Texas amusement park leaving a woman dead and many questions about whether her safety concerns were ignored.

Here's Ed Lavandera.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Texas Giant starts with a spine tingling drop. This is where witnesses say they saw Rosy Esparza fall from the wooden roller coaster. Carmen Brown was next in line to get on the ride when she heard the horrific screams.

CARMEN BROWN, WITNESS: She goes up like this. And then when it drops to come down, that's when it released and she just tumbled.

LAVANDERA: Some witnesses told local news media that Esparza told a Six Flags employee she was worried that her seat restraint had not locked properly. Esparza's son and other family members rode along with her. They had to ride out the two-minute roller coaster fearing the worst the rest of the way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were screaming when they came back. And they were trying to get out of the restraint and they were screaming, my mom, my mom, we've got to get my mom.

LAVANDERA: Six Flags Over Texas/Hurricane Harbor refuses to answer questions on camera but in a written statement says, "We are committed to determining the cause of this tragic accident. It would be a disservice to the family to speculate regarding what transpired."

According to a National Safety Council analysis of amusement park injuries there were just over 1200 ride related injuries in 2011. About 4 percent of those caused serious physical harm. Roller coaster accidents accounted for about 28 percent of the injuries. But industry observers say amusement parks are loosely regulated and that it is Six Flags that will be in charge of conducting the investigation, not an outside independent agency.

KENNETH MARTIN, AMUSEMENT PARK SAFETY ANALYST: Whatever organization comes in, whomever comes in, it's -- their work is the property of Six Flags. And it will remain the property of Six Flags because there's nothing in Texas or many other state that make them have to release that information.

LAVANDERA: The Texas Giant wasn't the only weekend amusement part accident. At the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio, seven people were injured when a boat on the Shoot-the Rapids ride flipped over.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Arlington, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Wow. That's a tragedy for that family.

PEREIRA: The last thing you worry about when take your family out for a fun outing like that. It's really saddest day.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: And the family had to stay on the two-minute ride.

PEREIRA: Torturous.

ROMANS: After --

PEREIRA: Torturous.

All right, moving on now. The military may be getting closer to deciding the fate of some of the men held at Guantanamo Bay. Pentagon officials tell the "Miami Herald" they will hold parole board style hearings for some 71 detainees. That will help determine if the men will go on to trial or possibly be released back to their home countries. President Obama ordered the review two years ago. It's not clear when the hearings might take place.

ROMANS: A Norwegian woman is fighting a prison sentence in Dubai after she reported she had been raped. The 24-year-old was sentenced to 16 months in prison for having sex outside of marriage when she reported the incident. She claimed she was sexually assaulted by a co-worker while on business in the United Arab Emirates. The alleged victim says she has no regrets about coming forward if it will protect others from a similar fate.

PEREIRA: Cautious optimism at a new round of Mideast peace talks will start up in the next week or so. Secretary of State John Kerry has made it his mission to Israelis and Palestinians negotiate again. Three years after the last talks failed. "The New York Times" reports Kerry wants Martin Indyk, the former American ambassador to Israel, to take lead role in managing those talks.

ROMANS: And 6-year-old Nathan Woessner who was rescued after being buried for hours in a sand dune. He could be released from the hospital later this week. The boy's family spoke about the dramatic rescue at a church service Sunday. Nathan's grandfather, a local pastor, says his survival was simply a miracle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PASTOR DON REUL, NATHAN WOESSNER'S GRANDFATHER: There's no wiggle room on the miracle side of this equation. Nathan was under the sand, under more than 11 feet of sand for more than four hours. The sand didn't crush him. And he didn't suffocate. And he's coming out with no ramifications.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Wow. The pastor says the family is extremely grateful for all the prayers and well wishes for Nathan's recovery.

PEREIRA: That kind of story does make you believe in miracles.

ROMANS: Wow.

PEREIRA: Four hours.

ROMANS: Wow.

PEREIRA: Eleven feet of sand. Wow.

Coming up, could this week bring more pain at the pump?

ROMANS: Yes.

PEREIRA: Oh, my. We've been watching those gas prices shoot up. Here's the question, will they continue to climb? We'll be back.

ROMANS: Inflate your tires, take all the junk out of your trunk.

PEREIRA: You see that weight.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: Beautiful shot of beautiful New York. Good morning to you. Very, very EARLY START. And it's gorgeous outside. Indra said it's not going to be quite as bad this week.

ROMANS: I know.

PEREIRA: We're going to hold her to that.

ROMANS: But the early bird gets the worm. Look at that. There are people there, right there, all over the country on the treadmill. Get ready.

PEREIRA: That's so early to be on the treadmill.

ROMANS: Happy Monday. Come on, folks.

Welcome back to EARLY START. It's money time. It's earnings season on Wall Street. 157 companies in the S&P 500 will deliver their quarterly report cards over the next five days. And last week, earnings helped fuel a record run in stocks. Records. The Dow, the S&P 500 closing higher, but the Nasdaq fell slightly. So far this year the Dow, the S&P, the Nasdaq are up nearly 19 percent a piece. That is a huge run. And it's why you saw last week some $20 billion flow into stock mutual funds, people putting money to work in the market. That was the biggest weekly inflows since 2008. That can be taken as an encouraging sign because people are really confident or maybe a sign of caution because people are getting in after a 19 percent rise. Maybe they're getting in a little late.

The rise in mortgage rates has been breathtaking so far this year. We've seen rates on a 30-year fixed rate climb more than one full percentage point. But the rush to lock in rates may be helping the housing market. We're going to see this morning as existing home sales for June are expected to rise by a (INAUDIBLE) adjusted $5.26 million is what that rate is supposed to be. That would be the highest rate of existing home sales since 2007.

If you filled up this weekend, you might have done a double take when you looked at your receipt, right? Gasoline prices remained unchanged but if you look at prices just two weeks ago, it tells this story. Up 20 cents in two weeks. You can thank higher crude oil prices for that, along with some refinery snafus. Gas prices continuing to move higher.

President Obama will start a campaign-style tour this week to tour his successes on the economy and to clearly draw the battle lines in upcoming fights on the budget and the debt ceiling. The president will return to Knox College on Wednesday to kick off his series of economic stump speeches. The president visited Knox back in 2005 to deliver his major -- his first major economic speech on a national stage.

So we will look for that and hear the president in the campaign style about the economy and the battle lines he's drawing there.

PEREIRA: Absolutely. All right, thanks so much for that.

Coming up, the very latest on our top story. Kate is in the hospital in early labor, we're told. We're live outside that hospital in London.

ROMANS: And Pope Francis heads back to Latin America. His first overseas trip as the head of the Catholic Church. He has some hoping he will renew the region's faith.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)