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CNN NEWSROOM

Winter Storm In The South; Dangerous Evacuations Out of Syria; Michael Dunn Trial; High Wire Walker Wows Georgia Dome Crowd; Search for American Missing in Mexico; In the Face of Heart Disease; GOP's Women Factor

Aired February 9, 2014 - 16:00   ET

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


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello there. I'm Martin Savidge. Good to be with you.

These stories are topping the news right now. If you haven't had enough snow and stormy conditions so far this winter, get ready and another system is threatening, especially the Deep South were directly in the path. And it comes just as Atlanta is still recovering from what turned out to be a weather disaster snow and freezing temperatures hit two weeks ago. And everybody tried to get home all at once. Cars and people were stuck on the highways for hours. Some of them all night long including children on school buses. And then public officials were slammed for not being prepared. So, Atlanta has set up a task force of government school and public safety officials plus, local television meteorologists. And one of those on the task force is WSBTV's chief meteorologist Glen Burns who joins us now on the phone.

And Glen, I know you are about to have a conference call with the task force. What have you all accomplished so far and what's going to happen on the call this afternoon?

GLENN BURNS, WSTB METEOROLOGIST (OVER THE PHONE): Well that is a good question, Martin. We have been in conference for the last couple of weeks. This is the last major event. We have a very diverse group of people including our local meteorologist (INAUDIBLE), emergency managers, FEMA, Georgia Department of Transportation and a lot of folks from the governor's office.

So we have been meeting, we have been discussing strategies and what to do in the next storm. We just didn't think it would be here this soon. Now we are getting ready to go into a conference call with all the members of the task force and we're going to get a briefing here from the National Weather Service momentarily. But it looks like another major event.

SAVIDGE: Let me get your expertise while I got you on the line. What are you expecting or what are you seeing as far as the forecast?

BURNS: Well, we had Arctic air that is certainly coming in just like last time. But the difference in this one is it is coming in from the Pacific Ocean like the last one but it's going to be at longer duration. The last event that shut down Atlanta was about four hours where we received about one to two inches of snow on average, isolated three inch totals. That was for four hours.

This is likely to last 30 hours in northern Georgia. So it is going to be a much longer duration event last time. We are going to see wide variations of all kinds of precipitation, starting out as rain and maybe changing over to rain, sleet, snow mix and then changing over to snow then freezing rain and then more snow. So it is going to be a wild situation.

The good news is it is coming in on a Monday night and we are all aware of it. It is not going to come in on the middle of the day like the last one.

SAVIDGE: Right. Timing is always crucial on these things. Is this group, this task force going to be a kind of mega decider because, you know, there is criticism that you had different school jurisdictions, different governments handling things hodge podge, do you think they will all sort of work together now especially when the school closings?

BURNS: I was with the governor on Friday afternoon in his office at the capitol. I had a one on one interview. There are a lot of new changes that are going to be coming into effect. One of those changes is perhaps putting GEMA in charge of letting the school know if they need to close. They can't make that decision themselves, that's the school superintendent's job but they cam highly suggest that the schools be closed during the snow and the freezing rain event. So that is a big change there.

You're also having an input of different ideas on what kind of precipitation, how long it will continue from our local meteorologists in Atlanta. That is something brand new that has never been done before. So we have skills in here. I have been here 32 years forecasting the weather in Atlanta. I know the subtle nuances. Again, that is going to be a major player in what we decide to do in the future weather events.

SAVIDGE: All right. WSB's Glenn Burns joining us there on the telephone. And thank you very much, Glen.

After that task force call, Glen will update CNN's Don Lemon next hour in the "Newsroom" on how those plans are coming together.

Well, now you can call it the calm after the storm.

This hour, in Syria, after what was a very dangerous weekend in that war-torn country. You can see the dramatic view today more than 600 evacuees, many women and children and elderly adults were literally fleeing for their lives after what was supposed to be a pause in the fighting and turned into something very frantic.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom is live for us from Beirut, Lebanon. Mohammed, what is the latest now?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martin, evacuation day, this is an area in Homs that has been under siege for over 600 days. But to look at the amateur videos that were taken earlier in the day, it doesn't look like an evacuation, it looks like a harrowing escape.

You see dozens of women and children in this video as they are running for their lives. There is a camera man taking this video that is so overcome with emotion he breaks down saying "Please god they are so close to the vehicles don't let a massacre happen right now." To give our viewers a sense of just how terrifying it is on the ground there, let's take a look and listen to several seconds of this very dramatic video from earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JAMJOOM: This really goes to show just how bad it is there despite the presence of those few UN vehicles. What makes matters worse is even though at the very least 600 people were evacuated today, the fact of the matter is if you go by UN numbers, that means there are at least over 1,000 civilians trapped inside the besieged part of the old city of Homs. Martin.

SAVIDGE: Mohammed, one of the things that was striking in the video is you saw the UN vehicles pull up but clearly there are not enough of them. I'm wondering, what is the impact on the violence, not only on the civilians but on those trying to help, too?

JAMJOOM: You know, Martin, I have spoken to a lot of aid workers that are close by that area these past few weeks, they have been perpetually frustrated because they are at the ready trying to deliver as much aid as they can. But any slight hiccup on the ground, and it is a very volatile situation, they can't do so. You see today, despite weeks of planning there were just a few vehicles that were there.

These women and children and the elderly that are caught between the rebels and the regime, they were literally wedge between these few vehicles shuffling out of the old city. This evacuation that was going on, it is a terrifying situation. So bad in fact that with all of their belongings that they were trying to carry with them, they got too heavy, they would simply leave them behind and drop them down the ground.

So it really goes to show just how horrible it is on the ground in Syria. We are hearing accounts of this kind of thing, not just going on in Homs but in many other parts of the country. Let's not forget that in the few years of conflict there that at the very least 100,000 people have been killed as a result of that civil war. Martin.

SAVIDGE: Striking video to watch. Mohammed Jamjoom, thank you very much.

A milestone for gay rights, starting tomorrow. Same sex marriage will get expanded recognition under federal law even in states where it isn't legal. Attorney General Eric Holder made that announcement at the Human Rights Campaign's gala last night. Erin McPike has more (INAUDIBLE) means.

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Martin, this announcement is significant. Because it is the furthest the federal government has gone to date to recognize same sex marriage even after a series of changes during the past five years. Promising new legal benefits from the federal government.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCPIKE (voice-over): Attorney General Eric Holder promising same sex couples new legal benefits from the federal government.

ERIC HOLDER, ATTY. GENERAL: On Monday, I will issue a new policy memorandum that will for the first time in history formally instruct all Justice Department employees to give lawful same sex marriages full and equal recognition to the greatest extent possible under the law.

MCPIKE: In the 34 states that do not allow gays and lesbians to marry that amounts to federal, legal rights like survivor benefits, prison visitation and refusal to testify against a spouse.

HOLDER: Civil rights and LGBT equality -

MCPIKE: Holder compared the Obama administration's push equality to the civil right's struggles of the 1960s. In return, his host, the Human Rights Campaign compared him to the crusading attorney general from that era, Robert F. Kennedy, a legacy personal to holder.

HOLDER: The Justice Department's role in confronting discrimination must be as aggressive today as it was in Robert Kennedy's time.

MCPIKE: And this just the latest in a series of moves by Holder and President Obama.

In 2009, expanding hate crimes legislation to include act against gays and lesbians, repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell in 2010. No longer defending the Defense of Marriage Act in 2011 and the president declaring his support for same sex marriage in 2012. Critics like the National Organization for Marriage say the new policy undermines state's rights. A sentiment echoed by New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte.

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: It appears to be another example of the Obama administration imposing it's will on the states. For states like New Hampshire, it's not going to be an issue because our legislature has decided to recognize same sex marriage. It could be an issue for other states that are having this debate or have made this policy decision.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCPIKE: This law will apply to federal, legal right. In the 34 states that don't recognize same-sex marriage, a number that drops to 33 in June when a law legalizing gay marriage in Illinois goes into effect. Martin.

SAVIDGE: Thank you, Erin, very much.

A controversial member of the U.S. Olympic skating team doesn't hold back at the winter games. What caused Ashley Wagner to make that face is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: It gives me the chills just to hear that music. It was a jam- packed schedule today in Sochi, Russia. Lara Baldesarra joins me now and we should probably give that obligatory spoiler alert because you are going to give it away.

LARA BALDESARRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I certainly am. I'm going to give away the results from the coolest sport first. That would be the snowboarding slope style. That is the winter Olympic debut or debutant this year, one of two and it's obviously very useful event, the organizers hope it will help draw younger audience for the game. Younger audience are not, I just got to say that I really hope that this event sticks around. Because it's really exciting, you really want to see what these gays can do out there and gals, I should say. And the Americans very, very good at it. American Jaime Donaldson, she won the ladies snowboarding slope style in day two and she was absolutely flawless in her run. That was really full of tricks and flare and technique. Now Anderson is a pioneer slope style and she is really well-known for her jumps. And on her second run, she actually landed two, 720s on route to victory. And really could not contain her happiness after.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMIE ANDERSON, U.S. GOLD MEDALIST, SLOPESTYLE: This was super challenging. Everything about it. The rails were technical and the jumps were really big and just kind of weird transition but every day they got better and better and by today, when we were all riding, it was just so fun.

And definitely made it better because I hadn't really landed the run, I landed in finals at all, but I was visualizing and taking time off in between to let my body rest but when I landed at the end, I was just so happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDESSARA: Today, we have our American woman gold medalist and just one day after Sage Kotsenburg won the gold on the men's side. Now Anderson, she is only 23. Kotsenberg, he is only 20. So those two, they could be around for quite a mile, for a while. That is.

Now those two gold medals, they bring the Americans medal count to four which is three back from Norway with seven medals. In all honesty, at this point, we really all expected Team USA to have five medals. Bode Miller, he was not just the favorite to win, but basically he was expected to at least medal in the men's downhill. Now Miller was the fastest in two of the training runs. But in the run that mattered he was only the 8th fastest. Bode is now 36 years old. He could become the oldest skier to win an Olympic Alpine race which he will get another shot at and he super combined that on Thursday.

Now also chasing a bit of redemption will be figure skater Ashley Wagner. She was a controversial choice for this team in the first place. After only placing fourth in nationals, in the team event she didn't quite find that redemption. She only finished 4th in the short program which brought on the face. Yes, that's it. That's the face that has gone viral. Also, has a video that actually goes along with it. It has some rather choice words in her scoring in there. Now, we'll see if she's smiling though in the individual event which is over a week's team.

In the meantime she is now the bronze medalist which the American team won despite her low mark. Wagner tweeting out "Just I am an Olympic medalist. Thank you to my incredible team, also huge thanks to our fearless leader Charlie White who let us to the bronze."

SAVIDGE: That look is priceless, really is. Lara, thanks very much.

By the way, you can see a slide show of Ashley Wagner's performance both on and off the ice on our website, CNN.com/worldsport.

Another big name in the world of sports this weekend is Woods. We are not talking about Tiger. We are talking about Tiger's niece. And we might be able to stop referring to as Tiger's niece now because Cheyenne Woods is the now, Australian ladies' master's champion. This one is the biggest of her two-year professional career. Maybe she really looks like she took a page from her Uncle Tiger's book. As she held her nerve right at the very end.

BALDESSARA: Afterwards, she won this down under, she said that it was really good for her to finally show that she's more than just that Woods' name that she comes along with and she can play just like her big Uncle Tiger. Obviously, she's got a lot of ground to cover before she gets there. And afterwards Tiger Wood, even sent her out a congratulatory tweet, which was very nice of him, saying "Congrats."

SAVIDGE: Yes, I'm sure, it's very nice of her to sort of come out from (INAUDIBLE) and prove obviously she is a great talent.

BALDESSARA: Exactly.

SAVIDGE: Thank you again.

Well, a man is on trial accused of killing a teen. That is over loud music. His fiancee took the stand but what she revealed could hurt his defense. Our legal ladies will weigh in, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: We'll start you off with some images of Washington, DC, the White House where there's a lot of snow falling down. And also in other parts of Washington as well as we take a look at the capital. So winter is everywhere and from what we hear headed this way.

Testimony resumes tomorrow in the so-called loud music murder trial. Michael Dunn admit that he shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis. That was in 2012, after confronting him and his friends about the loud music in the SUV. But he claims he fired in self defense. Dunn told police he heard threats and he saw a weapon. His fiancee took the stand in court yesterday. She broke down in tears as she described what happened that night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the defendant say anything about the music when he parked the car next to the red car?

RHONDA ROUER, DEFENDANT'S FIANCEE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what did the defendant say?

ROUER: I hate that thug music.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you hear?

ROUER: I heard pop, pop, pop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And when you heard those noises did you know what they were?

ROUER: No, I didn't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you woke up was the television on?

ROUER: Yes, it was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did you happen to see something on the news?

ROUER: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At that point in time, did you learn that a teenager had been killed at the gas station?

ROUER: Yes, I did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: You can tell obviously she is extremely distraught. I want to bring in our legal ladies, Mo Ivory, attorney and host of "The Mo Ivory Show" and criminal defense attorney Terry Hackett. Thank you both for being with us.

Let's talk about this fiancee here, the testimony, Mo, that she gave. Is that going to help or hurt the defense?

MO IVORY, ATTORNEY: Oh, definitely. We were talking about that earlier. I mean, definitely hurt the defense. I mean, she, by all means, a prosecution witness. She was so authentic and seemed so believable and emotionally distraught. I don't think any of the jurors will have a problem believing that her testimony is accurate and true. She basically did say that, you know, she heard the shooting. He did make the statement "I hate that thug music" before he went it and she did talk about all the things that happen afterwards.

I think that you can believe that he became enraged and he got into an argument with Jordan Davison and he fired. I think that will definitely hurt the case.

CARRIE HACKETT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree and I think really the biggest issues that I have or that I think the defense will have with her testimony is that one she didn't corroborate the defendant's statements that essentially he saw a gun in that vehicle or he saw something that he thought was a weapon and two, that she said that she heard him say he hated that thug music. Because that kind of takes away from the defenses' proposition that this was self defense and adds a motive.

SAVIDGE: The defense has to show what? That he truly felt meaning Michael Dunn, that he was in serious jeopardy of harm or death? What is it?

HACKETT: Serious bodily injury or death.

And I - when there is no weapon in the car and the defendant essentially is saying "I thought there was a weapon but it is not corroborated by any one else," I think they are going to have an uphill battle with that defense.

SAVIDGE: This case has been obviously compared many times to the Trayvon Martin- George Zimmerman trial. You were very outspoken for that. How do you think they measure up? What do you think is going to happen.

IVORY: I think they are very similar. I think you can see a lot of the same characters in the court room. Angela Cory (ph), Mr. (INAUDIBLE). There's a bunch of people that are similar.

SAVIDGE: They did know that but doesn't this seem more - what can I say, cut and dry?

IVORY: It does seem more cut and dry. But I thought that Trayvon Martin's case was very cut and dry. You know, honestly.

So I don't want to say, "Oh, this is going to be over next week and a lot of people are saying it will be over next week but I don't have full faith in the system in Florida. But I do believe that this is a much more equal jury. I think the selection in this jury is much different in the George Zimmerman case and I hope that there will be a better verdict in this case.

But there are so very - same similarities. They were around the same age, Jordan and Trayvon were the same age when they were gunned down by somebody. They were both unarmed. So I mean, it is very scary parallel between the two. But we just hope for a different outcome.

SAVIDGE: You know, it should be pointed out that the defense did try to hammer on the prosecution by that look there was a weapon and it just got tossed at some point and it was sloppy police work that didn't find it. Do you think it's -

IVORY: Sure. But there was never a weapon on the victim, on the victim's hand. There was always the weapon in the perpetrator's hands.

SAVIDGE: Right.

IVORY: That's the difference. You know, when people always say well, there was a weapon with Trayvon Martin's killing, no there was a weapon that George Zimmerman had. The same way Michael Dunn had a weapon. Never was there a weapon in the victim's possession just they are trying to paint -

SAVIDGE: But that's what the defense is trying to say - aren't they - that sloppy police work.

IVORY: Sure but they haven't been able to find anywhere.

SAVIDGE: Correct. Right.

HACKETT: And I think ultimately if the defense puts up a case and they are under no obligation to do so. I think that if they do put up the case they will make a strong argument that yes, there was a gun there, but the police work was sloppy and that essentially that weapon was thrown away and not found because the police didn't investigate the area for nearly four days.

SAVIDGE: All right. Carrie, Mo, lovely to see you both, even if it is a very sad subject. Thank you.

Well a zoo sparks outrage after it shoots and kills one of its own animals. Why officials say they had to kill a young, healthy giraffe, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back. I'm Martin Savidge. Here are the five things that are crossing the CNN news desk right now.

Number one, a major recall involving nearly nine million pounds of meat. Federal officials say that the Rancho Feeding Corporation processed diseased animals that were not properly inspected. The products were shipped to California, Florida, Illinois and Texas last month. Consumption could result in health problems, even death. The good news is so far nobody has reported getting sick.

Another winter storm pushing its way to the Deep South. It's expected to bring ice, freezing rain and snow from Oklahoma City all the way to, yes, Atlanta. Many of you may remember how that last storm paralyzed the city. But just a short time ago, a member of Atlanta's task force told me they are preparing for this storm now.

The reporter who broke the news of the U.S. surveillance program says expect more revelations when he launches a new Web site. Glenn Greenwald said he'll post news stories online this week. The source of much of Greenwald's reports former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is in Russia which gave him asylum for a year.

Greenwald is in Brazil. He fears that he could be prosecuted if he comes back to the U.S. but he says he may visit in the spring.

And the U.S. is cautioning against a claim by Iran that it's reportedly sending war ships toward U.S. Maritime borders. Iran's state media says it is a response to America beefing up its naval presence in the Persian Gulf. A U.S. Defense official calls the claim an announcement, not a deployment.

Britain's Prince Charles and his son Prince William are fighting the illegal wild life trade. The two released a video ahead of this week's international conference on the issue in London. In the six-minute video they talk about the shocking rise in the trade over the last 10 years and address ways to help eradicate it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: My father and I hope you share our belief that it is shocking that future generations may know a world without magnificent animals and the habitat upon which they depend.

This year I have become even more devoted to protecting the resources of the earth for not only my own son but also the other children of his generation to enjoy. I want him to be able to experience the same Africa that I did as a child.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Speaking of animals and shocking, this next story is almost unbelievable. Animal lovers are outraged today that a zoo in Denmark euthanized a young healthy giraffe. Thousands of people signed an online petition to try to save him but that didn't working.

Nick Valencia is following this shocking story and other ones that are getting post today.

Nick, this one really is -- I don't know what they were thinking.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm not sure but they are defending their actions and that's where we're going to begin. We're going to begin in Denmark. But first we want to warn you that these images are graphic. So if you're sensitive to graphic images, now is the time to turn away.

The Copenhagen Zoo is under a firestorm right now after it decided to euthanize a health young giraffe to avoid in-breeding. Zookeepers shot and killed the animal in front of spectators which included children. You're looking at the video right now. It was then quartered, chopped up and fed to the zoo's lions. Afterward the zookeeper described what happened. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADS BERTELSEN, VETERINARIAN (Through Translator): This giraffe walked out here at quarter past 9:00. It was led out into its yard over there. Then there was a zookeeper with some rye bread. It really liked rye bread and he said here you go, Marius, here's some rye bread. I stood behind with a rifle and when he put his head forward and ate the rye bread, then I shot him to the brain.

It sounds violent but it means that Marius had no idea of what was coming. He got his bread then he died. I think this is very important. It's about how this has taken place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: As Martin mentioned, the decision infuriated thousands of people and sparked an online petition. More than 27,000 people signing up for that petition. In a Q&A online the zoo's scientific director, he defended his action. Take a look at what he had to say. He says, "Copenhagen Zoo's giraffes are part of an international breeding program which aims at ensuring a healthy giraffe population in European zoos. If animal's genes are well represented," which he says this animal's genes were, "in a population further breeding with that particular animal is unwanted."

So this is how they decided to handle it. And they are standing up for what they did.

SAVIDGE: I've got a question for you, so why not euthanize as opposed to, you know, a shotgun to the head?

VALENCIA: They wanted to display the education value for the children in the audience. Also they said if a lethal injection was used that would have ruined the taste of the meat for the lions. So they decided to opt for the bolt gun in front of that crowd.

SAVIDGE: All right. I know you got other stories.

VALENCIA: Yes, we've got some other stories that we're also watching. A couple of other talkers today.

The popularity of Flappy Birds just a little too much to handle. The developer released the game late last year. I've never played the game. Just heard of it today. But it was very popular among people here in the U.S. and beyond. It was removed from app stores by the creator. On Saturday he posted, "I am sorry, I just can't take this anymore."

The game was pulled from existence on -- at noon on Sunday. Flappy Bird is currently the number one free app from the Apple store and Google app store.

And one faux pas to another. The fashion house Valentino has apologized for a press release that touted actress Amy Adams for carrying one of its expensive handbags to Philip Seymour Hoffman's wake. A company spokesman said in a statement that it didn't realize the photos of Adams posted on the release were snapped at the memorial. They called it an innocent mistake and said they regretted their stunt.

They said Adams was not aware of the PR efforts and her camp, Martin, has come up, just said that they're disgusted with the insensitivity, how tacky it was for this fashion house to use her image in mourning for the purposes of publicity.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Absolutely. Although, you know, if it's true what they say, they didn't know, you know, maybe it was. Just as said.

VALENCIA: Innocent mistake. Yes.

SAVIDGE: Thank you, Nick.

VALENCIA: You got it. Thanks.

SAVIDGE: He was in a dangerous part of Mexico on a motorcycle trip when he disappeared. What happened to his American?

Plus this.

NIK WALLENDA, HIGH-WIRE WALKER: I'm Nik Wallenda, and coming up on CNN, you're going to see me walk across the top of the Georgia Dome on a (INAUDIBLE) wire rope. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: There is nothing wrong with your TV set and we haven't transported you back to the '60s and black and white RV. That's D.C. right now. So much snow it's a monochromatic world. Thought interesting to look at. We wanted to share it.

Did you catch Nik Wallenda's latest tight rope feat? Kept everybody in their seats, it glued there especially here in Atlanta.

Here's Christi Paul with that.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Hey, Martin. If haven't seen the latest feat from daredevil Nik Wallenda, you got to see this one. I mean, this is the king of hire wire. He's crossed the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls. Well, he brought his skills to Atlanta last night across the Georgia Dome.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL (voice-over): High above the indoor field at the Georgia Dome, wire walker Nik Wallenda dazzled the crowd below.

WALLENDA: I love what I do. I have passion for it. My great, grandfather said it best. He said life is on the wire. Everything else is just waiting. So when I'm on that wire, that's life.

PAUL: It's a life that's led him to feat in far more dramatic setting.

WALLENDA: You know, you don't expect it to be this windy but right on the water here. You know, it just makes it that much worse.

PAUL: From walking 180 feet above a Sarasota, Florida, highway to crossing Niagara Falls and his 1500-foot stroll above the Grand Canyon, Nik Wallenda has traversed some tricky terrain. But Wallenda says every walk has its unique set of challenges including those indoors.

WALLENDA: Because of all of the curtains that were in the way, there was a lot of trussing and lighting that was in the way, we had to angle them in funky angles. So the wire moves a little bit more. And you really don't know what to expect until you get out there.

PAUL: His walk was part of the Winter Jam, a Christian concern series. And one spectator was praying for his safe finish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just like, oh my gosh, you're going to die, you're going to die, you're going to die. And -- and he finally made it out. And I was like yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: He's not just a daredevil, Martin. He's a performer. You see the crowds love him. So it's going to be pretty exciting to see what he has up his sleeves next -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Can't wait to see. How does he do it?

Christi Paul, thanks very much.

Well, more ominous, though, the message that came from this next story was pretty ominous. American Harry -- that is Harry Devert was a motorcycle trip to Latin American. He was waiting for a military escort for a pretty dangerous part of Mexico and now his frantic mother waits to hear some word from her missing son. His last e-mail came on January 25th. Since then nothing.

Here's Alexandra field.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Harry Devert didn't have to dream of the day he would quit his job and travel the world. He was doing it by age 32. From Venezuela to Vietnam, Columbia, the Philippines. Funded by money he made doing online trading, Devert had nearly checked off his bucket list.

ANN DEVERT, HARRY DEVERT'S MOTHER: He's been an adventurer since he was a little tiny kid. He'll tell me about the -- god, there was people he's met in small towns and villages throughout the world.

But his great adventurer had come to a grinding halt. He's missing, perdido, in Mexico.

DEVERT: He's dropped off the face of the earth it seems. And that's not who he is. And I can think that he's hurt. And need us because there's no way he wouldn't have gotten word out to us. FIELD: This weekend his family tapped his Facebook page finding new clues. He's riding this motorcycle, chasing butterflies in Southwest Mexico. Camping in Murillo outside the JM Butterfly Bed and Breakfast. It was there he stumbled upon his next adventure.

TIM ROBBINS, ACTOR, "SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION": Zihuatanejo. To Mexico. Old place on the Pacific Ocean. You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has the memory.

FIELD: He was told he was just five hours from the Zihuatanejo beach made popular in the movie "Shawshank Redemption." "Just got an hour and a half long military escort out of some area it was too dangerous for me to be." He told his girlfriend by text on January 25th. Then later, "Hopefully get a chance to talk to you tonight when I hopefully, finally arrive."

SARAH SCHEAR, HARRY DEVERT'S GIRLFRIEND: Everybody says that this is just something out of a movie and it doesn't -- you know, that's how I feel, I don't -- I can't even, like, wrap my brain around what is happening.

FIELD: Local Mexican officials told CNN they are aggressively searching for Devert in Michoacan, that area is among the most dangerous in Mexico where kidnapping and murders have spiked dramatically since the beginning of the drug war.

DEVERT: He gave me the biggest, biggest hug. And we both wept. Because who knew when I'd be seeing him again. And I just keep thinking, my life makes no sense without him in it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: In other news, women voters are the key to winning the White House. Republicans, they've got their work cut out for them. What the latest poll numbers reveal coming up.

But first Star Jones says she thought only old white men got heart disease until it happened to her. The TV personality will be decked out in red this whole month to spread the word about the nation's number one killer of women.

Here's Chris Cuomo with how Jones is impacting our world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, NEW DAY (voice-over): Star Jones wears many hats -- attorney, author, TV personality. But the one she takes most seriously is heart health advocate.

STAR JONES, HEART HEALTH ADVOCATE: Heart disease is not old white guys. Heart disease can affect any woman, any time, any race, any size, any age.

CUOMO: A reality that slapped Jones in the face. After being morbidly obese for more than 20 years she had gastric bypass surgery, changed her eating habits and started exercising. Eventually, she lost 160 pounds.

JONES: I thought I had accomplished everything I needed to on the health front. And then, I got diagnosed with heart disease.

CUOMO: Even though Jones felt and looked great, she was getting lightheaded, experienced shortness of breath, and was exhausted.

JONES: Those are classic symptoms of heart disease, especially when it comes to women.

CUOMO: Symptoms some women may just chalk up to their busy lives.

JONES: Women don't take care of our health in the same way we take care of our families.

CUOMO: Something Jones vowed to change after she had open-heart surgery.

JONES: I sort of wear my heart scar as a badge of honor because it means I'm a survivor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: All right, if you want to go to the White House today, you probably need a shovel, just given by the amount of snow that we have been watching coming down. However in 2016 you're going to need women.

Let me explain what I mean by that. No matter what political party wins the White House in 2016, one demographic that will help decide that race -- women voters. And right now Republicans have their work cut out for them.

CNN's Dana Bash reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First Rand Paul called Bill Clinton a sexual predator because of his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. Now the likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate is doubling down urging Democrats not to take campaign cash Clinton helps raise.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: They should give the money back. If they want to take a position on women's right, by all means do. But you can't do it and take it from a guy who is using his position of authority to take advantage of young women in the workplace.

BASH: It's a political twofer. Show the GOP base you're not afraid to take on Bill Clinton whose wife would be a formidable White House rival. And Paul hopes to fight the perception that Republicans don't care about women. That won't be easy.

A new CNN-ORC poll asked if the Republican Party understands the concerns of women, 59 percent of women said no.

(On camera): Thank you for inviting us here.

(Voice-over): We showed the poll to the highest ranking House Republican woman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who invited us to the capital office where she delivered last month's State of the Union Response.

(On camera): Six in 10 women say that they don't think Republicans understand their concerns.

REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), HOUSE REPUBLICANS CONFERENCE CHAIRWOMAN: The Republicans I think are suffering from a few statements that had been made by Republicans that had been damaging.

BASH (voice-over): Like this in the last election.

TODD AKIN (R), 2012 U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE, MISSOURI: If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

BASH: She argues Republicans' problems are mote intoned than policy.

RODGERS: Republicans, I think, are very good at times speaking from our head of facts and figures, and we need to also speak from our heart and make sure that people know that we care.

BASH: Still, she admits, there is a hot button policy area that turns women off to Republicans. Opposing Democratic plans to address pay inequity for women without their own GOP plan.

RODGERS: As Republicans we need to recognize that, we need to be a part of a solution, and in general we need to be a part of bringing these laws whether it's wage an hour, tax laws, other workplace related laws into the 21st century.

BASH: At Tammy's Diner in a Virginia congressional district up for grabs in November the GOP women problem is on display.

PEGGY MACKEY, VIRGINIA VOTER: The Democrat Party is more aware of what is best for women in terms of choices.

BASH: Peggy Mackey is a Republican. So is Jean Fertlesen (ph), who says the party needs more female representative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get some more women in there.

BASH: The statistics are stunning. There are only 19 GOP women in the House. Compared to 60 Democrats.

REP. RENEE ELLMERS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: It is part of the problem. And that's why we're fighting so hard to get so many more women elected.

BASH: Congresswoman Renee Ellmers is part of an effort to recruit female GOP candidates. ELLMERS: We have to be more representative of the American public.

BASH: Music to their ears at Tammy's Diner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the more we get involved in government issues, the better things will be for women.

BASH: Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: Well, it's the biggest dog show in the world and doing something it has never done before.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: After a very bumpy ride last week investors are looking for a little reassurance. That's why Wall Street will be watching the new head of the Federal Reserve this week.

Alison Kosik looks ahead for us.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martin. This week's list of top stories in business begins with Janet Yellen. She will deliver her first public comment as the new chair of the Federal Reserve. Yellen is scheduled to deliver the Central Bank's Semi- Annual Monetary Policy Testimony to Congress on Tuesday.

One big question is, how quickly does the Fed plan to wind down its stimulus now that we've had two straight months of weak job growth?

We're also watching for corporate earnings this week. Big names like Cisco, Whole Foods, and CVS report. Wall Street is looking closely at what they say about the near-term future. So far, dozens of companies have issued negative forecasts raising questions about what the road ahead looks like for the economy.

And finally McDonald's is heading to Vietnam. The nation's biggest hamburger chain is opening its first restaurant in that country. Vietnam's economy has been growing at a pretty solid 7 percent clip over the past decade. And last year it eased restrictions on companies like McDonald's, prompting the company to move in.

That's what we're watching for this week in business news -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Thank you very much.

Well, it is the biggest competition of the year the dog world that is. The Westminster Dog Show starts tomorrow at Madison Square Garden in New York.

And that tops our look ahead of the week to come.

One hundred, ninety-one breeds will be in the running and we do mean in the running for best in show and for the first time in 100 years mutts are in the mix. Sixteen of them got to compete yesterday in the agility field against more than 200 purebred dogs. Many of those mutts are from shelters. Way to go.

Also Monday, get ready to see a whole new side of Betty White. The Emmy-winning actress will guest star on USA's wrestling show "Monday Night Raw". She stars in TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland" which starts its fifth season next month.

French president, Francois Hollande, has lunch and dinner at the White House Tuesday. Hollande will be on a three-day trip to the U.S. but French officials say that he will attend the White House state dinner without the former first lady or any other date after a scandal involving his love life.

The case against accused Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is back in court. That will be Wednesday. Lawyers will attend a status hearing to update the judge on progress in the case. Last month federal prosecutors announced that they would seek the death penalty for Tsarnaev.

And a Valentine's Day gift for Netflix on Friday. Season two of "House of Cards" is going to be released that day. You and your sweetheart can binge watch all 13 episodes of this popular political drama which stars Kevin Spacey as a corrupt vice president.

And that is going to do it for me. It's been a pleasure hanging out with you. Have a great Sunday evening.

Don Lemon continues now next live from New York.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I really enjoyed watching you, too, as well. Thank you very much for that, Mr. Savidge.

Hello, everyone, I'm Don Lemon. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you so much. It's the top of the hour obviously.