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Nepal Quake Death Toll Rises to 2,263; Wake Scheduled Today for Freddie Gray; High Court Weights State Bans of Gay Marriage. Aired 7- 7:30a ET

Aired April 26, 2015 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I look so old, John Boehner has already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral.

CECILY STRONG, COMEDIAN: Whenever a big story breaks, I can turn to CNN and watch Anthony Bourdain eat a cricket.

OBAMA: And they have found a fool-proof way to keep people off my lawn. There he is.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Just make sure you got a little smile in today. Thank you so much for starting your day with us.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We've got a lot coming up in the next hour of NEW DAY, and it starts right now.


BLACKWELL: New aftershocks shake Nepal and, now, the latest number. More than 2,200 people confirmed dead. Hospitals and emergency centers so overrun, a lot of people are forced to treat patients outside.

PAUL: And the situation on Mt. Everest is just frightening. At least 17 people killed in avalanches and rock falls on both slopes. The snow in the rocks flattening part of one of the camps there.

BLACKWELL: And rough storms roll through parts of Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and millions more under a weather threat today from the plains to the Gulf Coast.

Good to be with you this morning. We'll get to all of it. I'm Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: And I'm Christi Paul. So grateful for your company.

Let's talk about Nepal this morning, because the new aftershock of 6.7 rocked the Himalayan nation after a deadly earthquake of 7.8 magnitude, of course, that hit the capital Kathmandu. More than 2,200 people killed now, that is just in Nepal. That is the latest number we have just gotten in a couple of minutes ago. And, of course, it's expected to rise as rescue and relief efforts are continuing through the day.

Thousands of people are injured. Hospitals are overflowing. And people spent the night outside in the rain and the cold as aftershocks continue, because they were too afraid to go inside buildings.

The U.S. and India and China are sending basic supplies, food, water, tents, blankets, as well as medicine to the victims.

BLACKWELL: CNN correspondent Mallika Kapur is following the story for us.

Mallika, there was a 6.7 aftershock. Did you feel that aftershock?


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, rescue and relief teams are making their way to Nepal to help victims of the earthquake, but they simply can't get it into Nepal fast enough, because the aftershocks and the tremors continue. A few hours ago, Sunday afternoon, there was a major aftershock, 6.7 on the Richter scale which is really like an earthquake in itself.

And just to put into context, I am in Kolkata, in India, which is 900 kilometers away from Nepal. If you had to fly from Kolkata to Nepal, it could be more than an hour flying time, and we felt the tremor, the aftershock over here in Kolkata. You can imagine how bad the situation is in Nepal. With every hour, the need for rescue efforts, the need for emergency supplies is only getting more and more severe.

People in Nepal are too scared to go in their houses, too scared to be indoors. Many of them are camping outside, many of them spent the night in football fields outside. Hospitals are overflowing. They are setting up make-shift clinics on the road and treating people outside.

People are running short of food so people are gathering whatever food they had and creating communal kitchens outside. They have no access to power. They are running short of -- when it comes to food and water as well. So, there is definitely a very strong and urgent need for help, but the problem is how to get the help in there.

I'm also hearing, within the last two hours, some planes that were scheduled to land in Nepal carrying relief supplies have had to turn back because the runway was forced to shut down a bit following this latest tremor. So, there is an urgent need for help but help can't get in there fast enough -- Christi, Victor.


BLACKWELL: All right. Mallika Kapur reporting for us -- Mallika, thanks.

PAUL: Let's bring in Bakanata Bhimara (ph), who lives in Kathmandu and witnessed the earthquake.

Mr. Bhimara, thank you so much for being with us. Can you help us understand what it's like there right now?


PAUL: Can you help us understand, Mr. Bhimara, what is it like there right now during these aftershocks?

BHIMARA: Now, I am here in (INAUDIBLE) Kathmandu.


[07:05:26] PAUL: Mr. Bhimara, I'm sorry, I think we are having some technical problems and you're not coming in very clearly. We thank you so much.

We are glad you're well and able to talk to us as we look at the pictures of devastation as people pulling things up brick-by-brick by their hand as they try to get to the people they love and in the buildings and the rubble that's left. Thank you again to Mr. Bhimara, and just trying to make sure that you all get a good sense of what they're dealing with there via these pictures that we've gotten here into CNN.

Two Americans we know, by the way, were killed in avalanches on Mt. Everest following the earthquake. Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive, and Eve Girawong, a base camp doctor from New Jersey, both families announced their deaths on social media.

Now, remember, you can help the victims of the Nepal earthquake. I know a lot of times we look at these images and feel like we want to do something and don't know what to do. Well, just go to and you'll find more information what you can do there. And thank you for checking.

BLACKWELL: The protests in Baltimore, they started off peacefully but ended like this and a dozen people were arrested after these protests turned violent. This, of course, in response to the death of Freddie Gray. Rallies were held one week after Gray died from a spinal injury that he suffered while in the custody of Baltimore city police.

PAUL: As a result of escalating tensions outside Orioles ballpark that you saw there, officials forced fans to stay inside, even put a message on the jumbotron following the end of the game.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, family and friends are preparing to say goodbye to Freddie Gray. A wake is scheduled for later today, funeral services are scheduled for tomorrow.

Let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval.

Tell us more about, first the services today, Polo.


I can tell you the visitation scheduled for this afternoon from 1:00 to 6:00, the funeral for Freddie Gray, that was scheduled for tomorrow morning at 11:00, both of those will be taking place in West Baltimore, which is essentially where Freddie Gray grew up. The family here want to go allow friends, neighborhoods and the public to be able to walk to the services and, at the same time, we are also getting a better idea of what may actually take place during that funeral yesterday on this very spot.

I had an opportunity to actually speak to a Reverend Jamal Bryant who will be delivering the eulogy and I asked him mainly about the tone that he'll be taking. He says he plans to include the call for activism, but at the same time, he's also expected to include that call peace and healing and, Victor, I can tell you, it's going to be crucial after last night's wave of violence.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): The streets of Baltimore, Maryland, didn't stay quiet Saturday. A day of peaceful demonstrations erupted in violence. Angry agitators destroyed several police cars, smashing in windows, slashing tires and making off with some of the contents. Merchandise scattered on the floor of this 7-Eleven, all evidence of looting, shards of shattered glass is all that remain of other downtown store fronts. Despite all of the violence -- police commissioner Anthony Batts praised the residents of Baltimore in a late night press conference.

COMMISSIONER ANTHONY BATTS, BALTIMORE POLICE: I'm very proud of the residents of Baltimore, taking pride in their city and making sure our city is safe and putting themselves before agitating individuals that were causing harm here. That was our residents, that's our city.

PROTESTERS: We go fight for Freddie Gray!

SANDOVAL: At least a dozen protesters were pulled from the crowd and taken away. Commissioner Batts says the violence was called by a small group of agitators.

BATTS: I am, to a degree, disappointed. We work very hard to allow people to do the protests. The vast majority of residents out here did a good job. It's just a small number of people who felt they had to turn this into an ugly event and ugly day. For the most part, people did what they were supposed to do.

SANDOVAL: The skirmish followed the largest demonstration since the death of Freddie Gray one week ago. The 25-year-old suffered a fatal spine injury while in the custody of Baltimore PD. Gray's death is triggering a slew of questions and outrage. His family continues to ask for peace.

FREDERICKA GRAY, FREDDIE GRAY'S SISTER: My family wants to say, we are pleased, pleased that Freddie Gray would not want this. Freddie's father and mother does not want nobody. Violence does not get justice. Thank you.


SANDOVAL: The Gray family there renewing that call for peace. Meanwhile, I can tell you, that the streets of Baltimore are quiet this morning.

[07:10:02] The family -- Gray's family hoping it stays that way, at least for the next two days, as they get ready to say good-bye, Victor. A final note, again, we know at least 12 people were detained yesterday as a result of those protests. We do expect an update in the hours ahead and that number could potentially go higher.

PAUL: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

A big week at the Supreme Court. The justices taking up the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. We're going to take a look at the debate over that issue.

BLACKWELL: And some of the big zingers and one liners. Funny time at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. No one was off limits. Not CNN. Not the president.


STRONG: After six years in office, your approval rating is at 48 percent. Not only that, your gray hair is at 85 percent. Your hair is so white now, it can talk back to the police.



PAUL: It is 13 minutes past the hour right now.

The Supreme Court is set to take up a major decision this week.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the court will decide whether or not the same- sex couples have the constitutional right to get married.

Sunlen Serfaty is live in Washington for us.

Sunlen, everything that involves the Supreme Court has some historic relevancy rather, I should say, but this one especially so.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor, this is a key case. On Tuesday, the court will start hearing over two hours of oral arguments on one of the biggest civil rights issues facing the country today.


SERFATY (voice-over): The question before the Supreme Court: do same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry? At issue, a lower court decision that upheld same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Just two years ago in a major gay rights case, Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples already legally married had the right to receive federal benefits but it dodged central questions.

[07:15:01] On Tuesday, the justices will face them head-on, can states ban same-sex marriages and do states have to recognize lawful marriages from other states?

Those who are pushing for legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide say state bans violate equal protection under the law.

JAMES ESSEKS, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: This is case about couples who have been together for years, and all they want to express their love and commitment to each other in front of friends and family. That's a basic American commitment, a basic American concept. There's no reason they should be treated differently than other people.

SERFATY: But John Bursch will argue before the court the state bans should remain, saying it isn't about how to define marriage, but how decides.

JOHN BURSCH, FORMER MICHIGAN SOLICITOR GENERAL: Is it the people through the Democratic process where this issue has always been decided or is it the court's? And it's the position of the states that the people get to decide.

SERFATY: Thirty-seven states in Washington, D.C. now allow same-sex marriage, and CNN polling shows support is growing two an all-time high. Five years ago, 49 percent of Americans saw same-sex marriage as being a constitutionally protected right. Now that number has jumped to 63 percent.


SERFATY: And if the court allows same-sex couples to marry nationwide, the impact will be far reaching and could affect adoption proceedings, birth certificates and survivor benefits, and the court is expected to rule by the end of June -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sunlen Serfaty for us in Washington -- thanks.

PAUL: Thanks, Sunlen.

You know, millions of people are under a severe weather threat this morning.

BLACKWELL: Yes, these storms have left the path of destruction in three states. Kentucky is one of them. You're looking at the destruction there. We've got the latest for you in just a moment.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seeing Memphis Grizzlies star Jeff Green in action, it's clear he's a player with heart. But in 2011, his game was interrupted.

JEFF GREEN, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES PLAYER: I was in a complete, complete shock.

GUPTA: A routine team physical revealed an aortic aneurysm near the left valve of his heart. Jeff who was 25 at that time needed surgery.

GREEN: It was nerve wracking. I couldn't run. I couldn't touch a basketball. I couldn't get stressed out. It was tough.

GUPTA: And rebounding from open heart surgery, that wasn't easy either. Jeff didn't touch a basketball for nearly six months. He lost muscle in the mechanics of this game.

GREEN: It was a slow progression. My body was different. The timing was off. I was fatigued but I wasn't concerned about getting hit. The biggest thing for me which has been shape and being -- I would function out there on the floor.

GUPTA: The experience did give Jeff a greater appreciation for basketball.

GREEN: Now I attack every game as, you know, this could be my last.

GUPTA: It also gave him a greater appreciation for life. He often visits young heart patients providing encouragement and they compare scars.

GREEN: To see me come back from the heart surgery, see me up there playing, and they look up to that. I look forward to that and, you know, they love it so, you know, I'm going to continue to do it.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.



[07:21:41] PAUL: All right. Here is look at some of other developing stories.

BLACKWELL: Senior U.S. officials tell "The New York Times" that Russian hackers got ahold of President Obama's e-mails. CNN first broke the story of a White House cyberattack last year, but now, reports indicate that Russians were able to reach the president's messages after accessing e-mail archives of people he regularly communicated with. The White House officials say that none of the e- mails, the information hacked was classified.

PAUL: And tomorrow, James Holmes is expected to stand trial for his role in the 2012 Colorado theater shooting that's occurred that left 12 dead and 70 injured. The 27 year old has pled not guilty by reason of insanity to the 100-plus charges that he faces in that bloody rampage. But the prosecution is after the state's highest punishment for Holmes, the death penalty.

And Republicans Senator Ted Cruz went after Democrats this weekend. Cruz, who joined eight other presidential candidates and potential contenders on the stage at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Summit, argued that Democrats have become so extreme and intolerant of religious views, quote, "there is no room for Christians in today's Democratic Party," unquote. Cruz also urged the audience to fall on their knees to pray ahead of Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on same- sex marriages.

BLACKWELL: All right. A new round of stormy weather threatening the Southern Plains today and a day after storms left a trail of destruction across the Southeast. You got strong winds. They knocked down trees, power lines, homes damaged here.

Look at this. This is in Kentucky from yesterday.

PAUL: Also some pictures from Florida and in Alabama, severe weather cap-sized sail boats during a regatta there. Official say one person is dead and five others are still missing this morning.

Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera is with us now.

So, who is in the target range today?

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, I first want to talk about what happened yesterday, because this is worrisome. Look at Mobile Bay here, this is a radar from yesterday, they is really regatta. They knew the thunderstorms were coming, so I don't know if there was no time to cancel it, if they just didn't get word out, but this completely avoidable. This is why we have radar, this is why we have the weather service to put up the warnings and they were in place at this time this nasty line of storms.

Look at that, look at that lightning there. That will hit cap size your boat. Mobile Bay everything is sloshed around there. Unnecessary, but that is what happened yesterday.

Now, look at all of these storm reports from yesterday that extended from Mobile Bay, west of Houston and then east as we have been talking about across the Southeast, and then we had this batch of thunderstorm activity that produced significant damage and even the report of one tornado touched down. National Weather Service will be out there to survey that today.

We have thunderstorm activity for the Southeast today. I don't think these will be severe. In fact, most of the action I think will be south of Jacksonville. But this is the area we are going to have to watch by later this afternoon from San Antonio up to Austin, Dallas, extending up into Oklahoma City. The potential for severe storms means damaging winds potential and straight line wind damage, more than tornadoes I'm thinking here, but we are going to be looking at that nasty line beginning to form between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. with this upper low. You see that spinning there? That is going to bring snow to the higher elevations. So, up in the Rockies there, we're looking at five to 10 inches of snowfall.

And then for Monday, the threat continues for Dallas, but pushes and extends towards the east to include New Orleans for more showers and storms, again, straight line wind and large hail and frequent lightning.

[07:25:11] So, we'll watch for that for you, guys.

PAUL: I know it's higher elevations. But when you said snow, Victor and I looked at each other and went --

BLACKWELL: Snow in late April?

CABRERA: Yes, snow in April and snow in the sierra in California which they need because of the drought.

PAUL: That's true.

All right. Ivan, thank you.

BLACKWELL: The situation in Nepal is bad enough as we've watched the last 24 hours or so, but it is rapidly changing this morning. New aftershocks, one this morning as strong as 6.7 hitting the region. We've got the latest on the efforts to get help to the people there, although the roads look like this. How do you do it? They are struggling. We'll talk more about that.

PAUL: Also, a decision on whether Brian Williams will return to the anchor desk could be eminent here, but will some new findings by NBC seal his fate?


BLACKWELL: Coming up at the bottom of the hour now. Let's talk more about this breaking news this morning. The situation in Nepal, and a top emergency official says the next 72 hours will be critical.

PAUL: The death toll is still rising, as much of the capital Kathmandu is lying in ruins from yesterday's monster, 7.8 magnitude earthquake yesterday.

I want to update out the number now. It is 2,263 people that are known to be dead and likely that number is going to continue to go even higher as rescue teams still haven't been able to reach remote villages that almost certainly were devastated by the quake.

BLACKWELL: Homes, businesses, temples crumble to the ground when this quake struck. Roads, we saw a crack there in half. Stunned survivors, for a while just started in disbelief.