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Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Decision Marked; Interview with US Chamber of Commerce President; Internet Dating Site Lawsuit; North Korea Keeps Up Threat-Making

Aired January 25, 2013 - 15:30   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN: This week marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed a woman's right to choose an abortion.

And in Washington today, opponents of abortion are gathering, thousands of them, for a rally on the National Mall. They're calling it the March for Life.

CNN's Athena Jones is there.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Abortion opponents have been holding this March for Life rally every year since the first anniversary of the Roe V. Wade decision.

They start with a rally here on the Mall and end at the Supreme Court because their ultimate goal is to overturn Roe V. Wade.

I had a chance to talk to one person about what he called the importance of personhood laws, getting more states to pass laws that define life as beginning at conception.

Listen to what he had to say.

RAY WEAVER, ANTI-ABORTION PROTESTER: The key issue is the idea of personhood. Everyone knows biologically that the fetus is a human being. It's human, but is it a person?

So, once you establish personhood then that changes the whole equation.

JONES: So there you heard from an abortion opponent.

I should tell you, though, that recent surveys show a majority of people support keeping Roe V. Wade in place as it is, but the same number, a majority, also believe there should be some restrictions on abortions, which is what that ruling allows.

You know, abortion -- anti-abortion protesters like the ones here won't stop until they see abortion outlawed completely, but they're still hoping for what they see as a perfect case to bring before the Supreme Court to get that Roe V. Wade ruling overturned and they're going to keep fighting for it until they do, they say.

Back to you. BLACKWELL: All right, Athena Jones, thank you.

This is an important day in North Africa because exactly two years ago this was the revolution in Egypt. And this is Egypt today.

Police fighting off protesters who were trying to remove the barbed wire barriers that protect the presidential palace. You can see people ripping that away.

Now, on the second anniversary of the Egyptian uprising, violent clashes, like this one, are erupting across the city of Cairo. This is Tahrir Square today, thousands of people gathering, scenes like this one, similar to the beginning of the Arab Spring, that 18-day revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

They're chanting leave, leave, leave. They're marching toward Tahrir Square and they're demanding an end to the new constitution and an end to the rule of the new president, Mohamed Morsi, a man they say is no better than the dictator they forced out two years ago.

A woman goes online to find a date. OK. So, the man she found was no Prince Charming. She says he hid in her garage and attacked her and now she's suing

We've got that story for you coming up.


BLACKWELL: Ali Velshi has been at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. That's where the global elite assemble, once a year, to talk about big ideas high up in the Swiss Alps.

Today, Ali spoke with Tom Donohue. He's head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the powerful big business lobby that clashed repeatedly with President Obama during his first term in office.


ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Tom, so much has happened with you in the last few years. You have been a force to reckon with for this administration and, in fact, you sort of went down some paths to not see them re-elected.

They got re-elected. What's your relationship with the president and the administration going to be?

TOM DONOHUE, PRESIDENT & CEO, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: First, we have nothing to do with presidential elections. We, of course, involve ourselves in senatorial and congressional elections and other.

VELSHI: Right.

DONOHUE: Our relationship with the White House is very broad. We have helped them on many issues. We have opposed them on issues.

We work closely with treasury and OMB and others and, from time to time, with people directly in the White ...

VELSHI: But would you say it's good?

DONOHUE: I'd say I have to deal with the White House on behalf of the American business community. They have to deal with us.

VELSHI: You've taken sort of harder political positions in the last few years. Let's talk about one of them.

You didn't really like the climate change stuff that the administration was up to. They may go into that again in the second term. It's probably not the highest priority, but they may go down that road.

DONOHUE: I think it is a high priority. It was the first thing the president said when he did his inaugural address and he isn't going to go to the Congress to do it. He's going to do it on a regulatory basis.

And, if you look what he's brought out of the EPA before, he can do a lot more going forward and we're all going to have to work on that.

VELSHI: All right, let's talk about spending cuts. One of the things you would like to see is deficits getting under control, spending cuts.

Here we are in Europe where the austerity of the sort that they imposed is not certainly in the short-term working. We've just seen new unemployment numbers out of Spain and Portugal, Spain at 26 percent, youth unemployment at 60 percent.

We've gotten to the point where we're lapping ourselves in Europe because so many people are unemployed that the idea of organic growth anytime in the next five years is impossible to see.

How do we manage that in the United States? How do we manage a cut in spending that doesn't send us into a downward growth spiral?

DONOHUE: It is where you cut the spending. And you're absolutely right the way you evaluated the trouble in Europe and that's a problem for us because they're our largest export partner.

But the spending that we want to adjust is the spending that is automatic and that is entitlements -- Social Security a little bit, but primarily Medicare -- and it goes up, up, up.

I'm the problem. It's people living much longer than anybody ever thought. You don't have to cut it. You have to turn the curve down. You have to make adjustments.

If you do it, A, you'll get some benefit in budgets. You'll get a lot of benefit in debt.

VELSHI: We got waylaid a little bit in the last four years, talking about government waste and fraud and stuff like that. In the long- term, that's not the stuff that moves the needle. DONOHUE: No. We've ...

VELSHI: That's what you're talking about is what we have to fix.

DONOHUE: It is entitlements. We have to fix Social Security because for years we've been spending the surplus. Now, we're having to borrow money to pay Social Security.

Medicare, we borrow three out of every four dollars and have from the beginning that we spent. We have to fix it.

VELSHI: What is your recommendation for the process of how we fix this? We have the math. It is actuarial. We know how to do it, but we can't get the -- we can't get it done.

DONOHUE: Well, I've got a process different than some people do. We have been talking about fixing this in two buckets. One bucket is reducing costs and the other bucket is increasing taxes.

If you think you can get this all done, to the amount we have to do with, let's say, a 10-year program, you're going to have to dig very deep. We need a third bucket and it is sitting right there and we should use it. It's energy.

Fracking, for example, has created 1.75 million jobs in less than two years. There's billions and billions of dollars going to the states and the federal coffers. We have more energy than anybody in the world and, if we, in an environmentally friendly way, acquire it, go on the federal lands, do it in the right way, we'll get that extra piece of cash and bring manufacturing and jobs back to the United States or create them in the United States because of our energy.

VELSHI: The last four years of the Obama presidency was marred by not great relationships between the business community and the administration.

You are one of the key faces of the business community. Have you reached out to the president or has he reached out to you since his election to say, let's make this four years look very different?

DONOHUE: Just remember, my job's to represent the business people ...

VELSHI: Right.

DONOHUE: He's the president of the United States. We deal with each other when we should and when we need to and sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree.

VELSHI: But do you have a good relationship with him? Would you like a better relationship with him?

DONOHUE: Oh, I would like to have a more regular relationship with him, but we're doing just fine.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLACKWELL: For more information and more in-depth coverage from Ali Velshi, tune in to "Your Money" this weekend, Saturday at 1:00, Sunday at 3:00.


BLACKWELL: A posh $2.5 million foreclosed home in Florida is being occupied by a man who has not paid a dime for it.

Have you heard of squatting? Well, 23-year-old Andre Barbosa is exercising his right to what is called "adverse possession." It allows someone to move into a property and eventually claim ownership.

Well, when Bank of America foreclosed on that five-bedroom, waterside home in July, Barbosa told his local appraisers office, I'm moving in.

Sunny Hostin is "On the Case" for us. Sunny, the neighbors for a host of reasons are not happy about this. We've been talking about this in the newsroom all day.

One neighbor tried to buy the house, but the guy is still there. Do you see him keeping this house legally?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think so now that he's gotten all of this media attention, right?

Because for adverse possession to work, you've got to be able to stay there for seven years and this is not really an obscure law, Victor. It has been on the books forever. It's something that you learn about in law school.

But the bottom line is, in order to keep the house, you've got to sort of meet a lot of legal hurdles and the biggest legal hurdle is that you've got to stay there openly, in front of everyone, you've got to pay taxes, pay liens, but you've got to be able to do it for seven years.

Bank of America now says now that they're aware of it, they're going to take action to evict him and to kick him out.

So I think he's out of luck, but pretty novel. I mean, he didn't choose to squat in some hole somewhere. He's at a beautiful waterfront mansion in Florida and, so, I think a lot of people are feeling a bit jealous about it.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, if you're going to go, go big. He's going big.

HOSTIN: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: All right, so let's go to this next case, which is really disturbing. A Las Vegas woman, she is suing for almost $10 million.

Mary Kay Beckman says a man she met on the site tried to kill her at her home, shortly after she ended things with him. Listen.


MARY KAY BECKMAN, VICTIM OF ATTACK: There were 10 stab wounds, eight on my physical body, two on my head, and then, when the knife broke, there was stomping on my head so that there was such severe brain trauma.

I do not believe that online dating is a safe venue for men or women.


BLACKWELL: Wow. And, again, she's suing Her attorney accuses the site of failing to disclose the dangers of online dating to subscribers according to our affiliate KVVU. Her attacker died in prison last year.

Sunny, does have a defense here?

HOSTIN: You know, I think it does, certainly. Bottom line is, I'm sure, wants to be a good corporate citizen. does have online safety dating tips. I did look on the website and see all of that.

But it also has a very good opportunity to be that corporate citizen, good corporate citizen, at this point because it doesn't offer background checks. It does -- has made promises to sort of cross reference against national sex offender registries and that stems from another lawsuit that was brought against that we covered last year.

And, so, I think that there is quite a robust defense for, but there's also the opportunity at this point, Victor, to do better, to be better.

But I will say this, what is fascinating about this case is that even if had offered criminal background checks, this guy did not have a criminal background. And, so, would that have helped this woman? Probably not.

But I think at the very base of it, at least at this point, it will raise the -- this suit is going to raise awareness about online dating, the safety measures that can be put in place, and I suspect will now do more to make its folks that are dating on their website safer.

BLACKWELL: I want to read a statement from We have it here.

"What happened to Mary Kay Beckman is horrible. but this lawsuit is absurd. The many millions of people who have found love on and other online dating sites know how fulfilling it is."

"While that doesn't make what happened in this case any less awful, this is about a sick, twisted individual with no prior criminal record -- as you pointed out, Sunny -- "not an entire community of men and women looking to meet each other."

That from

Sunny Hostin, thank you.

HOSTIN: Thanks, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Take a look at this video, a stunt plane coming within inches of hitting the cameraman.

The pilot, let's just say he's in trouble. That's next.


BLACKWELL: North Korea is cranking up the threats against the United States again and aiming strong words at its close -- our close ally, South Korea.

North Korean officials are warning that, quote, "strong physical countermeasures" will face South Korea if it takes part in tougher U.S. sanctions announced this week.

CNN's Matthew Chance has more from Seoul, South Korea.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of concern here in South Korea about what that closed, pariah state to the north is going to do next.

North Korea has already said that it will carry out a third nuclear test, a swipe at the United States. Now, Pyongyang is making aggressive statements towards south Korea, as well.

It's the latest alarming threat from North Korea, this time aimed at its southern neighbor. On the country's evening newscast, the presenter talks of the puppet group of traitors, Pyongyang's term for the government of South Korea.

We will take strong physical countermeasures against them, she reads, if they take a direct part in any U.N. sanctions.

It's unclear what her state has in mind, but this increasingly blunt rhetoric is part of the fallout of a December rocket launch by Pyongyang and international reaction to it. It was condemned by the U.N. Security Council which imposed more crippling sanctions earlier this week.

And the latest threat comes just a day after this nuclear one, broadcast in defiant tone the night before. Satellites and long-range rockets will be launched one after another, officials in Pyongyang announced, as well as a nuclear test to target the United States in what they called a new phase of their anti-U.S. struggle.

North Korea has already conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. U.S. officials say a third would only deepen the country's isolation, but analysts say that doesn't seem to be a paramount concern to its untested young leader, Kim Jong-un. Now, there are signs that even China, Pyongyang's economic lifeline, is increasingly frustrated. In an unusual step, China voted for the resolution condemning North Korea last week at the security council where it could have used its veto.

And, in a rare public rebuke, a state-run communist newspaper in Beijing carried this warning. "If North Korea engages in further nuclear tests, China will not hesitate to reduce its assistance to North Korea."

It may prove an empty threat, but Pyongyang, so dependent on China, is unlikely to have overlooked Beijing's obvious annoyance.

Well, despite that, though, speculation is rising that North Korea may, even now, be preparing for that nuclear test with satellite images, according to some analysts, suggesting that an underground test site is being prepared near the Chinese border.

The region now very much bracing for what might happen next.


BLACKWELL: Some of the hottest stories in a flash, "Rapid Fire." Roll it.

Two of the four convictions against Casey Anthony have been thrown out. Anthony was convicted of lying to police during the search for her daughter, Caylee, but appeals court judges agreed with the defense that two of the charges constituted double jeopardy or being convicted more than once for the same crime.

Former Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, heads back to jail for the weekend, the Michigan Department of Corrections charged him with 14 parole violations last night. Most involve failing to report income and money transfers.

Kilpatrick is on parole after a conviction for obstruction of justice. He'll get out of jail Monday morning in time to return to his trial on corruption charges.

The next story is like something out of a nightmare, especially for people who fly often. A plane flying through a storm in Turkey struck by lightning. It's amazing.

A passenger managed to get video of sparks flying from the wing and the chaos inside the plane when the lights went out. Can you imagine? The lightning strike caused an engine fire, but the pilot managed to land that plane safely.

All right, so, now, we go to a very good pilot -- that one -- to one that's being a little crazy in this video. Look.

Yeah, you can understand why that person is screaming. That's a biplane coming within feet of hitting the person filming this stunt. Not a very smart move, the pilot was reportedly flying with an expired permit to do aerial stunts. Well, the FAA is now investigating. And the hits just keep coming for Apple. The stock has been falling hard all week long and, today, it lost title of world's most valuable company. We'll go live to the New York Stock Exchange next.


BLACKWELL: The price of Apple stock has been on the way down ever since it released its earnings report on Wednesday, but today it hit another milestone. It's no longer the most valuable company in the world.

Alison Kosik joins me from the New York Stock Exchange. Alison, this is a big deal. Can Apple regain this title?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Plenty of analysts, Victor, say, yes, it can get that title back, that Apple only relinquished this crown temporarily.

You know, despite watching this stock plunge, price targets for Apple are still hanging around an average of $700 a share. So, you know what it is possible we are seeing a buying opportunity, as well.

You know, a market strategist told CNNMoney that a lot of mutual funds and institutional investors, meaning the guys who do this for a living, have actually been buyers of Apple this week.

On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons for the drop we're seeing. Consumers are switching to less expensive devices and there are legitimate worries about the competition that's gaining on Apple.


BLACKWELL: We're ending the week. Where are we looking as we close out Friday?

KOSIK: OK, stocks continues to climb. Within seconds of the closing bell right now, you are seeing the Dow within a stone's throw of 14,000. We're actually talking about that again.

This is all because of some good news in the housing market. This week we found out sales are at the highest levels in years. Also, earnings are pretty strong considering.

S&P 500, we are also watching that level. It's sitting at over 1,500. We haven't seen that level in five years, so investors are certainly taking note.

A big test, though, is going to come next week, Victor, when GDP comes out for the final three months of last year and a January jobs report. That could change things around just a tad.


BLACKWELL: All right, we'll look ahead to that. Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange, there is the bell. Thank you very much.

That does it for us. I'm Victor Blackwell in for Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for watching.

"THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer starts now. Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Victor, thanks very much.