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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Mandela Lies in State; Dow Fall Below 16,000 Level; GE to Pay Millions; Soda Sales Flat

Aired December 11, 2013 - 05:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: An amazing story of survival. A family stranded in the wilderness survives for days in arctic temperatures. How they managed to stay alive.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And parts of the country digging out this morning from a powerful wintry storm. A look at the areas hardest hit and what is still in store for today.

BERMAN: So compromise in Washington? This is not a joke, folks.

SAMBOLIN: I know. Great.

BERMAN: House and Senate negotiators agreeing on a budget to fund the government. The question is, can this now pass? Both Houses of Congress --

SAMBOLIN: I thought my eyes were deceiving me this morning when I read that story.

BERMAN: This is not a joke.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, pretty incredible.

BERMAN: This is actually real news.


Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Thirty-one minutes after the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: So a very happy ending. We are happy to report on a search for a family missing in the frigid Nevada mountains since Sunday.

Have you heard this story? James Glanton, Cristina McIntee and four young children were stuck after their jeep crashed over the weekend. Hundreds had been looking for them ever since with very little luck until Tuesday when authorities picked up a faint cell phone signal and were able to find their location.

And amazingly, all six of them were OK. They did the right thing. Staying with the jeep and staying warm and waiting to be found.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS MONTES, FRIEND: It was a huge relief. I was expecting the worst. They had a fire going and Jay was heating up rocks in the fire. And at night he was putting them in the jeep with them keeping them warm.

DR. DOUGLAS VASEK, PERSHING COUNTY GENERAL: With the temperatures that we've been seeing the last couple nights I've been very, very, very concerned. It was -- worried that the outcome would not be this good. I mean this is -- this is better than I could even imagine it would be.


SAMBOLIN: Heating up rocks,. Ingenious, right? So they had apparently ran out of food on Monday. But the children treated it like they were camping. And the first thing they asked those who found them was whether they could have some snacks. And I think somebody had a candy bar and gave it to the kids.

BERMAN: I actually spoke to one of the first guys on the scene last night. He told me the kids started telling him about cartoons they were watching days ago, as if nothing had ever happened.


SAMBOLIN: Isn't that incredible?

BERMAN: Unbelievable.

SAMBOLIN: What was it, a 10-year-old, two 4-year-olds and a 3-year- old.

BERMAN: And a 3-year-old.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable.

BERMAN: Astounding. Well, wonderful, wonderful outcome there.

Thirty-three minutes after the hour.

SAMBOLIN: Good luck warming up. Here on the East Coast, it's cold out there today. And Tuesday was snowy ice, pretty messy. And that made the roads really dangerous.

BERMAN: One example from Michigan. Look at this. A massive 30-car pileup not far from Grand Rapids.


BERMAN: No major injuries were reported which is unbelievable. The drivers say it was really scary and happened really fast.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whiteout conditions, and I was driving doing about 45. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, I'm driving down the road. And I see a bunch of brake lights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ended up trying to veer off the road. And the next thing I know, I hit the car in front of me. And then the semitruck almost hit me.


SAMBOLIN: Take a look at this. Even a snowplow couldn't handle the slick roads. This is near Dayton, Ohio. This one overturned just west of the city. The driver luckily was not hurt there. Overall, much of Ohio saw one to three inches of snow.

BERMAN: Snow also leading to school delays and driving problems in Indiana. This is what it looked like in Indianapolis. Just an inch or two fell in that area.

SAMBOLIN: Ice left over from the weekend storm that slammed the south is still causing problems like this building collapse in Arkansas. The sun has been melting and nearly two inches of ice have built up leading to refreezing and heavy weight on roofs that are not used to handling all that weight.

BERMAN: And some serious weather problems in the Washington, D.C. area. Power outages remain there. Trees that came down over the weekend still not cleaned up yet. Power lines remain down for a few hundred customers in Maryland and Virginia.

SAMBOLIN: What a mess.

Jennifer Gray is tracking the forecast for us and the arctic blast that is freezing much of the country.

Good morning.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You are right about that. Good morning to you.

Luckily, D.C., Boston, New York, that system has pushed out. But we are looking at this next one that's coming through and leaving very, very cold temperatures across much of the north. It's also going to result in lake-effect snow. We saw quite a bit yesterday. And you can see it's still continuing for today.

Right around Chicago, you could pick up one to two inches of snow. We could see three to five inches around Grand Rapids. And look at these snow totals around Buffalo. A foot to a foot and a half of snow possible during the next 24 to 48 hours.

We have windchill watches and warnings in effect all across the north. And when you factor in the temperature plus the wind, you get the windchill. And look at this, 47 degrees below normal at International Falls, 25 degrees below normal in Minneapolis. And it doesn't warm up at all. We are going to stick with that very, very cold arctic air across much of the north. And look at this, by the weekend, we will have our next system possibly impacting the northeast. Could see an icy mix, yes, for even New York City and Boston.

Already, guys by this weekend. Not much of a breather.



GRAY: I know.

SAMBOLIN: I don't know what else to say but thank you for the warning.

All right.

GRAY: All right.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-six minutes past the hour. A surprising act of bipartisanship in Washington.

BERMAN: Shocking.

SAMBOLIN: Berman cannot believe it. Where House and Senate negotiators have actually found agreement on a budget deal. The $85 billion spending plan would keep the government running through the fall of 2015 and restore some funding that was cut as part of the sequester.

Both sides admit they didn't get everything they wanted but say this is the right thing for the country.


SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: I am very proud to stand here today with Chairman Ryan to announce we have broken through the partisanship and the gridlock and reached a bipartisan budget compromise that will prevent a government shutdown in January.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: I see this as an agreement as a step in the right direction. In divided government, you don't always get what you want. That said, we still can make progress toward our goals. I see this agreement as that kind of progress. It's a step in the right direction.


SAMBOLIN: You're hearing it right here. The House could vote on the plan by the end of this week and the Senate is likely to take it up next week before leaving town for the Christmas holiday.

BERMAN: Meanwhile, more Americans are saying they approve of the job the president is doing more but most still disapprove. A new CBS News/"The New York Times" poll shows that 42 percent of Americans now approve of the president's performance. Now that doesn't sound great but it was only 37 percent last month after the problem-plagued rollout of the Obamacare Web site.

Still, half of Americans say they are not happy with how the president is doing his job for the American people.

SAMBOLIN: And now to South Africa where the public remembrances for Nelson Mandela continue this morning. President Obama returned moments ago to the United States. This, a day after he and other world leaders paid tribute to the late South African president. Thousands are expected to file past his casket now lying in state in Pretoria.

Isha Sesay is there.

Can you set the scene for us this morning?


Well, the scene here at the Union Building in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, is very different from what we saw yesterday in Johannesburg.

As we all know we saw these pictures of President Obama addressing the crowds there at the FNB Stadium at that public memorial for Nelson Mandela. And that was very much a joyful scene. We saw singing and dancing, and we saw the crowds really united as one, celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela. A very upbeat atmosphere. People were really giving praise and thanks for all that he has achieved in this country.

Fast forward to today and it is much more subdued here at the Union Building which are the seat of government for the authorities here in South Africa. The body of Nelson Mandela lies in a covered viewing area just behind me. And we have seen countless VIPs and dignitaries make their way past the casket which has a glass top casing so they can see the face of the former president.

And I think with the ability to see Nelson Mandela, to see his remains, it really has brought home for the people that have made this journey, brought home the fact that he is no longer with us. We saw Bono, we saw supermodel Naomi Campbell, as well as world leaders all make their way here.

And Bono looked visibly shaken as he made his way out of that viewing area. But also wanting to pay tribute to the Mandela family. We've seen large numbers of the Mandela family come here to the Union Building.

This is a very difficult time for them. They shared -- they shared this man with the country and the world for so long. They shared him in life and they must share him again in death. And it is a public mourning that they must do.

We saw his widow, Graca Machel, visibly shaken and openly crying, Zoraida, as she made her way here to see the remains of her husband. It has been a very difficult day, a very painful day, and one of -- a lot of sadness here in Pretoria -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Well, Isha, I know that they need their privacy but for us, it's been really great to be able to follow it all.

So thank you for being there for us, Isha Sesay.

Forty minutes past the hour. Now police in Ukraine moving to push protesters out of Kiev's main square this morning.

Take a look at this. They're swarming past the barricade set up in Independence Square and essentially dividing up the protest camp. But the demonstrators are fighting back. They have spent more than two weeks calling on the president to resign.

BERMAN: A mixed reception for Secretary of State John Kerry after pressing House and Senate committees to not impose new sanctions on Iran.

The Senate Banking Committee voted to hold off new sanctions for now. The chairman actually decided that. The lawmakers from the House Foreign Affairs Committee told him no. They say they will work with the Senate to pass a bill in their committee that would create sanctions with a built-in six-month delay if a comprehensive nuclear deal is not reached.

SAMBOLIN: Forty-one minutes past the hour. Attacked by a shark near a Florida beach. One surfer explained how he managed to fight off the beast. That's when we come back.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

Guilty pleas in Connecticut for two British nationals accused of terrorism. The men admitted to running a Web site that raised money and solicited donations for al Qaeda and the Taliban. The charges included providing material supports to militants fighting in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Both men have been asked to be sent back to the UK to do their time. Sentencing is set for March 4th.

SAMBOLIN: An actress accused of sending risen-laced letters to President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has now admitted she was behind the mailings. Actress Shannon Guess Richardson has now pleaded guilty in federal court avoiding a possible life sentences.

Richardson had tried to blame her ex-husband for sending those tainted letters. Prosecutors say that under the plea deal she'll only receive at most 18 years in prison.

BERMAN: A bizarre story.

SAMBOLIN: It really is.

BERMAN: But no one got hurt. A Florida surfer counting his blessings this morning from his hospital bed after a shark took a bite out of his foot. This happened Tuesday near Cocoa Beach. Bobby Baughman was riding the waves when he felt something clamp down on his right foot. Instincts said go limp. But then something started to shake him so he fought back.


BOBBY BAUGHMAN, BIT BY A SHARK: I know that they tell you you're supposed to, like, hit him in the gills or punch him in the nose. But I didn't -- wasn't really thinking. I was just scared. And needed to get this thing off of me so I just grabbed him -- grabbed him like up around the snout and then squeezed, like, as hard as I could. Like basically bite him back with my hands.

And I squeezed and squeezed and squeezed as hard as I could. It was only like for a second. But once I got to the point where I felt like I was going to pop through skin and, like, break him, he shook and let go and took off.


BERMAN: You know, fighting contest with the shark there. Amazing. Baughman is set to have surgery today to repair the damage done by that shark. And actually left a tooth lodged in the top of his foot.

SAMBOLIN: But it looks like he didn't take any toes.

BERMAN: I mean, he seems to be in good spirits.

SAMBOLIN: Right? I mean, look. He's in great spirits.

BERMAN: So good for him.

SAMBOLIN: I wonder if he's going to go back again. I always wonder, right?

BERMAN: I'd move to Kansas.

SAMBOLIN: And don't they all say --

BERMAN: I would honestly move to Kansas tomorrow.

SAMBOLIN: You would. But these folks, I got to tell you.

BERMAN: Right.

Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY."

Kate Bolduan, I understand you have someone especially charming who will be coming and sit next to you.

KATE BOLDUAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S NEW DAY: I wonder who that would be. I mean, my instincts would think that would be Zoraida but --


BOLDUAN: But Zoraida is unavailable. Just kidding, John.

SAMBOLIN: You're going to have to get Berman.

BOLDUAN: John will be joining us in just a second, of course. Pamela Brown is here as well. We're covering all the latest on that incredible rescue of a family trapped in the Nevada mountains in subzero temperatures. How did they survive? It is really a truly amazing story. We're going to talk with the rescuer who led the search to find them and get his side of the -- get his story. How did they do it, how did they pinpoint the family, and how the family is doing this morning.

We're also going to be following -- continuing to follow that disturbing story out of Texas where a campus police officer shot a college student. That student died. Police say the student was violent and resisted arrest. But his friends, they don't think that's possible. What is the real story. We're going to hear from the young man's parents this morning.

SAMBOLIN: All right.

BERMAN: All right, Kate. We'll see you in just a few minutes.

BOLDUAN: OK. Thanks.

BERMAN: Forty-seven minutes after the hour.

It is time now for our "Morning Rhymes." The best tweets of the day. Today, it's about sharks. We showed you the guy earlier who caught one on the beach. So this tweet is from Lady Alley Cat. "It says too many crazies go to the park, I know kids, let's go to the beach and catch a shark."

It is a shark-themed day.


SAMBOLIN: Not a good idea, kiddies. Not a good idea.

BERMAN: Yes. A good news/bad news day with sharks.

You can come up with your own tweet any time. Send us on to Twitter. The hash tags are morningrhyme and earlystart.

SAMBOLIN: We'll be right back.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.


Caught me a little off guard there. We're just chatting. It is "Money Time." Alison Kosik is here with us this morning.

Good morning to you.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Let's talk about stock. Stock futures weaker this morning after the Dow Industrials fell below the benchmark 16000 level yesterday. Investors may be worried about making commitments ahead of the Federal Reserve's meeting that happens next week, and that's really when the Fed is expected to announce whether it's ready to begin pulling back on its $85 billion a month stimulus program which has kept interest rates low for a long time. You look at the Dow, it slid 52 points, the Nasdaq, S&P also fell a bit as well.

But, you know, before you start to sweat it out, look how far we've come this year. The Dow is up 22 percent.

SAMBOLIN: Amazing.

KOSIK: It really is. I mean, Nasdaq up 34 percent. The S&P 500 up 26 percent. Those are big, big gains.

SAMBOLIN: Can't get depressed over that one.


GE Capital's Medical Credit Card business is being ordered to pay back more than $34 million to more than a million customers. The reason, deceptive enrollment practices. The company's Care Credit union -- unit was the main focus of the action brought by the Financial Protection Bureau after regulators got hundreds of complaints.

The agency said Care Credit misled customers into thinking they were signing up for an interest-free line of credit. In reality, it was a deferred interest program. And cardholders were hit with big interest charges if they didn't pay off their balance soon enough. And regulators said people didn't understand the details and Care Credit failed to explain it to them properly.

So to soda sales, they're losing their fuzz -- their fizz actually. Fuzz and their fizz. Health conscious consumers are buying less sodas especially diet sodas, flavored with artificial sweeteners. The year- over-year decline for diet soda spending was 72 percent on cola and about 8 percent on lemon-lime drinks.

The big beneficiary of all of this, bottled waters.


KOSIK: And the beverage companies have taken notice, companies like Pepsico, Coca-Cola, they bought several water brands in recent years. But here's what's interesting about those water brands. Have you noticed, people are trying to get away from the artificial sweeteners on the sodas, the waters are often flavored in certain ways.


SAMBOLIN: With artificial sweeteners also?

KOSIK: Look at the ingredients, if you're trying to get away from it, you better beat those --


SAMBOLIN: Beware. Beware. I kind of like it, though. I think the big beneficiary here is the person, right?

KOSIK: Of course. Yes.

SAMBOLIN: They're giving up sodas.

All right. Thank you, Alison. We appreciate it.

KOSIK: You got it.

SAMBOLIN: Fifty-three minutes past the hour.

Coming up, suspended for kissing. The family of a Colorado 6-year-old says their school district went a little too far. That story coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

I have a question for you this morning. When does a display of affection go too far among children?

Listen to this, 6-year-old Hunter Yelton from Colorado has been suspended from school. What's the problem? He kissed a female classmate on the hand. The district says that violated their policy against unwanted touching. But his mother says the girl had no problem with it. And the real issue is with the district, they're calling it sexual harassment.


HUNTER YELTON, FIRST GRADE: We were doing reading group. And I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. And that's what happened.

JENNIFER SAUNDERS, MOTHER OF HUNTER: This is takes it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a 6-year-old. Now my son is asking questions, what is sex, mommy. It should never be said sex in a sentence with a 6-year-old.


SAMBOLIN: I know you want to know so much more so there's a lot more coming up on "NEW DAY." Kelly Wallace will join Kate and John to talk about this controversy. That's going to happen in the 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time hour.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's one hell of a guy, that's for damn sure. He kept them alive and he kept them warm. My hat's off to him.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Miracle in the mountains. An amazing survival story. A family of six makes it through days in the wilderness in subzero temperatures. Their family rejoicing. How did they survive? We're live with the details.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have a deal. Call it a miracle. Republicans and Democrats strike a budget compromise avoiding tough spending cuts in averting another crisis. So who got what?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: The truth will come out. The parents of that Texas college student shot and killed by campus police speak out to CNN. Do they think their son provoked the officer?

BOLDUAN: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome to NEW DAY, everyone. It's Wednesday, December 11th, 6:00 in the East.

Chris and Michaela are off today. But I'm lucky enough to be joined by John Berman and Pamela Brown.

Good morning, you guys.

BERMAN: All lucky if you like.


BOLDUAN: Exactly. Or I drew the short straw, one of the two.

Up first this morning, a miracle in the mountains. A family of six surviving two days of subzero temperatures in a rugged Nevada mountain range after their jeep overturned. They were finally spotted by a volunteer emerging from their life-threatening ordeal virtually unscathed.

Stephanie Elam is live in Lovelock, Nevada, this morning.

And, Stephanie, you were there last night during the press conference, kind of laying out how they're doing. What are we learning this morning?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, I've got to tell you, they're calling it a Christmas miracle out here that this family was found and that everyone was OK.

Coming in here right now, it's about eight degrees but that's downright warm compared to the temperatures that they were facing over the last two days but due to some ingenuity they managed to stick together and stay alive.