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Massive Protest Shuts Down Egypt; Massive Winter Storm Affecting Much of the Country; Federal Judge Strikes Down Health Care Reform; Bullying Incident Caught on Tape; NY State Lawmaker Urges Parents to Spy on Children; Bracing for March of Millions; Most Powerful Eruption Yet

Aired February 01, 2011 - 06:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead on this AMERICAN MORNING, massive protests effectively shutting down Egypt. Protesters are demanding the president get out. We are live in Cairo tracking the uprising as it happens.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Also, an epic storm to tell you about that's not just affecting one region of the country, it's pretty much affecting us all. It has about 100 million people from New Mexico to New England on alert.

BOLDUAN: And a former New York City cop says our children have no First Amendment rights. He just posted a video on YouTube teaching everyone how to spy on their kids. Could this actually be the best way to keep them safe?

HOLMES: Also, this morning, the government is out with new guidelines on eating. It says you should eat less and eat better. Well, duh.

BOLDUAN: And the airlines actually offering a cool, new perk. Get this. For free. Ahead on this AMERICAN MORNING.


BOLDUAN: Good morning, everybody. You're looking at live pictures from Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, that's probably just the beginning of what Oklahoma City is going to be dealing with. And right now, a blizzard bears down on the Midwest, all part of a monster winter storm. And that's not an exaggeration stretching from New Mexico to Maine.

HOLMES: Also, a judge has ruled the president's health care law is unconstitutional. But not only that, he even used the president's own words against him in the ruling on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Well, top of the hour here now. Good morning to you all. Welcome to this AMERICAN MORNING on this Tuesday, February 1st. I'm T.J. Holmes.

BOLDUAN: I'm Kate Bolduan in for Kiran Chetry this morning. Good morning, everybody.

Let's get first to the story we've been following. We're monitoring developments in Egypt. Right now, thousands of demonstrators are gathering in Cairo's Tahrir Square for what organizers are calling "a march of millions." The military promising it will not fire on peaceful protesters. But just yesterday, soldiers did open fire into the air during a tense standoff with demonstrators in the heart of Cairo.

(INAUDIBLE) stopped firing and the situation was defused when demonstrators began chanting the people and the army are one.

Meanwhile, food and supplies are growing scarce in Egypt. We're seeing long lines outside supermarkets. Whatever is left is being rationed. Banks and ATM machines have gone dark. The Internet is down and that there is no cell phone service.

At Cairo's international airport, hundreds of stranded travelers are trying desperately to get out, to leave the country and most carriers have canceled all of their flights. And a new development, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper calling on President Obama to cut ties now with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Your message to President Obama is what?

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, OPPOSITION LEADER: My message to President Obama and I have lots of respect for him, I worked with him in the last year of my tenure and I have a lot of admiration for him, but I tell him, you need to review your policy. You need to let go of Mubarak. You need to be -- you shouldn't be behind the curve. You need to start building confidence with the people and not with the people who are smothering the people.


HOLMES: All right, we want to go live to Cairo right now. Our Anderson Cooper is there for us this morning.

Anderson, hello to you. It's called a day for a march of millions. Does it appear they are on their way to that?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to give you an actual crowd estimate, but I'm just going to step aside and show you the crowd here because this is the largest crowd that we have seen so far in Liberation Square. And I'm not sure if the pictures from this angle really do it justice but it is just wall-to-wall people here. They're standing shoulder to shoulder.

This protest which began about four hours ago here in Cairo, but it still continues to grow. More people continue to pour into this square. It is very difficult at this point to move down there. I was down in the crowd before. There is just a lot of excitement, a lot of desire to keep the momentum of these protests going. Protesters realize it's critical, T.J., that they keep the momentum going, that they not give any sign that their efforts are lagging or that their spirits are sagging. They want to try to send a clear message to President Mubarak that nothing short of him leaving will satisfy them, T.J.

HOLMES: Well, Anderson, it sounds like you're saying this certainly appear to be, no matter what the numbers there. And this appears to be larger than the ones we've seen before. Is there any talk about what happens tomorrow? They want to keep the momentum but some people we're getting reports of food shortages. People are struggling in their day-to-day lives. Can they keep this up?

COOPER: Well, there's no doubt. I mean, this city is at a standstill. When you look at a crowd like this, it's not just young people as we have seen over the last several days. There are people here who are doctors and engineers and lawyers. I've spoken to people from wide variety of different parts of society here.

So, you know, most businesses here are shut down. The banks are shut down. ATMs don't have any money. There are long lines for bread. There are shortages of food. It's not clear how much longer something has to give, T.J. It's not clear which side will give, whether it's going to be the government or Hosni Mubarak or whether it's going to be these protesters. But when you talk to the protesters down here, they say they are not going to give up. They are not going to abandon the square. They're going to keep this going and they're already talking about trying to have an even larger demonstration on Friday, two days from now, if by then Mubarak has still not stepped down, T.J.

HOLMES: And one more thing to you, some of the protests clearly have been passionate. Some anger out in the streets, as well. But for the most part what you're seeing there is the tone about the same and is it so far peaceful despite whatever police or army presence you may be seeing down there, as well?

COOPER: Yes, you don't see a police presence. It is peaceful. There is a heavy military presence here and they're really controlling access to the square. There's tanks in front of me. There's military key checkpoints all around the square. So they really control people's ability to get into this square. But, again, the crowd there is just, it is tremendous. There are military tanks on the far side there. American University in Cairo is over there. But in the square itself, you don't see any military personnel.

And what's really interesting, T.J., not only is it peaceful, but the protesters are policing themselves. They've taken it upon themselves to actually search people as they enter. So as we came in along with thousands of other people, we were all patted down. There were various layers of security but, again, it's not government security. It's all just protesters who want to make sure that there's no instigators here. They want to make sure that nobody is here to cause any kind of violence. And they're telling people as they enter the square, peaceful, peaceful. That's what we heard over and over again from organizers here as people were coming in.

HOLMES: All right. Anderson Cooper for us this morning live in Cairo.

Anderson, we appreciate you. We'll continue to check in as often as we can. BOLDUAN: And at 6:30 Eastern, we'll be talking to Lauren Bohn. She is a Fulbright fellow now studying at American University in Cairo. She's also a former intern here at CNN. She was offered an opportunity to leave Egypt but decided to stay. We'll ask her why.

HOLMES: Also, a major storm to tell you about this morning. It seems like this winter it's been storm after storm after storm week after week. It hits the northeast. Maybe hits the south. It hits different regions. This one seems like it's hitting just about everybody. We're talking about a historic storm that's going to affect some 100 million Americans.

Give you a live look, Oklahoma City. Snow is coming down. It's awfully windy. You can make out that wind certainly blowing across the screen there. Also, another look in St. Louis. They're going to be getting some ice there. Snow is expected a little later. The Missouri governor there saying folks should batten down the hatches and hold on.

BOLDUAN: This storm is huge. Winter storm warnings stretch some 2,000 miles from Albuquerque all the way to Boston. Rob Marciano is live in Chicago. We'll get to him in one minute. But, first, let's go to Ed Lavandera live in Oklahoma City.

Good morning, Ed, what are you seeing there?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Well, people here in this state under a state of emergency. The governor declared yesterday before this storm even rolled in. You can see already this morning, this has happened in just the last few hours. The snow has really started to pile up here in downtown.

The mayor of Oklahoma City telling local reporters here last night that he wasn't sure that the city services will be able to keep up with clearing the roads for all of this as the storm blows through, so they're really warning people to kind of stay in place. There's been a run at the grocery store and, really, they've been told to expect blizzard-like conditions, possibly throughout the day as the wind gusts go over 35 miles an hour. But the snow already starting to pile up from Oklahoma City to Tulsa into the northeast corner of the state as we're expecting the most snow. As you can see right now, this wind is really what's going to make this so difficult for so many people.

BOLDUAN: All right, thanks so much, Ed. We'll check back in with you shortly.

HOLMES: All right. I want to turn now to our Rob Marciano who is in Chicago for us this morning.

Rob, good morning to you. You said Chicago was a place that could see historic snowfall. Are they getting going yet?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Last night, T.J., you know, you think of Chicago, you think of really nasty weather and all sorts of snow, but eight or 10-inch snowfall in this city is a fairly large amount unless you're getting a real big lake-effect snow event. So to talk about 12, 18, 20, potentially 24 inches of snow, that's historic and that would easily surpass that latest big one which was back in 1999.

We did have a little pulse of snow that came through last night. The rivers still flowing but a couple inches came through and they were able to clear that out. This is just a pre-show. I can't remember the last time I saw so many kind of warm-up acts for the big show just coming later on this afternoon.

Michigan Avenue right now is clear. They've pre-salted the roads. They've got about 400 trucks that are ready to go to take care of this city, but if you get 20 inches, it's going to be a tough route. Blizzard warnings out for 3:00 p.m. today until 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Let's talk about the rest of the country. We've got winter storm warnings that are posted from New Mexico all the way to New England. Blizzard warnings from Michigan back through Oklahoma. I can't remember the last time I saw a map that was this lit up with watches and warnings. And we may see a swath of a foot of snow over almost a 2,000 linear mile area. Truly remarkable.

All right. Radar showing not only the frozen precip but the liquid precip. And we're going to see some heavy rain across parts of the gulf. That's the big thing with this. It's got a lot of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico that's been built up. So, we're going to see severe weather as well over Texas coastline and Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi. The pink is obviously the worrisome area. We're going to look for freezing rain and icing build up. Could see a half an inch to an inch of ice in places like Indianapolis, back to St. Louis and, again, here, we could see as much as a couple of feet of snow. But as you saw in Ed's live shot I'm sure that snow blowing sideways and with wind chills around zero, that's going to be the dangerous effect. They've got shelters set up, 4,000 beds. They don't want anybody sleeping outside if they don't want to here in the city of Chicago. And I'm sure other cities across the Midwest are taking the same precautions. Back to you guys in New York.

HOLMES: All right. Rob, we appreciate you. We'll be checking in with Rob plenty throughout this morning. Also, our Reynolds Wolf, we'll check in with him live. He's in St. Louis for us. We'll talk to him in about 20 minutes.

BOLDUAN: Also new this morning, unconstitutional. A federal judge in Florida has struck down President Obama's health care law. He's not the first, but went much further than before avoiding pretty much the whole thing.

Ed Henry is live for us at the White House this morning. Hey there, Ed. So what is the White House saying about this? How significant of a setback is this for President Obama?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's a big blow but basically the White House through spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter is saying that this is an overreach by this judge in Florida, by the way, a Reagan appointee, something Democrats pointed out right away. What does this remind us? A lot of this back and forth has been about politics. The scorecard so far is two to two. There have been two lower courts saying that, in fact, the Obama health care reform law is constitutional. There have now been two. Virginia and Florida saying, no, it is not constitutional.

I think the bottom line is this shows it's going to drag on for a long time. What our viewers need to know is in the short term some of the benefits that have already rolled out such as some prescription drug coverage for seniors, some extra coverage, that's still going forward for now. In terms of children who have pre-existing conditions, that continues, and insurance companies have to cover them, as well as the fact that if you've got a kid who is just coming out of college, doesn't have health insurance, they're covered under their parents' plan through the age of 26.

All those things that have started to be implemented, the White House is pushing forward on those and they believe that's going to continue. It's the big picture stuff like the individual mandate that you have to buy insurance that's not implemented until 2014. That's still now a jump ball up for grabs, but the bottom line is legal experts are saying this is going to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, likely maybe even decided in the summer of 2012, which is only going to spice up that presidential race. We already knew health care might be one of those issues front and center. This pretty much guarantees this issue is not going away. It's going to be fought out in that 2012 election.

BOLDUAN: Not going away at all and really for Americans across the country, creating quite a bit of confusion along the way as we wait to get a final ruling.

Interesting, Ed, I wanted to get your thoughts on this that the judge in Florida quoted then-candidate Obama stamp on health care as part of his reasoning in striking down the health care law.

HENRY: Those pesky lawyers quoting what politicians said before. Don't they hate that?

Well, this is one of the interesting ironies of the whole thing is that Barack Obama has now, you know, it's been hung on him that he wants this individual mandate. It's the centerpiece of his health care reform law. People forget that back in the 2008 campaign, he was not on board with that. Hillary Clinton wanted that in the Democratic primaries and then candidate Barack Obama was saying no, maybe the individual mandate goes too far. So it's not a surprise now that Republicans are throwing his words against him.

I think what the Obama administration believes is that now that they've had more time, a couple of years obviously to study this and go through it, they believe the individual mandate is critical here. What that basically means is that without an individual mandate demanding -- pardon me, pardon me, that you buy insurance, basically people would only buy insurance when they got sick. This demands that everyone, even when you're healthy, that you have to get insurance. That balances it out and the administration believes that will be the driver of driving health care costs down. But bottom line is, this is the issue that is dividing both parties and it's not going to be settled any time soon. It's probably going to take at least a couple more years to battle this out, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. All right, Ed Henry at the White House. Thanks so much, Ed.

HENRY: Good to see you.

BOLDUAN: So coming up, police in Pennsylvania call it the worst case of bullying they've seen. A 13-year-old beaten, dragged and hung on a fence. It's all videotaped by one of the alleged attackers. Alina Cho is following that story.

HOLMES: And there is one place and one group where First Amendment rights do not apply. That's to kids in your home. And a New York State lawmaker has posted a video showing parents how to spy on their own children.

BOLDUAN: And don't panic. But maybe you should panic a little bit. We are running out of Internet addresses. So what's the solution? I have no idea, but we're going to find out and we've got the details for you coming up.


HOLMES: Eighteen minutes past the hour here on this AMERICAN MORNING. Up next here, six Pennsylvania teenagers now charged with attacking their 13-year-old classmate.

BOLDUAN: The bullying incident was videotaped, actually, by one of the alleged assailants. Alina Cho is following this unfortunate story.

What is this about, Alina?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's unbelievable. The attack lasted about 20 minutes. About seven of those minutes caught on tape. Police in the area are calling it the worst case of bullying they've ever seen. Authorities say a group of seven students in all, six have been arrested. They've been described as a wolf pack brazenly attacked a 13-year-old boy in broad daylight.

It happened on January 11th, outside an apartment complex as the boy was walking home from school and one of the suspects, classmates of the victim did videotape it on a cell phone. Police near Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, released the disturbing video. It is about seven minutes long and it shows the boy as he was kicked, punched and dragged through the snow. The 13-year-old was even seen dangling upside down from a tree.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tried to get out, try to leave, try to escape and try to get out the tree and run away. But even when I did that, when I got out the tree the first time, they attacked me and they caught me again.


CHO: That's right. The alleged perpetrators eventually hung him by his jacket on a wrought iron fence. It's something police say could have impaled him, could have killed him. And get this. Police say a woman was even seen on the videotape passing by while the attack was taking place and did nothing. In fact, authorities say the worst part about this, is that nobody called 911, even as the boy screamed for help.


MICHAEL CHITWOOD, UPPER DARBY SUPERINTENDENT: They could have killed that kid. They could have killed that kid. Impaling him by the neck on that metal barrier there.


CHO: Now, yesterday police arrested six of the seven alleged attackers at Upper Darby High School. They carted them out in handcuffs in front of their classmates. The suspects range in age from 13 to 17 years-old, and they face charges including kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Now authorities say they don't know what sparked the attack and it is still not clear if the victim was injured.

But, guys, hardly the point when you look at that videotape. I mean, the police chief is calling the perpetrators bums and thugs. Again, as I said, you know, they're saying it's the worst case of bullying they've ever seen. And this 13-year-old did say to local reporters that he had been bullied many, many times before. This isn't the first time that he says that he's encountered these suspects.

HOLMES: But we don't know what sparked this? What would cause this?

BOLDUAN: Yes, why?

CHO: We don't know, yet.

HOLMES: And again, if we hadn't had that videotape, maybe we never -- charges never would have come out of this.

CHO: Perhaps not. Perhaps not because it would have been a he said/he said type of incident. But it is extraordinary. Not the smartest move to videotape the attack, clearly.

HOLMES: Keep us posted.

CHO: I will.

HOLMES: Thank you for that.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Alina. So, he says your kids have no, zero first amendment right under your roof. A New York State senator and 20-year veteran of the NYPD posted a video on YouTube showing parent how to supply on their children.

Here's a clip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always recommend to start off in a periodic fashion so you can be used to going through the room.

The jewelry box of this nature, may be a simple jewelry box, but if you look through it closely, you don't know what your child may be hiding. For instance, a gun could be hidden, a small caliber weapon could be hid inside a jewelry box.

Just look and see what's inside your bookcases. It could be more than just books. Perfect place to hide cocaine.


BOLDUAN: The head of a leading youth's right group said this could be very dangerous and undermine the parent/child trust. The state senator is defending the video, though, saying we need to do more to stop illegal gun violence.

HOLMES: That is a great online question of the day. A lot of parents, old school would say, yes, I can do whatever I want to do with my child's room. But that seems like it's going a little far.

BOLDUAN: Well, I mean, how often are you going to find a gun and a bag of cocaine in your child's room?

HOLMES: Well -- I was a bad kid at times, but they never found a gun or cocaine in the room.

BOLDUAN: Why don't you tell us what you think about that. How about that?

HOLMES: Most kids just keep some dirty magazines or something under the bed. It goes a little far there, it seems. But -- maybe we'll get that question out to you here in a bit.

But coming up next here on this AMERICAN MORNING -- can you take this read? I've got a couple of problems here in the --

BOLDUAN: You poor thing. T.J.'s hurting this morning.

Despite the communication crackdown, Google is still helping folks in Egypt get the word out. We'll tell you how.

And you may not believe who's behind a new gun sting. Very interesting. You'll want to stay with us. Twenty-three minutes after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BOLDUAN: Google helping Egyptians get out the word after a communications crackdown there. Our Stephanie Elam is Minding Your Business this morning to tell us about this.

This is very interesting.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: There's ways around things, right?

BOLDUAN: Apparently so.

ELAM: There's a lot of ways to get some things done and that's what they're finding out. We did know that the mobile phone networks were supposed to be shut down ahead of the march of millions today. We're hearing from Anderson Cooper that there is a little bit of cell service still there. But that is something we're keeping our eyes on. Internet service, however, that's been pretty much down.

If you take a look at this graphic, just shows you how activity looked leading into the 27th and somewhere overnight in Egypt. You see that? Internet traffic, OK, maybe people are sleeping. And then it just falls off a cliff. And that is when most of the internet service was shut off, except for a few companies and also government ministries.

But now, Egyptians have an option. And let me tell you, this idea, apparently, these folks came up with it over the weekend. Just some brainiac said, you know what we should do? You should be able to just call in a number and get your tweet out.

So take a look at what they're doing here. You leave a voicemail on an international phone number. There's a bunch of phone numbers and the numbers are available on Google's blog. This is coming from Twitter and Google -- a unit of Google. And those messages are instantly turned into tweets. And you can call into those numbers to listen to the tweets that are out there, as well.

And then, also, you know what? You got to take it back to the old school sometimes and just dial up. And that's what is also happening, too, in Egypt. Egyptians are allowed to -- they can find those old school numbers -- remember you get the (SOUND EFFECTS) -- well they can do that again.

I'm not going to do that sound again. But yes, there are about 30 numbers. You can dial in and get on the internet the old school way by dial-up.

HOLMES: So Google tweet thing, is this something that maybe they had sitting on the shelf thinking about? Or they just came up with this almost overnight?

ELAM: What I read is they said there has to be a way to help out these Egyptians who are not allowed get their messages out. So, you know what? We should do this: set up some lines and so they can do this.

HOLMES: You hear the recording? Or it's put in text form for people to actually read? Or you can actually get on there and actually hear the voices?

ELAM: Both. So you're getting your tweets out and you can read them. But it's also if you can't even get on to read tweets, then you can call in and listen to the tweets that are out there.

HOLMES: That's brilliant.

ELAM: Isn't that really smart?

BOLDUAN: Over the weekend.

ELAM: Over the weekend. We have some smart people running around this world.


HOLMES: We'll see you again, plenty throughout this morning.

ELAM: Sounds good. Sure.

HOLMES: Well, of course, the other big story we're following today. The massive winter storm that is not just hitting one area or two even of the country. It is pretty much hitting the entire country. Live picture here out of St. Louis -- 2,000 miles being covered by this particular storm and it is not even close to being done. Just getting started. We'll have our Reynolds Wolf, live, coming up next.

BOLDUAN: And an American student studying in Cairo, she was offered a chance to leave the country and come back home. But she decided to stay. We'll ask her why when she joins us live from Cairo in just about seven minutes.


HOLMES: We are at the bottom of the hour here on this AMERICAN MORNING. T.J. Holmes here alongside Kate Bolduan. Thank you for being here.

Giving you a look at some of the stories we're keeping a close eye on. The health care law has been ruled unconstitutional. We got that from a judge out of Florida. This is seen as being one of the biggest hits so far to the president's health care reform law. So far, in all the legal challenges, two judges have upheld it and called it constitutional and two others, including this latest ruling find it unconstitutional. We'll have much more on this and what it means for you and your health care moving forward.

BOLDUAN: And New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg says it's easy to buy high-powered weapons in the U.S. and he has the video to prove it. Bloomberg's undercover investigators were able to buy firearms and an Arizona gun show despite telling vendors they wouldn't pass a background check. Mayor Bloomberg is challenging lawmakers to close the so-called "gun show loophole" that lets buyers purchase weapons from private sellers with no background check.

HOLMES: Also, it has been called the biggest, baddest, ugliest storm of the season. And we have already seen some big, bad and ugly ones. This one, though, covers a whole big swath of the country. You see it there, 100 million people affected really from New Mexico to New England. Blizzard warnings are in place from Oklahoma to Michigan. Some places expecting to see up to two feet of snow.

BOLDUAN: Two feet of snow. And Reynolds Wolf is getting a first-hand look at the severe winter weather. He's joining me live from St. Louis.

Reynolds, calm before the storm -- is that what you're dealing with right now?

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. You know, guys, this is the beginning of just a monstrous system. We're talking about something. It's over a thousand miles long, hundreds of miles wide. It's going to bring rain, sleet, snow, ice right now in St. Louis, it's all freezing ice and sleet. In fact, it's coming outside when some of you may be able to see coming down your screen from top to bottom. When it hits, it's actually bonding with the streets, with the trees, the branches, the power lines, the street signs and road ways. It's a tremendous mess.

I can also tell you that we have a blizzard warning and is now in effect for all the St. Louis metropolitan area, which is a combination of not only the snow but, of course, the wind. We do expect winds to actually intensify 30, 40, 50, maybe even 60-mile-per-hour gusts by the time all is said and done tomorrow. And with that, we have the potential for widespread power outages.

Keep in mind, we have hundreds of power outages reported on both sides of the river and this thing is just getting cranked up. We do expect to see a big change, guys, over the next couple of hours, going from the sleet to the snow and then the heavy, heavy snow this afternoon and evening, and that coupled with the wind.

Guys, rough winter and, again, groundhog day is tomorrow. Go figure. Not quite sure what the groundhog is going to see or not going to see. I got a few guesses.

Let's pitch it back to you.

BOLDUAN: Yes, I think we'd enough already. But we'll find out tomorrow. He's always a good prognosticator of prognosticators.

Reynolds, stay warm out there. We'll check back in with you. Thanks so much.

HOLMES: All right, we'll turn back to Egypt now. The effort is underway to get Americans out. At least 52,000 are there who live there or tourists who checked in with the embassy. They're trying to get as many out as possible. Some have already left Egypt, thanks to the State Department. Many others, at least 2,000 are expected to still want to come out.

But one of them says she's not going anywhere. This one American Lauren Bohn, she is there in Cairo. She's a Fulbright fellow. She is there, a former intern here at CNN as well.

Lauren, hello to you. Let me start with that. Why are you one who is not taking the State Department's advice and getting out of Cairo?

LAUREN BOHN, FULBRIGHT FELLOW, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN CAIRO: Right. Well, I've been here, T.J., for the past week covering this on the ground, not only as a young journalist has this been an amazing experience, but just on a human level, to see the sheer amount of hope that's been out on the streets, to see all of these people coming together, rich, poor, Christian, Muslim,, standing hand in hand wanting change.

HOLMES: Lauren, did -- I understand you have been in at least Egypt for quite some time, if I have that correct. So, what got you to Egypt in the first place?

BOHN: It's a fascinating country. I thought it would be a wonderful country to cut my teeth journalistically and it certainly has been. It's been baptism by fire here. But the people are absolutely amazing. It's been an amazing experience to see the people come together and take to the streets as they have right behind me here in Tahrir Square.

HOLMES: Lauren, what do you family and friends think about your decision to stay there? And how much contact have you been able to have with them as far as letting them know that you're safe?

BOHN: Sure, T.J. Well, the past week, it's been essentially a media black storm. I was able to tweet yesterday for about an hour. I found Internet, I can't tell you where I found it, but I was able to upload some video that people have been able to call me on my cell phone, on my BlackBerry. But I haven't been able to make outgoing international calls.

So, it's been completely demobilizing and, of course, that's the whole point.

HOLMES: Lauren, have you at any point felt that your safety was compromised?

BOHN: No, I mean -- look, T.J., I have been putting myself on the front lines trying to document this, trying to eventually show you the amazing people I met through this experience. I've been caught in some tear gas, been bumped around a few times.

But, if anything, the people here on the ground are very protective of foreigners. They're telling us to stay away; to not go down certain streets that it's dangerous. So, at no time had I felt any danger, even any hostility towards Americans.

HOLMES: Well, it sounds like we have seen reports that some people, at least on the streets, do have a problem with the American government as far as being seen as embracing Mubarak or being supportive of him. But it sounds like you as an American there embracing you, at least, and other Americans on the ground, and want to make sure you're OK. BOHN: Yes, yes, yes. They're embracing me on the ground and embracing people on the ground. They're, of course, quite vocal about the facts that they want the U.S. government to help them. They want to make sure that the U.S. government is hearing them. But we, by and large, have experienced a lot of hostility on the streets here, T.J.

HOLMES: Well, Lauren, we appreciate you and, hopefully, some of your family and friends are watching right now. They'll be able to relay the message that Lauren is OK and doing OK in Cairo right now. Lauren, you be careful and thank you for taking some time with us this morning.

BOHN: And we'll be tweeting soon, hopefully. Insha'Allah.

HOLMES: All right.

BOHN: Thank you, T.J.

HOLMES: Thanks so much, Lauren. All right -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead, just the sound of it. Smashed windows, miles away -- the biggest eruption yet of a volcano that has roared back to life in Japan, and the last surviving American veteran from World War I has something to celebrate today. Can you guess how old Frank Buckles is today?


BOLDUAN: They could be the biggest protests we've seen yet. People already gathering in Cairo this morning or -- in what's being called a "March of Millions."

CNN's Zain Verjee is following these developments from our London bureau.

Zain, the Egyptian military has found itself in a pretty difficult position during these protests, it seems.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really has, you know, Kate. I mean, the military is really popular. Today, they came out and said, everyone who is out on the streets, go ahead. Protest and do it peacefully. And they were not going to turn on them.

But it is in a pretty tough spot. You know, there are a lot of options there. They are in control.

Do they want a face saving way out for President Hosni Mubarak and wait for him to leave? And so far, Egypt is not damaged? Are they going to support some kind of a transitional process that ultimately will lead to elections and just kind of oversee any kind of vacuum of power there.

The tough part is this, guys. You know, the army has actually benefitted from the regime. They have been part of it. You know, the top generals have benefited economically. They have privileges. They have -- they gain from the relationship with the U.S. They get $1.3 billion a year in military support. They have businesses, construction businesses that they make a lot of money from.

So, that's on the one hand. On the other hand, they're realists. They can see the writing on the wall and the question is: what are their calculations? Do you think that they will risk, for example, going toward an election if the outcome of the election is something they don't like? Meaning, leaders who are anti-American and anti- Israeli.

So, we're seeing the tanks. They're out on the streets. But we don't know what they think and what they really want.

BOLDUAN: A very good question. Let's turn quickly to the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition group in Egypt. What does the army think about the Muslim Brotherhood? And do they think anything that we know of?

VERJEE: Well, many experts have said that they don't like the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood was started back in 1928. They kind of grew in popularity because they offered all these social services like education, health, food, you know, in a manner in which the Egyptian government did not.

But they do have an Islamist kind of ideology. They want Sharia law in the country. They want Egypt to be an Islamic state.

So, the army doesn't like it because the army is secular. They are pro-western. They get a lot of supports from the United States and they have a good relationship -- working relationship in terms of even sharing intelligence with Israel. So, they're not going to want the Muslim Brotherhood there in the driver's seat in a way that they can't control or, if that could lead to a lot of tension.

HOLMES: Let's turn to the crowds. We have seen reports, at least that children are showing up with their parent at some of these protests. But at the same time, most of the pictures we're seeing, we seem to see just a lot of young men out in the crowds.

VERJEE: Yes, let's make a distinction here. You know, the -- between the police who are very hated by many people in Egypt and the military, who are very popular. People take pictures with them, they embrace them.

Early on in the protests, we didn't see too many women out there because the police traditionally have harassed them. It was one instance that one of our reporters said that they saw, not in these protests, but in one before, where a woman was out on the streets. The police grabbed her by her hair and dragged her literally down the road to an alley and started sexually molesting her. So, you did not see a lot of pictures with women out there demonstrating.

Today, you do. Because the army has said, everybody come out and protest. It's OK.

But today is really kind of D-Day. It's going to be a breaking point. It's going to be pivotal.

It's crucial to watch and see what happens. They want more than a million people to come out and hopefully that, they hope, will be enough to push Hosni Mubarak out of power.

HOLMES: Yes, march of millions, certainly, be hard to count that number, but at least according to reports we're seeing, these are the largest crowds we've seen in the week crowds that have been gathering in the streets.

VERJEE: Right.

HOLMES: Zain Verjee, good to see you, as always.

VERJEE: You, too.

HOLMES: And for our viewers, you want to see more of Zain Verjee, like we always do, you can catch her every morning, 5:00 a.m. on "WORLD ONE" right here on CNN. See you, Zain.

BOLDUAN: So, the danger zone is growing around a volcano that has roared back to life in Japan. Scientists say Mt. Shinmoedake erupted with its biggest explosion in recent days. Shooting rock, smoke, and ash five miles. Witnesses say just the sound shocked alone shook buildings and shattered windows. The last time it had an eruption this strong was 52 years ago. Officials urged more than 1,000 people to seek safer ground yesterday and about 240 residents were evacuated over the weekend.

HOLMES: Our Rob Marciano is going to be up after the break giving us an update on our travel forecast, and again, a monstrous storm that's effecting a huge chunk of this country.

BOLDUAN: And the 34th Annual Empire State Building run up. You won't believe how quickly last year's winner did this. It's amazing.


PETER KING, AMERICAN SPORTSWRITER: I'm Peter King. I work for "Sports Illustrated," NBC Sports covering the National Football League. I also write a column for called "Monday Morning Quarterback." I'm probably on the road about 120 to 140 days a year. In this job, information is power. I have to have my Verizon DSL card because you don't have wireless everywhere you go.

I've got to have my Blackberry. Those are the things in this job today that you really need. As often as I can, I will get to a hotel that is within walking distance of what it is I'm covering. I try to avoid the use of rental cars or cabs. I always pack for long trips very lightly, and I do my own laundry on the road. I will pack in a small suitcase, and I'll be gone for 17 days, and I'll do my laundry four times. My name is Peter King, and I'm a road warrior.


HOLMES: About 10 minutes to the top of the hour now. Now, there is a good chance that this massive winter storm is going to affect you. It's not just hitting one region or the other. It is hitting pretty much a third of the U.S. About 100 million of you will be affected by this storm. Snow, ice, yes. But even tornadoes are in the forecast, and Chicago could have two to three inches of snowfall per hour.

BOLDUAN: And that's where we find our Rob Marciano live in Chicago this morning. Rob, how are things looking now and what are you expecting?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, I tell you what, you know, the storm hasn't even got here yet, and it's a biting cold. We already had a couple of pulses of snow that came through last night. So, you know, this storm is taking its sweet time developing, but it's so big and so lumbering it's already stretching almost from coast to coast. Certainly, from East Coast back to the Southern Colorado Rockies. This thing is huge.

And in the middle of it, it's going to be an icing situation. You saw that live shot from Reynolds, dangerous situation there. Down to the south, dangerous situation with severe weather, potentially, damaging winds and/or tornados. And to the north, blizzard conditions and dangerous cold. All right, radar to the northeast, yes, your snow and your sleet and your freezing rain has already nosed its way in to the New York metropolitan area, and winter storm warnings are posted there for New England as well.

Substantial snows into the Ohio River Valley, as well. That's what came through here last night and then that ravened (ph) mix precip slicing back through Texas where they've had their fair share of heavier rain and some thunderstorms already. We expect those thunderstorms to increase as the main pulse of cold air drives into what has been a lot of heat and humidity building over the last couple of days. So, the Orange, the Orange Texas and Beaumont and the Lake Charles, you're going to get hammered here in the next couple of hours.

All right. Here's what it looks like as far as what we think the storm is going to do with future radar showing the anticipated precipitation over the next 24 to 48 hours as this storm makes its way up. Notice the westerly track. That's why the New York City area and I-95 area not going to get all snow. That's why you're getting that mix, but it's not until Thursday afternoon until we get this thing off the charts.

All right, travel today, obviously, not going to be fun. Not going to be fun either tomorrow. Chicago and Dallas, well up over an hour. Numerous flights cancelled. Clearly, you need to call ahead before you venture out. New York City metros today not good. Tomorrow will be worse. D.C. and Philly all under the gun there. And the other issue with this is going to be the bitterly dangerous cold air behind this system. Some areas won't get above the zero degree mark today across the Northern Plains. So, almost three-quarters of the country affected by this storm system, including Chicago.

Blizzard warnings go up today at 3:00 p.m. So, the city itself is up and running for today. Schools are open for today, but come tonight, things are going to go downhill in a hurry. T.J. and Kate, back up to you.

HOLMES: All right. Sounds a bit ominous, but it's the truth, and that's what we appreciate from you, Rob. Thanks. We'll check in with Rob and all the crews out in the storm throughout the morning. We'll have your top stories coming your way in just a minute.

Also, this morning, a story about my nemesis, red light cameras. You can't argue when they got a picture of you running the light, but do they actually save lives? That story coming up.

BOLDUAN: And if you watch the Fridge score on the same TV, you have still today. It may be time to buy a new one. We will show you the great deals that are out there that could land you a new TV in time, still, for the big game. We'll have that and more, coming up.


BOLDUAN: In just about an hour or so, they'll be off and running to the top of the Empire State Building that is. The Vertical Quarter Mile Course covers 86 flights of stairs, which is, I'm sure you already knew this, 1,576 steps from the ground floor to the observation deck. The race record, I was amazed, 9:33. Our Jason Carroll will be testing his endurance and his poor quads, and we'll be checking in with him in the next hour.

HOLMES: Four quads, was that necessary? Poor quads?

BOLDUAN: OK, his masculine -- muscular quads.

HOLMES: I'm sorry. I should have followed that -- all right. Let's give a birthday shout out right now to the last surviving American veteran of World War I. Frank Buckles turned 110 years old today. His health, unfortunately, has been declining in the recent months. It's only awake a few hours a day, but he's from West Virginia. He's also a prisoner of war in World War II. So, a heck of a life he has lived, but happy birthday. Congratulations. You know, 110, that's quite an accomplishment.

BOLDUAN: Happy birthday.

Top stories coming your way after a break.