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American Morning

Egypt's New Normal; Egypt's Lost And Found; Asian Fashion Invasion

Aired February 14, 2011 - 07:59   ET


T.J. HOLMES. CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour here, 8:00 Eastern Time. Good morning to you all, and happy Valentine's Day. Hope you are getting of to a good start. If not, you still got some time to make up for it. I'm T.J. Holmes.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. We're just still thrilled that we were holding a

HOLMES: A hundred and ten carats.

CHETRY: Yes, but it was what, an eight-figure --

HOLMES: Eight-figure.

CHETRY: Dollar amount diamond in our hands. That'll never happen again. That's like you're holding at least $10 million in your hand. Probably not --


CHETRY: We're talking about the language of love on this Valentine's Day. Do you know if you and your partner speak the same language? We're going to be speaking with the best-selling author who says everybody has one of five love languages, and if you can find out what your spouse speaks and they can find out about you, you can have a long lasting healthy relationship.

HOLMES: Also, some big surprises last night at the Grammys. One of the biggest was that some people got shut out that were expected to win big, but also, Lady Gaga shows up in an egg. We'll explain and show you the pictures.

CHETRY: And some painful cuts in President Obama's budget plan is out this morning. The White House says the plan will cut deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next decade, a down payment on trying to get the budget balance. Republicans are still saying it's not enough. Senator Jeff Sessions is leading the attack. We're going to hear his side.

HOLMES: Also, we're going to tell you about the latest in Egypt this morning. Of course, the stock market is going to be closed, at least, until further notice because of instability with the banks. As you know by now, President Mubarak stepped down over the weekend after 30 years in power there. Well, the military is now in charge, and so far, what they've done is dissolve the parliament. They suspended the constitution. They're also allowing for free and fair elections.

They say they will come up in September to elect the new president and also a new parliament in place. A lot of people asking where is that former president, President Mubarak? Well, all indications are he's at the presidential palace complex in Sharm el- Sheikh. Tight security still surrounds it, but there are some questions now about his health, also questions about his fortune, and what's going to happen to it.

CHETRY: Also, lost and found in Egypt. Egypt's minister of antiquities says some of the artifacts that went missing during the protest were found in other parts of the Cairo museum. A total of 17 pieces were missing, including a statue of King Tut. Officials say that there was a break in just after the protests began in Tahrir Square last night. Police and the military have started questioning suspects.

Meantime, the U.S. state department is reaching out to Iranians via Twitter. It's created a Farsi language Twitter account in an effort to connect with internet users in Iran.

HOLMES: Let's show you the first tweets from the U.S. state department on this new account. It says the U.S. state department recognizes historic role of social media among Iranians. We want to join in your conversation. CNNs Reza Sayah live for us in Islamabad, Pakistan. Reza, hello to you. How is this new Twitter account being received?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, it has a little bit more than a thousand followers, but very interesting move by Washington starting this Twitter account in Farsi. This probably no coincidence that this Twitter account went online yesterday, a day before a proposed rally by Iran's opposition movement in Tehran. Remember, Washington was criticized by a lot of people in 2009 for not coming out an aggressively supporting Iran's opposition movement that exploded on to the scene after those disputed 2009 elections.

Perhaps, this is a move that shows Washington is going to do things differently this time around. Last time I checked, a little bit more than a thousand followers. One of the first tweets on Sunday, the state department calling on Iran to allow people the same right to demonstrate as Egyptians in Cairo.

CHETRY: Also, Reza, we're hearing that thousands of Iranians are gathering in Tehran right now. What is going on there?

SAYAH: Yes. The drama is building in Tehran. Of course, two of Iran's leading opposition figures called for a rally today in Tehran in support of the uprising in Egypt. This was a rally that the Iranian government rejected vehemently and warned people not to come out. We know, according to witnesses, that thousands of security forces are lining major squares and intersections in Tehran, but we're also getting reports from witnesses that people are gathering in the sidewalks and intersections and major squares as well. So, to set a stage for a dramatic scene in Tehran. Will they come out? Will the opposition movement, the so-called re-movement, come out and protest? If they do, a lot of people will say that the uprising in Egypt will have sparked it.

HOLMES: All right. You talk about the uprising in Egypt, and it's affected so many regions in North Africa, also the Middle East, it seems now, but now, Bahrain. This tiny Persian country here -- Persian Gulf country possibly paying people not to protest?

SAYAH: Yes, T.J. This is an indication how Arab leaders in these Arab countries are very concerned about contagion, the spreading of the sentiments in Egypt and Tunisia in this ripple-effect that could create more uprising in other Arab countries. There've been demonstrations in Bahrain. Again, young people asking for an end to oppression, asking for more social and political freedom.

Now, the Bahrainian leadership, according to state TV, offering some of these people $2,500 to keep it quiet, not come down in protest. Will it work? We'll have to wait and see, but clearly, signs that these governments are very worried.

CHETRY: All right. Reza Sayah for us this morning. Thanks so much.

HOLMES: Turn to Chile now where they have experienced now four earthquakes in the past 24 hours. One of the latest with the 6.6 magnitude quake that was just off the coast this morning. No immediate reports right now of damage, but you'll remember, the country is still trying to rebuild from an 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit back in February of last year and killed hundreds of people.

CHETRY: It's five minutes past the hour right now. Rob Marciano has got the check of the weather for us this morning, and we're experience quite a change as opposed to what we've seen over the past few weeks in this country.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. For a lot of people, it's a welcome change. The northeast is going to kind of change, then go back to what you had and then get into a more substantial change of some warm weather. Definitely, windy right now. Pretty strong system that's heading across the Great Lakes. It's not a lot of moisture to it. So, you don't see a lot of precip here on the radar.

Couple of showers upstate and through parts of New England, but really, the big story is going to be the amount of wind energy that's with this system. And we could see winds gust all the way to 50 miles an hour in some spots from Southern New England all the way down to South Carolina. So, there are wind advisories up, and they stretch back into the Western Great Lakes as well. So, pretty powerful storm.

Hold on to your hats. There'll be some, you know, a lit bit iffy travel both on the airways and if you're traveling the high-profile vehicle. On the West Coast, we are looking at a series of storms that's going to roll into the Pacific Northwest and strike down into Northern California where the weather was actually perfect this past weekend, and some nicer weather building its way into the mid section of the country after temperatures that were 30 below zero for all-time records in Oklahoma.

You'll probably get to 70 degrees in those same spots. It's going to be 70 in Dallas today. So, in some spots, we're seeing a 100-degree change, warmer change, from what the temperatures were last week to what they are this week. So, it's quite a switch for a lot of folks. T.J., Kiran, back up to you.

HOLMES: Rob, we appreciate it. We appreciate the change. We'll talk to you again soon. Seven minutes past the hour now. Turn to the big night for the music industry last night. It had a lot of surprises at the Grammys.

CHETRY: That's right. Even hatching out of an egg at one point courtesy of Lady Gaga. Kareen Wynter says there was something for everyone at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in L.A. Check it out.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: T.J. and Kiran, Lady Gaga may have wowed them on the red carpet, but on music's biggest night, it was a country trio who stole the show.



WYNTER (voice-over): It's the Grammys kicked off with a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T as in all-star group of divas paid tribute to maybe the greatest diva of all, the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin.


WYNTER: Sisters and the ladies were definitely getting it done. Country trio, Lady Antebellum had a huge night winning five trophies, including the top two record and song of the year for "Need You Now."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What an amazing year. We are so blown away.

WYNTER: ANOTHER LADY GAGA picked up a trio of trophies after arriving on the red carpet inside an egg. Then, belting out her new song "Born This Way."


WYNTER: Rihanna and Drake's sizzling duet is sure to spark rumors they're a couple. While on the tamer side, Cee Lo green teamed up with Gweneth Paltrow and some fuzzy friends for a TV friendly take on his hit "F You."


WYNTER: Bob Dylan growled out his tune.


WYNTER: And Barbra Streisand proved her voice was still evergreen.


WYNTER: For old and young alike, it was a night of firsts.


WYNTER: Mick Jagger had never sung at the Grammys before.


Neither had teen phenom, Justin Bieber, who shockingly didn't win any Grammys, but an even bigger shock with Canadian rockers, Arcade Fire, winning the coveted Album of the Year Award. Even they couldn't believe it.


WYNTER: It was a surprise ending for a Grammy show with something for everybody generation.


WYNTER (on-camera): But with Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, and the diva tribute to Aretha Franklin, the night truly belonged to the ladies -- T.J., Kiran.

HOLMES: All right. Thank you to our Kareen Wynter for that this morning.

We are going to turn to another country here in the moment that is seeing protests in the streets. Italy this time, but they are protesting for a much different reason.

CHETRY: Also, President Obama's proposed budget for 2012 is out. Look at what's getting cut and what maybe getting extra funding, and who's facing new taxes. It's going to be a big battle for Republicans, and Senator Jeff Sessions is going to be joining us to hear his side, coming up.


HOLMES: Well, not sure if Silvio Berlusconi would appreciate that song going into a story about him. Thirteen minutes past the hour here now. Let me explain. A lot of people are protesting in Italy right now and saying, yes, in fact, the prime minister there, Silvio Berlusconi, is a bit of a monster, at least, in the way he treats women. The latest is another sex scandal.

This is one of many he's experienced there, but this one has to do with allegations that he had sex with an underage prostitute. You see in some of the video here how a lot of women have taken to the streets upset about how he has treated women over the years and this is his (ph) reputation, I should say. Berlusconi says, though, he has never paid anyone for sex. Calls the recent accusations groundless. Also this morning, getting words that Shirley Sherrod is going to sue Andrew Breitbart. You remember her and you remember him. Breitbar is the one who released that videoclip that led to Shirley Sherrod resigning her position at the USDA. The complete video, you'll remember, out things into context, her racial comments into context. The lawsuit says the video damaged her reputation. Breitbart, meanwhile, says the First Amendment protects his right to publish that video.

CHETRY: Well, the president's budget is hot off the press this morning. It's being sent around Washington, and although, we have some of the basics, the president says he will cut $1 trillion from the record federal deficits over the next ten years, 2/3 of that will come from spending cuts, the rest from tax increases which could set up a tough fight with Republicans.

Senator Jeff Sessions will be one of the men leading that fight. He is the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. Spoke with Senator Sessions off camera, you said you had the budget for about five minutes, so obviously, you're going to be looking through it as well this morning, but when you hear the $1.1 trillion in savings over ten years, what's your take? Is that a good start, senator?

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, RANKING MEMBER OF THE SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE: No, it's not. This is a ten-year budget. It sets the president's plans and what the country should do for the next 10 years. We -- I expect, according to projections, $12 trillion to $14 trillion in new debt added during that time, so $1 trillion reduction is insignificant and does not get us off the right course, and historically, we know the president's numbers are inflated, so it will be less reduction than that.

That's why, I think, Erskine Bowles, his Democratic coach and member (ph) of his debt commission has said that this is nowhere near what's necessary to avoid the fiscal nightmare that this nation is facing. We are facing a fiscal crisis. Moody's is talking about reducing our bond rating in two years.

Allen Greenspan has said in two to three years, we have a little about 50/50 chance of not having a debt crisis. The International Monetary Fund has said that we have got to make substantial changes, and this budget, it appears, doesn't come close.

CHETRY: It's a tough call.

SESSIONS: Any of the entitlements, it only has some reductions in the discretion area counts (ph).

CHETRY: It's a tough call because if this is to happen, it seems that it would have to happen in a bipartisan way, because everybody agrees that, yes, there are problems. We have to cut the deficit, but nobody wants it to cut what they rely on. And then, when you talk about entitlement spending, I mean, if you take a look by 2020, we have 92 percent that would be spent of our budget on either entitlements or the interest on our debt. It doesn't look like that's necessarily sustainable. So, at what point does everybody get together and just say, all right, it's time to tackle these bigger issues? Raising the social security retirement age. Medicare doesn't just go to everybody. I mean, when is that going to be tackled?

SESSIONS: You know, I think the Republicans have made clear, our leadership has made clear, we're prepared to enter into serious negotiations on that. A number of our members have proposed plans, but we've heard nothing from the chief executive, the president of the United States. You see our governors like Governor Cristie or David Cameron, the prime minister in Britain leading.

We're not having any leadership, whatsoever. I do believe he deserves serious criticism for that, and interest on the debt will be the largest increase on our spending that will go from about $170 billion to $900 billion a year in interest, dwarfing a $40 billion highway program, for example, that we now have. So, these are things that threaten the very future of our country. It has got to be brought under control.

CHETRY: Well, we heard a lot of Republican leaders out there saying exactly what they would do when it comes to this. I mean, is anybody coming out and introducing a bill that raises the retirement age before you can collect your Social Security income?

SESSIONS: Look, we need to do this in a bipartisan way. None of this will ever pass if the president is not supporting it. He should be helping us. He should be really leading. He's the leader. He asked for the job to be president. I know he doesn't like to have to cut spending, but this is the duty that's fallen in his lap, and we need him to participate, and so far, he has not.

CHETRY: Well, I want to ask you about this because you would say --

SESSIONS: And I would just say, people who have proposed these kinds of changes are being attacked.

CHETRY: Well, I heard House Speaker Boehner saying that, you know, the issues of some of these entitlements spending like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid have to be handled with respect. I mean, it's very difficult.

SESSIONS: Yes. They do.

CHETRY: And it's very politically difficult to go out there and say, you know what, I'm sorry, but this younger generation of people you can't expect to get this if we're going to continue growing as a nation.

SESSIONS: You are right. It is not easy. It's very difficult, but it's not impossible. I'm looking at the numbers. If we tighten our belt, if we make some tough decisions here for a few years, we can change the trajectory that we're on. We can save, as the deficit commission recommend, $4 billion in savings. That was the president's own deficit commission.

He recommends one. I believe we can go well beyond four. I believe we can project a balanced budget in the next decade if we put our minds to it, and that's really would be the best thing we can do for our economy.

CHETRY: I just want to ask you. You said on Fox News yesterday that $1 trillion in savings over ten years would be, quote, "The way you get the budget balanced." So, you seem to be at least somewhat satisfied with the $1 trillion figure.

SESSIONS: Well, if I made that comment, I misspoke. What I meant to say is even the $100 billion House proposal in reducing spending will amount to $1 trillion. And that's a step. I mean, because, you carry it out for ten years and you save $1 trillion in that fashion. So, spending reductions add up more than a lot of people think.

CHETRY: All right. Well, I know that you, guys, are going to be going through this line by line like many others will and putting forth and proposals as well. Senator Jeff Sessions, thanks so much for joining us this morning. Great to talk to you.

SESSIONS: Thank you, Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, it's newer, it is bigger, it's better, maybe. We're talking about Boeing unveiling its new 747 jumbo jet. You got to see this thing and its color, too.

Also, this morning, some are calling it a Valentine's Day scam. It was supposed to be a deal, but some are offering already. They're offering you a refund if you tried to buy some Valentine's Day flowers for your sweetie. We'll explain this group on scandal. It's 20 minutes past the hour. Stick around.


CHETRY: This is so cute, isn't it ?

HOLMES: Grammy nominees.


HOLMES: All of the song or the story.

CHETRY: The story.

HOLMES: The story, it's cute. It's really tough if you're getting married at the Empire State Building to just walk away. To just run away --

CHETRY: Right. There are no runaway brides on top of the Empire State Building.

HOLMES: You can't do that. So, we're pretty sure these 14 couples will be getting married today. They do this every year. It's kind of a competition. A lot of people want to do this, but it's the only day that you can get married at the Empire State Building. Valentine's Day wedding tradition. Been there for the past 17 years.

Started at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time this morning with Stephanie Hong (ph) and her U.S. air force captain John Hu (ph). They are from Louisville. Congratulations. And, yes, it's not just out on the observation deck. They do hook this thing up and just very decoration (ph), but that's nice.

CHETRY: That is so sweet. What a story they have to tell their kids. It's cute. I love it. This is a great day.

HOLMES: Also this morning, we have one more wedding note here. Prince William has made his choice for best man.

CHETRY: This is a shocker.

HOLMES: We shouldn't be surprised here. His brother, Prince Harry --

CHETRY: Of course.

HOLMES: Is going to be the best man. I would love to go to that bachelor party put on by Prince Harry. Also, Kate Middleton has chosen her sister to be the maid of honor. Their wedding is set for April 29th at Westminster Abbey. They also named some bridesmaid. So, they got the wedding party together, I should say.

CHETRY: There you go. I mean, every move they make is scrutinized. So, you know, another one out of the way.

Well, some loyal groupon users saying that a Valentine's Day deal was really a scam. Now, the site is offering a refund to those who bought a groupon that offered 20 bucks off of $40 worth of flowers. Now, here's where it got complicated. The coupon which more than 3,000 people bought directed buyers to a special FTD florist website.

That website, according to users, actually had prices higher than those on the regular FTD website. Some people actually paid more money if they use their coupon. Now, they're saying they want to make it right. If you bought the coupon, you can contact groupon and get a refund or credit.

HOLMES: Also today, fashion week getting underway in New York. Many of the promising new designers are off Asian descent. We'll explain this cultural shift.

CHETRY: Also, will the New York Stock Exchange become German or at least part German? Christine Romans takes us behind the iconic New York Stock Exchange merger that's in talks right now with Germany. Twenty-five minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: We're coming up on the half hour right now. It's time to look at your top stories, and he's no longer Egypt's president, but there are a lot of questions this morning about Hosni Mubarak's whereabouts, about his health, and about his fortune. All indications are that Mubarak is staying at his presidential palace complex in Sharm el-Shaikh, Egypt behind very tight security. There are some reports, though, that he may be in failing health.

HOLMES: I just want to update you on this story as well about a fuel truck that slammed into a plane on the runway at LaGuardia Airport. This happened yesterday. The plane was not moving at the time. It was parked, but there were passengers onboard. 106. No one injured here. The plane, though, was damaged, in particular, one of the plane's wings.

The flight was heading to ft. Lauderdale was canceled. No word on how fast this truck was going, why it crashed, but still, so many concerned when you hear about a fuel truck slammed (ph) into a plane, but no one injured at least.

CHETRY: Also, a wildfire that ripped through the Yakima Indian Reservation in Washington State is now under control, but these are some of the pictures when it was flaming -- burning out of control Saturday. It took dozens of firefighters the whole day to battle it. Officials say that high winds fueled the fire. Eighteen homes destroyed. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries. Right now, they are allowing people back into the neighborhood.

HOLMES: Is that right? China, number two economy in the world. Christine Romans, "Minding Your Business." This was only a matter of time, I assume.


HOLMES: So, can we say it's only a matter of time before they're the number one economy --

ROMANS: If everything stays the way it's going right now, yes, in a matter of time, maybe by 2020 or 2030, barring any big changes overseas that no one really foresees, quite frankly.

So this is China overtaking Japan -- excuse me -- officially as the number two country in the world. This is a story of globalization. Japan never really recovered when its big property market, its real estate market burst. It spent 10 years, the lost decade, and has been trying very hard to regain its footing.

And China in the meantime has been rising, roaring ahead with huge, huge investments in infrastructure, its universities. It is building about three nuclear power plants in this world. We haven't built one in this country since 1979. It is spending money on oil field, renewable energy, America dollars from trade surplus with us to build up its economy.

The U.S. is $14.6 trillion, China is about $5.8 trillion, and Japan is $5.4 trillion.

This is, yes, just another ranking, but when you look at neighbors and partners and, I guess, adversaries economically in the region, there are some people in Japan are concerned a little bit about the fact that China, their big, big neighbor has overtaken them in size of economy. But also remember, China is the biggest customer for Japanese products, so it's also good for Japan at the same time.

Another story of globalization I want to give you an update on, the New York Stock Exchange and Deutsche Board, the operators of the German stock exchange, could the big board, the icon of American capitalism, be German, be owned by a German company? Yes. It could be. Those negotiations are underway today. It would be owned 60 percent by Deutsche Borsa. This is raising some nationalist fears --

CHETRY: Is it more symbolic. Is it already happening?

ROMANS: These stock exchanges have gone from the pipes that trade stocks -- they are trading stocks, derivatives, and as things have gotten more globalized you used to have regional stock exchange and city stock exchanges. But they have all gone away, merged, consolidated.

And so you have the NASDAQ, the NYSE, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. There used to be dozens and dozens of them. The Toronto stock exchange and London stock exchange have a merger agreement as well.

CHETRY: What is the point of pairing up, to save money?

ROMANS: To save money, to trade more things and be more powerful globally. This would give European and U.S. stocks the same plumbing to be traded on. There are some concerns, the big board, the American symbol of capitalism, 60 percent owned by a German company.

HOLMES: Christine, thank you.

CHETRY: "Jumbo" redefined. Boeing unveiled the latest version of 747 aircraft. It is the 747 intercontinental, designed to be quieter, more fuel efficient than previous versions. It is also about 19 feet longer, which means more leg room of course, than the most recent version. First deliveries are expected later this year.

HOLMES: The deadline is fast approaching to get your kid into school. We are not just talking about college applications. We are talking about getting into kindergarten. Steve Perry is up next. It is 33 minutes past the hour.


HOLMES: It's 36 minutes past the hour. Charter school deadlines right around the country. Parents are applying to primary and secondary schools around the country. A lot are due at the end of the month.

Let's bring in a principal. "Perry's Principals" -- Steve Perry joins us now live from Hartford Connecticut in the principal's office. Good morning to you, as always, kind sir. We put so much emphasis on the important decision of picking the right college, but would you say this is the most important decision, getting a kid into primary or secondary school?

STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. Where you send your kid to elementary, middle or high school is far more important than the college. Educational foundation will be in place. Some kids end up deciding they don't like school by the fourth or fifth grade. Parents, you have to choose wisely. You should be anxious because it really is that important.

HOLMES: Steve, how many parents have real choice? A lot of parents think, it is a neighborhood school. How many parents in this country have a real choice of where they send their kids?

PERRY: Not as many as I would like. But there are states that are progressive and understand being born into a school system should not determine which school you go to. There are private school options and public schools options as well.

There are charters and magnet. Charters are publically funded, privately run, magnet schools are typically publically funded and publically run. People think that we are charter school, we are not. We are in fact a publicly run school.

But parents should choose and fight for this. This is the reason why two parents have been arrested because they sought to get school choice. It is unfortunate.

HOLMES: Steve, how stiff is the competition trying to get into these schools?

PERRY: It is really stiff because you can't do much to increase your probability of getting into these schools. You can't take a test to get into many of these schools. Very few schools are testing schools. Many are a straight lottery. Your name goes in and your number is or isn't pulled. Thousands of families, for instance, in just Hartford, over 10,000 families will apply for less than 2,000 seats in all the schools. Our school might have 150. We get 2,000 applicants for our school alone.

HOLMES: Steve, is there anything you can do to increase your chances?

PERRY: Not on the record, no.

HOLMES: What do you mean, not "on the record"?

PERRY: No, because unfortunately there is always the shadow of government of all these things. But the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of people will or will not get into school based on a lottery.

If you look at the objective performance of the school, one of the most important stats is do the faculty send their children to that school. That is really important. T.J., if you invite me to your house and you are cooking up a bunch of ribs, and I say, what are you having, and you say I don't eat that mess, I'm not eating those ribs.


The same is the case with schools. If you don't send your own children to the school, that is a problem. I spoke to 33 high school principals and asked them how many of you would send your child to your school. And only three said they would. One admitted, he said, I have to tell you, I'm far more patient with my teachers as employees than my kids' teachers.

That's why you should find out where the teachers at the school you are considering sending your children to send their children.

HOLMES: That is a good bit of information. They like to throw credentials and test scores, but sometimes it is to see how the other kids react or whether the teachers are sending their kids. Steve, we have to leave it there. But this is great, the first time we got to talk about ribs. Let's get out of the principal's office.

PERRY: Hey, man, let's talk about ribs more often.


HOLMES: Steve, talk to you soon, buddy.

CHETRY: Well. who will feel the love for Mother Nature on Valentine's Day? Thing are warming up. Rob Marciano joins us with an update. It's 41 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: Lady Antebellum won big with this song at the Grammys, so they are happy this morning. We are happy in New York because for once it is not freezing this winter. It's 47 degrees out there now as we get a shot of Columbus Circle. It is going up to 50. It will be windy as heck.


ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: So just be patient and hold on to your hat. T.J. and Kiran back up to you.

CHETRY,: Literally, too, right.


CHETRY: Thanks Rob.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

CHETRY: Hey we want to let people know we were so excited, we're going to be talking to Gary Chapman. He is a -- the bestselling author, he's written this "Five Love Languages: Secrets to make your Relationship Last", an international bestseller.

HOLMES: Right.

CHETRY: You said that your pastor even recommended this before you got --


HOLMES: He recommended that before we got married, yes.

CHETRY: So -- sorry, because of technical difficulties, we're going to try to bring it to you later this week. But we wanted to do it for Valentine's Day. We posted on our Web site the quiz that you can take which I was giving T.J.


CHETRY: It's hard for you to decide which language you speak, right?

HOLMES: Yes and he probably discovered a sixth language or something this morning and that is why it didn't work.


CHETRY: All of the above?

HOLMES: Yes. We've to get him back.

CHETRY: And still ahead, a mystery illness strikes the "Playboy" mansion. That doesn't sound good.

HOLMES: Yes, we should probably explain a little more but we'll just tease you. That's coming up in a second.

Also, Oscar winner, Elizabeth Taylor, in the hospital being treated for a heart problem.

It's 46 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: Well, it's time for your "A.M. House Call" right now, if you're in labor, no problem, you can laugh it off, I highly doubt it. But nitrous oxide of course, laughing gas --



CHETRY: -- which you would know from the dentist office, right?

HOLMES: All right.

CHETRY: It's expected to make a comeback in the delivery room. Doctors say it helps take the edge off of a labor pain. The gas fell out of use in the United States decades ago for labor. I don't know if they actually they use it a lot in home births. It's pretty popular actually with mid-wives and (INAUDIBLE).

But only two U.S. hospitals still offer it. Most doctors like other options like epidural. But nitrous oxide supporters say the gas is inexpensive and can be used late in labor and it's good for small hospitals that don't have anesthesiologists on-call.

HOLMES: All right, let's turn to the "Playboy" mansion, shall well? There has been a mysterious illness that has plagued many people who were there. And the Health Department is now investigating.

There were complaints from some of the party goers that they came down with a respiratory illness. Dozens of them were affected. Some reports said it was possibly pneumonia, there was a fund-raiser on Saturday; the cause, again, unclear right now. They don't believe this is an outbreak that spread beyond the people who actually attended that party.

CHETRY: Iconic actress Elizabeth Taylor, doing much better today. Her reps say she's in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery. Taylor checked into the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. last week after having symptoms of congestive heart failure. No word yet on what -- on when she may be released. She's certainly with a long list of medical problems. She underwent heart surgery back in 2009. Liz Taylor is 78 years old.

HOLMES: Now the movie, the "King's Speech" continues to rack up awards; another big night for it last night at the BAFTAS. Did you see that? These are the British academy awards, won seven awards including best picture there. Colin Firth, was the star of that movie won best actor; Geoffrey Rush, for best supporting actor; Helena Bonham Carter for best supporting actress.

Now, "The King's Speech" is favored to win the best picture Oscar on February the 27th.

CHETRY: Adam Sandler squaring off with Justin Bieber in the box office. It was a photo finish of Sandler's movie "Just Go with It", co-starring Jennifer Aniston took in $31 million. It edged out Bieber's "Never Say Never" concert documentary film which made just $30 million.

HOLMES: Also coming up, a cultural shift: the skyrocketing number of Asian American designers now on top of the fashion world.

It is eight minutes to the top of the hour.


HOLMES: Clearly one of my favorite times of the year under way right now.

CHETRY: Fashion week. Yes.

HOLMES: Fashion week, underway in New York.

CHETRY: It is the talk of the town. It is the great success of the Asian-American designer emerging as a real force to be reckoned with in the fashion world. Alina Cho is here to explain more on that. The Asian invasion -- I love it.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you could call it an Asian invasion. You know fashion insiders say it really is the most important cultural shift in fashion that we have seen in a generation.

Back in the day, it used to be that French designers were all the rage: Christian Dior, Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Cardin. Then the Americans burst on to the scene: Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein.

Now some of the hottest designers are truly of Asian descent. So what's going on? Is it a coincidence or not?


Cho: Call it the Asian invasion: Jason Wu, Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, (INAUDIBLE), Richard Chai, today's darlings of the fashion world.

ANNA SUI, FASHION DESIGNER: I think this is a phenomena. It is not something that anybody planned.

CHO: Prabal Gurung, one of the hottest right now is from Nepal.

PRABAL GURUNG, FASHION DESIGNER: Back in Nepal art or fashion design for a guy was unheard of.

CHO: That was then, this is now. Gurung's dresses now line the red carpet. They are on Oprah and the first lady. Not bad for a designer who only launched his label two years ago.

GURUNG: This is second generation Asians, you know. Their parents when they came here first, they are going to become a doctor or an engineer or in finance. They did so well that I think they allowed the children to do what they felt like doing.

CHO: And if you need more convincing, take a look at who the industry's most prestigious group, the CFDA, honored last year as its best new designers -- all Asian Americans.

ERIC WILSON, FASHION REPORTER, "NEW YORK TIMES": It used to be that it was like you had the idea of the fashion designer as this flamboyant white male working behind the scenes and dictating to women what they should wear. No woman is going to accept that image today.

CHO: Prabal Gurung's hope is that his success will inspire others.

GURUNG: If there's one thing that I'm happy about is, I'm not an exception to the rule.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHO: That's for sure. You know, if you think it is a fad, think again. At the top New York fashion schools like Parsons, for example, roughly 70 percent of its international students enrolled at the school are from Asia; over at the Fashion Institute of Technology or FIT as it's called, nearly a quarter of the 1,200 international students are either Asian or Asian American.

It really is extraordinary. And it is not just one or two Asian designers, it is nearly a dozen who are really at the top of their game right now. So, it is really extraordinary.

Coincidence or not, I mean some people think it just happens to be a coincidence. I do think that there is something more to it; that these are people who worked in the back rooms of these show rooms in the earlier days and finally they are coming out in the front and they're putting their own names on the label and truly good for them, you know.

CHETRY: It is exciting as well for him to have --


CHO: It is.

CHETRY: The first lady wearing his label.

CHO: I mean, you know, first Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu, Michelle Obama has worn their designs. It is really extraordinary. I received a really nice e-mail from Prabal this morning. He said when he saw the piece earlier he was emotional, he started crying because, you know, he still sees himself as the little boy from Nepal who came and took a chance in America and tried his shot at the American dream and he is now succeeding. And it's just great to see it.

CHETRY: Good for him. I mean he has a unique story. You're right. And not a lot -- as you said, your parents want you to go into engineering, to be doctor a lawyer, but fashion designer, maybe not so much.

I want to get your take on Lady Gaga, as well because I know you've interviewed her before for "BIG STARS, BIG GIVING". What did you think of this outfit yesterday, coming out in an egg. There she was, walking the red carpet and then she hatched later on in her performance for her single "Born This Way."

CHO: She never failed to shock. I will say that. And she's never been seen in the same outfit twice and that was a first.

CHETRY: Because some of them disintegrate when they're made out of meat.

CHO: The meat outfit will never be repeated. But, you know, she put on a great performance. She debuted her new single last night and it was great.

HOLMES: How was the actual dress though? I mean we talk so much about the egg but her outfit when she got out of there, I mean that wasn't so bad, was it?

CHO: You could sort of --

HOLMES: It was bad.

CHO: You could sort of see through it. Did you see the performance?


CHETRY: The pony tail was crazy. That was like old school Britney Spears. I loved it though. It's better than -- at one point she had a telephone for a hair style.

CHO: That's true.

CHETRY: Changing it up. Alina Cho, thanks so much.

CHO: Yes.

CHETRY: What may be more important than a designer's collection is the model who wears it. So, one wrong choice could be a deal breaker on the cat walk. We want to know what makes the perfect model besides, of course, being built like a gazelle. Is it because she (INAUDIBLE) the eyes, the signature strut. Tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING -- a gazelle or a Giselle, right?

CHO: How about personality? That counts too.

CHETRY: Their personality. I think so.

CHO: That's true.

CHETRY: Well, you're going to be following a modeling agent, right?

CHO: That's right.

CHETRY: And his crazy days before Fashion Week. It's a big deal to get picked for those big shows.

CHO: It is. A very big deal. It can make your career.

HOLMES: Well, thank you.

CHO: Thank you.

HOLMES: Thank you all for hanging out with us a little bit today on AMERICAN MORNING.

Hand this over to Kyra Phillips in Atlanta with "CNN NEWSROOM" right now. Hi there, Kyra.