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tv   Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans  CNN  March 25, 2016 1:00am-2:01am PDT

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new terror raids and arrests across europe. investigators hunting for the two surviving brussels bombers as advanced terror plot thwarted in paris. good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm victor blackwell. >> i'm christine romans. 4:00 a.m. in the east. overnight, new raids in belgium leading to six new arrests. as we learn, investigators know of several additional isis plots in europe, possibly linked to
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brussels and terror networks. the manhunt intensifying for the men in brussels bombings. one who dropped off a bomb and ran. this as security forces thwart a planned terror attack in france. we learn of new intelligence failures. top officials admitting mistakes were made. we are covering this the way only cnn can with correspondents around the world. i want to begin with cnn's frederik pleitgen. he is live in london. >> reporter: it was active for the brussels area. this were raids where i'm standing. this is the schaerbeck district. this is where they had the safe house from where they were building the bombs to hit those places. this is the same area. the raid here went on for
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several hours throughout the night. large parts of the area were cordoned off. the latest from the police is at the specific location, there were no arrests made. they did search one house and had forensic units on hand. in total last night, in the active night, there were six arrests that were made. three apparently in front of the federal prosecutor's office. three suspicious people in a vehicle there. it is not clear if they will remain in custody or released throughout the day. there was a raid in a place called jette where apparently two arrests were made. unclear in how that stands to the plot. the authorities tell us the raids conducted in brussels last night were all in relation to the attacks that happened on tuesday at the airport as well as the metro station. once again, very active night on the part of the police as they
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continue to search for two people unaccounted for. the one on the surveillance tape and the other from the metro where there has been a stretch put out of that person who was acting suspiciously before the bomb went off. >> fred, quickly, there is some concern and frankly criticism of the belgium government they had not been doing overnight raids. there was a mortatorium on overnight raids. has that changed? >> reporter: you are right. there is criticism of the belgium police and security forces and intelligence services, frankly. the moratorium on night raids was lifted after the paris attacks. shortly after the paris attacks. that has since changed. there is criticism out there and also in the run-up to the attacks that happened in brussels where one of the people became a bomber was deported
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from turkey where the turkish security services went to the belgians and said we picked up this guy and we believe he is related to terrorism. the belgian does not have anything on him to terrorism. there were raids and other buildings that nearly captured the people who later took part in the attacks at airport and metro. the police were close to capturing that. by and large, a lot of criticism of the intelligence sharing. >> thank you, fred. overnight in france, a terror plot foiled. a paris suburb on lockdown as a major raid. a high level militant was arrested in the advanced stage of planning an attack. let's bring in cnn's jim
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bittermann with latest. jim, do you know what led them to the would-be attacker? >> reporter: victor, they have not said precisely what led them to him, but they have been looking for him actively since january. in fact, he was convicted, he is 34 years old. he was convicted in brussels in absentia along with abdelhamid abaaoud. they were convicted of helping young people go out to iraq and syria. convicted in abstentiona. they found him yesterday morning. after interrogation, they discovered that in fact he had been using an apartment in another suburb northeastern paris. in fact, they raided that apartment last night, very late. they according to reports,
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police investigators found a small quantity of explosives and arms in the apartment. the investigation is still ongoing. the interior minister here took the step of going on the air on television last night at 20 minutes to 11:00 local time to reassure people that police are on the case. he said they would have more for us today. victor. >> european authorities, of course, concerned there are more attacks to come. jim bittermann in paris. >> and belgian authorities admitting to the mistakes. this morning, new questions about how airport suicide bomber ibrahim el bakraoui managed to slip through the cracks. the terrorist was deported by turkey, which warned european officials this man was a
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militant. after he arrived, he was set free. turkish president saying it wasn't the first time they were warned about a terrorist and only to be ignored. i want to bring in cnn's correspondent arwa damon. good morning, arwa. >> reporter: good morning. we're here in gaziantep. this is a city close to the syrian border. over the last few years, this is a hub for people who want to either move into the war zone, a number of aid organizations. it halls become a main area where foreign fighters come to cross into syria. many as we know, join isis. according to turkish officials, el bakraoui arrived and first going to the tourist resort areas spending time there. eventually making his way here. something in his actions, we
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don't know what it was, raised the suspicions of the turkish counter terrorism unit. they are constantly on the lookout trying to monitor people they have lists of names. el bakraoui is not on any list. he is someone they started trailing of their own accord. now they say they took him into custody. they firmly believe, no doubt in their mind whatsoever, he was here trying to get into syria to then join the fight with isis. the turks say they notified the netherlands because that is where he would be deported as well as belgian authorities shortly before they put him on a plane. the dutch fired back and said yes, they were informed of the deportation, but not of the reasons why. the belgians are acknowledging there is a missed opportunity on their part. we have been hearing from top belgian officials, perhaps alluding to the fact that turkey
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should have been more forceful in the intelligence. turkey is really feeling europe is trying to scapegoat it. the turkish president on down are insistent they provided the respective european nations with clear details and clear warning that this individual who was returning back to europe had the intent of joining a terrorist organization like isis. another man flagged to the french, then went on to knife attack three soldiers in the south of that country, plus one of the paris attackers is an individual the turks flagged to the french authorities. turkey is a country that has been dealing with its own terrorism issues. six bombings here since last summer. some carried out by isis. some carried out by the kurdish separatists group or affiliate. turkey's message has been for some time now, don't think the
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violence is going to remain contained to the region. if you don't work with us, we can't help you protect yourself. >> the terror just goes right through porous borders. the cooperation does not. arwa damon. thank you. as we discussed, officials are admitting mistakes. can europe fix its terror crisis? what european leaders are planning as investigators warning new attacks could be coming. well, it was nice to see everyone.
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retired colonel cedric leighton. colonel, we know the advanced stages of the plot to attack. this person did not get spooked or notice anything out of the ordinary. if they do, they can expedite plans quickly. >> that is right, victor. the french police were fortunate they were able to get the suspect and get him in a way as you described without causing undue notice or alerting other members of terrorist cells. we don't know what else is going on in france or belgium. there may be a lot of them trying to go underground right now. that action in and of itself is a indication there is something amiss and may also lead authorities to those odd patterns of behavior and more suspects. >> we saw raids overnight as well. there has been criticism in
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months and years past that in belgium, they wouldn't do nighttime raids. something routine in other parts of the world to catch suspects by surprise. last night, there were more raids. this as we are learning about the missed signals in ibrahim el bakraoui. he was released early from a nine--year sentence for firing a kalashnikov at police officers. he was released early and tried to go to the syrian battle field. picked up by the turks. sent back to the netherlands. warned by officials and he still got through. can we assume now they are more vigilant in brussels and belgium and more vigilant of the criminals who they don't think are terrorists? >> christine, i certainly hope so. the problem you have is all of the old fashioned attitudes. a lot of the western european intelligence services don't trust the turkish service and
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vice versa. you are running into a situation where all of the different thoughts and ideas and prejudices, frankly, that have built up over the years are coming home to roost. hopefully this has been a huge wake-up call to the european services and all of the intelligence services around the world that they really need to start to pay attention to make the connections to the criminal world and world of isis. that is perhaps a new nexus to examine. it is something that needs to be done if they are going to do something about the terrorists. >> colonel, in the discussion of confidence or lack thereof in the belgian authorities, there is an inconsistency. we hear from french officials there are more attacks planned. we know that there is a raid in
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france. at the same time, belgium has lowered its terror threat warning one notch. what do you make of that? it seems not to reconcile. >> you are right, victor. i wonder if the reduction in belgium of the terrorist threat level is a bit premature. it seems to me at this point when you are going into an investigative mode and rolling up elements, it is important to maintain that high terror threat level because it allows the police more powers than they would otherwise have had. >> the core of all this, colonel and victor, you have porous borders where people can come and go as they please without air travel. the governments there, the security services, they're not working across borders the way terrorists are. that is the big disconnect. thank you, colonel. talk to you soon. the race for president gets personal.
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tensions with donald trump and ted cruz reaching new heights. the new name calling next.
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23 minutes after the hour now. the war of words over wives is escalating to hostility to cruz and trump. cruz lashing out at the republican frontrunner in wisconsin. he called trump a bully for calling his wife heidi. and cruz angrily telling the billionaire to back off. >> i have to say seeing him go
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deeper into the gutter. it's not easy to tick me off. i don't get angry often. but you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that will do it every time. donald, you are a sniveling coward. leave heidi alone. >> frontrunners hillary clinton and donald trump and a poll was taken and 48% would take hillary clinton and 40% would take trump. spending and immigration and health care topped issues for voters. this was done before the terror attacks in brussels. you best terrorism is on voters minds. who is more in touch with the middle class in hillary clinton
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got 51%. trump's favorability rating is 39% unfavorable. look at this one. 58% unfavorable. when you look at registered republicans. it sky rockets. hillary clinton getting coaching on her campaign speeches from none other than jimmy kimmel. offering to be her secret weapon on his show last night. watch this. >> just talk and i'll correct you whenever i feel the need. >> well, thank you. it's wonderful to be here. >> hold on one second. >> already? >> you're shouting. you don't is have to shout like that. it hurts my ears. it comes off shrill for men. you know what would be nice?
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if you smiled. show a little teeth. >> all right. america is the greatest country. >> don't smile like that. it's too forced. it looks like you're faking it. ask yourself do i want to be president or do i want to be a lakers girl. >> it's like nothing i do is right. >> exactly. you are not doing it right. i can't quite put my finger on it. something is -- you're not -- >> a man? >> yes. that is it. you aren't a man. but that was really cute the way you did it, though. >> point made. >> all right. 26 minutes past the hour. new terror raids. new arrests across europe overnight as investigators hunt for the surviving brussels bombers. we have live team coverage next.
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breaking overnight.
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six new arrests in overnight terror raids and the intense manhunt for the brussels bombers. the investigators in paris say they foiled a new advanced terror plot. welcome back to "early start." i'm christine romans. >> i'm victor blackwell. we start with the battle against terror in europe. overnight and this morning, raids in belgium leading to six new arrests as we learn investigators now know of several additional isis plots in europe. possibly linked to the brussels and paris terror networks. the manhunt intensifying for the suspects who survived the brussels bombing. one who dropped the bomb off and ran and one who participated in the metro bombing. this as we learn of new intelligence failures. top belgian officials admitting mistakes were made. we're covering this the only way cnn can. we start with correspondent
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frederik pleitgen live for us in brussels. fred, i want to start with the six arrests. are these according to investigators directly connected to the attacks on the metro and airport part of the larger network? >> reporter: absolutely. victor, they are saying the raids that were made are all in connection with the plots at the airport and plot at the metro as well. we just gotten word i would say ten minutes ago of an early morning raid that took place in brussels in the for rerest district. we're trying to gather how many were arrested. we will update you when we get additional information. the six arrests happened at three raids that took place in brussels. one right where i am in the schaerbeck area. it was a big raid.
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a lot of streets cordoned off. it is the same area where a couple of blocks down was the apartment where the plotters of the airport bombings built bombs and took a taxi from there to get to the airport. another raid in the jette area in brussels where two people were arrested there. again, unclear whether these people will be charged and unclear if anything will substantiate. unclear how long they will remain in detention. that is what the police has been doing overnight. a lot of activity, as you say, police trying to find those people who are unaccounted for on that surveillance tape from the airport and from a witness accounts from the metro of at least one person who seemed to act strangely before that blast went off. the authorities here very much working hard to try to see not only where these people are, but what sort of wider web may have
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been behind all this. >> fred, thanks. let's go to france now. overnight in france, a terror plot foiled. a paris suburb on lockdown. police arrest a high level militant who was in the advanced stage of planning an attack. new details coming in by the minute. for latest, i want to bring in senior correspondent jim bittermann in paris. jim, what can you tell us about this imminent attack? >> reporter: good morning, christine. the arrest took place yesterday morning in fact. a gentleman who was searched for since january of this year. he was convicted in abstetia in july. because he wasn't in custody at that point in time, he had been
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on the loose since. police searched for him and found him in the southwest suburb of paris. after interrogation, he said he was using an apartment in the northwest suburb of paris. the raid started yesterday at 5:30 local time with the police going in gingerly because they believe there could be explosives or arms inside. they sent in the bomb squad. according to reports, they found a weapon and perhaps some small amounts of explosives. the interior minister here did an unusual thing of appearing on television at 20 minutes until 11:00 local time to explain and reassure the nation and say they foiled this major plot. he did not say what the plot was or target. we are expecting to hear more from the paris prosecutor who specializes in terrorism. >> jim bittermann, thank you.
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belgian authorities admitting mistakes were made. this morning, new questions emerging about how suicide bomber ibrahim el bakraoui managed to switch through the cracks. he was deported by turkey and warned officials he was a militant. the netherlands and belgium set him free. turkish president saying it was not the first time turkey warned european officials only to be ignored. let's bring in correspondent arwa damon. arwa, what are you learning about his time in turkey and the warning that he was possibly involved in terror? >> reporter: we're in the city of gaziantep. close to the border of syria. it is here and something of el
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bakraoui's behavior and prior to coming here, he spent time in a tourist resort and actually the turks say they have seen this behavior in a number of people they suspect who transit and go on and fight in syria. people come and pretend they are tourists and take a couple sights and try to make their way across the border. el bakraoui picked up on suspicions on wanting to cross into syria. and according to turkey, joined isis. the turks say they took him in custody and notified the netherlands because that is where he would be deported as well as belgian authorities. they had this man in custody and they believed he was trying to join isis if not a member of isis already. now the netherlands were aware of the deportation, but did not know the reasons why. the belgians admitting this was an intelligence failure and a missed opportunity to assert a
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degree. turkey saying it was clear on both issues that it informed both belgium and the netherlands this was a dangerous man. this is something for the turkish authorities. they have been coming across criticism because of the porous borders between turkey and syria and the back and forth flow of foreign and other fighters. turkey is saying we are doing the best we can. we are providing europe with vital intelligence. it is europe not following up properly on its end because this is at least the third time that the turks provided the europeans with intelligence about an individual that has not been acted on and that individual has carried out violent attacks in europe. turkey, let's remember, is facing its own war on terror.
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whether isis carrying out suicide bombings targeting tourists or busy shopping malls or whether it is against the kurdish group pkk. the turkish president to europe at this stage is look. i warned you and now really is the time for intelligence apparatus to begin cooperating on a greater level. if europe is to begin to tackle its terrorism issues and issues of fighters from the battle field of syria to europe, it has to partner with turkey. >> arwa damon in gaziantep. thank you. mistakes were made. what can europe do to fix the intelligence failures? we are breaking that down next.
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43 minutes after the hour.
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more on the intelligence failures which led to the bombings in brussels. european leaders trying to figure out how to plug the security gaps and share airport passenger data. the same plan they agreed to, but failed to implement after the paris attacks. >> let bring in former deputy director colonel cedric leighton. we said it again and again. terrorists manage to use a united europe with porous borders to their advantage. intelligence community has not. have they begun to break down the barriers even within their countries? even with brussels, the sharing of information with neighborhoods and police departments. let alone the entire europe. >> absolutely. that's right, christine. in brussels, you have at least six police jurisdiction that are
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responsible for local policing and the national police. in all of europe, you have about 600 police agencies among the 28-member european union nations. that's a tall order. they have this bureaucratic structure they are dealing with. they have organizations that should be handling the fusion. to put all that together and also put information in there from intelligence services, that is a huge issue. when you look at them being able to integrate things, they are not where they need to be. they have the political pronouncements, but political will and ability to follow through on the pronouncements are two different things. >> colonel, let me ask you about something. we know fred pleitgen reporting the six arrests overnight and
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raids this morning. after the paris attacks in november, there were scores of arrests across europe for several days. why aren't we seeing that now? is this a lesson that the authorities learned about the impacts? what do you make of that? >> victor, that's a very interesting question because what year looking at normally with an attack like this, there is the kind of reaction that we had after the paris attacks or we saw after the paris attacks where there is the roll-up of a lot of different suspected terrorists or possible fellow travelers in the terrorist world. i think the police are tying to be very careful in france and belgium. what you will see are many high profile raids or at least maybe half a dozen or so high profile raids. when you look at how they are going about this, they are going after the biggest possible
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terrorist targets. that's what the public pronouncements indicate. if that is their way of operating, we will see that in other parts of paris and parts near brussels like schaerbeck, we will see a lot of arrests in those areas. how many i don't know. what you will find is an effort to really tighten the noose and find more of these terrorists. more for political purposes at the beginning than operational. >> you mentioned the big arrest last night of someone convicted in brussels for a terrorist activity. now in custody in france. a terror attacks thwarted according to the french officials. a terror attack was actively being planned and thwarted. u.s. officials saying isis has
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multiple attacks in the works. we see the new raids overnight. we need to see better sharing of information among the authorities. do you think they have the capacity at this moment to prevent the attacks that u.s. officials say are being planned? >> you are seeing a combination of luck and effort. they have the capacity to prevent some of them, but it is a tall order to prevent all of them. that is the unfortunate world we are living in. hopefully they will be thwarted or minimized, but it is a very difficult thing for the police and intelligence services to do. frankly, they are playing catch up and they don't have the institutions or skill sets needed to capture all of these people. >> we know that secretary of state john kerry is heading over
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to brussels to, of course, mourn with the people there and of course reaffirm the u.s. commitment to the investigation and to offer support to quote counter violent extremism. we are getting that from the state department. what likely does that look like? what is that support? >> the support besides all of the diplomatic niceties will involve more information sharing between organizations like the fbi and cia and helping with the kinds of information that may be lacking. one of the things the united states can do if they have a better relationship with a country like turkey, then they can help funnel information from a service like turkey's service or middle eastern services into the european system. that may be an area where the u.s. community can be of service
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to the europeans. it is not using our sources, but perhaps help out. >> i'm haunted by what you said they went be able to prevent all of the terror attacks. there will be terror attacks that make it through. we haven't identified all of the people yet from the horrible double bombings in brussels. really hard to get your head and heart around something like. that colonel, thank you so much. talk to you very soon. 50 minutes past the hour. more companies threatening to take their business out of the state of georgia. we will get an early start on your money next.
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the war of words over wives. call it the war of wives. escalating to hostility between ted cruz and donald trump. cruz lashing out at a campaign stop in wisconsin.
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he called trump a bully for attacking cruz's wife heidi. trump had tweeted he quote spill the beans on cruz's wife after a super pac ran a negative ad in utah featuring melania in a gq ad. cruz telling the billionaire, back off. >> i have to say seeing him go deeper and deeper to the gutter -- it's not easy to tick me off. i don't get angry often, but you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that will do it every time. donald, you're a sniveling coward. leave heidi the hell alone. and vice president joe biden says republicans are taking a
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1972 speech out of context. he supported blocking the high court nominees during the election season. hillary clinton getting a legal coaching on campaign speeches from none other than jimmy kimmel. he offered to be her secret weapon during her appearance on his show last night. watch. >> just talk and i'll correct you whenever i feel the need. >> well, thank you. it's wonderful to be here. >> hold on one second. >> already? >> you're shouting. you're too loud. you don't have to shout like this. it hurts my ears. it comes off as a little shrill for men. you know what would be nice if you smiled. show a little teeth. >> all right. america is the greatest country. >> don't smile like that. it's too forced. it looks like you're faking it.
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ask yourself do i want to be president or do i want to be a lakers girl. >> it's like nothing i do is right. >> exactly. you are not doing it right. i can't quite put my finger on it. something is -- you're not -- >> a man? >> yes. that's it. you're not a man. but that was really cute the way you did it. >> kimmel's good at this. coming up on easter, but a rainy start to the weekend. all along the east coast. the latest now from meteorologist allison chinchar. >> a soggy weekend for many in boston and new york and philly. widespread totals up to an inch. the highest totals will be down to the south where we expect a lot of heavy rain and thunderstorms in places like florida, georgia and also into the carolinas. we're talking 2 to 4 inches widespread across the state of
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the florida. some in orlando, 4 to 6. along the panhandle, 6 to 10 inches of rain. temperature wise, big swing. if you are behind the front, huge temperature loss. 70 in louisville yesterday to 54 today. 67 in nashville. top out at 60 today. different before the front moves through. in boston and new york city, that changes in time for easter weekend. we expect stormy weekend in atlanta, but beautiful for new york, houston and denver. allison, thank you. let's get a check on your money. the market is closed for the good friday holiday. three-day weekend for investors. a five-week winning streak snapped. fresh talk about a rate hike and rising oil prices cooling sentiment on wall street. new housing report out today. very interesting here folks. in more than a quarter of ever -
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american housing markets. homes in the south were most likely to see the record highs. across the country, a rise of 4.3%. the average home over $184,000. the report says home prices in san francisco, seattle and san diego are overvalued and approaching bubble conditions. 21st century fox and weinstein company will take their business out of georgia if the governor signs a bill which gives faith based organizations the right to deny gay people. it protects religious freedoms. weinstein plans to film later this year. time warner, cnn's parent company, issued a statement against the bill. it offers tax credits to lure the movie and tv industry. 248 production shoots took praise laplace last year. of those breaks, it can cover up to 30% of production expenses.
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now you have major film companies, hollywood saying we will pull our filming out of georgia if this continues. the nfl said earlier this week, the bill could hurt atlanta's chances of hosting a super bowl at the new stadium. breaking news this morning. we will start "early start" right now. >> new terror raids. new arrests across europe and overnight and into the morning. investigators hunting for the two surviving brussels bombers as the advance terror plot thwarted in paris. a lot going on. good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm christine romans. >> i'm victor blackwell. 5:00 a.m. in the east. breaking news on the battle front against terror in europe. overnight and this morning, new raids in belgium leading to at least six new arrests. this is happening as investigators now know of several additional isis plots in

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