tv Early Start CNN May 2, 2012 5:00am-7:00am EDT
i'm ashleigh banfield. >> i'm christine romans in for zoraida sambolin. >> we start with breaking news. >> cheng guangcheng has left the chinese embassy. he's been holed up in beijing for six days after escaping house arrest. chen has been taken to a medical facility and will be reunited with his family. these developments coming while secretary of state hillary clinton and treasury secretary timothy geithner are in beijing preparing for economic and strategic meetings with chinese leaders beginning on thursday. it's not clear how the chen case might influence those talks, but this was starting to become a sticky situation between the u.s. and china. china now reportedly demanding an apology from the u.s. for sheltering the activist. we'll have a live report from beijing in the next half hour. our other big story of the morning. new questions about america's longest war, this after a trip to afghanistan by the president that was supposed to sum it all up.
president obama saying one year after the death of osama bin laden that crushing al qaeda is within reach. but a car bomb that killed six people after air force one was wheels up certainly a tough reminder that there's a long way to go in that country. we still don't know how much longer the u.s. troops are really going to be necessary or how much this whole thing could continue to cost us. and, of course, there are the politics surrounding this story that just cannot be avoided. we're covering all of the angles this morning. we begin with cnn's nick paton-walsh live in kabul. first to you, nick, in kabul. a very secret mission, a very successful mission, it seems, and now the fallout from the president's visit. take me there. >> reporter: two hours after air force one was wheels up in kabul, a car driving into something called the
greenvilleage here, where foreign ex-pats, contract workers live in high security. it's not clear what happened after this blast. some guards at the scene, it's suggested, began opening fire. what we know is there are seven dead, including one school child and ten schoolchildren wounded in this cross fire. all continued explosions. suggestions there may have been other attackers who attempted to enter that compound. a bloody reminder to afghan civilians that despite the edifying speech and phraseology we heard from the president of the united states, those in the capital are no safer. >> so, nick, there's a lot of hoopla. this visit by the president is being touted as the beginning of the end, and yet a lot of things still unanswered. troop levels going forward after 2014, the economic assistance this country may be roped into for a very long time, and those critical diplomatic relations. while we do have signatures, is this whole thing a bit vague?
>> reporter: it's a little strange. to be honest, the american speech yesterday was definitely for an american audience. it was about trying to sew up the narrative of why america came here in the first place. they were here to get bin laden. a year after bin laden's death, obama is here to explain how they can move forward. the strategic partnership agreement we signed with president karzai is deeply symbolic because it's something america badly needed to sign because there's an important nato summit in chicago later this month. but left out are key questions. how much money will washington give kabul over the next few years is left unanswered. and a thorny issue of what kind of u.s. military presence will be here is not yet addressed by that document but will be by a later one. this visit very much about trying to explain to americans how this war can come to an end, how america can feel good about this war ending. but simply two hours after u.s.
air force one wheels came off of bagram air base here, loud explosions rocking the capital, reminding the avenue fwfghans t no safer. ashleigh? >> let's go straight to the white house and talk to athena jones. she's live there. let's talk about the president. he's facing criticism here about the content of this agreement. tell me about that. >> reporter: he certainly is seeing some criticism on the editorial pages like the national journal and "the new york times." interestingly, republican presidential candidate mitt romney did not criticize him. he said in a statement, i am pleased that president obama has returned to afghanistan. our troops and the american people deserve to hear from our president about what is at stake in this war. success in afghanistan is vital to our nation's security." so mitt romney and several other republicans stopping short of criticizing the president on this important day while he was overseas. i should note, though, as i mentioned earlier, "the new york times" in an editorial wrote,
"the white house set it up as a big moment, but the president squandered the chance to fully explain his exit strategy from a war americans are desperate to see brought to an end." "the new york times" there is touching on the extreme unpopularity of this war. i think the white house would say to this, this was a brief speech the president gave while on the ground there at bagram. he was on the ground for only about six hours, all under cover of darkness, a quick in and out trip, of course, due to the security situation that nick paton walsh just discussed. the idea wasn't necessarily to lay out every single thing that was going to happen going forward in the relationship with afghanistan and the u.s. a lot remains to be worked out, as walsh mentioned, exact troop numbers, the amount of money that the u.s. and other allies will pledge to afghanistan. these are the kinds of things that will begin to be discussed a little later this month at that nato summit in chicago. the nato summit they had in lisbon set out a lot of the
parameters then. this new summit will establish a new benchmark. i think the white house will say this is the beginning of explaining how this is going to come to an end but that people weren't necessarily expecting point by point, a long detailed speech last night. >> athena jones in washington. thanks. it is six minutes past 5:00, and mitt romney is marking the one-year anniversary of osama bin laden's death with a visit to a new york city firehouse. he was joined by the former mayor at the time of the attacks, rudy giuliani. romney was calling it totally appropriate for president obama to claim credit for ordering the raid that killed bin laden, but he says still he believes the president crossed a line. >> i think politicizing it was -- and trying to draw a distinction between myself and himself was an inappropriate use of a very important event that brought america together, which was the elimination of osama bin laden. >> mitt romney insisting once again that, had he been president, he too would have
ordered the raid that killed bin laden. newt gingrich will officially get out of the race for the republican nomination this afternoon, we're told. the former house speaker is expected to briefly mention his support for mitt romney, and plans are in the works for a formal endorsement in the next few weeks. criminal charges are now expected in the death of florida a&m drum major robert champion. a florida state attorney is expected to announce those charges later on this afternoon. 26-year-old champion died back in november. you might remember police say he was beaten on the bus as part of a band hazing ritual. a fire at the atlanta studios of entertainer tyler perry has damaged two buildings, causing one to partially collapse. no injuries were reported in this three alarm fire, which witnesses say had flames raging out of the top of a four-story building. perry is one of hollywood's busiest and most successful entrepreneurs. last year he topped "forbes" highest paid men list. raking in $130 million in the 12
months beginning in may 2012. ahead on "early start," a cabbie caught on tape mowing down a guy. the story behind this crazy video coming up. and also, a young child recovering from burns because of the allegations against her own mother that this woman took her to a tanning bed. dry mouth is very common.
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11 minutes now past 5:00. time to check stories making top billing in the headlines this morning. he is a chinese dissident. his name is chen guangcheng, and he has now left the u.s. embassy in beijing and is taken to a medical facility before being reunited with his family. it's believed he was in the facility for six days after escaping house arrest. all the while, secretary of state hillary clinton along with treasury secretary timothy geithner are in beijing, preparing for an economic and strategic set of meetings with
chinese leaders there. according to chinese state media, beijing is demanding an apology from the u.s. for harboring that activist. five civilians and a guard killed in a suicide car bomb attack in kabul overnight. it happened a few hours after president obama left the afghan capital. the taliban is claiming responsibility. hours earlier, the president met with u.s. troops and signed an agreement with president karzai. that agreement calls for the withdrawal of u.s. troops by 2014 and provides guidelines for cooperation between the two nations into the next decade. a woman from new jersey missed her flight at newark liberty international airport after tsa screeners found land mine casings in her luggage. experts were called to check the baggage area after her suitcase set off alarms. apparently, it turns out, the woman was on her way to an explosives demonstration in california. she was eventually allowed to travel but wasn't allowed to take those weapons with her. tsa wants to remind everybody
that even replicas of explosives are not permitted on airplanes. five men arrested in a plot to blow up a high level bridge outside cleveland, ohio. at least three of them are self-proclaimed anarchists, an undercover fbi agent had been following the men since last fall. the explosives attached to the bridge were fakes. the public was never in any danger. the wife of a former close aide to senator john edwards will be back on the stand today. cheri young explaining why she videotaped the home and the possessions of the senator's mistress rielle hunter back in '08. and she told the court the relationship with edwards had soured so much she felt she needed proof there really was a mistress named rielle hunter. shocking video of a cabbie running over a man in montreal.
this followed a fight between the taxi driver and a group of people in the street. the guy was seen run down and kicking the cab door before the driver hit the gas. the victim is in stable condition. the driver was charges with assault and hit and run. a brush fire searching 115 acres in suburban tampa, florida, earlier this week, and it was caused by a camp fire that someone left burning behind on a golf course. the fire forced evacuations in the town of hudson and also closed u.s. 19 for hours. 15 minutes after the hour. rob marciano has today's weather. good morning. >> good morning, guys. it's been dry across north central florida. south florida has had some rain, and the midwest seeing some rainfall as well. there was severe weather yesterday. about 15 reports actually of tornadoes and significant hail and wind damage as well. this line is moving towards the green bay. it will get towards milwaukee and eventually towards chicago. a threat for severe weather across this section of the country as well.
sliding the map over to the east and northeast. you've been toasty in the southern part of the northeast. rain trying to make its way towards philadelphia and new york city. d.c. is going to be the winner as far as how hot it can be. this is the area of severe threat from the delmarva back to omaha, a moderate risk of severe weather across eastern nebraska. the heat will continue to pump up across parts of the south as well. here it is, temperatures again near record breaking with some spots. with that humidity feeling more like the end of june and beginning of may. here's some of the high temperatures forecast for today. temps in chicago will be a good 15 in some cases, 20 degrees above average, a little cooler in new york. look at d.c., 84 degrees in washington, d.c., and new york, just north of that warm front, you'll stay in the 50s at least for today. warm air coming to you in the next couple. guys, back up to you. >> we're holding you to warmer air. >> sounds like a threat. >> it's like me and stocks. people blame me when they go up, blame me when they go down.
>> that's the news, folks. 16 minutes past 5:00 on the east coast. we're giving you a read on the water cooler stories. papers from miami, fayetteville, and newark. let's start with the miami herald. apparently, folks at that paper covered an old my space page of george zimmerman, dates back to 2005. zimmerman's attorney has confirmed it is legit. apparently, there are some posts on it about past run-ins with the law and also this is not favorable. disparaging remarks about mexicans. i want to read from you what it actually says. "i don't miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walking on the side of the street. wanna be thugs messin' with people's cars when they ain't around don't make you a man in my book. working 96 hours to get a decent paycheck, getting knives pulled on you by every mexican you run into." zimmerman's words on a my space page in 2005. reporting on a pastor who
said parents should punch their kids if they show signs of being gay. that pastor now says he was joking about punching your kids if they show signs of being gray. shawn harris is the senior pastor of bareen baptist church in fayetteville. here's a snippet from the sermon. >> dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. man up. give him a good punch. okay? you're not going to act like that. you were made by god to be a male, and you're going to be a male. >> pastor harris now says he does not advocate hitting children, wishes he could take back that remark, but he's not backing down from his overall message, saying, "effeminate behavior is ungodly. i'm not going to compromise on that." what's interesting to me is the
congregation is amen, yes, and affirmatively respond to go that message. >> you wonder how many of them are doing because everyone else is doing. >> no one else is saying a word. >> may not feel the same way, that's for sure. no matter what the message, wrong way to say it. "star ledger" in new jersey, a mother arrested for bringing her 5-year-old little girl to the tanning booth. yes, a tanning booth for a 5-year-old. here's the mugshot. she's tan here. you should see how tan she ultimately got. the little girl got a sunburn, and authorities say the 44-year-old mother, patricia, took the daughter to a stand-up tanning booth without the staff knowing. she's now charged with child endangerment. new jersey law does ban children from under the age of 14 from using tanning salons. for her part, she disputes these charges. she said she did bring her child to the salon and even into the room with her but that she wasn't in the actual tanning booth. but the little girl told her
teachers at school that she got a burn while tanning with mommy. the mother says she got a burn while playing in the backyard. for an expanded look at all of our top stories -- >> i just laugh, right. >> in this day and age too. just head to our blog, by the way, because you can get more information on there. cnn.com/earlystart. get ready for the facebook road show. how mark zuckerberg reportedly plans to hype the upcoming facebook ipo. ♪ we were skipping stones and letting go ♪
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may with all three major indices closing nice and high. and i say that it's great sitting beside christine because you get one thing you need to know. i get tons of things you need to know. the one thing you need to know is -- >> make sure you're investing in your 401(k). if you're a young person in particular, make sure you sign up for the 401(k). average 401(k) prices rose 8%, and that's according to fidelity. people are putting more money into their 401(k)s, and believe it or not, a lot of the growth coming from strong stock market performance for people but also you at home and your employer, you're putting more money into the 401(k). when you put it in, your company matches. so the one thing you need to know about your money today, make sure that you're investing in it, and i'm going to tweet and put on facebook a link to make sure you figure out how you should be balanced. it's called asset allocation. you know what you're doing. you've got to be balanced too. that's the other part of the
equation. >> reallocating your assets every four months or so. >> or at least once a year. >> any particular time of year? >> i like to do it after february. it's the shortest month of the year. i always do it after february. other people do it at tax time. other people do it the end of the year. do it whenever you want. do it on your birthday. >> that's good advice. the other big business story today is facebook. >> you mentioned that, which is great. facebook is start to go get geared up for the big ipo that everyone is waiting on. >> the social network is going to have a new ipo fast approaching. "the wall street journal" citing a story saying they'll begin trading may 18th. they'll shop its stock to investors, and that kickoff starts on monday. on its about page, you're going to see the company's mission statement, "to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." how's that for a mission? will it be able to live up to that mission as a public company? will that mission change? that's what everyone is really
concerned, interested in knowing how that's going to play out. no question the company growing like crazy. as we reported to you, more than 900 million users on facebook with 526 million logging in every day. last night the company announced on its developer blog that it pushed 160 million people to mobile apps from its site. these people are downloading apps on their smart phones after seeing them on facebook. it's a big part of their business. we got that little glimpse into how the company's doing last night on its blog. >> 500 million people log on to facebook every day. >> i know. >> and zuckerberg going out and touting this whole new organ donation connection to facebook, and it's having a huge effect on organ donations across the country. >> it shows you what a social movement this website is. what will it be in terms of an investment? a lot of people say the big money has already been made from the early, early investors in facebook. >> isn't that what they said about apple? >> they said it about google too. i'm telling you, what is it going to mean?
are you going to be able to get in not at the very beginning? when we get closer, we'll talk about the ins and outs of trying to buy an ipo. a lot of people are exciting about this. >> that's what you call a deep tease. when you get closer, you have to watch every single day about the wisdom of christine romans. 26 minutes past 5:00 on the east coast. it's available for weddings and bar mitzvahs, folks. kind of a sign of the times. a historic governor's mansion up for rent. when hawks attack, one man who has a too close call with nature. >> i'm laughing, but honestly, he's found the solution, hasn't he? for three hours a week, i'm a coach. but when i was diagnosed with prostate cancer... i needed a coach. our doctor was great, but with so many tough decisions i felt lost. unitedhealthcare offered us a specially trained rn who helped us weigh and understand all our options. for me cancer was as scary as a fastball is to some of these kids. but my coach had hit that pitch before. turning data into useful answers.
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welcome back. 30 minutes past the hour. welcome back to "early start." i'm christine romans. here's what's happening at half past the hour. the escape the chinese activist chen guangcheng is at a medical facility in beijing and will be reunited with his family. u.s. officials now talking about the man in the middle of a dicey at this point in timic fig diplomatic fight between the two nations. this is all as hillary clinton arrives for talks. a deadly car bomb assault in kabul after the president's visit to afghanistan. six people killed. taliban militants reportedly described in burkas attacked the compound housing hundreds of foreigners. and criminal charges expected to be filed today in the death of florida drum major robert champion, whose death was ruled a hazing homicide. five band members facing possible felonies.
>> thank you, christine. 31 minutes past the hour. economic meetings between secretary of state hillary clinton and chinese officials are being overshadowed this morning by some new drama surrounding an escaped blind chinese dissident, a real human rights supporter. cnn learned that this activist chen guangcheng arrived at a medical facility in beijing. last week he fled house arrest in a daring nighttime escape and had been reportedly staying at the u.s. embassy. cnn's stan grant is covering these angles. he joins us on the phone from beijing with the very latest developments. stan, i guess the question remains, was he in the care of americans at the embassy before this new report that he is definitely at a medical facility getting treatment? >> reporter: he was staying at the u.s. embassy for the past six days. this has now been confirmed by chinese state media. this is the first time the chinese media has even mentioned his name since he escaped six or
seven days ago. the chinese have been oblivious to this. there's been a complete information blackout. now they're reporting he was at the embassy. they're saying he has left the embassy voluntarily and is getting treatment at a beijing medical facility. they're not naming which one. and that he's been reunited with his family. this has been a diplomatic time bomb. it started ticking once he fled his village, where he's been held under house arrest for the past 18 months, after serving four years in jail before that, and, of course, being at the embassy, peter, china on one side, the u.s. at the other, and then secretary of state hillary clinton touching down in china today. as you say, this was definitely going to overshadow who were expected to be very cagey trade talks in any event, but now human rights very much at the center of this. the question now is where will he go? will he stay in china, or will he flee to the united states? a lot of speculation that he could fly out from china to the united states in a matter of hours or certainly within the next 24 hours. a lot of people staking out the
airport, looking for any sign of that. in the meantime, china is playing hardball. they're demanding an apology from the united states for shielding chen guangcheng. >> if there's any legitimacy to those reports, stan, that there's a possibility he could end up flying to the u.s., i can only imagine that at the exact same moment that secretary of state hillary clinton and treasury secretary tim geithner are there for economic meetings, that this would cause a big problem. >> reporter: a big problem indeed. this is a very, very brittle relationship at the best of times, but it's a relationship of mutual dependency. china and the u.s. are locked in a very, very lucrative economic relationship, despite the tensions that exist. but, yes, this is certainly something that could cause a rupture in what is already a very, very tense relationship. will he go to the united states? there is precedent for this. in 1989, after the tiananmen square protests, one of the big
leaders there actually left china. he was also holed up in the u.s. embassy. he spent more than one year in the u.s. embassy. in the end, he was allowed to leave to the united states. guess what? medical treatment. are we seeing the same scenario playing out here? those questions yet to be answered. but you're right. very tough times for this relationship. i have to remind you, china right now is demanding a full apology from the united states for even harboring chen guangcheng. >> here's something china can get straight from us as it's breaking live. stan, while you've been on the air, we got information from the state department. our reporter has been able to confirm with the state department that officials there are saying that mr. chen is going to be staying in china to study. i have a very quick top line on that. he is going to be staying in china to study, that from the state department from our reporter. i need to really get this straight from the horse's mouth from you, stan. we keep saying chinese dissident, human rights supporter. why should americans really care about this one person in a
country of more than 1 billion? >> reporter: great question. he's become a symbol of the fight for human rights here in china. whether you want to practice as an open christian, whether you want to have the right for democracy, whether you want to disagree with the government, the moment you step out of line here, you run the risk of being jailed or being held under house arrest. he's become very much a symbol for this. i'll just quickly remind you how he came to prominence. he fought against china's one child policy. he exposed thousands of alleged forced abortions and sterilization. as a result of that, he spent years in jail and has been under house arrest. hillary clinton has championed his cause in the past. remember christian bale, that actor, he tried to visit chen guangcheng last year. we took him there, and we were physically assaulted and forced from the village. his case has a lot of prominence. there's a lot of people in this
country, a lot of other dissidents, but chen guangcheng has become a symbol for all that critics say is wrong with this country. ashleigh? >> america's relationship with china has often been called the world's most vital economic relationship. we're seeing this meeting today between tim geithner and secretary clinton and chinese officials. with all of this as the undercurrent, i'm just curious, from your perspective, spending all the time you do in china, does this matter as much to the chinese as it it seems to matter to americans? >> reporter: china does not like to lose face, particularly when it comes to issues of sovereignty and its territorial integrity, when it comes to issues of its law. it considers this man an enemy of the state. he's escaping from house arrest. >> how about the chinese people, stan? do they care? do they know? >> reporter: that's a great question because the people we've spoken to either don't know or won't say they know. i've mentioned before this information blackout. this is a magic country where there's such censorship and government controlled information.
often it's difficult for people to know exactly what's going on. but i can tell you there are a lot of cracks in this society. unrest is higher than it's ever been. i'm talking about violent unrest here. we've seen a big crackdown on dissidents. people that we've spoken to just over the past few days who have been in contact with chen guangcheng have then been arrested and questions themselves. this question country is really tearing at the edges, and questions of human rights are front and center. what they don't want, ashleigh, they don't want anything that can interrupt with china's economic rise. but often you can't separate the way people are treated with the way the country does business. that's the balancing act for the united states and the balancing act for china. >> that interruption will be fascinating, if there is such a thing, with these meetings between their leaders and our leaders today. stan, keep us posted if you hear anything further on his movements and, of course, his sa safety. we certainly wish mr. chen and his family a safe existence there. to american politics now, a
top adviser for mitt romney is leaving the campaign. amid a storm of controversy, richard grenell was hired less than two weeks ago as romney's foreign policy spokesperson. the romney camp says he has resigned for personal reasons, but he had managed to upset some on the right and the left. he was scrutinized by some conservatives for being openly gay, and he was also slammed for twitter remarks that took jabs at democratic women for their physical appearance. the governor of florida signing a bill that bans local governments in his state from doing business with cuba or syria. but governor rick scott admits the new law can't be enforced without federal approval from congress. the measure is scheduled to go on the books in florida in july. cuba and syria are labeled by the federal government as state sponsors of terrorism. in cash strapped california, the governor's mansion is now up for rent. yes, you could throw a party in the place where ronald reagan raised his children if you have a few thousand dollars. it's 14,000 square feet with a pool and a spiral staircase.
several of them actually. the home housed 13 of the state's former governors and is currently open for tours. >> just a couple thousand bucks? >> a few thousand dollars, depending on the event. >> that's not bad considering some of the venues out there are worth a lot. that would be terrific, imagine being able to walk among the crystal and the china. so four boy scouts in upstate new york really made their good deed quota this week. they saved the lives of three men who were trapped under a building after a demolition project went really, really wrong. the scouts were return frging fa field trip to buffalo last weekend when they witnessed the potential disaster unfolding. >> i was scared because a man's leg was up by his shoulder. >> you just felt like you had to get those guys out from under that building. >> i got a 2 by 4, and i just put it underneath the rafters, and i just pulled up to try to get them to be able to breathe as soon as possible. >> way to go. scouts were able to hold the
debris off of the victims for ten whole minutes until the rescue units got there. a man in ohio now wears a helmet when he mows his lawn after a hawk swooped down and dug its talons right through his hat and into his skull. >> i was cutting the grass over there on the riding mower, and all of a sudden, i heard a noise. boom, it hit me. >> richard varvir had to get a tetanus shot. he and his wife say they literally don't want to ruffle any feathers and will cut down the tree after the hawk's eggs hatch and they leave the nest. >> that's nice they're waiting for the hawk's eggs to hatch. >> maybe he thought it was a big rabbit. >> that's some serious big prey if you're going after that. i've been attacked by a few birds when they have their babies in the nest close to where i'm from in canada. >> when hawks attack. >> these were sea gulls, and it scared me. a hawk would be a whole other kettle of fish. up next, 5:41 on the east
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president obama will land back in washington, d.c., in just a few hours after a quick surprise visit to afghanistan. the president met with troops, giving a speech, signing autographs. that after meeting with afghanistan president hamid karzai and inking an agreement outlining future cooperation between the two countries. once this u.s.-led international force withdraws in 2014. >> i will keep americans in harm's way a single day longer than is absolutely required for our national security. but we must finish the job we started in afghanistan and end
this war responsibly. >> cnn political editor paul ste steinhauser is live in washington this morning. good morning, sunshine. you're up early. we love to see you. how are the republicans reacting to president obama's trip? >> not too much criticism. i think congressman steve king of iowa were the only two i saw out there who were really critical of the president and criticizing his trip as being political. as for mitt romney, the presumptive republican presidential nominee, same thing, not very critical at all. in a statement put out last night, he said, "i am pleased that president obama has returned to afghanistan. our troops and the american people deserve to hear from our president about what's at stake in this war. success in afghanistan is vital to our nation's security." gone from that statement are his usual complaints about the president with regard to foreign policy. it seemed like mitt romney was letting president obama have his moment, his trip to afghanistan. the only other thing he could
say, it would be a tragedy for afghanistan to become a haven again for al qaeda. that's about the only maybe possible criticism. earlier in the day, christine, it was a different story. you saw mitt romney along the streets of new york city along with former mayor rudy giuliani at an impromptu sidewalk news conference. at that news conference he said it was very disappointing for the president to make this a political item by saying i wouldn't have ordered that same raid on bin laden had he been in the white house one year earlier. christine? >> a really busy day not ot campaign trail, paul. what should we be looking for? >> take a look at newt gingrich because finally newt gingrich is going to suspend that campaign. we've known about it for a week. he's going to have an event in suburban virginia, just outside washington, d.c., where he's expected to suspend the campaign. he'll also mention mitt romney and how important it is to back romney to defeat president obama
in november. but a coming joint event with gingrich and romney is down the road a bit. governor romney meeting with governor mcdonnell of virginia, someone considered maybe the running mate. >> and that parlor game just getting started. paul steinhauser. thanks, paul. >> it is 47 minutes past 5:00 on the east coast. time to check the stories making news. chinese activist chen guangcheng has left the u.s. embassy in beijing. he has been taken to a medical facility and will be reunited with his family. this according to a u.s. official and china's state-run media. there had been reports that chen was going to fly to d.c. with his family, but we just learned this hour from the state department that chen is going to be staying in china to study. that's the official word. secretary of state hillary clinton along with treasury secretary tim geithner are in beijing right now, just having arrived there, and they're getting ready for meetings with
chinese leaders, who now reportedly are demanding an apology from the u.s. for sheltering chen in the first place. a man accused of attempting to bomb new york's subway system as an al qaeda terrorist has been found guilty on all counts. they joined a plot outside a mosque in 2008. they were joined by convicted terrorist zazi. they traveled to pakistan for jihadist trading but came back to attempt an attack on u.s. soil. a drug suspect in california was mistakenly left alone, handcuffed in a holding cell for five days. get this. no food, no water. he's 24-year-old college student, and he was one of nine people he arrested in a raid in which 180,000 ecstasy pills were seized. stay tuned for more on that one. a new study claims the video
game tetris could prevent flashbacks from post-traumatic stress disorder. playing tetris puts strain on the brain that interferes with retaining difficult subject matter. they watched a violent film and then played tetris afterwards. those who did experienced less flashbacks after the film. it does suggest alternatives for treatment. >> that test sounds almost like a clockwork orange, being forced to watch violent films. it's interesting, isn't it? 45 minutes past 5:00. up next, a jumbo jet crashing, snapping in half in the desert. how on earth did we get this video? it was meant to do. this we'll tell you exactly why.
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welcome back. time to take a look at what's trending on the web. this is only a test. what a spectacular test. an analing 727 crashing and breaking into pieces during a controlled crash in an uninhabited part of the mexican tes ert. no one was on board this plane. the front half of the plane torn off. the back nearly intact for those who like to sit in seat 30b.
sometimes first class isn't always best. this was amateur video taken by an onlooker. the real footage taken from all angles, including inside, is going to air as part of a discovery channel special to see what it's really like when a jet goes down. the flight crew, if case you're wondering, parachuted out moments before this old plane went down. >> that's exactly what i was wondering. if no one was on board, who the heck brought this thing down? how did they know it was going to crash there with no one on board to guide it? what if it went on and on and on? >> that's incredible. ben sherwood wrote that book that talked about you can't really know where to sit because sometimes it crashes like that. survivor's club. it's fantastic. backlash brewing on twitter over the announcement that duran duran is going to headline the opening concert at the olympics. critics calling it a lazy and predictable choice. predictable?
what? they say, if this were the '84 games, maybe. saying it ignored the emerging music scene in england. i got you there. rest of the lineup was chosen to represent other parts of great britain, including snow patrol, good one, representing northern ireland, and then stereofonic n stereo-phonics, representing wales. on a baseball field in springfield, illinois. >> ooh, hits a bird. >> he didn't kill it. >> no. >> you heard it. a pitcher drilled a bird. might be a sign that he needs to work on his fastball because the bird actually kept going, dusting himself off, flying over the centerfield. >> you know what i'm amazed at, that the commentator caught that? hi to watch it on replay three times to actually catch that happening. commentator was on it. channel 1450.com, you are on the rise. up next on "early start,"
very big developments in beijing where the dissident named chen guangcheng is leaving the u.s. embassy, gonzo. why is china demanding an apology from america, and are we going to give it? tyler perry studios a three alarm inferno. ur doctor will say get smart about your weight. i tried weight loss plans... but their shakes aren't always made for people with diabetes. that's why there's glucerna hunger smart shakes. they have carb steady, with carbs that digest slowly to help minimize blood sugar spikes. and they have six grams of sugars. with fifteen grams of protein to help manage hunger... look who's getting smart about her weight. [ male announcer ] glucerna hunger smart. a smart way to help manage hunger and diabetes. [ female announcer ] nature valley granola bars, rich dark chocolate, toasted oats. perfect combinations of nature's delicious ingredients, from nature valley. ♪ nature valley granola bars, nature at its most delicious.
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good morning to you. welcome to "early start." i'm ashleigh banfield. >> and i'm christine romans. zoraida is off today. it is 6:00 a.m. in the east. let's get started. brand new information this morning about the escaped chinese activist in the middle of a fight between two super powers. we now know where he is. >> and speaking to a war weary
nation from the war zone itself, president obama saying it's almost over, folks. >> this time of war began in afghanistan, and this is where it will end. >> but are we any closer to the end than we were just two days ago? we'll take you live to kabul. land mines full of shrapnel found in luggage in an airport. what was a woman doing with them? just one minute before the top of the hour, we begin with new developments out of beijing on the case of that famous chinese dissident chen guangcheng. he has now left the u.s. embassy, where it's believed -- he has been sheltered for six days, now being confirmed, after having escaped arrest in china. there's speculation that chen wanted to come to the united states with his family, but now the state department is issuing a statement saying that chen is staying in china to study. all of this as secretary of state hillary clinton and treasury secretary timothy geithner are in beijing and
preparing for meetings with chinese leaders beginning thursday. still, it's not clear how the chen case might influence those talks because china is now reportedly demanding an apology from the united states for harboring chen in our embassy there. we're going to have a live report on this coming up a little later on in this hour. and new questions about america's longest war. . after a trip to afghanistan by the president that was supposed to sum them up. president obama saying one year after the death of osama bin laden that crushing al qaeda is within reach, but a car bomb that killed six people after air force one was wheels up was a tough reminder that there is still a long way to go. and we still don't know how much longer troops will be necessary or how much more it could cost. of course, the politics surrounding the story can't be avoided. we're covering all the angles this morning. cnn's peyton walsh in kabul. first to nic in kabul. good morning.
>> reporter: absolutely. two hours after air force one wheels left the tarmac, this loud blast rocked kabul. a suicide bomber driving a car of explosives in something called the green village here supposedly secure compound where many stay here. deep concerns about what happened afterwards. suggestions by some b officials the guards opened fire that perhaps there were other attackers that were trying to attack that compound. whatever happened, we're left with seven civilians dead, including one school child and ten school children injured in this melee that followed afterward. but this sends a clear message to afghans. there may have been a secure lockdown under the cover of darkness when the president of the united states came here to address the american people and explain to them how america can feel comfortable drawing a presence to the close, but for the afghans, the growing
insurgency, which just announced the spring offensive would begin tomorrow, still very much in evidence. >> here's what the president didn't mention last night. no specifics on troop levels, economic assistance, or status of diplomatic relations. nick, seems like this agreement is rather vague. >> we think it's symbolic because it's been so long to hammer out that it was supposedly two staunch allies. many are questioning why it took so long to hammer out in the first place, but great size of relief in kabul that they were able to put this together before the big nato summit led to this month where everyone's got to talk about what kind of contribution they want to make in the years ahead and after these frankly awful past four months disaster after disaster befalling the campaign. it was an important milestone that washington needed to set the path ahead for america's presence here. but the real concern as you say
is much left. we did get hints from the president that he wants to see a steady pace of troop reduction after the major surge withdrawn at the end of this summer. that will mean more soldiers coming home next year, frankly, and also the u.s. made it clear they'd like to see all troops in a non-combat role by the middle of next year. it's the pace of troop withdrawal that will happen after september this year. but as you also say, still questions remaining as to how much money is america committing in the years ahead and what exactly the troop numbers will be. that's where american lives are on the line, christine. >> and from nick paton walsh in afghanistan. the presidential candidate mitt romney is taking the high road on this visit. there are not that many folks, actually, who are speaking out. but there are some who are criticizing the president for this visit and also for what's not in the agreement. >> exactly. i should note, though, let's talk about what mitt romney said. this is the republican
presidential candidate. he and like other republicans refrained from criticizing the president. here's what he said. i'm pleased that president obama has returned to afghanistan, our troops and the american people deserve to hear from our president about what is at stake in this war. success in afghanistan is vital to our nation's security. now, mitt romney's comments were echoed by senator john mccain who as you know has not hesitated to criticize president obama on various topics over the years, but he refrained from doing that yesterday. let's listen to what he had to say to our own dana bash. >> so this is not spiking the football in the end zone as he said? >> no, i don't view it as that. and i wish the president would explain more often to the american people why afghanistan and its support that afghanistan not return to a base for attacks on the united states of america. >> reporter: and so mccain's comments kind of lead us into the criticism from the "new york times" editorial page. they said the white house set it up -- set the speech up yesterday as a big moment.
but the president squandered the chance to fully explain his exit strategy from a war americans are desperate to see brought to an end. now, of course, you heard nick walsh touch on the fact that in a few weeks the u.s. and allies will be meeting for the nato summit in chicago beginning to hash out some of the things going forward about troops and resources. we may not hear any hard numbers for some time. it took the u.s. and afghanistan 20 months to reach this agreement which people are criticizing as being vague. but about the speech last night, the "new york times" went on to criticize the president for not being more specific about how we'll help the afghans transition for a lead for security. how we'll train them or how president karzai's going to rein in corruption in his government. still a lot of big issues to be resolved. a lot of acute challenges we've heard described the situation in afghanistan. so all of that is to come. i think the white house would say this was a chance to begin
to talk about the end, but no one really expected the president to lay out, you know, have 45-minute speech yesterday while on the ground at bagram. >> story's not over today, not over for years. thank you. a woman from new jersey missed her flight at newark liberty international airport after tsa screeners found land mine casings in her luggage. experts were called into the checked bag area. she was on her way to a explosives demonstration. and a friendly reminder, the tsa says even replicas, even parts of explosives are not permitted on airplanes. 3 of the 12 secret service agents involved in the colombia prostitution scandal refused to take a lie detector test and were dismissed from the agency. nine others implicated in the scandal have taken the poly tests and according to peter king, those are the facts. chairman of the house homeland
security said none of them failed the test, but their responses led them to being discharged. it's the end of the road for newt gingrich. he officially exits the race for republican nomination this afternoon. he's expected to briefly mention his support for mitt romney and plans are in the works for a formal endorsement in the next few weeks. officials say a brush fire that blackened 158 acres in tampa earlier this week was apparently caused by a campfire that someone left burning behind on a golf course. that fire forced evacuations in the town of hudson, also closed the highway u.s. 19 for hours. coming up, caroliriminal ch on a case of hazing gone too far. and up in smoke, major fire in the empire created by a powerful film and television player. we'll tell you who, why, how, and whether it was resolved. you're watching "early start." what's the matter?
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11 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast and criminal charges are now expected in the death of florida a & m drum major. expected to announce those charges later on this afternoon. 26-year-old champion died back in november, you might remember. he was beaten on a bus. police say as part of a band hazing ritual. live in atlanta with the latest. and george, it's been months and months since all of this. why did it take so long to end up in this development? >> that is certainly a question the champion family will be asking today. we should hear from them around 2:00 p.m. eastern in this news conference. but today we have confirmed that
several people will be charged in this case. again, this happened back on november 19th. robert champion was onboard a bus with several other band members from florida a & m university, when according to the medical examiner's office he was beaten so severely to the arms, chest, and back, he went into shock and died from that beating. investigators believe it is a case of hazing. and now that raises several questions. the first, obviously, how many people will be charged in this case, ashleigh? remember, there were at least 30 people onboard the bus when this happened. 30 people who could be part of this. it'll be interesting to see how many people are charged and also what will the range of those charges be? we know that hazing is a felony in the state of florida. but could this be manslaughter? could it be a murder case? we have yet to see. we should learn more later today. but again, these are answers the family has been waiting for for a long time. listen to what pam champion had to say a few weeks back when she
was still in waiting for this. >> i think we've been patient enough, and we need to hear something kind of an answer because it's no real mystery. we know who were there. we have to get rid of the hazing. and the only way to do that is to send a strong message. that it won't be tolerated. so far, just look. has this strong message been sent? will it have to happen again? >> and i followed this story and followed the champion family for quite some time since this accident happened. and that is the point that he want to make. they want to make sure that the message prosecutors send is a strong message to any student, anyone considering hazing, ashleigh. >> and i know a lot of the details have been kept under wraps, but do we know at all that some of the people who were witness have been offered immunity in exchange for testimony that might have led to the arrest of others? >> at this point, prosecutors
are being very tight-lipped about the people that will be involved in this. we should learn some details here at 2:00 p.m. eastern. but that is definitely a question that we will want to ask. again, it will be very interesting to see how many people that were onboard this bus of some 30 people will be connected to this case. and one other thing i want to point out, the family got notice of this yesterday, but i'm told through their press person that they got notice a little later in the day and not enough time really to get in position for this. in fact, pam champion was traveling on business, so now the family is getting ready for this news conference that is set for later today, ashleigh. >> cnn's george howell in atlanta for the latest. thanks very much, george. just about 15 minutes past the hour. time to check the stories making news this morning. chinese dissident chen has left the embassy in beijing and has been taken to a medical facility. it is believed he was in the u.s. embassy for six days after he escaped house arrest.
according to china's state media, beijing is demanding an apology from the u.s. for sheltering him. five men arrested in that plot to blow up a bridge outside of cleveland, ohio. an investigator says at least three of them are self-proclaimed anarchists. an undercover fbi worker had been following this group since last fall. the c-4 explosive that the men allegedly attached to the bridge were fake. and the fbi says the public was never in any danger. a texas teenager brutally beaten by a fellow student and her mom says the school could've prevented it. pamela flower says she told officials her daughter was being threatened by another student. a principal promised to look into it but he says he forgot and it "slipped his mind." flower says that slip-up could've cost her daughter her life. >> he had enough time to stop it. pull her out of class, pull the other girl out of class and ask
them questions. >> her daughter was hit dozens of times with a sock filled with a combination lock. she was rushed to the emergency room, treated with multiple staples to her head. a fire at the tyler perry studios in atlanta has damaged two buildings causing one of them to partially collapse. no injuries were reported in the three-alarm fire. witnesses say the flames were raging out of the top of the four-story building. tyler perry is one of hollywood's busiest and successful entrepreneurs. he topped the forbes highest paid men list raking in $130 million in the 12 months beginning in 2010. and what are the odds, six winning $1 million power ball tickets sold by one gas station in glendale, arizona. >> really? >> only two of the winners have reportedly come forward. lottery officials can't explain it. they're not trying to. they say the winning tickets
were not quick picks. 4, 25, 29, 34, 43. but none of them had the power ball number, 29. >> that's the weirdest thing i've ever heard. >> yeah. >> i bet they're going to be overrun with people wanting to buy. >> glendale, arizona. >> check your tickets. >> check now. smithsonian is putting together a new exhibit honoring apple founder steve jobs. it's going to feature a special display of the 317 patents acquired by jobs before his death last year. the national museum of american history has contributed a 1985 apple mac intosh computer. >> i think i had one of those. >> i know, i still have one in the garage somewhere. buying a prosthetic arm could be like buying a pair of shoes. you may be able to pick one up in small, medium, or large. the story in this technovations. >> it's about like putting a backpack on.
very simple and very fast. >> bill taylor tested a new type of prosthetic arm that could give home to people around the world. created by a group of engineering students from the university of illinois, the arm does not have to be custom made. >> it's designed to be taken out of the box and off the shelf and fit to someone in less than 20 minutes. >> reporter: the technology makes the arm effective and affordable. and the device will cost less than $300. >> the socket is really the part where we've done our innovation. it uses both rigid plastic pieces and flexible cloth pieces. >> reporter: the students founded the non-profit ipt during their senior year in 2010 to help people who can't afford prosthetics. >> the vast majority of people who are in need of prosthetic care are living in developing countries. but the key for us will be partnering with aid organizations to get it out there and in the hands of people who can use it. >> reporter: the group is working with amputees in
guatemala to test the device. >> everyone has the right to access to prosthetic care. we can allow people to regain independence they may have lost by losing their limb. >> that's cool. all right. get ready for the facebook road show. coming up, how mark zuckerburg reportedly plans to hype his company's upcoming ipo. >> you don't say? ♪ ♪ why do you whisper, green grass? ♪ [ all ] shh! ♪ why tell the trees what ain't so? ♪ [ male announcer ] dow solutions use vibration reduction technology to help reduce track noise so trains move quieter through urban areas all over the world. together, the elements of science and the human element can solve anything.
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i get my cancer medications through the mail. now washington, they're looking at shutting down post offices coast to coast. closing plants is not the answer. they want to cut 100,000 jobs. it's gonna cost us more, and the service is gonna be less. we could lose clientele because of increased mailing times. the ripple effect is going to be devastating. congress created the problem. and if our legislators get on the ball, they can make the right decisions.
i tell you what i can spend. i do my best to make it work. i'm back on the road safely. and i saved you money on brakes. that's personal pricing. it is 22 membership minutes past 6:00. and dow jones closing at a four-year high yesterday. >> i get confused because every so often we get, oh, it was the worst month of the year, a
terrible week, and now this report today. that was a big jump. >> it was a good manufacturing jump. manufacturing is about 12% of the u.s. economy. if there was a strong manufacturing number and fed presidents don't think there's going to be a severe slowdown in the u.s. here. at least there's not evidence of it. and that was enough. >> it wasn't official. just in speeches? >> couple of fed speeches. when you look at the dow. stocks are back up where they were in december 2007. >> man. >> think about that. that was the first month of the recession. >> right. right. >> take yourself back. we didn't know it was a recession then. >> aren't you glad you were listening in? >> it's important to know because all three meant for a good start to the month. and that leads us to the one thing you need to know from christine romans. >> right. about your money. you've been watching stocks go up and hopefully you've been enjoying it. average 401(k) balances rose 8%. >> that's a lot. >> are you more than that or less than that? think of that and wonder where you are. fidelity says people are putting
more money into their retirement accounts. a lot of growth was from the strong stock market, the rest was from you at home and your employer adding more money to your 401(k). the one thing you need to know about your money today, make sure you're invested in your 401(k). and if you are, please, please take a look at your risk profile and make sure that you are weighted the right way. you've got bond stocks, a little bit of cash, you've got the right weighting for your age and your risk. i'm going to tweet something right this second that will help you, a quiz that will help you decide how you'll be weighted. >> and that's a hard question for people. because the circumstances change. last month to this month, there are phone numbers for people to call. they should take advantage of those. >> absolutely. >> let's talk about facebook. that social network's ipo is coming at us. >> other big story this morning. the "wall street journal" reporting citing company sources the company shares will begin trading publicly may 18th. mark your calendar. the journal also reporting the road show to shop the stock to investors will kick off on
monday. and by investors, they're not shopping it to you, to the big banks and the big mutual fund companies. on its about page, you're going to see the company's mission statement. it's "to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." how is that for that mission statement? the question now is, will they be able to live up to this as a public company? no question the company's growing like crazy. 900 million users, 526 million log in every day. and last night, the company anounsed on the developer blog that it pushed 160 million people from mobile apps from its site. just another little bit of information for people to try to figure out how much money this company's making -- >> critical. >> what the -- what it's going to look like going forward. >> we don't get to buy that. we don't get to buy it when it comes out, we've got to wait a while. the little guys. >> the little guys, yeah. and when we get closer, i'll give you tips about what little guys should do about facebook stock. but this is a story about what
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florida a & m drum major champion. a news conference this afternoon. five band members facing possible felonies. and land mines full of shrapnel found in luggage at newark airport. the tsa says they did not contain any explosives or detonators. a woman told them she was headed to an explosives demonstration and was allowed to get on another flight without the weapons. ashleigh? >> christine, thank you. after a surprise trip to afghanistan, president obama announced an agreement with the afghan government that outlines our relationship with them after we withdraw in 2014. trouble is, not a lot of details and there's criticism because of that. the president says the pact is a statement of america's commitment to fighting terrorism. >> we're building an enduring partnership. the agreement we sign today sends a clear message to the afghan people.
as you stand up, you will not stand alone. it establishes the basis for our cooperation over the next decade, including shared commitments to combat terrorism and strengthen democratic institutions. >> joining me now from tampa is former cia senior operations officer gary bernstein. all right, gary, so what's critical here as you stand up, you will not stand alone. those words stood out to me critically because there's a long history of people bugging out of afghanistan and leaving a mess behind like a petri dish. >> yes, good morning. one of the statements, of course, are central to that agreement is the cost of this commitment, which will be for the next ten years, 2014 out to 2024. and we're talking about a bill of about $40 billion. president karzai wanted this included in the agreement, the american side didn't want to do this.
i would say to the president, to president obama, that he needs to take a play out of george herbert walker bush's plan from 1991 in the gulf war, and that is get others to pay for this. make this a multi-lateral agreement. during that conflict, 1991, 2/3 of the conflict was paid for by the saudis, the uae. this is their neighborhood. we need to leverage the qataris, the uae, and to get them to pay for the cost of the afghan security forces, that's $40 billion. >> that's easier said than done, though. >> it's not going to be that difficult. >> you don't think it's difficult? >> it should not be that difficult. this is a drop in the bucket for those countries. they have the funds for this. nato, and if you look at europe, and if you look at the financial crisis, there is going to be a very, very heavy lift for them. if you looked at the qatari investment authority, their sovereign wealth funds. they've got the money. they can do this.
>> what's in it for them? if they're going to sign onboard with the americans and pick up the tab for this ten years plus, what's in it for them if we don't give up a lot of our -- let's say, i don't know, authority to do things like drone strikes? >> look, the u.s. has -- is going to be there and it's going to be spending a fortune already, ashleigh, with u.s. forces on the ground, people will be there for a long time committed to this fight. they have a vested interest in the region, they are our partners in the region, we are assisting them in the persian gulf defending them against iran and other potential threats. this is something -- and the qataris entered this a year and a half ago, they are attempting to do negotiations between the taliban and the afghans. they've willingly entered the process. we need to continue to engage them. they'll help. >> here's a deeper question about strategy and what it takes on the ground. because you were there 2001, i
keep wondering if it was you i saw in one of those ford pickup trucks. but you as well as anybody who did boots on the ground there know, it is different. it is very different when you are in disguise and people don't think you're a troop. you can do a lot more. and you have a solution that you think is better than troops. it more talks about dirty intel, getting people inside well informed with a mission as opposed to just a lot of guns. >> well, i think what you're going to see is going to be there with a much smaller footprint, and i think you'll probably wind up having teams in areas that will be attached to the afghan regional commands. the afghans will have five, you know, regional commands around the country that will do that. and you'll have to have socom people, state department people, you'll need teams that will work with the afghans to do this. the footprint should be much, much smaller than it is now. we have too many people on the ground. this is essentially we're breaking the bank by doing it the way we're doing it.
and we're not getting the bang for the buck. we don't need the footprint that we have. and i'm very, very confident that socom will come up with the formula. they've been the ones that have been tasked to do this. and they'll come up with an acceptable formula for this and we'll be able to have a significant draw down. we're not going to solve afghanistan's problems completely. what we need to do is allow them to hold their own ground. pakistan is the problem, you've got 24 militant groups operating on the pakistani side of that border. this is a long conflict. and we have to be able to sustain this and maintain the support of the american people, you know, in this commitment. and we're not going to be able to sustain that support with 100,000 people there. >> and i think you and i have to have a whole other interview about pakistan alone and the drone strikes in the future. >> huge problem. >> and it's great to talk to you about this. and i appreciate your savvy. thanks, gary. >> good morning. >> back to you, christine. shocking cell phone video of a cabby running over a man in
montreal. this followed a fight between the taxi driver and a group of people on the street. the guy was run down was seen kicking this cab door before the driver hit the gas. the driver was charged with assault and hit-and-run. a man in ohio now wears a helmet when he mows his lawn after a hawk swooped down and dug his talons right through his hat and into his skull. >> cutting the grass over there -- >> on the riding mower. >> and all of a sudden i heard a noise, boom, it hit me. >> richard had to get a tetanus shot. he and his wife say they literally don't want to ruffle any feathers and will cut down the tree after the hawk's eggs hatch and they leave the nest. >> and more hawks in the yard. >> and wear a little silver bike helmet -- >> good idea. and still ahead on "early start," the death of osama bin laden becoming a big political issue for the president.
is he as some accuse spiking the football? or is he taking due credit? we'll talk. and first, a quick weather update with rob marciano. good morning. >> good morning, again, guys. the threat for severe weather today. starts at the delmarva and across the warm front toward detroit, chicago, and oklahoma. the other big risk story is the amount of heat building in the atmosphere. record highs across the south, now moving into the central plains and up toward chicago, anywhere from 15 to 20 degrees above average. and this is sneaking into d.c., as well. daytime highs today, though, will be cooler in places like new york and boston. you'll stay in the 50s. but 80-degree weather will be in the offing on friday. 83 expected today in chicago. "early start" is coming right back. ♪ we were skipping stones and letting go ♪
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41 minutes past the hour. there's washington, d.c., it's 67 right now. scattered storms, 84 later today. d.c. will be a good 25 degrees warmer than it will be further up the coast. secretary of state hillary clinton is in china for important strategic talks between the world's two biggest economic powers, but those meetings may be overshadowed by an escaped, blind, dissident. spending more than four years in prison for his campaign exposing forced abortions and sterilizations in china. he is a symbol of the human rights fight in this country.
now, he fled house arrest in a daring nighttime escape recently. he's currently seeking asylum at the u.s. embassy. chen is being treated at a medical facility and will be reunited with his family. jill dougherty live in beijing. good morning. what can you tell us about his situation right now? >> hey, christine. i'll tell you, this is an extraordinary story. there's no question. because this was such a diplomatic problem as hillary clinton arrived in beijing. and then, quickly after a lot of very, very intense negotiations, a solution has been worked out. and just about an hour ago, we got a briefing with some amazing details by two senior administration officials who painted this picture. as you mentioned, mr. chen is blind. and when he was escaping from the house where he lived, he had to climb -- literally climb over a wall and then several other walls and he was injured in that process. he hurt his foot. and he at this point is on a
crutch. so when he came to the american embassy, they allowed him in on a humanitarian basis. it was supposed to be temporary, and these administration officials, one of them, admit that the u.s. did assist in entry into the embassy. so then, negotiations, intense negotiations and what comes out of it? mr. chen now will be able to -- he has left the embassy. he's in a hospital, his family is being reunited with him. and he's going to get proper care. there are american doctors, chinese doctors who are working on his case. and then what does he do? according to the agreement, there are no legal issues anymore. and he's free with his family to go to a secure location of his choice to study and he has several choices of where he would like to go to school. you know, he was never able to study. and all of this becoming a lawyer, he did on his own. and the other thing, according to this agreement, christine,
and this is important, the chinese central authorities are going to investigate how it was handled by the local authorities. that is very, very important. and so there were rumors that mr. chen might want to come to the united states. at this point, everyone is saying he will stay here. and then another interesting detail as they're coming out of the embassy, he had agreed, yep, let's go. they get into the van and these officials who have been working for like six days without no sleep realize they had left their cell phones back in the embassy. they got a phone and what he wanted to do was call hillary clinton, secretary of state. so they arranged that call with another phone and he spoke to her, thanked her for the attention this has been getting in the united states and, in fact, around the world. and then we were told in broken english he said i want to kiss you. so there were a lot of personal details coming out of this. but so far, it's an amazing
resolution of a very, very delicate situation. >> and both sides clearly wanted a resolution so they could focus on the economic issues and the strategic regional issues they're trying to face when they meet beginning later today. thank you so much, jill. ashleigh? >> thank you. it's 45 minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. and a top adviser for mitt romney is leaving the campaign amid a storm of controversy too. richard grinnell was hired less than two weeks ago. the romney camp says he's resigned for personal reasons. but grinnell managed to upset some on the right and the left. he was scrutinized by conservatives for being openly gay and slammed for twitter remarks that took jabs at democratic women for their physical appearances. in cash-strapped california, the governor's mansion is now up for rent. yes, you too could throw a fancy party at a place where ronald reagan raised his kids. all for the low, low price of a
few thousand dollars, it's 14,000 square feet, a brand new pool and a spiral staircase. and if you're wondering about the history, it is a home that housed 13 of the state's former governors currently open for tours, as well and absolutely lovely. >> i'll take it. >> nice place for a wedding, right? soledad o'brien with a look at what's ahead. >> a lot going on. a serious look at president obama's trip this morning. the terror threat a year after bin laden. and also, take a look at the tactics used to prevent attacks. we're going to talk to the ex-cia official who says enhanced security was key. he's in trouble for not turning off all his electronic devices on the plane. you remember that passenger who brought the footage and shared it with the airline. he's gotten a letter, legal-ish letter from the faa, we'll tell you what it says. the royal wedding fairy tale come to life.
and this man had a front-row seat to it. that man was in the wedding, but this man, the dean of westminster abbey will join us to talk about that day. also they do funerals, as well, obviously. and he'll tell us how the iconic church is getting ready for those massive crowds they are expecting for the olympics. if you're headed to work, you can also follow us on our live blog at cnn.com/startingpoint. back to you. chords ] [ man announcing ] what we created here. what we achieved here. what we learned here. and what we pioneered here. all goes here. the one. the accord. smarter thinking from honda.
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50 minutes after the hour. time to check stories making news this morning. the chinese activist has left the u.s. embassy in beijing, he's been taken to a hospital to be treated for an injury during his escape. there was speculation chen was going to fly to washington with his family, but the state department says, no, he is staying in china to study no more house arrest. and a deadly blast and gunfire in kabul just after president obama's secret visit to afghanistan. seven people killed, several more injured, a suicide car
bomber, and taliban militants reportedly disguised in women's birkas. the wife of the senator's former aide explaining yesterday why she videotaped the home and the possessions of edwards' mistress rielle hunter in 2008. she told the court she videotaped all this. her family's relationship with edwards had soured. she felt she needed proof there really was a rielle hunter. and part of a las vegas strip was closed to the traffic for this. demolition of a casino parking garage. seven stories down. that's a garage at o'shea's casino. it was leveled yesterday in a matter of seconds. the explosives doing the trick. it's being torn down to make way for a brand new project that is supposed to include shopping, dining, and a giant observation
wheel. not sure what an observation wheel is. i'm assuming it's one of those f f ferris wheels. you can feel the music. an arkansas high school student who is completely deaf has been selected to join the marching band. the university of arkansas at fayetteville. mitchell moore beat out 60 others for a spot on the razorback marching band and will be on the symbol line in his freshman year. >> i am completely deaf without these cochlear implants, i can't hear anything at all. >> like a lot of kids, he would drag the pots and pans out and spend a lot of time making racket. >> you can feel that, right? so i play that when i play it, i'm going to feel that, so that helps me keep time when i play, as well. >> just incredible. >> percussion is all about feeling. >> mitchell started playing drums when he was 3 years old. >> that gives me goosebumps seeing a story like that. it's seven minutes before the hour, folks. some really good video of a jumbo jet crash and the jumbo
jet snaps in half in the desert. why is it okay to watch this and not be worried? you might be a bit surprised how this came down and why. you're watching "early start." o? i have to be a tree in the school play. good. you like trees. well, i like climbing them, but i've never been one. good point. ( captain ) this is your captain speaking. annie gets to be the princess. oh... but she has to kiss a boy. and he's dressed up like a big green frog ! ewww. ( announcer ) fly without putting your life on pause. be yourself nonstop. american airlines. departure. hertz gold plus rewards also offers ereturn--
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all right. welcome back, time to take a look at what's trending on the web. and this is only a test, but one spectacular test. an aging 727 crashing and breaking into pieces during a controlled crash. a controlled crash in an uninhabited portion of the desert. the front half torn off, the back nearly intact. see the way it crashes?
this was amateur video by an onlooker. real footage taken from all angles will air as part of a discovery channel special. the flight crew parachuted out moments before it went down. >> you've got to wonder. >> why would you crash a perfectly good plane? so we can all watch it on a discovery channel special later on. and this is from somebody who happened to be watching, i guess. >> don't assume that every plane crash you lose the front of the plane. get a seat close to the exit. if you're looking for the most strategic place to survive a crash, close to the exit. backlash brewing over twitter for the announcement that duran duran, yes, duran duran is going to head the opening olympic concert in london. yeah, i'm back in the '80s already. critics are calling this a lazy choice. the rest of the lineup was chosen to represent parts of
great britain including snow patrol and stereophonics from wales, but the haters are saying, really? duran duran, and i'm like, yeah, come on. feathers flying on a high school baseball field in springfield, illinois. >> didn't kill it. >> that's right. you heard it. a pitcher drilled a bird. the little bird was right in the path. might be a sign he needs to work on his fastball, the bird actually kept going dusting himself off and flying over the center field fence. >> maybe the video's not as good as the scene. whoever was doing the play-by-play on channel 1450.com because he caught it live and did the commentary live. >> you hear that terrible cliche, the feathers were flying. whatever. but in this particular case, it works. hey, that's it, we're out of
time because we could go for hours. that's the news from a to z. i'm ashleigh banfield. good morning, soledad. our starting point this morning, end game in afghanistan. >> this time of war began in afghanistan, and this is where it will end. >> the president says the u.s. is closer to crushing al qaeda, but not a lot of specifics on when or how much more it's going to cost. was the trip overseas a campaign tactic? and hillary clinton arrives in china as new information comes in about the escaped chinese activist in the middle of a fight between the two super powers. we now know he was in u.s. hands and where he's going. plus, in defense of waterboarding. some say it's cruel and unusual, and it doesn't work to fight terrorism. but a former cia operative who waterboarde