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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
7,000 Dental Patients Warned of HIV; North Korean Threats At South Korea; Six Charged in Georgia Baby's Death; Lawsuit Over Michael Jackson's Death; Congressman Apologizes for Slur; Nation's Obesity Crisis; Humans Raising Baby Gorilla
Aired March 30, 2013 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Eight o'clock on the East Coast, 5:00 out West.
Good to have you with us this morning.
Health officials in Oklahoma are offering free HIV and hepatitis tests today to as many as 7,000 patients of Dr. Scott Harrington. The dentist and oral surgeon has stopped practicing after health inspectors found what they called sickening conditions in his office, including filthy, rusty dental tools.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: They say some of his staffers were unlicensed and that he may have given patients expired drugs.
CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti, she's in Tulsa this morning.
Good morning Susan. How are today's screenings going to work?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In about three hours from now, they invited as many as 7,000 people you mentioned already. They're expecting maybe hundreds of people to show up this day as they begin these tests. People will register inside the building that you see over my shoulder and then they will be taken in to give three blood samples, one for hepatitis B, for C, and the test also for HIV.
And these are all people that are former patients of Dr. Scott Harrington, who is currently facing 17 complaints filed by the state board of registry. It will take about two to three weeks for these former patients of his and current patients of his to get the test results. So it's going to be a very uneasy time for them, as you can imagine and we spoke with one of the people who will be tested.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLTON SCOTT, FORMER PATIENT OF TULSA DENTIST: We're all very concerned and you know, apprehensive. We just don't know until we actually do get tested whether or not -- it's just one of those things but we're all very concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: I'm sure they're all concerned, Susan. They obviously had no idea this was going on. Who found out about it? How did authorities discover this?
CANDIOTTI: Well, it came to light after a doctor noticed that his patient diagnosed with HIV and with hepatitis C and, of course, you always try to find out how did you contract this. And they traced his movements, his actions, his life back to a visit to this oral surgeon, Dr. Scott Harrington. That's what prompted inspectors to go in and that's when they found all these, as they call them, deplorable conditions inside that office.
Dr. Harrington has been unreachable by CNN. We've tried him. We've tried his lawyer. He does have a clean record according to authorities. He's been practicing for 35 years, but the state board of registry is very concerned and also the district attorney here in the area, in Tulsa is also looking at the possibility of criminal charges that he might face as well as some of his dental assistants who were allegedly administering sedation to some of these patients without being properly licensed.
KOSIK: Susan, I can only imagine what these patients are thinking right now, what they're going through as they wait for these results and get screened today.
Susan Candiotti, thank you.
BLACKWELL: Two suspects have pleaded not guilty to charges they killed a Chicago teenager days after she performed at President Obama's inauguration festivities. Do you remember the name Hadiya Pendleton? She's 15 years old, she was 15 years old. She was killed about a mile from the Obama Chicago home.
Police say the suspects wanted revenge against a rival gang and shot Pendleton in a case of mistaken identity. The accused shooter faces more than 140 counts of murder. His attorney says that's extreme and that prosecutors are trying this case in the media.
KOSIK: An update now to a story we've been following on CNN, a Phoenix judge has sentenced George Sanders to two years of unsupervised probation. The World War II vet pleaded guilty to the shooting death of his 81-year old wife Virginia. Sanders says he shot her in November at her request as an act of mercy. She had been suffering from multiple sclerosis for many years.
BLACKWELL: A former NFL player is coming out and opening up about his sexuality for the first time. We're talking about Kwame Harris, a former offensive tackle for the '49s and Raiders. This year, he was outed in the media after an alleged fight with an ex-boyfriend.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, he talked about the challenges of hiding his sexuality in the NFL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KWAME HARRIS, FORMER NFL PLAYER: You want to escape the stare, this turmoil and maybe your mind goes to dark places sometimes, but I would just say that I'm happy today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Not one player currently in the NFL is openly gay, but Harris says he wants gay athletes to know they are not alone.
KOSIK: Nelson Mandela is resting comfortably in the hospital this morning. A statement from the president's office said that the soon to be 95-year old was admitted this week because of pneumonia. Doctors say the treatment is going well and he's able to breathe without any difficulty.
The statement went on to say that the presidency wishes to acknowledge and thank all who have been praying for and sending messages of support to him and his family.
BLACKWELL: One of Massachusetts's most wanted is behind bars this morning after almost 35 years on the run. Authorities say Gary Allen Irving ran off in 1978 after he was convicted of raping three young women. New leads led police this week to a small town, Gorham, Maine and that's where they found Irving. He's 52 now. He was just sitting there, watching TV with his wife and his grandchild. He's due back in court on Monday.
Now to North Korea and (INAUDIBLE) from the secret (INAUDIBLE) growing louder. They say they are in a state of war with South Korea.
BLACKWELL: Here's the response from the White House. "We take these threats seriously and remain in close contact with our South Korean allies, but we would also note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats."
And today's announcement follows that familiar pattern.
KOSIK: CNN international's Jim Clancy is live in Seoul, South Korea.
Jim, is South Korea on any special alert if any because of these threats from North Korea?
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL: They have to be on alert. They have to be on the edge so to speak because they are used to this.
I don't think the general population considers this threat. They've heard it all before. They believe they're being pressured once again by the north to get money, to get food, to get assistance that would help prop up the regime. But at the same time, they do have to take it very seriously. This is a formidable military force.
One of the things that binds these two countries, they had some growing trade that was amounting to about $2 billion next year. Now the North is threatening to cut that off.
There is an industrial park right north of the Demilitarized Zone where some 123 South Korean firms employ about 50,000 North Koreans. The North Koreans are upset because they think the South is ridiculing them. Saying that, look, with all the threats they still keep it open. But the regime, they rake in millions of dollars in hard currency and they don't want to give it up. That's what this is all about. The North is saying tonight they can cut that off.
By the way, they're also saying that they put their strategic missile forces on the highest state of alert. Sound familiar? That's because that's exactly what they said about two days ago here, but they're repeating those threats, keeping the temperature dialed right up -- Victor, Alison.
BLACKWELL: Jim, we saw the photographs just a few seconds ago of Kim Jong-Un with of his four generals behind him and in that map in the background it talks about targets in the U.S.
What is the likelihood that Kim Jong-Un and his army could pull that off?
CLANCY: In a word, zero. They cannot hit the U.S. mainland with what they have now. If they were to launch that missile that they put up to put a satellite in orbit, they'd manage to do that successfully, they would have to leave it on the launch pad probably 10 days as they fueled it up. They simply don't have the capability. They're too vulnerable.
But they do have medium and long-range missiles. They have a range of about 1,300 miles the longest ones and that does put Guam, it puts Japan within range. Those missiles work and there are concerns over that.
The concerns are also over the more low level things that they could do, the cyber attacks like we saw in the banks, the incident like the Cheonan that was sunk with a loss of 46 sailors' lives back in 2010. Those are the things that South Korea and the U.S. are keeping a close eye on tonight.
BLACKWELL: Jim Clancy in Seoul, South Korea, for us, thank you.
KOSIK: We've got much more ahead this hour.
BLACKWELL: Here is a look at what's coming up.
KOSIK: The unthinkable crime that shocked a small Georgia town, a 13- month-old baby shot dead in his stroller. Police say they have their two suspects, so why have six people now been arrested?
Plus, who's really responsible for Michael Jackson's death? His mom, Katherine, says she knows. Now she's suing for billions.
And her mom didn't want her, so humans stepped in, 10 of them, raising this adorable two-month-old gorilla. Wait until you see how they're doing it.
BLACKWELL: A rare collection of letters will be up for auction in late May. An anonymous donor is selling 250 letters including an angry note from John Lennon to Paul McCartney after The Beatles broke up.
The letter generating the biggest interest is from Marilyn Monroe. The actress penned a note to her mentor just before her suicide in '62. She wrote this, "I'm still lost. I mean, I can't get myself together. I sound crazy, but I think I'm going crazy."
The items will be exhibited April 8th through the 16th at the Douglas Hillman Gallery in New York City.
KOSIK: Now this case just gets stranger by the day. Six people now face charges in the shooting death of a baby in his stroller. This happened in broad daylight in Brunswick, Georgia, last week. Two teenagers are accused of murder. Also charged in the case, the mother, sister and aunt of one of the suspects and a city official.
Victor, you were there in Brunswick. What are people saying about this? How afraid are they?
BLACKWELL: Well I don't know if it's fear, it's definitely concern and it's something that the police chief there says people should be concerned because someone walked up to a mother and her child, shot the child in the face, shot the mother twice. The question here is, is this something that's organized? Is this gang related?
We asked the chief and he told us that that is being explored, but he also said this about why this happened. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF MATT DOERING, GLYNN COUNTY POLICE: We believe that the location and the victim were both random.
KEVIN GOUGH, ATTORNEY FOR DE'MARQUISE ELKINS: It seems odd two individuals, whoever they are, so desperate to rob someone, who wouldn't have appeared to have any money and going to the trouble of shooting two people, would then leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: So a city commissioner was also arrested in this investigation, but how is he connected?
BLACKWELL: His name is James Brooks. This is a tertiary arrest because you have the charges for the two boys who are accused of being involved in the shooting. Then you have the mother and the sister and the aunt who were involved, police say with the cover-up.
This man you see here highlighted is talking to one of the women who came out and told them allegedly, you don't have to talk to police. So that's his connection here. He's charged with interfering with the investigation, interfering with an officer, so he was in jail. He's now bonded out.
But, yes, he's also -- we're told by his wife, I spoke with her yesterday -- distant relatives of this family. Now, she couldn't say exactly how. She really said there's kin in there somewhere but they are related in some way.
KOSIK: One of the suspects was charged with another robbery, right?
BLACKWELL: That was part of the indictment that was really a surprise. He's charged with using the same weapon, a .22 caliber revolver, the alleged murder weapon about a week before in an attempted armed robbery.
They say that the man on the left of your screen here, he's 17, actually seen as a man now charged as an adult, De'Marquise Elkins used that gun to try to rob a man, so he's facing those charges and they're saying they're now looking into more crimes in that area, too, to see if he was involved.
KOSIK: It's just crazy. You wonder what's going on in our society.
BLACKWELL: And more and more people getting caught up in the storyline. So we're following close.
KOSIK: On and on. Let's move on. The family of superstar Michael Jackson goes after the concert promoter they say is responsible for his death and it's a huge lawsuit worth billions of dollars.
BLACKWELL: Yes, tweet me, that would be nice.
KOSIK: I'll tweet you.
BLACKWELL: Thank you.
KOSIK: This is kind of sad in my opinion. I loved watching "America's Most Wanted", but now looks like criminals across the country will be getting a bit of a break because the Lifetime Network is canceling the show, "America's Most Wanted."
In 25 years on the year, AMW has been linked to the capture of more than 1,100 fugitives. Fox dropped the show a couple of years ago because of poor ratings. "Most Wanted" host John Walsh, he's now developing a different kind of show for Lifetime.
BLACKWELL: Interesting to see what that will be.
Comedian Jim Carrey, he's firing back at conservative critics who have been hammering him over this video. Have you seen it? In this video Carrey pokes fun at late actor Charlton Heston and gun owners. He's now taking aim at Fox News. He calls them a media colostomy bag. Critics have called Carrey disrespectful for making fun of Heston in the gun control video.
Michael Jackson's mother, she is suing concert promoter AEG Live for the wrongful death of her son during his final comeback tour, "This Is It" tour. The heart of the lawsuit is Michael's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray. If the promoter is found liable, billions of dollars, maybe tens of billions of dollars could be at stake and I asked HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell if this is about the money or about holding someone accountable for Michael's death.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, HLN'S JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think that it's financial and it's emotional. Dr. Conrad Murray could be out in a couple of years and Katherine lost a son. These kids lost a dad and the world lost the king of pop and I don't think it feels like real justice for them. They want more justice, so they're going into civil court where the currency for justice is money and they are seeking a lot of it, some say this could be if it goes in their favor billions for them.
BLACKWELL: Speaking of the courtroom, Conrad Murray has never sat in that box where he would have to testify, never spoken under oath about the singer's death which occurred on his watch. If he refuses to do this again in the upcoming trial which he said he will, how does the trial suffer? How does the family suffer?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don't think it suffers that much in the sense that Dr. Conrad Murray does not have a lot of credibility. Remember, this is the man who used a surgical knockout drug that is only supposed to be administered in an operating room in a bedroom, to somebody who needed to sleep. He's also somebody who lied to paramedics. He lied to doctors, so I don't think he has a lot of credibility. I don't think his word means very much, so I don't think it matters that much.
BLACKWELL: The Jacksons' claim is that AEG Live negligently hired Conrad Murray. Lawyers on both sides arguing about who paid him, but the family says they have an e-mail proving that AEG Live was paying Dr. Murray's salary. Is this the smoking gun?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you'd think this would be a very simple case, right, Jacksons say AEG hired Dr. Conrad Murray and therefore they're responsible for the terrible things that happened.
When it comes to Michael Jackson, nothing is ever simple. It turns out that even though Dr. Conrad Murray was supposed to be making a lot of money, $150,000 a month, he was never paid a penny. There was reportedly some sort of contract floating around, but it was never signed. Michael Jackson died before it was signed. So that's why it's so very complicated.
And then you supposedly do have this smoking gun email where an executive at AEG allegedly says something to the effect of we're his boss, but we'll see. Let's see what happens in the trial. Having covered many cases involving Michael Jackson, it's never, ever simple.
BLACKWELL: We've seen a lot more of Jackson's children since his death and we know that Prince, Blanket, Paris, along with his mother, Katherine Jackson, expected to testify. What other than the obvious emotion do they add to this? What do we expect to hear from them?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think the key is the irresponsible way that Dr. Conrad Murray behaved. Once he found out that something was terribly amiss with Michael Jackson, instead of immediately calling 911 and calling for paramedics, who does he call? He calls for a child, namely Prince.
And Prince can talk about that. Prince can really lay out the chaos and the horror of that day. These kids, some people don't give them as much compassion as they should because they're rich and they're famous, but they went through a horribly traumatizing experience and somebody should pay for that.
BLACKWELL: Jane, I know you're going to be following this trial. You got a lot on your plate with Oscar Pistorius and Jodi Arias, but we always turn to you for these. Thank you so much, Jane Velez-Mitchell.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much.
KOSIK: This, Victor, is going to be an interesting trial to watch not only because of what the lawsuit is about, but two of the three kids are going to take the stand and we're going to hear them, their account of what happened.
BLACKWELL: And there's going to be the emotion as Jane said that Dr. Conrad Murray went then to talk to one of the children and imagine being in that home, at that point maybe not knowing what was happening, but now having to relive that on the stand. The other thing, the estimates are that Katherine Jackson and the kids could get up to $40 billion.
KOSIK: Big money.
BLACKWELL: When you think about, one, Katherine Jackson is going to be fine. The Jackson generation we grew up with they're going to be fine. Generations of Jacksons are going to be fine. Maybe this is, as Jane said, not so much about the money. It's about holding someone accountable. She lost a child, so we'll see.
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson trial, you know you can watch our sister network HLN week nights. Jane covers these trials like no one else, 7:00 Eastern.
KOSIK: An Oklahoma dentist stops seeing patients after health inspectors find his office is filth. Criminal charges and thousands of lawsuits, all next.
KOSIK: It's almost half past the hour right now. Welcome back. I'm Alison Kosik.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thanks for starting your day with us. We appreciate it. Let's start with five stories we're watching this morning.
And number one, North Korea. The government says it's now in a state of war with South Korea. They have said that they have pointed their missiles at targets in the U.S. as well. It's the latest round of threats from North Korea. This time, they're upset with the U.S. for sending B-2 bombers to South Korea for military drills. So we will have a lot of this story all morning.
KOSIK: Thirty-five educators in Atlanta have been indicted in one of the biggest cheating scandals to hit the nation's public school system. They face charges of corruption and racketeering, accused of fabricating test scores for years and profiting from it. That includes former Superintendent Beverly Hall who once won national superintendent of the year. She faces up to 45 years in prison.
BLACKWELL: Third story is in New York. That iconic cross found in the rubble of the World Trade Center attacks will be allowed in a 9/11 museum. A New York judge tossed out a lawsuit from an atheist group that claimed that enshrining the cross was mixing church and state. The cross is really two intersecting steel beams that stayed together after the twin towers collapsed. The judge says displaying the cross is allowed because of its historical importance.
KOSIK: Number four a stranger on the Philadelphia subway saves a man who falls on to the track, this surveillance tape shows the victim stepped right off the platform and then this man, 32-year-old Chris Knofel rushes over and jumps after him, Knofel got other passengers to alert subway workers to stop the train. Then he kept the man still so he wouldn't touch the voltage the high voltage third rail. The victim is expected to be ok. Knofel said he was just paying it forward.
BLACKWELL: We're going to Tennessee for the fifth story. A police now in Memphis are shutting down parts of the city for a KKK rally this afternoon; there's also an anti-KKK rally scheduled nearby. People are taking part in either rally will have to go through a security check before going into their cordoned off areas and yes, there's also an Easter egg hunt scheduled for the kids.
KOSIK: We told you earlier about a dentist and oral surgeon in Oklahoma whose filthy tools in the office may have exposed as many as 7,000 patients to HIV and hepatitis. State health inspectors say Dr. Scott Harrington also hired unlicensed staffers and may have given patients expired drugs.
So let's bring in CNN legal contributor Paul Callan. Good morning to you.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, Alison.
KOSIK: Paul this dentist, he's already -- he's already surrendered his license after the State Dentistry Board issued a 17-count complaint against him. Could there be criminal charges to follow?
CALLAN: Oh there absolutely could be criminal charges. He had unlicensed people working for him, all of them could face criminal charges for practicing dentistry without a license. There are also criminal charges that relate to reckless conduct that endanger patients which can arise to the level of a felony. So he's looking at a potential number of criminal charges if prosecutors chose to go that route.
KOSIK: And of course lawsuits from patients could come next. You know what -- would we expect typical malpractice coverage to be enough, at this point to satisfy possibly thousands of potential claims here?
CALLAN: Well that's a tough question. You know I was checking this morning to see what the average coverage is for an Arizona dentist and it looks to be in the range of $3 million. Now, that's if he even had an insurance policy. Remember, this is a guy who has illegal assistants working for him who doesn't even sterilize his instruments so if these charges are true, so I mean did he buy insurance is another question.
Now the other thing people have to worry about is this, the statute of limitations in Arizona for dental malpractice is two years so people who were treated by him before the two-year mark, three, four, five years out and have developed hepatitis or other diseases, they could be out of luck, so a lot of these cases will be very difficult to prove also, Alison, because you have to prove that the disease or the injury was caused by the instrument and after a number of years pass, how do you link it, even if you went to see the guy.
So unfortunately, justice may not be so easy for the patients who have been wronged by this dentist.
KOSIK: And of course one of the rubs here is that authorities say these problems you know could date back seven years or more. Does the State Dental Board face any legal exposure of its own for you know not finding out about these problems sooner?
CALLAN: You know unfortunately I've just -- I've just lost my sound, I wasn't able to -- I wasn't able to hear the question. I know you were asking me something about a prosecutor, but --
KOSIK: Can you hear me now?
CALLAN: No sound. There we go, I got you now. Yes ok.
KOSIK: Oh there we go, I just want to ask you that because authorities think that these problems could date back years, you know does the State Dental Board face any legal exposure for not discovering these problems any earlier?
CALLAN: Well, you would think that there would be some hope in that area for these poor patients but unfortunately the answer is going to be no there as well. In most cases it's very hard, almost impossible to succeed in a lawsuit against a dental board. It's really the dentists themselves who takes responsibility and he's got to have adequate insurance coverage to compensate people for the damages that are caused.
So you know Alison I think in the end these patients most of them at least are going to have a hard time recovering in this case and I think if they're going to find justice, it will probably be in the criminal justice system, not on the civil side.
KOSIK: I certainly feel really bad for these patients. Paul Callan, thanks for your time.
CALLAN: Nice being with you, Alison. BLACKWELL: Well from a model's untimely death to a twist of fate for a freed convict, this was a busy week in court. Here's "Crime in 60 Seconds".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL (voice over): South African track star Oscar Pistorius will be allowed to travel overseas while he's out on bail for murder charges. A judge modified his bail restrictions this week. The Olympic sprinter can also return to his home where police say he killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Prosecutors in Colorado have rejected an offer from suspected theater shooter James Holmes. Holmes said he would plead guilty in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.
Two teenagers accused of shooting a baby in the head in Georgia have been indicted by a grand jury. 17-year-old De'Marquise Elkins and 15- year-old Dominique Lang are both being charged as adults. They will not face the death penalty.
And Amanda Knox says she'll fight to prove her innocence after Italy's Supreme Court ordered a retrial in her murder case. The American exchange student spent four years in prison for allegedly killing her then roommate Meredith Kercher, but an appellate court overturned Knox's conviction in 2001.
And that's "Crime in 60".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: A medical expert says sugar is the real culprit behind the nation's obesity problem and he says a lot more that you will certainly want to hear. We're going to hear the explanation ahead.
KOSIK: The debate over same-sex marriage may have taken on a life of its own on Facebook, prompting 2.7 million people to change their profile photo this is week, Facebook says it had a 120 percent bump in new profile pictures this Tuesday compared to last week and says data shows much of that is because of the Supreme Court cases.
Supporters of same-sex marriage especially in the dark red areas that you see here were putting up the human rights campaign's red equal signs or a variation of it.
BLACKWELL: T-Mobile is making an aggressive play for new customers. The company is now offering coverage without a contract. T-Mobile will also start offering the iPhone 5 and they're going to start roll out its 4G LTE network.
KOSIK: A second apology now from Alaska Congressman Don Young. The veteran lawmaker came under fire this week after he referred to immigrant workers using an offensive term. At first he said he said he didn't mean it in a degrading way but then Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner slammed Young and demanded a full apology so later yesterday Young released this statement.
"There was no malice in my heart or intent to offend. It was a poor choice of words. That word, and the negative attitudes that come with it, should be left in the 20th century. And I'm sorry that this has shifted our focus away from comprehensive immigration reform."
BLACKWELL: Obesity is a health crisis affecting millions of Americans, but is being overweight what actually kills people? Medical Dr. Robert Lustig specializes in treating childhood obesity and he wrote this book "Fat Chance". He told me this that people don't die of obesity. They die of metabolic syndrome and understanding the difference, that's crucial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROBERT LUSTIG, PEDIATRIC ENDOCRINOLOGIST: Metabolic syndrome is the cluster of diseases that tend to travel with obesity, so they are Type II Diabetes, lipid problems, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. These are the diseases that the obese certainly get in greater frequency.
However, people think that obesity caused these diseases. That's what I'm telling people, that is not the case. And here's why; 20 percent of the obese population is completely metabolically normal. They will live a completely normal life, died at a completely normal age, not cost the taxpayer any extra money, they're just fat.
Conversely, up to 40 percent of the normal weight population has those exact same metabolic diseases and they don't even know they're sick and those people have the same problem, and the question is, therefore, not is obesity the cause of those diseases, but rather is obesity a marker for those diseases and indeed that seems to be the case.
So when you understand that you realize that those diseases are where the money goes; $245 billion spent on diabetes last year. That's what's breaking the bank and when normal weight people recognize they have as much to worry about as do the obese, that's when things are going to change.
BLACKWELL: I want to talk about insurance companies in a moment but there's also the question of lifestyle and in your book I want to take this again you say on a societal level, obesity is also associated with less breast feeding, skipped breakfasts, fewer family meals and more fast food dining. Alternatively a wealth of evidence supports a role for decreased physical activity and increased screen time, TVs, computers, video games, texting, in causing obesity.
So how do we tackle that? Because that is a big one and that of course would get to the rate eventually of obesity.
LUSTIG: Clearly. There are so many things that go into weight gain. That's one of the reasons why it seems virtually impossible to do anything. I'm going to tell you that I think that the single most actionable item on the entire agenda is reducing the availability of sugar in our diet. So many things beneficially will happen when that occurs, including improved physical activity. When we get the sugar out of our kids' diets in our clinic, they start exercising spontaneously and there's a reason why they do.
When your insulin levels go down you have the energy to burn, you actually want to exercise. We actually change people's behaviors by changing their diets.
BLACKWELL: So for those people who were hoping for the one or two or three things to stay away from, the one on your list is sugar.
LUSTIG: Well, if it's about weight gain, French fries and potato chips are actually numbers one and two. Sugar is actually a distant third, but when we're talking about metabolic syndrome, when we're talking about diabetes, we've shown that the only item in our food supply that actually causes diabetes specifically and not related to its calories and not related to weight gain is sugar.
If you consume 150 calories extra per day, your diabetes rate goes up 0.1 percent. If those 150 calories happen to be a can of soda your diabetes rate goes up 11-fold to 1.1 percent and we are not consuming 150 calories in sugar. We're consuming 362 so that's a 2.75 percent increase in diabetes rate.
Considering our country right now has an 8.3 percent diabetes prevalence that is one-third of all of the obese, of all the diabetes in America explained by sugar.
BLACKWELL: Wow Dr. Robert Lustig, author of "Fat Chance" I think you changed some choices this weekend, thank you.
LUSTIG: Thank you so much. Watch out for the marshmallow peeps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: I like the Robin's eggs anyway. Dr. Robert Lustig, author of "Fat Chance" thanks for that.
Hey a baby gorilla -- "Fat Chance" yes there's the book. A baby gorilla, there she is, her name is Gladys, she is rejected by her own mother.
Now a human surrogate, several of them actually, they're raising Gladys the gorilla, and you'll meet one of those caretakers. He's pretending to be a mama gorilla.
KOSIK: I know waking up on this Saturday morning, maybe a little tough but I'm going to make it a little easier for you because I'm going to give you a little cute. Look at this. Meet little Luna, a four-month- old polar bear cub.
CNN affiliate WIDD says she made her official debut at the Buffalo, New York Zoo on Friday. BLACKWELL: Luna was shy at first, but warmed up to the crowd. You see quickly, she ran up to the people. She spent the morning playing with the toys. She's got a pool there and everybody, young and old, they loved Luna.
KOSIK: A teenage crook has been arrested after he was caught on camera stealing reptiles from a north California discovery center. The suspect took four reptiles but only three have been recovered. He was caught after a neighborhood tipster called police. The man had been letting kids pet the lizards in his yard, running his own zoo?
BLACKWELL: Too much. Too much, kid.
All right. So you know most animals they dislike the cold weather as much as most of us do, right. These manatees, they're huddled together off the coast of Florida trying to keep warm. Park rangers here are warning boaters to be careful over the next few days so they can keep these manatees safe.
Also look at this an unusual guest at this five-star resort in southern California, he's not bothering anybody, just sitting there listening to some conversations, rescue crews from Sea World were called to the hotel after a malnourished and dehydrated California sea lion took a little R&R here at this resort.
Human guests didn't mind. You see they're just drinking because they're on vacation and the sea lion relaxed until the squad showed up. The pup is resting comfortable now at SeaWorld this morning.
KOSIK: So there's this adorable baby gorilla. She was rejected by her own mother -- I can't even imagine. Here she is -- let's show a picture of here.
BLACKWELL: Hey, Gladys.
KOSIK: Hi. She's only two months old. She was moved from her zoo in Texas to the Cincinnati zoo in Ohio. That's where experts are -- believe it or not -- they're dressing up like gorillas. They're caring for her as surrogate mothers. It's just incredible.
BLACKWELL: Yes, let's bring in now from Cincinnati one of her caretakers from the Primate Team. He's the leader, Ron Evans. Ron good to have you; and I see you wearing a snazzy vest here. Tell us about this.
RON EVANS: Well, this is one of the faux furs we've had made for us by a local place called Fabulous Furs here in Cincinnati to help simulate the way a gorilla feels for Gladys.
BLACKWELL: So you eventually want to get a gorilla mother to adapt her. How does this work. I mean will she ever be released into the wild or is this just a mother in captivity? EVANS: No, gorillas in zoos stay in zoos and gorillas in the wild stay in the wild these days. So our goal is not to put her in the wild but it's to get her back in with a gorilla mother. You know the day a gorilla is born they have to learn about 13 different vocalizations and a lot of different facial expressions, body postures. There's lots of rules of etiquette in gorilla society. So from day one they're learning a language, they're learning social structure and life lessons.
So in the absence of a mother doing this and unfortunately her mother didn't take care of her but the people at Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville did an excellent job with Gladys until we could come up to go along with a surrogate mom. But until we can get to that point we have to do everything with Gladys that a mother gorilla would be doing with Gladys at the right age.
KOSIK: So Ron that means when you go to work every day -- when you go to work every day, you're pretty like a gorilla. What specifically will you doing to mimic a gorilla besides that lovely vest you're wearing?
EVANS: We have about a team of about ten people that are actually gorilla mothers that are trained to behave properly with Gladys. We wear faux fur vests so she can grip, we do gorilla vocalizations. You know, gorilla -- like you said they have a lot of different vocalizations. So we have to imitate those sounds so Gladys is used to that, and for instance, we'll talk to her in a nice way and it's called a belch vocalization, kind of goes -- and it sounds scary but it's soothing to a gorilla.
We also have to teach Gladys how to ride on our backs, how to cling to our abdomens and ride just like they would with a mother gorilla. At the same time she lives right there with the other gorillas. They can see her, she can see them. She smells them. We don't raise her in a specially award. She is in the gorilla area learning how to be a gorilla.
We take her through all of the gorilla spaces that she'll share beforehand, the other gorillas get to touch her and smell her through a howdy mesh that we call it, an introduction mesh, all leading up to oh probably between three and five months, when we will actually do the physical introduction to one of the females.
BLACKWELL: I know that's the goal, but after caring for this baby for so many months, I imagine it's going to be difficult when you actually accomplish this, and you have to hand Gladys over. Have you prepared yourself for that?
EVANS: Well, you know, to be honest with you it's exactly the opposite for us. The day that we get Gladys in with that mother gorilla is going to be the happiest day for the gorilla people because she's not our baby and she's not our pet. She's a gorilla. Primates make terrible pets and unfortunately there's a lot of them out there in people's hands. That's not the message we're trying to impart here.
The message we're trying to impart is gorillas should be with gorillas and that's the day when we're going to be happiest is when Gladys goes in with her new gorilla surrogate mom and leaves us but you can't help but be attached you're right. And that's part of being a good zoo person. You have to balance the science with empathy and you'd be a cold hearted person if you didn't have some sort of emotional attachment to Gladys.
KOSIK: What if the other gorillas aren't accepting of her? I'm sure that you're doing everything gorilla like but as humans can you really replicate everything so, could there be a chance she's not accepted?
Fortunately zoos have a lot of experience in this sort of thing, and we've all pulled our resources many years ago and put together a comprehensive baby gorilla surrogacy protocol with step by step instructions on how to facilitate a successful introduction to the mother. So we're confident and we have about four different females at Cincinnati that are all candidates and while we're taking care of Gladys. We're watching them, too, to see which one of those females has the keenest interest in her and will make the best candidate, all to help set ourselves up for success that this will work.
BLACKWELL: All right. Ron Evans from the Cincinnati Zoo -- so good to talk with you this morning. And tell Gladys everyone here says --
EVANS: Very good. Hey, you want a job?
BLACKWELL: Well, you know, part-time. You know, nights and weekends maybe. Thanks, Ron.
EVANS: Sure thing, thank you guys, all right.
BLACKWELL: All right. So here's the question, why is this teen spending his spring break living in a box?
KOSIK: We'll explain this for you and show you other some must see videos from around the country.
BLACKWELL: You ever wonder what an egg looks like spinning at 7,000 frames a second?
KOSIK: Yes, as a matter of fact I have wondered.
BLACKWELL: Probably no one else has though but look at this any way, right. Folks at Brigham Young's Splash Lab who yes, break and smash things in the name of science made a special Easter-themed video with their special high-speed cameras that captured what eyes cannot. They dyed and smashed eggs and took a hammer to those poor defensive peeps. I think it's pretty cool.
KOSIK: I do, too. See I was looking for that.
BLACKWELL: You've been looking --
Seven days six nights, can you imagine, a high school senior spending his spring break living in a Plexiglass box. His name is Derek Wicker, living on the street to raise awareness about homeless kids in Colorado. He's hoping to collect 5,000 cans of food.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEREK WICKER, LIVES IN A BOX: I'm going to live in this box until all of these walls are filled so you can't see me. We made myself disappear, we've also made child hunger disappear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Derek has only left his 8-foot-by-8-foot home to use the restroom.
BLACKWELL: I was wondering about how that worked out.
KOSIK: That's how it works out.
Monaco, have you been to Monaco?
BLACKWELL: I have not.
KOSIK: Well, you know this. It's known as the playground for the rich and famous. Now the tiny --
BLACKWELL: That's why I haven't been.
KOSIK: -- yes exactly. Now the tiny principality on France's Mediterranean coast is proving once again its richness.
BLACKWELL: Check out this spectacular penthouse. SkyNews says it will go on the market next year along with dozens of other luxury apartments. Now this penthouse is about 13,000 square feet. It has its own private water slide, an infinity pool. It's gorgeous. It could go for $326 million.
KOSIK: It can it be yours. Wow.
BLACKWELL: Next hour starts right now.