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DiMaggio Family Wants DNA Sample; Russian Runners: Kiss was not a Protest; Pitcher Suspended for Beaming A-Rod

Aired August 21, 2013 - 09:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEW DAY": See the maturation of Mr. Mark Zuckerberg. Remember, he's not even 30 yet.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I know, he does have a powerful tool to get the Democrats and Republicans together on immigration. He's got lots and lots of money.

CUOMO: That helps. But, you know, it's interesting again to me, politically, his ideas seem like, you know, typical path to citizenship ideas. However, Chris Christie, he threw a fundraiser for with his wife, having Marco Rubio come, having his organization that he set up to talk about immigration do ads for conservative politicians touting their conservative bonafides (ph). I think that's very savvy and it shows that he sees politics maybe the way those in D.C. should see it, which is one side cannot dominate, both sides must work together. Novel idea. I guess it makes more sense when you have a business mind than a political one.

COSTELLO: Maybe so. Chris Cuomo, we're going to air your entire interview with Mark Zuckerberg at 10:30 Eastern Time. Just about an hour from now and you'll be back with us. Looking forward to it.

Checking our top stories at 31 minutes past the hour.

New claims of Syria using chemical weapons and a warning some of you might find this video disturbing. These pictures were posted online by rebel activists. They seem to show people dying from the use of chemical weapons. One doctor says 200 people died, but rebels say as many as 650 people were killed with poison gas earlier today. CNN cannot verify where or when these pictures were recorded. The Syrian government denies using any chemical weapons. The new claims come as U.N. inspectors are in Syria to investigate such allegations. A U.S. official says it cannot confirm a chemical weapons attack.

An Australian leader is calling for a boycott against traveling to the United States after an Australian baseball player was gunned down in Duncan, Oklahoma. Police say three teenagers killed Christopher Lane because they were bored. James Edwards Jr. and Chancey Luna are charged with murder, Michael Jones is charged as an accessory. The former Australian deputy prime minister spoke to CNN's "New Day."


TIMOTHY FISCHER, FORMER DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: You are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA per million people than here in Australia. And people should factor that in. They should think twice in the circumstances but it's jogged (ph) along by the senseless killing, the shooting in the back of an outstanding young Australian on a scholarship in the USA, which has caused, quite promptly (ph), deep seeded anger right across Australia.


COSTELLO: In the meantime, security is tight at the high school in Duncan after anonymous threats were made.

And we're watching the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange right now. Could be another bumpy day for the markets. We hope not. Investors are waiting for the Federal Reserve to release information on their latest meeting and they're looking to see if the Fed will cut back on the stimulus program. But good news for Lowe's and Target. Stock was up in pre-market trading after both companies reported higher quarterly sales and profits.

We're back after a quick break.


COSTELLO: As officials work to close their investigation into the kidnapping of Hannah Anderson by close family friend James DiMaggio, the sister of the slain kidnapper is seeking answers of her own in a stunning development. CNN's Zoraida Sambolin is tracking this story. She's in New York.

And this is insane.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. It's taking a lot of twists and turns.

So, here's the deal. James DiMaggio left $110,000 in life insurance money to the paternal grandmother of Hannah and Ethan Anderson. He made it clear that he wanted the cash to go to the Anderson children. And now DiMaggio's family is asking for paternity tests to rule out his sister's suspicion that he was the children's father.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Overnight, a painful twist to an already tragic story. Laura DiMaggio, sister to Jim DiMaggio, the man accused of kidnapping 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and murdering her mother and younger brother, now requesting DNA samples from both Hannah and her brother. The reason, according to a family spokesman, she wants to know if DiMaggio was actually the children's biological father.

ANDREW SPANSWICK, FRIEND OF JIM DIMAGGIO (voice-over): There's been a lot of rumors about whether or not Jim might be the father of either or both children. We find it very strange that he's left all this money without any explanation.

SAMBOLIN: That money is from a life insurance policy that named Hannah's paternal grandmother. It reportedly is worth around $110,000. Jim's sister was reportedly the beneficiary up until 2011. SPANSWICK: Expected the grandmother to use the money to take care of the two children. He had stated specifically that he didn't want to give it to either parent because he didn't trust them.

SAMBOLIN: DiMaggio has been described by Anderson's father, Brett, as a platonic family friend to the Anderson family, referred to as "Uncle Jim" in an interview with "New Day" while Hannah was still missing. Hannah's father was asked about the relationship.

BRETT ANDERSON, HANNAH ANDERSON'S FATHER: And he is basically -- become like a part of our family. But we were just very good friends. There was nothing ever to show any indication of this.


SAMBOLIN: So, if DiMaggio's life insurance policy is in order, his alleged crimes are not expected to impact the payout there. So what that means is that Hannah's grandmother, Bernice, will receive a check within 45 days.

We should also let you know, Carol, that we reached out to the Anderson family to get a comment and we just received it not too long ago. And this is a representative for the Anderson family, Stacey Hess (ph). And she says, "Brett and Tina Anderson did not meet Mr. DiMaggio until the sixth month of Tina's pregnancy with Hannah. Brett Anderson's DNA was used to identify the body of his dead son Ethan Anderson."

So like I said, this just in. So this is their response to this question about, you know, the DNA and why is she - why is the sister now asking for this blood test. They're saying impossible because she was already pregnant with Hannah.

COSTELLO: OK. So, that's cleared up, I guess. Strange, though.

SAMBOLIN: Well, the Hannah issue, you know, that is their official statement.

COSTELLO: All right. Zoraida, thanks so much.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, was it a kiss or a protest against Russia's anti-gay law? Now these athletes explain exactly what they were doing when they embraced.


COSTELLO: Oh, it was unstoppable, at least for a while. It certainly was the kiss noticed around the world. Two Russian runners sharing an embrace after winning their race in Moscow over the weekend. Many quickly assumed the same sex smooch was a protest of their country's anti-gay laws, but the women say, hold on, that ain't the case. They say the story is all wrong. Nischelle Turner joins us now with more.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I -- how did I know you were going to be playing that song, Carol. But, secondly, I think most people thought that that was what was going on when we saw that kiss. But given the current climate in Russia, you know, the concern over how gay athletes actually might be treated during the upcoming winter Olympics in that country, this story really has resonated around the world, despite the denials of the women involved.

Now, bear with me on these pronunciations here because I'm going to try to get them right. Russian sprinters Ksenia Ryzhova and Yulia Guschina were part of the team who won the women's four by four relay on Saturday. They beat the United States team, who was favored. Now, the entire team embraced as they received their gold medals, but Ryzhova and Guschina were pictured kissing each other on the lips prompting reports that it was a symbol of defiance in the face of controversial new laws.

Now, Ryzhova told the media at a news conference in Moscow that she and the other three members of the team had merely been overcome with emotion after finally topping the podium after eight years of trying. So listen to what she said.


KSENIA RYZHOVA, WOMEN'S 4x400 METERS RELAY WORLD CHAMPION (through translator): We haven't won any gold for eight years and you cannot imagine what it was like when Tatyana (ph) finished the race and we understood that we won. The emotions were overwhelming It was something unreal. And if we touched each other's lips by accident while congratulating each other, then it's just someone's sick fantasies. I'm sorry to say that. I don't see any hidden motive here and it is not really nice to insult us, our coaches or our bosses like that.


TURNER: You know, I kind of like how she says, "if we touched each other's lips," because there's like hand grabbing the head there.

COSTELLO: Doesn't look so accidental to me.

TURNER: So that's more than - yes, that's more than touching the lips. But we'll take what she said and go with that.

But, Carol, you know, I've seen some memorable kisses between athletes in competition. One of my favorite in the '80s, remember Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas? They did that little smooch during the NBA finals.


TURNER: Yes. Yes, remember that? You know - and while they're saying, OK, this was no big deal, just a kiss. In Russia, fundamentally things have changed. So now a kiss is not just a kiss. It's much more.

COSTELLO: Yes, there. Nischelle Turner, thanks so much, as always.

"NEWSROOM" comes back in a minute.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This week on "THE NEXT LIST" journey to the roof tops with urban beekeeper Andrew Kote.

ANDREW KOTE, URBAN BEEKEEPER: I have my hands in -- in many hives. I help run the New York City Beekeepers Association. I help run Bees without Borders. I am a paid consultant by restaurants and hotels. I have my own private hives, from which I extract and bottle honey and sell at Union Square. I sleep from time to time.

GUPTA: From the heights of Manhattan to the far reaches of the African Bush. He's spreading his love of these remarkable creatures to people throughout the entire world.

And a pint-sized robot that has them rolling in the aisles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You guys are looking good out there. Ready for some jokes?


GUPTA: How programmer Heather Knight is using social robotics to transform our future. Their stories on "THE NEXT LIST" this Saturday 2:30 Eastern.



COSTELLO: Checking our "Top Stories" at 50 minutes past the hour.

The gunman who opened fire at an Atlanta area school had been arrested in March for making terroristic threats and acts against his own brother. This is according to the district attorney who says Michael Brandon Hill threatened to kill his brother last December. Yesterday Hill barricaded himself inside the McNair Discovery Learning Academy, an elementary school, and fired six shots at officers before eventually surrendering to police. He faces multiple charges including aggravated assault on a police officer. Amazingly, luckily, no one was injured.

A University of Michigan business student was found dead after reportedly working nearly three straight days at his Bank of America internship. Police say 21-year-old Moritz Erhardt was found unconscious at his apartment in London. His internship was set to end this week. Police have not released the cause of death but others have reported Erhardt had epilepsy and that could have played a role. CNN has not been able to confirm that.

Some residents in a small Idaho town are defying a mandatory evacuation order as a wild fire gets closer and closer to their neighborhood. The fire chief says those who stay behind are helping to battle the flames, even cutting a fire line around the town. Officials say the fire has more than tripled in size since Sunday. In money news Samsung's latest bid to maintain an edge in the smart phone market may remind you a little bit of this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care where or how you get it.


COSTELLO: Remember those big old phones? Well, there's a big old phone on the market and it's called the Samsung Galaxy Mega. And it boasts a screen that's nearly six and half inches in diameter. Not surprisingly Samsung says it is the largest smart phone sold in the United States. The Galaxy Mega hit stores later this month.

Here's what's all new in the next hour of NEWSROOM.

It's Filner Watch day 31. And the Mayor is not budging.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the attendees at the party was giving me credit and saying I had done a wonderful job and that I had worked my tush off for him. He said, turn around. He proceeded to take a pant and pat me on my posterior and laugh and say, "No, it's still there."


COSTELLO: Accuser number two with us live in the NEWSROOM.

Also just minutes from now Bradley Manning's sentencing. Prosecutors want at least 60 years. Defense attorneys say Manning should not be left to rot in jail.

Plus fighting for equality on the sports field.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you can play, you can play.





COSTELLO: Now gay athletes get a new voice. Former NFL star Wade Davis in the house. That's all new in the next hour of NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO: Major League Baseball sending a message to all of their pitchers. If you hit A-Rod on purpose you'll be suspended for it.

Andy Scholes is here with "Bleacher Report". Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: And good morning -- Carol.

Yankees manager, Joe Girardi said that that it would be open season on A-Rod if Major League Baseball did not suspend Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster for going after A-Rod Sunday night. The league office responded yester with a fine and a five-game suspension for Dempster. The Red Sox pitcher never admitted to hitting A-Rod on purpose but he said he will not appeal the suspension.

A Minor League Baseball the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs selected 64-year- old fan with Lou Gehrig's disease as the winner of their free funeral promotion. The team asked fans to describe their perfect funeral in 200 or less. The judges picked Steve Paul's essay in which he describes suddenly being diagnosed with ALS and the strain it has put on his family. Steve got a huge ovation from the crowd when he was awarded his prize. The funeral package that he's won is worth up to $10,000. And Steve said he was thrilled to win the funeral promotion but he doesn't plan on using it any time soon.


SCHOLES: Great story there.

Alabama football fans have come up with a new shirt that trolls pretty much everyone. It says "Tebow cried, Cam lied, Tree died, LSU tried, Teo's fake girlfriend died, roll tide. Alabama --

COSTELLO: And friends don't let friends go to Alabama here in Georgia.

SCHOLES: That's right, Carol. Alabama though is number one in both polls heading into the season which kicks off one week from tomorrow.

All right. We have another over zealous dad going for a home run ball at the Little League World Series.

COSTELLO: Oh, come on.

SCHOLES: Texas went out -- Carol. This one might be worst than the previous one. Head first into the bushes. Check it out. He bobbles it, goes down -- wait for it. Wait for it. There he got it. I hope it was worth it. All the cuts and scrapes he's going to get from that bush but at least he came up with the baseball.

COSTELLO: Did he get it autographed?

SCHOLES: Yes. Chinese type papers is panama. It wasn't even --

COSTELLO: He couldn't read it but he got an autograph. Thanks, Andy.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM after a break.


Happening now in the NEWSROOM, he's behind the biggest leak in U.S. Army history. Bradley Manning getting sentenced right now, what will his price be?