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Deadly Train Derailment; Massive Protests In Ukraine; Amazon.Com To Use Drones For Deliveries

Aired December 2, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A train flies off the tracks in New York, killing four, injuring dozens. Harrowing tales from survivors. And the question this morning, what went so wrong? We are live with the very latest on the investigation.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The White House's deadline to fix the Obamacare website has passed but have the technical problems been fixed? What the Obama administration is saying and what still needs to be done?

BERMAN: Fury in the streets as thousands and thousands riot in Ukraine, threatening to overthrow that country's government. Is revolution in the air? We're live.


BERMAN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Quite a situation there. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Thirty-one minutes past the hour. Nice to have you with us this morning.

The NTSB investigators have recovered so-called event recorders from a metro north commuter train. That may actually help determine the cause of the deadly derailment in New York City. Four passengers were killed, 67 others were injured when that train jumped the tracks just outside of a station in the Bronx.

This morning, Metro North is beginning the process of getting those train cars upright. CNN's Alexandra Field is live for us at the accident scene in the Bronx. What can you tell us?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zoraida, the cranes are in place and the crews are in place. They had to wait for the OK from the NTSB investigators. They have that OK now, and they can start to upright the train. They'll begin with the locomotive and the work their way forward, reaching the seven other subsequent cars as the process that should last into the morning.

Overnight, we learned the names of the four passengers killed aboard that train. They are 54-year-old Donna Smith (ph), 35-year-old Kisook Ahn (ph), 59-year-old James Ferrari (ph), and 58-year-old James Lovell (ph). We are also hearing this morning from the survivors of this wreck. They're telling us about the terrifying moments when their train stopped just feet short of the Harlem River.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought I'm going to die. To be honest, I thought I'm going to die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I broke my arm. It's really painful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a lot of crunching and grinding and I started seeing stars in front of my eyes. And I thought, my goodness, is this the end?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just heard like a screeching noise, you know? I happened to be by the window. I'm on top of the hill, but I still heard a screeching noise. And then within seconds, the ambulance and the fire trucks started coming past my window. And I knew something big happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just sitting on the train. I wasn't like -- I wasn't paying attention to anything in particular. And then, all of a sudden, the train just kind of felt like a little more sideways than it should be. And, by the time I looked up, it was completely going off its track and there was just the rubble from under the tracks like flying.


FIELD: The train derailed after coming around a sharp bend in the track. Investigators will look at whether or not speed may have been a factor. This is how the NTSB says the investigation will move forward.


EARL WIENER, NTSB SPOKESMAN: There'll be a track team which will look at the condition of the tracks leading to the point of derailment, try to identify any anomalies. There'll be a signals team looking at the condition of the signaling system, and hopefully, looking for any possible data that might have been recorded by the signaling system. Human performance team will be looking at the performance of the train crew.


FIELD: Investigators expect to be out here for the next seven to ten days. Right now, Metro North Service is suspended on this part of the Hudson line. The commuter rail says that they are providing buses this morning for commuters -- Zoraida, John.

SAMBOLIN: Reporting live, Alexandra Field, thank you.

It is 34 minutes past the hour.

The president's point man for fixing the Obamacare website says the difference between now and when it launched on October 1st is night and day. Jeff Zients telling reporters in a conference call that the site now works smoothly, that is for the vast majority of users.


VOICE OF JEFFREY ZIENTS, OBAMACARE WEBSITE REPAIR LEADER: After clearing through fewer than a hundred bucks through the entire month of October, the speed has more than triple with over 400 bucks sticks (ph), eliminating critical glitches and making improvements of the consumer experience throughout the site.


SAMBOLIN: And the administration says the enrollment site can now handle as many as 50,000 concurrent users and 800,000 consumer visits a day.

BERMAN: A blunt warning from Congressional leaders who see the threat from terrorism is growing. The chairs of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee say more danger comes from al Qaeda's willingness to plan smaller attacks. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Mike Rogers appeared on CNN's "State of the Union."

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN, ANCHOR, "STATE OF THE UNION": Are we safer now than we were a year ago, two years ago? In general?

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: I don't think so. I think terror is up worldwide. The statistics indicate that. The fatalities are way up. The numbers are way up. There are new bombs, very big bombs, trucks being reinforced for those bombs.

REP. MIKE ROGERS,(R) MICHIGAN: I absolutely agree that we're not safer today for the same very reasons. So, the pressure on our intelligence services to get it right to prevent an attack are enormous. And it's getting more difficult because we see al Qaeda as we knew it before is metastasizing to something different.


BERMAN: Rogers also said public scrutiny over American intelligence work including the NSA is hurting anti-terror efforts.

SAMBOLIN: They're back. House Republicans and lawmakers return to work today.

BERMAN: I thought you were talking about a horror movie, but in fact, you are.

SAMBOLIN: Well, perhaps, I am. So, they're returning after Thanksgiving break. So, no matter what happens between now and the end of the year, the first session of the 113th Congress will be remembered, folks, for historic gridlock. Congressional records show they have enacted fewer than 60 laws in the first 11 months of this year. That is the lowest legislative output ever! The Senate, by the way, won't return from its holiday break until December 9th. BERMAN: Way to go, guys


BERMAN: Freezing rain being blamed for highway crashes in Central and Western Massachusetts including a huge 65-car pileup right in Wooster (ph). The crash sent as many as 40 people to area hospitals. Two of them seriously injured. One family also said their dog was killed after their vehicle was rear ended several times.

SAMBOLIN: And will conditions in the area improve today? You know who knows? Indra Petersons with all the answer.




INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I can only do this because today's actually good weather and mild and yelling at me. A day or two, guys, and we're talking about mild conditions into the northeast. You can actually see where all the action is as you look at the water vapor. A big storm in the Pacific Northwest and a little bit of energy in the southeast bringing you some clouds and maybe some light rain. Not a big deal.

The good plus side to this is the temperatures are actually above normal. Look at this. In 70s especially through New Orleans looking for 77 by the middle of the week. That is a system that's trying to crawl up the east coast so we know conditions will be warming also into the northeast. So, that's great. We're kind of in between two systems, the one that's offshore. So, warming no rain and the one that's back behind it.

But let's take you way back. Actually going to give you temperatures first because we know, it's warming up. Just a hint above normal so nothing major. Now, I'm taking you away back the Pacific Northwest. This is a system we're going to be watching all week long. A pretty good snow maker. I mean, look at Idaho, Montana, even through Wyoming, one to two feet of snow is possible.

The big story here is going to be the temperature chill as this guy makes its way across. We're talking about temperatures diving all the way down to the south and the west and then all the way east. We have a full week --

BERMAN: We're getting that?

Petersons: -- to brace ourselves. Oh, yes. I like the weekend. We love cold weather on the weekend.

SAMBOLIN: Gosh! Thank you.

BERMAN: Thanks, Indra. Appreciate it.


SAMBOLIN: All right. Coming up, rioting in the streets of Ukraine. Protesters threatening a revolution. What has residents so furious with their government? We are live with the very latest.

BERMAN: And murder at the football stadium. The deadly dispute happening just outside of one of Sunday's biggest NFL games. We'll tell you about this coming up next


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Overseas. Ukraine is exploding. Look at this. Hundreds of thousands of protesters calling for the country's president to resign after the government rejected political and trade deals with the European Union.

CNN's Phil Black is live in Kiev this morning. Phil, give us a sense of what's happening there today.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, John. Yes, so this started as a result of the Ukrainian government not signing those political and trade deals that you mentioned, but it has escalated to something much more than that. Behind me in independence square here in Central Kiev, there is a crowd of thousands of people here already today and it is growing and it is expected to grow further into very big numbers as we saw over the weekend.

On Sunday here, there was a crowd of well over a hundred thousand people filling this square. This protest began over a week ago because of this anger at the Ukrainian government's decision not to sign these deals with the European Union, but what has really changed is the level of force and violence used by Ukrainian police and security services to clear out some of the protesters. That has triggered a wave of public anger.

The numbers of people on the streets has escalated dramatically and they are no longer just calling for the government to sign these trade deals, they are now calling for revolution. They want a change of government here because they believe the nature of the government is responsible for the problems that they believe can only be solved by pursuing a European pact for this country.

So, already today, thousands of people behind me filling this square, braving rain and bitterly cold temperatures and snow as well. And they're expecting again something close to the 100,000 person mark later this evening here, John.

BERMAN: All right. We can see the crowds growing behind you, Phil, and the anger rising there as well. Phil Black in Kiev, thank you so much.

SAMBOLIN: Thailand's prime minister calling for talks to ends the demonstrations against her government that turned violent over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Police in Bangkok used tear gas against protesters demanding her resignation. Three people were killed and hundreds were injured in the turmoil. The protests began in response to a government-backed amnesty bill to pardon the prime minister's brother who was ousted in a corruption scandal.

BERMAN (voice-over): And major protests -- third nation in Cairo and Egypt. Police firing tear gas at hundreds of supporters of ousted president, Mohamed Morsi. Nearly daily protests there have demanded his reinstatement. Sunday, a panel (INAUDIBLE) the constitution which was adopted before the 2011 revolt.

The changes would include giving women and Christians greater representation and it was scale back a contentious proposal to allow military tribunals for civilians. Election for president and prime minister could be held later this year.

SAMBOLIN: Authorities in Southern California investigating the crash that killed "Fast and Furious" -- the "Fast and Furious" star. Speed is what they say to blame for the fiery crash that killed Paul Walker Saturday. That is what they're trying to figure out. Officials in California are trying to determine how fast the Porsche he was in was traveling.

The driver now identified by CNN affiliate, KCAL-TV, as Roger Rodas (ph) was a business partner of Walker's. He also died in the crash. The coroner's office is awaiting dental records, my goodness, to positively I.D. the victims.

BERMAN: The parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City became a crime scene on Sunday. This happened as the Chiefs were playing the Denver Broncos. A man died in a struggle. Police now calling this a homicide. The police say the victim returned to his car to find a stranger inside the car.

When the two men got into it, the victim a man in his 20s collapsed and died. No arrests have been made, but three people this morning are in custody.

SAMBOLIN: So, Minnesota's man to spread a little holiday cheer landed him in a bit of hot water. Twenty-nine-year-old Serge Vorobyov was cited by police in Bloomington after tossing a thousand dollars over an upper floor railing at the Mall of America.


SERGE VOROBYOV, THREW MONEY AT MALL OF AMERICA: My last effort of pay it forward. And I thought, you know, I can't keep up with my bills. I'm losing everything, might as well just have my last little thrill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a guy in front of me on the escalator. He was yelling fake, fake money, you know? And I'd reach him in my next pocket and say, no, it's real money and throw it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAMBOLIN: Vorobyov says he was just trying to spread some positivity after going through a recent divorce, and as you heard, losing his job. He was cited for disorderly conduct and ordered to stay away from the mall for a year.


BERMAN (on-camera): You can't come back and throw thousands of dollars over the railing in the mall.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): For a year.

BERMAN: It causes a little bit of a raucous, I think, during the holiday shopping.

All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "New Day." Chris and Kate, what's going on, guys?


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The guy is throwing a thousand dollars and he gets disorderly conduct?


CUOMO: That's what disorderly conduct is?

BOLDUAN: Welcome to America, the Mall of America.


CUOMO: You're too generous.


CUOMO: Get out of here. For a year, think about being less generous.


BOLDUAN: We'll tell you what's coming up on the show.

CUOMO: Anyway, this morning, just as the holidays were ending, there was this horrible trail derailment. I'm sure you've heard about it, but there are some really big questions going on. First, we're going to go through who is hurt. A lot of people were very injured. Several still in critical condition. Four lives were lost. So, we're going to check in with the stories of the people who are in that train.

But then, the big concern is why this happened. A big freighter that went off the tracks in July in about the same area, so there are questions now. Conductor error? Was it the tracks? Was it the signal system? We'll take you through the latest on what we know. We'll talk to the lead investigator live. We'll talk to the governor live and we'll talk to survivors as well.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

We're also -- the head of two intelligence committees, these two important folks, they're telling CNN that terrorists are gaining ground and are becoming harder to track now. So, how safe are we? Where is the biggest threat? We're going to be breaking down that critical question this morning when we talk to them.

BERMAN: All right, guys. Looking forward to it. Thanks so much. Welcome back from the holidays.

SAMBOLIN: Thanks, guys.

BERMAN: It is time now for our "Morning Rhyme," these are the best tweets of the day, and this one comes from Patrick O'Brien. This is from the thanksgiving theme. He writes, "If you are paying for gifts Thursday through Monday, then what were you saying when you were shopping on Sunday?" I honestly don't know what this means.

SAMBOLIN: I don't either.

BERMAN: But it rhymes and it's appropriate (ph), so I felt like it was, you know, the time to give him the props for that.


BERMAN: Congratulations for at least rhyming and talking about shopping. You can come up with your own morning rhymes. Tweet us with #morningrhyme and #EARLYSTART. We love getting them. Keep them coming.

SAMBOLIN: I think he was just sitting there, thinking what can I put together that rhymes, right? That was probably it.

All right. Coming up, drones at your doorstep. Amazon bringing us the future of mail delivery. Christine Romans explains this next in "Money Time."

BERMAN: Please.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is "Money Time."

SAMBOLIN: I was talking about iPad. It keeps on falling. It almost fell in --


BERMAN: -- very dangerous morning here.


BERMAN: -- Luckily, Christine Romans is here to save us with "Money Time."

ROMANS: It's nice to see you, guys, this morning. I hope you had great long weekend. Look, shoppers spent about four percent less over the holiday weekend and that is so, so rare. Last time Americans spent less, we were in a deep and nasty recession. So, this tells me shoppers are smart. They are careful. It takes a lot of deals to get them through the door. That's what we learned this weekend.

Here's the tally. Total spending down three percent from last year. Shoppers spending down four percent, shelling out on average $407.02 from Thursday through Sunday. Now, online sales very strong. Thanksgiving and Black Friday about 17 percent. So, retailers sure hope you aren't finished shopping yet. Cyber Monday is today.

Now, for a lot of years, I always said this was a fake holiday invented by the retailers to get more sales after Black Friday, but this year, I think Cyber Monday will actually prove it's legit. A 131 million Americans are likely going to click their way to, look at that, almost 1.77 billion in sales. That would be a 30 percent jump from last year. That's legitimate. That's --

BERMAN: So, this is the first official real Cyber Monday?

ROMANS: It's the first official real Cyber Monday.

BERMAN: Happy Cyber Monday.

ROMANS: I have not accepted it until today.

BERMAN: A roman sanctioned holiday.


ROMANS: Not sanctioned but accepted. I will accept it, but look, those packages are likely to deliver by U.P.S., FedEx, right, or in the mail? But look at this, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, wants to start delivering packages using drones. You've seen drones used in war. They're using for spying now. Amazon is developing what it calls Octocopters --

BERMAN: Octocopters.

ROMANS: -- to deliver your packages. Bezoz unveiled this drone delivery idea on "60 Minutes" last night. He's calling it Amazon prime air. He wants to be able to deliver a five-pound or under package. That's almost everything that they sell was five pounds or under.

SAMBOLIN: Think about everything that could go wrong, though.

ROMANS: Thirty minutes to anyone -- it's like ordering a Domino's pizza -- parachute. They're quicker than my pizza. Don't expect a drone to be dropping this to any doorstep any time soon. It will take four or five years. He said it is a research and development idea right now. No question. And, you know, the FAA -- regular federal regulators have to sign off on this.

BERMAN: I think -- like books in electronics are flying through my windows. Like a drone -- SAMBOLIN: They're falling on your head.


ROMANS: If Santa can drop it right down the chimney, why can't Jeff Bezos? That's what I have to say. All right. Amazon stock, by the way, up 57 percent this year. I want to leave you with a quick look at these markets. The Dow rose 541 points in November. That's four percent. For the year, the Dow was up 23 percent. The NASDAQ up 34 percent. S&P 500 is up 27 percent.

Here's something to consider too. December is the second best month for stocks and the S&P 500 has gained in December 80 percent of the time.

BERMAN: Wow! So, it could go up even more.

ROMANS: Maybe.

BERMAN: All right. Christine Romans --

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: We like the good news.


SAMBOLIN: We love that. We'll be right back.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. A plea from the Obama administration and North Korea to release a Korean War vet who's been detained for more than a month. Eighty-five-year-old Merrill Newman, he is 85. He was seen in a video apologizing for crimes against the state. Newman was taken off a plane back in October just as he was about to leave Pyongyang with a tour group.

U.S. officials say they are deeply concerned about him. Later on "New Day," they're going to have a live interview with Kenneth Bae's sister, Terri Chung. Kenneth Bae, of course, another person in North Korea right now. That coming up at the seven o'clock hour of "New Day."

SAMBOLIN: That is it for EARLY START. "New Day" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can see some people flying from my left side, the right side, people from the back. It's just crazy.

CUOMO: Moments of impact. New details this morning on a New York commuter train that derailed. Four killed, dozens injured. The big question, why? Mechanical failure or conductor error? We'll talk to the lead investigator live.

BOLDUAN: Terror on the rise. The stunning admission from two of the nation's intelligence leaders telling CNN the threat of terrorism has increased. Where is the greatest threat coming from now?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Drone delivery. Amazon CEO reveals the next face of online retailing. Drones dropping off packages door-to-door. Is this the future of shopping?

CUOMO: Your "New Day" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to "New Day." It's Monday, December 2nd, six o'clock in the east, and you are looking live at the mangled train here in New York. This is after this massive derailment on Sunday. Four people were killed. Dozens more are injured. We're showing you picture from yesterday. These are some of the first images that came out.

Now, we know that a federal probe is under way, because there are big questions this morning after the train's operator said the brakes didn't work. That's what he says when he came around this very dangerous curve where he was supposed to slow down. Let's start dealing with this question. Alexandra Field starts our coverage this morning from the Bronx. Good morning, Alexandra.

FIELD: Good morning, Chris. This is thought to be the deadliest train accident in New York State in more than two decades. Behind me, they are beginning to upright the derailed cars where 67 people were hurt, 11 of them in critical condition. And this morning, we're learning more about the four people killed in a horrifying crash.


FIELD (voice-over): Overnight, the names of all four passengers killed by the Metro North Commuter Train crash Sunday were released.