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Growing Fears Over Sochi Terror; Grammy Night in Los Angeles; Bieber Spotted in Panama

Aired January 27, 2014 - 07:30   ET


ROBERTO CARCELEN, CROSS COUNTRY SKIER: Built on the foundation of peace and freedom values. So this is kind of the perfect environment for terrorist groups to let their voices hear. So we feel like it's a little bit stressful, it was a really hard decision for us as a family just to -- not to come. I'm going to be up training in the mountains while the family will be down in the city outside the Olympic rink. So it's -- that puts a lot of pressure on me as an athlete personally.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Do you have any specific concerns that you -- that you - that are lingering? I mean, I know, obviously, there's a lot of communication with the Olympic organizing committee. But do you have any specific concerns still because you're about to head to Sochi?

CARCELEN: Well, as an athlete, yes. It's a -- you don't have much information coming on what to expect. It's a little bit of unknown land. I've never been in - to Russia. I know Mr. Putin is doing their best but it's concerning. We don't know what to expect in advance.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Part of that is the host country, part of that is just the logistic problems that you have with the Olympics in general, so many different countries and athletes to coordinate.

But, LZ, let me ask you something. When we're talking about the threat there in this, you had to make a decision about whether or not to go. You're monitoring the coverage as well. Do you see this as a hype-spun situation or do you believe that there are legitimate concerns that are and are not being addressed.

LZ GRANDERSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: I think there are definitely, you know, legitimate concerns. And I was planning on going as an individual journalist. I was very concerned with the LGBT - anti-LGBT laws in Russia and I wanted to go there and document that as a journalist, do some pieces for us here at CNN about it. And I was OK putting myself at a certain level of danger to go and do that.

What I wasn't willing to do was put myself in the middle of a civil war. And while I do believe the athletes will be safe, and I do believe that the family members will be safe, what I am concerned about are just spectators. You know, I've been to these large scale events before. It's just very difficult to guarantee the safety of tens of thousands of tourists. It just is. I was at the Super Bowl when the lights went out inside the Superdome. There was a little bit of a hush because we weren't sure if it was really just a power outage or something else. And I just do not feel comfortable being in a foreign country, not knowing the language, not knowing the landscape, being a tourist, a gay tourist. So, you know, I'm always careful about who I'm going to ask for help on (ph) that case and not knowing if the security's really going to be there for us or not.

BOLDUAN: And, Sequocoria, that has to - that uncertainty has to be something that you and your family weighed in your decision to attend the games, but I also know that you have some specific concerns and questions still before you head over. What are those specific concerns?

SEQUOCORIA MALLORY-EVANS, MOTHER, USA BOBSLED TEAM MEMBER AJA EVANS: Well, I just would like to know that there's information out there for us if we need to access it. Maybe a fact sheet or a list of phone numbers and locations in case there's trouble or problems or we have questions. Of course we've streamlined our activities, and hopefully there's a better partnership with the charter tour companies because now, you know, we were supposed to go on a tour of the surrounding area. So I'm a little concerned about even doing that. And then --

BOLDUAN: Transportation and the safety of it?

MALLORY-EVANS: Transportation, you know, the train system. To get to where my daughter's participating is supposed to be a 20-minute train ride and I'm a little concerned about the rail system, even though I know it's elaborate and beautiful, but I want to make sure that it's not a target for the terrorists. And just knowing all the different transportation systems so that we can pick and choose a little more carefully. And then making sure that there's security at the airport in Moscow before we even get to Sochi.

CUOMO: Hey, Ivan, are you still with us, Ivan Watson? He's in Sochi. He's watching the --


CUOMO: Ivan, you know, the question here from Sequocoria, one of the mothers of an Olympic athlete, is the logistics. Who's on the ground to help us know where to get and when using all these attendant services, like the transit. What do you know? Is that part of the Olympic planning? Is that part of the security planning? Is there a dovetail? You know, are those kinds of resources in place for the families and visitors as they get there?

WATSON: Chris, I've got to say, I've been coming to Russia for 15 years, and until my arrival last night, I've never seen Russian bureaucracy so polite and hospitable, two words that you rarely use in association with Russian bureaucracy. I was escorted very nicely. There was a very good system from coming through the main airport from an international flight at Moscow Airport, connecting me to a transit flight down here to Sochi. A number of English-speaking young people on the ground who are meeting you, and even the hordes of Russian security forces, many of them dressed up in basically purple snow suits and much friendlier than they are typically, especially with journalists walking around with cameras. So there is a real effort here to try to put a friendly face on what is seen as a flagship project for the prestige of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to make guests welcome and feel comfortable here, which is not, again, something that Russia is typically known for.

As far as other logistics, the trains and so on, there is a lot of controversy swirling around these Olympics, the enormous cost, estimated to be the most expensive Olympics in history with allegations of graft (ph) and corruption that the Russian government has denied, but it does seem that they put a state of the art high- speed rail system in place. We weren't allowed to film it today. Again, because of Russian security measures.


BOLDUAN: And, Fran, what Ivan's saying is very interesting. I know it kind of makes you smirk when "friendly" and "kind" and, you know, those are not generally words you describe when you come across Russian security forces. But do you think that is something that visitors can take comfort in, the fact that Russia understands, Vladimir Putin understands that the eyes of the world are on him and he does not want this to be a PR embarrassment for him.

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, that's exactly right. So, yes, I mean visitors should take comfort. They're going to extraordinary measures to be helpful, to be welcoming, and I think visitors will and should find that reassuring. The smirk really, when I hear about them being all friendly, that's not the case in terms of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Russia.


CUOMO: Another aggravating factor here.

TOWNSEND: Right. That's exactly right. And it's been an aggravating factor in terms of the sharing of information between the governments on the threat. And I think you -

BOLDUAN: We hear a lot from officials on that, yes.

TOWNSEND: That's exactly right. We hear from officials, they're very frustrated. They want more information. They want Russia to accept some of the help that we've offered and Russian pride is sort of to your point, Kate, we can do this on our own.

You know, the other thing to smile about, every country I've worked with claims this is the most expensive Olympics. Athens, Greece, was complaining. Everybody complains about it. But that's part of now kind of the cost of hosting. And it's sort of part and parcel of what we're going to see going forward.

CUOMO: Two big global things, you know, what you just pointed out there, Fran, because of the bilateral relationship between the U.S. I know your husband's on the Peruvian (ph) team, but you get sucked into the mess with the rest of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Oh, yes. CUOMO: Will they allow the U.S. access in any type of exigent circumstances, any kind of emergency, given that that will be an issue. And let's not forget, these Olympics are where they are because Putin wanted to send a message that he is in control of his environment there. How is that message received may be a major part of the outcome of what happens here. Before we wrap up this segment, we do have Roberto there. Is Roberto still with us?

CARCELEN: Yes, I'm here.

CUOMO: Opportunities to talk as family in these situations are very rare. Anything you want to say to your husband?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Just, I mean, of course, love you, baby. I mean we're on Skype every day, so -

CUOMO: Good.

BOLDUAN: Old news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I see him a lot. Old news. But, no, good luck, sweetie, and I'll see you on Skype later probably.

CARCELEN: Yes, thank you. Thank you, everyone.

BOLDUAN: Determined and focused, that's what we like to see in our Olympic athletes.


BOLDUAN: Roberto, thank you so much. Kate (ph) and Sequocoria, thank you so very much. And, LZ and Fran, thank you as always.


BOLDUAN: Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Great to go beyond just the headline of that, guys, and thanks for letting us know what these people are thinking and weighing as they head or don't head to Sochi.

Let's take a look at the other headlines at this hour.

The latest deep freeze is heading to the deep south. Bitter, bitter cold blanketing the Midwest and Plains now. And it will move to the southeast, including the Gulf Coast, sort of unprecedented, by tonight. Air travel could be a nightmare. More than 600 cancellations so far today. So if you're supposed to travel, make sure to call your airlines.

A glimmer of progress in the Syrian peace talks. New this morning, the Syrian government agreeing to allow hundreds of women and children to flee the besieged city of Homs immediately. Armed guards are reportedly preventing them from leaving. Talks between the government and opposition have been progressing slowly with today's session in Geneva focusing on a transitional government for Syria. Today the medical examiner in Toledo, Ohio, will conduct autopsies on two firefighters who died battling a fire in an apartment complex Sunday. Forty-two-year-old Stephen Machcinski, a 16-year veteran, 31- year-old James Dickman, a rookie, they are both the department's first fatalities during an active fire in more than 30 years. No word yet on what caused that deadly fire.

A Russian college student is being held on weapons of mass destruction charges in Pennsylvania. Police say the 19-year-old had a homemade bomb and other bomb making materials when they searched his apartment looking for marijuana. Now according to the complaint, the Penn State student said he planned to detonate a device in a remote field. Now being held on $500,000 bail and is due back to court next week.

Well, if you're heading to the post office, you better bring some extra pennies if you need to buy a stamp today. The price of first class postage is going up. It now is 49 cents. That is a 3 percent jump, the largest postal hike in some 11 years. Regulators say it should only be in effect for about two years, enough time for the postal service to recoup nearly $3 billion in recession-related losses. The postal board rejected a request to make the increase permanent.

I don't know about you, but do you think they would lower the price of a stamp? I feel like they don't.

BOLDUAN: I don't think we are ever going to see that happen.

CUOMO: Nothing -- nothing except gas ever eventually, you know, goes up and down.

PEREIRA: Right. Yes. I don't think they're going to give us back those pennies.

CUOMO: You know, everything else - no. Once it's up, it's up.

PEREIRA: It's up, it's up. Exactly.

CUOMO: That's how they get us (ph).

BOLDUAN: The Forever stamp.

PEREIRA: Can't un-ring a bell.


PEREIRA: I do love those Forever stamps.

BOLDUAN: Get your Forever stamps and get them now.

PEREIRA: You don't feel the pain quite as much.

BOLDUAN: Right. Exactly.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, Justin Bieber nowhere to be found at last night's Grammys. The teen heartbreaker turned up in Panama. Why is he there? He's also not alone. Are Bieber's buddies about to stage an intervention?

BOLDUAN: And speaking of the Grammys, it was a wild night, mass weddings, singers soaring through the air, even a couple of Beatles to top it off. All the highlights ahead.


CUOMO: Wow, what an awesome tuxedo Jay-z had on. He looked amazing. That's all I see there.

Welcome back.

Definitely a lucky night at the Grammy Awards for the French electronic music duo Daft Punk in their signature helmets. They won two of the top three awards, album and record of the year. A big night as well for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The rappers won four Grammys, including best artist. CNN's Nischelle Turner, living large, as always, in L.A., at the party, at the spot.

I heard you were just over at P. Diddy's party and just hopped back in to do this hit. Tell me about it.


CUOMO: You know how you do it.

TURNER: Absolutely. No, you know how you do. You could barely get those words out earlier. I saw you taking a peek at Mrs. Shawn Carter there.

You know, all week L.L. Cool Jay was saying, don't miss the opening of the show. You don't want to miss it. He could have just said, Beyonce, thong unitard. I'd have tuned in.


TURNER (voice-over): The 56th Grammy Awards kicked off with music's power couple, Beyonce and Jay-z, and ended with the marriage of 33 couples, including same-sex couples, in a star-studded wedding seen around the world.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are gathered here --

TURNER: Officiated by Queen Latifah and Madonna acting as maid of honor. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who took home four Grammy Awards, provided their hit song "Same Love" as a backdrop for the ceremony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A certificate on paper, is it going to solve it all, but it's a damn good place to start. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that this is a very unique opportunity to sing our song about tolerance and acceptance and equal rights to the masses.

TURNER: The best new artist winners had some competition. Newcomer 17- year-old Lorde stepped into the spotlight with a performance of "Royal," then took home best song for the tune.



TURNER: Pink soared above the crowd in a high-flying act showing off her flexibility and powerful vocals in what was once again an over- the-top performance. Imagine Dragons' electrifying act with Kendrick Lamar had Taylor Swift out of her chair and the twitterverse buzzing.

IMAGINE DRAGONS, ALTERNATIVE ROCK BAND: Actually, the Grammys approached us and they said that Kendrick had asked to perform with us. And so we were - we were already --


TURNER: It wasn't all about new artists. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr rocked the night with their anticipated reunion. But it was truly a lucky night for Daft Punk, who gave an all-star performance of their winning hit "Get Lucky" alongside Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Random Access Memories."

TURNER: The electronic duo took home five Grammys, including the biggest trophy of the night, album of the year.


TURNER: So not everyone, though, was pleased with all aspects of the show. Trent Reznor from Nin Inch Nails tweeted an f.u. to the Grammys last night for cutting their finale short. He says that it was disrespectful. He was not happy at all.

Now, I do have to say, Chris, you wanted to know about the big Diddy party that's next door. When I came in this morning, I thought, what is all this music? Well, CNN Los Angeles is in a really good location, right in the heart of Hollywood, and there's a club called Lure (ph) next door and Diddy's having his big Grammy party over there. The music is so loud and it's so packed. But you know how Diddy does it. He doesn't do anything small and reserved. Not him.

BOLDUAN: That's another way I would describe somebody else that we know very well. A Nischelle Turner.

TURNER: Listen, I do what I can. I got to bring you guys the real deal and let you know what's really going on. So a time or two I've got to venture over to Diddy's party, yes.

BOLDUAN: The sacrifices we make for our job. I respect it. And thank you, Nischelle.

TURNER: Thanks for saving me, Kate. Thanks for giving me purpose this morning.

BOLDUAN: That's right, baby (ph). We'll talk to you in a little bit. Thanks, Nischelle. She's so much fun.

CUOMO: She's the best.

BOLDUAN: We're going to take a break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, could things go from bad to worse for troubled pop star Justin Bieber? So, are R&B singer Usher and other friends staging an intervention? We're live with the latest coming up.


PEREIRA: All right, kind of a cool discovery to tell you about. Noah's Ark, of course, one of the most famous stories of the Bible. A new discovery could change what you think you know about it. A British researcher says he has the actual instructions that Noah was given to build his ark. There's the - look - of course he looks like a professor, doesn't he? Dr. Irving Finkel said he got ahold of an ancient tablet that dates as far back as 1700 B.C.. That's an entire millennium older than the book of Genesis. Now, surprisingly, according to this tablet, Noah's Ark was round. The blueprint calls for the ship to be a doughnut shaped size -- about the size of one and a half football fields with a tall skyscraper like cabin to hold the animals. The ark was supposedly made from coiled ropes made out of palm fiber. Finkel says the tablet is, quote, "one of the most important human documents ever discovered."

Now, Kate, I know you probably were lost after I said doughnut, but isn't that cool? Round. Fascinating stuff. We thought you had to know.

BOLDUAN: Fascinating. Absolutely. Thanks, Michaela.

So you probably noticed this, or maybe you didn't, but I'll ask it anyway, did you notice who was not at last night's Grammy Awards. Troubled pop star Justin Bieber was spotted on a beach in Panama this weekend with R&B singer Usher. But back home, there are new developments on Bieber's drunk driving arrest in Miami as prosecutors in Los Angeles consider a possible felony charge for egging his neighbor's home. Let's talk about all the latest. Pamela Brown is here with the very latest.

So, where do thing stand?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, so much for him laying low after his DUI , Kate.


BROWN: In fact, instead of going to the Grammys last night, he was seen in Panama. We have pictures of him on the beach in Panama. And as you point out, he was there with Usher, of course, one of his mentors. And so, at this point, you know, there's speculation that perhaps an intervention is going on or he just wanted to get away and have some R&R after his high-profile arrest in Miami just a few days go. So, at this point, no court date has been set. We are finding out some more details, though, that he blew a .014 on his Breathalyzer test.

BOLDUAN: Which is lower than people had originally thought, right?

BROWN: Which lower than - exactly, lower. So, yes, it is lower than initially thought.

BOLDUAN: But he's still not 21.

BROWN: Exactly. He's still - but it is lower than the legal limit for drivers under the age of 21. So, you know, that is a factor. And then also we're learning that maybe perhaps he wasn't going as fast as initially thought as well, but he was in a zone where the speed limit was 30 mile-per-hour and police had said he was going double that. But the owner of the Lamborghini, the car company, looked at the car's GPS and says that he was going 55 miles an hour. So that's also not as bad as we initially thought. So he -- it looks at this point that he faces perhaps misdemeanor, he could be convicted of some misdemeanors, but not as bad.

And then also we have the egging incident as well.

BOLDUAN: Right, the egging incident. That's back in California. And that's still lingering for him.

BROWN: Which the consequences of that could be much more severe. He could actually be charged with a felony, felony vandalism, which, of course, could impact his status here in the U.S. You know, he is -

BOLDUAN: Because he's Canadian.

BROWN: He's Canadian. He's here on a visa. And, you know, foreigners who are here with, you know, a visa could be deported if they're charged with a felony. So, of course, in some ways, you know, that is a bigger deal -

BOLDUAN: Oddly enough.

BROWN: For that reason for him. Yes.


BROWN: Oddly enough.

BOLDUAN: And not laying low, which might be -

BROWN: He's certainly not.

BOLDUAN: The best advice for him at this very moment.

BROWN: Yes, absolutely.

BOLDUAN: Pamela, thanks so much.

BROWN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: You keep following it.


BOLDUAN: Thanks.


CUOMO: All right, Kate, when we come back, what a story. An amazing survival. You're going to hear from a teenager who was injured. Do you remember this? This horrifying parasailing accident caught on tape. How did she survive? What was going through her mind? What is life like now? We're going to talk to her live.

Also, even more people have been sickened on a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship. What caused this outbreak that has more than 600 people ill? CDC investigators are on board trying to determine. They say it's a mystery illness. Is it? We'll get to the bottom of it for you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pure ice. It's all fluffy and light snow like this is going to melt down. It's going to be a mess.


CUOMO: Subzero nation. Are we going to make history for the coldest winter ever? Another round of brutal cold. The air hitting the eastern half of the country today. Temps dropping 50 degrees in the south. What it will mean for school, commutes and the Super Bowl ahead.

BOLDUAN: Mystery at sea. A fast spreading illness rips through a cruise ship.