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tv   Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans  CNN  February 3, 2016 1:00am-2:01am PST

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new hampshire democratic town hall. that's tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern here. and then i'll see you right back here after that at 11:00 p.m. so that we can break down all the action with our experts. and that's it for us tonight. we thank you so much for joining us. the race for president intensifying now in new hampshire. donald trump and bernie sanders leading big in the polls. but will the iowa caucuses and a cnn town hall tonight change everything? an alarming discovery in the battle against the zika virus. transmitted in the united states not by mosquito but by sex. >> a cnn exclusive inside syria to a secret usair base being used to fight isis. we take you there live. good morning. i'm christine romans. >> i'm john berman. it is 4:00 a.m. in the east. and this morning is the first morning of the rest of donald trump's life, and he says new hampshire will be different.
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he had better hope after falling to ted cruz in the iowa caucuses, trump is trying to protect a big lead in new hampshire, 18 points, but this was all before the iowa roadblock. now trump admits his decision to skip the final debate may have hurt him there, but he says he is proud of his second place finish. >> one poll came out that said i was leading by four or five points. the headlines were "trump comes in second! he's humiliated!" there were 17 people when we started. now you have 11. i come in second. i'm not humiliated. >> trump says new hampshire is a better fit for his kind of campaign, and that is where cnn's sara murray joins us from a trump rally. >> reporter: good morning, john and christine. donald trump may have delivered a gracious concession speech in iowa, but back on the campaign trail in new hampshire, all bets were off. last night he tore into ted cruz, suggesting the texas
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senator is running a dirty campaign. that's after cruz campaign aides told iowa caucusgoers that ben carson was dropping out of the race when, in fact, that was not true. >> these are truly dishonest people. then he said ben carson has quit the race! the day of the election. ben carson during a caucus. ben carson has quit the race. and ben didn't quit the race. in other words, ben carson quit, and let me have your vote. what kind of crap is this? >> reporter: the cruz campaign has since apologized, but that didn't stop donald trump. the other thing on trump's mind, marco rubio. trump kept joking that his third place finish was unbelievable that trump's second place finish discussed as humiliation. he said he's not humiliated, but he does want to win here in new hampshire. back to you guys. >> sara, thank you for that. ben carson says ted cruz's
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apology for his aides' action is not good enough. carson campaign officials say they think he lost many votes because cruz staffers falsely told caucusgoers he was quitting the race. carson told us he was only taking a side trip home to florida before returning the to the campaign. he says cruz's apology doesn't fix a cultural issue and that the staffers responsible should be fired. >> i think whoever is responsible for blatant lying should be dismissed, absolutely. unless -- unless that kind of behavior is acceptable in your campaign culture. anybody who's been on the road for almost three weeks recognizes exactly what i'm talking about. you need some fresh clothes. and it's not like you're going to be there forever. it's very nice to actually sleep in your own bed every now and then. and if anybody can't understand that, i feel story for them. >> this morning a new chapter in
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the democratic race. hillary clinton now the declared actual winner of the iowa caucuses, albeit by this much. she's trying to capitalize now in new hampshire. she trails bernie sanders there. the senator from the neighboring state of vermont by a pretty wide margin. clinton is hoping a newly scheduled debate on thursday and most importantly the cnn town hall tonight can help close that gap. >> i care a lot about this state. i view it as being the first in the nation primary for a reason. i know that they tend to favor their neighbors. that's the pattern, the history of the primary. and senator sanders is a neighbor, but i think we will have a good contest, talking about, you know, what results we can produce, what our records have been both in domestic policy, foreign policy, national security. and i think the people of new hampshire will get a chance to really evaluate both of us. and i feel good about my prospects. >> so senator sanders will be at the cnn town hall tonight, but
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he is refusing so far to commit to the thursday debate and actually refusing to concede defeat in the iowa caucuses. cnn's joe johns has the latest on that in new hampshire. >> reporter: john and christine, after coming within a fraction of beating hillary clinton in the iowa caucuses, bernie sanders was upbeat, even energized as he spoke to a crowd here in keen, new hampshire. he's been leading in the polls in this state for months. he does have a geographic advantage. his home state of vermont shares a border with the state of new hampshire. he's been pushing his issues of economic inequality as well as campaign finance reform and showing no signs of giving up. in fact, when asked if he was considering conceding in iowa to hillary clinton, he was very noncommittal. listen. >> i, you know, do think it's kind of unfortunate that -- and again, i don't want to misspeak here, but it may be the case that some delegates were selected based on a flip of a
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coin. not the best way to do democracy. >> reporter: sanders also weighed in with a snarky comment when asked about the assertion by hillary clinton that she's a progressive. he says she is except when she says she's a moderate. he's pushing for more debates with mrs. clinton, and he said he wants them in new york, michigan and california. john and christine? >> what about the cnn town hall that is tonight? 15 hours from now when the town of derry, new hampshire, hillary clinton and bernie sanders taking questions from actual new hampshire voters, and they know to ask pretty tough questions. 9:00 tonight only on cnn. >> don't miss it. president obama and house speaker paul ryan sitting down to talk about compromises that could be on the table for the president's final year in office. the pair searching for common ground on issues including the criminal justice system, a trade deal with the pacific rim nations. these are the first extended policy talks between the president and the speaker since he ascended to the speakership last year. president obama is meeting
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with members of the muslim community at a mosque in baltimore tonight. the president scolded politicians including donald trump, at least implicitly during last month's state of the union address when he said, quote, insulting muslims doesn't make us safer, it's just wrong. the president is set to participate in a roundtable discussion in his first visit to a u.s. mosque as president. the white house says it also promotes tolerance while celebrating the contributions of muslim americans. seven minutes past the hour. let's get a little check on your money. stock futures are slightly higher coming off some big losses yesterday. but markets in asia and europe are down right now. chipotle executives said in january that earnings would be messy. they were right. the burrito chain pulled in a profit of just $68 million during the last three months of 2015, plunging 44% compared to the same time last year. the company's e. coli scare hospitalized 22 people. it crushed its healthy foot image, scaring away many customers across the country. the centers for disease control says the outbreak appears to be over, but there is an ongoing
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criminal investigation. investors arer whoed the stock is down, look at that, 36% since its all-time high in august, losing another 5% in premarket trading this morning. a lot going on in the business world. all of our eyes have been on politics for the past few days. chip pootle shares it's getting crushed. signs the zika virus can be passed on not by just mosquitoes but by sex.
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new concerns about the spread of the zika virus. officials reporting the first transmission in the u.s., they say it was contracted through sex, not a mosquito bite. >> dallas county health and human services has received confirmation of a zika case associated with acquiring locally, and as a result of that, we informed our medical community, the public at large that zika has made its appearance in dallas county. zika can be spread primarily by mosquitoes associated with travel to tropical region where the virus is endemic in those mosquitoes such as latin america, the caribbean. however, in dallas county, we have received confirmation that it is spread otherwise through sexual activity. >> in response, the cdc is advising people who have traveled to areas with the zika outbreaks to use condoms, and the red cross wants donors to hold off giving blood for at least 28 days. meantime, a french company is attempting to develop a vaccine
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to fight the zeika virus. the water crisis in flint will be front and center on capitol hill this morning. the house oversight committee is holding a hearing on the lead contamination affecting tens of thousands of people. local lawmakers and environmental officials scheduled to testify. the flint mayor is calling for the immediate replacement of all lead service lines running into the city's homes. she's not offering cost estimates or a way to fund that project. california joining a growing list of parties now suing a local utility company over a 15-week-long gas leak. the leak has released more than 2 million tons of methane, forcing thousands of los angeles residents to abandon their homes. a spokesman says the company is hoping to have the leak plugged by the end of this month. new details emerging about the death of a virginia teenager nicole lovell. plrs say the 13-year-old was fatally stabbed the day she disappeared last week. two virginia tech students had
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been arrested in the case. eisenhower is charged with abduction and murder. police say he and nicole were acquainted according to neighbors, she had talked about an online boyfriend. growing concerns in ferguson, missouri, over the cost of implementing reforms ordered by the justice department following the police shooting of michael brown. the city already faces a $2.8 million deficit, and officials estimate overhauling the police department will cost at least $500,000. if ferguson does not comply with the justice department mandate, it risks facing a civil rights suit. bill cosby will be back in a pennsylvania courtroom today as his lawyers try to get criminal sexual assault charges against him dismissed. a judge must decide whether there was an unwritten agreement back in 2005 not to prosecute cosby that precludes the current charges in a case brought by former temple university employee andrea constand. former model chloe goens who alleged he sexually assaulted her in 2008 has dropped her
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lawsuit. a huge storm in pickens county, alabama. look at that, blackening the entire sky. the national weather service says nine twisters struck the two states tuesday. more twisters are possible today, folks. the damage was extensive. some homes were ripped apart by these violent storms. thankfully only minor injuries have been reported. more strong storms across the south this morning. let's get to meteorologist pedram javaheri. >> good morning, guys. the severe weather threat we're watching going to be confined towards the extreme southeast including mobile, atlanta, columbia, raleigh and charlotte. and on a scale of one to five, the down to a one compared to a three this time yesterday. but of course, we saw what occurred there on tuesday and wednesday morning with nine reports of tornadoes. much of which occurred across parts of mississippi on into alabama. and you know this time of year has got to be the quietest time of year, and it absolutely is among that with 29 on average for the country as a whole. climatologically, you see how it
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shapes up with texas, mississippi and alabama and also florida taking the largest numbers of tornadoes. the squall line begins to push in towards atlanta sometime in the early morning hours. some heavy winds associated with this as well as it pushes east. charlotte gets in on some of the action. by the afternoon hours, so delayed could be expected over that region. again, the temperatures still remain pretty mild. atlanta, mid-60s. orlando up into the mid-80s while new york touches 60 degrees by the afternoon hours. that's almost 20 degrees above average for this time of year. but want to show you what happens into next week. middle of next week, incredible blast could be lining up for the eastern half of the country by friday into saturday. open the doors for some potential record-breaking cold. we'll break this down as the week progresses. the u.s. expanding its presence in syria with a new strategy to fight isis. we'll take you there live in a cnn exclusive. re. more savings on car insurance?
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this morning the united states looking for new ways to step up the military campaign against isis. recently published satellite images show a small farming air strip being lengthened in kurdish-controlled territory in northern syria.
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the pentagon is only saying u.s. forces in syria are consistently looking for ways to increase efficiency. clarisa ward is the first journalist to visit aairfield amid a deepening relationship between the u.s. and its kurdish al allies. she joins us live from erbil with this cnn exclusive. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, christine. as the u.s. ratchets up its military presence inside syria with at least 50 u.s. special forces troops on the ground, it is also exploring military ways to pursue the fight against isis beyond just airstrikes. now, we managed to find this small agricultural airstrip in a remote corner of northeastern syria. when we arrived on the scene, it was clear that works were ongoing. there was a large berm of freshly dug-up earth that was clearly intended to obscure what was going on behind it. but we could see the runway quite clearly. we saw a tractor. we saw workers on the scene,
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clearly attempting to extend the runway. that, of course, would allow larger planes to land. now, there's a number of reasons why an airfield like this would be strategically very valuable for the u.s. with its increased presence on the ground. it could be used to bring in logistical support. it could be used to bring in weapons and ammunition for u.s. allies on the ground. it could even be used to bring in special forces personnel for covert operations. and it's important to remember, christine, that this airfield is just 100 miles away from isis positions, but it is very safely secured inside kurdish territory. so a number of strategic reasons why the u.s. would want to develop this into an airfield. on the ground in that kurdish area, it's an open secret that this airfield is being turned into a u.s. military strip. but when we went there, we were very quickly escorted from the
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premises by security officials. they said you're not allowed to film here. this is a military zone. and officially, as you said, christine, the pentagon denies that it has taken control of any airstrip inside northern syria. christine? >> does it show a deepening alliance between the u.s. and its kurdish allies here? >> reporter: absolutely. there's no question as the u.s. ratchets up the fight, it's really looking to enhance its strategic relationship with kurdish ypg fighters. we also managed to visit a joint operations room where essentially a few young kurdish fighters are communicating through -- newly provided tablets and through radios with their colleagues on the ground, on the frontlines and with a command center, in a neighboring country, from which airstrikes could be called in. so we're definitely seeing a deepening, an enhancement of this relationship between the u.s. and between kurdish
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fighters with the ypg on the ground. >> clarissa, thank you so much. great reporting from erbil, iraq, thank you. secretary of state john kerry is warning members of the u.s. coalition about the potential growth of isis in libya. kerry says the group at a meeting in rome agreed to intensify efforts to defeat isis. these efforts include support for a national unity government in libya. the secretary, though, ruled out sending u.s. troops into libya. north korea announcing plans to launch a rocket into space later this month. that's according to a u.n. official. washington described the launch as an egregious violation of a u.n. ban on missile launches in the country. it called for more sanctions. north korea conducted its fourth nuclear bomb test last month, drawing international condemnation. critics call pyongyang's last satellite launch a cover for a test of ballistic missile technology. breaking news out of east africa. somali authorities confirm that an explosion that blew a hole in the side of a commercial plane shortly after takeoff killed at
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least one passenger. the victim's body was found on the ground near mogadishu. the pilot was able to safely land the aircraft. so far this morning no confirmation of the cause of the blast or whether terrorism could be involved. want to get the latest from our robin kriel in nairobi. robin. >> reporter: john, what we were told yesterday by a source close to the investigation is that that hole, it tested positive for explosive residue. obviously, investigations will continue today. it is just in the morning here in east africa. also, that body will be forensically investigated to try to figure out exactly what caused that explosion at about 12,000 to 14,000 feet in the air. we can take a look at some of these visuals. a horrendous few minutes for what were mostly somali passengers traveling to djibouti. they report hearing a terrifically deafening loud explosion in the center of the plane. very close to the wing.
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they then -- the plane started filling up with air, we're told, and really bits of plane started blowing around the oxygen masks came down. the flight crew and the pilots keeping very calm in this situation, moving people to the back of the plane away from the hole and to the front of the plane away from the hole. as i said, the oxygen masks came down. a number of extremely unhappy passengers wearing those oxygen masks, not knowing what their fate would be. and one man was rolling on his cell phone at the time. we can also see passengers taking their luggage out of the overhead bins to move with it to the front. and we're also told that as you said, one man lost his life. he was blown out of the plane and found nearby. somali authorities picked up his body late last night, and they will be examining it today to figure out exactly what caused this explosion. >> that photo is alarming. robyn, thanks so much. 26 minutes past the hour. hillary clinton, bernie sanders battling it out in new hampshire now. in just hours, fielding questions from voters in our
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town hall. tonight's cnn town hall. what to expect next.
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countdown to showdown. the cnn town hall in new hampshire tonight. hillary clinton, bernie sanders. fresh out of iowa with a lot to say. maybe even about donald trump. how hard will they come out swinging? a new warning this morning about the zika virus, transmitted in the u.s. for the
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first time. no mosquito needed. the u.s. expanding its presence in syria this morning. a new strategy there. we have a cnn exclusive from an airfield you may not know about. welcome back to "early start." i'm john berman. >> i'm christine romans. it is 31 minutes past the hour. the countdown to new hampshire is here. hillary clinton, bernie sanders intensifying a battle for granite state voters after their near tie. that raizor-thin neck-and-neck performance in iowa. clinton finally manages a win wince all the precincts were counted. that's not the way things look in new hampshire. clinton trailing sanders in new hampshire. the senator from the neighboring state of vermont by a wide margin, but she's not conceding new hampshire. both candidates planning to fight very hard there this week. the latest now from cnn's jeff zeleny. >> john and christine, the democratic race for the presidency is down to two candidates. hillary clinton and bernie sanders, they will both be on center stage at the cnn town
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hall tonight in derry, new hampshire. they could not be presenting different arguments here. bernie sanders is going to call for political action, to join his movement, to joinrevolution campaign finance and wall street. hillary clinton is fighting to do what is possible, to do things that are practical. both of those arguments were on display as they flew from iowa to new hampshire on tuesday, making their case, beginning to make their appeals to new hampshire voters. >> i think it's important people understand that good ideas are one thing, but you've got to know how to implement. you've got to have a record of getting results, and i'm taking my ideas and my record to the people of new hampshire this week. >> last night we showed that working people, lower-income people and young people are prepared to stand up and fight for fundamental changes in the way politics and economics is done in america. the political revolution continues next tuesday here in
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new hampshire! >> those differences in styles will be front and center when they join that cnn town hall tonight in derry, new hampshire. john and christine? >> jeff zeleny, thank you, jeff. now, that town hall moderated by anderson cooper with clinton and sanders answering questions directly from new hampshire voters. that's tonight, 9:00 p.m. eastern, right here on cnn >> 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. twitter is appreciating how hard we're plugging this. one extra plug. we get paid by the plug. a dramatically new tone, a new reality in the republican race with several candidates on the attack. donald trump has enjoyed a big lead in polls in new hampshire, 18 points ahead of ted cruz, but that was all before he lost iowa. to cruz. now the top two candidates are aiming their fire not just at each other but also at marco rubio and the media spin that his third place finish in iowa was better than cast. >> everyone was saying, what do you think about the amazing
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third place finish of marco? i just kind of laughed and said, fwo gosh, when the first thing you want to talk about is the amazing third place finish? we've been joking that in media world, bronze is the new gold. >> he comes in third. i come in second. trump, no good. rubio, unbelievable night. unbelievable victory. the headline is, winner of the night, marco rubio. >> we're number three! we're number three! chief political correspondent dan a bash is covering the rubi campaign and has the latest from new hampshire. >> reporter: john and christine, the flag just came down, all of the marco rubio banners have come down, but this was a packed house. hundreds of people came here to exeter, new hampshire, to see firsthand what all the buzz is about, not for the winner from the iowa caucuses but from the guy who came in a surprisingly strong third place. that, of course, is marco rubio.
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he drew a lot of people because i talked to many of them. they said that they have been listening to so many candidates. those who have kind of been living here like john kasich, like chris christie, to a lesser extent, jeb bush, but they wanted to see maybe if they could find somebody who could win in -- not just the nomination but in november. lisp listen to what one voter told me. >> it's hard to vote -- unfortunately it's hard to vote for a candidate that doesn't have a chance. >> reporter: you want to pick a winner. >> i do. and i think he's got a chance. >> reporter: so if marco rubio can convince many more voters of what that gentleman just said, that is it is about the psychological feeling not just of voters but of supporters, of donors. and for the next seven days, that is what this is going to be all about. marco rubio trying to spread his
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wings and to edge out the other people in his lane who are kind of potentially blocking him from getting the full support of mainstream republicans who want to try to push back against ted cruz, who want to try to push back against donald trump. that's the name of the game. if you're marco rubio right now. john and christine? >> dana, thanks so much. marco rubio spoke to cnn which doesn't happen very often. he spoke to our allison camerota. see what he has to take about being attacked by his republican rivals and why he likes electronic dance music. everyone who likes electronic dance music will have to tune into that. that's at 6:00. president obama, house speaker paul ryan are sitting down to talk about compromises that could be on the table for the president's final year in office. the pair searching for common ground on issues including the criminal justice system and a trade deal with pacific rim nations. these are the first extended policy talks between the president and ryan since he
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ascended to the speakership last year. president obama is meeting with members of the muslim community at a mosque in baltimore tonight. the president scolded politicians including donald trump at least implicit during last month's state of the union address when he said, quote, insulting muslims doesn't make us safer, it's just wrong. the president is set to participate in a roundtable discussion in his first visit to an american mosque as president. the white house says it also promotes tolerance while celebrating the contributions of muslim americans. time for an early start on your money. a pretty ugly day yesterday. what's happening right now? dow futures up slightly. yesterday really one of those risk-off days where they sold stocks and they bought safety assets. markets in europe and asia down here right now. watching yahoo! too. a stunning loss for yahoo!. pink slips coming to hundreds of employees. and the company could be up for sale. yahoo! lost $4.4 billion in the fourth quarter of last year. it's planning to play off 15% of its work force. that equals about 1600 employees. yahoo! will also explore, quote,
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strategic alternatives which is usually corporate code for being open to offers to come buy us, please. ceo marissa maier as well as its media brands driven by yahoo! news, sports and finance. the company will also streamline its advertising platforms, close five global offices and shutter businesses that are not growing. so watch that one here. >> nothing but change at yahoo!. not always in a positive direction. 38 minutes past the hour. a new warning about the zika virus now being transmitted in the u.s., not by mosquitoes, though. the new transmission that's got so many public health officials concerned. leeza gibons with an amazing story about how philips lifeline gives betty white peace of mind and gave my father a second chance at life. daddy is invincible. that's how we want to think about our parents. knowing that dad lives alone, we worry. that's why was so hard for all of us when he had his heart attack. i wasn't feeling well that day. the heart attack hit me, i fell to the floor,
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the water crisis in flint, michigan, will be front and center on capitol hill this morning. the oversight committee holding a hearing on the lead situation. local leaders and environmental officials are expected to testify. flint mayor karen weaver is calling for the immediate replacement of all lead service lines running into the city's homes. she's not offering cost estimates or a way to fund that project. the state of california is joining a growing list of parties now suing a local utility company after a 15-week-long gas leak. the leak has released more than 2 million tons of methane, forcing thousands of los angeles residents to abandon their homes. a spokesman for southern california gas says the company is hoping to have the leak plugged by the end of the month. new details emerging about
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the death of virginia teenager nicole lovell. prosecutors say this 13-year-old was fatally stabbed on the day she disappeared last week. two virginia tech students, david eisenhower and natalie keepers, have been arrested in this case. ize izeen hour is charged with abduction and murder. police are only saying he and nicole were acquainted according to neighbors, she had talked about an online boyfriend. growing concerns this morning in ferguson, missouri, over the cost of implementing reforms ordered by the justice department. the city already faces a $2.8 million deficit. and officials estimate overhauling the department will cost $500,000. now, if ferguson does not comply with the justice department mandate, it risks facing a civil rights suit. bill cosby will be back in a pennsylvania courtroom today as his lawyers try to get criminal sexual charges against him dismissed. a judge must decide whether there was an unwritten agreement back in 2005 not to prosecute cosby that precludes the current charges in a case brought by a
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former temple university employee andrea constand. model chloe goens who alleged cosby drugged and sexual assa t assaulted her in 2008, she has dropped her civil suit. tornadoes tearing across mississippi and alabama. a huge storm in pickens county black. ed the entire sky. look at that. wow! the national weather service says nine tornadoes struck the two states tuesday. more possible today. the damage was extensive. some homes were just ripped apart by the violent storms. thankfully, especially looking at these pictures, only minor injuries have been reported. >> there will be more strong storms across the south this morning. let's get straight to meteorologist pedram javaheri for more. >> good morning, guys. yeah, the tornado threat really going to diminish today. that's the good news. climatologically speaking, pick february out, it is among the quietest times of the year with only december coming in less. of course, you saw what happened this past december. so you have the meteorological patterns in place. you have the warm, moist air. you have the instability in the atmosphere. you have the shear environment that we had in place and mother
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nature could really care less what time of year it is. of course, nine reports of tornadoes spawned across the southea southeast. much occurring from mississippi into alabama associated with this line of thunderstorms. still pretty active as of the early morning hours. again, i think the tornadic aspect going to be aspects and the strong winds and rain is going to be what's concerning. these areas could see upwards of two, maybe three, even higher amounts of rainfall over the next two to three days. work your way to the north, enough cold air left in place with our exiting storm system to produce a couple of inches of snowfall around minneapolis to green bay. but again, nothing significant. temperatures in places like minneapolis make it up to 21. new york, almost 60. touching 70 in places around washington. the concern is you looks towards the beginning of next week, cooling trend that brings us back down close to normal. beyond that, it looks like some impressive cold or maybe oppressive cold coming into the forecast. we'll follow it as the week progresses, guys. >> pedram, thanks so much. new concerns this morning about the spread of the zika
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virus. texas health officials reporting the first transmission in the united states, and they say it was caught through sex, not a mosquito bite. the cdc is advising people to use condoms and the red cross wants donors to hold off giving blood for at least 28 days. a french company is attempting to develop a vaccine right now to fight the zika virus. cnn's nic robertson spoke to a scientist who is working on this vaccine. nic, you are in france with the details. good morning. >> reporter: yeah, john, good morning. the company right behind me is perhaps one of the best place organizations in the world right now. they have tens of thousands of employees. they have done and researched on dengue fever, on yellow fever, have vaccines for those. these are carried by the same mosquito that carries the zika varus. there are similarities to zika virus. some staggering details i learned inside there today.
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there are about 2.3 billion people -- billion people, 2.3 billion people every year that are exposed to dengue fever. right now zika does not have the same coverage around the globe as dengue fever. for example, india today, the government there says people there, they don't have the zika virus in india, but they do have dengue. the concern is that the mosquitoes that carry dengue can carry zika or do carry zika as well. that zika could spread to countries like india. that would expose a further billion people. so you could have up to 2.3 billion people around the world potentially exposed to the zika virus because it is moving fast, and it is moving quickly. there are other mosquitoes, the head of their global research told me, other mosquitoes could potentially carry the zika virus which would extend it potentially in the united states out of florida, out of texas all the way up the eastern seaboard as far north as new york.
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so real concerns in the lab here that they get their virus, they get their vaccine for this virus, rather. they get it to the market as fast as possible. i asked this, their lead researcher here, how long that would take. this is what he told me. >> a typical vaccine can take ten or more years. but there is a great sense of urgency with an organization. the w.h.o. has declared an emergency. so we need to move as quickly as possible. so we've got technology in house. we have capabilities and infrastructure that's been established around our dengue vaccine and other viruses. so we really hope to significantly reduce that time line and cut years off a typical amount of time that it takes to develop a vaccine. >> reporter: so we're talking several years rather than perhaps a decade? >> that's correct. >> reporter: so that's their best assessment. it could be several years to get a vaccine, and their assessment potentially as this virus
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spreads in about 30 countries right now, it could potentially spread to about 100 countries around the world, putting several billion people potentially at risk, john. >> even with long-term gains, the short-term risks are still so high. nic robertson, thanks so much. 49 minutes past the hour. it's not very often you feel bad for big oil companies, right? take a look at the crash in oil prices, how it's hitting corporate america. the losses for one big-name company staggering. we'll tell you about it next. ♪ (cell phone rings) where are you? well the squirrels are back in the attic. mom? your dad won't call an exterminator... can i call you back, mom? he says it's personal this time...
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if you're a mom, you call at the worst time. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. where are you? it's very loud there. are you taking a zumba class?
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this morning the united states is looking for new ways to step up the military campaign against isis. recently published satellite images show a small farming a a airstrip being lengthened. the pentagon only says that u.s. forces in syria are consistently looking for ways to increase efficiency. clarissa ward is the first journalist to visit that
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airfield amid this deepening relationship between the u.s. and its kurdish allies. she joins us from erbil. this airstrip, what's the situation there? >> reporter: well, good morning, john. that's right, as the u.s. ratchets up its military presence inside syria with at least 50 special forces troops on the ground, it is exploring military options in the fight against isis beyond just airstrikes. now, we managed to find that small agricultural airstrip in a remote corner of northern syria. and we could see it is being developed into an airfield for u.s. forces. there were tractors on the ground. there were workers. they appeared to be extending the runway. that would allow larger planes to land on the tarmac there. there was a large berm of freshly dug-up earth that was clearly trying to conceal the work that was going on, but we could see that runway quite
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clearly. and if you look at satellite photos over the past few weeks and months, it is obvious that there have been significant developments there. now, strategically, the u.s. has a lot to gain by setting up some type of a base or airfield on the ground inside northern syria. they could use it as a hub to transport logistics, to special forces on the grofrontlines. they could use it to transport weapons and ammunition to allies on the ground. they could use it, of course, to transport personnel, special forces personnel who may be going in on covert operations or they could use it even for an extraction plan if an operation was to go wrong. and even though this is inside syria and just 100 miles away from isis positions, it is well secured inside kurdish territory. now, the kurds on the ground in the area, for them it's an open secret, this airfield. everybody knows about it even though everybody pretends it doesn't exist. but the pentagon still
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officially says that it denies having taken over any airstrip at all. but certainly when we were there, john, the minute we got out our camera and started filming, it did not take security forces long at all to come down, tell us to stop filming. they told us it was a military zone, and we were very swiftly escorted from the premises. john? >> were these kurdish security forces, or did you see an actual u.s. presence there? >> reporter: we didn't see a u.s. presence there. and as many people, as we have asked, nobody is talking about where these u.s. special forces troops are based and how many of them are there. but the u.s. is now working extremely closely with its allies on the ground in northern syria. kurdish ypg fighters who have somewhere in the ballpark of 25,000 to 30,000 fighters, and they are the ones who have really been taking ground from isis on the frontlines on the battlefield. john? >> clarissa, really remarkable
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pictures. thanks so much for being with us this morning. breaking news out of east africa. somali authorities confirming an explosion that blew a hole in the side of a commercial plane shortly after takeoff. it killed at least one passenger. the victim's body found on the ground near mogadishu. the pilot was amazingly able to safely land this aircraft. so far this morning no confirmation of the cause of that blast or whether terrorism may be involved. want to get very latest from cnn's robyn kriel live from nairobi. when you look at the pictures of this aircraft, it's almost amazing there was only one fatality. was it because it hadn't gotten to cruising altitude, the cabin hadn't been entirely pressurized? why was this plane able to land safely? >> reporter: well, hugely lucky. and it turns out, christine, that that plane was about an hour delayed. so if it had taken off at 10:30 a.m. local time, which it was due to take off, and instead it
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took off at 12:30. if it had and if there was something timed to go off to that plane, then that flight would have likely have been one hour into cruising altitude, 30,000 feet. what we're told by experts is that if it had been at that altitude and the explosion had occurred in that exact place near the fuel tanks on the wing, that it would have been catastrophic for that flight and the 70-odd people on board. here's what we know. it was an airbus 321. it was heading from mogadishu to djibouti. a source tells us -- a source close to the investigation tells us that they have tested that blast site, and that residue that they have collected has tested positive for explosives. we're not sure what explosive that was. two passengers injured and one passenger sucked out of the plane. his body was found close to mogadishu. somali authorities thousand have control of that body, and they will be looking at that body today as the day wears on. what we're not sure about, christine, is what could be behind this explosion. as i said, it was one hour late to take off.
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so if it was some kind of timed device, and again, we do not know this, then if it had been gone off when the plane was already in the air and at cruising altitude, it would have been catastrophic. al shabaab is an al qaeda-linked group that has terror attacks almost daily in mogadishu. as of yet, no one has come forward to claim responsibility if indeed this was some kind of terror attack. christine. >> keep us posted about just what was the cause of that explosion. thank you, robyn. 58 minutes past the hour. rotten day yesterday for stock investors. a 295-point loss in the dow. right now stock markets in europe and lower stocks in tokyo, 3% lower overnight. u.s. futures up slightly. the crash in oil prices has been hell on profits for the big oil companies. profit in exxon mobil plummeted 58% in the fourth quarter. look at that. those are the annual profits. $16.2 billion in annual profit last year. half of what it made the year before. exxon mobil is one of three american companies that have a
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higher credit rating than the federal government. along with microsoft, johnson & johnson. now standard & poor's is flet threatening to kick them out of that elite group. what's bad, terrible, horrible, horrific for oil companies is great for your wallet. the national average, $1.78. that's down 20 cents in just the past month. it's now more than $1 below peak prices last year. check out missouri and oklahoma, the lowest averages in the country, now below $1.50. what were you paying in iowa when you were there? >> $1.80. i think i saw $1.60. it's crazy. >> dean saw $1.49 at the costco in jersey. >> i can't imagine. i would drive to new jersey just to fill up. >> then you've got to pay $12 to get back through the tunnel. it's really good for your bottom line, but it's been very hard on your 401(k). "early start" continues right now.
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>> the race for president intensifies in new hampshire. donald trump and bernie sanders leading big in the polls. but will the iowa caucuses and a cnn town hall tonight, will that change everything? an alarming discovery in the battle against the zika virus transmitted in the united states now. not by mosquitoes, though. but by sex. good morning, everyone. welcome to "early start." i'm john berman. >> i'm christine romans. it is 5:00 a.m. in the east. nice to see you all this morning. this morning is the first morning of the rest of donald trump's life. but he says new hampshire will be different. he'd better hope after falling to ted cruz in the iowa caucuses. trump is trying to protect a big lead in the polls in new hampshire. 18-point lead he has. but that was all before that iowa roadblock. now trump admits his decision to skip the final debate in iowa may have hurt him there, but he says he is proud of his second place finish, not humiliated by it. but trump says new hampshire is a better fit for the kind of campaign he's

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