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Heat Wave Puts Lives In Danger; Colorado Springs PD Report 24 Burglaries; Colorado Springs Sees Bear Invasion; Community Rallies Around Firefighters; Mexico Voting For New President Today; Clinton Optimistic About Syria Plan; Colorado Fire Jeopardizes Wedding; The iPhone Is Five Years Old; London: Beyond The Olympics
Aired July 1, 2012 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. You're in the NEWSROOM. I'm Poppy Harlow in today for Fredricka Whitfield.
Lot to tell you about, first off, two days without power during a record breaking heat wave. It's a dangerous situation that is affecting more than two and a half million storm victims in the northeast.
In Colorado, police are now telling wildfire evacuees to be on the lookout for burglars and bears when they return home.
And Mexico holds an historic vote and its outcome could have significant implications for the United States.
First, the stifling heat wave that's creating dangerous conditions in the Midwest, the south and the northeast. Take a look at the predicted highs for today, wow, 103 where I'm sitting in Atlanta.
Twenty states are under heat warnings or advisories right now. The sizzling temperatures aren't just uncomfortable. They can be life threatening, especially for people who don't have air conditioning.
That's the unfortunate reality in a lot of northeast right now after storms knocked out power to millions of homes. Our Athena Jones joins us from a cooling center in Burke, Virginia.
Athena, thanks for joining us again today. Give me a sense of what officials are saying about when power's going to be fully restored there.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Poppy. Well, of course, this power issue is the top of everyone's mind. In Maryland, power company officials say it is going to take up to a week for full restoration of power because of the extensive damage.
There was just a conference call here with some utility companies here who said that in Virginia, it could take until Saturday or Sunday until everyone all across Virginia has their power restored.
Dominion, which is the company that serves the vast majority of customers here hopes to have a lot of power back to 95 percent of the customers by Thursday. But of course, that all depends on if the weather cooperates. We're dealing with 100-degree-plus temperatures here and people without power are having to go to great lengths to figure out how to stay cool.
Nine grocery stores in the region have been handing out bags of ice. They ran out of nearly 3,000 bags of ice earlier today, they're trying to get more.
They've also opened cooling centers like this one. I'm at a library here. It's one of 110 cooling centers in the state of Virginia to help people without power, people like Diane Bond who's here, a resident from not too far away.
You don't have power, why are you here?
DIANE BOND, FAIRFAX COUNTY RESIDENT: Well, I wanted to charge my phone and my tablet, but I also wanted to get some books to read. Just boredom is setting in so.
JONES: And what's your biggest concern? You talked about a big preparation you have.
BOND: Well, yes, I have company in town so I made meals and froze them. I had about 16 dinners in the freezer so I really don't want to lose those.
That's a lot of food that will go to waste. So we were able to find some ice today after much searching so hopefully we'll be able to keep those dinners cold.
JONES: Right. So her experience is a lot like many others that we've seen around here. One of the big issues here is, of course, people are warning people not to eat food that's gone bad. So that's yet another one of the issues that arises in these situations -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Yes, absolutely. And she just represents one of so many people going through this right now. I'm glad she could get out of the house and at least get there to the library. Athena, thank you. We appreciate it.
Well, heat records weren't just broken this weekend. They were completely shattered. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is tracking the temperatures from the CNN Weather Center.
This is unbelievable. I know we were a record high here in Atlanta just yesterday and we're above 100 today.
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, 106 yesterday in Atlanta. You know, it is not unbelievable. It is really unprecedented. We are talking about 45 million people being impacted, 24 states.
These are all-time record heat. So we're not talking about just a day breaking a record, the day for the month, the day for the day. We're talking about all-time record setting temperatures since the 1800s. And the breadth and depth of this is what's so incredibly shattering from Kansas to Colorado to the Carolinas, 111 in Dodge City, Kansas. Since records were kept from 1874. That's a snare from Columbia to Nashville from 1873.
So really unprecedented, 109 in Nashville, 106 in Atlanta so looking at the forecast highs for today, temperatures are down a bit. You can 103 in Atlanta, 97.
But look at how far it spreads from Denver, Colorado to Albuquerque, to Atlanta, to New York and Washington. So those are today's highs.
Let me show you tomorrow's highs. We do scrape a little bit off, but it's really splitting hairs and kind of moot in some regards that the biggest problem when we had this kind of heat are night time temperatures.
Staying in the low 80s, in the upper 70s and that's really when the danger occurs. You can see places like Washington and as you look for the next four days, temperatures really aren't changing much.
You can see from Atlanta, we do shake off about 10 degrees, but Washington, Poppy, Louisville, St. Louis, staying at 102 as we head into even Monday.
HARLOW: Its persistent. Let's move out west and focus on those all- important wildfires. When you talk about weather that's critical for firefighters on the front lines, any good news for them?
STEELE: Well, there really isn't. I mean, there are three weather aspects -- temperature, wind and moisture affect the fires. Moisture is the only good thing, right?
Temperatures certainly are not good. They kind of make the water, make it all burn faster. And of course, with the wind, it kind of feeds energy into the fire.
So we are going to see winds today from the southeast throughout the fire especially around the Waldo Canyon fire. Between sustained about 10 and 15 miles per hour, gusts 30 to 40 and temperatures really not moving much, not in the hundreds, but still, Poppy, in the 90s and not going anywhere. No rain really in sight as well.
HARLOW: Not going anywhere, no rain, you know, in the middle of winter you hope for something like this, and then it comes and it's awful and it's dangerous for a lot of people. Thank you for keeping an eye on it. We appreciate it.
Well, heat also an issue for firefighters battling the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs. More high temperatures and gusty winds expected today.
The fire forced thousands of people from their homes and some of those residents will be allowed today for the first time to board a bus and go back and see the destruction and damage. But the fire victims have something else to worry about. Colorado Springs police say there have been about two dozen burglaries in the area. Another concern -- bears.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF TERRY MAKETA, EL PASO COUNTY, COLORADO: We've actually had an invasion of bears in Green Mountain Falls. So we are working with DOW to try to persuade them to vacate the area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Unbelievable. Fire crews have been working pretty much 24/7 around the clock to get a handle on that Waldo Canyon fire. Take a look at just how much the folks there in Colorado Springs appreciate the hard work of the men and women on the front lines.
They came out with signs, cheering, et cetera, to show their support. It is great to see.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAKETA: We've actually had an invasion of bears in Green Mountain Falls so we are working with DOW --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Well, the Waldo Canyon Fire has burned more than 1,700 acres. It is now, this is a little bit of good news, 45 percent contained, yesterday about 30 percent contained, today about 45 percent so making progress there.
Move to Mexico now. Right now in Mexico, a historic day, voters head to the polls to pick that country's next president. The U.S. is watching this very closely, of course. The outcome of today's election could signal a shift in strategy in that nearly impossible drug war that they've been fighting.
The U.S. also shares billions of dollars in trade with Mexico. The border between the U.S. and Mexico stretches nearly 2,000 miles.
Now let's turn our attention to Syria where violence continues a day after world diplomats hammered out a peace deal. According to activists, at least 20 people in Syria have been killed today alone across the country.
Our foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty did sit down with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Geneva. Clinton says she's optimistic the new plan will work, but of course, there are no guarantees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Unless I am wildly off base, there's no way anyone in the opposition would ever consent to Assad or his inside regime cronies with blood on their hands being on any transitional governing body. But I said weeks ago that Assad going could be an outcome as well as a precondition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: We'll have more of that interview for you later on today.
Meanwhile, Turkey scrambled F-16 fighter jets three separate times yesterday after Syrian helicopters came very close to Turkey's border.
And UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, is condemning the destruction of three sacred tombs in Timbuktu, Mali.
Islamic militants broke down doors and wooden gates and set the tombs on fire. They people shouldn't worship saints and plan to destroy more of tombs.
I spoke with UNESCO's director general about what, if anything, can be done to stop the destruction at this historic site. We're going to have that full interview for you in our 5:00 p.m. Eastern hour.
The wedding with a majestic view. How one couple had to adjust their big, big day with new found inspiration?
HARLOW: The wildfire in Colorado almost threatened a couple's dream wedding. Our Sandra Endo shows us how they were still able to say "do I."
SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The view is breathtaking. That's why Colorado Spring's native, Jacob Feran and fiancee Brianna Reid dreamed of getting married in the foothills of these majestic mountains.
JACOB FERAN, HUSBAND-TO-BE: Being a mountain boy, I wanted it with these views.
ENDO: They planned for the big day for months. Only to find out just a week before the wedding, the inspiration of their dreams was going up in flames.
The sweeping Waldo Canyon fire burned just three miles from their ceremony site and uprooted the lives of friends and family involved in their wedding.
Jacob's sister is a Colorado Springs firefighter working on the front line. He says he would understand if her job trumps his big day.
FERAN: If she can't be here but she's got to go save other communities then that's what she has to do.
BRIANNA REID, BRIDE-TO-BE: She had to pack up her kitchen and go to her sister's house and hope she can still do the cakes. ENDO: Despite the raging fires threatening their plans, the couple didn't want to call off their wedding. Brianna is in the Air Force and is soon being deployed overseas. They want their wedding so symbolize much more than their union, but a spirit of strength.
FERAN: Our hearts go out to those communities that are lost, but you got to keep plugging along or you can't just lie down and give up.
ENDO: They certainly didn't. So on a picture-perfect day with the mountains as their backdrop, they tied the knot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I now pronounce you husband and wife. Jacob, kiss your bride.
ENDO: And family will always be family. Jacob's firefighter sister traded her fire boots for some heels. She clocked 138 hours fighting the blaze in seven days. Efforts which show firefighters are now getting the upper hand.
JULIE STONE, SISTER OF BRIDE: It just hit so close to home and I think we're all a little shell shocked. We're devastated for the loss that this community has suffered and I'm glad that the firefighters are safe and that we're definitely in the wind-down mode.
ENDO: For Jacob and Brianna, they hope their union shows the resiliency of Colorado Springs.
FERAN: We're not going to let a tragedy stop the important things in life.
REID: I kind of agree. You know, we can always rebuild.
ENDO: Sandra Endo, CNN, Colorado Springs.
HARLOW: What a great story, all our best for the newlyweds. To find out more about how you can help those affected by the wildfires, just go to cnn.com/impact.
We have a whole list of organizations there that are working directly with the victims and lot of different ways you can help out.
Apple's iPhone is five years old. We're going to take a look next at how it changed the tech world and the way we talk or don't talk on the phone anymore.
HARLOW: Well, guess who or what, rather, just turned five years old? This thing, you know, the iPhone. It is the smartphone that changed the way people communicate. It shook up the tech world. You're looking on your screen at the iterations over years.
Matt Buchanan is the editor of "Buzz Feed" and joins me here in studio to talk about just the mark this has made. So I just switched over from Blackberry to iPhone.
I'm very late for the game, I'm aware, but you know, it is interesting. This phone came out in 2007, beginning of the recession, the financial downturn in this country. It made it.
This company, Apple, is now the most valuable company in the world. Market cap over $500 billion. So what's your take on the evolution on this fifth birthday of the iPhone?
MATT BUCHANAN, EDITOR, "BUZZ FEED": Well, when it came out, you know, a lot of people derided it as this very expensive phone that nobody's going to buy because it was $600.
And now, you know, over time as it's gotten cheaper and more accessible, you can get one more free basically on AT&T. And it is really become this sort of portable pocket computer that everybody has or can have and it's really sort of a profound change.
HARLOW: You know, I think it's so interesting is what you've told me, is how this phone and this company has changed the entire tech world in terms of it has turned companies, you believe, like Google and other companies, from software companies to everywhere companies. They're building hardware. They're building everything they can to compete.
BUCHANAN: Yes, that's right. In order to kind of match the experience Apple's been delivering its products. You know, traditionally what Microsoft has done is they've made software and other people have made hardware.
In order to kind of match the experience that Apple's been delivering, what you've seen more and more is that these software companies and services companies like Microsoft and Google are also going to build their own hardware.
So Microsoft announced a couple of weeks go they're going to be building their own tablets, Windows 8, because they really want to take control of that experience.
HARLOW: You know, it's interesting when you look at the societal change that's gone along with this device within don't think it is an overstatement to say that, right?
I mean, so many things have changed in how we act. We don't stand in lines anymore. We don't talk on the phone anymore.
BUCHANAN: Nope. I mean, maybe if you talk on the phone, you're may be using face time or video chat, if you actually want to talk to somebody about, you know, texting or messaging. There is a million ways to talk to people with your phone, none of which involve talking and that's pretty amazing.
HARLOW: I think it helps some businesses and it is absolutely hurt some others. You point out it's ended all arguments about trivia and scrabble and -- of course, we have the internet in our pocket, it is easy to use. And you can see it in a very compelling way, just the screen and size and color. Also you've said that it's turned Best Buy into a show room for Amazon. It's hurt some companies in terms of price comparisons.
BUCHANAN: Yes, because you walk into Best Buy and with the Amazon app, you can just scan a bar code and see how much Best Buy is charging for it and how much Amazon is charging for it and play with it at Best Buy.
Then you see, it's $5 cheaper at Amazon plus I'm not going to pay sales tax plus I'll get free shipping. So you know, you wait two days and then it shows up. Why go into a store and that kind of thing when you can get it online?
HARLOW: It has changed the game absolutely, absolutely changed my world having it just the way that I communicate. Matt, thank you. Appreciate you coming in to the studio today. Thanks.
Well, a 49-year-old woman set out to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida. We'll tell if you this courageous grandmother made it.
HARLOW: Checking top stories this hour, difficult days ahead for parts of the Midwest and the northeast, hit hard by severe storms this weekend.
So far, we know 12 people have been killed and power was knocked out from nearly 4 million homes. Most of those homes still don't have any electricity and that is creating life threatening conditions in areas also suffering through a record breaking heat wave.
There's confusion over whether New York Congressman Charlie Rangel actually won Tuesday's primary or not. Early results gave Rangel the lead, but now new unofficial numbers narrow that lead to just about 800 votes with more than 3,000 votes still unaccounted for.
Rangel has served as U.S. congressman for 42 years. Rangel's challenger has filed a lawsuit and the New York Supreme Court has set a hearing on the election results for tomorrow.
A courageous try ends in disappointment for 49-year-old grandmother. Penny Palfrey was trying to become the first person to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys.
But she had to be pulled from the water early today because of strong currents. Palfrey had been swimming for 40 hours. She was in the water without a shark cage, flippers, wet suit or snorkel.
Well, the London Olympics are less than a month away. If you're lucky enough to be going, you'll see there is a lot more do than just the games.
Fredricka Whitfield talked with Kate Maxwell of jetsetter.com to find out what you can do other than going to the games if you're going to cross the pond.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Really London is known for some pretty fabulous museums all year round. Let's begin with the Tape Modern.
KATE MAXWELL, EDITOR IN CHIEF, JETSETTER.COM: As you say, London's museums are really capitalizing on the influx of tourists over the Olympics and mounding some fantastic blockbuster exhibitions.
The Tape Modern has Damian Hurst, one of the world's most influential and controversial contemporary artists. The show is a retrospect of 20 years of his work.
It includes exhibits like his shark and formaldehyde. There are spot paintings. There's even a room of live butterflies, believe it or not. Definitely check that out.
His diamond encrusted and platinum skull, which is worth something like 50 million pounds so really fantastic and controversial exhibition.
WHITFIELD: Well and that skull makes me think of Alexander McQueen, one of the more prominent, you know, fashion artists or the late fashion designer.
WHITFIELD: Really, you know, British fashion has received a kind of resurgence because of Kate Middleton. That's why you may want to stop by the Victorian Albert Museum?
MAXWELL: One of my favorite museums. It is London's big art and design museum. Yes, they have an exhibition of 60 ball gowns. These are ball gowns worn by celebrities and royalties since the 1950s, by queens and also some exciting people.
It really traces the development of society really through the ages. Designers represented includes Jenny Packham. She's a big favorite of Kate Middleton's. Actually there's a Jenny Packham boutique down the road.
So if you're interested to buy, you can check that out. Dam, he's a very hot designer at the moment, really big on prints and as you say Alexander McQuinn who had a great exhibition last year. Those are the really great ones to check out.
WHITFIELD: Yes, this exhibit would really kind of inspire people if they haven't already made plans to bring an extra piece of luggage, because when you shop in London and see what's available, you're going to want to fill it up and bring it back home.
HARLOW: That was our Fredricka Whitfield talking with Kate Maxwell of jetsetter.com.
I'll be back in an hour from now. We'll hear from a Mexican worker whose goal of living the American dream has been diminished by the horrible U.S. economy. It forced him and many immigrants to return home.
"YOUR MONEY" starts right now with Ali Velshi right after this quick break.