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New York Cardinal Expects Changes; Another Carnival Cruise Stranded; Shooting Spree Suspect Dead; TSA to Allow Small Knives on Planes

Aired March 14, 2013 - 09:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to talk to Newt Gingrich. That's always an interesting conversation. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. And we'll see you back here tomorrow morning.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM. School shocker. Disturbing new cell phone video. A 14-year-old girl brutally beaten.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I turned around, because I didn't want to fight her and she grabbed me by her hair.


COSTELLO: Her mother furious, alleging the school dropped the ball on protecting her daughter.

Also, cruise ship hell, part two.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is human waste all over the floor and some in the bathrooms.


COSTELLO: Another black eye for Carnival.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, they -- you know, they said that they were working on the ship and then the generators were having a problem.


COSTELLO: New ship, same problem. The Caribbean vacation turned nightmare for thousands.

Plus, Michelle Obama revealed. The first lady in "Vogue" and striking in a midnight blue dress and black kitten heels.

And Mac attack. Samsung going for Apple's core. Releasing the new Galaxy S4 smartphone today. Is this the death of the iPhone?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And good morning. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. Just a few hours from now, Pope Francis will celebrate his first mass as the leader of the Catholic Church and will be with the very cardinals who elected him.

Here's the Pope just a couple of hours ago, visiting the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is there, too, looking at the Pope's first full day and beyond.

And, Miguel, we're learning new details about Pope Francis that, for example, he wouldn't ride in a chauffeur driven limo. Instead he wanted to ride on the bus with all the other cardinals. He refused to sit on the throne to accept oats of allegiance but stood on the same level as cardinals. Different for a Pope.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, look. Out of the gate this guy wants to prove that this is a new church, that he is a new Pope. You know, one of the interesting things after that mass at the Basilica de Santa Maria, he checked out of his hotel. Went there himself, paid his bill, picked up his bags and now he's somewhere in the Vatican.

So this is a guy who wants to prove and show the world that the church is different. You know, last night as well, he wore an iron cross, for example, eschewing sort of gold or jewels to be adorned with.

Perhaps the funniest thing, I kind of get a sense of this watching him last night on that balcony that this is a guy who has a sense of humor. At the end of the dinner last night with all the cardinal electors, he told them, you know, in choosing me, may God forgive you what you've done, which is sort of a little joke, that, you know, you got me as Pope now, so you have to put up with me for some time.

Our own Chris Cuomo was able to speak to Cardinal Dolan of New York today to get a little more on Pope Francis.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: What do you think Pope Francis can do that will give a sense of renewal to the Catholic Church?

CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK: Yes, you got it, Chris. Because the Catholic Church is ever ancient, ever new. It's a beautiful blend. Sometimes we look to our church as a grandmother. Sometimes we look to her as a young bride. So there's got to be that combination of things immutable and things that are timely. He'll do it well. All we can do is look at his track record, OK? And amazingly simple and sincere, transparent man. A man who deeply loves the poor. A man who is theologically well grounded in the timeless doctrine of the church, OK? And a man who knows how to govern. Now we're going to begin to see those kinds of things. I think there may be a touch of simplicity, sincerity, openness. I think he's going to tend to the Roman curia, which is the central government of the church universal, which we all said, you've been reporting it well, probably needs some tending to, right?

What government doesn't? We learned -- look at -- we looked to D.C. We Americans are saying there need to be some changes there. I think we'll see that stuff.

CUOMO: Do you think that's a prospect for him as a reformer, more than on the social liberal agenda level of what's he going to do about women, what will we do about celibacy, what will we do about gay marriage? Do you think that he would move the church on any of those? Do you think that's not going to be his path.

DOLAN: No, I don't think he'll do that. He can't -- as you know, he can't really tamper with what's called the dispositive faith, which he gratefully inherits and now it's his job to pass on faithfully to the next generation.

So we can't change any of these substance, the givens, but boy can he ever change the way that's presented. And I think he's shrewd enough because he's been a pastor in a huge diocese to say, you know what, I love the traditional teachings of the church, I'm as loyal to them as the day is long, but I'm also recognizing that a lot of them aren't going over.

Now I can't change them. I don't want to change them because they come to us from the Lord as part of Revelation, but we better work on a more tantalizing, attractive, compelling way to present them. And I think he'll do that brilliantly.

CUOMO: Fascinated about -- I understand it's secret, I understand conclave, the key, you locked away. What was it like in there for you? Just -- you know, I took a picture of you when you put your hand to reflect the oath.

DOLAN: For the oath.

CUOMO: Tweeted it. Don't worry about it. It's on the house.

DOLAN: I didn't have my fingers crossed?

CUOMO: No, you looked great.


It has your hand -- you look like you're taking it seriously, you're staring up at the frescos. It was beautiful.

DOLAN: Who could not? You know, a kid from (INAUDIBLE), all of a sudden I'm looking around the Sistine Chapel. Boy. CUOMO: So what's it like? It's like the best known secret process in the world. You're in there as a cardinal voting on a man who's going to be the head. The father.

DOLAN: Sure.

CUOMO: What's it like?

DOLAN: I can tell us what it's like. First of all, it's not all fun and games. It's very intense and it's very emotional draining because you think about night and day. I mean this would be one of the most important things I have ever have to do to vote for the new successor of Peter's. So there is a lot of intensity.

But yet there is also, Chris, balancing that. There's a remarkable -- I don't know how to explain this. I mean, you know me. I'm a pretty hard-boiled guy. I don't think people would call me kind of pious. I hope I'm holy, but I don't think they'd call me devotional or pious.

You -- there's a beautiful sense of the gentle movement to the Holy Spirit. No thunder and lightning, no sledgehammers, no people getting knocked off their horse. But you gradually begin to sense a movement towards a man and you pray hard, you talk a lot to one another, and there is a gradual movement to it that I found just generated a lot of joy and serenity.

CUOMO: Were you trying to look at anybody's ballots?


DOLAN: I may be Irish, but I wouldn't stoop to that.

CUOMO: Walking up there with it in your hand, how big a moment in your life? To walk with your ballot.

DOLAN: That's a -- to go up and make another oath, you know, and then to put it on this beautiful -- you put it on the tray and then you take it so that it goes in. Those are -- those are stunning moments. And there is silence. Most of the conclave is silent, see? It's not a caucus, it's not a convention. It's almost like a liturgy. It's an occasion of prayer. There's carefully prescribing. You begin and end with prayer. So it's very quiet. It's almost like you're at a retreat where there's a lot of thought and prayer reflection going on.


MARQUEZ: So Pope Francis off to a promising start. The question is, is how much of this is the jitters of a very humble man, beginning an extraordinary journey, and how will he handle things going forward? Will this end up being PR or will it be the pudding and the proof -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes. I'm going to talk a lot more about that later in the NEWSROOM.

Miguel Marquez, reporting live from Rome. Back home it's deja vu all over again. Remember last month, cruise from hell, a crippled ship with no power, overflowing toilets and unbearable cabins. Well --


Today, we're heading for new horror stories. Passengers are telling CNN they are stranded aboard another crippled ship. Also belonging to Carnival Cruise lines. This one, the Carnival Dream. It's docked in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. And while that may sound better, passengers say they aren't being allowed off the ship and they've been trapped aboard for hours.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said they were working on the ship and then there was the generators that were having a problem. About an hour later, they said that the problem is worse than they expected. There's, you know, human waste all over the floor, in some of the bathrooms and they're overflowing.


COSTELLO: CNN's John Berman is following this latest ordeal. He joins us now from New York.

And I understand just minutes ago, Carnival released a statement. What are they saying?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Carol. It really feels like Carnival is trying to set a few -- a few things straight this morning. Let's read you part of their statement. They say, "At no time did the ship lose power, but there were periodic interruptions to elevators and toilets for a few hours last night. However, at this time, all hotel systems are functioning normally and have been functional since approximately 12:30 a.m."

You know, we are going to hear from the Coast Guard in just a minute. But they do confirm that the Carnival Dream has generator problems. They also say that the cruise line has not asked for any assistance at this point.

The ship is now about 16 hours late. It was due to leave port at about 5:00 Eastern Time yesterday. There is no word yet on a new timetable or any other accommodations that are being made for passengers right now.

This kind of the latest public relations nightmare for Carnival. It was one month ago today that another one of its cruise ships, the Carnival Triumph, was towed into port after that fire knocked out its power. You of course can't possibly forget the passengers aboard the ship. Complained of raw sewage running down the walls and hallways, sweltering cabin rooms and lines stretching for hours around looking for water and food.

I suppose the good news here, Carol, is at least we do know that that ship is in port right now so there will be no drifting at sea at least.

COSTELLO: No drifting at sea, but the passengers are just still trapped on board. But we'll see what the Coast Guard has to say.


BERMAN: It doesn't sound great, does it?

COSTELLO: No, it doesn't. John Berman, many thanks.

We do want to get the latest from the U.S. Coast Guard. Chief Ryan Doss joins us by phone.

Hi, Chief.

CHIEF RYAN DOSS, U.S. COAST GUARD (via phone): Good morning.

COSTELLO: So did Carnival contact you guys?

DOSS: We have been in regular contact with the captain of the Carnival Dream. And like you've reported we've -- he has reported to us that all hotel systems are functional aboard the ship. Right now, our main concern is that the passengers and everyone aboard the ship is safe. And while there's never an a ideal time for a situation like to occur, we are grateful that the ship is in port where there are those pier side services available should they be needed.

COSTELLO: Why won't Carnival let the passengers off the ship?

DOSS: We have spoken to the captain and right now the decision has been made to have the passengers remain aboard the ship for accountability purposes. The last thing we want to do is have someone get left behind in St. Maarten by accident.

The ship was scheduled to depart yesterday evening and due to the situation that hasn't happened. So the hope is that the ship will get under way sometime in the near future. So we want to keep those passengers -- the Carnival -- the captain rather has chosen to keep those passengers aboard the vessel at this time.

COSTELLO: What does it say to you that Carnival is having the exact same problem aboard another one of its ships?

DOSS: I'm not going to speculate as to what the exact issue aboard the ship is right now. All that's been reported to us is that there is a problem with the propulsion system aboard and that has caused it to remain there at the pier.

COSTELLO: At what point will you get involved -- more involved than you are now?

DOSS: The Coast Guard does have legal authority to investigate should that be needed at this time but that determination has not been made. Right now our main concern is for the safety of those folks on the ship and making sure that they have, you know, the supplies and any systems that they need to be safe, and right now, all the indications from the captain are that those systems are functioning properly.

COSTELLO: Chief Doss, thanks so much for joining us this morning. We sure appreciate it.

DOSS: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Happening this morning, New York state police say a 64- year-old shooting suspect is now dead, ending a standoff that began yesterday.

These are new pictures just in to CNN of the police presence on the scene.

Kurt Myers was accused of killing four people and injuring two others at two businesses in Herkimer County. That's about one -- that's about 80 miles, rather, from Albany, New York.

Our national correspondent Deborah Feyerick is on the scene, too.

And, Deborah, how did the standoff end?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is fascinating, Carol. Because this was no accident. Kurt Myers, it appears, was waiting in -- was laying in wait to ambush the police officers. When they arrived, he had made preparations inside the building where he ultimately holed up after killing four other people.

He was there overnight. Police have sent in some teargas. They had also sent in robots to see if they could get a lay of the building that he was in. It's a two-story building along with a basement. Over 15 hours, Carol. Not one single word. No communication between Kurt Myers and anyone on the outside, even though they were trying to contact him, to find out exactly what had happened.

There have been some exchange of gunfire earlier in the afternoon. He shot at police officers, they shot back. It was unclear whether in fact they had injured him, whether they had killed him, and especially because he wasn't saying anything. They were also very concerned.

But at 8:00 today, they made entry, when they got in, they sent in an FBI canine. The -- Kurt Myers shot the dog and that's when authorities opened fire, killing the gunman.

Again, Kurt Myers is accused of killing four people and injuring two others -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Wow. Deborah Feyerick reporting live for us this morning.

Just ahead in the NEWSROOM an incredible fall all the way to the ground. This is incredible. We'll introduce you to the skydiver who survived this.


COSTELLO: Seventeen minutes past the hour. Time to check our top stories. Pilot lights in a Kansas City kitchen are blamed for a natural gas explosion last month. One person killed in the blast. Authorities also vapors had built up after a contractor hit a natural gas line.

The restaurant had been warned about a possible natural gas leak. Employees blew out candles and stove lights, but did not turn off the pilot light.

And a dramatic crash landing captured on video. A skydiver spinning out of control because it was falling too fast for his parachute to deploy correctly. His terrified jump partner watched the entire thing unfold.


KATIE HANSEN, SKYDIVING PARTNER CRASH LANDED: Pretty scared to watch my friend die.

CRAIG STAPLETON, SKYDIVER SURVIVED CRASH LANDING: I'd completely locked out. I mean, you know, God watches out for idiots and puppy dogs, and he just let me live and walk away.


COSTELLO: Wow. Incredibly, the skydiver suffered only a dislocated shoulder, along with some nasty bumps and bruises.

And Michelle Obama is continuing the trend of two first ladies before her, gracing the cover of "Vogue" magazine. Mrs. Obama was part of the magazine's shape issue, which "Vogue" says focuses on, quote, "The beauty and well-being of women's bodies." The issue, which marks Mrs. Obama's second "Vogue" cover is on newsstands March 26th.

In just a few hours, the House committee takes up the TSA's controversial decision to allow small knives back in airplane cabins. Agency chief John Pistole is expected to defend the change. He's already said the new policy would bring the U.S. in line with international standard, and allow screeners to focus on bigger threats, like liquid explosives and bombs.

But opposition continues to mount. Airline executives, flight attendants, even the TSA screeners union all say bringing back knives on board planes, which were banned shortly after 9/11, is not worth the risk.

So, let's bring in experts on both sides of this divisive. John Sullivan is an aviation security specialist who supports the change. And Sara Nelson is vice president of a union that represents nearly 60,000 flight attendants, opposes it.

Welcome to you, both.


COSTELLO: Let's start with you, Sara. Tell us. What's wrong with this new policy? NELSON: Well, this is wrong. Flight attendants are aviation first responders and ever since September 11th, we're the last line of defense. We support a risk-based analysis to -- a risk-based approach to security.

But security is a multilayered approach, and introducing risk into that scenario just doesn't make sense at all. We live in a post-9/11 era where planes are fuller than ever, we're seeing more and more conflict on board.

And the reality is that the TSA was created because of loss of American life, because that happened here on American soil. And so, introducing a scenario where we can be putting millions of passengers at risk with these knifes on board is not a good idea. No knifes, very simple. Some knives, not simple. For those of us on the front line of aviation, that doesn't make any sense at all.

COSTELLO: And, Sara, you traveled to Capitol Hill. Was it yesterday? And talk to officials? Were they receptive?

NELSON: Absolutely. The news is spreading across Capitol Hill because they are hearing from their constituents that this is a not a good idea, that people do not want planes back on board the aircraft. And let's face it, every member of Congress also travels with us. And they understand that this has to be about the security of the people in the cabin.

We cannot stop with the idea that it's just about keeping that airplane from being a weapon. It has to be about the safety of everyone in the cabin. Everyone on that airplane has to have the right to get from point A to point B safely. And we're especially concerned about that, as flight attendants, because we're charged with the safety, health and security of passengers in our care.

CASTELLO: And, John, you understand the concern of flight attendants, right?

JOHN SULLIVAN, AVIATION SECURITY SPECIALIST: Yes, I do. In fact, I feel for them in the sense that I feel they were blindsided by this rule. I don't know if they had a seat at the table, if they didn't, they should have had a seat at the table when this regulation or this new rule was enacted.

COSTELLO: Why do you believe it should be enacted? You said security could never be 100 percent. Why is this change actually a good idea in your mind?

SULLIVAN: Well, I believe in the risk-based security approach. It's basically dynamic and flexible. And it's about low risk and high risk.

And if you have 600 million passengers going through flying in the U.S. every year, and if you can determine that a third of them are low risk, you can put the rest of those assets looking towards higher risk problems, such as explosives and the unknown passenger. Right now, I'm sure the TSA had looked at prohibited items and said this particular knife issue is a low-risk issue. And a good example being, and I've got -- this is an example of the knife that would be allowed on now, starting I think it's April 15th.

However, right now, I can bring this on, as long as this is less than 7 inches. I can bring a set of scissors on, up to four inches. Are these anymore of a risk, that you can do now, than this pocket knife?

So I do think you have to look at the risk factor. You want to focus on higher risk which could be catastrophic or lower risk items.

COSTELLO: And, Sara --

SULLIVAN: That's where I'm at.

COSTELLO: Along the same lines. I fly almost every weekend, and it's my sense, if someone pulled out a sharp object, a knife, scissors, anything, the passengers would be on that person like flies on rice, right? I mean, it's a different time right now, but you can't really tell who is carrying some sort of explosives, you can't really tell if a bomb is on board a plane. So those things, perhaps, should be paid more attention to.

SULLIVAN: Those things should be paid attention to. But we should not abandon this ban on knifes. This doesn't make any sense. We opposed other items being on board our aircraft too.

But I will tell you, we deal with passenger disturbances every single day where we expertly deescalate the situation in many cases, and sometimes have to call on passengers to help us contain the problem.

If you introduce knifes into the scenario, it makes it that much more difficult to make us do our job. It makes the public less safe.

This is an issue that matters to every single American whether you travel or not, because you probably have loved ones who travel. And I'll tell you something -- 11 years ago, I lost my good friends on flights 175 that ended up in the World Trade Center. I still grieve that loss, as do the families of 9/11.

And we simply do not need to go backward. We're in a post-9/11 era where we need to keep knifes off our planes. This is a slippery slope.

It's very simple at aviation security to say no knives. It's not so simple for our transportation security officers who oppose this so say some knifes are OK, some knives are not OK.

This doesn't streamline security. It introduces risk into security system, and it's not necessary.

We're calling on the public to stand with us. This is an issue that matters to everyone. to sign the White House petition and we really encourage the public to stand with us.

COSTELLO: Sara Nelson, John Sullivan, many thanks. We appreciate the conversation this morning.

NELSON: Thank you very much.

SULLIVAN: Thank you for having me.

COSTELLO: You're welcome.

Talkback question for you today: what kind of spiritual leader will draw people back to organized religion? or tweet me @carolCNN.


COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning: what kind of spiritual leader will draw people back to organized religion?

Catholics are hoping that Pope Francis, revered for his devotion to the poor, will bring more people, especially young people, back to the Catholic Church.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ran from work, and I have to go to the church, I work a couple of blocks down. I said I have to come to a church and thank God that we have this pope we are not alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's exciting for the Catholic Church, especially in the United States to have a South American named pope. That's good. Good for anyone, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a man of the people, raised poor, rode buses. So they made a wise choice.


COSTELLO: In his first public appearance, Pope Francis eluded to the need of a big tent.


POPE FRANCIS, CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): Let us begin this journey together, the professor and the people, this journey for the Roman Catholic Church. It is a journey, friendship of love, of trust and faith.

Let us pray always for one another. Let us pray for the whole world because all right us have a big brotherhood.


COSTELLO: Sill, attracting new followers not just a problem for the Catholic Church, but all faiths. In a new study, 20 percent of Americans now say they have no religious affiliation. That's the highest number since the 1930s. One researcher told "The Huffington Post," it has a lot to do with increased role religion and politics that, quote, "People identify and link organized religion with anti gay attitudes, sexual conservatism, a whole range of those kind of social, cultural issues. This is blowback."

Yet, even with excitement a new kind of man was elected pope, a Jesuit who rejects the trappings of wealth, that enough? Pope Francis still opposes contraception, a more powerful role in the church and same-sex marriage. Things that many Americans, especially young Americans, favor.

So, talkback question for you today: what kind of spiritual leader will draw people back to organized religion?