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One Dead in Carbon Monoxide Leak at NY Mall; Ukrainian President Ousted, Rival Freed; Notorious Mexican Drug Lord Arrested; Sochi Olympics Marked by Controversy

Aired February 23, 2014 - 06:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CO-HOST: Poisoned. One man is dead, and 27 people are hospitalized from carbon m monoxide poisoning at a restaurant in New York. Now detectives are investigating. We're live there.

CHRISTI PAUL, CO-HOST: On the run. Ukraine's president is stopped trying to flee the country, as his arch-nemesis, the former prime minister is freed from prison. So, now the question is, who is in control of the country?

BLACKWELL: And if you thought you'd heard the end of the polar vortex, think again. A deep freeze is coming back this week, and another winter storm may pound the northeast. Your NEW DAY starts now.

PAUL: All righty. Sunday has been waiting for you, and it's already 6 a.m. How did that happen?

BLACKWELL: It happens so fast.

PAUL: So fast. I'm Christi Paul. We're glad to have you with us today.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY.

PAUL: We want to start this morning on New York's Long Island, because there was a carbon monoxide poisoning that left a restaurant manager dead overnight.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this happened around dinner time last night at Legal Seafoods. It's the Walt Whitman Mall, if you know the area. That's in Huntington Station, New York. Almost 30 other people, they were rushed to the hospital.

Alexandra Field is there outside the mall.

Alexandra, do we know yet where this leak started?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this morning, Victor, homicide and arson detectives are focusing on heating equipment that was inside that Legal Seafoods restaurant. There's actually a sign posted on the door now that says the building has been condemned for occupancy while this investigation unfolds. What we know is that emergency crews rushed here last night. They were called for a report that a woman had fallen in the basement and hit her head. When they arrived here, they found that more people had become sick, and they also found the restaurant's general manager, 55-year-old Steven Nelson, unconscious in the basement. He was rushed to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Emergency crews here on the scene quickly evacuated the Legal Seafoods and, out of a sense of precaution, they evacuated two restaurants immediately next to the Legal Seafoods.

Here's what some of the customers who were inside at the time had to say about the scary experience.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were sitting at the bar. We were having a glass of wine, and then somebody came up. I think it was one of the waitresses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And they were...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she said that you had to leave. We had to leave, because I didn't want to blow up or anything like that. So I didn't know how dangerous it was. And they just told us to, you know, stay outside.


FIELD: In all, nearly 30 people were taken to local hospitals showing signs that they had become sickened by the gas. That number includes seven first responders, but we are told that no one is in life-threatening condition -- Christi, Victor.

PAUL: Alexandra, it was interesting that homicide detectives are on the scene. Is that standard procedure?

FIELD: That's something that we spoke to Suffolk Police about. They're leading this investigation here. And they explained to us that when the cause of death or the origin of death is not immediately obvious, like say perhaps maybe in the case of a car accident, that it is, in fact, standard that homicide detectives would be called in to look at any factors that could have potentially contributed to a death.

BLACKWELL: So this happened at Legal Seafoods. We see it there on the screen. Are we hearing from the owners of this franchise or this restaurant? What are they saying?

FIELD: At this point, we have seen a tweet that was put out by Legal Seafoods. In that tweet, they're offering their condolences to the family of the general manager and expressing, really. their sadness for his loss. That's what we've heard from the restaurant at this point.

BLACKWELL: All right, Alexandra there for us in Huntington Station, New York. Thank you.

PAUL: All right, now we need to get to the chaos and confusion that is the Ukraine this hour. We want to take you live to the capital, Kiev, where there are so many questions about Ukraine's future after everything has changed in just the past 24 hours.

Look at these live pictures and all of the people there. I understand there are barricades around them. The man who was in charge, President Viktor Yanukovych, has fled.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and his rival is now out of prison, and she just might become -- maybe -- Ukraine's next leader in elections as soon as May. CNN's Phil Black has more now on her stunning release.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No one in Independence Square started their day thinking this was possible.

By evening, news had spread, and thousands had come to see Yulia Tymoshenko. In a wheelchair because of severe back pain, she declared, "This is now a different Ukraine." In a long, emotional speech, she told the crowd not to leave Independence Square until they build the country they want.

(on camera): Not everyone in this crowd supports Yulia Tymoshenko. But they have come here tonight, because they know together they've all played a role in securing her freedom, because together they are changing their country.

(voice-over): Tymoshenko has experience rallying a crowd in this square. In 2004 she was a leader in what became known as the Orange Revolution, overturning a corrupt election result. She became prime minister, later a presidential candidate but lost to Victor Yanukovych. She was then jailed for abusing power while in office.

America and Europe demanded her release, accusing President Yanukovych of taking revenge on a political enemy.

Now Ukraine in again the throes of revolution. Yanukovych weakened, the opposition now controls parliament. They voted to free her just hours earlier.

"I think that Ukraine will do well now," she tells me. "it will be in Europe. It will be free, and it will be democratic." Daughter Yevgenia had lobbied world leaders to help her mother.

YEVGENIA TYMOSHENKO, DAUGHTER OF YULIA: When the parliament called us, I burst out crying, and I was trying to see her. And I just feel so proud to be her daughter. I've just been so proud to be Ukrainian.

BLACK: This woman has an Army of loyal supporters, but this isn't a Mandela moment. People here have good reasons for disliking politicians. Yulia Tymoshenko's earlier time as a dominant figure was tarnished by in-fighting, scandal and disappointment. She's now expected to fight for the presidency. She must convince a divided nation she can lead them again.


BLACKWELL: All right, Phil Black is with us now from Kiev.

Phil, we now know that Ukrainian lawmakers, the Ukrainian parliament has handed presidential power to the parliament speaker. Explain this to us.

BLACK: Yes, sir the parliament speaker has been given the job, Viktor, of stabilizing the country, forming a new government, and getting the country through this interim period, taking on many of the powers of the president. Keeping in mind the constitution has changed over the last few days, so the president, the presidential role doesn't have all the executive power as it did under Viktor Yanukovych. But it now means that, essentially, he's in control. It's his job now to guide the formation of the government, choosing a prime minister in the parliament and so forth.

It is certainly another blow to Viktor Yanukovych, the man who was really the guy in control, the undisputed president up until so recently. So very much a -- further consolidation of power by those opposition forces here in the capital of Kiev, Victor.

PAUL: Phil, let me ask you this. Is it too soon at this point to categorize or label what we are watching as a revolution?

BLACK: Well, in the sense that political power, as it was in this country, has been overthrown. No, it is absolutely a revolution.

But it is one, I think, that is still very much in progress, and that is because the man who is or was president, depending on whom you ask, Viktor Yanukovych, is still a factor in this. He has fled to the east of the country, to where his political base, his core support, in that Russia-leaning east of the country. And his intentions and decisions next will determine just how this plays out from here.

If he draws a line and says, "I am the president" -- and this is what he said yesterday -- "I'm going to hold on to power," then, in a worst-case scenario, this country could split down the middle as the east/west sides battle for control. That is a worst-case scenario. But too soon to say just what will happen. We're waiting for Viktor Yanukovych to really declare his next intentions. As recently last night he was reported to be trying to flee the country. If he does that, then perhaps the transition over the next few days will be a little more orderly.

PAUL: All right. Although we -- we know that he has said he will not do that, and he still claims himself to be the legitimate president.

Phil Black, thank you so much for walking us through everything that's happening there minute by minute. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Phil. New this morning, the Taliban it is suspending negotiations with the U.S. to free Army surgeon -- sergeant, rather, Bowe Bergdahl. He is the only American soldier held captive. The Taliban had wanted to exchange him for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, but now the Taliban says it's stopping talks because of sensitive political situations but did not clarify more than that.

Bergdahl has been held captive by insurgents in Pakistan since 2009, and the U.S. says it does not negotiate with terrorists. But a U.S. official told diplomats were having sensitive discussions with intermediaries.

PAUL: One of the most dangerous, violent men in the world behind bars for the first time in more than a decade.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Assassinated journalists, executing police officers, and stuffing bodies in garbage bags. Those are just some of the horrors directly connected to the wrath of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and his Mexican cartel.

But after a 13-year manhunt, a joint operation between American and Mexican officials led to Guzman's capture. It was at a resort on Mexico's west coast. Attorney General Eric Holder calls the arrest a landmark achievement, and here's a quote. "The criminal activity Guzman allegedly directed contributed to the death and destruction of millions of lives across the globe through drug addiction, violence and corruption."

PAUL: CNN's Nick Parker has more for us.


NICK PARKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of the world's most notorious drug lords now behind bars after more than a decade on the run. Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman was paraded before the media in Mexico City, the first public glimpse in years. The government says the investigation had been ongoing for several months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There were several moments in which he could have been apprehended, but prudence and common sense prevented us from making the arrest in a place where citizens could be affected. We decided not to endanger the public and wait for the right time. That was precisely why, with great efficiency and without a single shot fired, the arrest was executed by the Navy team.

PARKER: Guzman was caught in a luxury condo development in the resort city of Mazatlan, a popular destination for U.S. tourists. Marines found more than 130 guns. 19 armored cars and two grenade launchers. Thirteen others were also arrested.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is calling the arrest of the leader of the Sinaloa cartel a landmark achievement. But some analysts are skeptical about the real impact on the flow of drugs.

DWIGHT DYER, CONTROL RISKS: First of all, the Sinaloa cartel is not run by him exclusively. It's an organization that has at least three top leaders. Second, Joaquin Guzman was able to run part -- his part of the cartel from prison before. So there's very little making us think that he will not be able to do that again.

PARKER: Guzman previously escaped from a maximum security prison in 2--1 in a laundry cart. There is an outstanding extradition warrant for him in the United States, where he was recently named public enemy No. 1 in Chicago. But analysts say it's unlikely he will be immediately deported as the current administration has not extradited other drug lords wanted in the U.S.

Nick Parker, CNN, Mexico City.


BLACKWELL: Still to come on NEW DAY, the Winter Olympics are coming to an end today. See what you missed last night and all the highlights from the balmy and controversial Sochi games.


BLACKWELL: The Winter Olympics in Sochi are coming to an end. Closing ceremonies will start at 11 Eastern today. Here's where the medal count stands as of right now.

Russia is leading the pack with 32 medals after sweeping the podium in the men's cross-country skiing 50-kilometer race. The U.S. has the second most medals, 27, and it doesn't look like they'll be able to top Russia. Norway is third, you see, with 26 medals.

PAUL: Yes. Only a couple of events left today. The men's hockey gold medal games and four-man bobsled.

Speaking of bobsled, did you see this? Canada's bobsled team had one nasty crash going around the first bend. Watch this.


PAUL: Oh, my gosh. Their hopes obviously crushed, but otherwise, they seemed OK, which is the most important thing. They all walked away after that crash.

BLACKWELL: Wow. And there was also the disappointment from American skier Ted Ligety. Watch. He's going to fall down. You'll see it here. Slushy, wet snow, and does fought finish on his final run of the men's slalom. Afterward he criticized the tough course, which was designed by an opponent's father.

PAUL: Well, you know, from balmy wet weather to protests to controversial figure skating results, I mean, the Sochi Olympics have been one wild ride. And CNN's Ian Lee has more for us.


IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Winter Olympics made headlines before it even began. Tucked away in a volatile neighborhood, the threat of a terrorist attack in Sochi was very real. But Russian president Vladimir Putin's ring of steel has kept the game safe so far.

Officials wished that would be their only worry. It wasn't.

It became clear weeks before the opening that Sochi wasn't ready, literally. There were unfinished hotels, some sketchy water. even bobsledder Johnny Quinn had to bust out of his bathroom naked after getting trapped. And #SochiProblems on Twitter hit trending status.

But all of this seemed to melt away once the games kicked off, or it could have been the scorching weather. People in Sochi soaked in the sun and took a dip in the Black Sea with temperatures hitting the mid-60s. Skiers on the slopes would have had better luck with water skis than alpine.

Of course, the games had its highs and lows. We learned the latest snowboarding lingo from gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg, like "spoice."






LEE: USA men swept the podium in freestyle skiing. Gus Kenworthy may have won silver in that sport, but he won gold in the hearts of those back home after adopting four strays and their mom.

The flying tomato Shaun White had a rotten Olympics, coming away empty-handed.

It may not have been a miracle on ice, but it was a marathon, with Team USA beating Russia after an eight-round shootout. Not that President Putin was impressed.

The sweetness of beating the former Cold War rival wouldn't last long, as the United States' rival to the north, Canada, would halt the Americans' gold medal ambitions. The Canadians didn't stop there, giving the USA women a silver medal for the second Olympics in a row.

Games aside, we learned a bit more about our Russian friends. The food is delicious, with no Soviet after taste. Looking good in Russia, though, is going to cost you. This fashion statement would set me back $1,700. Of course, we learned at the end of the day vodka is a good way to make friends.


BLACKWELL: Seventeen hundred dollars?

PAUL: I'm still laughing that you would have to have a couple shots of that vodka to deal with the fact that you just paid $1,700.

BLACKWELL: Wow. We've got Ian Lee live in Sochi. What can we expect from the closing ceremonies today?

LEE: Well, what we're expecting, first of all, it kicks off at 8:14, and that does sound kind of like a weird time, 8:14. But if you go with the 24-hour clock, that translates to 2014, the year of these games.

And while we're not expecting the extravaganza of the opening ceremonies -- that's supposed to make a good first impression -- this closing ceremonies will -- is meant to leave a lasting impression. We're still expecting to see a lot of fireworks, a lot of pageantry, and also we're expecting a little bit of a tease from PyeongChang/Seoul, who's going to host the Winter Olympics in the next four years. So we're expecting quite a show tonight.

PAUL: All right. Well, Ian Lee, enjoy it and thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Next on NEW DAY, listen, if they're enjoying warm weather in Sochi, folks here in the U.S., that's not our story. At least it won't be soon. Because brace yourself: the polar vortex is expected to make a comeback this week, and it could plunge much of the U.S. into another deep freeze. Forecast ahead.


PAUL: You've been enjoying the weather, haven't you?


PAUL: Well, don't pack away your winter clothes just yet. That nasty polar vortex does not want to say good-bye to us.

BLACKWELL: Yes. But how cold will it get? Hopefully, we don't see any more snow. But I have a feeling that Jennifer Gray is going to tell me that there is snow on the way.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No, you're not going to have snow, Victor.

PAUL: Wee!

BLACKWELL: OK, good. Good, good. We'll take that.

GRAY: But cold temperatures -- yes, cold temperatures will be back. So, it is not spring quite yet. We do have another arctic blast that's going to come on in by the middle part of the week. It will start with those northern states, and that's going to happen just in the next couple of days.

In fact, Minneapolis, for today, 17 degrees. That's 14 degrees below normal, but look at Atlanta. We're at 72 degrees for today. So, enjoy a good 15 degrees above normal here in Atlanta.

So, but temperatures continue to dip up in the north over the next couple of days. Look at Tuesday: 21 degrees your high temperature in Chicago. And so that cold air will start making its way to the east. And then by Wednesday, high temperature of 13, as well.

Other story is in the South. We have some rain coming into the Florida Panhandle, about two to four inches of rain possible from Mobile to Panama City, one to two inches all the way to Jacksonville. So, I tend, guys, maybe a little bit of a trouble spot today.

Also the Daytona 500 today. Looks like we could see a little bit of rain towards the end of the race. So that could be some problems, as well.

BLACKWELL: All right. Jennifer Gray, thank you very much. No snow.

GRAY: For us. For us.

PAUL: He's happy. For us.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: That's true.

Hey, still to come on NEW DAY, following in his father's footsteps. The son of a pastor killed by a rattlesnake steps into the pulpit himself with the same snake that killed his dad. We're talking with somebody who was at last night's service, next.


PAUL: Bringing you your update on mortgages. Rates slightly up this past week. Take a look.


PAUL: Bottom of the hour already. Happy Sunday to you. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to have you with us. Here are five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

PAUL: No. 1, Ukraine's ousted president insists that he's still in charge, even though he's on the run. His own parliament voted to remove him from office and says it's forming a new national unity government. The parliament also freed his political arch rival from prison, and she told a huge crowd in Kiev that Ukraine is done with its, quote, "dictator."