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Pistorius Reads Texts in Court; Search Teams Trying To Relocate Pingers; Russia Warns Of War In Ukraine

Aired April 8, 2014 - 06:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A brawl breaking out in Ukraine's parliament as Russian warns of civil war if Ukrainian forces try to stop pro-Russian demonstrators from taking over government buildings.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, April 8th, 6:00 in the east. Up first, the search for Flight 370. The good news, searches have greatly narrowed the area where the plane might be. The bad news, they may run at of time to find it. Search teams are still unable to relocate those pinger signals raising fears that the batteries in the black boxes may be dead -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And you mentioned, time, Chris, and time is of the essence. Every second counts in this unprecedented search. A race truly against the clock at this point. We're going to start our coverage of the search for Flight 370 with Erin McLaughlin live in Perth, Australia, for us this morning. Erin, what's the latest?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. Well, search teams have carried out some 133 missions, but still they're coming up empty handed. All eyes on the "Ocean Shield" in this race against time as it tries to detect more black box signals before the batteries run out.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Today, silence, after an Australian Navy ship detected these audio signals over the weekend. The pings possibly related to Flight 370.

ANGUS HOUTON, CHIEF COORDINATOR, JOINT AGENCY COORDINATION CENTER: There have been no further contacts with any transmission.

MCLAUGHLIN: Australian authorities refining the search area today, zoning in on a 30,000 square mile stretch located 1400 miles northwest of Perth. That's about a third of the size of their previous search zone.

DAVID JOHNSTON, AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR DEFENSE: We are throwing everything at this difficult, complex task. MCLAUGHLIN: Those resources include today's 14 ships and 14 aircrafts. Now on day 32 of the search those reconnaissance teams racing against the clock as the batteries powering the plane's beacons have now exceeded their 30-day shelf life.

HOUSTON: The experience with the kit from around the world is that they usually last longer than the 30 days.

MCLAUGHLIN: The ocean shield is combing the northern end for those fleeting signals. Authorities cautioning against conflicting noise.

HOUSTON: Some of the false leads that we've had have been actually transmissions from the ship that was actually searching and it got its own transmissions back again.


MCLAUGHLIN: Australian authorities say they will not deploy that U.S. Navy provided Blue Fin 21, an underwater autonomous vehicle until they see some more signs from this signal. In absence of that, Angus Houston today saying it could take a very, very, very long time looking for this wreckage -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Erin, thank you very much. Let's bring in Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst, former inspector general for the Department of Transportation, and Mr. David Soucie is a CNN safety analyst and the author of "Why Planes Crash," and also a former FAA inspector. Thanks to both of you.

A couple of common sense questions before we get into the frenzied forensics. David Soucie, battery life. Why are we guessing? Everything has a use by or sell by date these days. Why don't we know when the batteries stop?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, what they're certified for is 30 days. With any certification you have to have a safety margin or factor and that factor is expected time could go as long as 35 days. What's making it questionable for me is the information that we received about the fact that they weren't stored properly or may not have been stored properly. I'm questioning their ability to go 30 days let alone 35. That puts a lot of question in my mind as to how long exactly those batteries will go.

CUOMO: All right, so that's why we're guessing about the battery life. Mary, why aren't we happier? Why isn't this just a lead? We're hearing from the people in command of the fleet when they do a pass and hear it that means their within about two miles. If they're within two miles, why aren't we more excited?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: I think that they're not more excited because they went back to where they heard it. It was an "x" marks the spot. When you go back to the spot and it's not there they were concerned. Obviously what they don't come up with the ping again, if they don't -- aren't able to replicate the acoustic event, I think that they will go back to "x" marks the spot and then eventually put in the submersibles, the side scan sonar, and the other equipment to look. For now they wanted to narrow that in with additional pings. Without additional pings, they have to go back to the ones they had before.

CUOMO: But you know, you get what I'm saying, I'm standing on this huge map that we created here. We are trying to get scales of the distance. It's this U.S. from Arizona. It's London to Turkey. Now it is two miles and they seem like just as cautiously optimistic. What am I missing?

SCHIAVO: Well, you know, I'm with you. If you got the pings and the pings really were from the black boxes and they have two different ones so it would be from the two black boxes and certainly they recorded the latitude and longitude of where they were when they got the pings and they had them for one of them for two hours.

So to go back there, but they tell us, the oceanographers, tell us at even at a three-mile radius, the ocean is a big place, it's going to take a while to map the ocean floor. They wanted to zero that in. Certainly, they are the best that we've had in the entire investigation. It's pretty good to us from those on the outside looking in.

CUOMO: I was hoping it was just a hedge, but then you heard these on 33.3 megahertz, David, not 37.5. That's still close enough. We feel like we're still pretty close. Then you hear the joint agency, the head, come out and say we're not going to deploy the submarine until we get closer. What kind of signals are those sending?

SOUCIE: Well, it's mixed signals, certainly. The 33.5 is not unexpected by my account. The fact that it's every second is extremely telling. The 33.5 doesn't concern me too greatly because the fact when it's delivered it can be as low as 36.5. And as time goes on the radio channels slip. It starts going lower as the batteries wear out. It tells me that we're very, very close to that -- the end of that battery life when it was sensed. So it's possible in my mind, certainly, that this could be an indication that the battery has stopped pinging. The battery has exhausted its life.

CUOMO: How do the percentages change once the pinging stops?

SOUCIE: Unbelievably. It's just enormous. But again, with the fact that they did get that signal for two hours straight means that the pinger was close to the center because it's going at about one mile an hour, one knot per hour, and so you think about two hours you've gone two miles with it in the dome of where that pinger is radiating to.

The fact that you were there for two hours or two miles would tell you in the epicenter or center of that pinging location could be in that six-mile radius because it can go as much as three miles either way. So the fact that you were in that area for two miles, either you were higher, right in the center or you are lower on the perimeter.

CUOMO: Mary, one of the two or three things that aren't on your list of credentials is that you are an expert when it comes to underwater submarine surveillance. I'm going to take a guess you know the answer to this question anyway. There is criticism of the task force right now that they haven't put the sub in. If you're close, get the submarine in. Start looking. Start looking. Why would that not necessarily be the best thing to do?

SCHIAVO: Well, because they were focused on hearing the pings again, they have to have quiet and they have the towed pinger locator. They put that in the water, go slowly and it's quiet and they don't want the submersibles down there stirring up thing moving around when they're listening for the pings. As soon as they had a chance to have battery life and zero it in with that, that was the number one priority. Now if the pinger truly is gone, the battery is dead, that's it. They'll move on to that. They had to have silence.

CUOMO: Even if they locate the pinger, even if they get within those two miles and they believe this is the best place where we think the wreckage is, and let's say it's within half a mile area, what are some safe estimates for how long it takes from that point until you can reasonably feel that you can find something given the depth, given the problem with the proportions, about what's on the ocean floor. Give us a time horizon. Mary and then David.

SCHIAVO: Well, if they're really lucky and it was a three-mile or five-mile radius, I would say probably a week if they put the submersibles in and find something on the ocean floor. If it wasn't that close, it could be months. I would say once they put them in, if there's something down there, a week.

CUOMO: Pro optimism, I like it. Soucie?

SOUCIE: I'm not quite as optimistic about the time frame of the week because of the fact that these vehicles only will operate for 18 hours at a time and they have to be brought back up. We're looking at longer than that, particularly at the location of the side of a ridge. We could be looking at months. Even in that close proximity.

CUOMO: Cautious optimism. At least they are closer than they were before. At least we hope so. Mary, David, thanks you very much -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: And another big story overseas, tensions are escalating this morning in Ukraine with Russia sounding alarms of war. Russia's foreign ministers demanding that Kiev stop any use of force in Ukraine's eastern region that's where Ukrainians are trying to stand their ground against pro-Russian demonstrators.

Earlier today fist went flying in Ukraine's parliament after one member suggested Ukraine was to blame for the escalating issues. Let's get the very latest from Phil Black who is joining us by phone from the Russia/Ukraine border with the very latest. Good morning, Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hello, Kate. The Russian government advised the Ukraine not to use force against these protest groups in the east of the country because they believe they could start a civil war, but it looks like the Ukrainian government isn't paying attention. They conducted an anti-terror operation. The eastern city, this is where a large group had occupied a government building, declaring independence, call for a referendum asking Russia to send in peace keepers.

Ukrainian government believes that Russia is behind all of this. Russia denies that saying stop playing us, blaming the hope of declaring independence, following in the footsteps of Crimea and that's joining the Russian federation. Now it appears to be under control. In the southeast of Ukraine there is a similar situation on going. A group has occupied a government building declaring independence, call for a referendum, asking Russia to send in peace keepers. They believe Russia is behind all of this.

Russia denies all of that, saying stop blaming us for your problems. The United States also believes there is a Russian hand in this, saying these protests do not appear to be spontaneous. The people involved in it, locals, there's even a chance they could be being paid to be there. So the message from the united states to Russia from Secretary of State John Kerry to his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov is stop trying to destabilize Ukraine now -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: And one way some would argue that is happening is Russian forces being on the border there. You're on the border. Do you still see Russian military there? Is there any sign troops are drawing back as was suggested by President Vladimir Putin?

BLACK: You don't see them easily in this section. The Russia/Ukrainian border is a long stretch of territory spread out across, the largely confined to military training bases. They are at a very high state of readiness. That is the NATO assessment that they could roll very quickly given the word. Russia says they're not there to invade Ukraine. They're there to conduct exercises and Russia has no interest in Ukraine militarily. What the U.S. wants to see is action that backs up those words. Pull back the forces to their permanent bases. So far Russia hasn't done that.

BOLDUAN: Sure doesn't see any de-escalation happening at in point for sure. Phil Black on the Russia/Ukraine border. Phil, thank you so much.

PEREIRA: All right, let's take a look at more of your headlines this hour. Breaking overnight, an LAPD officer is recovering after he was shot multiple times inside a police station. Police stay suspect walked into the station and opened fire. Other victims were reportedly hit. The suspect is in custody being treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Today President Obama is set to sign a pair of executive orders aimed at narrowing the wage gap between men and women. One would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their salaries with one another. The other would force contractors to disclose more information about employee compensation including sex and race breakdowns.

We are learning more about a possible motive behind the deadly shooting, the latest one at Fort Hood. A U.S. official familiar with the investigation tells CNN Specialist Ivan Lopez had asked to transfer claiming that he was being taunting and picked on by soldiers in his unit. A spokesman for the Army's criminal investigation confirmed just before the rampage, Lopez was involved in a verbal altercation concerning his request for leave.

Britain's Prince William, Duchess Catherine, and Prince George are in New Zealand this morning. Upon arriving, they were treated to a traditional Mallory welcoming ceremony. Tonight they will attend an event for young mothers and babies. They will tour for nine days before heading on to Australian.

The UConn Huskies are this year's kings of college basketball defeating Kentucky last night, 60-54, winning the national championship. It is Connecticut's fourth national title. Perhaps the unlikeliest one of all. The victory set off a wild celebration on UConn's campus. Unfortunately, more than two dozen people were arrested.

The big game the morning after the celebration in Arlington, Texas. How are you doing it? Look at what smile on his face. What a game?

ANDY SCHOLES, "BLEACHER REPORT": What a game it was, Michaela. No one thought that UConn Huskies would end up having a run like this, no one outside the program that is. Not believed they could take down Kentucky, but they continued to prove their doubters wrong. Highest seed in win the tournament in nearly 30 years.

As for the game, 42 and 43 were in the house to watch this one. President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush saw the veteran Huskies jump on the Wildcats early. They would never trail in the game. UConn's veteran backcourt of Napier and Boatright were just fantastic. Napier, the team's senior captain, led UConn with 22 points. And he was named the final four's most it outstanding players.

The Huskies were not allowed in the tournament last year because of academic problems but this year they're top dog bringing home their fourth national title since 1999.


SHABAZZ NAPIER, FINAL FOUR MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER: We've been doubted for or so long. And we kept grinding and we kept pushing. It's so special.

KEVIN OLLIE, CONNECTICUT HEAD COACH: Somebody told me we were Cinderellas. I was like, no, we're UConn. I mean, this is what we do. We are born for this. We bred it to cut down nets.


SCHOLES: As of the special win for Napier, he watched his fellow teammates leave the program after the academic violations, but he decided to stay. And, guys, now, he's one of the few players in NCAA history to begin and end his college career with a national championship.

PEREIRA: You know what? Andy, I've got to tell you, too, my high school basketball coach is feeling vindicated. You saw Connecticut go 10 for 10 on the foul line, 10 for 10 on free throws.

And my coach used to always get after us for nothing them. They went 10-for-10. The importance of free throws.

SCHOLES: Big difference, Kentucky missed a lot of free throws.

PEREIRA: Big difference.

CUOMO: Too young. Kentucky was too young.

BOLDUAN: Oh, and if they would have won, you would have said, there was (INAUDIBLE)

CUOMO: No, I would have said they were too fast.


CUOMO: That's true. I was surprised how fast UConn was.


CUOMO: And that Napier kid did a shot in the first half. There was a Reebok commercial back in the day when they made a guy named Lamar Mundane, who used to rein jumpers from outside. He hit a shot so far. I played the game.

PEREIRA: Can we call you that right now?

CUOMO: Lamar Mundane, no, I couldn't shoot. But when he hit this three from so far away that you could see the Kentucky guys -- the first thing you do when a guy hits a shot on you, come on, D up your man, D up your man. They looked at each other like -- damn, did you see where he shot that from?

BOLDUAN: I have to look at some of your interviews. I just turned to Michaela and I go, damn.

CUOMO: Well, the mystery will reveal itself at time. This much was much more simple to analyze.

BOLDUAN: This is why, I will say simply why I love March Madness. Everyone thinks it's going to be the number one seeds. It rarely is these days.

PEREIRA: Congratulations, UConn, well done.

BOLDUAN: Now what am I going to do?

BERMAN: Take a break, have some coffee, fix your hair, brush your teeth.

When we come back, the search for Flight 370 seems to just be a ping away, but it turns out it's just the beginning. Wait until you hear what would come next for the man who battled for two years to find the Air France flight.

BOLDUAN: Plus, riveting new testimony from Oscar Pistorius. The Blade Runner telling the courtroom he was more into his model girlfriend than she was into him. We're going to take you live to the courthouse for much more.


CUOMO: Welcome back.

Oscar Pistorius back on the stand for a second day in his murder trial. He and his lawyer are building a narrative. Yesterday, it was the story of his fear of attacks since childhood. Today, it is the love for Reeva.

He is reading text messages to and from girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, most of them loving, angry from his first days meeting to the days just before her death.

Is it effective? Let's go to Robyn Curnow right now in Pretoria, following every development.

Robyn, what are you seeing in the courtroom?


Well, they called each other boo, baba, my angel, quite a lot of kissy, kissy type messages that were read out by Oscar Pistorius. The whole morning in court, two hours worth of messages between the two of them read out. They were intimate, they were personal, but very crucial in the defense of them trying to paint a picture of them having a loving relationship.

I want you to take a listen to this report. But before, bear in mind that Oscar Pistorius has chosen not to appear on camera so you will he him, not see his face.


OSCAR PISTORIUS, OLYMPIC RUNNER: I was maybe more into her than she was at times with me.

CURNOW (voice-over): You're hearing for the first time Oscar Pistorius recounting his relationship with Reeva Steenkamp over a year ago.

PISTORIUS: We started seeing a future with each other.

CURNOW: The Olympian reading aloud the ticks between hip and his girlfriend, a month before he shot and killed her.

PISTORIUS: I'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me.

CURNOW: The athlete says her messages were response to an argument at an engagement party.

PISTORIUS: I wasn't kind to her like I should have been.

CURNOW: Pistorius claims all arguments were resolved. The defense continued combing through their messages making the Olympian read dozens of loving texts in hopes of portraying a healthy relationship. Pistorius holding back tears.

PISTORIUS: I feel like you get better than I sometimes feel myself.

CURNOW: The defense spent Monday outlining his character, painting a picture of a young boy growing up afraid. Pistorius says his mother, often alone with her children, was acutely aware of South Africa's high crime rate, and would call police in the middle of the night when she heard noises.

PISTORIUS: She'd come, you know, at night and call us to go sit in her room and many times we just wait for the police to arrive.

CURNOW: And just like Pistorius, she slept with a gun.

PISTORIUS: She kept a firearm under her -- in her -- under her pillow.

CURNOW: But even before his testimony began on Monday, Pistorius turned to Reeva Steenkamp's mother with a tearful apology.

PISTORIUS: I wake up every morning and you're the first people I think of, the first people I pray for. I can't imagine the pain and the sorrow and the emptiness that I caused you and your family.

CURNOW: He says Steenkamp's death was an accident.

PISTORIUS: I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise you when she went to bed that night she felt loved.

CURNOW: A night that he says haunts him.

PISTORIUS: I wake up and I smell -- I smell -- you can smell the blood and I wake up to being terrified.


CURNOW: OK. Happening right now, Chris, Oscar Pistorius is getting to that part in his narrative where he's talking about the events of February the 13th. He's talking about Reeva Steenkamp and him having an early dinner, him taking a bath, them going to bed. He's talking about how he was locking up the house at around 8:00 p.m. He hasn't yet got to that part where he says he woke up and heard an intruder. Of course, with tragic consequences.

We'll keep you posted.

CUOMO: All right, Robyn. We appreciate that. We'll follow it throughout the morning and break it down later in the show.

Very interesting because the prosecution is listening to this as well. They have to find opportunities to combat the testimony and how their tone is, is also going to be really important.

BOLDUAN: And important to always remember, we saw -- Robyn showed an image of Reeva's mother and family member. You can imagine how hard this has already been. Imagine when he gets to the part of the story of the night she was killed.

We'll be on that. We'll stay on that for all of you.

We're going to take a break, though. Coming up next on NEW DAY: disappointing news overnight, ships unable to relocate the pinger signal and the search for flight 370. Does this mean the pinger has died or that the search is now harder? We're going to ask an expert who helped lead the search for Air France 447.

CUOMO: And you hear this one under the headline of, oh, no, not again.

A Republican, Louisiana congressman, got caught kissing a female staffer on tape -- that's bad. He's married -- that's bad. And he campaigned on faith and family. So what will Congressman Vance McAllister do now?