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Detected: Two New Pinger Signals; Ukraine: Unrest Will Be Resolved in 48 Hours; Oscar Pistorius on the Stand

Aired April 9, 2014 - 08:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: On the brink. Pro-Russian demonstrators reportedly holding Ukrainians hostage. The U.S. standing it will not stand by. What does that mean? Fareed Zakaria join us on what happens next.

Your NEW DAY continues right now.


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

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome once again to NEW DAY. We're following breaking news at this hour.

It could be just a matter of days now before Flight 370 is found. Take a look at the big map. The Australian Ocean Shield detected two more pings overnight, both more southern than where the first two pings were. Both of them they say consistent with black boxes.

Huge news overnight, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Kate. And the question is that news enough to justify the new enthusiasm? Because officials say they're going to find it, and they feel the best that they have, because of this confirmed sighting of these pingers. Will it be near? Could it be days? That's the big question this morning.

Erin McLaughlin is tracking the latest developments live from Perth, Australia, for us this morning -- Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, well,: officials are more optimistic than ever before that they're inching closer to finding the final resting place of missing Malaysian Flight 370, but they're not there yet.


ANGUS HOUSTON, JOINT AGENCY COORDINATION CENTER CHIEF: I'm now optimistic that we will -- we will find the aircraft or what is left of the aircraft in the not too distant future.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Breaking overnight, Ocean Shield has acquired two new signals consistent with Flight 370's black box pingers. Officials say all four signals have now been detected within 17 miles of each other.

HOUSTON: What we're picking up is a great lead.

MCLAUGHLIN: Officials say the sounds detected were not of natural origin and likely from a manmade device. But scouring the sediment at the bottom of the ocean will prove difficult.

HOUSTON: The silt on the bottom will complicate that search.

MCLAUGHLIN: Today's search efforts intensifying as resources comb the shrinking search area, roughly the size of South Carolina. So far, the debris found has not been linked to Flight 370. Adding to the urgency, the dying batteries powering the black box pinger now past its 30-day expiration date.

HOUSTON: The signals we picked up recently have been much weaker than the original six signals we picked up. So, that means probably we're either a long way away from it or, in my view, more likely, the batteries are starting to fade.


MCLAUGHLIN: Once they're certain those batteries have expired and they have exhausted all efforts at acquiring more information to be able to narrow down that search field, only then will they deploy the under water autonomous vehicle to search for physical wreckage -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Erin, thank you so much.

Here with Richard Quest.


CUOMO: So they're confident. The question becomes, are they being pressured into making progress? Can they justify their confidence? How certain do you think they feel with what they're dealing with right now?

QUEST: If you listened to Houston last night, he went through it in a fairly forensic way. First of all, bring in the two new pings. And he pointed out the new pings are very much on the same arc where the plane would have been by the seventh handshake on the satellite.

Then, he went through, and bring on the four other pings, the two other pings we've already had. Then, Houston said they've sent the data from the first two to the Australian acoustic experts. They revealed it's very stable, it is very concise, it pings of 1.106 per second and it is consistent. They have confirmed and their view is it's consistent with being it's not natural and it is electronic and it is consistent with it being a flight data recorder.

CUOMO: So they are confident because of a few factors. One, over time they have been aggregating more handshakes, more satellite data, more GPS and radar that make them comfortable with the arc?


CUOMO: So, they're comfortable, they need to be looking this way. They're also confident because all of the indicia of whether or not this is a pinger from a battery -- from a black box is about right, and they're in the same area, so it all points to we're doing the right thing.

QUEST: You're a good student. Those are exactly the points they make. Now, Houston, however, is not prepared to go that one stage further and say that is where the plane is. He is saying again and again he will not go the next leap until he has physical evidence.

He needs -- he says he needs to see wreckage. He needs to see physical evidence, not only because it will confirm everything else, but the families will need it for closure and certainty.

CUOMO: Very important point which leads to the next face of this. We've been talking this morning. This map beautifully and brilliantly displays the topography of the situation. We may need a new map that shows the proportions of the bottom of the ocean. Because that is a new frontier here, right?

QUEST: Well, they're going to go backwards and forwards. Bring in the towed pinger locator and you will see exactly what this will look like, because the towed pinger locator will continue going backwards and forward.

CUOMO: You may have to play the role. I'll be the ship, and you're going to have to be --

QUEST: In which case, you would go backwards and forwards in six-hour stretches over that --

CUOMO: Because there is such length of cord, which we believe --

QUEST: Three and a half thousand meters.

CUOMO: Meters, right. I had said feet earlier. So, it's very long, so you have to be very careful when you turned because --

QUEST: First, you can't stop with a (INAUDIBLE). And secondly, you don't want it tied up on all sorts of things.

Now, they're going to do that until they're absolutely -- here it is. I told you. We paid the bill. There it is.

Ultimately, they're going to keep doing that until they're pretty certain there's no life left in the pinger batteries. And Houston says he already believes that the pingers are dying because the signal is getting weaker. Once they've got as many of those pinger locations as they possibly can, they will then send an AUV down to actually look at the bottom.

And then the real hard work starts, because even though they've got a much tighter area, it's still slow, painstaking work.

CUOMO: There are currents on the bottom, there's different masses that they have to deal with, the depth of silt. A lot going on, so that will be a new challenge. But it will be a good sign when they feel that's what they have to deal with, it's the bottom of the ocean. And I will be here with you taking us through that I'm sure, or at least optimistically so.

Richard Quest, always a pleasure. Always a pleasure.

QUEST: Good to see you.

CUOMO: Kate?

BOLDUAN: An ultimatum from Ukraine's interior minister. He's warning pro-Russian activists who have taken over state buildings in Eastern Ukraine to find a negotiated solution or face force. He says the situation will be resolved one way or the other in 48 hours.

Meantime, Moscow is telling the West there's no need to be concerned about the 40,000 estimated Russian troops along Ukraine's border.

Fareed Zakaria, host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" and editor at large for "TIME" magazine is joining us now to talk about this.

Every time we speak, Fareed, there's hope that something is going the tip the balance, but it just continues to escalate. You've got pro- Russian demonstrators taking over government buildings in eastern Ukraine. You've got this ultimatum being laid out by the Ukrainian government. What do you make of the state of play inside Ukraine right now?

FAREED ZAKARIA, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS HOST: It feels like, Kate, we're now in phase two of the Russian operation in Ukraine. Remember, we talked about this before. Crimea was never the price. Putin took Crimea because he could, because there was a naval base, because he feared Ukraine was slipping out of his control and he wanted to take that one piece that he knew he could get.

Ukraine was the price. The whole purpose of Russian policy for the last decade has been to try to dominate Ukraine. So now phase two is, OK, we have Crimea. But Ukraine has become more anti-Russian and wants to move to the west. What do we do?

So, they've done two things. Over the last week or two, they have tried to essentially crash the Ukrainian economy. So, they have really cut off all supplies, contracts, business dealings. Now what they're trying to do is foment pro-Russian forces in Ukraine so that they create an atmosphere of general chaos.

At that point Mr. Putin can say, look, there's general chaos in Ukraine, we need to protect our Russian speakers. We happen to have 40,000 troops right near the border and we can go in.

He may not need to go in physically, though he's clearly preparing for that option. But that also allows him to go to the Ukrainian government and say you've got to negotiate on my terms now and those terms are substantially autonomy for eastern Ukraine, a permanent role for Russia in a kind of special relationship.

So, he's now moved on to the issue that was always his prize, how do I dominate Ukraine?

BOLDUAN: What's then -- in this chess board, what is next move for Ukraine, and for the United States and E.U. and NATO who are trying to get Russia to stand down? Secretary of state John Kerry in a Senate hearing said very clearly, do not be fooled, this could be very easily viewed as a pretext for moving into Ukraine even further. What can they do?

ZAKARIA: It's a tough question. The first thing I think is the Ukrainian government the going to have to act well. The Ukrainian government has to be able to assert control over the territory.

BOLDUAN: And to be honest, at this point, it has not been able to do that.

ZAKARIA: It has not been able to do -- they did a pretty good job in the last day or two getting rid of some of these demonstrators. But at the end of the day, the Ukrainian government cannot control these protests.

Getting Americans or Europeans in, it's not going to look good or work. Russia says you see there are foreigners involved on one side. First Ukrainians have to get their act together and they're trying.

I think, secondly, we have to start specifies exactly what would happen if the Russians were to invade. I think that really involves getting the Europeans to take a tougher line. If the Germans were to outline tough sanctions, real sanctions, that might make the Russians -- that might make Moscow have second thoughts.

There's not much wee can do. We're not going to fight a war with a nuclear superpower over Ukraine. But the Germans do a lot of trade with the Russians. It would be a body blow to the Russian economy.

BOLDUAN: You make an important point, because I was looking over recent statements just from the NATO secretary general. He's simply saying if Russia moves in, that would be an historic mistake. But being more specific, what that will lead to seems to be the important next step which is why it's pretty interesting that the foreign ministers, Ukraine and Russia, have agreed to this point.

Isn't that a huge step?

ZAKARIA: That is actually a bigger step. And it's gotten lost in some of the protests.

The Russians, remember, had never accepted the Ukrainian government. They argued this was illegitimate. Now, the Russian foreign minister is meeting with the foreign minister. The Russians have said they would be willing to meet with all parties in the Ukrainian political system, meaning, you know, some of the pro-Russian ones. So, there -- Putin is very clever. He's making some very tough moves. He's at the same time making some diplomatic overtures. And he's trying to see which ones work out. I don't believe he's ever had a master plan. He's a master opportunist. He's figuring out, I'm going to put all these things out there. Part of what he's trying to figure out is how much support does he have in eastern Ukraine?

Remember, people say eastern Ukraine is pro-Russian. From my understanding of it and from our good reporting, the younger people in eastern Ukraine, even the younger speakers, are not that pro-Russian. It's an older generation coming out of the Soviet Union that are -- so Putin is trying to play all these dynamics and see what he can do.

What we need to do is be a little more specific on what we can do. The reason we're not, of course, is we don't have agreement, particularly with the Europeans.

BOLDUAN: And even within our own borders. Wet don't have time to get to it. There is quite a back-and-forth between John Kerry and John McCain in criticizing -- you know, criticizing what the U.S. has done to this point and how we've handled it so far. So there's not even agreement within the United States, let alone our partners.

ZAKARIA: It's unfortunate. There was a time when a crisis like this -- this is such an urgent big deal, it would have caused people to rally around the administration. Whatever criticisms you might have, I think we want to present Vladimir Putin with a more united front than we've been doing right now.

BOLDUAN: Fareed, thank you.

All right. Let's get to John Berman, in for Michaela, for a lot of today's top stories.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Kate.

We do have some breaking news to tell you about. Eight students have been stabbed at a high school in Pennsylvania. Emergency crews were sent a short time ago to Franklin Regional High in Westmoreland County. One victim was airlifted away for medical treatment, several others hospitalized. Police do have one person in custody.

Also breaking overnight, a global recall by Toyota involving more than 6 million vehicles, 27 models are affected. The automaker sites a broad range of mechanical problems involving models from 2004 to 2010. They include faulty steering, air bags, seats, starters and windshield wiper motors. Toyota just agreed to pay a $1.2 billion government penalty for its handling of the vehicles due to unintended acceleration.

President Obama and the first lady are heading to memorial service today in Texas. For the victims of the latest Fort Hood shooting. Three soldiers were killed, 16 wounded when officials say specialist Ivan Lopez started firing. He later took his own life.

So, Prince George melting hearts on a play date in New Zealand. It was the first official public appearance for the royal baby. He played with other actual babies at an event for actual parents and actual children. He crawled around in the floor folks and also shared toys. Apparently, at one point yesterday he did steal a doll from another child. But Duchess Catherine returned it.

You know, prearranged play dates thousands of miles from home, in front of dozens of cameras, they're just like the rest of us.


BOLDUAN: Yes, isn't that what you do every Saturday?

BERMAN: He's just like the rest of us.

BOLDUAN: Prearranged play dates with millions of people watching.

CUOMO: He's got a good faux hawk going. Did you see that?

BERMAN: He's not a small child.

CUOMO: No, he's big. He's big. Good sign of health.

BERMAN: Maintains the calories. I'm saying.

BOLDUAN: Seriously?

CUOMO: He's got a faux hawk. They can have really funky hair. One of mine had -- I won't name which one because he'd be emotionally devastated.

BERMAN: He may not have much hair in his future based on his father.

BOLDUAN: John Berman.

CUOMO: Strong insight, cuts to the genes.

BOLDUAN: He's a little boy. Adorable.

BERMAN: He has a lifetime of preparation to get ready for it.

BOLDUAN: Oh my goodness.

CUOMO: It's all right. If he loses his hair, he can have it put back in like I did.


CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, breaking news in the Oscar Pistorius trial. The prosecutor is poking holes in the Blade Runner story. Pistorius is now admitting he wasn't there when his bail application was written up. Court has resumed. We're going to take you there live.


CUOMO: We have breaking news. We are monitoring the Oscar Pistorius trial. There's another pivot point that's happened here in this clash between the prosecutor in your screen right now and Oscar Pistorius, who is not going to be on camera, but you will hear his testimony.

They're going at it about the crime scene now. The prosecutor is insisting that Oscar Pistorius has changed his story. He's saying it's contrived. He's saying everything that we've heard so far is this contrivance of perfection and emotional breakdown by Oscar Pistorius. But the prosecutor believes it's disingenuous.

Now, they're arguing about whether or not the crime scene was disturbed, the prosecutors making the case that if it were, it was done by Oscar Pistorius. He's saying he didn't touch anything. But they're going at it. And now, the judge has interceded to referee the case.

So, earlier, there's one piece of sound I want you to hear that set this up. We all know, anybody who is watching this, that Reeva Steenkamp was killed and she was killed by Oscar Pistorius. However, he has not admitted that in court. It is really has frustrated the prosecutor.

Take a listen.


OSCAR PISTORIUS, CHARGED OF MURDER: I made a terrible mistake.

PROSECUTOR: You made a mistake?

PISTORIUS: That's correct, my lady.

PROSECUTOR: You killed a person, that's what you did, isn't it?

PISTORIUS: I made a mistake.

PROSECUTOR: You killed Reeva Steenkamp, that's what you did.

PISTORIUS: I made a mistake, my lady.

PROSECUTOR: You're repeating it three times. What was your mistake?

PISTORIUS: My mistake was I took Reeva's life, my lady.

PROSECUTOR: You killed her. You shot and killed her. Would you take responsibility for that?

PISTORIUS: I did, my lady.

PROSECUTOR: Now, say it then. Say (AUDIO GAP) I killed -- I shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp.

PISTORIUS: I did, my lady. My lady, I was there that night. I --


PROSECUTOR: I know you don't want to because you don't want to take responsibility but it's time you look at it. Take responsibility for what you've done, Mr. Pistorius.

PISTORIUS: My lady, I've taken responsibility by me not wanting the live my life. Waiting to tell my story for the respect of Reeva and for myself. I've taken responsibility. But I will not look at a picture where I'm tormented. What I saw and felt that night, as I picked Reeva, my fingers touched her head, I remember. I don't have to look at a picture. I was there.

PROSECUTOR: It's the same thing as the watermelon, you had it in practice. It's softer than brains.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that is extremely unfair to say that is the same thing as a watermelon. I think it's uncalled for. I --


CUOMO: Now, this was harsh. What's going on here right now?

OK. You have the prosecutor who is pushing the Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, to take responsibility. Why? It gets confusing. There's no jury here. There's the judge, however.

How persuaded will the judge be by this? She's going to be so much more sober-minded than a jury normally would. But the prosecutor wants to prove that Oscar Pistorius is not taking responsibility.

Now, Oscar Pistorius responds with great emotion. They had to adjourn the first time the prosecutor showed this image of Reeva Steenkamp's injuries. Pistorius couldn't take it. The judge allowed an adjournment.

So, now what is the prosecutor trying to do? He's trying to say you're not affected by that. This isn't about remorse. This is about regret that you did it and that you got caught doing it. Let me show video of you at a gun range blowing up with watermelon with a shotgun and saying, see, you're laughing at it, the same thing as the watermelon. Here's the video.

So, prosecutors brought this in, there's a little bit of a fight about it, but they brought it in and they said, listen to you laughing at this. You call it a zombie killer, you're joking about brains. That's what's going on right now.

Let's bring in senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and legal analyst Kelly Phelps from South Africa. She's joined by our Robyn Curnow.

Let me start with you guys in Pretoria first.

Help us understand what it's like, Robyn, in court to see this going on. And then, Kelly, you pick up with the idea of how unusual this may be to see a defendant debating and being put to the test this way.

Robyn, you start.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously Oscar Pistorius has been giving his testimony for 2 1/2 days, gently led by his own defense. Of course, the state came in and really went at it hard, didn't they? Literally equating Reeva Steenkamp's head with an exploded water watermelon, trying to force him to see those pictures being in court.

Oscar Pistorius has been emotional, has struggled to try to get his testimony over in the last few hours. There were many times I saw him clenching, holding himself back, trying not to stop, trying not to break down because, of course, he has to tell his story, he has to put this across.

In terms of whether this is unusual, this very, very grotesque kind of example, right -- so early in the cross examination, I think Kelly is a good one to answer that.

KELLY PHELPS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the level of aggression is not unusual. We are in accusatorial system. It's based on vehement cross examination. So, the aggression is not unusual.

The gratuitous nature of the manner in which that photograph was used is certainly unusual. I personally think it was a mistake. I think that it's demeaned the dignity of the victim and her family. I think it got the judge's back up against the wall.

I think Nel actually thought that himself. He was he that asked for the adjournment so that Pistorius could compose himself. And we did see him come back having dialed it down somewhat. So, the aggression is not unusual, but the tactics he employed in doing that certainly is.

CUOMO: That is a very interesting analysis.

Jeffrey, let me come to you with that. The prosecutor asked for the adjournment. That's an interesting take there. What do you make of it?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think the prosecutor is trying to set a theme here in the early part of his cross examination. And the theme is that Pistorius is not taking responsibility. He wouldn't say the words that he killed Reeva Steenkamp.

In the moments just before we went on the air, he was talking about how Pistorius and his lawyers were blaming the police for not handling the crime scene correctly. And there was an earlier document in the case that said he was pleading not guilty because the crime scene was mishandled.

And in part, the defense was say saying, we'll show you how the crime scene was handled. But at a deeper level, they were also saying, no, you're not pleading not guilty because you really are not guilty. You're just trying to shift blame to the police.

I think that's an interesting theme that the prosecution is trying to explore as they try to discredit every aspect of Pistorius' testimony.

CUOMO: Defense counsel has been so active, they don't have to just object, they get to argue open any in court. I'm surprised they didn't object to using the defendant as a forensic analyst about how the crime scene was dealt with.

But it is going on, Robyn. And now, give us a little background, because there are real questions about how the crime scene was handled. The investigator involved, both wound up getting in trouble. Tell us about it.

CURNOW: Absolutely. I mean, we've talked about this over the past few weeks. There was some sort of glaring examples given by the defense under cross examination of how watches were stolen from Oscar Pistorius' house by police, alleged by the defense during the investigation. We also saw how perhaps there hadn't been protective footwear, also crucially, the description of how one of the police first on the scene didn't wear protective gloves when he cocked and first touched the weapon.

There were a number of examples and a real sense that perhaps this had been a botched investigation early on. And I think that's what at least the prosecution is trying to counteract.

CUOMO: Kelly, is it safe to say the meat of this cross examination is going to come when the prosecutor starts going through Pistorius' story in terms of his reactions, vis-a-vis Reeva Steenkamp? You know, what did he do and when did he do it, and how did he feel about it as he went along? Will that be the meat of it?

PHELPS: I think it will be. I think we're already seeing the beginnings today of what will become an enduring theme in the cross examination which is meticulously comparing and contrast details between the various stages of Pistorius' version of events, in order to undermine the validity and reliability of his story in total.

But also, I think we'll start seeing Gerrie Nel again ramped up the aggression when he's speaking about Pistorius version of those very important moments, he's going to try to provoke him to get him to demonstrate for the state essentially, what the state suggested about his personality which is he is aggressive and prone to volatile outbursts.

CUOMO: Boy, I'll tell you, if this is how the prosecutors are going over the light stuff, when they get into the actually debating of why he didn't look for Reeva and all these different things, it's going to be very tough for Oscar Pistorius. If the prosecutor is good, I think we have to look for Oscar's recollective abilities to become less over time. He was very detailed on direct, I bet he gets less so on cross.

Robyn, Kelly, Jeffrey, thank you very much for the perspective.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, crews looking for Flight 370 have picked up two more pings. But the signals are getting weaker, officials say. Is this the breakthrough searchers have been waiting for or this is another false lead? We're going to hear from top aviation experts who hunted down wreckage themselves. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)