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Crisis in Ukraine; Search Area Expands Again for MH370

Aired April 13, 2014 - 08:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, you made it to Sunday. And it's a beautiful one.

Good morning. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Eight o'clock here on the East Coast, 5:00 out West. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: The breaking news this morning out of Ukraine. Ukraine's interior minister's Facebook account says one pro-Russia activist has been killed in the eastern Ukraine city of Slaviansk. And local media reporting pro-Russian demonstrators have seized the city hall of Mariupol, with no violence. Pro-Russia protest groups have been on a rampage this weekend.

Look at this. Watch what happens to the man in the blue jacket here. They've been taking over government buildings and police stations in eastern Ukraine.

PAUL: It's amazing to see his reaction, how he stands there.

BLACKWELL: Yes, freezes.

PAUL: He's so -- yes, it he freezes. That's a great way of saying it.

Now, Kiev is calling this an act of aggression by Russia. That's a phrase there that they said verbatim. They're accusing Moscow of helping them as well.

Now, our crews on the ground aren't seeing signs of violence, we're told. We're still working on getting more information from our local sources there. But we're going to go to our reporter on the ground live in just a moment.

BLACKWELL: But, first, let's catch up with the search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Now, five days since search crews last detected what may have been a ping from the airliner, from the black boxes. And a lot of people fear that the batteries on the beacons, the underwater beacons, the pingers we've been talking about, that those might now be dead. PAUL: And we know that today, the search area has expanded yet again by 39 percent to more than 22,000 square miles. Remember yesterday, it had shrunk to 16,000 square miles which was the smallest area thus far.

BLACKWELL: Today, 12 planes, 14 ships. They are scouring the southern Indian Ocean in a dire attempt to find any sign of debris, any sign of Flight 370.

PAUL: So, let's about the latest with the investigation with CNN aviation analysts Jeff Wise and Michael Kay.

BLACKWELL: Also joined by CNN safety analyst David Soucie, as well as CNN correspondent Will Ripley, who is live there in Perth.

Let's go to Will first.

What are you hearing about the reason why this search area has been expanded?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPODENT: All along, we've been told that this is a continual process of refining the search area, looking at the data, looking at the currents and trying to figure out where this debris field from the suspected point of impact, where this might have drifted to. So, every day, we've seen the search area evolve. And we've seen it getting fall her for most of this week.

And now, today, a larger search area, 6,000 square miles larger or so.

I wouldn't necessarily say that this is looked at as a setback. It's just -- they continue to look at the information and this is the collusion that they've come to and is why they're searching this area.

PAUL: All righty. So, Jeff Wise, how confident are you that they're going to find the wreckage with everything that keeps changing, information we get one day and it's changed the next day and all the modifications? Do you get a sense they really have a handle on what they're doing?

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it doesn't really inspire confidence. I mean, they've gone ahead and reversed course and made the search area big again. That implies a certain lack of confidence on their part as to where exactly this debris should be if, in fact, the pings that have been located last week are, in fact, correlated to MH370. Five days without a ping. I mean, you start to wonder at what point they throw in the towel and start scanning the seabed with side scan sonar.

PAUL: So, you think it's time to do that?

WISE: You know, unless they have some other information that we're not aware of -- it seems like if they really did think this was the plane that they would try to go down and try to really locate it. That's what we all want to have happen. BLACKWELL: Michael Kay, do you believe -- we've been talking about why they haven't sent down this Bluefin 21, this drone that can go down and search for this. What's the possibility that they've done that and we're waiting to hear from air chief marshal Houston that they found something or they have cleared this area and have found nothing? Do you think he would have come out and said it's gone down, or is he just waiting for the next announcement will be what we found or have not found by using the Bluefin?

MICHAEL KAY, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, Victor, this is an iterative process and it's continually changing. I think Will made a very good point in the way that the information that we have is very dynamic. The analysts are constantly going over every shred of evidence. And sometimes when you follow the evidence, it leads you down a dead-end and you have to go down another route.

I think air chief marshal Houston, to his absolute credit, has been transparent throughout. I think we should invest the utmost confidence in the air chief marshal for the way his communication strategy will play out in future.

We are in a transition period at the moment. We know the batteries of the pings last between 30 and 40 days, 30 at the minimum, 40 at the maximum. As I said last night with Don Lemon, if I was air chief marshal Houston, I would want to make absolutely sure I could go to bed at night knowing I had done my utmost to search for the pings.

Now, there will come a point at the 40-day stage, 41, 42, where air chief marshal Houston will have to make the decision to put the AUVs in the water. But let's be clear, once he does that, the ping locaters can't work in unison. And he's committed at that point to what could be a search that takes years.

PAUL: David Soucie, we got a question from Bill on Twitter. And he asks why don't they put a GPS pinger locater in the black box that could be used by a Bluefin to hone in on the wreckage?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, actually, that's a really good question. The reason that it's so good is I just was talking with Sunny, I think it was yesterday. Sorry about that. And she had come across a patent on an ejectable box that I guess the military has been using for a lot of years.

What it does is ejects out from the aircraft upon impact or after it gets to a certain pressure of water and ejects out a locater beacon. That locater beacon goes up to the surface. From there it transmits on emergency locater frequency of 406 megahertz which is monitored by satellites constantly. Within a few moments they could have a triangulation on the location of that aircraft.

There's a lot of technologies out there, quite a few technologies, including -- I'm so impressed with what Inmarsat came up with here in being able to locate the arc. I think that that's something that should be exploited. Michael Kay and I have been talking about that. Michael brought up to me that the Inmarsat data could be used in future to track this aircraft without any upgrades to the airplanes themselves.

BLACKWELL: Jeff, we know that 26 countries are assisting in the search and the investigation. And we've said and you pointed out that this is the most expensive search of its kind and becoming more expensive as the days go on.

But when you look at the numbers of resources, 11 planes searching for the debris, you've got 26 countries. Do you think that -- well, 12 now, one with the civil aircraft that's been added -- do you think there's enough resources in this area that's now expanded search area for debris?

WISE: Well, you know, remember, we've been looking all up and down this southern arc, this vast area. It's five weeks now. Nothing has turned up. I mean, I think the question eventually is going to become how long do you commit these kinds of resources to a search that doesn't really seem to be panning out? Are we looking in the wrong place? Is the plane even in this hemisphere? It's hard to know what the appropriate amount of resources to deploy is because we don't really know what the problem is that we're trying to address.

PAUL: OK. And with that said, let me show this -- send this out to you, Michael. How long do you think these other countries are going to devote their resources?

KAY: Well, I think the key thing here is to try to corroborate the area that we're looking in the search area, with other evidence. I've always been a proponent of going back and really trying to understand what happened to MH370 after the last transponder ping? We know about its supposed route, across the Malaysian peninsula, south to Thailand, out towards Banda Aceh, and it headed south at some point.

Now, going back to Jeff's point, there's an inaccuracy in the search area. We've got the Inmarsat data which is incredibly useful, but it's also based on assumptions, two key assumptions of what speed the aircraft flew at and what height the aircraft flew out. And that will then give your the distance down the arc or give you the fuel burn and the endurance and distance down the arc, the southern arc of where we should be looking.

Now, a key piece of that information is what did the aircraft do between turning south and the last transponder ping. I still think there's a lot of vague information about the speed, the track, corroborated through primary radar, that we need to know so we can hone in on that search area because it may be different. So, that's what I'd be doing, I'd be looking to try and corroborate where we are and continually look at the evidence.

BLACKWELL: All right. Day 37 now.

Jeff Wise, Michael Kay, David Soucie, Will Ripley also from Perth, thank you all.

PAUL: I want to talk to you about the breaking news out of Ukraine this morning -- tensions simmering as masked gunmen take over police stations and government buildings in the eastern part of the country. What you're looking at here is exactly what's happening. New reports coming in to us here of this new wave of violence and it's turned deadly. We're going to talk more.

BLACKWELL: And turn to look at the screen. Look at this picture.

PAUL: Oh my God.

BLACKWELL: Hundreds of bees. We'll tell you about the man in the midst of this buzz right now. We'll tell you why this is happening.


PAUL: You can hear the gunfire. Can you also hear the cheers of "Moscow, Crimea, Russia"? That's what's they're yelling and that's what's being heard on the streets here of several cities in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's interior minister's Facebook account we've learned says one pro-Russia activist has been killed in Slaviansk -- although CNN crews aren't seeing any violence at this point.

BLACKWELL: And here's how we got here. Pro-Russia groups wearing mismatched combat fatigues. They stormed a police station, seizing hundreds of weapons earlier. Look at the bottom left of your screen here, the guy going in the window.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is sending in troops to tackle the situation.

We've got senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh on the phone with us.

Nick, we're hearing reports that separatist protesters have taken over the mayor's office in Mariupol, in eastern Ukraine. What do you know about this?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, it's early (INAUDIBLE) on that information, but were that the case, it would fit in to (INAUDIBLE) we're seeing geographically of pretty much a circle being formed around the city of Donetsk, a lot of the cities on the outskirts, that particular region of Donetsk, seemingly having similar protests, attacks on government buildings and police station.

We can't confirm what's happening in Mariupol, but it is substantial, found near the coast. Of course, quite close to the Russian border as well. Another development to add to the list of towns where these similar disturbances have happened.

Going back to Slaviansk you were mentioning earlier on, Victor, we've just come out of there for about an hour and seen very little evidence frankly of an anti-terror operation as the one announced by the Ukrainian interior minister and he refers to how Ukrainian forces are regrouping after one was killed and five injured in anti-terror operations. There's no obvious impact of that presence on the streets inside Slaviansk.

The barricades around the security service buildings are very well-equipped, very well-organized, pro-Russian militants, those barricades will be reinforced. The same around the police station, too. People are going about their daily business as per normal, and a lot of locals joining the protests, too.

No sign of the kind of panic you might expect if there had been intense gun battles on the streets. Nobody really heeding the advice of the interior minister to stay away from windows and inside their apartments. I don't speak for the entirety of the Slaviansk, but there is local support for what's happening there.

Other town, too, we just played the gunfire that it's from, (INAUDIBLE), we just passed through there. Pro-Russian activists and perhaps militants now control the police station. Barricades outside of it and in the central square, people now protesting outside the government building which seems to be in the hands of protesters, Victor.

PAUL: Nick Paton Walsh, we appreciate it so much. Thank you for the update.

Meanwhile, Vice President Biden is going to travel, we've learned to Kiev next Sunday, April 22nd, to meet with Ukrainian leaders. The White House said the vice president will underscore the United States' support for the united, democratic Ukraine that makes its own choices about its future path."

Well, at least four people are dead and more than 500 homes destroyed in a wildfire that is ranging near the Chilean capital of Santiago. Officials say the blaze, which has spread to more than 600 acres is being fueled by strong winds. Three thousand people have been evacuated and authorities do plan to move 2,000 inmates out of a jail to avoid the fast-moving flames.

BLACKWELL: The standoff between the feds and ranch supported by militia members is over. Citing the potential for violence, the Bureau of Land Management called up a roundup of rancher Cliven Bundy's cattle and returned to Bundy about 300 head it seized in a grazing land dispute.

Now, the government says it will try to settle this dispute with Bundy some other way.

PAUL: So, if you're going to the Boston marathon a week from tomorrow, expect some tighter security there obviously. Police are ramping up safety measures after last year's deadly bombings. In addition to more undercover police, more than 100 surveillance cameras have been installed around that city. Also, participants are not going to be allowed to run with backpacks, hydration packs or costumes. And for those who need it, they will offer trauma counseling on race day.

BLACKWELL: Look at your screen. You've got to see this. This man from China, he is going to show us something I'm sure no one as ever really seen.

PAUL: What the heck?

BLACKWELL: These are about a half million honey bees. By the time they're done, they'll pretty much cover the man's entire body, 28 hives worth. He says his previous personal record is 15 hives. He's a goal setter.

That's about 100 pounds of bees. He says he's only been stuck maybe 20 times. Wow. Thank goodness for that.

PAUL: I'm still trying to figure out why?


PAUL: You know why? Because he just got on television and we're talking about him, Victor. That's why.

BLACKWELL: That might have been his goal.

PAUL: Oh my goodness.

Hey, guess who is back? One Mr. Anthony Bourdain!

BLACKWELL: Yes. I love the show. It's so beautifully shot.

PAUL: I know.

BLACKWELL: I mean, with more of his exotic culinary adventures. Are you ready to go there? We are.

Up next --

PAUL: An interview with the man who takes us to "PARTS UNKNOWN".


BLACKWELL: Our favorite foodie returns to CNN tonight.

PAUL: Yes, he's back. Anthony Bourdain season three -- number three, I should say, of the Emmy-winning "PARTS UNKNOWN." He's pretty amazing. Spoke to him about the new season.

And you know what? I started by asking him about one of the episodes that we're going to season which ironically was just before the Olympics in Russia.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, "PARTS UNKNOWN" HOST: It's interesting time to be there for sure in the run-up to Sochi. There were demonstrations in Ukraine at the time. And given events since, it adds a sort of pungency to what we experienced there. What was also interesting is that even among the opposition, people who despise Putin, the notion of annexing Ukraine I would say is pretty popular. You're not going to see a lot of resistance to that idea within Russia.

PAUL: I know that you're visiting two U.S. cities. And Vegas is one of them.

BOURDAIN: Vegas I think we're looking at the winners and losers in Vegas. So, on one hand, the spectacular life you could live if you're a whale gambler, you know, somebody who they fly in, who account counted on to lose millions on a weekend, but also the people who run Vegas, born and bred and live there. And year after year after year have to see human behavior at its really very worst.

You know, they see things in Vegas, the people who, you know, wipe off your table, deliver your food, clean your room, drive you around, these people have really seen a lot. I was very interested in what it's like to live in a place where visitors are really encouraged to behave as badly as they possibly can.

PAUL: Now, I know you're kicking off the season in India. Was there anything that you ate there that you would love to bring home and have available to you on a regular basis that was different than anything we know in America?

BOURDAIN: I think the most striking thing I found was -- you know, I'm a committed carnivore, but I could happily eat vegetarian in Punjab for quite some time.

PAUL: What specifically?

BOURDAIN: Look, there are a lot of curries, tandoori, beautiful -- the flat breads are insanely delicious. They're very passionate about food there.

The thing that sticks out to me about India above and beyond the fantastic food is the colors are just eye-poppingly gorgeous. It's a cinematographer's dream. Everywhere you point a camera, everywhere you look, there's something really, really beautiful happening.

PAUL: Do you always know what you're going to eat or is there ever a situation where you go in blind and you say, I don't know what this is, but I'm just going to try it.

BOURDAIN: Particularly when I'm eating in homes and farms, often I don't know what they're showing up with. I've come to dread the words, you know, oh, Mr. Bourdain, we have something very special for you. Often, this is supposed to make me within the culture more manly or stronger and often I found, there are like reptile parts or bile or something still wriggling in it.


PAUL: Sounds good. You don't want to miss it, right? The new season of "PARTS UNKNOWN" premieres tonight. Anthony Bourdain in Punjab, India, begins tonight, 9:00 Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: If you're just waking up, welcome to your Sunday. And make sure to stay with CNN. "STATE OF THE UNION WITH CANDY CROWLEY" is coming up at the top of the hour.

PAUL: And on that note, we want to bring her in.

Hey, Candy, what's coming up?

CANDY CROWLEY, "STATE OF THE UNION" HOST: Well, one of the things we want to talk about is the 2014 midterms. Congress, of course, is moving along, not very fast as usual. We're going to talk to Greg Walden. He is the Republican in charge of electing more Republicans to the House. And Steve Israel who wants to help elect more Democrats. Looks like the uphill climb is for the Democrats and what you're going to see over the next several months until that November election is the politics of how each party wants to frame themselves going into the midterms.

We're going to talk a little bit about that and about some of the things that have been said this week, as you know, Eric Holder, the attorney general talks about racism and how he was treated on Capitol Hill. So, we want to pursue that as well. So, we'll talk about that.

And, of course, we'll have the very latest with our experts and our reporters about that missing Malaysian plane.

PAUL: Excellent.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you, Candy.

And you can catch "STATE OF THE UNION" today at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

PAUL: Thank you so much for spending time with us. Go make some great memories today.