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Search for Flight 370; Crisis in Ukraine; Pistorius on Trial

Aired April 14, 2014 - 05:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning. A new undersea search begins for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. A submarine has now deployed to the bottom of the ocean to find the plane and those black boxes. Investigators believe now that the pingers have gone dead.

We've got live team coverage of the new developments ahead.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, tensions rising in Ukraine, the government threatening to send in troops to disarm pro- Russian protesters.

Is Ukraine on the brink of civil war? And is the CIA somehow involved?

We have live team coverage on the very latest.

BLACKWELL: And three people murdered outside Kansas Jewish centers. A suspected white supremacist behind bars.

We've got new details, we're learning about those attacks.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Victor Blackwell.

ROMANS: Nice to see you today this Monday morning up early for you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Good to see you.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

Let's begin with this breaking news this morning from Australia, where officials have now admitted a week after the last signal was received, they are not expecting to hear the black box pingers from Flight 370 again. They're pulling out the ship with that pinger locator, and instead have now put in the water an unmanned submarine, the Bluefin- 21, that can map the ocean floor about a dozen square miles at a time. But the search zone this morning stretches some 18,000 square miles.

Overnight, crews reported finding an oil slick that could be connected to the plane, but whether it is, it's going to take time to figure that out.

Michael Holmes is live in Perth, Australia for us this morning with the latest on the search.

So many different elements, Michael. Let's start with this move to switch to the submarine, that this is the right time to put in the submarine. Start there for us.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the man who's heading up the search here, retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, he doesn't hold briefings unless he's got something to say and he did name a number of developments today.

When it comes to that submersible, the Bluefin-21. This is actually the same ship it's on that has been towing that ping locator, the Ocean Shield. What they're doing, though, is they're having to pull up that locator that they've been towing and they're going to put down -- in fact, they were to have put down the submersible at 5:00 a.m. Eastern, about half an hour ago. We don't have confirmation it's gone in, but it should have gone in, in the last half hour.

It's going to begin a very tedious search of the bottom of the ocean. That's 450,000 meters down. That's about 14,000 feet down. And it takes 24 hours to do its job. It comes up, it does about 15 square -- miles in that time, and then it goes down again. It could take six weeks, perhaps two months to cover the search area that they have defined.

That was one headline came out of it. Another headline that came out of it, Angus Houston saying that they had spotted in that area an oil slick. They've taken a sample and it's going to be analyzed. Here's what he said.


ANGUS HOUSTON, CHIEF COORDINATOR, JOINT AGENCY COORDINATION CENTRE: Ocean Shield detected an oil slick yesterday evening in her current search area. A sample of about two liters has been collected, and it will be a number of days before it can be landed ashore and conclusively tested. I stress, the source of the oil is yet to be determined, but the oil slick is approximately 5,500 meters down wind and down sea from the vicinity of the detections picked up by the towed pinger locator on the Ocean Shield.


HOLMES: Urging caution, too, Angus Houston there saying we don't know what that is, we're checking it out, that oil slick.

One other point to come out. You know, we've been talking about the dozen planes and a dozen ships that daily are out there searching a few hundred miles to the west looking for any debris that might have been carried there by the current. Well, Angus Houston saying that in the next few days, it's likely that search will be wound down. That search for surface debris. He said it's looking like they're not going to find any -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Michael. Thank you so much for that report from Perth, Australia. So much to go over starting this new week. BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the investigation into what happened on the jet now. Malaysia officials have grown quiet again, days after telling CNN new information about the flight's path and the actions of the pilot and co-pilot.

Nic Robertson has the latest on the investigation live from Kuala Lumpur.

No longer are we seeing those almost daily 5:30 news conferences. Seemingly, the Malaysians are pulling back. Do we know why?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not clear why, other than it appears that they don't have anything else that they wish to say at the moment. What they continue to say is that the black box is incredibly important. They said over the weekend their attorney general was in London discussing with other international officials about who should get custody of the black box. He said that would be determined by international law, by local law as well.

Of course, of great importance, the extraction of that data. We've heard from the head of police here in Malaysia, who has said that they don't actually have the expertise in Malaysia to do it. We also heard from the acting transport minister over the weekend as well, overruling essentially what the chief of police here has said before. Chief of police has said all 229 passengers on board the flight were cleared as far as he was concerned in his investigation.

The acting transport minister says that is not the case, we can't say anything conclusive until the black box is recovered. So it does seem to be a waiting game by Malaysian officials for the black box. That said, there are many details here that they haven't given, precisely who in the government knew when, about the missing plane, about precisely when the military handed over their radar information about Flight 370 to civilian officials here.

That is a contested issue. The Defense minister's also the acting Transport minister. We asked him that question twice at the weekend. He refused to answer it, despite it being contested. So, waiting for the black box is what they say, but there are other questions that are remaining unanswered that perhaps aren't, you know, don't depend on the outcome of the black box here -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Lots of unanswered questions. Nic Robertson there for us in Kuala Lumpur.

ROMANS: And now to Ukraine, on edge again this morning. With the deadline having passed for pro-Russian militants in the eastern part of the country to disarm or face the consequences.

Ukraine has now sent its forces into the region to oust the demonstrators, demonstrators that have taken over government buildings, demanding they be allowed to break away and join Russia. This weekend, the clashes turned violent, and at least one Ukrainian officer was killed.

Senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh live in Donetsk for us.

Clearly, we've marked a new phase here where, instead of a war of words, we now have bullets in this situation, and this morning, more and more tense talk between leaders of these two countries. What's the situation on the ground right now?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, despite this deadline passing, which would have been about 3 1/2 hours ago now for, according to the interim president of Ukraine, the protesters to lay down their weapons, clear out of the buildings, or the Ukrainian army comes in. We've not seen them really in this city or much evidence than across the region as a whole.

What we have heard from Oleksandr Turchynov, acting president, is a suggestion that maybe they could see a referendum at some point in the future about the status of eastern Ukraine, what country might it belong to, but that would happen perhaps on the same day as presidential elections, effectively asking voters to vote for a president but also what that president is going to be president of.

So mixed signals definitely from the central government of Kiev. We have not seen a large presence of law enforcement or police or soldiers on the streets, really anywhere at this stage, although the governor of Donetsk, where I'm standing, says this anti-terror operation is, in fact, under way.

The Russians very strident in their words here, in fact, saying, the foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, that if this referendum on May 25th was successful, it would all depends on the kind of questions people are being asked. That really tensions ratcheting up here. Live pictures being broadcast on the Internet. Yet another police station, the town of Horlivka, being seized by protesters.

Just one of many we see repeatedly in this area. Those pro-Russian protesters sometimes backed up with armed militants, on the move consistently now across this region, many deeply concerned about what actually comes next.

ROMANS: All right, Nick Paton Walsh live for us this morning. Thank you, Nick.

BLACKWELL: Well, Russia insists it is not responsible for what's happening in Donetsk and elsewhere, and angrily blames Ukraine for not listening to the will of the people. And there was a rare late Sunday night Security Council meeting at the United Nations, and the foreign minister just came out again with some tough words, claiming the CIA may be involved.

Diana Magnay is live in Moscow with that part of the story.

Diana, some really provocative claims made by Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, pretty clear about who he thinks is responsible on what's happening in the Ukraine. Tell our viewers about it.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, he said that if the West continues to insist that there are Russian agents who are operating on the ground in Ukraine, then he'd like to see evidence of it. And he said and asked the question, which we've seen circulating in Russian media for a few days, that the CIA director, John Brennan, supposedly went to Kiev to discuss issues with the authorities there. Now the CIA have told us that they do not disclose his movements and also that any claims that he helped the Kiev authorities develop tactics to combat militants in the south and east of the country are completely false.

But it is a claim that you will see circulating in Russian media that reinforces this line that Russia has been insisting on, that the west is interfering with these affairs. Lavrov's line is that the Ukrainian authorities should not use force against their own people and that they should listen to the demands of their people, not so much that they want to form separatist states, but Russia's line in all of this seems to be that they should be able to devise their own constitution, and if that means that they look for a more federal approach, where each region has more autonomy from Kiev, then so be it.

Russia says that it's not in its interests to destabilize Ukraine, and if any other country condones the use of force to try and bring the situation in the south and east to an end, then the responsibility lies with them. Effectively, any blood that is shed will be on their hands -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Much like the confrontation during the Crimea conflict a couple weeks ago. Support the vote and then just call it the will of the people.

Diana Magnay in Moscow for us. Diana, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Breaking news overnight, disturbing, new details in the deadly attacks outside two Kansas Jewish centers. The suspect's troubling, disturbing past, after the break.


ROMANS: We are learning new details this morning about the deadly shooting at a Jewish community center and retirement community near Kansas City on the eve of Passover, a shooting that left three people dead.

We now know the identity of the suspect, 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross. And law enforcement officials tell CNN he has ties to white supremacist groups.




ROMANS: Those pictures and that sound are from moments after the shooting, captured by CNN affiliate KNBC. The man yelling in the back of the police car said to be the suspect. The Southern Poverty Law Center says Miller has a long history of anti-Semitic activity, is a former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, he spent time in prison on weapons charges. Back in 2010, Miller ran a write-in campaign for Senate. The FCC said local radio stations didn't have to air his ads, ads blasting Jews, African Americans and the federal government.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the three people who died in that gunfire. Among them, a doctor, William Lewis Corporon, and his 14- year-old grandson, Reat Underwood. Dr. Corporon practiced family medicine for almost 40 years. His grandson was a high school freshman, an Eagle Scout, at 14, and an aspiring performer.

Both were Christians. And the two were at the community center so the grandson could audition for a singing competition. Late last night, a lot of people, seen here, they gathered for a vigil to remember the victims, including members of their families, grieving this devastating loss.


CINDY CORPORON, MOTHER OF REAT UNDERWOOD: I'm Missy Corporon. I'm the daughter of the gentleman who was killed and I'm the mother of the son who was killed. And I want to tell you how much I appreciate you all being here at this vigil. We all grieve in different ways. And I'm here to tell people thank you and let you know that I came upon the scene very, very quickly. I was there before the police and I was there before the ambulance. And I knew immediately that they were in heaven, and I know that they're in heaven together.


BLACKWELL: A third victim has not yet been identified. The suspect is due in court later this morning.

ROMANS: Senseless.

Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo joins us this Monday morning for that.

Hey, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: How are you doing, guys?

ROMANS: Great.

CUOMO: So we're going to introduce you to new terms today. You know the Bluefin, but what about the Alvin and the Ramora? Ramora is not just the suckerfish on the side of a shark, it is the last in the stage of search vehicles that are going to be used to help fight Flight 370. The Bluefin is out there now. We're going to tell you how long it takes and what it hopes to do on the ocean floor.

The Alvin would be the next stage. And then the Ramora. How do they all work together? We'll take you through the latest, and the analysis of this oil slick that was found. Is it in any way related to 370?

We're also going to be closely watching tensions as they escalate in Ukraine this morning. The main questions are the obvious ones -- what's more likely here, civil war or an invasion by Russia? Could one be masked as the other? And of course, should the U.S. be doing anything? If so, what's the best choice?

Christiane Amanpour, Fareed Zakaria will be here giving insight. We're also going to talk with a former U.S. ambassador to NATO. So we're going to cover that situation every way we can, because it does seem that it's reached the critical point.

ROMANS: Yes. And I'll tell you, world markets nervous about that. You've got futures in world global stocks down this morning because they're seeing this as a new -- kind of a new level of concern in the region. So we're watching that as well.

Thanks, Chris.

BLACKWELL: We look forward to that conversation. Thank you, Chris.

ROMANS: Happening now, dramatic testimony from Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his model girlfriend. What the Olympic athlete is saying on the stand, how he is holding up to this pretty withering grilling from prosecutors. That's next.


BLACKWELL: It's day six on the witness stand for Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his girlfriend. Once again today, he's under blistering questioning from prosecutors.

I want you to listen to this exchange between Pistorius and the prosecutor as they go over, once again, what happened that night and what Pistorius yelled because he thought there was an intruder in his house.


GERRI NEL, PROSECUTOR: Can you remember what you shouted?


NEL: What did you shout?

PISTORIUS: I screamed. I said (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of my house. Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of my house.


BLACKWELL: CNN legal analyst Kelly Phelps is live at the courthouse in Pretoria.

Kelly, what was the resonance there? I mean, between the judge, the prosecutor and Pistorius? The two who are combative here, who is, I guess, has the upper hand, scoring more points in this standoff? KELLY PHELPS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think neither one of them have the upper hand yet. We'll have to see how the day ends up, but for most of the morning session, there's actually been a real battle of woes occurring between Pistorius and Nel. So we've seen the most determined, predantic, aggressive cross examination from Nel, but equally for most of the morning, we've seen Pistorius, perhaps the most composed he's been so far and unwilling to get led down certainly paths of concession that would be quite crucial points to concede on.

So they have just been essentially butting heads. The judge has intervened on one occasion, where she felt that some of the comments from Nel were starting to veer towards becoming a bit unfair, and she sort of put it back on track again. But there's no doubt that Nel will not let up in this relentless line of questioning, because getting these confessions from Pistorius is part of the core of his case.

BLACKWELL: How long do you think the judge will let this go on? As you said, she kind of pulled him back from some of the more aggressive questions.

PHELPS: She will certainly give him quite a long line to work with. She will let him go on for as long as she feels that there is genuine purpose in helping to establish a true version of events for the court. Where she is likely to intervene is, first of all, if she feels that the line of questioning is becoming bullying and unfair, and not for the sake of the truth-gathering process.

And secondly, if she feels that ground is being recovered simply for the sake of tactics, as opposed to for the sake of actually ascertaining an accurate information. But if those two things are not present, she will continue to allow Nel.

BLACKWELL: Day six, and Pistorius still on the stand. That testimony continues.

Kelly Phelps, thank you.

ROMANS: A lot more news to get to. We'll be right back.


ROMANS: Victor, you mentioned some of that fear and uncertainty out there and the world markets today.


ROMANS: Stocks in Europe lower right now. They're spooked by the escalating tension between Ukraine And Russia. In the U.S. futures point to a lower right now after a rough week for your 401(k) last week. The Dow is now down, 3 percent for the year and for last year it was up 30 percent. Negative for the year.

Stocks going down. One key item at the grocery story is going up. Beef prices are at their highest level since 1987 $5.28 a pound in February. One reason for the jump, not enough cattle. We haven't has this few cattle in the country since 1951 recurring droughts across the country making it hard for ranchers to keep herd sizes up.

Expect prices to remain high this year, maybe even next year. It takes a while to rebuild that. One thing to notice at the grocery story, you're right, everybody, beef prices are rising.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So first day on filling in on EARLY START. I haven't broken anything.

ROMANS: Haven't broken anything.

BLACKWELL: I call that a win. You got two more ago.


BLACKWELL: Yes. We can keep everything intact.

ROMANS: Glad to have you here.

BLACKWELL: Good to be here. Good New Day starts now.




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. The Bluefin underwater searcher has just been deployed to find Flight 370. As an oil slick is spotted near the search area. The latest coming up.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight. Violence in Ukraine. The country on the brink as the government begins to strike back at pro-Russian supporters. What will Putin now do next? We're live with the latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking new details on the gunman that killed three at two Jewish centers has long history of anti-Semitism. The mother of the teen killed speaks out hours after the shooting. You won't believe her strength.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.