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EARLY START

Search for Malaysia Airline Flight; Malaysia Completes Initial Report; Three Americans Killed in Afghanistan; Crisis in Ukraine

Aired April 24, 2014 - 05:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, a sea bed search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 finding nothing. The Bluefin submarine nearly finishing its mission. Is it time for investigators to shift, come up with some sort of additional plan? This as Malaysia completes a new report on what may have happened to that vanished jetliner. But they are not releasing that to the public. And families are furious.

We have live team coverage covering all the angles straight ahead.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight, more bodies pulled from a sunken South Korean ferry. More than 130 passengers still missing as divers comb through the ship. This morning, the investigation into what went so terribly wrong. This investigation broadens from the crew to the ferry's wealthy owner.

We are live in South Korea with the very latest.

HARLOW: Also happening now, President Obama on a pivotal diplomatic trip through Asia. What he's doing this morning and why he's talking about new sanctions against Russia.

We'll take you live to Tokyo.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I am Poppy Harlow.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. About 32 minutes past the hour right now. Great to see you this morning.

And this morning, the search for Flight 370, it may be closer to entering a new phase. This more than six weeks after the jet disappeared.

Overnight, we learned that that piece of metal found on the Australian coast, the object of interest, well, authorities now say it was not from the jet. And with more than 90 percent of the search mission now complete, an unmanned sub so far has not been able to find any debris under water either. So many are now asking whether these search crews are even looking in the right place.

Our Erin McLaughlin live in Perth.

What's the latest this morning -- Erin? ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Well, authorities all along had treated that object with interest, with caution. Treating it as any other lead. A lead that either needs to be ruled in or ruled out. And in the end, the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau ruling it out based on detailed analysis of photographs. Not saying exactly what it is that was found. Just simply that it's not part of the missing plane.

Now it would seem to be just another piece of space junk. The kind of junk that has really muddied the waters of this visual search so far which is an ongoing visual search. Today some 11 planes and 11 ships still out there despite some adverse weather conditions, scouring the waters trying to find any signs of debris.

It has to be said, though, they have spent hours and hours and hours looking and have turned up so far nothing more than garbage. And Australian officials saying that it's becoming increasingly unlikely that they will find any piece of this plane as a result of that visual search. And the focus really now on the efforts under water. The underwater search.

As of this morning, the Bluefin 21 was in the midst of its 12th mission. Having covered about 90 percent of this narrowed and refined search area. Finding nothing so far -- John.

BERMAN: Ninety percent done under water, 10 percent to go. No real sense on how much longer that will take.

Erin McLaughlin live in Perth, great to see you this morning.

HARLOW: Also another very significant development. Investigators say they have completed a preliminary report on what could have caused that jet to disappear. As of right now, though, the Malaysian government, those investigators have no plans of making that public.

Sumnima Udas is live in Kuala Lumpur.

I think this is shocking to a lot of people because these reports usually are made public, right?

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, Poppy. That was the case with the Air France report as well that was submitted. It's a requirement mandated by the ICAO, which is the international Civil Aviation Organization. That mandates every country to submit a preliminary report within 30 days. Now Malaysia was given a bit of an extension because of the complexity of this particular incident.

But Malaysia and all countries have the option of making that report confidential. And that's what Malaysia has opted to do. Now why Malaysia has done that, that's still to be determined. But families -- families of passengers and crew members on board MH-370, they are, of course, furious. They have been asking a lot of questions that remain unanswered. They say in their words that the Malaysian authorities seem to be hiding something.

And they say this is just another example of how the Malaysian authorities are perhaps not being transparent enough.

HARLOW: So many questions and the family members are so beyond frustrated at this point in time. And again, as you said, we still don't know if that report is ever going to become public. So we'll wait for an update from you on that. Appreciate the reporting.

Thank you, Sumnima.

BERMAN: Other major story this morning, divers in South Korea making progress this morning. That in the slow grim search of the capsized ferry more than a week after the ship overturned. The death toll now stands at nearly 170. There are still 130 people on board who remain missing. Many of them high school students. Today, classes will resume at their school south of Seoul.

Investigators today digging into the company that ran this ferry. And its reportedly reclusive wealthy owner.

Our Nic Robertson is live in Jindo, in South Korea.

Nic, what's the latest?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, the millionaire without a face. That's how this reclusive owner of the shipping company is known. His offices, his house, many of his business premises have been raided by police. He's not been charged so far but we have now learned from a South Korean lawmaker that the shipping company, it had an extension built on the seawall ferry to add a capacity of an additional 117 people that it could carry taking its total from 804 up to 921.

One of the effects of this extension, this additional building work that was done last year was to make the ship higher. Now we had heard about this from one of the ship's crew who was taken to court and charged. And interestingly, that same crew member also talked about some steering issues that the ship had. We haven't heard investigators talk about that yet. But this particular crew member said these steering issues on board the ship predated this extension that added the extra capacity for carrying people. Made the ship higher -- John.

BERMAN: I think we'll hear more and more about the specifications of this vessel as the investigation really kicks into high gear as the recovery effort comes to a conclusion over the next several days.

Our Nic Robertson in South Korea. Thanks so much.

HARLOW: President Obama blaming Russia for the crisis in Ukraine. Discussing new sanctions. We're going to take you live to Tokyo where the president is with what he said overnight.

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HARLOW: Very sad breaking news out of Afghanistan this morning. Three American doctors are dead. Another U.S. citizen wounded in an attack outside of a hospital in Kabul. This after a security guard opened fire. Officials tell CNN the security guard turned the gun on himself, but apparently survived and is now being questioned. The hospital is a charity facility run by the Pennsylvania-based CURE International.

BERMAN: Doctors at a charity facility. We'll bring you more information as we get it on that awful story.

Meanwhile, President Obama is in Japan this morning. He's just minutes away from a very formal state dinner with the emperor. But first, the president is talking tough again about Russia's involvement in Ukraine. The president promising new sanctions, new pressure if Moscow doesn't make changes.

Our White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski live in Tokyo.

Michelle, lay out exactly what the president said.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Well, you know the situation in Ukraine is not a huge security concern for this part of the world. But inevitably, it has come up again. And some of these countries like Japan and South Korea have come out and said that they oppose what Russia is doing in Ukraine.

I mean, it was just last week that Russia did sit down with Ukraine and the United States and EU and signed its agreement to take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation. And then the administration was saying they saw that as a sign of progress. That at least Russia agreed to do these things.

Well, today President Obama was describing how he felt about things saying he was not overly optimistic. Not hopeful. And acknowledging that more sanctions, although they've been teed up and ready to go for at least a week, might not change Russian President Vladimir Putin's calculus in the region.

He said all Russia would really need do is to stand up and say that it was going to do what it said it would do in Geneva last week. Basically call on militants to disarm, to give up those government buildings that they've seized. But so far Russia has not done that. Here's the president today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So far at least we have seen them not abide by the spirit or the letter of the agreement in Geneva. And instead, we continue to see militias and armed men taking over buildings, harassing folks who are disagreeing with them. And destabilizing the region. And we haven't seen Russia step up and discourage that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: These new sanctions by the U.S. on Russia are ready to go. We know that they would include more individuals, possibly more entities like banks or companies. But the question keeps being asked, well, we're not seeing progress. Russia agreed to do this and the U.S. last week was talking about let's wait and see through the weekend what happens.

Well, today President Obama said we are still in a wait and see position and that we're looking at days, not weeks to impose those additional sanctions -- Johan.

BERMAN: All right, days not weeks. The decision could be imminent.

Michelle Kosinski, in Tokyo. Thanks so much.

And in just a few minutes we're going to go to Ukraine for a look at the situation there on the ground.

Arwa Damon, you can see her right there, is in Donetsk. One of the key cities. She will join us live so stay with us for that.

HARLOW: Also it could be another stormy day today for a big swath of the country.

Chad Myers taking a look at your forecast.

Good morning.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Nine million people in the way of this slight risk today of severe weather. Right through here, Memphis, St. Louis, all the way down to Paducah, even Little Rock. Windy in the northeast today.

John, I know you're going for a run but you only can run to the east. Run to Astoria and, take the train home because it's going to be so windy coming in from the northwest, 40 miles per hour up in Boston. Even gusts 45. That could slow down airports, that could slow down some planes today.

There's the severe weather you were talking about, Poppy, from Paducah back to about St. Louis. It is cold up here. 62 Kansas City. 84 in Memphis. That's the clash. And that's going to be with us for the rest of the week. The front goes by. We even see some rain here, New York City and D.C. For Friday, Friday afternoon and now Friday night. But the bigger story will be the potential for severe weather this weekend.

Nineteen million people Saturday, Sunday, Monday. The biggest, I think, severe weather outbreak of the season happens this weekend. If you live in the plains, visit the plains, know anybody here, pay attention. Major tornadoes this weekend.

HARLOW: Wow.

BERMAN: All right. That's an important warning, Chad. Appreciate that.

HARLOW: Yes, thank you.

BERMAN: We'll keep our eye on that.

Let's take a look at what's coming up on NEW DAY. Chris Cuomo joins us now.

Good morning, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Good evening my TV brother and sistersw we're following breaking news out of Afghanistan. Three Americans have been killed in a shooting accident, not an accident at all. It's an attack at a Kabul hospital. A fourth American was also shot, but she survived. And Afghan security guard is the one who opened fire on this group.

The motive is not yet clear. It's being investigated. We have a live report on that developing situation.

Plus, we're going to get a little deeper into Flight 370 and the search there. Yes, they still have about 10 percent of the search area to go. It's going to take a long time because it's a deep part of the ocean. But the big issue is, the reliability of the investigation itself. Why is there no disclosure? The families have had it. People who are people watching the investigation have had it.

We're going to take that on and talk about new technology that could be used but the oldest technology . The oldest technology is openness. And that seems to be at a real deficiency in this operation. We're going to talk to family members and experts about why it's being conducted this way.

That's what we're doing on the serious side this morning, John and Poppy. And

then we'll also take a look at this, you know, this really misunderstood situation involving the New York Yankees. One of their pitchers say that in studying red sox pitchers, he had learned that you should have as much pine tar on your neck as possible and now he's being held accountable for that.

HARLOW: Right.

CUOMO: That's not pine tar. That's gel. I'm Italian.

BERMAN: If you study the Red Sox you would know you have to be discreet. If you are going to cheat, do it well, Chris Cuomo. That is the lesson here.

Berman, that is not --

CUOMO: I am, I am a big fan of -- I'm a big fan of well-executed deception. And might I say you look beautiful this morning.

(LAUGHTER)

HARLOW: No. Let's just have the two of them face off on this story for the next hour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Poppy, you know who would win.

BERMAN: She'd knock my head off. Discreet. Cheating. (CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: I do. Germinator is all over it.

CUOMO: But using instant replay is shows that there was no pine tar on his neck and it's just the problem with your TV set at home. Disregard it.

HARLOW: OK. Breaking news.

BERMAN: All right, Chris Cuomo, we will see you in a little bit. Appreciate it.

HARLOW: Chris Cuomo, thank you.

BERMAN: All right,. on a much more serious note straight ahead here on EARLY START, the crisis in Ukraine escalating this morning with reports that Ukrainian troops were attacked by pro-Russian separatists. What is real. What is rhetoric. Going to you live to Ukraine straight ahead with the latest from Arwa Damon.

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BERMAN: New developments to tell you about this morning in Ukraine. The government says a group of pro-Russian militants attacked a Ukrainian military unit overnight. This coming as the government is claiming success in its efforts to out pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of that country. The reality, though, on the ground might be very, very different with an American journalist now being held apparently by the separatists and new accusations from Russia that the U.S. is responsible for what's happening there.

Our Arwa Damon is live in Donetsk in Ukraine this morning.

Arwa, I think you're in a better situation than anybody to tell us what's going on there right now.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And all of it really paints quite an ominous picture. The Ukrainian government has said that it is re-launching its anti-terrorism operation. That basically any sort of Geneva agreement is dead in the water. Along those lines we have been seeing it beef up some of the checkpoints around the city of Donetsk where we are right now. No moves being made to try to take over the building that the pro-Russian protesters occupy. At least not here.

However in this city of Mariupol around two hours away, there, the government is saying that it has managed to retake city hall from pro- Russian protesters, although they maintain that it is still in their control.

A lot of blaming, counterblaming, claims flying around. A very rapidly developing situation here. That attack you were referring to. That happening at a military base that is believed to be the largest or at least one of the largest arms depots in the country. The military managing to repel the attackers around 70 of them or so. But one Ukrainian soldier was wounded.

And that journalist you're talking about, Simon Ostrovsky, working for a VICE, detained now for over 48 hours in the city of Slavyansk. The self-declared pro-Russian mayor there saying that he's a guest but at the same time he's not being allowed to leave. And efforts are under way by the United States to try to negotiate his release -- John.

BERMAN: Yes. That hardly sounds like being a guest.

Our Arwa Damon live in Donetsk this morning in Ukraine where the situation not good at all.

Appreciate it, Arwa.

HARLOW: All right. We'll be back with more news on EARLY START right after a quick break.

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HARLOW: Quick check of the markets for you this morning.

U.S. futures pointing to a higher open on Wall Street right now after Facebook and Apple wowed investors with their earnings report last night. Meantime, Warren Buffett, the oracle of Omaha, weighing in on the minimum wage debate.

The federal minimum wage currently at $7.25 an hour. And keep in mind a lot states, many companies pay significantly more than that. But we know President Obama has been pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Here is what Buffett said when I asked him about the current federal minimum wage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Is $7.25 an hour living wage in this country?

WARREN BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: No, I think it's terrible, but I think the earned income tax credit is maybe the better way to attack it. I'm not arguing against it. I -- really, I just don't know the answer on it. But I do know that $7.25 an hour is not what should be what people are trying to live on in the country as prosperous as ours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: And here's what he's stuck on. He worries, John, that if you raise the federal minimum wage mandated to be higher that you really risk stifling hiring. But what was so interesting about that is this is coming from a man who is a Democrat, who has been such an avid supporter of President Obama, and this is the president's big push at the -- you know, in the second term and Buffett is saying look, I'm not sure if that is the answer.

BERMAN: It was a really interesting interview. And I have to say I noted that it took place in a bar.

HARLOW: In a bar. It was a lunch that he has every year to raise money for the Glide Foundation. Someone paid over a million dollars to have lunch with him.

BERMAN: Wow. I was going to say --

HARLOW: And that's why it was there.

BERMAN: If you're --

HARLOW: No, I did not just take him to the bar.

BERMAN: If you're in a bar with Warren Buffett, I hope he picks up the drink, right? He can afford it.

HARLOW: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Just saying.

HARLOW: Yes, he can.

BERMAN: Speaking of picking up the drinks, "NEW DAY" starts right now.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, three American doctors killed in Afghanistan. They were volunteering to treat women and children. Who the killer was makes it even worse. We're live with the latest.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking point, families of Flight 370 erupting in anger, pleading with authorities to show them the evidence that they have. Malaysian authorities have submitted their initial report. Why aren't they making it public?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Speaking out. The father of the 15- year-old stowaway talks for the first time. Why he believes his son fled home in such a dangerous fashion.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.