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Richard Quest Interviews Malaysia PM; Daughter Brings Dad's Resume to First Lady; Two Popes Will Be Declared Saints on Sunday; Underwater Search for Flight 370 Comes Up Empty; Expanding the Search; Obama Calls for More Sanctions Against Russia; Safety Issues Plague South Korean Ferries

Aired April 25, 2014 - 07:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And in a TV exclusive, Malaysia's prime minister sat down with our Richard Quest to talk about the plane's disappearance and everything that has happened since.

Aviation analyst Richard Quest , of course, is live with us in Kuala Lumpur. Richard, you hit on all the important aspects of what has happened here. The disappearance, the investigation, and, importantly, the perception of how that the Malaysian government has handled this whole ordeal. And to that point you asked him about how the discussion has been, how the relationship has been and the communication has been with the families of those missing passengers. You pressed him on that. What did he say?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, here's the interesting part because although facts are very few and far between about what happened to the plane, we really don't know much more than we did on day one. The relationship between the families, the airline, and Malaysian government has consistently got worse. It's been a deteriorating relationship. The families are angry. They believe they've not been given enough information in some cases any information. The airlines say they are providing information. If there's one part of this entire sorry tale that really does go to the heart, it is the relationship with the families and I wanted to know from the prime minister how he viewed their accusation that Malaysian -- that Malaysia hadn't been providing sufficient information.


QUEST: Prime Minister, the next of kin continue to ask questions and they believe they're not getting the answers. They believe that various technical facts are not being given to them. Can you tonight reassure them that they are being given the information? And if they believe you are not that you personally will make sure that they will?

NAJIB RAZAK, PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA: I know there is a very, very excruciatingly painful time for them. I understand that. And we've done our best. We did many, many briefings. We gave them as much information as we could in terms of information that could be -- that were corroborated. And as I promised, next week, we will release the preliminary report that we sent to ICAO. But the most important information that they want, and sadly the one that we cannot provide, is where is the plane.


QUEST: I think there's a certain truth to what he's saying, in that they want the answers to what's happening. The government simply doesn't have them. And, therefore, the families in their search, in their own searching are coming up with theories, coming up with requests which they believe will show an answer, but the government does say they are providing information, in some cases, Kate, the families are not listening.

BOLDUAN: I also found it interesting, Richard, in your interview, the prime minister, you asked him very directly, but the prime minister, he hesitated. He's not ready to say that the plane and the passengers are lost. And you asked him about that kind of again and again. Because I -- the surprised me because he essentially, I felt like, said that in that first major announcement when he declared that Flight 370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

QUEST: Right. We have a saying where I come from in England, calling a spade a shovel. In other words might be more than one way to skin a cat. You don't have to sort of call it as it is and some would arguably say ending in the Indian Ocean is equivalent of saying that the plane is lost. Of course, there are technical reasons why you sometimes have to actually say the plane and its passengers are lost and those reasons are it allows compensation to be claimed by the relatives.

The fact is Malaysia, as the authority that has done the investigation, in many eyes has done a pretty poor job. To put it bluntly, its reputation has been kicked around the world. And that was something the prime minister had to be worried about.


QUEST: Do you believe that there is a long-lasting damage to the reputation of this country as a result of what's happened?

NAJIB: I think, given time, we can recover, Richard. And I believe the world will look at us and judge us in a sense that it was hugely complex matter to deal with. And I think on balance we did a lot of good things and one of the biggest things that we did was to put together 26 nations in the largest ever search operation conducted during peace time. And that's a huge success for Malaysia. Admittedly, we made some mistakes. There were shortcomings. But the world must realize that this is totally unprecedented.


QUEST: And when you do take a step back and, believe me, going to talk to the prime minister does involve you taking a step back and researching the entire history and looking at the facts and who did say what, where, when, and why. Kate, it is true that actually there are very few mistakes, real hard mistakes in the investigation that have been made. And quite a lot of myths about who said what that never really happened. BOLDUAN: Well, one important step in trying to repair any damage to the country's reputation is opening up, really opening up, not just saying they're going to open up and be transparent. Sitting down with you and answering questions without restriction is an important step in that process.

Richard, a great interview. We'll continue to talk about it throughout the morning. Thank you so much for coming on. Chris.

CHRIS COUMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, Ukraine's interim prime minister saying flat out Russia wants to starred World War III. Moscow is not doing much to convince people otherwise, by the way, starting military drills just outside Ukraine. President Obama says he is ready to level the most aggressive sanctions yet. Let's bring in senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh. He is in Ukraine with the latest. Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, we are a ways away from World War III but it's just a sheer amount of geopolitical weight around the tension here that's got everybody so worried.

We just heard from the Ukrainian government through a state news agency that they want to introduce the second phase of the anti-terror operation here. And that seems to involved surrounding one of the hot spots of the pro-Russian militants and protesters here, a town called Slaviansk. Now that could start imminently, there were signs of it yesterday. That got people very worried when they moved in towards the check point.

We are hearing today, a number of explosions. One's far to the west of where I'm standing in Odessa, western Ukraine, at a police checkpoint there, nobody injured. Also here a helicopter blowing up at an airfield taken by Ukrainian troops in a town called Kramatorsk. Nobody quite knows what happened. There are some military officials saying a sniper's bullet or grenade may have caused it. But a soldier CNN talked to here on the ground said it could have been technical fault. So confusion there.

This continual drip of violence and tension feeds into this broader fear that eventually the Kremlin will seize upon the unrest here as a reason to send in those 40,000 troops. Their exercises fully under way. Ukraine giving them 24 hours to explain why the exercises are happening. Highly unlikely that Moscow will see that deadline. Just another ratchet up of the tension here. Michaela?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Nick Paton Walsh in Ukraine. Thank you for that. We are going to turn to our headlines now.

Clearly the president has a lot on his plate right now while he is on the second stop of his Asia tour. At a news conference this morning in Seoul the president said the U.S. and South Korea stand shoulder to shoulder in refusing to accept north Korea's nuclear program amid reports that Pyongyang is about to conduct a nuclear test.

In the meantime the President offered condolences to the families of the victims in the ferry disaster. 117 people are still unaccounted for.

We now know a Chicago pediatrician was among the three Americans called in a shooting at a charity hospital in Afghanistan. Dr. Jerry Umanos moved to Afghanistan in 2005 after he practiced in medicine in Chicago. Umanos also trained Afghan doctors. HE was killed when an Afghan guard opened fire. That guard turned the gun on himself but survived and is being questioned. Officials say two of the other victims were father and son.

Israel has called off peace talks with the Palestinians because of the agreement made between two rival factions. Israel says it would freeze negotiations until the Palestinians new pact is reversed or collapses. Palestinian factions intend to form a new unity government in the next few weeks but Israel says it would not resume talks with any government that backs hamas, a militant islamist faction Israel considers a terrorist group.

Did you see this? A little girl took dad's job hunt straight to the First Lady. 10-year-old Charlotte Bell was with her mom at the White House's annual take your daughters and sons to workday. Mrs. Obama called on one of the girls for a question.


CHARLOTTE BELL: My dad has been out of a job for three years and I wanted to give you his resume.


PEREIRA: How about that? You saw there the First Lady reacted by giving Charlotte a hug and she took the resume, we're told, with her when she left the event. Out of work for three years. That's got to have a severe affect on the family. Little one taking the job into her own hands. Chris?

COUMO: Nothing harder than someone out of work than what it does to their kids.

What do we know? More than a million pilgrims headed to the Vatican this weekend to witness history. Two giants of Catholicism are becoming saints at the same time, Pope John Paul II and John XXIII. They are going to be declared saints this Sunday by Pope Francis. Vatican two-fer is not without controversy.

Let us discuss. Joining me now is Father Edward Beck and religion commentator, host of the Sunday mass. Good to see you, Father Beck. Rebirth and renewal. I hope you had a good Easter.


COUMO: Let's talk about this. Why is it special? Two at the same time, that's kind of new. Rare for us to see saints being made of people we've seen alive, right?

BECK: Right. So we've never had a canonization of two Popes together. So that's new. The fact that so many people can remember these two Popes, now, remember, John Paul, John 23rd, is ushered in Vatican 2. 1962, a lot of people remember good Pope John. John Paul II, 27-year papacy. We're going to witness the canonization of Popes we revered in our life sometime. Remember it takes centuries sometimes to make Popes, not with these two.

COUMO: OK, so now we will poke a it a little bit here. Put in Vatican 2, good Pope John. There is still work implemented, by the way. It's not as much if it's for the successful legacy of Vatican 2, lot of people have problems with it. More specifically John Paul II. There is controversy about how he handled the early development of the scandal and now it seems he is being raced to sainthood. Is that to try to avoid that issue? Is there some type -- something afoot here?

BECK: Now, remember, Pope Benedict is the one that fast tracked John Paul II and he worked under John Paul II, revered him. When John Paul ii died, remember the funeral. Immediately, santos subito, the cry of the people, that means sainthood now. So for the first thousand years, Chris, there was not a Vatican that said who should be saints. It was popular acclaim. The people said this person is holy, they should be given sainthood. Again, they're saying that John Paul II was so holy he deserves this sainthood.

COUMO: Supposed to be a devil's advocate though when someone has to be given the charge of coming up what's against you. Was any of this discussed about the scandal and how John Paul II handled it?

BECK: It is. But the point is saints are not without sin. It doesn't mean that every policy, statement, or everything they ever did is without reproach. They're sinners like everybody else. It's in the greatest game of things that this man's life attribute to something that was holy and blessed by god. Remember, god makes saints. Not the church. The church recognizes saints. But god makes saints. We look at John Paul II and said his life was testimony of holy and god and revered.

COUMO: You like it. You think it's progressive and re-enforcing the right things?

BECK: I wouldn't have put him on the fast track myself. John 23rd ushered in something so new with Vatican two. Some would say John Paul II closed him down a little again. There are some controversy with John Paul II that he tried to undo some of the advances of Vatican 2 and more progressive, more liberal leaning Catholics don't like that.

COUMO: They say you're supposed to wait five years after the death before you start considering it. Not unlike the hall of fame for football, which is an odd parallel. Interesting that you say you would have been led to take its normal course. We will have to see how it plays out. Very interesting to see how your man Francis portrays this development and what it means to him and his new vision.

BECK: And he's the one that put these two together. He wanted to balance conservative and liberal and satisfy both.

COUMO: That probably says more than anything else. Once again he is not afraid of breaking with tradition, we have certainly seen that. Father Beck, great to see you.

BECK: Great to see you. Happy Easter.

COUMO: Happy Easter. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on new day, a critical point in the search for flight 370. Australia now saying they're going to expand the search area if they find no signs of the plane in the next days. So how big could that search area get? We're going to look at the possibilities.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. And we wondered what would happen if the underwater search nor Flight 370 came up empty. Well, now we're finding out. The search for the flight is expanding greatly.

Meanwhile, the mini sub Bluefin-21 has completed 95 percent of its underwater search, and obviously there is nothing to show for it.

So let's get some perspective. Let's bring in the analyst of choice that we have this morning, CNN safety analyst David Soucie, author of course of "Why Planes Crash" and Ms. Mary Schiavo, former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation and many, many other worthy things.

Let's do this first, though. The reason that we like to see big shots like the Malaysian prime minister interviewed is because it allows us to confirm suspicions. Mary, what did you learn from this interview that allowed you to solidify your thoughts about where the investigation is and why it is there?

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Well, I think because one of the things he said that just stood out is that -- when the plane first went missing, they said that they identified it as -- as a non-criminal or as a civilian aircraft, commercial flight.

And yet, there wasn't any reason for that conclusion. They didn't say how they concluded that or why they concluded that. And so that let us know that, you know, other than the four handshakes and the pings, that's really all that we have. Everything else is conjecture, and that's why we're going to have to expand the search area because that's the best information we've got.

CUOMO: Now David, what was your response to the prime minister saying, look, we want to be sensitive to the families. I'm not going to say that people are lost yet. I don't think it's the right time. But isn't that exactly what investigators did tell the family members, that you need to move on, you need to plan for the fact that they're lost and stop asking us technical questions? Did you get some double speak there? DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Yeah, I definitely did. But I think that it's good effort on his part to try to at least expose what he knows, which of course isn't a whole lot. But he is, I think, making some steps by saying, we made some mistakes in our communications; we could have done better. He's trying to show his human side.

But then what makes me a little curious about that, though, is because he's relying entirely on this third-party group, everything is being run through them. It appears he's distancing himself from the decision making by putting this third-party group in there. So that's what I took away from it mostly.

CUOMO: And at least he made it clear that they don't know what happened to the plane. So people can stop wondering if they know things that they're just not saying. Evidently, from the prime minister, that's not the case.

All right, let me stay with you, David. I want to you use two to indulge both the optimist and the cynic. The new information is they are expanding the search area. They're 95 percent done with this sub they have right now. They're going to look broader. You be the optimist here, David. Why is that a good thing that they're expanding the search area?

SOUCIE: Well, because they're able to now explore some of the areas that couldn't with the Bluefin. The Bluefin only goes down to maybe 4900 kilometers. And the rest of the search area where the long ping was, the two-hour ping, is much deeper than that. So what I'm encouraged about there is that they're going to bring in some new equipment. They're going to start looking deeper, which is most likely where the airplane is going to be.

CUOMO: But Mary, there is another side to looking at this decision, which is when you don't know where it is in the specific, you start looking in the broad. And that means you have less of a sense, not more of a sense of where the plane is, right?

SCHIAVO: Right. The pessimistic side is, well, we've exhausted the area where the pings were. The -- Angus Houston and others have already said that was the best chance to find the plane was the area right around the pings. That's been done except for about 5 percent of that area, which is, I think, too deep for the Bluefin. So now where do we go? We've exhausted the best parts of the ocean.

CUOMO: And you're right; pessimist is a better word than cynic because we believe this is all being done in good faith.

Another thing that came out last night with the prime minister was that the Inmarsat data, that when he heard about it he was skeptical. But he now believes we should trust this. This is the best we have to go on.

So to your point, Mary, do you believe that they are operating off the best information available? SCHIAVO: Well, yes, I believe that they are operating entirely off that Inmarsat data. You know, the pings were hopeful because it was something in addition to the Inmarsat data. But if that doesn't pan out, we are back to that data and that's it. So it's good that the prime minister trusts it because the rest of the world has to also.

CUOMO: Mary, David, thank you for the take on that this morning. It was interesting to hear from the prime minister to be sure. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Chris, thanks so much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, coming up on Inside Politics, would President Obama save Russian President Vladimir Putin if he was drowning? Strange question. There's a story behind that. The president was asked, and he answers, ahead.

And also, this Sunday on "PARTS UNKNOWN", Anthony Bourdain heads to Lyon, France where he learns that even school lunches are like a gourmet meal there. It airs Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Here is a taste.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST, "PARTS UNKNOWN" (voice-over): The kids attack their food like hungry trenchermen wiping out three servings in the time it takes me to eat one. I guess they like it.

(on-camera): It's good.


BOURDAIN: Yeah, this is good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell you, I don't think my chef in New York would do better.

BOURDAIN: I love they cook with wine, too. You're going to jail for that in the states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) making the sauce.

BOURDAIN: These kids eat fast. Look how fast this kid eats. Turn your head, they'll eat your soup right out of the plate. My school lunch room, pushed up your tray just like prison, move it along.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here, they come to you and serve you. Most important thing. And that we see here is the love married with the food she make and to the kids she serves. I think it does a lot to do with the reaction they have to food.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): Dessert is homemade framage blanc, farmer cheese with chocolate and orange segments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want to be when you grow up? Fireman. And generate machine guns.

BOURDAIN (on-camera): He wants to make machine guns?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Generate machine gun, yes.

BOURDAIN: OK. Keep an eye on that one, all right?


PERIERA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's almost half past the hour.

Here's a look at your headlines. Breaking over night, a pilot was forced to send out a hijack alert on a Virgin Airlines flight from Australia to Indonesia after an unruly passenger was reportedly pounding on the cockpit door trying to get in. A spokesman for the airline says the plane was not hijacked. It was able to land safely in Bali. That passenger, though, was arrested and taken into custody.

Meanwhile, the search for Flight 370 is expected to widen now that the Bluefin-21 has almost finished scanning its area with no success. Meanwhile, Malaysia's prime minister says his government will release a preliminary report on Flight 370 next week. Prime minister telling CNN he is not ready to declare the plane and its passengers lost out of respect, he says, for the feelings of the family.

Breaking overnight, President Obama is set to speak with leaders in Europe about more sanctions against Russia. CNN has learned that they could be handed down today. The tough talk a ramping up on both sides. Ukraine's interim prime minister boldly saying the Russians want to start another world war, this as Moscow proceeds with military drills just outside Ukraine's borders.

While in South Korea this morning, President Obama offering his deepest sympathy for families of victims in the ferry disaster. One hundred eighty five bodies have now been recovered; 117 people remain unaccounted for.

We are learning that the sunken ferry's sister ship has numerous safety concerns of its own, including life rafts and emergency slides that didn't work. The ship has also been modified to add passengers. Investigators were looking at the ship operated by the same company for possible clues as to why that ferry capsized. Chris, Kate?

CUOMO: They're going to take a much harder look now. That's for sure.

PEREIRA: They have to. Such loss of life.

CUOMO: All right, so there is a lot going on in the world of politics, both at home and abroad.

And lucky for you, we can get deep inside politics on NEW DAY with Mr. John King. And there he is, looking good.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. Happy Friday, Kate, Chris, and Michaela. We'll spend time talking about politics because I'm not going to talk about the Red Sox/Yankees series with you, Mr. Cuomo.