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Malaysian Authorities Update Search for Flight 370; Crisis in Ukraine as Obama and Merkel to Meet Today; MH370 Families Outraged
Aired May 2, 2014 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, you've been watching a news conference from Kuala Lumpur. That's the Malaysian defense minister, the acting transportation minister, Hishammuddin Hussein.
He was giving the latest update, this the day after Malaysian officials finally released their official report on what happened to Flight 370, at least as much as they know.
In this news conference, he basically laid out the next phase of the search operation, talking about the underwater search and the new machinery, the new efforts that will be involved off the coast of Perth, Australia. He also spoke about this possible sighting, these signs that this company in Australia thinks it's seen off the coast of Bangladesh.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Unlikely, he said. Unlikely.
BERMAN: Highly unlikely, he said. You know, whether or not Bangladesh goes to search that area or another country does, he says he's still looking into that, but he doesn't want to divert key resources right now from the underwater search off the coast of Australia.
Let's bring back in Jeff Wise here.
And, Jeff, what do you think the most important thing is we just heard?
JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, we heard a lot of talk about organization and communication and named different --
WISE: Committees and so forth. There was pretty dry stuff, actually, but yes, he did mention, you know, all of these assets. They're really going all in on this underwater search. They're really committed. And of course we've heard about this Australian company, GeoResonance, their claims. And he is affirming that they don't want to be distracted from what they really see clearly as the main priority, to search the ocean bed.
Very interestingly to me is that in this report, amid all the very interesting information that they did release, they really have avoided the key issue, which is, why did they believe so strongly that this stretch of ocean is where the plane is? They really haven't elaborated on that.
BERMAN: No, they haven't opened the books in terms of the Inmarsat data. There was another very interesting moment to me at least in that news conference right there. The first question to the defense minister --
BERMAN: -- was about the Malaysian military, also not in this official report released, no word of when Malaysian military radar first spotted this flight, Flight 370. No word on when it spotted it, no word on what the Malaysian military did. The Malaysian Defense minister was asked point blank right there, you know, about those facts, and he claimed not to know. He said he had to look into it and I have to say, I was taken aback, he seemed to laugh or almost giggled when he was asked that question.
ROMANS: And he said I have to be cautious or careful, he had a big smile on his face.
ROMANS: Would not answer that key first question.
WISE: Very, very interesting. And, you know, speaking of military radar, another interesting thing in this report is, you know, we heard a few weeks ago reports that the plane had circled around Indonesian air space to avoid being detected by their radar. The new report shows a map showing the plane flying directly over the northwestern tip of Sumatra, where there is a radar station pretty much right there. And so, you know, that's another interesting question that, again, wasn't addressed in this report.
BERMAN: And the Indonesians claim that's a radar station manned 24 hours a day. They claim they saw no sign of it flying directly overhead there. Hard to believe that that's the case.
WISE: Well, either that that's the case or that it went in that direction. These things would seem to be mutually exclusive. But again, this is a case full of mysteries.
BERMAN: Jeff, one of the things the "Wall Street Journal's" reporting today is that it could take now six to eight weeks to get these new underwater search assets on the scene there. As we said, they're now delving into this underwater search full force. You know, enlisting the help of private contractors, new equipment, and it could take some time to get this new equipment in place.
At this point, does the delay matter? Does it make the job harder or is it just a matter of being patient?
WISE: Well, you know, a few weeks ago, Angus Houston was talking about six months, eight months. Now we're hearing today a year. Clearly, this is a long haul kind of operation. You know, people have often cited the case of Air France 447, that an order of two years.
ROMANS: That's right.
WISE: And, you know, so -- in that case, we had much, much better information about where the plane was and what had happened to it. So yes, I think if it takes a couple weeks to get this equipment in place, it doesn't really matter. This is clearly going to be something that's a long-term project.
ROMANS: Great analysis and insight. Thanks for watching that press conference with us, Jeff Wise. Thank you.
BERMAN: Another major story we're following this morning, the crisis in Ukraine. It will be front and center when President Obama hosts German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House today. Tougher sanctions against Russia almost certainly on the table.
In the meantime, the Ukrainian government is launching a large-scale anti-terror operation to recapture the eastern city of Slavyansk. This as the violence in Ukraine escalates.
So let's get the latest from the ground there. Arwa -- Arwa Damon, I'm sorry, is in Donetsk, where Ukrainian riot police have been clashing with these pro-Russian activists, Arwa.
What's the latest?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, those clashes happening yesterday evening when the pro-Russian camp decided to storm the prosecutor's office, clashing with riot police. Molotov cocktails, stun grenades were fired and used, but eventually, the pro- Russian camp did manage to fairly quickly, relatively speaking, push the riot police off the premises, moving through, ransacking the entire building and declaring themselves the ultimate authority.
Meanwhile, Kiev seemingly trying to reassert itself to a certain degree with that operation that began in the very early hours of the morning here, focusing on the city of Slavyansk. That has also been one of the key areas that has fallen to the pro-Russian camp.
According to the Ministry of Defense, two helicopters were shot down, two military officers were killed. The Ukrainian forces managing to overtake or overcome nine barricades that were set up by the pro- Russian camp. We do see these barricades on the outskirts of the vast majority of these cities that they do control, made up of tires. And so it does seem at this stage as if Kiev is at the very least trying to once again put on a show of force, moving into some of these areas, conducting an operation.
But at the same time, not yet going into these various cities full force. That, understandably, would be incredibly challenging and potentially very devastating because these buildings that the pro- Russian camp control are in residential neighborhoods and in the heart of the cities. The potential for violence and bloodshed very much on everyone's mind.
BERMAN: We have our eye on that today as this situation develops and as the president meets at the White House with the German leader.
Our Arwa Damon in Ukraine this morning. Thanks so much.
ROMANS: Thanks, Arwa.
OK, back here, to the sports world. The Hollywood ending was not in the cards last night for the L.A. Clippers. They're going to need a game seven and a win in game seven to advance in the playoffs after losing game six to the Golden State Warriors in heartbreaking fashion, 100-99. Just one little point.
Meanwhile, a panel of NBA owners met Thursday, unanimously agreeing to proceed as, quote, "expeditiously as possible" to oust Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for his racist talk. Three-quarters of the owners need to approve his removal.
And the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP has resigned. Leon Jenkins stepping down for his decision to honor Sterling for promoting civil rights.
BERMAN: All right, 38 minutes after the hour right now. The death toll is rising this morning as the southeast cleans up from a series of just awful storms.
ROMANS: Communities torn to pieces, under water, and there's more rain in the forecast. Indra Petersons tracking it all right after the break.
BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. The last thing anyone needs, one more day of severe storms in the rain-soaked southeast. The worst of the extreme weather has cleared out, but rains, torrential rains in the forecast for today for Florida, which was once called the sunshine state. It is already just so swamped.
ROMANS: There is historic flooding in the panhandle area. The water is still not receding enough to start a serious cleanup yet. Many homes and businesses destroyed by the rain. Local insurance agents inundated with flood claims. Two inmates in the county jail in Pensacola killed by a gas explosion. More than 180 other people hurt in that explosion. Officials say the facility was flooded with two feet of water, and then this blast ripped through the building. And then look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's moving.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Fairly genuinely insane video right there of a landslide swallowing up 10 cars and a retaining wall, then dropping them on to railroad tracks. This happened in a Baltimore neighborhood. That city suffering some of the worst flooding in decades.
ROMANS: Flooding also a big problem in parts of Pennsylvania. So much rain fell, the Schuylkill River actually crested higher than it did during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. And those were big, big rain-makers.
BERMAN: That's right, and there's some sad, grim news in Mississippi. The death toll in that state from this week's tornadoes rising to 14 with the discovery of the body of a missing boy. We're getting new images of the devastation in Jackson. At least nine twisters touched down in that state on Monday. And you have to look at the flooding. Rivers are so far over their banks, residents have to use jet skis to leave their homes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been kind of crazy. I woke up at 7:00 to head to school for a final and saw the water was above our mailbox out in the front yard. There was a Papa John's car that we saw over there that was completely flooded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Indra Petersons has a look at your forecast for us this morning. Another day of rain. Got to get through it.
INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Another day of rain, same system. That's the hardest part to believe here, we're still talking about the very same cold front, so slow to move here. We're looking at that tail end of it still kind of lingering into the southeast. That's going to be one of the things we're watching.
The other is going to be, yes, just some light showers kind of making its way through Chicago today and even into the northeast. But you can see the difference here, nowhere near as strong. We see how light that is in comparison to that cold front, still hanging on, guys. Talking about the rain. There you go. You can actually see the cold front itself still lingering here into the southeast.
As we go through the weekend, and then you can see the next system will start to make its way through, of course, the upper Midwest, Ohio Valley, and then into the northeast, bringing some light showers in through about Saturday or Sunday. Not a big deal as far as that system. We're really still going to be focusing on, is the rain into the southeast. The heavier rain farther down south. It's not really hanging out in the panhandle today, but either way, still some light showers in the forecast for them, so not exactly drying out just yet. And they definitely need that sunshine.
Also, as we go through the weekend, yes, some light, scattered showers will be out there again, upper Midwest, in through Ohio valley, northeast, but again, 1 to 2 inches. A lot of time, you're just going to see some clouds kind of intermixing as you go throughout the day. And not a biggie.
The bigger story will be jet stream. This is the good stuff, right? Really lifting out, starting to warm up. So you're going to see temperatures really warming into the south, and that's going to feel a lot better as we go through the weekend. A lot of us will be a lot happier as we go through the weekend.
ROMANS: I needed that news.
BERMAN: Thank you very much.
ROMANS: Lift the jet stream, please.
PETERSONS: That's right.
BERMAN: Single-handedly, Indra Petersons raising the jet stream.
PETERSONS: Lift it up.
BERMAN: All right. Let's take a look now at the powers of Kate Bolduan, who's going to tell us what's coming up on "NEW DAY."
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: I can't promise any kind of that power. Raising the jet stream? I mean, I knew she was strong, but my goodness.
Happy Friday, guys. We've got a lot of news to talk about. Of course this morning we're going to be talking about Donald Sterling. The Clippers owner, his team lost last night in a playoff nail-biter last night. Game seven is tomorrow. It's also almost game seven for him, as owner, to be quite honest.
The NBA's promising to move very quickly to force him to sell the team, but is that fair? And can it even happen? How long can Donald Sterling himself drag this out?
We're going to be talking to a lot of smart minds about this. We'll have that all covered on the show.
And also, we're going to be talking about much more and bringing you much more on Chris's exclusive interview with Amanda Knox. She insists that she did not kill her roommate. The fact that she has to still insist that this many years later is pretty amazing. She is taking real issue with what an Italian appeals court has said recently. It was a very revealing conversation. You'll want to see it this morning on "NEW DAY." John, Christine?
BERMAN: All right. Thanks so much, Kate. Have a great show. Have a terrific weekend.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.
ROMANS: All right. Families of those on board missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 furious this morning. They are told to pack up and get out, after investigators release a controversial report they say reveals more questions than answers.
We're live in Beijing with that part of the story for the families, next.
BERMAN: The families of so many of those on board Flight 370 this morning are outraged. They are not satisfied with the findings of the preliminary report released by Malaysian officials, and now these families are being told to go home.
Authorities in Kuala Lumpur announcing assistance centers where the families have been gathering for weeks, these centers are closing. Sarah Bajc, whose partner was on Flight 370, insists that Malaysian officials used the closing of the centers as a distraction.
You have to listen to what she told CNN's Michael Smerconish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH BAJC, PARTNER OF MH-370 PASSENGER: The average Chinese person, when they go home, they will have no other means of communication. So Malaysian Airlines is sending everybody home, but they haven't actually created any kind of interim step for them. But you know, I think there's something very important to raise here, is that the timing of this was almost too perfect to distract from the release of the ICAO report, because that report raises far more questions than it answered.
It is riddled with discrepancies. It contradicts itself, even between the maps given and the document of the report as well as the list of actions taken. There are actual contradictions between what they've put in those three documents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So how are the rest of these families accepting or receiving this report? How are they receiving the news that these centers are closing?
Let's go to David McKenzie, who's been in Beijing spending so much time with them.
Good morning, David.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. And to answer your question about the report, I've heard the word irrelevant several times. Many of these family members say even if there are some kind of discrepancies, it doesn't get them closer to the one question they want answered, which is, where are their loved ones. And so, as these weeks stretch out, drag out into months, they are just exhausted, tired, distrustful of anyone giving them information.
For them, the big issue today is that they are being moved out of the hotel where hundreds of them have been since the very beginning of this ordeal, many of them giving very emotional reactions when that news came out. And now we've been told that Chinese officials have told the families they need to get out within the next 15 minutes or so, in fact. There have been family members leaving.
It's not the case that everyone wants to stay. Many of them, in fact, just said at this point, as this search enters the new phase, they want to go home, on some level begin to pick up their lives, pick up the pieces of their lives. But you know, as people who have dealt with this kind of situation before will tell you, this concept of a missing loved one is just so terrible to take in. And until there's some kind of closure, I feel these families certainly will never even begin the steps to get over this terrible event -- John.
BERMAN: It's just one difficult stage after another.
David McKenzie in Beijing for us. Thanks so much.
ROMANS: All right. This morning, dozens of colleges across the country facing investigations into federal sexual assault crimes. An unprecedented report released. What comes next for these universities, ahead.
BERMAN: And a teenager accused of planning a massacre at his high school. Police finding bombs, ammunition and a journal detailing these plans. Stunning stuff here. We'll have that story next.
ROMANS: For the first time, the Education Department has revealed a list of 55 colleges and universities under investigation for how they handled campus sex assault claims. Small colleges, state universities, even some of the Ivys included on the list.
The White House says it's part of an effort to bring more attention to the issue of sexual violence and there is a zero presumption of guilt.
BERMAN: We're learning more this morning about an alleged plot by a Minnesota teen to murder his family and bomb his school. Police say the 17-year-old, an admirer, apparently, of the Columbine killers, kept a detailed journal outlining his plan. He was less than two weeks, they say, from carrying this plan out.
Police uncovered the plot after receiving a phone tip. They found three fully functioning bombs and numerous firearms at the teen's home and storage locker. He faces now four counts of attempted murder as well as explosives charges. ROMANS: The big story in money today, the jobs report for April. Until then, stocks in Europe basically flat, U.S. stock futures slightly higher. The Dow just 22 points now from the record it hit on Wednesday. Economists expect 205,000 jobs added in April, net new jobs. The unemployment rate they think dropped slightly to 6.6 percent. That would be a slight increase from the 192,000 jobs in March.
It would show, as you can see from this chart, a thawing after a very brutal winter, back more toward the numbers we were seeing late last year. Now 200-plus net new jobs a month, something the chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank says, quote, should become commonplace in the near term.
Still, at that rate, it would take us years to get back to the full employment we saw at prerecession, but at least Deutsche Bank and some others looking at 200,000-plus in the near term, some hiring ramping up in the United States.
BERMAN: This is a key number to see if the economy has turned the page from the cold winter.
ROMANS: That's right.
BERMAN: So much has been blamed on the cold winter, including, you know, low GDP. This jobs report for April, if it is also negative or sluggish, I think people will have a whole new look into how the economy is growing.
ROMANS: Absolutely. Especially with the Dow only 22 points from a record high. It's hard to see it record if the jobs market isn't going to come roaring back here.
BERMAN: All right. Have a great Friday. Have a great weekend. "NEW DAY" starts right now.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight the Clippers lose their playoff game but who will win the war over their ownership? New reports Donald Sterling may have cancer. And it turns out this isn't the first time the league tried to take his team. We're going to tell you how he beat them the last time.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now. Fierce fighting in Ukraine. The country tries to retake cities from pro-Russia separatists. And President Obama is preparing for a high-stakes meeting with Germany's chancellor. She is one of the few leaders who has Vladimir Putin's ear.
MICHAEL PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A CNN exclusive. Amanda Knox speaking out one-on-one denying the allegations against her by an Italian court. Was she in an argument with her roommate the night of the killing and why does she think she's one of the lucky ones?
CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.