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EARLY START

More Girls Abducted in Nigeria; Unrest in Eastern Ukraine; Planning for the Next Stage; Kevin Durant Wins NBA MVP Award

Aired May 7, 2014 - 05:00   ET

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


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DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: Terror in Nigeria. More young girls kidnapped, threatened to be sold to the highest bidder. Hundreds of children abducted and a desperate search to bring them back has begun.

We are live in Nigeria with the very latest.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: crisis in Ukraine, it is escalating this morning. Deadly fights in the streets between soldiers and pro- Russian separators and protestors. An election to pick a new leader fast approaching as the country moves deeper into case. We'll take you live to Odessa, Ukraine, with what is happening right now.

FEYERICK: And also a new phase beginning in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines 370. Investigators meeting today to figure out what comes next in the hunt for the missing jetliner. We are live in Malaysia with the latest developments.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Deborah.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow. It is Wednesday, May 7th, 5:00 a.m. here on the East Coast.

We begin this morning in Nigeria, where there are chilling new developments. A group of armed terrorists abducting at least eight more girls as the world demands Nigeria do more to track down more than 200 girls still missing after they were kidnapped from their school and they've been held for weeks.

Now, the United States is adding more tools to the search with President Obama insisting Boko Haram must be stopped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously, what's happening is awful. As the father of two girls, I can't imagine what the parents are going through. But this organization, Boko Haram, has been one of the worst regional or local terrorist organizations in the world. We have long sought to work with Nigeria on dealing with them. And we're going to do everything we can to assist them in recovering these young women.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: What we know at this point is that the United States is sending a team of military law enforcement, some other experts, but no boots on the ground. But is it enough?

After three weeks of these girls being gone, being kidnapped and the question is, can they be rescued before they are sold?

Vladimir Duthiers is live in Abuja, Nigeria.

You had the chance to sit down with a mother and father, Vlad, who have two daughters who have been kidnapped. And the range of emotions that they are going through is hard to understand for someone who hasn't gone through this. It is heart breaking.

What did they say about the efforts of the government to try to rescue these girls?

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy. In fact, they said they have not seen significant military or police presence on the ground making efforts to rescue these 200 girls that were taken in the middle of the night by armed assailants on April 14th. Father and mother speaking to us, coming out to talk because they want the world to know what they are going through. They say they've been neglected and they don't believe that the government is doing anything to protect them.

Here is what the father had to say to us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never seen such a thing. When I'm hearing this over in the media, it provokes me. That the federal government or the rulers are playing with we parents. They are looking at us as we are fools. Had it been there is military men who went into the bush to rescue our daughters, we would have to see them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DUTHIERS: There you have it, Poppy. Anger from this father against the Nigerian government saying they are not doing anything. They are taking the families that are suffering through this agonizing way, agonizing loss for fools.

HARLOW: And, you know, obviously, we didn't see the father's face because the parents have been so scared to even come out to speak to the media or put pictures of their children out there, scared of retaliation from Boko Haram. In terms of the global pressure on Nigeria right now, it is intense from the U.S. and elsewhere. The Nigerian government saying, look, we are doing what we can, everything we can, we're not putting it out there, we're not talking about all of the efforts.

Do we know what the United States is going to be able to do to try to help and do we have a sense of how much aid and in what form the Nigerian government is going to accept from the United States? I know there's been a bit of parsing of words on that. DUTHIERS: Yes, Poppy. I think the Nigerian president said clearly, he is willing to accept any and all aid from the United States and international partners. He says this is a priority for his government and something they must do to find these girls.

Now, what kind of -- how that aid is going to look, what form it will take, we are not clear right now. The president and State Department saying it could come in the form of advisers, military advisers, no boots on the ground, but certainly, something that definitely will enable the Nigerians perhaps to do a better job than they have been doing over the last couple of weeks, Poppy.

HARLOW: But, you know, Deb brought up a good point last hour, and that is these reports Boko Haram is traveling in these big convoys. Have there been -- do we know, any air searchers, or anything -- they are not one or two people traveling alone. This is a big group as we've seen displayed in this video that we're showing you right now.

DUTHIERS: Yes, Poppy, you know, in the past, the Nigerian air force had actually bombed the area where Boko Haram is expected to have taken these girls initially, the Sandinista force. It's a force that borders Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon. They have used aerial attacks to wipe out terrorist enclaves there.

Obviously, that's not an option this time around because of hostages. And ground offense isn't an option because many times when they are launched, the abductors kill their captives. Something they are wrestling with. For the first time in a long time, the Nigerian government is suffering through the spotlight of world tension.

This is a group, Boko Haram, that killed thousands of people in the last couple years. And for the first time, the rest of the world is waking up to the rein of terror that people in the Northeast live under, Poppy.

HARLOW: Absolutely. Appreciate it, Vlad. Thank you so much for the report.

FEYERICK: And in Ukraine this morning, more fighting turning deadly. Separatists say five on the pro-Russian side were killed today in Mariupol. That after these days of fighting left dozens dead. Now, some leaders are begging volunteers to form their own self-defense militias.

Let's go to Atika Shubert live in Odessa.

And, Atika, tell us about the situation you are seeing on the ground there in Mariupol.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Odessa, where I'm at, at the moment, is pretty quiet. It had a lot of violence a few days ago, and some of that lingering anger, fear and tension is still here. But what we're seeing about 500 kilometers east of here at the port city of Mariupol is something very different. There, Ukrainian government forces appeared last night to try and retake that city from Russian groups. Now, it seemed earlier this morning they succeeded. There was a Ukrainian flag flying over the city hall and there were police inside. But then police, according to our team on the ground, they are moved out of the building and pro-Russian groups moved back in and put up the Russian flag. So, it seems to be very fluid situation. They are going back and forth.

It's not clear exactly who is in control of city hall at this point. And it just goes to show that with the Ukrainian government's push to try and regain control of some of these cities, it doesn't seem to be happening too quickly or working too well.

FEYERICK: The fact they are calling on people to organize their own small militias, does that suggest that the Ukrainian military isn't strong enough or coordinated enough to go against pro-Russian forces?

SHUBERT: I think there's a lot of concern within the Ukrainian government, within the Ukrainian police in terms of their own coordination and efforts. But remember, I mean, it means they are looking at the pro-Russian groups which are really citizens of their own cities, residents, neighbors, friends they know.

So, when they are asked to move against these people, they are moving against their own community. So, that's what makes it very difficult and hard. But, at the same time, if they don't move against these groups, then they lose control of the city. And this is what they need to do. They need to reestablish control before the May 25 elections.

FEYERICK: Yes. And incredible civil war going on there.

All right. Atika Shubert, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

HARLOW: Well, we are getting a new look this morning at just what Americans think about missing Flight 370. It has been missing now for nearly two months.

And a new CNN poll finds most Americans think by a 2-1 margin, the search should continue. But split over whether the search is looking in the right place. Fifty-one percent think the plane is in the search zone, 46 percent say it's not. Most say they don't think anyone on board is still alive, 79 percent survey think that. But only a slim majority, 52 percent think that the public will ever find out what happened to the plane.

And most blame the crew for the jet's appearance, 66 percent say -- disappearance rather. Sixty-six percent say it is likely it was the actions of the pilot or crew that caused Flight 370 to go missing.

FEYERICK: Of course, for the families with loved ones on the plane, every day is excruciating agony with no real answers about what's really happened.

Danica Week's husband, Paul, he was on board. She says that all she wants is closure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANICA WEEKS, HUSBAND WAS ON FLIGHT 370: There's so much conjecture and so much media reporting. And, look, this report has come out is contradicting statements. The authorities, Malaysian authorities made in the early days. I've just -- I can't allow myself to think about what might have happened.

We, as families, it's harrowing. This is 59 days. I still have no idea what happened to Paul.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: And you see the little babies there, also wondering. No one can answer the questions yet, about what happened to this plane. But officials from Malaysia, China and Australia gathered today to go over what they do now and to plan out the next steps in the search.

Will Ripley is live for us in Kuala Lumpur.

And, Will, they're going to now search an area that is so much larger than what they've covered. Will they be able to find new information in the data they already have that could perhaps pinpoint the search even greater?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're certainly looking as hard as they can for that data. Remember, here in Kuala Lumpur, this is a city where an international team met to go over the satellite data, the other data that have been collected about the plane's flight path, fuel consumption, all of those things. And this team of experts came up with a calculation placing the missing plane in the southern Indian Ocean, in the area where the search so far has turned up nothing.

So, now, a similar team is meeting in Canberra, Australia, made up some of the top aviation experts in the world, from the United Kingdom, the U.S., Australia, represented there, as well as Inmarsat, the satellite company, and Boeing, the manufacturer of the 777. Experts from all of these fields in one room, going over this information, to see if they still feel their best educated guess places the plane in this particular spot, because there's a lot at stake here. They are going to investigate a lot of time and a lot of money to searching the area that this team calculates as the most likely probability that the plane went down.

You're talking about up to a year worth of work, with private companies working with government agencies from the around the world, at a cost of up to $60 million. And as the time, as you mentioned, Deb, you have the families of these 239 people who are in this painful state of limbo. They still have no closure, not one piece of the plane to let them know this is where their loved ones are resting.

It's a sad situation. That makes the work that's happening in Canberra so much more urgent.

FEYERICK: Boy, wouldn't it be remarkable if after they meet, they come with some new theories to what happened.

All right. Will Ripley for us -- stay there. We're going to be checking back with you in just a little while.

HARLOW: Straight ahead here on EARLY START, Monica Lewinsky breaking her silence after more than a decade. What now she has to say about her then affair with then-President Bill Clinton.

FEYERICK: Plus, breaking news overnight, a North Carolina election, putting a former "American Idol" one step closer to being a congressman.

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FEYERICK: And Monica Lewinsky says it's time to bury the blue dress -- the blue dress which actually linked her directly to President Bill Clinton. The former White House intern writing for the first time about her affair with the president, calling it consensual. Writing in "Vanity Fair", she says she deeply regrets what happened and her boss, the leader of the free world at the time took advantage of her.

Lewinsky rejects the label Hillary Clinton once gave her as a, quote, "narcissistic loony tune," unquote, saying that she understands the former first lady's impulse to lash out at her." She's speaking out now. Lewinsky wrote that it was time to stop tiptoeing around her past and finally to take back her own narrative going forward.

HARLOW: Meantime, in North Carolina, CNN now projects the Republican establishment candidate had held off the Tea Party challenger in their Republican Senate primary. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis will avoid a runoff with the win over seven other candidates, including libertarian favorite Greg Brannon. Tillis will face incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan in the fall.

As for former "American Idol" finalist, Clay Aiken -- right now, his Democratic primary for congress in North Carolina is too close to call with Aiken leading by about 400 votes. It is not clear if that vote will be subject to a recount.

And we are learning more this morning about a troubling incident that led to a White House lockdown. Access was shut down for about an hour after a car followed a motorcade carrying the president's daughters through the White House gates. The Secret Service says the 55-year- old driver Matthew Evan Goldstein holds a press pass for the U.S. Treasury Building next door and he was stopped at a check point before he got close to the White House. He's been charged with unlawful entry. He's due in court this afternoon.

FEYERICK: And happening today, President Obama heads to Arkansas. He is going there to see firsthand the damage from last month's devastating tornadoes. At least 15 people died in that state.

You can see the wreckage there, all that from storms that tore through Mayflower and Vilonia. The president heads for California where he'll attend fundraisers and also receive an award from the foundation that's dedicated to preserving interviews with Holocaust survivors.

HARLOW: A quick check of the markets this morning, European stocks are down for a fourth day as the unrest in Ukraine weighs on their minds. In the U.S., flat in the open.

Yesterday, we saw a rare sell off for a Tuesday. So far this year, Tuesday's have been pretty good for stocks. The big talk on Wall Street today, do you know this name? If you don't, you should learn about it. Yes, Alibaba, this is a Chinese e-commerce giant. They have filed for a $1 billion initial public offering here in the United States. It's likely they will raise a lot more money than that.

Think of it as similar to a combination of Amazon, eBay and PayPal altogether in one. Now, they chose to list publicly in New York instead of Hong Kong for a number of reasons, hardly because it's going to make it a little be easier for them to access U.S. customers, U.S. companies, et cetera.

They are launching a Web site here in the United States to also sell goods. It's called 11 Main. That is launching this year.

And you're going to want to watch shares of Yahoo! today on this news. That is because Yahoo has a 24 percent stake in Alibaba, has agreed to sell about half of its share, as part of this IPO. What does that mean? It means if the company does well, if the IPO goes well, Yahoo stands to see a windfall profit.

FEYERICK: Protests are growing this morning against the government of Brunei over its plans to institute Sharia law, including death by stoning for anyone who commits adultery or sodomy. Overnight, the Beverly Hills City Council called on the Brunei's sultan to sell the Beverly Hills Hotel, which he owns through a holding company. Many celebrities are now boycotting the famous hotel. Some demonstrated outside, including comedian Jay Leno.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: This is not a political issue. It's not debatable. It's people being stoned to death. Hello!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: Other events, including a fundraiser for women's rights group. That's now been moved from the Beverly Hills' Hilton. But the CEO of the holding company says the anger is misplaced, saying the protests only hurt the employees of hotel, not Brunei.

HARLOW: Happening now in Oklahoma: wildfires racing through the state. Warnings are up for a huge area west of Oklahoma City as dry ground and dry humidity spark the blaze. The biggest worries now near Woodward. That's where dozens of home had been evacuated. At least one home has already been destroyed from this fire.

Indra Petersons is here with more on that.

How bad is it getting there? Do you have a sense if they have it under control?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I mean, this is the concern. We keep hearing about fires breaking out in the same region for good reasons. Take a look at. We're talking about the fire danger within a region.

Just a few days ago, we were talking Guthrie, Oklahoma City. They are still in that elevated fire area. But notice, right toward the panhandle, Woodward right here is on the corner basically. They're in that extreme fire danger zone.

What are we talking about? Very dry area, a lot of drought conditions in the region. But keep in mind, only continuing to stay dry for the afternoon today, looking for spotty showers by tonight. Still, about 21 percent humidity is not a good number in the humidity especially when you talk about winds gusting. We're talking about winds even as high 25, 35 miles per hour. Some places gusting even higher.

So, definitely not a good situation there for those firefighters. On top of it, extreme heat. We're still talking about very warm temperatures in the region. Just take a look, many places, 20 to 25 degrees above average for this time of year.

So, really, there's no real good news in that region except showers coming towards the second half of the week. Here's that system, you can actually see the showers picking up overnight through tomorrow. And this does have a threat for severe weather.

We're going to be watching it make its way across the country as we go through the weekend. But just keep in mind, as it makes its way through, brings the potential for more severe weather across the southern plains.

FEYERICK: Just remarkable. It's not just stopping.

PETERSONS: It's that season at this point.

FEYERICK: Yes, exactly. All right. Thanks so much, Indra. Appreciate it.

And King James step aside, there's a new MVP in town. Andy Scholes breaking down the win and all the emotion in the "Bleacher Report", up next.

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HARLOW: Well, the Miami Heat continuing to prove they are red hot in this year's playoffs. LeBron and company beating the Nets, my Brooklyn Nets, in game one of their second round series last night.

FEYERICK: Andy Scholes is joining us with more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" -- Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys.

You know, a lot of people have been saying that your Brooklyn Nets, Poppy, they are a big threat to the Heat's quest to three-peat this year. You know, Brooklyn has beat Miami all four times during the regular. But last night, a different story.

LeBron and Paul Pierce had some epic playoff battles in the past. But in game one, it was all King James. LeBron led all scorers with 22 points. The Heat, they remain perfect in this year's playoffs with the 107-86 win.

Out West, the Spurs got back to looking like the best team in the NBA. San Antonio jumped on the Blazers early on game one of their series and they never looked back. Tony Parker led the way with 33 points. Spurs win easily 116-92, to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

All right. Number one in the lineup section on bleacherreport.com is Kevin Durant winning his first NBA MVP Award. His acceptance speech was amazing. Durant thanked all his teammates one by one, but it was his message to his mom that stole the show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN DURANT, NBA MVP: We weren't supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street, put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn't eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You're the real MVP.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Durant, that is, and the Thunder are going to be back in action taking on the Clippers in game two of their series tonight.

Guys, you know, the Clippers were the sentimental favorite after what happened with Donald Sterling. But after hearing Durant in that speech, you know, it's like -- who do you root for in this series?

HARLOW: That was an amazing speech.

FEYERICK: What a great thing to do before Mother's Day, just to acknowledge all the sacrifices that were made on his behalf. Really incredible.

HARLOW: Yes, and to name all of the teammates, one by one.

SCHOLES: Unforgettable speech.

HARLOW: Thanks, Andy. Appreciate it.

We'll be back with more news here on EARLY START.

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