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Mining Disaster Could be "Worst" in Turkish History; Frantic Search to Find Living Miners; How Did Magic Johnson Respond to Donald Sterling?; Warnings From the TSA

Aired May 14, 2014 - 05:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Magic Johnson on the record about the bizarre personal attack launched at him by L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. How did Johnson get caught up in the middle of Sterling's drama? And how well does he really know the woman accused of leaking Sterling's racist rant? A CNN exclusive you will want to see ahead.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning: hundreds killed in a mine explosion in Turkey. Right now a frantic race to find survivors. We have a live report just ahead.

BLACKWELL: Breaking news this morning from the TSA warning travelers about a new virus threat. Two confirmed cases already in the U.S., and there could soon be more. We'll have the very latest.

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

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

We are hearing Magic Johnson's side of the story. The NBA legend, businessman, philanthropist, in an exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper is responding to Donald Sterling, the L.A. Clippers owner who said during his sit down with Anderson that Johnson -- Magic Johnson should be ashamed of himself for his HIV diagnosis and that Magic Johnson doesn't do enough for the black community.

Now Johnson is responding calling it sad, insisting he doesn't know V. Stiviano and wondering why in the world Sterling is going after him. Listen.


MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: He's a man who we would think would be educated and a man who would is smart enough to build this type of wealth and -- and own a team and have an incredible platform to change the world, but he's doing it in a negative way.

You know, first of all, 22 years ago, I announced that I did have HIV. And I came out like a man. I talked to a lot of young people who just got HIV and was thinking about, you know, committing suicide, you see? And I tried to talk them out of that. And then, we have given away over $15 million, my foundation. Magic Johnson shouldn't have been included in your conversation. Because I have nothing to do with this. But since you put me in it, again, and then you want to try to disrespect me of the work that I've done in the minority community, that really makes me upset.

And then, my competitive spirit comes out because I've done all this great work. All the kids we have sent to college. And I have 150 kids on scholarship right now. But the problem is, he's living in the stone ages. He can't make those comments about African-Americans and Latinos. He just can't do it.


BLACKWELL: Well, of course Donald Sterling talked about a lot more than just Magic Johnson and the NBA when he sat down with Anderson Cooper for an exclusive interview.

He's also talking ability his future of his wife and behavior that could lead to divorce. Listen.


DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: I think we'll divorce. I think she's already filed. I guess I was bad committing all those terrible -- I don't even want to say it. But you know, people say how do you commit adultery? You justify things. You say, well, every man whose parents (ph) or friends have a mistress. I mean, it may make you smile. But when you are so old, you don't think it's wrong anymore, if you have a little bit of fun. You don't have much time. If you have a little bit of fun, you can't do what you did before. And nobody expects -- but you want to be cared for. Everybody wants to be cared for. I made such a mistake. I thought that woman really cared for me.


BLACKWELL: You can see much more of Anderson's exclusive interview with Donald Sterling tonight on "AC360" 8 p.m. eastern here on CNN.

ROMANS: All right, yesterday, I had a chance to sit down with Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban and about his app cyber dust. It can make your texts disappear. Also talked about this controversy and what the NBA can do about.

He said he wouldn't specifically talk about Sterling, but he compared the situation to fast food, saying the NBA is a franchise operation. If you caught a McDonald's owner spitting in the fries, that owner would lose their franchise. That's the analogy he used her. He also said the price for the Clippers will be high. Listen.


MARK CUBAN, DALLAS MAVERICKS OWNER: The one thing that this sale will change dramatically, right, is -- it happens to L.A. franchises. Frank McCourt ran the Dodgers into the ground, took it to bankruptcy, and ended up making a billion plus dollars, if not more when the team was sold for $2.1 billion. The same -- the L.A. Clippers franchise is going to sell far north -- in my opinion.

ROMANS: You think so?

CUBAN: Yeah, not even close.

ROMANS: Really? Really?

CUBAN: Not even close.


ROMANS: Forbes (inaudible) that team $575 million, I think. So that's pretty interesting there. He also said the days of a trophy asset, a billionaire just snapping up a trophy asset, those are over. It's a new ball game, literally now. We're gonna have much more of my interview with Mark Cuban coming up, including what he thinks of tech stocks and whether there's a tech bubble. The whole interview is gonna air Saturday on "YOUR MONEY". And you can go to right now to read more of what Mark Cuban said.

Now, to Turkey where a coal mine has explosion killed 200 workers and injured more. They are trapped 500 yards underground. Reporter Andrew Finkel has the latest for us right now from Istanbul. He's joining me now on the phone.

Andrew, how is the rescue effort going right now?

ANDREW FINKEL, JOURNALIST (via-telephone): Well, it's still very intense. But I think rescuers are really beginning to lose hope for what may be hundreds more miners still trapped under the earth. I mean it's now some 20 hours since this fire broke out.

It broke out with a piece of faulty electrical equipment, basically trapping miners very deep in this mine in the west of Turkey. There was just a wall of smoke and flames, which they just couldn't get through to get to the surface.

It's proving very difficult for their rescuers to get to these people. They are pumping oxygen into the shaft. But I'm afraid they are beginning to be a lack of hope for what may prove to be one of the -- Turkey's worst mining disaster and possibly one of the world's worst disasters.

ROMANS: Possibly one of the world's worst mining disasters. And we know how terrifying that is to be underground, the equipment there, and then just the lack of oxygen.

What are the rescue -- tell me about the rescue right now. We are watching this -- this video, these pictures of rescuers pulling people out on stretchers. Are they still pulling people out? Are they still pulling miners out at this hour?

FINKEL: Well, the -- the last people to be rescued alive, that I know about, was several hours ago when five people were taken from the mines. I think the -- the problem is, of course, the fires are still burning. If were to you look around the site, you would see smoke pluming up through ventilation shafts scattered around this small town in the west of Turkey.

So it's actually proving very difficult for the miners -- for the rescue teams to penetrate that smoke. And of course, it's very difficult for the trapped miners to get through the smoke because they have gas masks, but the gas masks are really only good for 45 minutes. And the journey from the -- from the -- from where these enclaves to the mine entrance, it takes much longer than that. So it's a -- it's a really very desperate situation.

ROMANS: Desperate indeed. And we know that in some cases, I know that in some mining situations, they do have safe -- safe areas, places where they are supposed to stay underground until a fire clears. Do we know -- do we know anything about whether there could be miners who are -- who are waiting, who are underground, who are waiting for the all clear? Or are they --

FINKEL: Well, we -- we happen to have reports of this. I mean, the authorities are slowly beginning to really -- they haven't told us really how many people they still suspect are underneath the ground. And I think this may be an indication that they are themselves beginning to lose hope for this rescue effort.

ROMANS: All right, Andrew Finkel, thank you so much in Istanbul for us, this morning. Thanks.

BLACKWELL: This morning, there are new concerns about a mysterious virus spreading in this country. The TSA is now posting warning signs at airports about MERS, Middle East Respiratory System. And officials in Orlando say roughly 20 health care workers may have been exposed after coming into contact with a patient who has a confirmed case of the illness. One of those workers is in the hospital. The others were told to stay home. But officials say the risk to the public for MERS is low.

ROMANS: An early start on your money news this morning. Here's a look at European markets. And in the U.S., we've got DOW futures hanging right near record highs. That's right, the DOW and S&P 500 have never seen levels this lofty. Many investors are asking, does it mean I should cash out?

Financial planner Doug Flynn says, depends.


DOUG FLYNN, FINANCIAL PLANNER: It's 100 percent about your individual situation. If you're young and you've got a 30-year time horizon, the market looks good. You put money in every week, and you don't worry about it. If you're older, you're getting close to retirement, and you might need your money in two or three years, trying to time the market is a fool's game.


ROMANS: Yeah, the closer you are to retirement, the more you really should be paying attention to what's happening now.

Remember, we haven't seen a true correction where stocks dipped 10 percent in more than two years, even though we've got pretty close twice. Look, up 64 percent, the S&P 500 since the last correction. That's why so many people are saying they feel like maybe, maybe you need to see a pull back here.

BLACKWELL: Understandable.

Happening now, hundreds of acres torched. But now, some good news this morning on the fire lines in California. The very latest ahead.


BLACKWELL: Breaking news, evacuation orders now lifted near San Diego as firefighters move closer to full control of a wildfire that threatened thousands of homes. More than 800 acres burned in Fairbanks Ranch in Rancho Santa Fe. But school officials say that the schools will be open this morning, and residents are being told they can go home.

As if we haven't seen enough bad weather this week, get ready for more today.




BLACKWELL: Yeah. Severe thunderstorms on tap again with drenching rains, strong winds, likely to impact millions.

ROMANS: They already saw a lot of this north of Chicago. Look at this flooding, rain responsible for that flooding. At Lake County, upwards of four inches of rain fell over two days. Those downpours filling roads, making them impassable.

BLACKWELL: Indra Petersons is here now. Christine says no.


BLACKWELL: I say yes, it's coming.

INDRA PETERSONS, METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, well, first I want to talk about what's going on in the west. We were talking about that fire danger. It's been incredibly dry out there, talking about record- breaking temperatures.

So today, still another elevated risk for that fire danger. In fact, we're seeing some critical ranges right around where those wildfires are. Very easy to see how dry it is out west.

I'm going to take you out wide now and show you the difference across the country. It is so dry out west, but notice how moist it is as you go east. The reason this matters so much is that system is progressing farther to the east into more and more moist air. So it's pulling all this moisture out of the Gulf.

And this is going to bring the threat for flooding. We're talking about a lot of rain in a short period of time over the next several days. So much so that in toward the mid-Atlantic, we're talking about anywhere from even three to five inches of rain. Of course, heavier downpours could be seen even more than that, at about two to three inches around the Gulf. So that's going to be the biggest concern here.

In addition to that, we still have the threat for severe weather out there, so those heavy thunderstorms, even the threat for those very strong winds and tornadoes.

Cleveland, Pittsburgh, again, all the way back down through Jackson, Mississippi, this is going to be the concern today. And of course, we are going (inaudible) a lot of flights today when you see that severe weather kind of pick up from today even through the afternoon, also into the overnight hours tonight.

Temperature wise, the big change, you're gonna see that cool air, a huge drop in the Midwest yesterday. We're talking about 20, almost 30 degrees cooler yesterday in the Midwest. That cool air's gonna be moving farther east with a cold front. So eventually it's going to reach the northeast in just about a couple of days. Change is on the way.

ROMANS: All right. We'll take it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Indra.

ROMANS: Now let's look at what's coming up now on "NEW DAY". Chris Cuomo joins us this morning.

Hello, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, my friends.

We have breaking news this morning on the horrific mine disaster in Turkey. Right now, we know that 200 people have lost their lives. There is a desperate race under way to save hundreds more trapped underground. Obviously, time running out. We are trying to find -- figure out the situation as it goes. You are watching rescues in process. So that's some of the good news there. They are able to get some people out.

And then, we have the latest chapter in the Sterling/NBA/decency scandal. You are looking at the man in the middle, Magic Johnson. He gave an exclusive interview to CNN. He talks about Sterling's accusations, and what they mean to him, and speaks about his work in the black community, even though he has no need to defend himself. Let's be honest. And he addressed some of these other wild statements about his battle with HIV.

And wait until you hear what Johnson claims Sterling asked him to do after his racist rant. Here's a little clue. It wasn't asking him to allow him to apologize. He asked him something very different. You guys know the answers already. You're all read in. But hopefully those waking up are ready for some news.

BLACKWELL: All right, we'll look forward to it.

ROMANS: There's just so much there, Chris. There's just --

BLACKWELL: A lot of slashes in that scandal.

ROMANS: There's just so much there.

All right, thank you, Chris.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Chris.

Breaking news in the Oscar Pistorius trial. A judge puts the trial on hold sending Pistorius for a mental evaluation. We are live with what this means for the case and Pistorius, next.


BLACKWELL: Breaking news from the Oscar Pistorius trial where the judge has now put the case on hold, rulings that the Olympic sprinter will have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. That comes after a psychiatrist testifying for the defense said Pistorius has an anxiety disorder, and people with that condition could be a danger to society.

CNN's legal analyst Kelly Phelps is live at the courthouse in Pretoria.

Kelly, do you find yourself surprised by the judge's decision here?

KELLY PHELPS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, I'm not surprised. She had open legal grounds to make her decision on. Both teams had put forward valid legal interpretations of the act. It was unprecedented (ph). And therefore, she was open to decide which of the arguments she found the more persuasive, and she found Nel's more persuasive.

Having said that, this could still backfire against Mr. Nel. Because two of the three potential outcomes of this referral would play directly into Mr. Pistorius' defense.

BLACKWELL: What are those?

Kelly, do you have me? What are those?

PHELPS: Oh, thank you.

Those are, firstly, the report may come back and find that he was so incapacitated at the time that he committed the conduct that he cannot be held criminally responsible. That would lead to an automatic verdict of not guilty by reason of mental illness.

Secondly they might simply come back and concur with what Merrill Foster said, which is that he wasn't completely incapacitated, but that it is relevant to the defense, which would then bolster the persuasive value of Merrill Foster's evidence. And only the last option would play into the state's hands, which would be if the panel materially disagreed with Merrill Foster's evidence and therefore got it dismissed in terms of the judge's final verdict.

BLACKWELL: So what does this now mean for the case as we move forward, especially the time line?

PHELPS: Well, we'll find out exactly about the time line on Tuesday when we reconvene for the judge's final order. And they will take the time now to get all of the pragmatic issues sorted out, such as who will conduct the evaluations, where and when.

But this is at least one month. And it's a minimum of a one month delay to this, and it could actually be much longer.

BLACKWELL: All right, Kelly Phelps, watching the trial for us from Pretoria, thank you, Kelly.

ROMANS: All right, Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, he made billions off the internet. But is there a new tech bubble about to burst? The reasons why Cuban is still bullish on stocks in money time, next.


ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back to "EARLY START". It's money time, Victor.

An early start on stocks -- DOW futures hanging right near record high levels right now. Stocks are flying high again. Companies are making money.

But the consumer -- look at that. The consumer is being careful. Consumer spending slowed in April. And Americans aren't using their credit cards as much. Credit card debt at the lowest since 2002.

Stock market records, but tech stocks have stalled. And there are whispers a tech bubble is bursting.

One of the first dotcom billionaires, Mark Cuban, says tech bubble? No way.


ROMANS: Do you see a bubble in tech?


ROMANS: No bubble?

CUBAN: I mean, look, I -- I wouldn't -- you wouldn't know who I was if it wasn't for a tech bubble, right?

ROMANS: Right. CUBAN: And -- and so, you know, it's easy to recognize. Now, why are stocks continuing to go up? Well, there's half as many public companies today as there used to be 15-20 years ago. And so, there's more money chasing fewer companies. Stock prices are going to go up.


ROMANS: And news this morning, it may get easier to get a home loan. stricter lending standards after the financial crisis made it harder for many Americans to get mortgages.

But now government officials worry the housing sector isn't growing fast enough. So now, the government is reversing course, encouraging mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make credit more easily available to would-be homeowners. Interesting, interesting developments. We'll see what that means easier to get a loan in this country.

BLACKWELL: Good to be with you this morning.

ROMANS: Nice to see you. Have a safe trip home.

BLACKWELL: Thank you very much.

Good to be with you, as well.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news: a massive mining disaster. Hundreds killed after a huge explosion. Now, the desperate race to save hundreds more who may be trapped alive. There have been more rescued overnight. We're live at the scene.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: CNN exclusive. Magic Johnson responds to Donald Sterling. He takes the Clippers owner's wild claims head on. And you won't believe what Sterling asked Magic to do after his rant went public.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Bad boys Bieber and Baldwin at it again. Justin now accused of attempted robbery, trying to swipe a cell phone from an onlooker, and Alec is arrested. Now he's firing back. No surprise, he's not holding back.

CUOMO: Your new day starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Good morning. We begin with a race against time going on right now. Can any survivors be saved from a mine disaster? The official numbers right now, 205 people dead. Another 200 believed to be trapped in this mine that you're looking at in Turkey.

People they believe could be as deep as two-thirds of a mile under ground. Rescuers frantically work throughout the night to get to them. The grim scene was punctuated by moments of hope. Right here you're seeing a father kissing his son rescued from deep below. Crowds are cheering as crews pulled another miner out alive, giving hope that there will still be more to come and be rescued.

Senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joins us by phone. Here's near Soma, Turkey with the latest. Ivan, what do we know?

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRSPONDENT (via-telephone): This is a town in western Turkey called Soma that's been hit hard by a catastrophe that already many law makers here are calling the worst mining disaster in Turkish history.