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Rescues Underway In Turkey Mine Disaster; Magic Johnson Responds To Sterling; Fears Of MERS Virus Spreading In The U.S.

Aired May 14, 2014 - 06:00   ET


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.

We have seen probably more than 1,000 police deployed, hundreds of people out on the streets of the small mining town outside the hospital. Ambulances moving around, as well as funeral vehicles as the number of the dead continue to increase. The rescue workers are trying to work depths of perhaps more than a mile underground to reach the hundreds of miners that are still believed to be trapped underground. The latest death toll is 200 people killed. Mostly as a result, we believe, of smoke inhalation. It began, authorities say, at the electrical fire -- Chris.

CUOMO: Ivan, unfortunately we have too much experience with what the variables are here. So what do we know about how much equipment they had for emergencies in this mine and what the chance that there are air pocket where's people can sustain life for a while underground? What are they saying?

WATSON: Well, Chris, the authorities say they're pumping air down into the mine shaft. Of course, that's a big problem. The oxygen supply just disappears when you have an underground fire like this. One of the -- on the scene, he says that there's no communication thus far with the miners that are still believed to be trapped down there. One of the big concerns is that the safety record of this particular mine.

Just about 2-1/2 weeks ago, a lawmaker from this region submitted a proposal in the Turkish parliament calling for an investigation of this very mine because of safety concerns there. It was overturned, voted down in parliament just 2-1/2 weeks ago.

And now we have again what could be the deadliest mining disaster in Turkish history with more than 200 people dead already and serious fears that that number could go up as well. We see a community here that is clearly devastated by the catastrophe -- Chris.

CUOMO: A big portion of this immediate area works in this mine. There's going to be every family there that is connected to this situation. Overnight we are watching footage of the rescues. Some of the men coming up are walking, others are on stretchers. What is the information about what the condition were of people that they were able to save overnight?

WATSON: The main cause of death that we've heard from authorities thus far has been smoke inhalation. You're trapped deep underground. You're in enclosed space. There's a raging fire. This morning the fires were still burning. And that, in fact, they had to try to find a way to pump out some of the smoke so that the rescue teams could go in because it could be dangerous for them, as well.

So it sounds logistically this is a very difficult and dangerous operation. And the fact that it was an electrical fire suggests that the power supplies down to the bottom of the coal shaft, that they were probably interrupted by this fire, which would have made it also very difficult perhaps to not only get lighting down there, but also operate elevators up and down.

We're trying to get more information from the Turkish authorities. They've been updating people periodically. The sad thing has been watching the vigil of hundreds of relatives and family members not only outside the hospital where some of the wounded who have been rescued have been brought to, but also outside the mine itself where the frantic rescue operation is under way.

These people waiting, praying for some news that their loved ones will come out safe and sound. But it has been a really horrific night for this community and for Turkey as well. The flags are flying at half- mast across this province.

I've seen a massive deployment of riot police, security forces, as well, throughout this area. As some people are starting to get very frustrated and start to hurl accusations just who is at fault in this deadly mining disaster -- Chris.

CUOMO: Not a surprise. Ivan, I'll let you get back to the work of reporting. As you figure things out, let us know so we can come back to you and give an update. The idea of a fire in the mine, the experts who do fire fighting in these situations will tell you it's the worst variable to deal with because of what fire hazards are a give and take. It gives smoke which chokes you out in a closed space and it's taking oxygen the whole time which is feeding the fire. That's a very bad situation for them to deal with.

BOLDUAN: Some hope that they're getting some rescues overnight. We'll see what they find obviously as today as well. We'll continue to cover that throughout the morning.

Let's turn now to CNN exclusive, Magic Johnson responding to Donald Sterling. The NBA legend says he felt he had to speak up because Sterling made the issue about race, not just about him. After making those racist comments, Sterling lashed out at Magic Johnson in a separate CNN exclusive, saying Johnson should be ashamed for contracting HIV and also claiming that Johnson hasn't helped or hasn't reached out to the black community.

Listen to what Johnson told Anderson Cooper about the bizarre remarks and the picture that sparked the controversy.


MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: It was sort of disappointing. But I had to respond in terms of, OK, you don't want me to come to your games, I won't come to your games. You don't have to worry about that. But, also, I was upset because he threw minorities in, African- Americans, Latinos, into this situation. And so I had to speak up. Look, I'm one of the leaders of the black community, so I can't let anybody attack our people and not respond. And so that is why I responded.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: When -- first of all, you said you were photographed with V. Stiviano. You're probably photographed with...

JOHNSON: Millions of people.

COOPER: Millions of people. Do you know her? He claimed in this interview that I did with him the other day, he said you knew her, you knew her well.

JOHNSON: These are the facts, Anderson. I never met this young lady. I took a picture with her, probably, it looked like at a Dodger game. That is it. That's all I know of her. And then he says I'm trying to set him up. How am I trying to set you up? He asked me to go on the Barbara Walters show with him.

COOPER: This was, what, a week, week-and-a-half ago?

JOHNSON: This was a week ago.

COOPER: Because he met with Barbara on a Friday about week-and-a-half ago.

JOHNSON: Exactly. It was before that. I told him I wouldn't do it. I said, the number one thing you need to do, which you haven't done, is apologize to everybody and myself. "I will get to that. I will get to that."

COOPER: So, he wanted you to go on with Barbara Walters sitting next to him?

JOHNSON: Sitting next to him.

COOPER: To kind of give him cover or --

JOHNSON: Exactly. So, I said no. Then I told him. I said, Donald, you should consult with your attorneys. I said, this thing is a big thing. And you should deal with your attorneys and let them advise you on what to do. But I said, you need to go public and apologize to everybody.

COOPER: How did he respond to that?

JOHNSON: "Well, I will apologize later. But I want you to go on this show." He was adamant about me going on the show with him. And I told him, no, I wouldn't do it. And that's what happened. This is really weird. I'm really disturbed by the fact that, you know, he hadn't -- when he called me, he should have said, Magic, I'm sorry.

COOPER: Right. And I asked him specifically if he had apologized to you, and he said no.

JOHNSON: No. No, he didn't apologize at all.

COOPER: It seemed like a surprise to him that he would actually be expected to make an apology to you.

JOHNSON: Well, he is the one who said, "Don't bring Magic to my games." So he is the one who made these comments. So I was expecting at least an apology. And the American public wanted an apology. He finally did that. But this is -- it is sad. When I saw that interview, it is sad. It really is. I'm going to pray for this young man. I hope Donald can see the mistake that he has made, and also the people he has hurt along the way.

And then what is really sad, he -- it is not about me. This is about the woman you love outing you and taping you and putting your -- and putting your conversation out here for everybody to know. That was not me. I didn't do that. I don't know this young lady. This is between you two. But then he wants to include me. And I'm not included in this situation. And then he wants to, you know, ask me what I have done in the minority community. That is well-documented, what I have done.


CUOMO: If you think about it the situation is now become even more bizarre because Magic Johnson is completely puzzled as to why he was ever relevant to Donald Sterling. Trying to make sense of it. Bring in Malik Rose, two-time NBA champ, game analyst for Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia. And Mr. Sean Gregory, senior writer for "Time" magazine and What's your take away from this, Sean?

SEAN GREGORY, SENIOR WRITER, "TIME": I mean, the Barbara Walters, you know, bequest --

CUOMO: Also known as ABC News.

GREGORY: That was the most bizarre thing. Magic said something interesting at the end when we talk about the end game of all this. It looks like Donald Sterling is going to get pushed out and he's going to get his money. And what does he do with that money? And, you know, Anderson suggested, give it to a good cause. Maybe he will do some good with that money.

But Magic made the point, do we take that money? That gets to larger questions of the Donald Sterling were to set up a scholarship fund, $300 million scholarship fund for minorities he said in his interview, I love to help minorities, do you take that money?

And but if you don't take that money, are you denying opportunities, you know, to go to college? Are we going to have a larger conversation about forgiveness at the end of all of this?

CUOMO: And who should -- to get forgiveness though, Malik, what's the first rule we teach our kids, to be forgiven you must say I'm sorry and you must mean it. How is it, how do you make sense of the fact that he calls Magic and says I need you to come on TV with me and doesn't even apologize? How do you make sense of that?

MALIK ROSE, ANALYST, COMCAST SPORTSNET PHILADELPHIA: I don't know if you can make sense of that. I mean, if I was in PR and I had the school people on how to do an interview and how not to do an interview, these two interviews would be cued up 24 hours a day. I don't really understand -- this Magic Johnson interview actually made me have more questions as to, you know, why -- not even why but, you know, the lies that Mr. Sterling was saying as far as like Magic called me.

That was one thing I took away from the first Donald Sterling interview when he said Magic called me and said don't do anything. I wanted to learn more about that. Now to hear that Mr. Sterling was the one that initially called Magic and asked him to go on the Barbara Walters ABC special, it's like par for the course. Now I understand. CUOMO: I don't understand. I don't get what Donald Sterling's thing is with Magic. If we take Magic at his word and why wouldn't we at this point, right? We have no basis for questioning him. He doesn't know the woman. He's not making a move on the Clippers. He has no relationship with Donald Sterling. Why -- what do you think is fueling Sterling's paranoia about this guy?

GREGORY: I think it's just, you know, he just can't stop himself. You know, like Anderson wasn't taking him to Magic Johnson and then he just started going off on Magic Johnson. I think it's Donald Sterling, you know, maybe you can blame, you know, his age or dementia for just kind of having no filter and just going off. It's -- it's unexplainable.

CUOMO: Other than the obvious intrigue of scandal that drives interest, there are two big reasons and Sean outlined both of them, Malik, about why you want to follow this story. The first is what do we make of this of what he said? Why it's not tolerable and what it means going forward? Because then you have something like the Miami Dolphins safety talks about the Michael Sam kiss of his partner and says it's horrible.

What happens to him? What do we do when people do things we don't like? The second thing is see what the league does. Malik, what do you think of the fact the owners met yesterday and adjourned quickly and said we'll meet again next week. Why didn't they have the vote?

ROSE: I have no idea. There could be a litany of reasons why they didn't have the vote.

CUOMO: Give me two good ones.

ROSE: Members didn't show up. Maybe all the members didn't show up and they don't have a plan of action. I think the vote is what's probably going to be the easy part. He's going to be out. Lack bash and people start to dig further, good reporters like yourself and Anderson Cooper are going to ask questions and dig into the background of other owners.

That's just a guess, not what could happen. But this is probably what they're thinking of. I think the decision is probably made, but after the decision, what's going to happen then. That's probably what the owners are starting to prepare for.

GREGORY: I think there is somewhat of a process here. You have a hearing and there's some back and forth. I also wonder if the NBA is trying to delay as much as possible to put some focus back on the basketball. The problem is we keep having interviews and Donald Sterling keeps saying things where we're having no focus on the basketball.

CUOMO: Process is off and protection. They want to make sure they cover all their bases, perhaps. That meeting next week is going to have a lot of attention no matter what goes on in the playoffs. Much bigger than the game. It's good to have Magic Johnson his piece. He doesn't want to talk about this anymore, he shouldn't have to. But we will.

Malik Rose, thank you very much. Sean Gregory, appreciate it. We hope you can watch "AC360" tonight for even more of Anderson Cooper's sit down with Donald Sterling. Yes, there is still more that you're going to want to see.

Also coming up on NEW DAY, we have a preview of what made Sterling actually break down in tears. That will be interesting -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Let's get over to Don Lemon now in for Michaela this morning for some of today's big stories -- Don.

LEMON: Good morning to you. Good morning, everyone. Developing this morning, more bled shed in Eastern Ukraine. Ambush by pro-Russian insurgents killing six Ukrainian soldiers on Tuesday as the Germans emerge as a players in a push for peace. Right now, Germany's foreign minister is in Ukraine trying to kick start talks between Moscow and Kiev. His road map for peace calls for negotiations on decentralizing the Ukrainian government.

This morning, a wildfire near San Diego is almost under control after scorching 800 acres and threatens thousands of homes. It started Tuesday morning and fanned by strong winds and low humidity in the area. Parents had to pick up their children from three different elementary schools because of the fire threat. Officials say those schools will be open this morning.

A federal judge has struck down a voter approved ban on same-sex marriage in Idaho. According to the ruling, the 2006 amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman violates a state's guarantee of equal protection. The decision will not take effect until Friday morning giving a higher court time for a review. Idaho's governor is vowing to appeal. This is happening in several states where they do it and it's struck down.

CUOMO: Equal protection is a very strong clause of the constitution. Makes this somewhat of a simple legal question.

LEMON: Right.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, new fears at a dangerously fatal new virus is spreading inside the United States. A hospital worker may have contracted the virus in Florida. What you need to know, ahead.

CUOMO: Did you hear this wild political claim ignited a fire storm of course. Maybe that was its intention. We'll explain. Karl Rove claiming Hillary Clinton may have brain damage? Some in his own party are now taking him on. The question is, is it all part of a dirty little plan.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. This morning new fears, a mysterious and potentially deadly virus is spreading inside the United States for the first time. About 20 health care workers in Orlando may have been exposed to MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, after treating a patient with the virus. Two of the workers are undergoing testing after showing symptoms. The virus was first detected in Saudi Arabia and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived there this morning for meetings where thermal meters were used to try and detect the virus, a very real risk obviously.

We're joined now by Dr. Armand Dorian, he is a clinical associate professor of Emergency Medicine and the chief of Development at UVC Hospital. Doctor, thanks for joining us this morning.


BOLDUAN: A lot of questions for many people wondering what they need to be aware of, but first, this news coming out this morning about Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel goes in to this meeting. They said they used thermal meters to try to look for high body temperature maybe to detect if the MERS virus was present. Have you heard of this being used before? Is this something you can see being used in the United States?

DORIAN: Sure, we've heard use of this but the efficacy of it is questionable. The problem with MERS virus is it's no different than any other flu virus where you develop low grade temperature to suddenly developing severe respiratory symptoms. You may be quarantining or thinking a lot of people have MERS when they actually don't. Considering that, when you do this in Saudi Arabia it makes sense because there's a higher potential or possibility of people having MERS there. Implementing something like that in the United States really doesn't make sense.

BOLDUAN: Yes, but knowing that the United States defense secretary is entering the meetings, clearly they'll use everything to make sure everyone is careful there. You talked about symptoms being similar to other flu viruses. What are the specific symptoms that are unique to MERS?

DORIAN: The unique part about MERS is that it progresses rapidly and becomes lethal. But the symptoms otherwise are similar to the flu, you're going to have fever, cough, shortness of breath. The unfortunate thing is for about 30 percent of the people who contract this, they actually die from this. That's where the scary part of this virus comes in?

BOLDUAN: What is it -- is it because it progresses so quickly that it is more fatal than other viruses? What is it about MERS specifically that makes it more deadly than other viruses?

DORIAN: That's what has a lot of scientists really excited about trying to do a lot of research on this virus. Most viruses the human body has been exposed to for thousands of years and understood how to defend itself. But this is a novel or new virus and whenever a new virus pops up the medical community gets worried. Why? We don't know how the human body will react. Not just one human body but the global population. It's a lock and key phenomenon. If that certain key fits the human body's ability to unlock its potential for disaster, then we're in deep trouble.

BOLDUAN: And this is spread through direct human contact. I heard maybe the one good thing about MERS is it is more difficult to contract, it doesn't spread as easily as other viruses. Describe this direct contact. What does that mean practically speaking for folks at home?

DORIAN: Practically speaking, it means someone really close and taking care of somebody who has contracted the illness, which means body fluids, really cough is what we're talking about, respiratory stuff. Somebody is coughing on you, you're getting it on your hands and then you're not washing your hands and you're getting it in your mouth, your eyes, and you're contracting the illness. People at high risk are people taking care of people who have MERS, family member or health care workers.

BOLDUAN: That's why these hospital workers are at such heightened risk and hospitals are now starting to pay special attention to this. Doctor, great to see you. Thanks so much for waking up early and coming in. Appreciate it. Good advice for everybody -- Chris.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, it is on. Karl Rove suggesting Hillary Clinton may not be healthy enough to be president. How would he know? Now, if she runs, wink, wink, will it be a legit question or has the 2016 mudslinging already begun? You can answer that question easily.

And "Shark Tank" star, Dallas Mavs' owner, Mark Cuban, remember, he was the owner of the NBA franchise that said Donald Sterling should be able to keep the Clippers. What does he think now?


LEMON: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. I'm Don Lemon in for Michaela Pereira. We're following breaking news. A mine disaster in Western Turkey where crews are desperately trying to find survivors. At least 205 people are dead. Another 200 are believed to be trapped about two-thirds of a mile below ground. The shaft collapsing and burning after a transformer exploded in the mine. Clean air is being pumped to parts of the mine where there is no fire. And we're going to go live to the scene at the top of the hour.

Nigerian officials say they have now positively identified 77 of the kidnapped schoolgirls seen in this video taken by the Boko Haram terror group, but there are new questions about some of those girls and who they are and whether they were even part of the last month's abduction. Meanwhile, U.S. spy planes have arrived in Nigeria and already joined that search.

Terrifying scene in upstate New York. Parents looking on as an inflatable bounce house with children inside swept off the ground. Look at that. Wind storm. Two boys inside fell from the house from about 15 feet in the air. They suffered serious injuries and remain hospitalized. A 10-year-old girl also inside suffered minor injuries. Some kids fell from like two floors up into the air. It's unbelievable.

CUOMO: I never heard this happens. Kate was saying it happens all the time.

BOLDUAN: I don't know if we say all the time, but I think it's noteworthy when it happens even once, right?

CUOMO: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: But it has happened before.

CUOMO: All right, so here's the question for you this morning. Dirty pool, Republican strategist Karl Rove suggest that more needs to be made of Hillary Clinton's 2012 concussion and subsequent hospital stay. Here's what he said. "Thirty days in the hospital and when she reappears she's wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what's up with that."

Tuesday Mr. Rove backpedaling a little bit saying he never said she had brain damage, but her health is still an issue if she runs for president. Listen for yourself.


KARL ROVE: My point was, is that Hillary Clinton wants to run for president, but she would not be human if this didn't enter in as a consideration. And my other point is, this will be an issue in the 2016 race and whether she likes it or not.


CUOMO: Whether he likes it or not or whether she likes it or not? Clinton spokesman called the motives behind his comments, quote, "Flagrant and thinly veiled." Here with more, Mr. Richard Socarides, former senior adviser to Bill Clinton and a Democratic strategist, and Margaret Hoover, CNN political commentator, Republican consultant.