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Rescues Underway in Turkey Mine Disaster; Deadly Virus Spreading in the U.S.?; Magic Johnson Responds to Sterling

Aired May 14, 2014 - 08:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. And welcome once again to NEW DAY.

We begin with breaking news at this hour: the desperate search for survivors amid a mine disaster in Turkey. Right now, more than 230 people are dead. Another 200 are still believed to be trapped almost a mile underground.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching what's been happening overnight. Rescues working to free the miners who are trapped down there. Some moments of hope, crowds cheering as an obvious situation occurs. They're pulling someone out alive.

There haven't been enough of those moments. They're battling fire underground. They're battling -- not understanding where the trapped miners are. And, of course, they're battling time.

Let's bring in senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson. He has the latest on the scene in Soma, Turkey -- Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, this is the gritty coal mine where this race against time is now underway. According to Turkish government statistics, more than 90 miners have been rescued from beneath the mountain since this fire broke out during a shift change, deep beneath the surface of the earth on Tuesday. But according to the Turkish prime minister, who has canceled an international trip and just visited the scene here, the death toll has now tragically grown to 232 miners killed as a result of this fire. It is clearly one of the deadliest mining incidents in Turkish modern history.

Now, the fire broke out, we're hearing, at depths of perhaps more than a mile beneath the surface, and of course, one of the biggest causes of death, we're hearing thus far is as a result of smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning, because, of course, the supply of clean air runs out. The authorities say they're trying to pump clean air into there, but as of this morning, we're hearing from a Turkish lawmaker that fires were still raging there, and blocking rescue workers from being able to reach down into there. And we don't even have concrete figures of how many workers were down there when the fire first broke out. So this is hitting the community here in these mountains of western Turkey hard. In the nearby city of Soma, there are quite literally thousands of residents lining the streets behind police barriers outside the main hospital, desperate for news about their missing loved ones. We'll be keeping a very close eye on this desperate situation -- Chris.

CUOMO: Just about all the families there, and somehow connected to what's going on deep underground. We understand that they're shooting oxygen down there, air down there, but they don't really know where the fire is, so they don't know whether they're feeding the fire or feeding the trapped survivors. What are they telling you about the level of optimism?

WATSON: One lawmaker, I said, he really fears this death toll will continue to grow. And, of course, the people who have gathered on the hills around here in these woods, it's dusty, it's dirty here. The size of this operation is massive. Entire tops of mountains have been removed by what has clearly been an operation going on for years, if not decades here. You can just see the anxiety on people's faces.

They're desperate to find out that their loved ones will emerge from this. And here is the really sad thing here, just about two-and-a- half weeks ago, Chris, a lawmaker from this region had fired a motion in parliament to investigate reports of safety hazards at this very mine and that motion was overturned by a majority of lawmakers in the Turkish parliament. Who knows? Maybe things could have been different if it had been approved -- Chris.

CUOMO: If people don't make it out of that mine, as that starts to spread and anger starts to grow, they're going to be dealing with a different kind of explosion there, especially specifically those lawmakers.

Ivan, thank you for the reporting from the ground. We'll check back in with you.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris.

Also this morning, new fears. A mysterious and potentially deadly virus is spreading inside the United States for the very first time. About 20 health care workers in Orlando may have been exposed to MERS -- which is short for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The concern there comes after health care workers treated a patient with the virus. Two of the workers are undergoing further testing right now after showing symptoms.

The virus was first detected in Saudi Arabia, and defense secretary -- you see there -- Chuck Hagel, he arrived this morning for a meeting where thermal meters were used to try and detect the virus. Clearly, they're taking this very seriously.

We're joined now by Dr. William Schaffner. He's a doctor at Vanderbilt Medical Center, focusing on preventative medicine. Doctor, thank you very much for taking the time this morning.

We know that the world health organization is on alert, taking this seriously. We know -- just talked about those 20 health care workers who may have been exposed.

How concerned should people be, especially if they're heading to the hospital?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, VANDERBILT MEDICAL CENTER: Well, actually, fortunately, this is not a virus that is spread readily in the community. It is spread in the context of providing health care. That's very important. And it has occasionally spread in Saudi Arabia from one family member to another.

It requires close, constant, over time exposure. So, the average person in the community need not be exposed. But it's important to use good infection control precautions when caring for such patients.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about what that means for the hospital and then let's talk about what that means for the individual. You say it takes close person-to-person contact. The concern is that if this is brought over from overseas, that we could be seeing really the first transfer within the United States, because of person-to-person contact.

How do hospitals, especially emergency rooms, that really are the first line of defense, how do they need to be operating differently? What do they need to do with this information?

SCHAFFNER: Well, for the last two years, since we've had MERS in the Middle East, emergency room personnel, infectious disease doctors such as myself and others, have been alert. Anyone who comes in with respiratory symptoms is asked right away, have you traveled or have you had contact with someone who has traveled to the Middle East. If the answer is yes, you put that person in isolation, get specimens, send those to the CDC for further testing.

That system is working. These two patients that had come to the United States from Saudi Arabia and became ill were detected really quite quickly and were put in isolation. Now, we do have some exposed patients, health care workers, that is, in Orlando. And they're now being watched very carefully.

BOLDUAN: And, Doctor, the thing that is so scary about this, while it does require close contact in order to contract the virus, it also, we know that it's -- in 30 percent of the cases when you're infected, it can be fatal. That's what is scary about this for everyone watching at home. What do folks need to know? How can they be careful? How can they protect themselves from this?

SCHAFFNER: Well, let's just emphasize. This is not a virus that spreads readily in the community. We had the importation in Indiana. There is no spread there.

So far, we're monitoring people in Orlando. People around the country who work in emergency rooms are alert to this. That's what people ought to know.

The system is working. Public health was immediately notified. There's good collaboration to monitor those folks in Orlando. The system is working very well at the present time.

BOLDUAN: And in order to just in general, what should folks know? Since it is in the family of the SARS virus, something kind of related to the cold, is it this -- unfortunately, there is no silver bullet in how to protect yourself 100 percent of the time for any of this stuff. Does it get back to simply being diligent about washing your hands?

SCHAFFNER: Oh, washing your hands is always very good, avoiding people who are coughing and sneezing. And, of course, if you've traveled to an area of the world where MERS is active and you become sick, immediately let your doctor know about that.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. That's always the scary thing is that the symptoms start off as something similar that we always are used to, and it's where you've been is when you need to be concerned of what could happen next.

Dr. William Schaffner, thank you very much for your help in understanding what to do and what to watch out for. Appreciate it.

Let's get over to Don Lemon now who's in for Michaela -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much.

We want to tell you about a frightening scene for some parents in Upstate New York. And it all happened in their own backyard. Three children in an inflatable bounce house were swept away by a wind storm while playing inside. Look at this.


LEMON (voice-over): Look at this terrifying photo. That blue dot soaring high is an inflatable balloon house. Neighbors say a gust of wind blew the bouncy castle in upstate New York right off the front yard. Three children playing inside were sent flying two stories into the sky, soaring over a stretch of trees and this apartment complex.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first little boy came out, landed in the middle of the road right there. And then the other little boy came down, hit his head off the back of my car right there, and then he landed on the ground.

LEMON: A 10-year-old girl escaping with only scrapes. The two boys still hospitalized. One reportedly suffering two broken arms, and the other a serious head injury.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His face and whole front of his body was covered in blood.

LEMON: This isn't the first time the birthday party favorites have been sent airborne. Back in 2011, a heavy gust of wind blew this inflatable slide like a tumble weed, flying across a long island soccer field and landing on a crowd below, injuring 13. That same year in Tucson, Arizona, wind whipped this bouncy castle up in the air at a fifth grade graduation party, wrapping it around a light pole. Horrified neighbors of this accident say the castle was assembled correctly and staked into the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The parents were out there, too. And I mean, anything that could have been done wrong wasn't. Everything was done properly.


LEMON: So, the company is called Little Tikes, maker of the Bounce House and issued a statement providing safe and wholesome play experiences is of utmost importance to little times. We are looking into what happened, and our thoughts and prayers are with the children and their families.

And as Kate was saying, this does happen.


LEMON: It is. And it's just air and plastic. When the wind gets it --

CUOMO: It's a big balloon.

LEMON: It's a big balloon.

BOLDUAN: It's a big balloon.

LEMON: It's a big balloon, exactly right.

BOLDUAN: Exactly right.

LEMON: And they're very popular. I had them as a kid.

BOLDUAN: I remember we had them at our house as a kid, too.

CUOMO: I had them almost every other weekend during birthday season. My kids love them.

LEMON: Careful.

CUOMO: I love them.

BOLDUAN: Ooh. Chris in one of those things, now, that's a hazard.

CUOMO: Keep it down, that's for sure. Ballast.

BOLDUAN: That's what I was going to say.


BOLDUAN: Still scratching my head on that one.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, Magic Johnson was the target of Donald Sterling's racist rants, one of the targets. And then another attack right on CNN.

So, what does he have to say to the Clippers' owner? We're gong to show you in that exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper.

CUOMO: And is Hillary Clinton hiding something about her health? Or does Karl Rove just want you to think that? We're going to tell what you he said and what it could mean in 2016 or what it would mean about how we clean up politics today.


CUOMO: Well, it was the focus of Donald Sterling's rants and now, Magic Johnson is standing his ground in a CNN exclusive interview. Sterling, you may recall, insulting Johnson for having HIV, questioned his commitment to minority causes, among other things. Even with that, the NBA legend says he would have remained silent, but when Sterling discussed the African-American community, Magic says he had to speak up.

And here's what he had to say to Anderson Cooper.


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's 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 -- he claimed in this interview 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. It looked like at a Dodger game. That's it. That's all I know of her.

You know, 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. This was with a week --


COOPER: A week and a half ago, because he met with Barbara Walters on a Friday. JOHNSON: 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'll get to that, I'll 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?

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?

JOHNSON: Well, I'll apologize later. But I want you to go on this show.

He was adamant about me going on this 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 -- when he called me, he should have said, "Magic, I'm sorry."

COOPER: Right, 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's the one who said don't bring Magic to my games. So, you know, he's 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's sad. When I saw the interview, it's 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's really sad, you know, it's not about me. This is about the woman you love outing you and taping you and putting your -- putting your conversation out here for everybody to know.

That wasn't 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've done, you know in the minority community. That's well- documented, what I've done.


CUOMO: So, what is the impact of this?

Let's bring in Jerome Williams, retired NBA player and global sports ambassador, and David Cornwell, sports attorney from Gordon and Rees LLP.

Gentlemen, thank your for being here.

Let me start with you, Counselor. Magic Johnson did not have to do this interview. This is not about him, as he says. But what value do you think it provided, hearing from him?

DAVID CORNWELL, SPORTS ATTORNEY: Well, Magic Johnson, the basketball player, has another triple double. Earvin Johnson, the successful and dignified businessman rebutted Donald Sterling's racist rant by his mere presence. And, you know, it's almost unfortunate that Magic had to do the interview to -- he ended up almost dignifying Sterling by responding to him.

But Magic made the point, that he is a black leader, he had to respond and he certainly responded and knocked the ball out of the park. He made it clear, he's right, Sterling is wrong.

CUOMO: Jerome Williams, not only a player for a long time, you're V.P. of the players' union. In terms of how the players will see any chance of saving Donald Sterling in the league, when they hear that he didn't apologize to Magic Johnson but asked him to go on a TV show, is that the death sentence?

Excuse me.

JEROME WILLIAMS, RETIRED NBA PLAYER: Yes. That's going to resonate with the players. And, you know, to say that Donald Sterling has really, you know, set himself up for disasters is an understatement. I mean, here's a guy who has now -- we have heard from Magic and his point of view and what happened and what took place.

And it just paints this picture of a guy who lies, who isn't very honest, who is trying to wiggle out of a hole he just can't get out of. It's very unfortunate. I really do side with Magic Johnson, just praying for this man, this individual, who, you know, obviously has some issues that people have known about.

And I again just reiterate, you know, the players' solidarity and unifiedness with staying with the commissioner on this issue of being banned for life.

CUOMO: Whom to agree with is somewhat easy in it this situation, the way it sets up right now. What to do about it gets a little bit more complicated. And I say that, David Cornwell, because you had the owners meet yesterday but pretty quickly adjourned and said we'll meet again next week, no vote.

What does that indicate?

CORNWELL: I think that the owners recognize that we are in the kind of highlight of the NBA season. And the more they do about Donald Sterling, the more they take the focus away from the game.

So, I don't think that we're actually going to have a final vote on sterling's Status as an owner until after the NBA Finals.

I certainly wouldn't do it if I were the NBA owners. I wouldn't take the attention away from these great playoffs and put it on this man. He doesn't deserve the focus.

CUOMO: OK. Counter point that I'll put to you, Jerome Williams. Donald sterling doesn't deserve the attention. But the issue does. But making a statement about what is tolerated and who we are as a people and a culture, as reflected by what we respect and make out of bounds in the NBA does.

So, do you think that the owners should be acting now?

WILLIAMS: Well, I definitely feel as though they should act. But it's a double-edged sword. I mean, the NBA should be getting all the attention.

Magic said it best. He, you know -- us taking our time for Donald Sterling and away from this great game that has been built in these exciting playoffs. Last night's game with OKC and L.A. Clippers was a phenomenal finish. But here this morning we're talking about Donald Sterling.

I think that it is playing a major role in these playoffs, because race in this country has always been a defining moment, a defining conversation for generations. And it seems this 80-year-old man has definitely put his stamp on this mark of this great game because of his comments that were recorded. And it's really put us in a bad spot, I believe.

CUOMO: All right. Jerome Williams, David Cornwell, I appreciate the perspective this morning. We'll all be watching the games, of course. And they have been awesome. But this issue looms large, and the action on it is going to be important as well.

Gentlemen, thank you very much.

Now, you want to look it at this situation, you have Magic, you have Donald Sterling, you want to hear from both, what makes more sense, you'll have another chance to hear from Sterling. More of his exclusive interview on "AC360" tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

We'll take a quick break now. When we come back on NEW DAY: this war of words. Karl Rove says that Hillary Clinton may have some type of mental health -- some brain injury. He suggests that.

Now, Republicans are criticizing his remarks. But we're all talking about it, Kate. So maybe he did what he wanted to do. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Did Karl Rove really just suggest that Hillary Clinton may have brain damage? Well, here's why people are asking that today. Republican strategist Karl Rove suggested that more needs to be made of Hillary Clinton's 2012 concussion and subsequent hospital stay. He said, quoting him right now, "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."

Now, Tuesday, rove back-peddled saying he never said she had brain damage.


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


CUOMO: Joining us now from Washington is Tracy Sefl, senior adviser to the super PAC Ready for Hillary and a Democratic communication strategist, and Mr. Kevin Madden, CNN political commentator and Republican strategist.

Kevin Madden, good to see you, my friend.


CUOMO: She wasn't in the hospital 30 days. She was in the hospital three days. There are no special TBI glasses.