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NEW DAY SATURDAY
People Arrested for Suspected Arson in California Wildfires; Michelle Obama Makes Headlines with Her Speech in a Kansas High School; West African Leaders to Discuss How to Bring Back Kidnapped Nigerian Girls; Woman in Sudan Given a Death Sentence for Refusal to Denounce Her Faith; Donald Sterling Refuses to Pay Fine; Firefighters in California Have Made Some Headway; Dangerousness of Firenados; Controversial Prime Minister Elected in India; Protesters Take To the Streets In Turkey; Two Journalists Remember 911 In New Book
Aired May 17, 2014 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: There were arrests in Escondido. And there was also an arrest in Oceanside.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Charges filed. One of the people arrested for suspected arson in the California wildfires has now been charged. The investigation, the homes lost and the fire battle ahead.
OBAMA: So today, by some measures, our schools are as segregated as they were back when Dr. King gave his final speech.
PAUL: On the 60th anniversary of Brown versus the Board of Education, First Lady Michelle Obama making headlines for a speech she gave last night at a Kansas high school saying, "We may be in a new era of segregation."
PAUL: And it was the surveillance tape that shocked Hollywood. Jeanne Moos breaks down the CSI of Jay-Z. Your "New Day" starts now.
PAUL: You know, so glad to have you on board with us here. And good morning to you on a Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you, 6:00 now. This is "New Day Saturday." And we're beginning this morning with those devastating wildfires in California.
Charges have now been filed against one of the three people arrested for alleged arson.
PAUL: Right now, we know the firefighters are trying to contain six fires near San Diego. So far, more than 27,000 acres have been scorched and nearly 200,000 people have been forced to evacuate from their homes.
BLACKWELL: Look at this, this is what it looks like over a Marine Corps base camp Pendleton where another wildfire has erupted. Look at this. It's only about 25 percent contained.
The situation is not much better in San Marcos where a fire is pretty much burning out of control.
PAUL: And let's show you what's going on in Carlsbad. At least 12 homes have been damaged or destroyed. And just to give you a sense of what firefighters who are up against here, look at this.
My goodness, dry temperatures, strong winds, fueling whirling towers of flames like this one. Experts say, these firenadoes can spin (ph) out winds as powerful as an E-2 tornado.
BLACKWELL: Fires across the area are so widespread, so destructive that officials are warning thousands of homes there are in jeopardy.
PAUL: You know, a terrified homeowner, in fact, told the "L.A. Times," flames in one neighborhood looked like a scene out of "Armageddon." That's how they described it. We want to bring in CNN's Dan Simon, who is there in San Marcos live right now.
Dan, talk to us about what's going on there at the moment.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, good morning. Well, as you said, we're in San Marcos. This is one of the areas that was hardest hit. We're actually in front of a home. As you can see, it's leveled.
And you can literally see smoke rising from the ashes. This is -- was certainly somebody's dream home. And they had wide, expansive views. What I can tell you, though, is that overnight, conditions improved dramatically.
And -- and in fact, if you consider all the fires that we've seen over the past several days here in San Diego, most of them now are fully contained or nearly contained. The problematic areas are San Marcos as we talked about, also the Camp Pendleton area.
But -- but the water has gotten a lot better. The temperatures have dropped. There is higher humidity and really not much wind to speak of. Firefighters are starting to sound confident that they're gaining the upper hand.
But -- but certainly, still some hot spots, still a lot of firefighters here on the scene. And during the day, those aircrafts (ph) continue to drop water on some of those prone areas.
BLACKWELL: Hey, Dan, are all of the homes in that neighborhood you're in -- have they all been destroyed? Or are they, you know, as we typically see in some natural disasters, a home here, a home there have been destroyed by fire or, in some cases, tornadoes, but other homes are still standing?
SIMON: Yes, it's -- it's the second, you know, it really shows you the unpredictable nature of fire -- some homes perfectly intact, some homes destroyed. When you look at what we've seen over the past few days, you look at neighborhoods like Carlsbad, you look at San Marcos, in total, we're talking about two dozen -- two or three-dozen homes that have been damaged or completely destroyed.
When you look at the amount of fire that we've seen, firefighters actually say that it could have been a lot worse. They certainly saved hundreds, if not thousands of homes.
PAUL: All right, hey, Dan Simon, we so appreciate it. You all stay safe out there. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: And you could imagine the people who were told to get out and get out now absolutely terrified when they get that notification to get out. And one of the -- the eyewitnesses running for his life was Jeb Durgan (ph). Here is a -- a look at what he faced. Watch this.
DURGAN (ph): Oh my god, oh my god. Holy...
Durgan (ph) drove through all of this along with his co-worker who -- who shot this stunning video. He's on the phone with us this morning from San Marcos in Northern San Diego County.
Jeb (ph), it's -- it's good to have you with us. I'm glad to hear you guys made it out safely. You're not fire chasers, we know. So did you go and look for this or was this just along the route as you were just trying to get out?
DURGAN (ph): Well, good morning. This was actually right outside of where we were -- where we were working for the day. It was actually on a route where we were intending on going.
And when we pulled around a corner, we saw it in front of us. And there wasn't much option but to go right into the heart of it.
PAUL: So I mean, at any point, we can hear, you know, you, guys, guys and your conversations and bleeping the expletives as anybody can, you know, understand...
BLACKWELL: Sure would.
PAUL: ...for sure. But was there any point where you were literally in fear for yourself?
DURGAN (ph): You know, there was fear, excitement. There was a lot of emotions that were going, running through my head and in the moment. There was -- actually, through the video, you could see the most intense moment.
That would be where the flames were on the right side of the car. And there was actually -- well, you can't see it in the -- what was going on in front of us. And there's a -- there's quite a bit in at that moment where there was flames.
There was smoke. There is people driving through the -- the median, any which way you look, there was a little bit of chaos at that moment. And that's probably when I was most fearful.
BLACKWELL: I mean, these are -- are strong visuals. And we get the -- the pictures. But explain for us the feeling. What were you feeling as this was happening?
DURGAN (ph): I -- the -- the emotional attachment I would to that is one that is very similar to maybe seeing death before -- you know, narrowly escaping death. So your emotions are just kind of going through a roller coaster.
Am I safe here? Am I going to be able to drive through these flames and still be OK? Or are there going to be more flames? Am I going to have an -- you know, is there going to be a situation where I have to get out of the car and help somebody running from their burning house, you know, help them for other things?
There's feelings attached or just -- it's emotional roller coaster. You really don't know how to predict what's going to come next.
PAUL: Jeb (ph), we see in this video, you know, other cars. And we see the homes that these flames are so close to. Did you see anybody? Have you talked to anybody? Do you know if the folks there are OK?
What did you experience in terms of any interaction with people?
DURGAN (ph): Well, the people there know it's -- it was very interesting because it's almost as if the people -- they were going kind of through the same thing that I was going through. There were so many emotions that sometimes, it looked like people were calm and collected.
And sometimes, it looked like people were in a state of panic. So watching other people going through the same type of emotional roller coaster that I was is aided in the complete chaos of the whole scene.
BLACKWELL: Wow, well...
PAUL: Oh, Jeb (ph), you -- boy, first of all, we're just so grateful you all are OK.
BLACKWELL: Absolutely. Jeb Durgan (ph), thank you so much for sharing the story and sharing these amazing pictures. And of course, we hope that things get better there on the West Coast.
And half of the battle for the wildfires is the weather. I mean, the searing heat, ferocious Santa Ana winds, of course, they make it harder for the firefighters to contain the brush (ph).
PAUL: Oh, sure. Well, Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is joining us from the severe weather center right now.
There, I know, are some latest red flag alerts. The fires are -- are all about, you know, how these winds might come in. What do you know about what it's going to be like today to them?
ALEXANDRA STEELE, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Things are improving. But it is all about the weather. It is all predicated on the weather. It is hot. It is dry, and these ferocious Santa Ana winds.
Last year, 2013, driest on records since the 1800s. This year, even worse. The entire state of California in one of the three worst droughts where we stand. So that is there.
Also, we've set so many records in California, one of the hottest years we've ever seen. But temperatures are coming down so Los Angeles at 97, in the 90s the last couple of days, now getting down into the 70s. So cooler air is on the horizon.
We have seen a pattern change. And also, these ferocious Santa Anas (ph) is offshore hot dry wind, changing direction. And the most important thing with this is the direction from which the wind is coming. And it is now finally coming from the water, bringing in that moisture from the cold pacific.
So that is all good news. Of course, here is the fire outlook. It is still hot and will stay hot further inland into the southeast for Flagstaff. Temperatures there are still above a hundred degrees. But we are seeing conditions certainly improve, you, guys, so no question about that.
Moisture coming in, temperatures coming down but the damage is done. And long term, the fire forecast is certainly not good.
PAUL: All right. Alexandra Steele, thanks so much for the update.
BLACKWELL: And of course, we'll continue to watch those -- the -- the developing story there...
BLACKWELL: ...on the West Coast with the California fires. But also something that happened overnight and -- and is new for you this morning, we're talking 60 years after the landmark Supreme Court case desegregated America schools, you know, Brown versus board. Well, First Lady Michelle Obama says in pretty blunt terms, "The country is in danger of sliding backwards."
PAUL: Yes, she told graduating high school seniors yesterday in Topeka, Kansas, which, as Victor said, that's what gave rise to the Brown versus Board of Education decision. She said that some communities have actually pulled back efforts to integrate schools.
OBAMA: So today, by some measures, our schools are as segregated as they were when Dr. King gave his final speech. And as a result, many young people in America are going to school largely with kids who look just like them. And too often, those schools aren't equal, especially ones attended by students of color, which too often lag behind with crumbling classrooms and less experienced teachers. And even in schools that seem integrated, according to the numbers, when you look a little closer, you see students from different backgrounds sitting at separate lunch tables or trapped into different classes or separated into different clubs or activities.
PAUL: That (ph), as (ph) you pointed (ph) out, the First Lady also said her own daughters are growing up in a more diverse culture. Part of the proof, she said, is her -- is their father's election as president. We're going to have a lot more on this story and speech in the next hour with a live report for you.
BLACKWELL: You know, we're also following the developments in Nigeria to bring back those girls who were kidnapped. And now, West African leaders are stepping in. We'll tell you what they're doing to try to help bring back the more than 200 kidnapped school girls.
PAUL: Also, Donald Sterling saying, he will not pay and he will not go, the latest chapter in the saga involving the owner of the L.A. Clippers.
BLACKWELL: In Paris, West African leaders will be meeting this hour to discuss how to bring back the kidnapped Nigerian school girls. And in the U.S., the House Foreign Affairs committee will be holding a hearing next week on -- on that same issue.
PAUL: Yes, but more than 200 girls are being held by the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram. And the State Department officials said the U.S. should have designated Boko Haram a terror organization sooner. CNN's Isha Sesay live for us in Abuja, Nigeria.
Isha, thank you so much for being with us. Do -- do you have details at this point on what's going to be discussed today specifically?
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Victor.
Hi there, Christi. Our understand is that this summit, which is hosted by the French President Francois Hollande , will involve the leader of Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan, along with leaders of neighboring Nigerian countries. We're talking about Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, as well as representatives from the U.S., the U.K. and the E.U. all gathering there in Paris to discuss fresh strategies of dealing with Boko Haram and other terror groups that are afflicting West Africa and Central Africa. Now, the question is, what concrete will emerge from here.
What substance (ph) will come out of it? Will this just be a talking shop (ph) or will they emerge with a concrete plan for bringing those girls back? As of yet, we -- we don't know really. This summit is scheduled to get going in a couple of hours from now. And we will be following it very closely to see what emerges.
BLACKWELL: Isha, we've seen the video from the leader of Boko Haram saying that they may return the girls under certain circumstances, possibly a swap. What are the conditions? What -- what are the demands?
SESAY: It's -- it's pretty straightforward on the part of Boko Haram. At least that is what they're claiming at this stage according to that video, that they are willing to swap the girls for Boko Haram fighters that are currently being held by the Nigerian government.
The Nigerian government, for its part, I have to say, when this initially emerged, there was something of mixed messaging. At least, that's how it was read here on the ground and that some Nigerian government ministers said, you know, they weren't open to any kind of talks.
It wasn't for Boko Haram to make demands. Then we heard from the other party saying, all offers, all options are on the table. The Nigerian government saying to CNN yesterday -- yesterday, Friday, saying their final position on all of this is they are open to talking to Boko Haram.
All options are indeed on the table. Now, this question of whether they're willing to entertain a swap, that -- that's still, you know, isn't quite clear to us. But they are willing to talk to Boko Haram.
And the Nigerian government is keen to stress, they're willing to do everything necessary to get the girls back.
BLACKWELL: All right, Isha Sesay for us in Abuja, Nigeria. We'll stand by to see what are the fruits of this discussion today.
PAUL: Thank you, Isha. Also in Sudan, a woman who converted to Christianity has been given a death sentence for refusing to renounce her faith. She was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to (inaudible) for marrying a Christian man.
Now, the court considers her a Muslim. And here is the thing. The woman is also eight months pregnant. She's in prison with her 20- month-old son. Her lawyer says the sentence should not stand.
And human rights groups around the world are condemning that ruling. We'll obviously keep on that one for you as well.
PAUL: But it is the best and worst of time, let's say, in the NBA.
BLACKWELL: I think if you're watching the playoffs, these games are amazing. They're coming down to the final seconds, some bad calls, some amazing shots. And then it's overshadowed by this man, Donald Sterling.
His future as owner of the Clippers -- that's in question here. We'll have more on our bleacher report.
BLACKWELL: Twenty-two minutes after the hour, the L.A. Clippers, they are sadly out of the NBA playoffs. But the saga of their owner and his racist rant, you remember it, may linger and linger on.
PAUL: Yes, Rashan Ali (ph) is here with the latest from the Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, you know, saying that he's not going to -- just -- refusing for -- I'm not paying the $2.5 million...
ALI: Right, right.
ALI: Yes, they -- both sides are definitely digging in for what could surely be a very, very long battle on the court and obviously, off the court. Now, Donald Sterling sent a letter to the NBA earlier this week telling the league, he will not pay his $2.5 million fine and rejects his lifetime ban.
The letter also reportedly threatened the NBA with a lawsuit if Sterling's punishment for making racist remarks is not rescinded. Remember, Commissioner Adam Silver and the league moved quickly, announcing the punishment three days after the recordings were released last month.
It's been a tough week for the week and its fans. And not only have the Clippers been under so much scrutiny because of Donald Sterling's comments, but after that, a loss that ended their title run. They were sent packing after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, 104-98.
The team held their post-season press conference on Friday. And by the looks of it, things could get worse.
GRIFFIN: I think it just needs to be swift. I think we need to make our decision or make their decision, whatever it is and -- and -- and, you know, make a change. But, you know, at the same time, you have to be patient.
You know, there is a due process that -- that has to -- to happen. And I understand that. But you know, I don't want to -- I don't want to keep, you know, answering questions about it just as much as everybody else.
ALI: Yes, he's -- he's mad.
BLACKWELL: Yes, yes. PAUL: Yes.
ALI: Obviously, he's very mad about it. And I'm very -- you know, continuing to have answer these questions, I'm really afraid of what the off-season is going to be like.
BLACKWELL: Yes, literal, blood, sweat and tears from Blake Griffin himself and a lot of the team. But you know, let's talk about -- so the hidden (ph) legal strategy moving forward...
BLACKWELL: ...what -- what is it, because I don't think he did himself too much good in the -- the exclusive with Anderson Cooper.
ALI: Oh, no, I think he really did a bad job. His PR person probably was screaming in the background, even if he has one. But he has hired anti-trust lawyer, Maxwell Blecher (ph).
Now, he represented him in a case in 1984, when he took the team from San Diego to Los Angeles. They fined him $25 million in the NBA. But he actually got the fund reduced to like %6 million.
So this guy is very well-versed in these types of cases. He also won a case against the NFL. So this guy is really, really good and it could be a very, very long process.
BLACKWELL: All right, some successful, thus far. All right...
BLACKWELL: Rashan Ali...
PAUL: Pleasure to have you.
BLACKWELL: ...good to have you.
ALI: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: We're going to have more on the developing story overnight, affecting hundreds of thousands of people, these wildfires in California, including the danger caused when the shifting winds pushed the flames into what you're looking at here. It's considered a firenado.
PAUL: Plus, saying goodbye to a legend. Look at this, "The View's" emotional farewell to the one and only, Barbara Walters.
PAUL: Well, aren't you up early, 6:29 on a Saturday morning. If I were home, I admit I'd still be in bed.
BLACKWELL: I'd probably still be asleep, much less just in bed. PAUL: I know. Welcome back. I'm Christi Paul. I'm Victor Blackwell. Let's start this half with five things you need to know for your new day.
PAUL: Yes, number one, a top official in the Veteran's Administration has resigned. The departure of Dr. Robert Petzel comes as the agency's grappling with the growing scandal over claims of inadequate care and long wait times at some V.A. facilities.
Now, Petzel testified for Senate this week alongside V.A. Secretary, Eric Shinseki. Petzel was due to retire this year.
BLACKWELL: Number two, police in Georgia now know they are investigating a double murder because the body of 87-year-old Shirley German has now been found two weeks after friends discovered her husband, Russell German, dead in the couple's multimillion dollar waterfront home. He had been decapitated. Shirley German's body was found in the lake behind their home. Police say she was abducted sometime after her husband's murder.
PAUL: Number three, hundreds of couples in Arkansas has put the wedding plans on hold after the state Supreme Court said it would halt same-sex marriage. Now, the announcement came just days after a judge ruled an offence or ban on same sex marriage violates the Constitution. Of course, spokeswoman said more than 400 same-sex couples have applied for marriage licenses.
BLACKWELL: Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Michael Douglas, they all made surprise appearances on ABC's "The View" Friday to say good-bye to a TV news legend, icon, choose what you like, Barbara Walters. Now, the 84-year-old is not fully retiring. No one expected her to just walk away. She'll still serve as the executive producer for "The View" and make special appearances for ABC News. But Walters said she has no interest in appearing regularly on another television show.
PAUL: There's a lot of powerful people in one place.
BLACKWELL: Sure, it was.
PAUL: Number five, firefighters in California making some headway, thankfully, in knocking down several wildfires burning in San Diego County as we speak here. Six fires are still burning. More than 31 square miles have been charred, we know. And dozens of homes and other structures were destroyed by the flames. One man, this is another piece of big news this morning. One man has been charged now with arson. A second man and a juvenile are under arrest in fire investigation. Still waiting to hear if more charges are to come.
BLACKWELL: Well, there is a bit of good news this morning. And, of course, they need it. Calmer winds, cooler temperatures, potentially expected in the area this weekend.
PAUL: It could help the firefighters. Because - they are just - they are in danger. They have got to be exhausted by this point. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is joining us with the latest on the weather conditions. Hi, Alexandra, what do you know? ALEXANDRA STEELE, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi. Good morning to you, guys. Well, you know, the weather pattern on the whole is changing. This strong ridges that we've had in place, as allowed it to be hot, allowed it to be dry and this hot offshore Santa Ana winds. All of that is changing. So, we are going to see some certainly improving weather, but no rain in the forecast. Last year, this is the 2013 drought. This year and that was the worst drought on record since the 1800s. This year, exponentially worse. Currently, the entire state of California in one of three fire in terms of droughts, one of the highest. So, we have got everything in place. The recipe for these wildfires, including it is hot, record heat, it is dry, record drought.
And temperatures, though, on the good news forecast-wise, things are improving. Los Angeles had been in the 90s, getting up to 97 a few days ago. Now we'll drop down into the 70s. Average temperature there is 74. So, temperatures are coming down. And also, we are going to see a switch in the wind direction coming in from the water bringing an on shore flow.
So, the most important thing with this map is the direction from which these arrows are coming. The southwesterly flow bringing in the cold water. The air above that, bringing that inwards. So, we are going to have higher moisture levels and, of course, we are having higher humidity levels. So that is all good news. There still is the fire threat, though. It is farther eastward. But in terms of the fire, the damage is certainly done. Already this year, it's five times the average for the year. So, weather forecast is certainly improving. The fire forecast in the end game isn't so great. Because we have already set the stage with the drought and the heat already for the year, of course.
BLACKWELL: Wow, those families and firefighters will take whatever they can get. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele, thank you.
PAUL: Firefighters, of course, aren't battling just the walls of flames from these wildfires.
BLACKWELL: Yeah, they are also battling the elements, sometimes the shift in winds as Alexandra spoke of, add fuel to the blaze and they create a whole new level of danger. Let's get to Tom Foreman to explain.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi, hey Victor. You know, the most dangerous thing for a wild land firefighter out there is a day when the weather and the winds are shifting all the time. So, a fire may be pushed one way one second and then moments later, is going the other way. How does this come together to create a firenado or a fire world as some people call it? Essentially, the fire burns into a hot pocket of fuel, low grasses or certain shrubs. It gets around 1500-2200 degrees. That would be typical. And then a pocket of cooler air appears above it. And all the heat is drawn toward that as the cool air and the hot air collide with each other, you get that tornadic motion. They start swirling around each other. More gases are drown in from below. As they get up to where there's enough oxygen, they burst into flames. And it gets tighter and faster.
Not a true tornado. A true tornado would be hundreds of miles an hour. That can happen in a wildfire, very, very rare. These are more like dust devils made of fire, but they are still dangerous. Along other they can go horizontal and they can move out across the ground sort of like a multi-thousand degree blow torch spraying out at anybody down there. Very dangerous. But even if it goes straight up, and doesn't do that there's still a danger. Because along with those gases that are being sucked in toward this vortex, you can have little bits of plants, things that can catch on fire. And as they move up and burst into flames, they can be thrown out and carried by the wind as embers, so that they start other fires. And it's very easy for someone to be trapped between the firenado, the fire whirl and all these other fires. Imagine that going all the way around them. That's why firefighters treat these things with so much respect. Because they are interesting to see, but can be very dangerous. Christi, Victor?
PAUL: All right. Tom Foreman. Great description for us. Thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: You know, the sadness over the deadly Turkish mine disaster we've been covering it for a couple of days now, it's now boiled over this morning into the streets. Protests there. We'll tell you what triggered the anger and how authorities responded.
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CROWD: (chanting in foreign language)
BLACKWELL: Remember your dead. That's what they are chanting in the streets there in Turkey this morning in the wake of the mine disaster. Almost 300 miners died in an underground explosion and fire. And police responded to protesters with as you see here, a water cannon, also tear gas. Miners (INAUDIBLE) admitted, the workers may not have had access to an emergency chamber where they could have sheltered themselves against the flames and those choking fumes.
PAUL: Meanwhile, recovery efforts are continuing at that Turkish mine right now. An incident, though, during the protest inside of the crowd after an aide to the Turkish prime minister apparently kicked one of the demonstrators. You see this video here? The prime minister apparently can be heard threatening protesters. Listen.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't be nasty, what happened, happened. It is from god. If you boo the country's prime minister, you get slapped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: OK, so here is the still picture showing the aide, the one in the suit there apparently kicking that demonstrator as he's wrestling with police. Now, the image has come to symbolize the public's frustration over the government's handling of mine safety specifically in Turkey.
BLACKWELL: Let's go to India now. The controversial leader Narendra Modi has won an historic landslide election victory there. And he got a hero's welcome at his part of headquarters in Delhi.
PAUL: There he is. A few years ago, though, the U.S. had denied Modi a visa because of claims that he did little to stop riots in 2002 in the state where he was leader. But President Barack Obama, we understand has called Modi now to congratulate him on his victory and has invited him to Washington. Becky Anderson has some details for us.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Narendra Modi may be India's prime minister in waiting, but for years he was not welcome in the United States. The U.S. State Department denied Modi a visa in 2005 following bloody anti-Muslim riots in his home state in India. But now, three U.S. State Department officials tell CNN Modi will be granted a visa once he takes office. Like all heads of government. Modi, a staunch Hindu nationalist, was chief minister of the Western state of Gujarat when sectarian riots broke out in 2002. More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims were killed in the violence. As a result, the U.S., Britain and European powers effectively imposed a diplomatic freeze on him for years. Modi denied any wrongdoing. And India's Supreme Court absolved him of blame last year. This week, with voting underway, U.S. officials dodged questions about Modi's visa status.
JENNIFER PSAKI. U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: As you know, we don't speak to visa acceptance applications, et cetera.
ANDERSON: The U.K. reinstated relations with Modi in 2012. There is part of a bid to boost ties with India. The U.S. is now ready to follow suit. The State Department officials say they look forward to working with India's next leader.
PSAKI: We view our relationship with India as one that is vitally important for economic, strategic reasons and one that we look forward to continuing to grow and in the future.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The prime minister of India will be welcomed to the United States.
ANDERSON: Now that Modi's party has won a landslide victory, his visa eligibility in the words of one U.S. official is a moot point.
BLACKWELL: Becky joins us now live from New Delhi. Becky, those crowds at the party's headquarters are huge. What are the celebrations like there today?
ANDERSON: It's been absolutely incredible. He came from his home state of Gujarat yesterday where he thanked the crowds and said he was sorry, apologized for not being around too much over the last nine or ten months. He's been on the campaign trail. Today, in New Delhi, where you saw the pictures, he arrived from (INAUDIBLE), came into town. I was down in the crowds outside his party's headquarters. Absolutely remarkable scenes. But these are all his supporters, of course. And as we pointed out in that report, Victor, this is a highly divisive polarizing character. Let me just set this in context for you so far as sort of sectarian lines are concerned.
Remember, this is a country of a billion people. More people voted here than there are combined in the U.S. and Europe. Now, of those, over 1 billion people, there are 170 million Muslims. That is more than there are Muslims in Saudi, in Syria, Iraq and -- yeah, in Iraq combined. So, those are the numbers. What Modi does next along sort of religious front will be very interesting? In Washington, we'll be watching that. Though it is clear, guys that Washington wants to do business with this man. Because do remember, again, this is a $2 trillion economy. He will, he says, revitalize it, liberalize it and he is looking to the West, not least to America and American investors to get involved here. It is really underperforming at 4.5 percent at the moment. American investors will be watching this and so will Washington. But they will have to be careful. This guy as I say is a very polarizing character.
BLACKWELL: All right. Becky Anderson for us there in New Delhi. Becky, thank you.
PAUL: Thanks, Becky. So, I'm wondering if you are planning on going to the memorial, once it opens to us, to the public on Wednesday. But we know that survivors, and rescuers and families of those who died on 9/11 were there this week for the dedication of the long awaited 911 Memorial Museum. How two CNN journalists remember the horrific day.
BLACKWELL: Also, could a cure for cancer be found in an unlikely disease? One disease curing another. One woman says she is living proof.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: No act of terror could match the strength or the character of our country. At the great wall and bedrock that embrace us today, nothing can ever break us. Nothing can change who we are as Americans.
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BLACKWELL: That was President Obama this week at the dedication of the long awaited September 11th Memorial and museum along with the survivors, and the rescuers and families of those who perished at that site. Now, a record, really the definitive record of how broadcasters, the reporters and the producers and the journalists performed their job that tragic day is part of the museum captured in a new book, "Covering Catastrophe." It contains more than 160 personal reflections from the nationally recognized television radio journalist, including CNN's Ashleigh Banfield. Look at this picture, she's standing here - I think we have it - yeah, covered head-to-toe in soot. When I spoke with Ashleigh and the book's author Allison Gilbert and asked them to think back to that day.
ALLISON GILBERT: When the second tower came down, there was no place for me to run. I was trying to outrun what I thought was a falling skyscraper. And I ran out of my shoes. I was wearing you know, slip- ons. And I was barefoot and running over glass and debris. And I was just pushed over by that dust cloud that we have all seen on TV so many times. And I could not see my hands in front of my face. And I just waited - I waited for the pelting to stop. I was being pummeled by debris. And ultimately was taken to Belleview hospital by ambulance. And tubes were put down my throat. And I really was scared for my life. I did not think I would see my son again who was 18 months and home at the time.
BLACKWELL: Unimaginable. Tell us about this triage tag.
GILBERT: Well, after I was pushed over by this debris, I was taken into this emergency triage location, which is really just a deli. You know, so many people sought cover in delis. And glass was smashed out. And we were told to drink water and juice from the containers that were just there. And I was triaged. An emergency tag was put around my neck to kind of see who I was and what was wrong with me. And that's how they knew kind of where to transport me. And I was taken Belleview Hospital, like I said, and my clothes were cut off my body. They wanted to see if I was impaled. And it was a terrifying experience that I really did not recover from. Which is really the genesis of why I wanted to write the book and include people like Ashleigh who are really in front of the camera. And really had such a Herculean job to do that day. I was behind the scenes. I didn't have to kind of have my poker face, do my job and be seen by millions of people.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD: Oh, I loved that poker face ...
BLACKWELL: That's the question a lot of people ask is, how do you do your job knowing how you have to prioritize the facts and information and still balance the emotion.
BANFIELD: Well, that one was the apocalypse. So, Victor, I don't think anybody was thinking about how to effectively do your job with the old rules of professionalism and staying out of the story. Because Allison and I had really a very similar experience. When that North Tower came down, it was like a tornado of rain and pain sort of hitting you from behind.
GILBERT: It was a tail wind, it was a tail wind that pushed you over.
BANFIELD: I always remember the feeling of my ears bending forward. I don't know if they ever did, but it sure felt like it hadn't been for breaking the glass, to the left hand side of your screen, breaking the lower pain and crawling into that inner vestibule of that building, I don't think I would have survived. I just - I couldn't breathe. It was pitch black. I took that thing around my neck, it was actually the cardigan, and I tied it around my mouth so that I could breathe. And I probably was in that horror show, that horrible black debris hell for about - I don't know maybe a minute, or a minute and a half. The time is a bit nebulous, and then escaped to the refuge that you saw. And this is after, probably, I don't know, within an hour of emerging into the moonscape I found that mask. I think a first responder had dropped it. And that's what I used for the rest of the day.
BLACKWELL: How do you reconcile the emotions of the day, almost 13 years later?
GILBERT: I think what happened with 9/11 is that we all wore two hats that day. When really before, we only wore one, which was the reporter hat. I think this day, we were both - people don't like to talk about it but I'll say it. I think we were survivors and reporters. And at once we were ...
BANFIELD: By the way, that's how I reported. I didn't feel like I was a reporter, I felt like I was a guest on everyone's show at that moment. I didn't act as a reporter, really.
GILBERT: I mean I think for the first time, we were choking on the same sight. We were not seeing in front of our face, which everyone else had that same experience. We were one with the story.
BANFIELD: But lucky.
GILBERT: Which I think - but lucky.
BANFIELD: But lucky.
GILBERT: Yes, we are definitely one of the lucky -- we are lucky.
BLACKWELL: Indeed, now for more reflections read Allison's op-ed at cnn.com/opinion. Click on "Journalist and Survivor." We'll be right back.
BLACKWELL: It's the elevator rumble that has left us with so many questions. So many questions.
PAUL: So many parodies.
BLACKWELL: Yes, those, too.
PAUL: Nobody can tackle bat like Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It started out as such a nice night. Beyonce and Jay-Z arriving at the Met Gala. Beyonce dropped her ring. Her husband, put it back on her finger. But on the way out of an after party, fingers gave way to fists. Round one. Beyonce's sister, Solange started hitting Jay-Z. A body guard pulls her off. Beyonce mostly stays out of it. Round two, Solange tries to kick Jay-Z. He grabs her leg in defense. Round three, a somewhat half-hearted assault, round four with the door open. Solange hauls off and whacks Jay-Z with her bag. Online commentators had a field day captioning the after picture. Did that just happen? Smile through it. Bring it says Solange.
Something Jay-Z said really pushed Solange's buttons.
But since the surveillance video has no audio, #whatjayzsaidtosolange encouraged guessing. Is elevator music better than any song you ever made? In reference to Solange's singing career. Solange Knowles attacks Jay-Z, the first hit she's had in years.
Everyone had a theory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Solange heard Jay-Z say something to her sister that she didn't like.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
MOOS: One online analyst even quoted Dickens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a melancholy truth that even great man have their poor relations.
MOOS: Years ago, Solange already seemed to be putting distance between herself and Jay-Z.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Solange, good morning, and thanks, Solange, for joining us.
SOLANGE KNOWLES: Good morning. I have to say, that was not a very professional introduction before. Please don't tie me into family and my brother-in-law's establishment.
MOSS: Someone put the elevator fight to Jay-Z's own song.
MOOS: Jay-Z's 100 problems, what they're now calling Solange. Jokesters are dressing up and recreating the fight, making fun of everything from the late grab to the handbag turned weapon.
(UNKNOWN): It was like a sandwich bag with a hood (ph) and (ph) string.
MOOS: One day, you're grabbing your sister-in-laws leg in self- defense, then you're caught on camera caressing your wife's leg, just a week in the life of a rapper, ground floor, ladies' bags. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.