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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Pope Francis Arrives in Jordan; Arizona Battles Wildfire; Beef, Sprouts, Walnuts, Hummus Recalled; Interview with Sarah Bajc; Near- Misses Jump Between 2011 and 2012; Seven People Dead in California Drive-by Shooting
Aired May 24, 2014 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The Pope goes to the holy land. We are just minutes away from seeing Pope Francis. In fact we've just gotten word that he's arrived in Amman, Jordan for this historic trip. We'll take you there live.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Arizona wildfire grows, 8500 acres, and containment isn't even in sight. Right now, the only solution, fight the fire with fire.
BLACKWELL: And a new development this morning in the much anticipated Inmarsat data release. Could it tell us where MH-370 is?
Your NEW DAY starts right now.
PAUL: I hope Saturday has been good to you so far. Thank you for sharing your time with us. We love to see you. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. 6:00 here on the East Coast. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY. And we've got live pictures, as we said just a few moments ago. This is Amman, Jordan. Pope Francis, his plane there has just landed for his first trip to the holy land.
PAUL: The world's one billion Roman Catholics arriving in Amman, Jordan as you see now waiting to walk down the steps. We'll see him as he gets on that red carpet that's been laid out to him. He's got quite a schedule ahead of him. At least 30 engagements. He's going to meet with Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders during this whirlwind visit -- weekend visit to the Middle East. And he's only going to be there for three days.
BLACKWELL: CNN International's Becky Anderson, she's with us on the phone now from Amman.
Becky, the Pope is beloved. We saw all of the outpouring of love on his trip to Brazil. I mean, he is the first Pope from Latin America and that was his return to Latin America. But what will we expect on this trip? Maybe a different scene?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes, it's going to be an interesting one. This one, the first of three cities, two solo masses, 13 speeches, and meetings with the king and religious and political leaders across the country -- across the region, in fact. And that is all in the two and a half days of course. The visit clearly set amidst a stalled peace process and certainly not an itinerary for the fainthearted.
Let me give you a sense of what will happen here because relations between Muslims and Christian minorities here in Jordan are pretty amicable on the whole and I've no doubt he's got a warm welcome. You'll witness by the reception at the airport as you are seeing now. He's going to be welcomed by the chief of royal protocol and the ambassador of the Vatican Jordan. There'll be a two-lane guard of honor. He'll be received by his royal highness, Prince Ghazi and local students.
And then he's going to come on to the palace where I'm actually -- with a very small group of people who have gotten the opportunity to be actually at the meeting with Prince -- sorry, with King Abdullah II and (INAUDIBLE). From there, he goes on to the first of two full on masses, and that is at the stadium in the city. And then, perhaps, you'll get the first walk. There's possibly going to be a number of controversial stops on this tour. He's going to the banks of the River Jordan, pilgrimage, he's called this his pilgrimage of prayer. And this is the first -- he's a big (INAUDIBLE).
They say he stops have stirred some controversy. Now Christians, of course, believe that Jesus was baptized on the banks of the River Jordan. But which side of the River Jordan is widely contested within the Christian church. And let me tell you within --
ANDERSON: -- Jordan and Israel.
BLACKWELL: We have the Pope -- Pope Francis here arriving, about to set foot here in the Middle East for his first official visit. And as you said, could be very controversial. We know his first meeting today, after these pleasantries here at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman will be lift -- will be with the king and queen of Jordan. Called just a courtesy visit. And you see here customarily, flowers are presented often by children there and you're seeing those.
You know, what's interesting about this, Becky, is that the Pope is traveling with both a Christian friend and a Muslim friend, both advisers here. Do you think that is strategy or, indeed, just bringing along two people who, I guess, any religious leader would take with him?
ANDERSON: Let me tell you, they are very old friends. They're friends, Argentinean rabbi, Avraham Skorka. He actually co-wrote a book. And Sheik Omar Abboud leads Argentina's Muslim community. I have no doubt that there is some strategy in this. It's very much sort of interstate dialogue. And originally, this was about a 50th anniversary of the rapprochement of two branches of Christianity and he'll be meeting with -- again, quite a controversial meeting with the ecumenical patriarch here, Bartholomew.
And that's at the end of the trip. But there is no doubt, I mean, widely point out that traveling with these two bodies of his is the -- gives the impression and certainly he will hope will spread the word of peace. As I pointed out at the beginning, this is all, of course, amid the stalled peace process. He's meeting with Abbas when he gets across the border. He's looking to meet with the Israeli prime minister as well and a number of other quite controversial religious figures.
And when I say controversial, that is indeed the context of this Middle East region, of course. Look for -- look for some pretty interesting speeches and stops on what is this two and a half day tour.
PAUL: Becky, you know, we are seeing him right now do what he does best and what he says he loves most, is being close to people, talking to people.
PAUL: And we understand he is -- he is not going to use bullet proof vehicles on this trip. He has kind of shunned high security, I've read, so he can be, quote, "close to the people." And we decided there --
ANDERSON: And again -- yes.
PAUL: And so what do you -- what do you make of that on this trip? I mean, how dangerous might this trip be? Because we had heard that there's graffiti written saying, "Jesus is Garbage" and "Death to Arabs and Christians and all those who hate Israel."
What is the concern for him?
ANDERSON: And you're absolutely correct. That meeting is being brought on the walls of the Catholic Center that he'll be holding a meeting at. It's all been gotten rid of now. Certainly, in a country like Amman where security is always very, very tight, they will be confirmed. This is a man, who as we know, is very modest. He loves getting amongst the people. They got 25,000 people at the city stadium in two hours time. And I'll be there at that stadium for the mass. He'll be doing a tour and open Pope Mobile effectively.
He'll be coming in today in what is a red Pope vehicle. It's -- within a motorcade, that is what they use on the previous papal visits here. And don't forget this is the fourth papal visit of this modern era. But yes, I think security will be absolutely paramount to those who are looking after him here as it were. But this is a man who does not shy away from getting amongst the people. He's, as I said, a very modest man and he wants to be meeting and greeting.
He has, I think, 400 kids on the banks of the River Jordan later on. It will be their first baptism. So, you know, this is a very important trip for him to get amongst the people so far as security is concerned, it could be really tough.
PAUL: All right. Well, Becky Anderson, I know you're going to walk us through it throughout the morning. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Again, you're looking at live pictures there as the Pope walking down the red carpet from his plane in Amman, Jordan to start this history three-day trip to the Middle East.
BLACKWELL: And of course we'll take you live to his mass in Amman when it begins. That is at 9:00. Again, do not expect to see the crowd of three million that was on Rio de Janeiro back in July, part of that is because of population of this country, but also because of the number of Christians and the popularity of the Pope in that country. So we'll take you to that when it happens in about three hours from now at 9:00 Eastern.
PAUL: Yes. Back here in the U.S., though, you know, hundreds of people are stuck away from home right now because of its forest fire that has forced them to evacuate. It's already burned more than 8,000 acres.
Take a look at this, what's burning here near Flagstaff, Arizona. This area is known for just stunning landscapes. It's a tourist hot spot. It's home to a lot of retirees.
Our meteorologist Jennifer Gray.
BLACKWELL: Now what are we looking at now? Is it under control?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, they were able to get a little bit of headway but still at this point it's only about 5 percent contained. And unfortunately, not good news as we run into the next couple of days. Right now, the humidity is about 67 percent but that is going to be going down and that's not what you want when you are fighting these fires. That only means that conditions are expected to become even drier as we go through the weekend.
This is around this evening around 29 percent humidity around 6:30 this evening and then maybe bumping up a little bit as we go through the overnight hours. Also winds are going to be picking up throughout the day as well. Thirteen-mile-per-hour winds around 2:00 this afternoon as we go through the wee hours of tomorrow morning. Could be hitting 20-mile-per-hour winds, of course that's bad news as well.
Temperatures are also going to be warming up. And Flagstaff could be up to 77 degrees by Monday. That's almost a 20-degree increase in temperature over two days. And look at Phoenix, triple digits by Monday, 103 guys.
BLACKWELL: All right.
PAUL: It's pretty standard for Phoenix.
BLITZER: Yes. Definitely this time of the year.
PAUL: I know.
BLACKWELL: You know Phoenix.
Yes, Jennifer Gray, thank you so much.
GRAY: All right.
PAUL: So if you happen to be slapping some burgers on the grill this holiday weekend --
BLACKWELL: Save one for me. That's first.
PAUL: Yes. Well, I don't know if you want it. I mean, there's a warning out there. A massive food recall has just expanded. Vegetarians, you are not immune either, I'm sorry to tell you. We'll tell you about.
BLACKWELL: Well, I guess, you can keep that burger.
And the families, they demanded it and now they are getting it. Satellite data from missing Malaysia Flight 370. At least from the satellite company. It's now one step closer to being revealed. We'll have reaction from one passenger's partner.
PAUL: All right. So Memorial Day weekend, everybody is looking forward to three days off. Let's remember and just at least say thank you to all of our veterans and the people who have served. This is what it's really about, we know.
BLACKWELL: And remember the point of the weekend.
PAUL: So we thank you for your service. And our thoughts and prayers always with you.
A lot of people are going to be barbecuing, though, let's say.
BLACKWELL: A lot of grills now.
PAUL: Be real. There's a lot of grilling going on, but there are some food recalls you need to know about before you start flapping that stuff on the grill.
BLACKWELL: OK. So you know already about the two million or nearly two million pounds of beef being recalled. But now raw clover sprouts, maybe you put them on your sandwich, walnuts also, 15,000 pounds of hummus are on this list, too. The CDC said that in those could give listeria.
PAUL: Well, Nick Valencia is at the Center for Disease Control headquarters here in Atlanta.
So, Nick, lucky you, it's the CDC this morning. NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fun place.
PAUL: This is important, though, because as I understand it, this expanded beef recall, I mean, I wonder how big it is. They're finally naming names so we know what to look for, right?
VALENCIA: Yes, that's right. After about a week, Christi and Victor, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has released the name of a handful of businesses across at least 12 states, places like here in Georgia, Tennessee, North Dakota, Wisconsin, just to name a few.
For a complete list, we've got that all laid out for you on CNN.com if you're worried that maybe somewhere that you shopped was impacted. But yesterday when I spoke to the USDA, they said that this has been a very long week for them, arduous task trying to figure out just how far and wide this 1.8 million pounds of potentially infected beef actually went.
The CDC is saying at least 11 people have gotten sick by ingesting this potentially infected e. Coli beef. 1.8 million pounds is a lot of meat out there. They don't really know exactly how far it's gone. So they are trying to canvass more and figure out if anyone else has gotten sick. That could take weeks, though -- Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: So, Nick, it's not just the beef as we said off the top, you know, I like a good clover sprout on a sandwich, and walnuts, hummus. Hummus, I mean, so many people have it on the fridge as a standby.
PAUL: I have it --
BLACKWELL: Right. Where was this -- where has it been distributed and what more do we know about those products?
VALENCIA: Well, this is the scary part, Victor. For healthy eaters like you, you know, you just really just don't know what you're eating. Some -- you know, some food products, they don't have labels. Others that are being pinpointed, though, are popular brands like Trader Joe's, Five Layer Bean Dip, Target's Archer Farms. But right now what the officials are focusing on is anything that has a production date between March 31st and April 18th.
And let's face it, guys, if you have anything that old in your refrigerator still today, it's time probably time to throw that out anyway -- Victor and Christi.
PAUL: Ouch. All right. Hey, listen, the e. Coli, we want to talk about that in the water in Portland, Oregon. What have you learned about that?
VALENCIA: Very ironic for a place that rains two-thirds of the year for them to have a water problem, but that's exactly what they're going through right now with the potential contamination of e. Coli in the water system. More than 500,000 people, about half a million people are being asked to boil their water.
We are seeing, though, on social media, Victor and Christi, that people are taking this in stride. Some people joking that this weekend, holiday weekend, the only things that are safe to drink are beer and wine, which I'm sure people will not have a problem consuming en masse over the next couple of days.
BLACKWELL: No problem at all.
PAUL: I knew that was coming.
BLACKWELL: No problem at all.
Nick, thank you very much.
PAUL: Thanks, Nick.
BLACKWELL: So the last data communication of the missing Malaysian plane should already have been in the hands of passengers' family. Inmarsat said they wouldn't release it so who has it and why has the release been delayed?
PAUL: Also, Kim Kardashian and soon-to-be hubby Kanye West in Italy to tie the knot. Is the American culture at work making us look so bad overseas? We want to talk about the distress.
BLACKWELL: Can you believe it? It's been 78 days now since the Malaysian plane disappeared. And Inmarsat, that's the satellite company that gave out a lot of the information that established these pings, it says it has now been given all the raw data from the plane's communication logs to Malaysian authorities.
PAUL: Meanwhile, that submersible drone, the Bluefin-21, is back under water searching for MH-370 and is looking in that same area of the Southern Indian Ocean where searchers believe they heard pings when it's last processed.
Well, CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest has the details.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: For days now, we have been awaiting the publication of the so-called Inmarsat data. This vital piece of raw data that explains why the satellite company and the investigators and the searchers all believe MH-370 flew south deep into the Indian Ocean.
Inmarsat has now compiled the raw data along with explanatory notes and then sent it to Kuala Lumpur where it's been combined with other information. What's not clear is why it's taking so long for the Malaysians to release the information. It's believed that discussions have gone backwards and forwards to assess the exact right amount to give out. Give away too much of the raw data and you confuse everybody with a mass of computer numbers that would be meaningless. Give away too little and you don't make it possible for people to understand how they came to the results that they've come to.
Getting it right is essential because they have to build confidence of the families and other people who criticize the very foundations of the search operation. It's expected the information will be released next week.
Richard Quest, CNN, London.
BLACKWELL: All right. Richard, thank you very much.
PAUL: So Sarah Bajc's partner, Phillip Wood, was on that plane. And I know you remember Sarah. She tweeted -- this is her tweet, "Inmarsat, you said you would release all raw, unedited, unaltered data. Why such delays?"
BLACKWELL: And Sarah joins us now from Beijing.
Sarah, thank you so much for speaking with us. And the first thing I want to come to you with this is, this idea that if the Malaysian were to release too much information that it would confuse people. It's day 78. And the people who seem to be confused are those who are analyzing the data thus far. What do you think about their, I guess, belief that it would confuse you if they gave you the information?
SARAH BAJC, PARTNER OF PHILLIP WOOD: Thank you for raising that point. It is exactly what I wanted to talk about. I think that the general population does need a packaged set of information that they can digest. But the experts in the industry are more than capable of handling all of that raw data. I highly doubt that they will be overwhelmed by it. Some of these people have actually been able to re-engineer some of the mathematical models only by taking a set of assumptions and going backward. That's actually far more complex than starting with raw data upfront.
So, you know, I take this as just one more way to try to keep as much from the public as possible. And until we have 100 percent disclosure where third parties can go in and do some proper side verification, I don't think anybody is going to trust that the investigation is going forward properly.
PAUL: So let me ask you this, Sarah. Do you think Malaysian officials aren't necessarily forthcoming with this data because perhaps it might show they're searching in the wrong area? Do you fear that?
BAJC: I do believe that that is why they're withholding information is that they're afraid that all of the information might just lead to a different conclusion, and then they would look bad. But, you know, if you just think about a practical issue like a tax return audit. So when the IRS comes in and says, you know what, we're not quite sure we like the results that you've given us, there's something that isn't right in your numbers. They don't let you choose which record they are going to look at. You have to open everything. You have to give them all of your bank accounts. You can't just say all those -- all those pieces of detail out of my 20 different bank accounts is going to be too confusing for you, IRS, I don't want to give it to you. You know, so, I mean, I think it's a ridiculous statement to say that they want to protect the public by withholding information yet again.
BLACKWELL: To that end, full disclosure, Sarah, you know, Inmarsat released, they say, all of the raw data to the Malaysians. What is your degree of confidence that the Malaysians will, in fact, release all they were given?
BAJC: I do not have confidence that the Malaysians will release all that they were given. I would like to be able to interface, not personally, but have third party people interface directly with Inmarsat to even determine what they released. You know, everybody uses this word raw data but there's never any definition to it or set of parameters to it. There are a number of experts in the industry who have released parameter sets that they believe would be necessary in order to do proper calculations.
They need the same kind of information that the original calculation was done on. But this is keeping with what the Malaysian government has done the whole way through. They have not released raw information as most investigations would expect. I mean, anyplace else in the world, you would -- you would have already have all of this information upfront. You know, the air traffic control recordings, start to finish, not the edited version of air traffic control.
Not the edited version of Inmarsat data. Not the edited versions of radar. But real information. But, yet, somehow the Malaysians just continue to package the information before they give it out, I think for covering things up.
PAUL: Well, Sarah, we just can't imagine what this has been like for you. But we thank you so much for sharing with us, you know, what your thoughts are at this moment and going forward. We'll keep talking to you. But thank you for making time.
BLACKWELL: Thank you.
Seventy-eight days and nothing.
PAUL: It's nuts.
BLACKWELL: Another big story, a big accident averted at Houston's airport. Two planes came really close to one another in flight. Just too close. So why did it happen and how often does something like this happen? We'll have that conversation ahead with our panel of experts.
PAUL: Thirty-one minutes past the hour right now. Not that you're looking at the clock on a Saturday morning.
BLACKWELL: Not this weekend especially.
PAUL: We keep you inform so you don't have to look at it yourself. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. So five things you need to know for your NEW DAY this half.
Number one, Pope Francis is in Amman to kick off his three-day visit to the Middle East. He arrived just at the top of the hour. A rabbi and a Muslim cleric are joining the head of the Roman Catholic Church on his trip to Jordan, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The Pope will celebrate mass at a stadium in Amman today and visit the Jordan River where many faithful believed Jesus Christ was baptized.
PAUL: Number two, Ukrainians head to the poll tomorrow. They are electing a new president after pro-Kremlin leader Victor Yanukovych was ousted back in February. Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will respect the results of this election but some fear difficulty getting to the polls while major civil unrest wreck that country right now.
BLACKWELL: Number three, the NBA says it is moving ahead with plans for a June 3rd hearing on a forced sale of the L.A. Clippers. That follows report that Donald and Shelly Sterling had agreed to voluntarily sell the team. A source says the couple is in agreement to let Shelly Sterling do the negotiations. And there have already been talks between Mrs. Sterling and the league.
PAUL: Number four, items from Apollo 15 sell for big bucks at auction. A joystick more than 600,000 bucks. A device to help see more than 100 grand. Apollo 15, remember, was the fourth mission to land on the moon more than 30 years ago.
BLACKWELL: Number five, Inmarsat, that's the satellite company, says it has given all data from missing Flight 370's communication logs to Malaysian authorities. And the data may be released to families of passengers soon. Meanwhile, the submersible drone, that Bluefin-21 we've been talking back, is back under water searching for MH-370 and it's looking in the same area of the Southern Indian Ocean where searchers believe they heard pings from its black boxes.
PAUL: And the new information about the release of the missing plane's data is giving families, as you just heard, of passengers certainly some skepticism but there are some that have hope that they are a step closer to seeing, you know, this information.
BLACKWELL: Yes, but Malaysian authorities may release to the families only, possibly, an edited version of the data.
Let's bring in David Soucie, CNN safety analyst and author of "Why Planes Crash" and CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Mary Schiavo.
Good to have both of you back with us this morning. DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Good morning.
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Thank you.
PAUL: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: And, David, let me start with you. We've got some reporting from our Richard Quest, that Malaysian authorities believe that quite possibly releasing the raw data would confuse people. What do you think about that and the idea that they're going to release just edited data?
SOUCIE: Well, I think he's underestimating what people would perceive of the information. But here's the problem. The situation is that satellite data is not something simple certainly. Satellite information and communication involves a lot of different components. Those components each contribute to that data. So for example, Honeywell has the component that goes on board the aircraft which is the AES, the aired earth satellite. What that does is it communicates the information between each other.
That information will not be part of the set of information that Inmarsat releases because simply it's not theirs to give. So for example, is it Honeywell MHS 4200 or MCS 4200 that's installed the aircraft, we don't know that. And that won't be part of the Inmarsat data. Without it, I'm afraid they won't be able to come up with the conclusions.
BLACKWELL: And let me be clear here that that reporting from Richard Quest came from the Malaysian authorities. The Malaysians believe that releasing that information would be -- would confuse people. I didn't want to put words into his mouth. It is his reporting from a source there in Malaysia.
PAUL: We do want to move on, Mary, to this other story, these two massive jets that came less than a mile from each other at this Houston airport. In flight. This was the second time the two planes came so close together. The first one of course remember with that flight out of Hawaii. Audio data confirms this incident was because of instructions given to the pilots from the control tower.
Mary, you know, a lot of people say gosh, with the advancements in technology, how does this happen?
SCHIAVO: Well, this was a controller error. And actually there was a third one, too. There was one at Newark that was recently released. But there are about 4,000 a year. The FAA considers approximately 50 of them, it think, 44 or 47 of them to be serious. But any time a plane comes so close to one another, that they're just a few hundred feet apart, so that's several things. One, it's air traffic control mistake. Two it's a violation of federal aviation regulations, and three without the onboard safety equipment these planes could have experienced a mid-air collision.
However, modern aircraft have collision avoidance equipment which can override some situations if they're too close together. So it was very, very serious and it's recent mistake by the government.
BLACKWELL: And, David, this happens more often than I think a lot of people realize. We've got some numbers here from 2011. There were close to 1900 events categorized as near misses. That phrasing, I don't really understand. Near miss is a hit. But near misses, in 2012, that number jumped to almost 4400.
You know, why the jump in incidents and why is this getting worse, not better?
SOUCIE: Well, some would say, and there was an IG report that was examined in 2009 and '10, saying that the way that it was reported is different. There is automatic reporting now that wasn't there before. But regardless of how it's reported, it is an increase in incidents. And I think I believe that it's partly in -- due to the fact that there's more traffic, there's more going on. The air space is continually getting stronger and stronger, although more crowded, because the ICAO president, who I interviewed this week, said that it's expected to double. Air traffic will double in the next 20 years. It's very concerning to me.
PAUL: OK. So let's talk about that. Increasing air traffic coupled with, as I understand it and have read, a shortage of controllers.
Mary, really quickly, just a couple of seconds, but how much stress is there for, you know, air traffic in general?
SCHIAVO: Well, in the United States, we haven't had seen a dramatic increase in the number of aircraft. That's actually occurring worldwide, those huge increases. In the United States, a lot of these problems are simply a problem with the Federal Aviation Administration and they have tried to put programs in place to improve their performance but they haven't yet. And the shortage of air traffic controllers is coming about now. That's -- they've rehired the controllers after President Reagan fired them for an illegal strike.
So the part is spread, but the part about the performance, that is an FAA problem and they have acknowledged it. They haven't fixed it yet, but they have acknowledged it.
PAUL: All right. Mary Schiavo and David Soucie, we appreciate you both being here. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Thank you.
SCHIAVO: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Also this morning, Pope Francis in the Middle East just landed at the top of the hour.
PAUL: Yes. His first visit as pontiff for the holy land. We are going to take you live to Amman, Jordan, where he is, next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news. BLACKWELL: And the breaking news this morning out of California, seven people are reported dead, seven others have been hospitalized after a drive-by shooting near the University of California Santa Barbara in the college town of Isla Vista. That's coming from CNN affiliate KEYT.
PAUL: What we know right now is that the incident happened about 9:30 p.m. last night, Pacific Time, so about 12:30 in the morning for those of us on East Coast time here. Witnesses reported seeing a gunfire or seeing gunfire coming through from a black BMW. Now the local sheriff is saying the car's driver is believed to be the gunman and that he is included in the deceased.
So again, this is a developing situation just that happened in the overnight hours. Seven people dead in California, near UC Santa Barbara.
BLACKWELL: Also seven hospitalized, as we said. You're seeing map of this area here. And if you know about these larger state schools, there are apartment buildings, students who don't live on campus live in pretty tight quarters around the campus. 9:30 on a Friday night at the end of a semester. So there could quite possibly be a lot of students out celebrating the end of finals, celebrating graduation as we know.
So we'll of course keep an eye on this. We do not know too much information about potential suspects, arrests at this moment. But we do have our team working on this right now.
If you're just joining us in the last couple of seconds, seven dead reported by our affiliate there in Santa Barbara. Also, seven hospitalized after reports of a drive-by shooting in the town of Isla Vista near the school of University of California Santa Barbara.
PAUL: Santa Barbara. So we're going to just update here real quick. Take a quick break and we'll be back with more in a moment. Stay close.
PAUL: Well, the head of the Roman Catholic Church is reaching out to the world's Muslims and Jews. This is an historic visit.
BLACKWELL: It certainly is. Pope Francis is in Amman, Jordan and he is getting the full figurative and literal red carpet treatment. An arrival ceremony at the royal palace in Amman is set to start actually right now.
And CNN International Becky -- International correspondent Becky Anderson joins us now on the phone from Amman.
Also joining us, CNN senior Vatican analyst, John Allen. Sorry about that Becky. He's traveling with the Pope.
ANDERSON: Sure. PAUL: So let's talk to John. Let me go to you. Tell us more about the significance of the Pope's visit and what's on the agenda for today.
JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, today, he is of course in the Jordanian capital of Amman. And sort of the Vatican's recipe for these trips beholding him. Instead while the stops in Israel are sort of directed to Israelis and the broader Jewish community to stop in Palestine and Bethlehem tomorrow, the address to the Palestinians and the Christians. Today is really a platform for the Pope to address not just Jordan, but the Middle East, the international community and the Muslim world.
A couple of the things that we would expect to put on the table in that conversation would be concern for the swelling refugee community here in Jordan. The Associated Press reports that there are some 600,000 Syrian refugees officially registered in Jordan and yet there are estimates but the real total is close to 1.3 million. There's also a huge population of Iraqi refugees. So we would expect the Pope to touch on that.
Also the issue of religious freedom. Christians across the Middle East, they represent about 5 percent of the population. They're an embattled minority. Very alarmed about rising tides of Islamic extremism in various nations in the region so we would expect that to be a venue for Francis, too.
BLACKWELL: So, Becky, you know, this is obviously a very -- John calls it a political high wire act. But you know, the number of Christians has dropped considerably in that region. Do you think that possibly is another reason for this trip?
ANDERSON: I don't doubt that. I mean, there's 25,000 at the city stadium for these two masses they're going to expect in a couple of days. And he's got 1400 kids there who will be given their first holy communion. Absolutely. This is very long and I think a lot of people here hope that it won't be short on substance. I mean, John is right to point out but he will be, I'm sure, addressing the issue of the Syrian refugees, 650,000 official refugees there.
But sources close to the Palestinians tell me there could be as many as 1.3 million in the country. And that's a huge strain on resources, if nothing else, for the Jordanians. And of course quite sort of destabilizing effects for the economy and for the people there. So look, the red carpet is rolled down at the place and we're here at the palace. And the (INAUDIBLE) about to be received by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania.
But it's after this, this is very sort of symbolic. This is -- in relations between Christians and Muslims in Jordan, I think John would agree with me, are pretty amicable. And it's more (INAUDIBLE) pointing out a little early on your show. And getting to the bank of the River Jordan, a contested area there, about whether where Christ was baptized. And then it moves across the border. And I think at that point, it's going to be very, very interesting. He pointed out, peace between Israelis and Palestinians have long been one of his sort of -- you know, his first focal points for foreign policy. And he's on record as saying he's (INAUDIBLE) a two-state solution. So why did he calls this meeting instead? Strictly religious, not political pilgrimage for prayer. I think he's going to get away with headlines that aren't or certainly haven't got too much ledge by the end of this trip.
PAUL: All right, John Allen and Becky Anderson, so appreciate the reports. Thank you this morning.
All right. So first of all, we're going to keep you updated on what's happening in California. Seven people we've learned are dead in a drive-by shooting near UC Santa Barbara. We are going to look at that. But when we talk about, I guess, you know, Hollywood --
BLACKWELL: Yes. There's a lot going on this weekend. And it's -- Hollywood has actually gone to Italy for the Kimye wedding. Want to talk about that. Kim Kardashian's wedding might rival a royal wedding. But she's so certainly no princess at least not in Italy where people there are scratching their heard and asking, who is she?
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking news.
BLACKWELL: We are getting more on the breaking news out of California this morning. Seven people reported dead. Seven others hospitalized after a drive-by shooting near the University of California Santa Barbara in the small town of Isla Vista. That information coming from CNN affiliate KEYT.
PAUL: We know that it happened about 9:30 last night. Witnesses reported seeing gunfire coming through from a black BMW. The local sheriff says the car's driver is believed to be the gunman and that he is included in the deceased.
Let's go to KEYT's Victoria Sanchez.
Victoria, what do you know this hour?
VICTORIA SANCHEZ, REPORTER, KEYT: What we know is that gunshots, multiple gunshots were heard about 9:27. And with that was multiple locations in Isla Vista. Isla Vista is a small college town adjacent to UC Santa Barbara. Lots of people on foot especially on a Friday night. It is a college town, people are out enjoying themselves on that Friday.
Well, we heard initial 927 gunshots and it went for about 10 minutes. And in that span of 10 minutes, seven people were killed, seven people sent to the hospital. And among that seven is the suspect who was involved in multiple shootings with Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies.
We are not being told whether the gunshot that he died from was from sheriff's deputies exchanging fire with him or from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
BLACKWELL: So let me follow up on something that you said. Are you getting from the sheriff there, Bill Brown, that the suspect has been shot and killed? Just confirming that.
SANCHEZ: Yes. Yes.
SANCHEZ: He has been sought and killed. Again we're not sure if it's from sheriff's deputies or from a self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
BLACKWELL: Do we know -- you said that there were shots exchange between the sheriff's deputies and the suspects who's now dead. Do we know if any of the seven killed or the seven in the hospitals there are members of the sheriff's department?
SANCHEZ: No, no one from the sheriff's department was injured in the gunfire.
PAUL: OK, Victoria, what do you know, what is the sheriff telling you about a motive? What do we know about the shooter?
SANCHEZ: No motive right now. What they told is that they are looking into videos and written statements by the suspect before this shooting. They are not letting us know the name. We have found some information online of a possible suspect, however, we have not got that confirmed. YouTube videos telling people of retribution to UCSB students. Again, that is not confirmed. However, the sheriff did tell us that he is looking into videos and written statements by the suspect.
PAUL: OK, so just to clarify, the sheriff's department, they are looking into the possibility that this was retribution, that this was a revenge killing of some sort?
SANCHEZ: Yes. He's calling it a mass murder. And he said that this is something from a madman. That is direct words from Sheriff Bill Brown from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.
PAUL: Did he --
SANCHEZ: But --
PAUL: Did he say, Victoria, whether there was a specific victim that he was targeting or just generally wanting to kill people?
SANCHEZ: He has not said anything like that. But from videos that we have seen, that we have looked up in the video -- again, this is not confirmed, this is just what we have found, that the victim said that this would be retribution to UCSB girls. So female students. However, that has not been confirmed.
BLACKWELL: OK. So we want to be careful. Even if there is a video online, since that has not been confirmed, we don't want to malign or prematurely prosecute or persecute any person online because of a video they made. And even at the end of this, we could find out that that video is connected, but at this point we don't know.
Let me ask you another question, Victoria. As it relates to this suspect, do we believe that this person -- are we getting from the sheriff, rather, that he acted alone and that the threat has now been controlled?
SANCHEZ: The sheriff did tell us that this was a lone gunman. And he said that this was the only person in the car. However, we have heard from multiple witnesses that there was a second person in the car, however, the sheriff is telling us that he acted alone. But, a girl that I spoke to, who actually was shot at, she is a Santa Barbara city college student, many students that go to both schools, both Santa Barbara City College and UCSB live in this small college town of Isla Vista. She was actually shot at and she told me that she saw a second person in the car.
However the sheriff's department is saying that he acted alone. So this is more information that we're trying to get sorted out about exactly how many people were involved.
PAUL: Victoria, who exactly were you able to talk to at the scene and what were they saying about the moments in that 10-minute that is the shooter was shooting? Because we were reading online that the sheriff's department initially came out and said, listen, people, stay inside. Keep your doors and windows closed. Do not come out, we have an active shooting situation and didn't know how secure it was.