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EARLY START

The Mystery of Flight 370: Data Released; Nigeria: We Know Where The Missing Girls Are; Dangerous and Destructive Weather

Aired May 27, 2014 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Demands answered. Months after Flight 370 disappeared, we are now getting a first look at the satellite data used to chart its path into the Indian Ocean, but what does this data really show, and will we ever really know what happened to the jet? We are live in Kuala Lumpur this morning with the latest.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Where are the girls? Nigeria says it now knows where terrorists are holding more than 200 teenagers abducted from their school, but a rescue mission would be too dangerous, so what is the next step? And is Nigeria even telling the truth? We're live with what's happening right now.

BERMAN: Danger and destruction. Look at this. Tornadoes tearing through North Dakota as heavy rain soaked south Texas. It could be a really bad day today for millions.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. We'll tell you all about this. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Thirty-two minutes past the hour.

Let's start with new details we're learning about the final moments of Flight 370, satellite data that families of missing passengers have pleaded for, for months now. Those satellite records have been released, the fate of the plane and those on board still unknown. Could this be the data that unlocks the mystery?

Saima Mohsin is live for us in Kuala Lumpur with more on this newly released information.

So, now this information, Saima, that so many people wanted is available, what does it do? Does it clear the picture for us, or is it just more data to add to the mystery?

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is the concern, isn't it, Christine? Just this time last week, you and I were talking about how the families are desperate to see this data because so much is hinging on it. The entire multinational worldwide search for the plane is relying on this data.

Now, of course, authorities were slightly concerned they would be opening up a Pandora's box, if you like, of releasing this data to the public, inviting people almost to query it and question it. But the families really wanted to see it. They wanted to see everything that has to do with the search and locating the plane and their loved ones.

Now, what we have is a series of numbers. It's about 45 pages. Crucially, the last few pages that say, the data about the handshakes, that connection between the plane and the satellite until it disappeared, we believe in the southern Indian Ocean. Now, as I say, so much resting on this search.

Now, just yesterday, I spoke to Malaysian authorities, and particularly Hishammuddin Hussein, the acting transportation minister, about whether or not he believes the search is really going on in the right place and his confidence in the data.

This is what he had to tell me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN ACTING TRANSPORT MINISTER: We admit that this is based on their advice. So, if their advice is not conclusive, then we will get the other advice why it's not conclusive, but until that data is analyzed, how are we going to see otherwise? Because that's all we have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOHSIN: And this is the thing. This is all we have, any of us, whether it's journalists covering the story, the loved ones of those on board waiting to hear news of where the plane is. And so, all eyes are on this data. It's now going to be sent out to be analyzed, and people are going to, obviously, come up with their own theories now -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Saima Mohsin, thank you so much for that, in Kuala Lumpur. Coming up in just a few minutes, we're going to go live to Beijing where David McKenzie is following family reaction to this data being public. Stay with us for that.

BERMAN: In Nigeria and in the U.S. this morning, there is some skepticism about a new claim from the Nigerian military that they know the location of hundreds of kidnapped girls. The U.S. cannot confirm it, but a top Nigerian official says the location is being kept secret while they work to bring the girls home. And this official cautioned, force right now is not an option.

Our Arwa Damon is live in Abuja, Nigeria, this morning.

Arwa, you know, what should we make of these claims from this military official? And does it indicate what might come next in this search?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think they need to be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. Ever since this crisis unfolded, there have been conflicting and misleading information that has been coming out from the Nigerian authorities. Those comments being made by the defense chief saying that, yes, at this stage, they have pinpointed the location of the girls, not disclosing it because of operational security, and also, taking the option of using military force to try to bring them back home off the table.

That is understandable, given the severe challenge posed by Boko Haram, given the reality that launching any kind of military operation, even for the U.S. military, for example, would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, coupled with the fact that Boko Haram is such a ruthless organization. There are very valid and grave concerns that if they sensed the military was nearing in on them, they could begin executing the girls, or if a military operation were under way, given the intensity of the presumed gun battle that would emerge, the girls could be caught in the cross fire.

That leaves another option, which is negotiation, that also very difficult in and of itself at this stage, because Boko Haram is not necessarily a top-down organization. There is not one specific individual that people could potentially speak to. And the girls are also believed to have been broken down into smaller groups.

So, on the one hand, if these comments are, in fact, true, that these girls were located, that could perhaps pose -- or give a little bit of hope to the families, to the entire country that has really been watching all of this unfolding, but at the same time, the bigger issue is, once those girls have been located, what can truly be done to bring them back home?

BERMAN: The big issue, obviously, finding these girls. The reason there is skepticism, there's always something flippant about what the defense minister said. Sure, we know where they are. Just leave us alone. We can't go get them right now.

Our Arwa Damon in Abuja for this morning -- thanks so much.

ROMANS: There are new details this morning about the days leading up to the terrifying massacre in southern California. Six UC-Santa Barbara students were killed, 13 other people were injured before Elliot Rodger took his own life. Police say three of those he murdered were his roommates, and now a friend of his family says Rodger had a long-running feud with these roommates, claiming they were noisy and played video games at all hours.

But the mother of victim Weihan Wang says her son was planning to move out because it was Rodger who was noisy, playing loud music in the middle of the night.

Today, UC-Santa Barbara will hold the memorial services to these victims. Classes on campus are expected to resume tomorrow.

BERMAN: Vice President Biden pledging to restore America's sacred obligation to care for veterans. This following the growing scandal at the Veterans Affairs Department. Twenty-six V.A. facilities are now being investigated over allegations of doctored wait times. Speaking Monday at a Memorial Day bike event for veterans, the vice president vowed to do something about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only truly sacred obligation we have, before every other obligation that exists in this country is to equip those of you who we send into harm's way and care for you when you come home and your families. That is a sacred obligation. And we're behind right now. The V.A.'s having problems. And we've got to get to the bottom of it.

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BERMAN: On Monday, the president also said the United States needs to do more to care for veterans. The White House continues to stand by, though, embattled V.A. Secretary Eric Shinseki, despite increasing calls for his resignation.

ROMANS: A Colorado sheriff says they're praying for a miracle this morning, with no sign yet of three men missing after this incredible landslide. At least three miles of mud came off a mountain, breaking trees, burying the ground underneath. Authorities say it moved with such force, the mud actually went down into a valley, then up and over a hill on the other side. Three men included a county road worker and his son who had traveled out to the region to check on damage from an earlier slide. Terrifying.

BERMAN: Texas could witness more extreme weather today, a day after heavy rain soaked a big part of the state's Gulf Coast. Look at this, pictures from the town of Victoria, not far from Corpus Christi. It piled up several inches of rain in just hours.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We looked outside, and the rain was up to our sidewalk, close to our house. And in about 90 minutes, we had six inches of rain.

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ROMANS: The storm cell moved east fast, causing this destruction closer to Houston. High winds ripping these trees from the very wet ground. They landed right on homes. Luckily, no injuries have been reported.

BERMAN: And in North Dakota, I want you to take a look at this. That is a tornado on the ground not far from Bismarck. This is right in the middle of the country's new oil boom. And this twister hit a trailer camp which housed oil workers in Watford City, leaving nine people hurt, one critically. More than a dozen trailers were damaged. Authorities say they got word of the storm early, so most who lived in that camp were able to get to safety.

ROMANS: All right. Karen Maginnis tracking the forecast for us, including what Texas might experience today.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: John and Christine, we saw severe thunderstorms erupt across a good portion of Texas. It's kind of wiped things out as far as the celebration goes for the memorial holiday. And now, there's round two for Texas again! Look at this area where we've got shaded in yellow. We could see strong to severe thunderstorms, in places around Dallas to Galveston, all the way into Houston again. With scattered showers and storms expected across the Southeast, the mid-Atlantic, and yes, into the Northeast, but at least those temperatures are going to be warm. They'll be running about ten degrees above where they should be for this time of the year.

Look for 86 in New York City, 89 in Washington, D.C., 86 in Chicago, 84 in Minneapolis. That's way above where it should be. But they start to back off a little bit more by the middle of the workweek. We start to see some of that moisture again as these little ripples in the atmosphere kind of trigger those showers and storms. Some of them could be strong to severe.

And yes, Texas is still left in there on Wednesday for another round of showers and storms. High temperature Wednesday expected to be 65. Minneapolis is still warm at 85, 89 in Billings, Montana. And we're looking at 97 El Paso, and Seattle, showers and 60 degrees.

Back to you guys.

ROMANS: All right, Karen Maginnis, thank you for that.

An EARLY START on your money news this morning.

Germany's DAX slightly higher after a record high yesterday.

Futures here slightly higher. The number to watch, S&P 1,900. That was the record high hit Friday before you went to the beach and barbecue. The S&P hit a new high. We'll see if that holds today.

We're also watching home prices. Case-Shiller out later this morning. Home prices have been steadily climbing. That's helped to spur home equity loans. New data shows a 20 percent jump in new lines of credit last year.

Outstanding balances on home equity loans fell after the financial crisis and new loans were scarce as homeowners who paid down their debts and in some cases defaulted, but the sector is coming back as home prices rise. Still, home equity loans are far below 2006 levels and likely won't drive consumer spending the way they once did, but loosening up there in the home equity loans.

BERMAN: Not be a good sign.

Forty-three minutes after the hour.

Happening right now: a frantic hunt for a killer right now. Police want to find this man suspected of a deadly shooting spree at a Jewish museum, but they do not even know who he is. We're live in Brussels with the very latest.

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BERMAN: This morning, Belgian police say they're desperate for clues and don't have any leads yet about this man, the person they say opened fire at a Jewish museum in Brussels, killing three people and leaving one critically wounded. They don't know his name or his motive but want to find him before he might strike again.

Do we have Nic Robertson in Brussels? No, we don't, so let's move on.

ROMANS: All right. Nic being moved by police actually at this moment to a new location. So, we'll go back to him when we get it.

Meantime, India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, is wasting no time meeting one on one with regional leaders just a day after being sworn in. The world's largest democracy voted last week overwhelmingly for Modi and his party. The new cabinet also took the oath of office Monday. An unprecedented collection of South Asian leaders were in attendance in New Delhi, including the prime minister of India's great rival, Pakistan.

BERMAN: Pope Francis offering his toughest enunciation of the decades-long sex abuse scandal, calling the abuse like a satanic mass. The pope says he plans to meet with eight victims next month at the Vatican as well as Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston who heads up the church's commission on the crisis.

The pope revealed Monday that three bishops are under investigation and vowed to show zero tolerance to anyone found guilty of abuse.

ROMANS: An important, new study to tell you about this morning that's already getting a lot of attention online. It's about diet drinks and weight loss. The study in the journal "Obesity" seems to show drinking diet beverages can aid you in losing weight, perhaps even more than drinking water alone can.

Here's the catch: the so-called water group in the study actually were allowed to drink pretty much anything they wanted, including regular sugary soda. And the authors, who were paid by a beverage industry trade group, didn't track calorie consumption.

Critics this morning saying these results take with a grain of salt.

BERMAN: Not to be confused with a grain of soda, per se, or sugar.

ROMANS: Exactly.

BERMAN: All right. Could they be a step closer to answers right now? Families of those on Flight 370 looking over the just-released satellite data. Inmarsat says it shows where the jet went down. The families say that they need to make sure. We are live in Beijing right after the break.

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ROMANS: For months, families of missing Flight 370 passengers have pleaded Malaysian officials for this. This morning, they're finally getting it -- satellite data from that flight. But will the information bring them any closer to solving the mystery of what happened? David McKenzie is in Beijing following how families are reacting.

Good morning, David.

Tell us. They've wanted this data. Does it change their minds about anything at this point? I mean, it's been analyzed by Inmarsat, it's been analyzed by the authorities in Malaysia. Now, the families want to analyze it.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Christine. Good morning.

You know, the families said this is as much about trust as it is about the data. They want to get a sense that this is a transparent process, that they're getting all the information that's available to the experts out there. Inmarsat has repeatedly said the best minds on the planet are working on analyzing this data and reanalyzing this data, ultimately to try to find this plane which has been missing for more than two months. For the families, though, they want to have a chance to get their own experts and even if they are not exactly understanding the data they're seeing.

ROMANS: Not understanding it, which is so --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE WANG, FAMILY MEMBER OF FLIGHT 370 PASSENGER: It is very technical and we are not experts. So, we may ask some other people to kindly help us. Maybe some of them are mathematicians or some of the people experts in physics or something like that, and we will ask them to help us analyze again whether they are searching the right place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: Well, some of the family members already seem to have experts lined up. Others say they just want to put this out to the public, Christine, to open-source the information, just to get anyone out there to have a look at it. Obviously, the worry with that is that you'll have more conspiracy theories cropping up on the search for MH370, when ultimately, the families want something concrete in their hands so they can get some kind of closure in this obviously terrible series of months they've gone through -- Christine.

ROMANS: Yes, and clearly, they have so little trust in authority. That's what this is all about. They just don't trust authorities here.

David McKenzie -- thanks for that, David.

We're going to get an early check of your money. Long weekend, but an early check of your money, next.

BERMAN: And coming to CNN, we have a new series from executive producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. It is "The Sixties." Christine Romans' favorite decade, the decade that changed the world -- the space race, the Cold War, free love, civil rights and more. The 1960s reshaped Americans' lives in ways that really still affect us today. So, be sure to watch this or set your DVR for the premiere or both so you can save it forever and ever.

It's Thursday night at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific, right here on CNN.

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ROMANS: All right. Two minutes to the top of the hour. Let's get an EARLY START on your money this Tuesday morning.

Before you hit the beach and barbecue this weekend, the S&P 500 hit a record high, and it could do it again today. Futures point to a higher open. Watch that 1,900 level on the S&P.

College is still worth it! A new study finds despite student data and the challenging job market, college grads make more money. Data published in "The New York Times" shows college grads earned 98 percent more last year than non-grads, a big jump from a decade ago, when college grads made 85 percent more.

BERMAN: Fine arts.

ROMANS: Fine arts, that's right. Philosophy major, John Berman.

The Honda Accord is the most stolen car in America. New data from LoJack says the number one -- that Accord is the number one for the fifth year in a row. The second most stolen car is also a Honda, the Honda Civic, followed by the Toyota Camry follow.

One interesting find on this list, number six of the most stolen cars? The Acura Integra. It hasn't been sold new in the U.S. since 2001, but that one is the sixth highest most stolen car.

BERMAN: Interesting, all right.

EARLY START continues right now.

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