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EARLY START

MH370 Satellite Data Released; Kidnapped Girls Located; Weather Threatens Danger and Destruction; King James Reigns

Aired May 27, 2014 - 05:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now public -- the satellite data officials say shows Flight 370's path over Malaysia and into the Indian Ocean. Families had demanded this data for months, but will it give them the answers they so desperately want? We are breaking down just what this all means this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: We know where they are. The new claim from Nigeria's military weeks after more than 200 girls were abducted from a school. This morning, there are new questions and a lot of doubts. We're live in Nigeria's capital with the latest on the search.

BERMAN: And dangerous storms take aim at millions. Look at this -- tornadoes, also strong winds and heavy rain, all taking their toll with serious damage from Texas all the way up to North Dakota, and there could be more bad weather in store for today.

Good morning, everyone. Great to see you this morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, May 27th. It is 5:00 a.m. on the nose in the east.

Let's begin with this new information just made public about the final moments of Flight 370. This is information families of missing passengers have pleaded for, for months now, a breakdown of satellite data from that plane. Now, the fate of the plane and those on board now arguably the biggest unsolved mystery in aviation history. Could this data be part of the key that unlocks the mystery?

Aviation correspondent Richard Quest has been closely following the release of the log. He has new developments from Los Angeles.

Richard, you know, it's pages and pages of data, a little bit of explanation. When you look at this with your international aviation mind, what do you see in these numbers?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: What they've done is break down the flight into various sections. So, we have the preflight section, which makes up a variety of pages, and that's quite important, Christine, because that is, if you like, the calibration. Knowing, because they know where the plane is -- it was on the ground at Kuala Lumpur -- and they know where it was for the first 40 minutes of the flight. So, they take those early parts of the data and they use that as the calibrating moment and information for all the later pieces of so- called satellite handshakes. You then see in this when it loses its ACARS, its communications ability using the data link. And then finally, you see these satellite handshakes, where the plane and the satellite are saying hello to each other and where they are recording both the time that takes and the frequency differential, the so-called Doppler.

Now, satellite experts and engineers -- obviously, I'm not one of those -- they will be able to make sense of this. But what they won't be able to do is recreate Inmarsat's numbers. And the reason is because there are many other components, Christine.

You've got the modem itself on the aircraft and the characteristics. You've got the satellite, the way it wobbled up and down by 1,000 kilometers a day. And you've got the ground station.

Inmarsat in releasing this information, as they told me exclusively, they are basically saying to the world, this is what we did. This is to show you the transparency of the operation. It's not inviting you to try and recreate it, not because we don't want you to but because you can't. You haven't got the full range and raft of detail.

ROMANS: We are showing pictures of you, your exclusive sit-down at Inmarsat in London, where they did this analysis. So, tell us, the families have wanted to see this data because they say they want to analyze it.

This data has been analyzed. It has been analyzed by Inmarsat. This is the data used to determine where they think this plane went down.

QUEST: Oh, not only that, and they are at pains again and again and again to say this -- this is not Inmarsat on a frolic of its own. They gave this data to several other organizations. They won't say which ones. I believe them to be Rolls Royce, Boeing, the NTSB, the AAIB, and they will not confirm that.

They gave this data to other organizations who then went away, made their own models, ran those models not just against MH370 but against dozens of other planes that were in the air at the same time and against planes on previous flights, and they always got roughly the same results. So, what Inmarsat is quite clearly and bluntly saying is, it's worked in all these cases. Why on earth, nobody has shown why it's not working on this particular case?

They have an extremely high level of confidence that they're right, that the plane flew south and that the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

ROMANS: All right, Richard Quest for us this morning in Los Angeles, where it is very early. Richard, thank you so much for waking up with us.

Coming up in just a few minutes, we're going to go live to Beijing, where David McKenzie is following the family reaction to this data being made public now, so stay with us for that.

BERMAN: Want to go now to Nigeria, where this morning a top official says they now think they know where hundreds of kidnapped girls are being held. These girls were abducted from a school more than a month ago. But so far, other than this video, there's been no sign of them.

Now, with an international team, including Americans, trying to track those girls down, Nigeria is warning that a rescue might not be possible. So, what are we supposed to make of all this, this claim?

Arwa Damon is live in Abuja in Nigeria this morning.

And, Arwa, explain this to us. Was this an off-handed remark by a defense official in Nigeria, or is this a legitimate claim, hey, we really know where they are and we can get them when we want?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's exactly what we've been trying to figure out, placing numerous calls to various spokespeople within the ministry of defense, ministry of information, trying to ascertain exactly what sort of intelligence is behind that comment made by the defense chief of we know where the girls are, but we're not going to tell you just yet, out of concern for any sort of operational security, also saying that they would not be launching or would not be using force to try to rescue these girls.

The U.S., for its part, is saying that it does not have solid evidence at this stage about where the girls actually may be, but they do have information, and that's pretty much what we've been hearing all along. They are believed to be somewhere in the northeastern part of the country, split up into smaller groups.

Very difficult to navigate terrain, though, John, and this is very much Boko Haram's birthplace. It controls huge swaths of territory throughout the northeastern part of the country. When it comes to a military operation, that would prove to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, even for the most highly trained operatives, given the terrain that they would have to navigate to get to these girls, but also the very nature of Boko Haram, an organization so ruthless that when we met two Boko Haram informants last week, they told us that they had no doubt whatsoever that Boko Haram would be using these girls as human shields.

So, great concerns that a military operation could actually lead to their deaths.

Negotiations also phenomenally difficult, given that Boko Haram is not a top-down structure. There is not necessarily a single individual who could step forward for the government to negotiate with. It's been an incredibly agonizing wait for the families, for this country as a whole that has also been seeing Boko Haram's attacks growing even more bold and more frequent since those girls were kidnapped over six weeks ago. A very difficult time at this stage for Nigeria, and most certainly many challenges lying ahead, not just when it comes to bringing those girls back home, John.

BERMAN: Difficult now. Just add to that the confusion over these claims that they know where the girls are.

Arwa Damon for us in Abuja -- thanks so much, Arwa.

ROMANS: There are new details this morning about the days leading up to a terrifying massacre in southern California. Six UC-Santa Barbara students were killed, 13 other people were wounded before Elliot Rodger took his own life.

Police say three of the people he murdered were his own roommates. And now, a friend of his family says Rodger had a long-running feud with those roommates, claiming they were noisy and played video games at all hours. But the mother of victim Weihan Wang says her son planned 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 a memorial service to remember the victims. Classes on campus are expected to resume tomorrow.

BERMAN: A Memorial Day pledge from Vice President Biden, vowing to restore the United States's sacred obligation to care for veterans. The vice president speaking Monday at the sixth annual ride to recovery Memorial Day bike challenge, amid the growing scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Twenty-six V.A. facilities now under investigation over allegations of doctored wait times.

The vice president is pledging 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. is having problems, and we've got to get to the bottom of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: A handful of lawmakers have called for V.A. Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign over this issue. The White House, for now, standing by him.

ROMANS: Rescue teams expect to be back in western Colorado today, looking for three men missing after this unbelievable landslide sent at least three miles of mud cascading down not far from the Utah border. The three included a county road worker and his son that had traveled out to the region to check on damage from an earlier slide, and then the ground gave way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a shear wall where it broke off of the mountain, and it pushed an enormous amount of land, you know, a half a mile forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: The sheriff says everyone is praying for a miracle, but the ground is so unstable right now, they don't want to risk any more lives during the search.

BERMAN: A huge wildfire growing bigger in Alaska. The Funny River fire now covers some 248 square miles, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate. This is about 60 miles south of Anchorage. The fire is about 30 percent contained right now and authorities are hopeful that some rain forecast for later today and tomorrow might help slow down this blaze.

ROMANS: For many in Texas, Memorial Day was a washout! Heavy rain falling on a big part of the state's Gulf Coast. These pictures are from Victoria. That's not far from Corpus Christi, slammed by several inches of rain in just hours.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We looked outside, and the rain was up to our sidewalk, close to our house. And in about 90 minutes, we had 6 inches of rain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Closer to Houston, a lot of destruction as wet ground and high winds tore down trees, sending them flying right into homes. Luckily, no injuries have been reported.

BERMAN: I want you to take a look at this, this incredible picture from North Dakota. That is a tornado on the ground in Watford City, not far from Bismarck. It passed over the oil fields there, huge oil industry in that area, before slamming into trailers at a camp housing oil workers. More than a dozen trailers were damaged, nine people were hurt, one critically. Local officials say an early alert meant that most living there were able to get to safety before the tornado struck.

ROMANS: Can you imagine being in a trailer and saying, hey, look at this thing coming? I mean, you just -- that's unbelievable.

BERMAN: I can't imagine being anywhere and seeing that thing coming.

ROMANS: Indra Petersons tracking these dangerous storms for us.

What can we expect today, more of that?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Unfortunately, yes. At least this is the reason the warning time is so key. In that case, they did have the warning today. Here's another warning, eastern Texas, we're still talking about the threat of severe weather. Today that shifts farther east, including Waco all the way down to about Corpus Christi.

So, yes, the threat of tornadoes is still possible out there, but one of the bigger concerns out there is really going to be this heavy amount of rain, lots of rain out there. You'll notice about three to six inches possible there, so you have the threat for flooding, especially in a lot of areas where they were short on rainfall. So, that flooding threat is even higher.

Very easy to see. Take a look at the water vapor. This shows you how much moisture is out there. Look at the entire eastern half of the country.

You may notice it looks pretty moist? That's the reason we're going to be talking about a lot of showers pretty much anywhere eastern half of the country.

We're calling it kind of soupy. One system is kind of making its way through, the cold front here, and, of course, the big low with the heaviest amounts of rain in the Southeast. So, a lot of you will be noticing a change, especially out in the Northeast.

Yes, you have rain. That's one side of the equation. Look at the temperature difference. Boston down to 55. You're going to feel a big drop New York City by tomorrow also joining them in the fun and cooler weather. So, it was nice, but it's changing quickly.

But it's OK. It's not Monday, just kind of feels like one.

ROMANS: Thanks, Indra.

All right. Time for an EARLY START on your money. Futures higher right now. The number in the U.S. to watch is 1,900 -- the record in the S&P 500 could be achieved again.

Stocks mixed in Europe after German stocks hit a new record yesterday.

E.U. leaders meet today, set to discuss possible sanctions on Russia. "Reuters" obtained a copy of the memo detailing what new sanctions could look like. On the low end, "Reuters" says the E.U. will restrict Russian imports of luxury goods like diamonds and caviar. On the high end, the E.U. would move to stop importing Russian oil and gas entirely.

Ukraine elected a new president over the weekend, and he's vowing to crack down on Russian separatists.

BERMAN: All right. So, they demanded information for months. Now families are poring over the just-released satellite data in the search for Flight 370. Will this data answer their questions? What does it tell us? We're live in Beijing with what the families are saying now. That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Families of missing Flight 370 passengers are finally getting what they've so desperately wanted for months, a breakdown of satellite data, but will this information bring them any closer to the answers they've been looking for?

David McKenzie in Beijing following the family reaction this morning.

Good morning, David.

What are these families saying?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.

Well, the families are saying a variety of different things, but for many of them, it's a positive step to get this data from Inmarsat, to get a sense of the raw numbers that they used to come up with the conclusion that the plane dropped in the southern Indian Ocean, which is, of course, something the families want to really get a strong handle on. But at this stage, many family members we've spoken to just don't know who to trust.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE WANG, FAMILY MEMBER OF FLIGHT 370 PASSENGER: What did they do for this more than two months? They haven't found anything. And we are suspicious from the first day that whether they are searching the right place, whether what they are telling us is true or not, because it is our loved ones who is on the plane. There is no direct evidence. We never believe it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: Well, John, the hardest thing for these family members is really, they haven't been able to start on any kind of process of grieving. I just got off the phone with a trauma counselor here in Beijing who said, you know, ideally, they have someone who they can trust to go through all the steps of getting this information, but because they feel they cannot trust anyone, it's the actual family members who are doing this lobbying.

And so, they're delaying all those difficult processes that they'll have to go through at some point, and this process could take at least a year to get more closure. So, it might be a very difficult and agonizing wait for the family members -- John.

BERMAN: Long slog ahead. David McKenzie in Beijing for us -- thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. Pope Francis says he plans to meet with victims of child sexual abuse at the Vatican next month. The pontiff vowing to show zero tolerance to abusers within the Catholic Church. Francis says he'll meet with eight victims and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley in Boston. The head of the church's commission dealing with the crisis. Francis also revealed that three bishops are currently under investigation.

BERMAN: We have an important new study is getting a lot of attention online. The findings not as clear as you might think. It's about diet soda. The study is in the journal "Obesity." it seems to show that drinking diet beverages can help you lose weight, perhaps even more than drinking water alone.

But here's the catch: the so-called water group in this study were actually allowed to drink pretty much anything they wanted, including regular sugary soda. And the authors who are paid by a beverage industry trade group didn't track calorie consumption. So, many critics are saying take the results with a grain of salt.

I'll stick with my 4 1/2 gallons of coffee every day to see how that affects my diet.

ROMANS: There's zero calories on my iced tea. But a big amount of caffeine.

BERMAN: That's what's important.

ROMANS: The caffeine is what I'm looking for.

All right. King James proving again how he earned that nickname. A dominating performance out-pacing the Pacers and getting the Heat one step closer to the NBA finals. Some sleepless nights ahead of us.

Joe Carter has the details with the "Bleacher Report," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: All right. Welcome back. Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

The Miami Heat are one game closer to the NBA finals after a dominating performance from the King, LeBron James.

BERMAN: Basketball looking so incredibly predictable this morning.

Joe Carter with more in the "Bleacher Report."

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Hockey's predictable, too, this morning, John. So, I'll give you that one as well.

After game three, Indiana's Lance Stephenson, of all players, said he was in LeBron James' head. There's three rules to follow in life -- don't poke a hornets' nest, don't take the big piece of chicken from dad at the dinner table, and do not trash talk LeBron James in the playoffs. Don't do it, because when you do it, he responds in a big way, and Stephenson, well, he got it.

So, like defending champion LeBron James absolutely dominated last night, finishing with 32 points. Stephenson, by the way, just a whopping 9 points.

So, Miami, easy win last night. They have a 3-1 series lead. They can advance to the finals with a win Wednesday night.

By the way, if you're looking at stats in the big three era, when Miami's up 3-1 in the series, they're 8-0 in game five. So, things are looking pretty good Wednesday night.

Then, later tonight, game four between the Spurs and the Thunder. Oklahoma City can even that series with another win at home. You can see it at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on our sister network, TNT. And on the ice, the L.A. Kings, they are also one game closer to the finals. Their dominating win last night is trending this morning on bleacherreport.com. The Kings jumped out to an early lead on Chicago. They scored three goals in the first period. L.A. finished with a 5-2 win and now have a 3-1 series lead as well.

A win Wednesday and the Kings will advance to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in three years.

Well, one day after the Dodgers' Josh Beckett threw the first no- hitter of the year, teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu tried to one-up Beckett with a perfect game. Now, Ryu was dealing in this one, a perfect game into the eighth. The Dodgers on the verge of making history as the first Major League Team with two straight no-hitters, but the Reds' Todd Frazier breaks up the party with a double to left. Ryu and Beckett did set a team record for the Dodgers with 17 no-hit innings of baseball.

And well, today is the day Donald Sterling has until the close of business to respond in writing to the NBA's charge to strip him of ownership of the L.A. Clippers for his recorded racist remarks. Failing to respond in writing today will be deemed an admission to the total validity of the charge.

Sterling will also be able to respond in person to fellow owners at a June 3rd hearing. Owners, by the way, can force a sale of the team with three forced to vote. So, obviously, guys, a week from today we'll have a lot more clarity in the whole Donald Sterling saga.

BERMAN: Could be a lot sooner, actually, if this whole deadline forces him to take action, put the team on the block before then, maybe, but that will never happen.

Joe Carter, great to see you this morning. Appreciate it.

CARTER: You, too, guys.

ROMANS: And we know at least half a dozen serious bidders in the running and it will go for more than the $547 million "Forbes" values the team for.

BERMAN: It sure will. I'll get you that for Christmas.

Now released, the satellite data officials say shows Flight 370's path, but it's opening up more questions about what happened on board.

ROMANS: Also, Nigeria's military now claiming it knows where hundreds of abducted schoolgirls are being held. But is the government telling the truth? And why don't they go in and rescue those girls? That's after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)