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FAA Lifts Tel Aviv Travel Ban; Making the Long Journey Home from Crash Site; Dutch Observe Day of Mourning

Aired July 24, 2014 - 05:30   ET


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the meantime, we can show you, you know, you take a look at the departure side of Ben Gurion International Airport, it is pretty quiet out there. We have two planes that have arrived but those are Greeks. So they've come from not the places that -- like the United States, you might expect to see aircraft there or, say, the big carriers from Europe, British Airways did continue to fly. El Al, the national airliner of Israel, it flies.

But there have been problems as a result of the fact U.S. carriers have been there. There have been people who have been stranded here, who were caught because the airline stopped flying. There are people who wanted to get here but now have had to struggle to find other means. And the seats of the planes that are flying to come here have been filled up. So it's welcome news in many ways. Some of it just from the sheer ease of travel to the Israeli government. Certainly it's welcomed because they saw that it was an unjust sort of punishment, they felt, for terroristic actions on the part of Hamas.

But it's going to be awhile before you see the planes since it takes awhile for aircraft to finally make their way and work back into the schedule.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Absolutely. I wonder, Martin, so from what you're hearing on the ground from locals, what is -- what is their sense? Were they very concerned or really aware of the FAA's ban? Do they feel like it is safe for those planes to be coming in and out? Regardless of what officials are saying, what is the sense on the ground?

SAVIDGE: Well, you know, Israelis, unfortunately have been dealing with this issue for some time, whether it's on this particular incursion that's going on now in Gaza or whether it's in previous events. So they have a much different attitude, I would say perhaps a little more relaxed attitude when it comes to safety. They have a lot of faith in the Iron Dome system. So their measurement here is the fact that they believe that it's inappropriate, the American planes don't come and in some way it is not supporting Israel.

The air carriers would say perhaps that, look, we're only looking out for the safety of our flying public. We have to make a determination. And clearly, they would not be comfortable with the idea of rockets and missiles in the same air space as, say, large aircraft.

HARLOW: Yes. Absolutely. Martin Savidge, we appreciate the reporting there for us all morning. Thank you.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: New information this morning. A top rebel commander's stunning admission. Alexander Khodakovsky telling Reuters pro-Russian separatists did have control of the BUK missile system at the time Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine and he said that it indeed may have come from Russia.

Khodakovsky went on to say it was probably sent back to Russia in order to, quote, "remove proof of its presence." Later he recanted telling Russian media those comments were taken out of context.

On the investigation front, air crash experts say they have been able to download valid information from the doomed jet liner's cockpit voice recorder. And there's no sign the so-called black boxes have been tampered with.

All of this as violence rages in the region. Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down less than 15 miles from the wreckage of MH-17. And Australia announces it is deploying 50 national police officials to London for a possible international deployment to eastern Ukraine. The goal there, to secure, to finally really secure the MH-17 crash site, which is of course in the middle of a war zone.

Let's bring in Nick Paton Walsh. He's live from Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Nick, let's start with what's happening where you are. We understand dozens more coffins will be leaving where you are there for the Netherlands this morning.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The first of two cargo planes, a Dutch C-130, carrying the lesser of two loads, has left about half an hour ago. We hear from a Dutch official and it will be followed in about an hour from now by a larger, faster, C-17 Australian cargo plane that will land roughly the same time in the Netherlands, carrying 74 coffins in total.

And then those coffins will be met by the very same solemn procession of hearses that we saw captivating many people around the world, the sheer respect, and grief and trauma shown in the Netherlands that will repeat perhaps on a smaller scale today. But the key issue we're learning also is the complexity of the task here and ahead of investigators in the Netherlands.

They are slowly moving through those four refrigerated wagons on board that train. The third one now open. And they have filled a total of 114 coffins. They suspect the job ahead of them will finish on Friday. And that could be the last flight back to the Netherlands. Do the math there, roughly, you're looking at about maybe 200 coffins or so, 298 people killed. Basically what's happening is they're putting body bags, maybe more than one in each coffin and the simple job of working out who those body bags, those remains -- I'm sorry for the gruesome details but it's part of explaining this to those even grieving here.

The job of working out who they were then complicatedly and slowly begins by investigators in the Netherlands. They hope it will be fast but acceptably, it's a very complex, grim process.

ROMANS: Nick Paton Walsh, for us, thank you for reporting it and witnessing it for us. Thank you.

HARLOW: Well, heavy hearts in the Netherlands.

The first 40 coffins from Flight MH-17 arriving Wednesday marked by somber ceremonies and a steady flow of tears. By tomorrow, all the coffins carrying the remains of Flight 17 victims are expected to be on Dutch soil.

ROMANS: Joining us live from Amsterdam is Dutch journalist Laura Starink.

You know, what I found so compelling, so many things yesterday, about the way your country brought these people home. The foreign minister, the Dutch foreign minister, really a moving, raw and a poignant speech. Listen to a little bit of it.


FRANS TIMMERMANS, DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTER: Just imagine that you first get the news that your husband was killed, and then within two or three days you see images of some thug removing the wedding band from their hands.


ROMANS: The U.N. is telling them, I want all of you not to think of politicians for your country, but to think of yourselves as husbands, wives. It was really rousing. And I think it marks -- well, you tell me, does it mark a new -- a new unity in Europe and the rest of the world against the lawlessness in eastern Ukraine?

LAURA STARINK, DUTCH JOURNALIST: Well, as far as Holland is concerned, what we saw yesterday was really a very uncommon day because days of mourning in Holland are very rare. And even two days ago, the prime minister, Mark Vitter, said it didn't accord to the national character but after talking to the relatives he obviously decided that it was a special day and so it was a very sober, moving and dignified receipt yesterday of the bodies from Ukraine.

It has changed the situation in Holland because until now the Dutch have been pretty reluctant supporting sanctions to punish Russia but yesterday and the couple of days before that, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our prime minister both said that this is a game changer. The situation is not the same anymore. So this will definitely change our policy towards Russia.

HARLOW: When we talk about the feeling on the ground there, what stood out to you most being both a citizen there and a journalist who covers this? What stood out to you most about the country when it paused and took that moment of silence?

We saw people coming together on bridges, overlooking the caravan that was bringing these bodies home. What stood out to you most among all of that and what does it make you think about the fact that they are finally getting what they deserve, which is respect, and honor, and remembering all the wonderful things about all of these people?

STARINK: I think what we witnessed yesterday was a kind of national sigh of relief because at last after almost a week at least part of the bodies were -- brought home to Holland. And there was quite some criticism on the government that it took so long. Of course the situation on the ground was very complicated. But there have been voices heard that more could have been done to talk to the rebels, to get them to speed up the deliverance of the bodies.

What struck me most yesterday was one image which I saw from a swimming pool where about 100 people were standing on the edge of the waterfront, silent, bemoaning the death. And I would call that a typical Dutch way of commemoration. It was sober. It was -- there was no pomp and circumstance. It was dignified but it also was very common.

HARLOW: What your country did to honor those people is beautiful. It touched Christine and I a lot. I think it touched everyone very much. We are so, so terribly sorry for your loss. Thank you for being with us.

ROMANS: All right. The other top story this morning from Arizona. An inmate shaking and gasping for breath for nearly two hours during an execution that went anything but planned. New developments happening overnight. Next.


ROMANS: Arizona's governor ordering an investigation into the state's death penalty process following an execution that did not go as planned. It took Joseph Wood nearly two hours to die after he was given a lethal two-drug cocktail.

Now Wood was convicted of killing his girlfriend and her father back in 1989. The inmate gasped and struggled for breath for about an hour and 40 minutes, his attorney said. But the Arizona Corrections Department said it followed protocol.

Here is what witnesses said.


MICHAEL KIEFER, WITNESSED EXECUTION: Usually, it takes about 10 minutes the person goes to sleep. This was not that. This -- it looked like that at the beginning for maybe the first seven minutes. He closed his eyes, he went to sleep. Then he started gasping. And he did, he gasped more than an hour and a half.

JEANNE BROWN, SISTER OF DEBBIE DIETZ: What's excruciating is seeing your dad lying there in a pool of blood, seeing your sister lying there in a pool of blood. That's excruciating. This man deserved it. I don't believe he was gasping for air. I don't believe he was suffering. It sounded to me as though he was snoring.


ROMANS: It took Wood so long to die his attorneys had time to file an emergency appeal. A federal judge has ordered corrections official to preserve all physical evidence in his execution.

This is the latest in a series of executions that have renewed debate over the death penalty and lethal injections. Executions that have not gone as planned with the drug cocktail.

Crisis at the border. Thousands of children crossing into the country illegally. New developments to tell you about this morning next.


HARLOW: Court documents revealing new details about a friend of Boston marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. 21-year-old Stephen Silva told police that Tsarnaev was his, quote, "best friend." After he was arrested last year, Silva is now being held on a heroin trafficking and gun possession charges. Prosecutors say the gun is the same one linked to the killing of an MIT police officer during a manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers following the marathon bombing.

ROMANS: A teenager accused of killing his high school teacher last year is now formally charged with attempted murder in a separate case. 15-year-old Philip Chism was arraigned Wednesday in Boston. Prosecutors say he attacked a female worker at a youth detention center last month, choking and beating her in a bathroom. Chism was being held at the facility after pleading not guilty in the teacher's murder.

HARLOW: This morning, the Coast Guard is scouring the sea near Samoa for the body of a man whose plane crashed into the ocean, also killing his 17-year-old son who's also a pilot. Harris and Barbara (INAUDIBLE) set out for an around-the-world adventure on their single engine plane hoping to set a world record and to raise money to build schools in Pakistan. What a tragedy. They crashed Wednesday just minutes after takeoff. The cause is still under investigation.

ROMANS: No progress solving the mystery that still surrounds those two white flags that appeared on the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. New York Police admit they don't know who committed the security breach or they were able to pull it off. Four or five people have been spotted on security video crossing the bridge shortly after 3:00 a.m. Officials say there's appears to be no connection to terrorism or any political statement.

HARLOW: Also this. A state ban on gay marriage has been ruled unconstitutional in Colorado. This marks the fourth time in two weeks the courts have rejected State Attorney General John Suthers' attempt to -- uphold, rather, the ban. He has until August 25th to appeal that decision. In Boulder, the clerk's office has been defined Suthers issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Officials from the Department of Defense and Homeland Security are on their way to the Texas/Mexico border. The White House is sending a team to evaluate how the National Guard can assist the Border Patrol there. A surge of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally overwhelmed detention facilities in Texas.

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced this week that he will send up to 1,000 Texas guardsmen to that area.

HARLOW: And President Obama is in California today on a fundraising tour, making appearances to raise money for Democratic candidates that are running in November's midterm elections. Republicans have been criticizing heavily the timing of this trip while the fighting rages on in Gaza and Israel. And investigators try to determine who shot down Flight MH-17.

The president does return this afternoon, to Washington. He'll be delivering a speech, but before though, on job training at the Los Angeles Technical College.

ROMANS: All right. Listen up if you suffer from back pain. A new study reveals acetaminophen works no better than a placebo. Acetaminophen is considered the first line of defense to relieve back pain. It's sold under names like Tylenol and (INAUDIBLE). But researchers in Australia studies more than 1600 people suffering from acute lower back pain. They found no difference in recovery time in patients taking that drug and those taking a placebo. Doctors say acetaminophen did provide -- it did prove to be effective for headaches, toothaches and pain after surgery.

HARLOW: Interesting.

All right, coming up, a widening food scandal in China. Rotten meat sold to McDonald's in China. So why, why is the fast food giant standing by its supplier?


ROMANS: All right. Welcome back. Let's get an EARLY START on your money this morning.

Uncertainty around the globe, right? Record highs in the stock market.

HARLOW: What's going on?

ROMANS: U.S. futures are higher again right now. The S&P 500 had a record high yesterday. The 26th record high close this year. The S&P, that's the index most likely to reflect the stocks in your 401(k). It's up 7 percent this January.

And Poppy, a big mover this morning. Facebook. Facebook is up more 6 percent right now in premarket trading.


ROMANS: That will be -- that'll be a record high if it opens there.


ROMANS: It reported strong second quarter earnings, a huge growth in mobile ad revenue. And this is a story Poppy is uncovering a lot. General Motors.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: You're going to get earnings from General Motors today, in just a few hours.

Yesterday, GM announced it was recalling more than 700,000 cars and trucks for a whole bunch of different issues. That's 30 million vehicles this year recalled. That's a record. The cost of the recalls in the second quarter will be at least $700 million.

We've also got a -- it's going to give an estimate for the total of the settlements with the victims of the botched ignition switch tied to at least 13 deaths. And that's an important number.

HARLOW: That's a really important number, but, you know, all of the people that claimed that their loved ones died or they were severely injured in these crashes aren't even filing for compensation to the victims' plan until August 1st.

ROMANS: Right.

HARLOW: So this is going to be an estimate. But, I mean, overall, this is going to be in the billions of dollars.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

HARLOW: The cost of the recalls, the legal fees and then these settlements.

ROMANS: I know. The year of the recall for General Motors.


ROMANS: And still a lot of work for Mary Barra, the CEO, to do to --

HARLOW: Sure. Sure.

ROMANS: -- assuage the concerns of --

HARLOW: But at least they're recalling cars with any issues now.


HARLOW: That's what you want. I think people think recall is a bad thing. Recall is a good thing. You just have to do it right away.

ROMANS: Exactly right. Yes, not 10 years later.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: Meantime, McDonald's, McDonald's standing by the supplier that sold it rotten meat. An American known food plant in Shanghai accused of selling out-of-date and unsanitary meat. Big named clients like KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Burger King, you know all of these names. They are cutting ties to that company. But McDonald's says it will continue to use that supplier in Shanghai, shifting its business to another facility.

Now this food scandal hasn't affected food at locations in the United States but it is the most recent in a series since maybe 2008. There have been a series of this food safety, product safety scandals coming from China. Remember the pet food debacle?

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: Eight thousand pets died because of a chemical that was put in pet food and exported to the United States. Now this particular issue, this dirty meat issue is only in China. And Chinese authorities they're serious about it.


HARLOW: And McDonald's are standing by them, are they saying why?

ROMANS: They're standing by this company. And it's an American company.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: That's producing there. Standing by them because they are going to be moving their production to a different facility, a facility obviously where they're saying they don't (INAUDIBLE).

HARLOW: But all of those other big names are pulling out.

ROMANS: Pulling out. Yes.

HARLOW: That's really interesting. We'll be watching.

All right. Thanks so much for starting your morning with us. We appreciate it very much.

ROMANS: "NEW DAY" starts right now.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: If you don't feel safe here, I don't know where you'd feel safe.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, back in the air. The FAA lifts its ban on flights in and out of Israel, this, as the violence shows no signs of slowing. New questions this morning, what makes it safe now?

Wolf Blitzer live in Jerusalem.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And happening now, more bodies heading home, leaving Ukraine for the Netherlands after that emotional day of mourning. Now two Ukrainian fighter jets have been shot down. And a separatist leader admits to having had a Russian made missile system. MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Botched. An Arizona execution supposed

to take 15 minutes, instead taking nearly two hours. A Supreme Court justice called to stop it in the middle of the execution. This is the second execution mistake this year. We have the latest.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.