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Ceasefire in Gaza Coming?; Chaos at MH-17 Crash Site; Air Algerie Wreckage Found

Aired July 25, 2014 - 05:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning. A temporary peace plan presented to Israel and Hamas. Secretary of State John Kerry trying to stop the escalating violence that has left the streets of Gaza bloody and destroyed. The death toll rising on both sides. This morning we're live with the latest from Gaza in just a moment.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, chaos at the crash scene. A Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, are pro-Russian rebels cooperating with investigators as Russia tries to prove to the world it had nothing to do with that crash? All of this happening as more bodies of victims leave Ukraine for the Netherlands right now.

Live team coverage of all the angles of this developing story this morning.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow. It is Friday and then it is half past 5:00 a.m. here on the East Coast. We welcome our viewers both here in the United States and around the world.

ROMANS: A United Nations school in northern Gaza stained this morning by the blood of children. The facility was supposed to be a safe haven. But an explosion in the courtyard killed 16 people there in that school. Palestinians blaming Israel for that deadly attack. The Israelis claiming it could have been a Hamas rocket. Both sides contemplating a ceasefire proposal delivered by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Fighting remains intense. Nearly three dozen Israelis, more than 800 Palestinians now dead in this conflict. Moments ago, CNN's Karl Penhaul was preparing for a live report when there was an explosion overhead. Watch.




ROMANS: Karl Penhaul live from Gaza this morning where it is a familiar routine for you and for everyone in Gaza where you hear the rocket, you duck first, ask questions later.

PENHAUL: Absolutely, Christine. That one was so loud, I thought it was coming in the window. As you say, my policy certainly to duck first, ask questions later. And we need an answer to a vital question this morning. And that is who bombed that U.N. school that was -- being served as a shelter for displaced civilians. Why did 16 people die? Why were more than 200 others wounded?

We've been asking those questions. The Israeli military have told us in a statement overnight that there was fighting going on around that school in the northeastern corner of Gaza. They did their troops did come under threat from Hamas militants, they say. And they did open fire with a weapon to try and eliminate that threat. Now that does not mean that they are claiming responsibility or taking the blame for this attack.

And right now, the United Nations said it is not sure who did carry out that attack. But what the United Nations has said is that on two occasions, during the course of the day yesterday, because of the intensity of the fighting, it asked the Israelis for permission to evacuate those civilians to get into a safer place and they say on both occasions, that permission was denied. Not so said the Israeli military again last night. They say they grounded a four-hour window to let those civilians get out.

I got off the phone a short while ago from the United Nations spokesman. He said he doesn't have a clue what the Israeli military is talking about. He said he stands by his claim that the Israeli military didn't allow humanitarian window to get those civilians out. He said if they had it done, he doesn't believe that this terrible carnage would have happened.

Now, of course, over the last few days, again, we know that both sides, both of the warring factions have violated both the neutrality of civilians and of U.N. installations. That according to the United Nations in the last week or so. They say that they have found rockets belonging to Hamas stored in at least two U.N. schools. And they also say that twice over the last three days, Israelis shelled two other U.N. schools.

Now the Israeli military is saying that they are investigating yesterday's attack to see who may be responsible. The U.N. is calling for a full report. We, meanwhile, went back to that school after it was evacuated. We found only a single point of detonation. The blast radius was about 40 yards around. No signs of any rocket debris. Also no signs of any fragments from any commercially made military grade weaponry -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Karl Penhaul for us this morning in Gaza. Thank you, Karl.

HARLOW: Well, dozens of coffins bearing more remains of those 298 victims of Flight MH-17, leaving Ukraine this morning bound for the Netherlands.

Our Nick Paton Walsh is standing by. He is live on the tarmac at the airport in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Nick, so many people want to know, is this going to mark some sort of finality in terms of those remains, all of them being taken back and eventually making it home to their final resting place. Do we know?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, the reason why the Australian and Dutch foreign ministers are here was because they have been hoped that today would be the last time coffins were shipped back. But there may be a smaller plane flight tomorrow. Now once the Australian C-17 plane in the distance behind me takes off, that will bring 188 the number of coffins shipped out of here and there will be a small flight at some point tomorrow.

But I've just been speaking to Julie Bishop, the Australian foreign minister. And I asked her what would bring closure to this for Australia. It's a hard question to answer. But she did say the key thing for them is getting access to that site. They have police on their way here. And she said that the OSCE, the monitoring group working near the crash site are helping to negotiate with the separatists, proper access for those police. Wouldn't be drawn on how far Australia would go to get there.

But Frans Timmerman, her Dutch counterpart, who is just about I believe to get on the plane behind me here, he did say that the Netherlands would do whatever it takes to bring back the remains of all the victims at that crash site.

Remember, Tony Abbott, the Australian prime minister has just said that yesterday some Australian inspectors did tragically there still find some human remains at the crash site. It's (INAUDIBLE) to talk about, Poppy, but sadly it's the gruesome tragic mechanics of what's happening here and the remaining question now with these coffins slowly, perhaps tomorrow, finally removed from the Ukraine back to the Netherlands where forensic testing identification can actually begin.

We come closer to the moment of knowing how many human souls are represented by the remains on that train that rolled out. All controlled areas into Kharkiv three days ago now and whether or not they can get an up rough understanding as to how many may still be left at that crash site now for which there will be an extensive bit to put in police and search and comb through the area despite the sad recognition that because of how much is being tampered with, results may end up being inconclusive -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes. And such a difficult task considering the fighting that rages on in that part of eastern Ukraine. The work that everyone is doing there, to try to get those 298 souls home.

Nick Paton Walsh for us live this morning, thank you.

ROMANS: And it's been more than a week since that downing of Flight 17 and some investigators at the crash site in eastern Ukraine still being denied access to the wreckage. That's according to the Dutch prime minister. That wreckage we're told still contains victims' remains. The Russians promising to cooperate with the crash scene investigation being headed up by the Netherlands. At the same time, though, Russia denies involvement in the attack on the jet liner.


ALEXANDER VLADIMIROVICH YAKOVENKO, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED KINGDOM: Ukraine is full of weapons. Some of the weapons we have captured from the regular Ukrainian army. So this is the effect of the civil war. But Russia has nothing to do with that.


ROMANS: President Obama assuring the Dutch prime minister the U.S. will do everything it can to help secure the crash site and bring everyone home.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian journalist working for CNN, a freelancer, has been detained by pro-Russian separatists. Efforts by CNN to free Anton Skiba, unsuccessful so far.

Phil Black is live from Donetsk, Ukraine for us.

So before we get to Anton Skiba, I want to ask you about the crash site right now. The Dutch prime minister saying it is not secure and there's a lot of work there to be done. What have you guys seen? Is that the case on the ground? It's still just an open scene?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Christine. It is not secure. There is no dedicated force of people there securing it, examining it and crucially searching for victims' remains. It's not happening. When you go out there, it is really quite an eerie experience because only a week after this very major air disaster, it is quiet. It looks abandoned.

We do have a small team of international observers. Some Australian and Malaysian investigators have been on the site in recent days but we're talking a dozen or so people, not more than, and they're moving around from location to location, just trying to assess the scene, not securing it, not examining it closely, not mounting that thorough search that is so desperately needed. And that's really concerning because each day they had gone out, they have found more human remains, which is a pretty strong indication that the effort to recover bodies so far has been less than thorough -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Phil Black. Thank you, Phil, for that update.

And again we are still trying to secure Anton Skiba's release. That freelance who's working for CNN.

All right. A passenger plane with more than 100 people on board crashing in a rainstorm. That's right, another aviation disaster. Investigators finding burned wreckage overnight. We have the very latest for you on that.


HARLOW: The wreckage of Air Algerie jet liner with 116 people on board has been found after crashing in a remote part of Mali. The MD- 83 disappeared from radar during a rainstorm yesterday. This marks the third major aviation disaster in just a week. There are no survivors in this crash. And France's president says the bodies of 51 French passengers on board have now been recovered. They will be flown to Paris tomorrow.

Let's go to Al Goodman in Madrid, Spain, live with the very latest.

And I know, Al, six of the -- all six of the people, the flight attendants and the pilots of the plane were from Spain. I know they have recovered those critical flight data recorders. What else do we know as to what could have caused this?

AL GOODMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Poppy. We are getting updates here. Of course the plane itself, the MD-83, was owned by a Spanish company right here in Madrid. Now the French president, as we listen to what he said, it appears that he said that they've recovered one black box and that has been taken to the city of Gao, which is the nearest city that the French military has secured that crash site. So a very big contrast with what we saw with the Malaysian plane going down in Ukraine last week.

The 51 French bodies -- the nationals recovered. But there were 16 nationalities on that plane. So presumably, those are also under the control of the French military. The bodies of the French nationals may not come to Paris as early as Saturday. We're now being told that there will be a meeting for family members, government officials to try to work on that.

And as to the causes, the French transport minister earlier said this day that they basically had ruled out that a missile had brought down this plane. But his boss, the president of France, seemed to keep the door open just a little bit to make sure they didn't want to rule out any causes just yet but clearly weather has been considered a prime factor. Authorities in Africa saying that the pilot asked to change his course so that he could try to get around severe weather that was happening, which is not unusual at this time of the year in that part of Africa -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes, but of course they're still asking the question and leaving that door open, it appears, because of flying over a conflict region. Extremist fighting really raging there in that part of Mali.

We appreciate the update, Al. Thank you.

All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up next on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo joins us now.

Good morning, Chris.

ROMANS: Hi, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Good morning, my friends. We're going to have the latest, of course, from the Middle East. As you know, Wolf Blitzer has been there keeping us all informed in Jerusalem. Right now there is some hope for a ceasefire because Secretary of State John Kerry says he has a plan. But after all of the horrible violence especially with the U.N. shelter being hit, this is really difficult.

This comes at a time when there's a lot of finger pointing about who is to blame for that strike of a school. We have the latest developments for you.

Also it's just been an awful week for aviation. I mean, there's no other way to say it. You have three planes going down, one of them, of course, MH-17. That being shot down. We're going to have analysis on the dangers of flying in general. We're also going to speak with another one of the families who lost their sons -- a son in this case in the MH-17 attack.

You're not going to want to miss what she has to say. We really have to do our best to focus on the families there. We're going to do that just as you have this morning. I hope you both have a good weekend, by the way.

HARLOW: And you, too, Chris. I mean, Christine and I were watching you over there the whole time, talking about the dignity and the respect that these families deserve. Thank you for that and all our teams over there. We appreciate it very much. We'll see you soon in just a few moments on "NEW DAY".

All right. Also this. A tragic story. But also a hero. A gunman opening fire inside a hospital. Killing one case worker before he was stopped. We're going to tell you how this doctor stepped in. That's next.


ROMANS: A psychiatrist is being called a hero this morning after shooting a patient who opened fire inside his Pennsylvania office. The scene unfolded on the third floor of the Sister Maria Lenahan Wellness Center just outside Philadelphia. Police say Richard Plots, a patient there pulled out a gun and killed his caseworker. That's when an officer say an unidentified doctor took out his personal gun and shot Plots three times. Plots returned fire, grazing the doctor with a bullet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police came in droves and they locked down everything. They chased everybody on the inside and then we seen the SWAT team come in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The cops coming from every, each and everywhere. And I was scared, too, because I have never been in a situation like this.


ROMANS: Plots is currently in critical condition. The doctor who shot him expected to make a full recovery.

HARLOW: Well, Arizona has put a halt executions for right now following a controversy over a prolonged execution of inmate Joseph Wood this week. Wood was convicted of a double murder back in 1989. The state's corrections chief said that Wood did not suffer during a nearly two-hour execution. Also rejects claims that the lethal injection procedure was botched. But some witnesses say it appeared that Wood was struggling to breathe after receiving a lethal injection drug combination as we said about two hours.

Other witnesses say that's not the case. Officials in Arizona are saying that he was comatose and never in pain throughout. However, they are reviewing.

ROMANS: At the White House today, a summit of sort on the U.S. border crisis. President Obama will sit down with leaders from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to work together to stem the flow of children crossing alone into the U.S. illegally. Meantime, the White House and Congress, they're still at odds over emergency funding to pay for this and the blame game is in full swing.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This is a problem of the president's own making. And then he tries to -- he says he wants to solve the problem so we can stop this influx. But then he changes his mind. We've got a president that's AWOL.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: We are committed to addressing their humanitarian needs, we are committed to due process for them. In order for that to happen, we must pass the president's request.


ROMANS: The White House claims the number of unaccompanied minors at the U.S.-Mexico border is declining. In part, they say because of warnings they'll be sent home. Others have pointed out that the coyotes are very active in early summer and late summer because the weather is a little more -- a little more amendable to their very business.

Families are paying, Poppy, more than $5,000 --

HARLOW: To get those kids.

ROMANS: -- to get the kids over with these coyotes. That was just -- I mean, there's money flowing, not flowing from Congress, it's flowing --


ROMANS: It's flowing through the cartels.

HARLOW: And it's going to be tough to see before the recess if they're going to approve that $3.7 billion, I think it is.


HARLOW: All right. Coming up here on EARLY START. Amazon's new phone is on sale today. So why is the stock tanking so much? We'll talk about it, next.


ROMANS: All right. Time for an EARLY START on your money this Friday morning in what has been a week of terrible news around the world. The stock market has been quietly moving to record highs. Futures down a little bit right now but the S&P 500 closing in this week on this 2,000 milestone. The S&P now up more than 7 percent this year. It inched up to the close yesterday at the highest level ever. It's the second record day in a row. Strong corporate earnings giving stocks a boost this week.

It's not the case, though, for Amazon. The stock falling 10 percent right now in pre-market trading. You know, investors are familiar with Amazon during this routine. Post big sales numbers, no profit. That's normal. But yesterday's $126 million loss was simply too big to ignore. Amazon said to expect further losses next quarter as well.

The company has been investing heavily in new products. Its first smartphone, the Fire phone, goes on sale today. A lot of big ideas, but no profit at least this quarter.

Health insurance refunds on the way for 6.8 -- excuse me, million Americans. Under Obamacare, insurers must issue refunds if they spend more than 20 percent. Customer premium are on administration and marketing instead of medical care. They have to pay them back if they are spending too much on marketing, and not medical care. If you look at those refund this year, $332 million, average of $80 a family. Less than last year as the insurers adjust to operate more efficiently.

HARLOW: It's interesting. I didn't know that was part of it.

ROMANS: Yes. There's a lot of little things in Obamacare and that --

HARLOW: And that is one of them.

ROMANS: That is one of them.

HARLOW: Good to be with you this week, Christine.

ROMANS: You too.

HARLOW: Everyone, have a great weekend. Thanks for being with us. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, push for peace. Secretary of State John Kerry says he has a plan to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East. This after a U.N. shelter is bombed in Gaza, killing 16, wounding hundreds. Igniting a day of rage across the region.

Wolf Blitzer is live in Jerusalem.

ALYSIN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And breaking this morning, no survivors. The wreckage of the Air Algerie flight now found amid new questions as to why another commercial airliner crashed. This as investigators find the biggest piece of wreckage yet from MH-17 in Ukraine. Why have there been so many crashes?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: firing back. A gunman opens fire in a hospital but a doctor shoots back, taking down the assailant and saving more lives. He's being hailed a hero this morning. We've got the latest.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY, with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Friday, July 25th. 6:00 in the East. Kate is on assignment. Alisyn Camerota joins us.

Good to have you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks. Great to be with you, guys. You didn't scare me away yesterday, Chris Cuomo.

PEREIRA: I'm surprised.



CUOMO: I will try harder.

PEREIRA: He does most people.