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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Cease-fire Continues in Gaza; John Kerry's Negotiating for Peace between Israeli and Palestinians; SWAT Team Storming Plane in Canada After Bomb Threat; Aviation Experts Discuss Flight Safety; Interview with Naama Nahar, Israeli Reservist Who Refuses to Serve; Fighting Intensifies in Eastern Ukraine; Netherland Parliament Discusses Sending Over Military Personnel to Ukraine; Pilot Explaining How Dangerous Storms Over Equator Could Be for Planes; Dangerous Weather in the U.S.

Aired July 26, 2014 - 06:00   ET

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


CHRISTIE PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Are you up bright and early? Because we have an awful lot to talk to you about this morning. Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. We are covering it all, of course. It's 6:00 here on the East Coast and this is "NEW DAY SATURDAY". Breaking overnight, this fragile 12-hour truce is underway between Israel and Hamas right now. And to call it a truce would probably be too strong. It's a cease-fire.

PAUL: Cease-fire.

BLACKWELL: It's just a pause.

PAUL: That's given both sides, too, as you said, this brief pause, as this has been referred to from weeks of air strikes and shelling and rocket fire. But take a look at what it looked like right before this truce got underway. Explosions hitting Gaza, 35 people dead. This cease-fire is an hour number five right now. And there's hope that it can be extended this morning.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, Secretary of State John Kerry is leading the effort to get both sides to agree to a seven day cease-fire. He's in Paris right now. We know that lives hang in the balance here, because thus far, more than 900 people, most of them civilians, Palestinian civilians have been killed. 37 Israeli soldiers. One guest worker and two Israeli citizens have also died.

PAUL: In Gaza, residents poured into the streets today as the temporary respite from the bombs took effect here.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. And air raid sirens in Israel that had been warning of rocket fire for days, they fell silent. CNN's Martin Savidge joins us now from Jerusalem.

PAUL: And CNN's Atika Shubert is from the Israeli side of the border with Gaza right now with us. Atika, quickly to you. Is it still quiet there where you are? ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So far, so quiet. And that's good

news. Even from this distance, we're just a few kilometers from the border, you can actually see some of the massive destruction in Gaza. We're going to zoom in very quickly here, so, just so you can take a quick look. There's been a lot of dust kicked up by a number of tanks and APCs that have sort of been going back and forth across the border here, but we haven't seen any of that massive artillery strikes, we haven't seen any rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. So, that's very good for the cease-fire, but it does mean that inside Gaza now, they are trying to pick through the destruction and see what - who else they can find. There are reports of dozens of bodies still trapped in the rubble there.

BLACKWELL: Well, we know, Martin, that Secretary Kerry is now in Paris, trying to lead at least a seven-day cease-fire. What are the key sticking points here for Israel and Hamas as well, from agreeing to that?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a lot of them. Let me try and simplify it for you. I think, primarily, from the Israeli side of things, before they are ready to go into a seven-day kind of cease-fire, their concern would be that Hamas would use that time purely for rearming. In other words, to re-strengthen their positions and to carry on the attack against the Israelis after that cease-fire was lifted. On the Hamas side of things, they would not like the idea of Israel keeping its soldiers inside of Gaza during that entire seven-day period. They would want the troops withdrawn outside of Gaza. And we already know that Israel has maintained that it is continuing to destroy the tunnels that they say belong to Hamas, even while this cease-fire is ongoing. That would be a point of contention. Victor and Christie?

PAUL: All right. Could international pressure get Israel to agree to a longer truce? That is, or a longer cease-fire? I guess, that is the question. Atika, from your vantage point, what do you think needs to happen?

SHUBERT: Well, in order for this to -- first, we need to have this 12 hours of quiet. If we can go for 12 hours without any rockets, without any artillery fire, then that puts us in a good position to continue with this possibility of a longer cease-fire. The problem is, there's a complete lack of trust on either side. And there isn't really anybody speaking to Hamas to make Hamas' guarantee stick as well. So, that's the problem we're facing at the moment. While this cease-fire is ongoing, even in that 12 hours, the IDF is right now inside still trying to destroy as many tunnels as they can. Now, if they feel secure enough in that and they feel like they've accomplished that, then there might be the possibility of those talks going forward. But, again, it's establishing that sense of security on both sides, where they feel that, OK, we can start talking and come to some sort of at least, de-escalation, possibly for the next seven days.

BLACKWELL: Martin, there was this week, this U.N. High Commissioner who said that - it's a strong possibility that international law has been violated by Israel in a manner that could amount to war crimes. I'm sure that the Israeli government refutes that claim. But can you detail the international pressure that is on Israel in light of the more than 900 Palestinian civilians who have been killed thus far?

SAVIDGE: Well, there is a lot of pressure. But Israel is accustomed to doing things on its own, what it believes is the right course for the security of its people. So, it doesn't necessarily concern itself with what the United Nations may say. Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, was outraged when those charges were made on the part of the United Nations. He says that the Israeli people have suffered for decades from terrorist attacks and continue to suffer with the thousands of rockets that have come from Gaza. So he found that that was just a totally inappropriate claim to be made. That said, you know, Israel is willing to go it alone, willing to tough it out, because Israel believes this is for its own survival and the actions must be done. As far as the rest of the world, they can talk a lot, but they really can't do a lot. And as a result of that, many Palestinians feel abandoned. They say, where is the international community? Why aren't they in here stopping this bloodshed? That's part of what's triggering all of the violent reaction in the West Bank now.

BLACKWELL: All right, Martin Savidge. And we'll talk about that, the protest that we've seen this week, and now deaths in the West Bank. Martin Savidge in Jerusalem, Atika Shubert on the Israeli side of the border there with Gaza, thank you both.

PAUL: OK, let's talk about some fear and chaos on the tarmac. And put yourself in this position. Sitting in a seat and seeing these guys come in. Because this was the terrifying scene aboard a flight headed to Panama from Toronto after police say a 25-year-old Canadian citizen made a bomb threat.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, this happened yesterday and it forced the plane packed with 189 people to turn back, escorted by U.S. fighter jets. Austin Delaney with our affiliate CTV, has more for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AUSTIN DELANEY, CTV CORRESPONDENT: It is dramatic video shot by a passenger in his seat as the police tactical squad storms the airplane on the tarmac. They want everyone's hands in the air, heads down, as they search for one passenger. Sunwing Flight 772 had taken off from Pearson International on its way to Panama City when it turned around over West Virginia, 45 minutes later, and headed back to Toronto. Batina Bays (ph) was sitting one seat in front of the man in row six.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) - that was within half an hour, and he just basically tore a strip off her, explaining how expensive the expensive the (INAUDIBLE) are here in Canada, he hates Canada, and then he said with great expression, (INAUDIBLE) I just want to bomb Canada.

DELANEY: The flight was then diverted and when it landed, field police were waiting to board. Passenger Phil Thompson says police were all business. PHIL THOMPSON: (INAUDIBLE). They didn't take any good enough from

anybody. Everybody had to keep their heads down and hands up. Once they started seeing the cameras pop up, they made sure to put a stop to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very frightened and scared.

DELANEY: When the man was arrested, Thompson tells us, his demeanor had completely changed. Once he was in handcuffs, he was saying sorry and that he loved Canada.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Good heaven. CTV's Austin Delaney, thank you so much, Austin, for that report.

BLACKWELL: Well, investigators are trying to examine the wreckage there of MH-17. They're desperate for access to the crash site, but now it's the rebels who control the area, who say, they are losing patience.

PAUL: Plus, let's think about this. Three air disasters in one week. If you've got some hesitation to fly, or you are in good company. We're going to ask our panel of experts, should we re-evaluate our travel plans?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: You know, it's almost hard to believe that there are victims still lying amid the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. That crash site in eastern Ukraine is not secure. A proper investigation really at the end of the day has yet to begin. But now rebels who control the area have apparently said they've just about had enough.

BLACKWELL: They're fed up.

PAUL: It is so frightening to some people, because it's outrageous.

BLACKWELL: And the rest of the world is fed up, actually.

PAUL: Right. Right.

BLACKWELL: International monitors say pro-Russian rebels are pressing them to get to the experts and get them to the scene soon. And suggestion they may only have another week's worth of patience for the tedious process of wrap up. It's, of course, going to take more than a week. These are the same rebels that the U.S. accuses of shooting the airliner out of the sky nine days ago.

PAUL: Still, Dutch and Australian officials are trying to negotiate access to the crash zone. In the meantime, victims' relatives are keeping vigil again today as another 38 coffins are due to arrive in the military base in the Netherlands.

BLACKWELL: And as investigators try to at least comb through that wreckage for more victims of Flight 17, the fighting is intensifying in eastern Ukraine.

PAUL: Roads and rail lines, we've learned, out of Donetsk, are gridlocked today. Residents trying to get out of heavy shelling and anti-aircraft fire. Kyung Lah joining us now from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. So what do you know about this latest round of fighting, Kyung?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Christie, we have to remind people that this place, the place that the investigators are trying to get to, this crash scene, it's in the middle of heavy fighting. And this is fighting that we've seen in the last 24 hours increase. There has been, as you say, reports of increased shelling, anti-aircraft fire, all this happening in the north of the city of Donetsk. The rebel-held town, this is a rebel-held town, and the Ukrainian forces are trying to get closer. That's being confirmed by a rebel commander to CNN, as well as Ukrainian forces, saying that they are moving closer to the stronghold. So all of this is happening as the residents of this town now are trying to flee. They are jamming the roads out of the center of the city, train service has stopped into the city, and out of the city. We are also getting a report from Russia that refugees are starting to spill into their country. Some 4,600 refugees have come into Russia, according to the country, in the last 24 hours. So the crash scene, not accessible. This is happening in a heavily contested area where the fighting is increasing, Christie.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the victims for a moment, Kyung. For the third day, we know that more of the coffins will be delivered to that military base in the Netherlands. Are there still victims' remains still there in this field? Is there any way to be sure? Tell us where that stands.

LAH: Well, there's no exact way to know how many victims may be lying there, because there hasn't been a full inspection. This is a very large area. There are some eight to ten separate sites in a larger area that investigators really want to comb through. You need to get the experts in there. And they haven't been able to do that, because of all the fighting that we've been talking about, that's been there for a month and increasing, as we said, over the last 24 hours. So we just don't know. What we do know is that the last of the planes is sitting on the tarmac to remove some of the remains out of this country to Amsterdam. These are the ones that have been recovered, that have been removed, and that we've seen this grim process of the coffins leaving this country and returning to Amsterdam for the repatriation of these remains to their country for identification. It is a slow process. And still, Victor, as you point out, the frustration that there may be more remains there in the crash site.

BLACKWELL: Unimaginable for the people who are waiting there in Amsterdam and all over the world for their loved ones to come home. Kyung Lah, thank you so much for joining us from Kiev.

PAUL: Thank you, Kyung. And in the midst of this, we're talking about three air disasters in recent weeks that have left more than 400 people dead. This dramatic video here of a SWAT team storming a flight bound for Panama. Can you imagine sitting in that front seat? BLACKWELL: No, and there are so many people asking, with so much going on right now, is it safe to fly?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: All right, so three air disasters in just two weeks. There's a good chance you're thinking twice about flying.

PAUL: And then, of course, just yesterday, that bomb threat forced a Panama bound flight from Toronto to turn back. And this is what people in the front row saw, the SWAT team storming into the cabin. Witnesses tell affiliate CTV a 25-year-old Canadian citizen threatened to bomb Canada.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk more about this with aviation safety consultant Chris Yates and CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes. Also, I have former pilot Alastair Rosenschein with us this morning. Good to have all of you, gentlemen. Tom, I'm going to start with you. For people who are thinking, I'm going to back away from flying for a while, are those concerns warranted?

TOM FUENTES, AVIATION EXPERT: I really don't think so, Victor. You know, it's still safer to fly than it is to drive to and from the airport, you know, statistically in the first place. It's just that air crashes are spectacular and, you know, the footage is spectacular. But if you add up all the onesies and twosies of auto crashes around the world, you know, air crashes pale in comparison.

PAUL: OK, so Chris, you know, with these recent air disasters, what would you say to people to make them better prepared as they fly, perhaps, especially internationally?

CHRIS YATES, AVIATION SAFETY CONSULTANT: Well, of course, the answer is to just go about your normal business, to turn up in plenty of time for the flight and to accept anything that happens to be thrown against you at the security itself. The fact of the matter is, you know there were 34.5 million flights last year and out of those, only 84, 85 turned into [NO SOUND]

BLACKWELL: All right, let me check in with you, Alastair. We're having a bit of an audio problem there with Chris. But Alastair, you know, one thing that at least two of these aviation incidents had in common was immediately it was difficult to know what the nationalities, the identities, and the numbers of people on board. We know that it took some time with MH-17 and we still don't have all the numbers from the Algerie flight. That's a bit disconcerting, that immediately you can't tell me who's on this plane. Should people be concerned about that?

ALASTAIR ROSENSCHEIN, AIRLINE CONSULTANT: Well, they would be, if that was the case. But the airlines do do reconciliation between passengers and the bags that are boarding. Their passenger lists are pretty robust. The time delay in releasing the passenger lists are -- after an accident, are directly as a result of having to make absolutely certain that every name is absolutely correct. Because, you know, we're talking about, in this case, people who may have lost their lives or have lost their lives. And it would be imperative that those lists are correct. And that's probably one of the main reasons why there is a delay in releasing the passenger list and the nationalities of the passengers as well.

PAUL: So, Tom, you know, a lot of experts have asked whether the disaster of Malaysia Airlines 17 could happen again. And I want to talk about New York Congressman Steve Israel, who's re-introduced this legislation to require the Defense Department to install anti-missile technology on U.S. commercial airlines. I'm wondering how the airlines feel about that, where the money would come from, is it feasible? What's your take on that?

FUENTES: Well, first of all, Christie, it's simple where the money would come from - from the flying public. Ticket prices would have to go up and be astronomical to cover that. And it's just not feasible. You're not going to take thousands, tens of thousands of civilian aircraft and somehow turn them into defensive fighter jets on a global basis, and then, what, send the pilots to top gun training? You know, the maintenance, the installation, the continued maintenance, the training required to operate those systems, I think it's just, you know, a political stunt, in my opinion.

BLACKWELL: Chris, do you know if there -- or do you believe that there will be some long-term sustained change in, I guess, routing around areas of conflict after what happened to MH-17?

YATES: Because at the end of the day, we should be avoiding the base of air space above conflict zones, above war zones. Because there's always the potential, the chance for this sort of thing to happen. So I know it's a meeting between ICAO and various other bodies next week in Montreal, that might give some indication as to the direction things are going, but don't expect anything soon, because the civil aviation industry works in strange and mysterious ways and oftentimes takes an awful long time to deal with a situation.

BLACKWELL: All right, Chris Yates, Alastair Rosenschein and Tom Fuentes, thank you all for joining us.

TOM FUENTES: You are welcome.

ROSENSCHEIN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: A live look now at pictures from Kharkov, Ukraine. The last of the coffins being loaded on to a plane to go to the Netherlands still. Could be more bodies there in Ukraine in that field, as we heard from Kyung Lah just a moment ago. There's really no way to tell, because the investigators have not been given full access to the site. But we know that 38 coffins now are headed to the Netherlands.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Bottom of the hour right now. We're so grateful to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Here are five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

PAUL: Number one, a ten-month-old foster child died in a hot car in Wichita, Kansas on Thursday and her foster father is under arrest now. He and his partner apparently were in the process of adopting that girl. The couple's six other adopted and foster kids have been removed from the home, pending an investigation. State officials immediately ordered home inspections for all foster and adoptive families that used the same agency involved in this case.

BLACKWELL: Number two, the NFL is facing a backlash online after a two-game suspension for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Of course, this came after he knocked his then-fiancee unconscious during their fight at an Atlantic City casino back in February. A lot of fans believe the punishment was not harsh enough and they took to Twitter to air that frustration. Rice has expressed regret over the incident and has taken part in counseling.

PAUL: Number three, Central American leaders are working on a plan to address the causes of illegal youth immigration to the U.S. President Obama met yesterday with the presidents of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. They issued a statement highlighting the importance of preventing children from making the dangerous journey. This, of course, as Congress and the White House are struggling to come to an agreement.

BLACKWELL: Number four, Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia next year. The Catholic news service reports he has accepted the invitation of Philadelphia's archbishop to attend the world meeting of families. It will be his first visit to the U.S. as pope. The Vatican says the pontiff is also considering invitations to New York, the United Nations, and to Washington.

PAUL: And number five, as many as four journalists, three of them American, have been detained in Iraq. "The Washington Post" says at least two of them work for the newspaper. The other two are freelance photographers who haven't been named. It's not clear why the reporters are being held, but the committee to protect journalists is urging them to be released.

BLACKWELL: We want to let you know that we are standing by for remarks from Secretary of State John Kerry. He is in Paris right now.

PAUL: He's leading this international effort to get a seven-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Now, a 12-hour cease-fire is in effect right now and in its fifth hour, but seconds before it got underway, look at this. These were the explosions and we're hearing from our correspondents on the ground, both Israel and Hamas seem to be holding their fire right now.

BLACKWELL: Gaza health officials say more than 900 Palestinians have been killed since the Israeli offensive began more than two weeks ago. And I want to be careful about calling this the Israeli offensive. This is a conflict between Hamas and Israel. This is a shared offensive. And nearly 6,000 Palestinians have been injured. Now, 37 Israeli soldiers have died in this conflict. And meanwhile, dozens of former Israeli soldiers are refusing to serve in the nation's reserve force. In an online petition, more than 50 soldiers, mostly women in non-combat roles, say they do not want to be a part of a military they say is oppressing Palestinians. They say that although they're not the ones on the ground, serving in any capacity of the forces there, it forces them to play a role in the conflict.

PAUL: One of those soldiers taking that stance is Naama Nagar. She joins us now. Naama, thank you so much for being with us. Specifically, what is your reason behind this?

NAAMA NAGAR: Hi, Victor, hi, Christie. Thanks for having me. The petition has long been in the making. I specifically felt the urge to join in light of the recent events in Gaza, which I think amount to carnage over there. I see the pictures, I read the stories, I see the numbers and it's horrific. And although the petition speaks about the militarization of Israeli society in general and several problems that we associate with the military, and for which we support people's rights to refuse the service, right now, there's really an urgency to show where this kind of militaristic ideology has led to. It's a militaristic ideology that has consistently prevented Israel. And I'm speaking only of Israel, because I'm an Israeli citizen. This is where my responsibility lies. Has prevented Israel from seeking political means to end a political conflict. And so we're drawn into this vicious cycle of bloodshed. Because we're only thinking of physical might, as a means to solve something that doesn't resolve -- that cannot be resolved this way.

BLACKWELL: You know, the conflict itself is just a portion of what is highlighted in this petition. There is also the discussion of discrimination and segregation. Can you talk about, aside from the conflict, the larger story here, that your concerns about the Israeli military and your decision not to serve.

NAGAR: Well, I had served for nearly three years. This is a petition of people who did not declare themselves (INAUDIBLE) objectors or pacifists before their service. We have gone through the system, and in retrospect, we look at that and we save the regrets having been - having taken a complicit role in what is happening in the combatant areas and, yes, the military in Israel is a very strong institution. Indeed, one of the strongest. Some people say that Israel is an army that has a state. I think to an extent, this has a grain of truth in it. For instance, right now, we're seeing huge sums of money just pouring into the military without any parliamentary discussion, without any transparency. And just the militaristic ideology justifies everything on the name of defense. And as much as, you know, I live in an area that has been under shells of rockets from the Gaza Strip, still, I think that there is something very weird when we don't even hold any public discussion about whether or not it is cost beneficial to pour all this money into defense from rocket shells versus other life-saving means, including health and medical treatment, and so on and so forth. This is the kind of conversation that isn't being held in Israeli public domain, because whenever that - the military says, this is the need, everyone just says, aye. Other reasons that we mention have to do with the way that people are funneled into different professions in the military, in a way that kind of is similar to the U.S. tracking system, also tracking in education. So that if you go to, for instance, and what is considered an elite intelligence unit, such as the unit that I served in, the national student unit, you are automatically then able to -- you gain a lot of human capital and social capital that allows you to go and establish those high-tech companies and hedge funds, which later on create the forefront of Israeli economy.

PAUL: OK.

NAGAR: An economy that is also to a great extent, based on military force (ph), because ....

PAUL: Naama, I just wanted to thank you for, you know, being with us and letting us know, the background of this petition and why it's taken place. But we appreciate your time this morning. Thanks for being here.

NAGAR: Thank you both.

PAUL: Sure.

BLACKWELL: Now, for people who get nervous on planes, you probably want to avoid flights that pass through the equator.

PAUL: A pilot tells CNN that that area can be one of the most harrowing experiences you can imagine. We're going to explain to you and show you why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLIVE BRUNSKILL, PHOTOGRAPHER: I go down the park and learning how to shoot sport and print pictures in a dark room, taught myself, basically. You never know what the next picture is going to be. That's what's great about the job. It's addictive, it's like a drug. You have to watch every ball. You have to watch everything those players do and you just have to be patient. And sometimes you can be an hour and a half, and you think, I haven't taken one picture that's any good. And then suddenly, you know, one great picture happens.

With grass ball tennis, it's different and it's fast and you get a lot more explosive pictures and the players do dive, whereas with the hard court tennis like the U.S. Open, it's just, it's not the same. For me, a good picture here would be a picture that tells the whole story. It's a really exciting time, tennis wise. Having Nadal and Djokovic and Murray and Federer all fighting out, there's grand slams, and it's really exciting. And that only makes for good pictures.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Well, officials are saying bad weather may have been a factor in the crash of Air Algerie Flight 5017 in Mali.

BLACKWELL: Yesterday, French forces found one of the flight data recorders at the crash site. And the plane is said to have disintegrated. No one survived. The plane flew through the equator, which is known for these dangerous storms. CNN's Miguel Marquez tells us why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Flying into any storm can be a bumpy, white knuckling experience. But flying into bad weather near the equator can be a nightmare, known as the inter-tropical convergence zone, a band of unsettled weather around the Earth's equator, where some of the most ferocious storms can develop.

(on camera): You've flown in a lot of storms?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've flown in more storms than I would have liked to.

MARQUEZ: And what is it like to fly into a serious thunderstorm?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it can be anything from, you know, M. Toad's wild ride to the most harrowing experience you can imagine that you don't think you're going to get through it.

MARQUEZ (voice over): In Saharan Africa, powerful sand storms, a product of that intertropical convergence zone, a challenge for any pilot. This aircraft coming in for a landing goes directly into the storm. You can hear the engines rev as the plane enters the sand storm. The sky turns red. Visibility, zero. Weather is suspected as the cause or a contributing factor in the crash of Air Algerie Flight 5017. Plus, on the radar, a massive thunderstorm moving right through 5017's flight path. The 18-year old McDonnell -Douglas 83 Aircraft departed Burkina Faso's Ouagadougou Airport at 1:17 a.m. on its way to Algeria's capital. To get there, it had to cross the ITCZ, that band of unpredictable weather around the world's equator, where terrible weather can develop. At 1:38 a.m., Flight 5017 asked if it could change routes. A storm had developed over its intended course. The plane made its way east, then north again. Last contact, 17 minutes later, near Gao, Mali. Just maybe an eerie similarity to Air France Flight 447, 228 people onboard, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009. Pilots on the Airbus 330 were flying through an enormous storm spawned by the intertropicical convergence zone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you fly underneath that that can be some of the most dangerous parts of the thunderstorm.

MARQUEZ (voice over): Intense winds coming down at you or from deferent directions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And hail.

MARQUEZ (voice over): Flight 447 was more than 30,000 feet over the Atlantic. The storm shot up to more than 50,000 feet. The pilots added power, climbed to the plane stalled, losing all control, and slammed into the ocean from 38,000 feet. The crash of Flight 447 found to be pilot error. What caused Flight 5017 to crash, now under intense investigation? Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLACKWELL: There's the investigation into 5017. Also, the investigation into MH-17 in Ukraine. But we know today that more of the victims, their bodies from Flight 17, they will arrive in the Netherlands today. But what is the Dutch government doing to ensure that all of the victims are brought back from Ukraine?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Today, 38 more coffins with the remains of MH-17 victims will arrive in the Netherlands. But even now, many victims' remains are still lying in the field with the debris from that plane.

PAUL: Investigators say they need more access to those bodies and to the wreckage that's there. And it may be weeks, if not months, until the bodies are all identified. CNN correspondent Saima Mohsin joins us live from The Hague, Netherlands. Simon, thank you for being with us. What is the Netherlands doing specifically to ensure these bodies are brought back, since they bore the brunt of this tragedy?

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christie, it's a major weekend of decision making here at The Hague for Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his parliament. He's been doing it through a debate Friday. Now he's saying that decision will be made over the weekend, whether or not to send armed security personnel. Now, we don't know whether he means police or armed truce in terms of the military, but that's the level they're getting to, that's - they are considering doing, going into that crash site where MH-17 came down after being shot down more than a week ago. Now, Christina, as you point out, to try and effectively guard the site, simply so investigators can do their job. They can get there, they can do the forensic investigations and examinations they need to do and collect, most importantly, the remains of the passengers and crew on board, that are still yet to be collected to bring them back home. We've seen those beautiful ceremonies over the last couple of days, incredibly sad, military cottages, bringing those coffins out one by one. As you say today, that's happening yet again. 38 coffins. You know, I have never seen so many coffins in a row. It's absolutely heartbreaking. But just imagine how it is for the family members and loved ones still waiting to know which of those coffins has their loved one on board. And so that's what this is all about. That's why I'm at The Hague today. Because the decision is, can the Netherlands or a joint international force or a European force go to Ukraine? And behind closed doors, what I'm being told in the fielding behind me, Prime Minister Mark Rutte is in negotiations with Russia, with Ukraine, and with separatist rebels as well. But something that's really quite astonishing today is what Russia is coming out with as well. The independent newspaper there, I'm being told, and this is all over Facebook and Twitter here in the Netherlands, have come out with an apology, saying, Holland, we apologize. And that really says it all, doesn't it?

BLACKWELL: And that's from the independent newspaper, not the Russian government funded media there. Saima Mohsin, thank you so much for joining us this morning. The coverage continues, of course, of our breaking story overnight. That cease-fire in Gaza and how long it will last. I mean the hope is for at least 12 hours. We'll go live to Jerusalem and the Gaza border for the very latest developments there.

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PAUL: Well, scientists, take a look at this, shedding new light on a solar storm that apparently came close to impacting Earth two years ago. This was the largest solar storm in recorded history and it could have done catastrophic damage to electrical systems and other technology worldwide. One study estimated it could have had an economic impact of more than $2 trillion.

BLACKWELL: And look at this. A massive dust storm that swept over Phoenix yesterday. If you drop that lower thirty, you can really see the discrepancy between the clear air and the dust there. Look at that!

PAUL: Look at that!

BLACKWELL: I mean if he just as people were trying to get through that Friday rush home.

PAUL: Of course, it did. It always happens like that.

BLACKWELL: And you lived in Phoenix.

PAUL: I lived here for five years!

BLACKWELL: You know this.

PAUL: It always happened like that.

BLACKWELL: Problems for the folks there. I mean there are reports that it was more than 3,000 feet high. Planes were temporarily grounded at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Crews are also working to restore power to thousands of people. And it's just - is a headache. I mean it leaves a coating of dust on everything.

PAUL: Lots to clean up. Once one of those sweeps through, and listen, a tornado touched down on the East Coast of Florida yesterday as well.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, some homes lost power for a short time. There was damage at a local airport. You can see here, people trying to pick up the aluminum siding. There were no injuries, so that's the good thing there.

PAUL: Much of the Midwest, though, if you're waking up there or if you are on the East Coast today, take a good look at those skies. CNN Meteorologist Karen Maginnis, what do they have to watch out for?

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It looks about like 6.5 million people are under the gun in the moderate risk. That's the area that we most likely will expect a severe weather. A slight risk extending from Des Moines all the way over towards West Virginia. But in this moderate risk area, Peoria, Springfield, and extending on over into Louisville, Kentucky, not Chicago, but it's going to be situated just across this up Ohio River Valley region, that's where we see that moderate risk coming up for this afternoon. It's just a little bit further towards the east and engulfs a broader area going into Sunday. Some of the rainfall totals could be heavy, but it is that risk of severe weather, the potential for an isolated tornado that we're most concerned about. Some areas could expect between one and three inches of rainfall through the Tennessee River Valley over the next several days. But those temperatures are going to be exceedingly hot across the central United States. That haboob that you were talking about in Phoenix, that reduced visibility, well, that's all part of that monsoonal moisture, the monsoons that build up, the thunderstorms. You get that downdraft from the thunderstorms and some orographic lift, meaning the mountains, and that's where you see those high winds and the dust that gets kicked up. Look at the temperatures coming up this afternoon in Wichita, 106 degrees. And yesterday, in California, a number of areas right around San Francisco saw temperatures in the triple digits. And speaking of California, quickly, let's show you those pictures coming out of the wildfire. This is the sand fire, just to the east of Sacramento, one injury, it's only 20 percent contained. And encompasses about 1,300 acres. Back to you guys.

BLACKWELL: Rough weather across the country, Karen, thank you so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Karen. And thank you for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: Next hour of your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

PAUL: Got coffee and your breakfast, sit back and relax, because we have so much to tell you this morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. 7:00 here on the East Coast. This is "NEW DAY SATURDAY." And Secretary of State John Kerry, he is in Paris this morning.

PAUL: He's leading this international effort to get Israel and Hamas to sign on to a seven-day cease-fire that will hopefully stop the Israeli air strikes and the Hamas rocket fire.

BLACKWELL: A 12-hour, just 12-hour pause from the fighting is in effect right now for Gaza. It's now in hour number six. But seconds before it got underway, this was the scene. All these explosions there in Gaza. And the brief respite from fighting has led to the discovery of dozen of bodies. I'm joined now by CNN's Martin Savidge in Jerusalem.