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Weather Outlook; Nascar Deadly Crash; MH-17 Crash Site Investigation Suspended

Aired August 11, 2014 - 08:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Half past the hour. Let's take a look at your headlines.

The World Health Organization meets today to discuss the Ebola outbreak. An ethics panel will discuss the use of experimental treatments to fight the virus. Two Americans with Ebola are being treated with an experimental medicine that has never -- was never before tested on humans. They are said to be responding well. The panel will also discuss how to decide just who gets the limited amounts of the drugs that are available.

The latest cease-fire in Gaza appears to be holding. Right now, indirect talks between the Israelis and Palestinians are underway in Cairo. Negotiators are trying to work out a long-term deal to end the violence. Earlier the spokesman for the Israeli government said Israel would be willing to ease sanctions if the aggression from Gaza stops.

Meanwhile, shelling continues in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk as government forces close in on the city. The military is said to be in the final stage of taking the city back from pro-Russian rebels. Rebel leader says the city is running out of food and would accept a cease-fire in order to avoid a humanitarian crisis. Ukraine is calling for pro-Russian separatists to surrender.

As expected, the NCAA will appeal a legal game changer for college sports. Former UCLA hoops star Ed O'Bannon successfully suing the NCAA, arguing that top tier college basketball and football athletes should get paid for their school's use of their names, their images and likenesses. The NCAA says it's confident that it is not violating anti-trust laws. You know this will be the discussion of sports talk radio all week.


PEREIRA: I don't know about you, but I enjoyed a lovely weekend. It was near perfect weather and it would appear by the posts on FaceBook most people enjoyed nice weather.

BOLDUAN: Near perfect.

PEREIRA: More in store, Indra? Near perfect. Well, that's - we want it (INAUDIBLE).


BOLDUAN: There's always room for more perfect.

PEREIRA: Exactly.

PETERSONS: Or to complain (ph) (INAUDIBLE), right, are you kidding me.

PEREIRA: No complaint.

PETERSONS: I'm going to go with perfect. It was literally money out there. We were talking about gorgeous weather all thanks to high pressure that was in place. Keep in mind, this guy is going away. We're going to be talking about a lot of rain coming at least to the northeast over next several days. Already today in towards the Midwest, making its way into the Ohio Valley and eventually bringing the really heavy rain in toward the northeast.

Starting with today, southeast, yes, some scattered showers. Not really the big system here. It's the one to the north we're going to watch develop and really strengthen. Notice by tomorrow morning, at commute time, it's going to be ugly out toward D.C., really anywhere in through Pennsylvania. And then as you go throughout the day in through Wednesday, we're going to talk about that heavy rain really all the way even in through New England.

Another way to look at it, showers, only about an inch to the southeast, right? Scattered showers. The heavier rain in towards the Ohio Valley. This is just a one day total. Let me show you what three days of rain looks like. Look at these amounts, three to five inches of rain, guys, especially talking about in towards New England by Wednesday. That is the change I'm talking about. Enjoy the temperatures today and the sunshine because I still think it looks perfect. Tomorrow, not so much.

BOLDUAN: OK, let's just focus on today.

PEREIRA: I just don't want to give -

PETERSONS: Focus right here, right now.

PEREIRA: I don't want to (INAUDIBLE) head. You know, near perfect is, you know, it's (INAUDIBLE).

PETERSONS: That's right, Mich, I'm going to let you slide on this one.

PEREIRA: All right.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: (INAUDIBLE) personally you take the weather.

PETERSONS: Obviously.

CUOMO: Now did -- bear reminding, her name does mean "Goddess of" what?

PETERSONS: God - God of weather and power. It's fine.

CUOMO: God of weather. That's what Indra means in some languages.

PETERSONS: Look it up.

CUOMO: (INAUDIBLE) fully understood.


CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a race car driver struck and killed by Nascar star Tony Stewart while on the track. What will this tragedy mean for the sport and it's an investigation by police. Where does that lead?

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, the Malaysia Airlines crash site in Ukraine has turned into a war zone. Intense fighting has forced investigators to stop recovery work for Flight 17. We're going to talk with the group monitoring the investigation about what's next.


PEREIRA: Welcome back.

Tough scenario over the weekend. The racing world is in shock this morning after a horrifying death of Sprint car racer Kevin Ward Jr. this weekend. Just 20 years old. He was killed -- hit by Nascar star Tony Stewart after he got out of his car following a spinout, a collision with Stewart's car. Now an investigation is underway.

We want to discuss it all with CNN's Rachel Nichols, host of "Unguarded," and Sunny Hostin, our CNN legal analyst.

Hate that we have to talk about this. A 20-year-old man's life is cut short, but obviously the grieving continues but the investigation has to begin. I want to start with you, Rachel. Are you surprised that it escalated like this, the spinout, he gets out of his car, walks on to the track, which never seems advisable.

RACHEL NICHOLS, HOST, CNN'S "UNGUARDED": Not a good idea. Your mother told you to look both ways before crossing the street. Look, unfortunately, this happens in racing. We see this a lot.

PEREIRA: Hot tempers.

NICHOLS: Yes, hot tempers flare. Guys feel like they have to defend their turf a little bit, make sure nobody messes with them next time. And I want you to take a look at this. This is from two years ago. This is Tony Stewart, of all people -

PEREIRA: I remember this.

NICHOLS: He gets out of his car -

PEREIRA: Throws his helmet.

NICHOLS: And goes into Matt Kenneth while he's driving toward him. This is obviously dangerous. And yet at the time, this is really almost celebrated. Good old hot head Tony Stewart standing up for himself -

PEREIRA: Showing him.

NICHOLS: Absolutely. It's kind of like fighting in hockey. No, everybody says it's not a very good idea, but there's sort of a blind eye that's been turned to it because it is entertaining for a segment of the fan base. You got to think after this, this weekend, that's going to stop. Drivers are going to think twice.

PEREIRA: A blind eye but maybe until now, Sunny. So will that incident be brought into consideration during this latest one, especially when a young man is dead?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think there's no question that this is a really young investigation, but they are looking at it very, very closely.


HOSTIN: The question is, will there be criminal charges for this type of behavior? Anytime you have a death in any sport, in any -- in any space, really, it's something that prosecutors and investigators certainly look at. I will say that I think what is difficult about a case like this is that you've got to prove criminal intent. What was going on in Tony Stewart's mind? But you do have this video -

PEREIRA: Of his hot temper from before, right?

HOSTIN: Of his hot temper before and you have, you know, this young kid, 20 years old, coming out, kind of aggressively, pointing at the car. And so I think people are going to be looking at investigators at least, was there animus between the two? What was the history between the two? Were there any words said before -


HOSTIN: You know, this accident. And so it's very young in the investigation, but it has to be looked at.

PEREIRA: It absolutely has to be. And I want to look at the investigation aspect of it in a second, but I also want to read you something another Sprint car driver, Tyler Graves said. And this is really interesting to me. Quote, "I know Tony could see him. I know how you can see out of these cars. When Tony got close to him, he hit the throttle." This is quite an accusation. "When you hit a throttle on a Sprint car, the car gets sideways, it set sideways. The right tire hit Kevin. Kevin was sucked underneath and was stuck under it for a second or two and then threw about 50 yards."

A horrible scene. We're obviously not going to show you the extent of the video. It's too much for our viewers to watch at home.


PEREIRA: But he would know how the car is going to react. He's been driving for a long time, Rachel.

NICHOLS: Yes, absolutely. And to friends of Wards, like this guy and all of his family, we all have to offer our deepest condolences. This has to be just the worst time and to hear everybody dissect it the way we are is absolutely terrible.

PEREIRA: Sort of analytically.

NICHOLS: You do have to wonder how much someone sitting in the stands can have a definitive, unassailable view of what happened on the track. I think they will take into account what this other driver said. I think they will also take into account what some of the other drivers on the track at the time said. Obviously the interviews with Stewart and possible we might never know. Maybe he opened up the throttle because he was trying to gun the engine to swerve around him. Maybe he opened up the throttle because he was trying to gun the engine because he was trying to clip him and scare him. Or maybe he didn't see him. We just don't know.

PEREIRA: To be fair, it was dark in that part of the track.

HOSTIN: And it was dark. And that's -- those are all the questions that the investigators will have. I mean how do you prove what was really going on in his mind? And I think the other thing that's going to be interesting is, you've got to reconstruct this kind of accident, right? And so that will be, I think, a significant, significant part of the investigation, not only just speaking to the fans, looking at video, looking at photos, interviewing Tony Stewart, of course, but, again, I think you really need this sort of accident reconstruction in a case like this.

NICHOLS: And one thing to remember is, Nascar is sort of like a soap opera, people call it.


NICHOLS: Everyone has these predefined characters that come out.

PEREIRA: Sure. Sure.

NICHOLS: You got the clean cut guys from California, like Jimmy Johnson. You've got the good old boy like Dale Earnhardt Jr. And you've got the guy who's been cast as the hot head rebel in Tony Stewart. It is an image -

PEREIRA: That's not going to help him.

NICHOLS: That he has cultivated and, frankly, made a lot of money off of -


NICHOLS: Over the past years. And we're going to have to see if that comes back to haunt him.

PEREIRA: But investigators will have to put that away and look at the facts in the case. And I want to speak to the fact that Chris spoke to the sheriff involving in this case right now and the fact that a sheriff is investigating yet says there are no criminal charges filed at this point, if that's the case, if it's not a criminal investigation, why not just let the racing commission handle it?

HOSTIN: Well, I think you're always going to investigate it criminally. And you do use that line because that's accurate, there are no criminal charges pending, but the investigation is ongoing.

PEREIRA: Do you think they will?

HOSTIN: You know, again, I think in a case like this, and I've prosecuted so many cases, Michaela, it is really difficult to prove what is going on in someone's head.

PEREIRA: That's the worst part. And to go back to it, a 20-year-old is dead.

NICHOLS: A 20-year-old kid is dead.

PEREIRA: At the end of the day, a family is grieving. It's tragic. It's tragic.

NICHOLS: It is tragic.

PEREIRA: The racing community is shaken. We'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully calm minds can prevail.


PEREIRA: Sunny, Rachel, a real pleasure to have you both here with us. Thanks so much.

HOSTIN: Thanks.

PEREIRA: Take a short break. Talk about an intensity increasing. Fighting intensifies at the Malaysian Airline crash site. The investigation into Flight 17 stopped as Ukrainian forces and rebels battle it out. We're going to speak with a group monitoring the investigation when we come back.


CUOMO: The biggest crime scene in the world. That's how we refer to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.


CUOMO (voice-over): It crashed in a wheat field in Eastern Ukraine in the middle of a battle zone and there it remains. The dignity of the dead and their loved ones ignored by militants and Ukraine forces fighting for control of the region. Now international investigators have been forced to suspend their mission until the fighting stops.

(END VIDEOCLIP) CUOMO (on camera): Joining us now is a man who knows this all too well, Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the Organization and Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE. That's what we kept referring to, the observers, they've been the best eyes on the ground, trying to keep the integrity of the scene in place, but a harder and harder to ballot (ph). Michael, its good to see you safe here. Just the overlay for people, okay? It is getting worse and worse in the area surrounding the crash site. What is it like to even try it approach it?

MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, SPOKESMAN FOR OSCE: Well, that's why we had to suspend, Chris. It is getting worse because the front line has come right through that crash site. And we had to suspend our visits there a few days ago because there was shelling going on. We had more than 100 experts from two or three different countries there. And they were shooting the other day. So everyone, you know, realized that, look it is not worth it, proceeding with the humanitarian effort of, you know, looking for those human remains, looking for personal belongings of the passengers. So --

CUOMO: Don't want to create more death- -


CUOMO: - - in a situation where we're trying to go and deal with the death that's occurred already. How frustrating is it for the investigators if they finally get there, the country has finally freed up the assets, they got promises that they would be able to get there from the militants in the Ukraine. Nobody's keeping their word.

BOCIURKIW: Very frustrating, too because don't forget they waited a long time to get in there. So many days to get in there. And now they can't do their work. And we have always said, Chris, is that the worst thing that could happen, if that front line comes through that crash site, is going to be exposed more to human and natural factors that no one can really control. going to be exposed more to human and natural factors that no one can

really control.

CUOMO: It has been weeks now. Also, we're showing you this, just to give you an idea of just how big the area is. This plane fell from five miles up in the sky, some of it landed in a direct line, much of it did not. These are the areas, the yellow is where the investigators have been able to get. Largely the open areas, okay? The concern is that in these orange blocked areas you have density of people, but there's a lot of debris there as well. And our best, Michael, if I'm right, as I remember correctly, mostly from what you've told me, that most of what we know about these areas in orange is what villagers have brought forward and said, look what I found, look what I found, not forensically done.

BOCIURKIW: Correct. And you know what, and because we can't bring experts in there right now what we're going to be doing the next few days is passing out leaflets and encouraging villagers to come forward if they found any belongings. And look at this, big agricultural area, as you know. So farmers are going to be asked too to maybe hold back on cultivating their fields until an investigation can be completed. But, you know, we feel so much for these people. Not only did they live through this airplane literally raining down on them, but also now a conflict that has come right to their doorstep. No electricity, water, food is difficult to come by. It is the worst of all scenarios.

CUOMO: People are dying.

BOCIURKIW: People are dying.

CUOMO: So now we get to -- you've had a really unusual experience. This is not what you're supposed to do.


CUOMO: You are not a crash scene investigator. You're not an aviation expert. But you've been the best set of eyes on the ground, your organization, that we have because nobody else can or wants to get in there. So you've been taking tons of photos. And you're getting these impressions as you go along the way. And as we look at these different sections of the aircraft, each one means something significant to you from what you've seen on the ground, the cockpit, why?

BOCIURKIW: Well, the cockpit is one of the first things we found, and it -- you can see it pancaked, its slammed into the earth. And then what happened almost immediately is you had first responders coming and what they did is they hacked into it with a power saw, we saw with our own eyes, possibly looking for human remains, who knows, but that's one piece of fuselage that really got disturbed.

CUOMO: Now, they may have been looking for that. They may have also been having a negative curiosity of trying to find the black boxes that became such a source of intrigue. Why would they want those and why? That takes us to this picture. And again, you haven't had expert eyes on a lot of this, but you're feeling and looking at it and talking to the people with you and the monitors believe there is unusual markings on this.

BOCIURKIW: Yes. I mean, we escorted four different groups of experts to the site and they kind of stopped and go, "wow." There is this big wow factor when they looked at this fuselage. You can see right here these pockmarks. And this is unique to the entire airplane and this is part of the fuselage, Chris, that comes from near the cockpit area. So we can't draw any conclusions as you know, but these were really, really unique marks on that piece.

CUOMO: The speculation is that it is shrapnel that would come from a missile, like a buk missile system, a Russian system, which the militants say they don't have, but now all of a sudden they got one because they just shot down a plane with the exact same kind of thing. Alright, where is the next area we look? I'm old, Michael. I just had a birthday, I can't see anything. Alright, now this was the largest single piece of the fuselage in one piece, in tact, meaningful because -- BOCIURKIW: Well, it fell straight down. So it is hitting kind of in

the woods. We stumbled upon it. And, Chris, you can see there are about 17 windows here and it is -- the only part of the aircraft that kind of remained in tact where you can actually walk in and, you know, have cover. But, you know, this was the economy class section and huge piece hidden in the woods. We found it and the investigators looked at it very carefully.

CUOMO: That's really the last reminder that you want to make for people, right? Your organization is committed. You'd been there a few months before, monitoring the violence. But we still haven't had the forensic experts to tell us what happened here, so we can get those answers and look for accountability and there are still dead there.

BOCIURKIW: There are human remains there, we know that. And, you know, it is such a sad thing. We really feel for their families. Our hearts and prayers go out to them because there is a discrepancy of about 70 or 80 bodies according to the Dutch and you can imagine how the families feel. As a monitoring mission, we have 270 folks in Ukraine right now. We stand ready. When conditions improve to continue that work with the experts.

CUOMO: And yet at this point you stand in the middle of two groups of people who are more focused on more violence than unjustifying (ph) that's happened in the past.

BOCIURKIW: Yes, and of course we'll do anything we can. We facilitate dialogue, that's part of our mandate to bring those two sides together to bring about de-escalation. That's what everyone wants right now.

CUOMO: Thank you, it is a dangerous job. Thank you for doing it and thank you for being so good to us when we were there.

BOCIURKIW: Take care.

CUOMO: Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Alright, Chris. Thanks so much. Breaking news update coming out of Iraq for you. A nominee for prime minister has been chosen by Iraq's largest political block. That is according to state TV there.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): Haider Al-Abadi is the deputy speaker of the parliament right now. He's also former aid to the current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki, as you know, has staunchly resisted calls to step down his position and says that he intends to stay in office for a third term.


BOLDUAN (on camera): Iraq has been entrenched in political turmoil as ISIS militants seize territory and slaughter thousands of people. What remains to be seen though, of course, what this announcement will do to the political turmoil happening in Baghdad. We'll have much more on that coming up. Also ahead, we're going to have the latest on the violence that has

erupted in a St. Louis suburb after police shot and killed an unarmed teenager. We'll have details on that coming up next.


CUOMO: A lot of big stories breaking abroad and here at home. Outrage in a St. Louis suburb over the shooting and killing of a young man. We're going to get you to the "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello for that and all the other news as well. Good morning. Happy Monday, Carol.