Return to Transcripts main page


The Mystery Of MH 370 Continues; Reeva Steenkamp Ate Two Hours Before Shooting, According to Pathologist; Fukushima Three Years After Nuclear Meltdown

Aired March 11, 2014 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight, way off course -- new information appears to show the missing Malaysia Airlines plane flew for about an hour back over Malaysia and away from Beijing, but was it mechanical failure or something more sinister?

Tonight, our experts tackle the possible scenarios for you.

Also this hour...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): And they are hostages of this new state. We tell them you have the right to choose.


ANDERSON: Well, a referendum looming in Crimea, we look at the legal arguments on both sides of the divide.

Plus, in or out, UEFA chief Michel Platini on whether goalline technology is coming to a football pitch near you.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: A very good evening from London.

We begin with breaking news on the search for that missing Malaysia Airlines plane. We have now learned that it apparently veered way off course and flew for more than an hour without any communication.

Well, the plane left Kuala Lumpur early Saturday en route to Beijing, but a senior Malaysian air force official tells CNN it radically altered its course around 1:30 am, the time it stopped sending transponder codes. The official says the plane then headed west and was last tracked by military radar at about 2:40 am over Pulao Perak (ph), which is a tiny island in the Strait of Malaka between Indonesia and Malaysia.

Well, even with this new information, there are more questions than ever about the plane's disappearance. We are covering the story as you can imagine from all angles.

Tonight, Andrew Stevens is in Kuala Lumpur following the latest on the search for Flight 370. And here with me in the studio to provide insight and analysis, we got our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson and aviation expert David Gleave with Loughborough University.

Let me start, though, with you Andrew on the ground there. What is the very latest from there?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is still this confirmation, Becky, from an unnamed very, very senior source within the Malaysian air force who can't be named because he's not authorized to speak to the media, who does confirm a theory that has been going around and is conjecture that the plane, MH 370 actually radically altered its course.

What happened, according to him, is about an hour into the flight the transponders stopped working. The transponders are equipment that actually sends signals to the ground which say exactly what this plane -- its specific call sign, if you like, for this plane. Those transponders stopped working.

But, primary radar, which is another source of tracking a plane continued to monitor its movement. They couldn't get in touch with it. They didn't actually have the information showing this was the plane, but they knew enough to suspect it was.

It did almost a U-turn and flew back in the opposite direction for at least one hour back over the mainland of Malayisa into the straits of Malaka where the signal disappeared just about midway between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Now the interesting thing is this has been an area of search for the massive search armada that's been assembled for this, but it has not been the focus of the search. Obviously, the focus of the search has been around the actual flight plan.

The story has been circulating on the ground here in KL. And reporters have asked about with this radar tracking, was it true that the plane had turned around. and authorities had always been very vague about it, saying there was a possibility.

It has now has been confirmed by a senior source. The focus of the search now switches to that area. It's still a big area of sea. There's a possibility that the plane could have made it to land either in Indonesia or in Malaysia. But as you say, still, an enormous number of questions that -- but first of all why was that plane -- how could it do that without anybody trying to get in contact with them, or at least sending out some sort of plane to look, to find out what was going on.

So a huge amount of questions.

ANDERSON: OK, Andrew, stay with us, because we're going to try and tackle some of those questions.

David, let's kick off. How could this have happened?

DAVID GLEAVE, AVIATION EXPERT, LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY: Well, the aircraft has flown to the point of handover between Malaysia and Vietnamese air traffic control and has disappeared off the radar at that point. So that's the point of maximum confusion. If you were going to take over an airplane -- it said good-bye to Malaysia, it hasn't said hello yet to Vietnam.

ANDERSON: How big is that window?

GLEAVE: It's only a few minutes. It sometimes is a matter of seconds. But this tends to indicate somebody who knows what's going on. But the point of maximum confusion where Malaysia thinks the civil air traffic control say everything is fine. It suddenly disappears. And that gives it the maximum opportunity to fly in any particular direction umonitored.

Now, my information is it has descended at that point as well as turned. And then flown level for quite a period of time. But its descent is not commensurate with an engine failure or de-pressurization.

So those have two specific profiles that you would follow for those types of mechanical failure. But this appears to be flying too high and under control, so that adds to the theory in terms of somebody on board has taken over the aircraft.

ANDERSON: Let's try some of these theories. Nic, at least two -- one part of the mystery has been cleared up. The two men, we talked about this last night, who were flying on stolen passports have now been identified. Interpol says they are Iranian and both entered Malaysia illegally with Iranian passports. They still don't know why the men used these stolen passports to board the flight, but they believe at least one was trying to emigrate possibly seek asylum.

Any ties to terror as we know it at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is what's interesting. Interpol have said that they don't believe there is. They really do believe that these young men were really trying to get into Europe. And I think the Malaysian police had additional information on that as well. Because the mother of the young 19-year-old Iranian -- 18- year-old Iranian, actually we know now, was waiting for him in Frankfurt which is where his flight was due to arrive.

It does seem improbable that a terrorist would call ahead to his mother and say, hey, meet me off the flight, because she was the one that alerted authorities.

We know that the FBI is out there working with Malaysians, with Chinese to try and dig up information.

We've also heard from the CIA chief today, John Brennan, who says essentially there are too many loose ends he can't rule out terrorism. This is what he said.


JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: This is not the time to relax, because we know that there are terrorist groups that are still determined to carry out attacks, including against -- especially against aircraft.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; At this point you're not ruling out that it could be...

BRENNAN: No, I wouldn't rule it out. Not at all.


ROBERTSON: So the bottom line is there are no substantiated claims of terrorism, but because we know that al Qaeda likes to target aircraft, we also know that going back to last year al Qaeda in Yemen even sort of one of these many, many sort of advisories they put out to fellow jihadists, they said you should train to be pilots and then when you're in the cockpit you should drug the co-pilot and take control of the aircraft.

This is total speculation, it just seems random. I think the information we're talking about here of the precise moment of handover is perhaps one of the biggest keys.

But again, the police saying it could be sabotage, could be hijacking, could be a number of issues.

Hijacking and sabotage, though, kind of fall under that terrorism...

ANDERSON: There are so many could-bes here. I can't remember a story where there were so many could-be but we don't knows.

Let's try and knock out some of what we believe to have been a theory in the past 72 hours. There's pilot error.

GLEAVE: I think that the pilot error, if you were going to classify it psychologically it would be like the accident I worked on about 15 years ago where it was believed, but not necessarily reported officially that the captain took over the aircraft and we have one of those quite recently in Africa as well where the pilot committed suicide using the aircraft. And we've had a hijack recently in Ethiopian airlines I think up in Geneva.

So, the flight crew taking over the airplane is not unknown and is a possibility. But hopefully some psychological analysis will give us some background into the...

ANDERSON: OK, so question mark on that one.

Mechanical failure.

GLEAVE: The two big reasons for turning around and coming back home in an emergency when you would have an engine fire, you would descend and put the fire out. If you have an engine failure, you would descend. It's not a critical emergency, but you would head back to Kuala Lumpur for an engine change and you would tell everybody about it. If you had a major de-pressurization of the airplane, you drop to 10,000 feet. But that's the altitude it's reported at. And you divert to the nearest airport. It's not going in the right direction for the nearest diversion airport. and it's flying at the wrong altitude for most of the mechanical failures.

ANDERSON: Terrorism, Nic.

ROBERTSON: When we look at the -- when the aircraft flew back track between 1:30 and 2:40 am. It flew right across Malaysia.

You know, if -- when you analyzing this, and that's all we can do at the moment, trying to put all the pieces together, but if the pilot was coming back because there were problems, he was still able to fly the aircraft, the transponders were down, the communications were down, he was perhaps tracking, navigation was down -- but you would think that he would be looking at the land he was flying over. We're told it's clear night. And we would have expected him to descend further -- I think he was trying to navigate by land, which doesn't seem to have happened.

So for me, what we seem to be looking at a scenario where the pilot hasn't tried to navigate by land. And then when he gets to Malaysia where he can recognize lights, recognize where he is, trying and sort of turn and bring himself closer to Kuala Lumpur.

It leaves for me a question of really who was at the control and what was going through their mind? And we're building towards still the pilot, but we just don't know.

GLEAVE: Or a trained pilot of some form or other.

ANDERSON: Before I get back to Andrew, because lest we forget there are families who have got lost relatives at the end of all of this, is there a possibility that this plane landed safely and that those passengers are alive?

GLEAVE: Certainly it could have landed. You'd need a strip of just over 1,000 meters to land the aircraft, and it would be a hard and very -- hard deceleration landing.

You could land it safely on the sea. At night it's difficult, but you could do it and then evacuate from their.

But whilst I can believe that a single transponder fails -- they carry multiple on the aircraft. They carry satellite communications and other things like that. So you'd have to have almost a major electrical fire to take out all of that lot. And even so, the flight recorders and the emergency locator beacons are independent of all of those things, so why hasn't something triggered to tell us where the aircraft is?

ANDERSON: Than you, Chaps.

Andrew, as I said, lest we forget there are families waiting to hear on this. What do we know?

STEVENS: Yes, 239 people on that flight, passengers and crew.

As you can imagine, Becky, it -- we're now in the fifth day with still, as we've just heard so many more questions than answers.

This was the scene in Beijing today. Take a look at this. Scenes of desperation born of frustration about not knowing what has happened, 154 of the people on board were Chinese nationals, Becky.

That was a press conference held by Malaysia Airlines in Beijing. They say they're trying to keep the families of the passengers up to date as much as they can, but obviously it is not enough. They need more information.

That man, that gentleman you saw there crying. He was saying -- he was shouting out time if flying, why aren't you doing anything? And other people were sort of shouting out my brother was on my flight.

And interesting addition to this, Becky, one of the family members said I'm calling my brother on my phone and the phone is ringing.

Now this can be explained by the fact that call forwarding systems could mean that those phones could still ring. But imagine if you are a relative and you call that phone and it rings, it gives you just that little brief glimmer of hope, but you're getting nothing officially.

And it brings this whole information -- how much are we really getting? Because if you think about it, the radar scan showing the plane turning around, they must have seen that in real-time, yet five days in we are getting confirmation from an unnamed source, as I say, confirmation just five days later that this actually happened.

So, as you can imagine, incredible frustration, incredible pain for those families.

ANDERSON: Andrew, David, Nic, thank you very much indeed.

Still to come tonight, remaining defiant, Ukraine's ousted president speaks out. And still he says he is in charge. All that, plus, what was Reeva Steenkamp doing two hours before she was shot? And shy is that important in the Oscar Pistorius trial?

And how residents of Japan's Fukushima are coping three years after the devastating earthquake that triggered a nuclear meltdown. All that and more after this.


ANDERSON: Well, as Ukraine's Crimea region prepares for a referendum on its future, the country's ousted president says he is still officially in power. Viktor Yanukovych remained defiant today, speaking for only the second time since leaving Ukraine for Russia last month after bloody clashes on the streets of Kiev.


VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): I want to remind you that I am still not just a legitimate president, but also the head of the military. I have not stopped my responsibilities. I'm alive. I have not been left without my powers according to the constitution. Western countries say I've lost my legitimacy when I fled, but I have not fled.


ANDERSON: Well, for more on this situation in Ukraine, intentions in the country's Crimea region. Let's cross to CNN's senior correspondent Nick Paton Walsh joining us tonight from the regional capital in Crimea.

I know you've been out to the air traffic control center, the airport locally. What did you find?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, from what we can make out and what we've been told by officials, airspace is effectively closed here unless you're flying in from Moscow. Bizarre scenes at the airport. The arrivals board saying flights from Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, canceled, also flights from Istanbul, Turkey, but anything coming from Moscow arriving on time.

Men getting off that flight, in fact, walking past me cheering in the air that Crimea is already part of Russia. Of course it's not yet, but most people think that's the direction it's heading in after Sunday's referendum.

Two choices on the ballot paper, if you call it a choice. One saying for this area to become independent, the other saying for it to become part of the Russian Federation.

The only people we saw able to express a pro-Ukrainian sentiment are small rally on the outskirts of town here today. And even there almost outnumbered by the media coming to watch them. And around the edges, a lot of people who clearly weren't there to support their point of view, some might even say looking a little menacing.

But also even at the railway station here, Becky, as we edge towards this key vote, signs that the local militia are trying to control pro- Russian group of guys there in red armbands helping out police at some point to search people getting off the train there, some -- one man, in fact, we saw manhandled. And then at times the police just melt into the background and let this militia get on with the job themselves.

And so a sense I think of a new order taking place. We still have the question of 1,000 Ukrainian troops here. And of course this referendum, we think we know the result. Nobody here really doubts it's going to keep this country part of Ukraine. The question is what happens next.

The Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is going to meet Barack Obama tomorrow in Washington. We're hearing signals from western officials that sanctions are probably going to happen now, because diplomacy is failing. The question is will they bite enough to pause Putin in his tracks, to make Ukraine feel the west on its side, or is simply Crimea going to slip into the Russian grip here without any real consequence -- Becky.

ANDERSON: And more on Ukraine coming up. Nic, for the time being, thank you.

Including a report from CNN's Diana Magnay, she spent the day on the streets of Simferapol where a tense and confusing patchwork of security forces have taken up positions ahead of this weekends referendum, that is a little later in the show.

Well, clashes have erupted in Turkey after the arrest of a 15-year-old boy was wounded in last summer's anti-government protests. Berkin Elvin (ph) was wounded while on his way to buy break in June. He has been in a coma ever since in a hospital in Istanbul. Police had to use tear gas to disperse some 2,000 protesters angered by Elvin's (ph) death.

Well, day seven of the Oscar Pistorius trial wrapped up with more testimony from the pathologist who conducted an autopsy of Reeva Steenkamp. Much of the case revolves around such character witnesses and the timeline of events. Robyn Curnow reports.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This morning, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend continued his testimony on the injuries that took her life. Details so graphic, that the judge halted live broadcast.

Gert Saayman revealing that Reeva Steenkamp ate two hours before her death, around 1:00 a.m. in the morning, contradicting Oscar Pistorius' claim that they were in bed by 10:00 p.m. that night. Saayman detailed how Pistorius shot his own 9 millimeter, just like this one, containing hollow point bullets. Three shots hitting his girlfriend in her hip, arm and head.

Saayman said, "I think it would be somewhat abnormal if one did not scream when receiving wounds like Reeva's, undercutting the defense, who claims it was Pistorius screaming for help. The description of Steenkamp's injuries so gruesome, they left Pistorius physically ill on Monday, vomiting into a bucket during the proceedings, and visibly shaken as he left court.

Compared to other ammunition, hollow point bullets are incredibly destructive on impact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That laceration will open like that, and besides the mushroom it would form, it would form almost like a little fan. So, you can imagine the amount of damage that can do to you.

CURNOW: Legal experts say the defense will argue it was his disability which led Pistorius to use the hollow point bullets. They say it was fear intensified by South Africa's high crime rate.

Meanwhile, the state will continue to argue that he knew he was behind the closed bathroom door and that he deliberately shot Reeva Steenkamp dead.


ANDERSON: Robyn Curnow reporting there.

Coming up, remembering the dead, honoring the living, Japanese people mark three years since the earthquake and tsunami that haunted their nation.


ANDERSON: There's been a devastating earthquake in the eastern seaboard of Japan and triggered the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plant. Remember this?


ANDERSON: Well, earlier today, Japan's emperor and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a memorial service marking that anniversary, but for many Japanese events on that fateful day still have an impact on their lives.

CNN's Kyung Lah traveled to Fukushima to find out how after three years life has changed.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: March 2011, Japan's 9.0 earthquake unleashing a tsunami with waves 13 stories high, swallowing entire towns whole, 15,000 dead, but a second disaster was just brewing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A powerful earthquake that has hit Japan. I want to go to Kyung Lah now.

LAH: I was in Tokyo when the earthquake struck.

We see people walking around.

My team and I drove north towards the tsunami zone and passed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. We would witness the hydrogen explosions and later learn it was the visible sign of a triple meltdown, the disaster rained invisible and dangerous radiation across Fukushima's neighborhoods, towns turned into empty shells, 160,000 people fled, children and pregnant women urged to leave first considered most vulnerable to radiation exposure.

The tsunami blew her.

I was pregnant and moved miles north where I continued to report in an area believed to be safe. What no one knew, what no one could truly predict, is how the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl would affect us all.

It's been three years since the disaster. And Fukushima Prefecture Ryi Sasaki (ph) has brought her children back home.

They live 30 miles away from the crippled plant that even today still struggles with ongoing leaks of contaminated water.

Sasaki (ph) makes daily sweeps with her handheld radiation detector at her home daycare and limits how long her children play outside. The government has decontaminated the home several times and now monitors it with this giant device. The machine indicates radiation levels today are safe.

When it comes to what they eat and drink, always the fear of the what if.

Sasaki (ph) tries to test their food when she can, but testing takes too long to keep up with the needs of her five children.

"We worry about every breath," she says. "My day is filled with anxiety. I can't enjoy raising my children. So many things have changed because of the accident."

Everything in Fukushima has changed. Crews are digging, bagging and hauling away contaminated earth. 142,000 people remain evacuees across the region. Children in the early days wore decimeters (ph) to measure radiation intact and masks to limit radiation exposure from the air.

The children of Fukushima are also being carefully watched. Before the triple meltdown, health authorities estimated one or two in a million children would be diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The government has screened 216,000 children. So far, 44 have been diagnosed or suspected of having thyroid cancer.

Some experts say the unexpected high rate may simply be that doctors are looking. But many parents of Fukushima blame the nuclear accident. The Sasakis (ph) have tested their children. They're fine so far, emphasis on so far.

This is what some of the tsunami victims...

As far as what happened to me, I gave birth several months after this disaster to a perfectly happy son Grant. I reported throughout the exclusion zone and even went into the Fukushima nuclear plant for an upclose visit. Tests later showed that all my limited reporting in high radiation zones had no visible impact on my thyroid.

I left Japan two years ago. The Sasakis (ph) and tens of thousands of families remain in Fukushima. We have two choices they say, leave or choose to live the only way we know how.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


ANDERSON: Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Plus, days ahead of a controversial referendum on Ukraine's Crimea security in the region remains disorganized and unclear. We're going to a report view on that.

Also ahead, we sit down with French football legend and UEFA president Michel Platini and get his views about the future of the beautiful game and what he thinks about goalline technology.


ANDERSON: New information in the search for the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. A Malaysian air force official says that the plane veered off course en route to Beijing and headed west after dropping communications with civil air traffic controllers. These are the headlines. Military radar last traced the plane over a tiny island in the strait of Malacca.

Flights to and from Crimea's airport have been disrupted today. A plane from Kiev was turned back earlier. Turkish Airlines have also suspended its flights to Simferopol. Flights from Moscow are landing as scheduled. Armed men have been in control of the airport flight center for several days.

Libya's parliament has removed the prime minister Ali Zeidan from office after a rebel-held oil tanker allegedly broke free from a government blockade. The ship is said to be carrying stolen oil. The country's defense minister has now taken over as interim prime minister.

Emotions running high in Turkey over the death of a 15-year-old boy. He was critically injured by a suspected police teargas canister during anti-government protests last June. Clashes broken out today in front of the Istanbul hospital where Berkin Elvan had been in a medically-induced coma. I know that Ivan Watson is there. Things are tough, but I think we can get him. Ivan, what's going on?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look over here. You've got a police vehicle. This is one of the main boulevards in Istanbul, Tarlabasi Boulevard. You've got riot police running up here, and he's firing at demonstrators who are throwing rocks at the riot vehicle.

And this has been going on in the center of Istanbul for a couple of hours now. You're -- whoa! OK, they're throwing rocks. We're in between the police and the demonstrators, which you don't want. They've got teargas over there.

Becky, this is an explosion of anger over the death of a 15-year-old boy, a 15-year-old boy -- who is spent the -- oh, God!


WATSON: Teargas is pretty bad now. He's spent the --



ANDERSON: Ivan, if you can just take a glass of water or something, if we can -- if we can continue, we'll get back to you. Clearly, clearly things are extremely tough there in Istanbul. Let me just bring you an earlier report that Ivan filed, and we'll see if we can get back to him.



WATSON: There are anger and tears in Istanbul's Okmeydani neighborhood. This is the coffin and the body of a 15-year-old boy, critically wounded during anti-government protests last summer. The boy, named Berkin Elvan, passed away in a hospital after being in a medically- induced coma for nine months.

And now you see the reaction here, with shops closed for two days in mourning, and people out here chanting, "Fascist government!" and "Killer Erdogan!" referring to the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The boy is believed to have been critically wounded by a teargas canister fired by Turkish police, and everybody you talk to here blames the death of this boy on the policies of the Turkish government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Berkin was shot by the police during the Gezi uprising, and he's been in a coma over 268 days. And during that time, his health has deteriorated, and the government has not accepted any responsibility, and they haven't brought the police who was responsible for this to justice.

WATSON: The emotional scenes of mourning that we're seeing outside the Alevi house of worship, where Berkin Elvan's body is now being held, have raised the prospect that anti-government protests, the one that we saw last summer erupt across cities across Turkey could be reignited.

And within hours of the announcement of the death of this boy, some barricades had reemerged, certainly, in the Okmeydani district of Istanbul.

This is coming just weeks before the country goes to the polls in nationwide elections, and at a time when Turkey is really on the edge, when fresh allegations of corruption and sleaze at the highest levels of the Turkish government keep emerging every day on the internet.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Istanbul.


ANDERSON: Well, that was the report that Ivan filed just earlier. Let's get back to Ivan, now, who I know is in the thick of it. Ivan, you've got a gas mask on. I know you can hear me, so let's just see if we can chat here. How many people are we talking about --


ANDERSON: -- so far as protesters are concerned? What's the scope of this?

WATSON: That's what's hard for us to quantify right now. We know that there are demonstrations going on in other parts of Istanbul, Turkey's largest city. We also know that there have been protests in other cities as well (inaudible), but we can't confirm that (inaudible).

We don't know where this is going to take Turkey right now. I, for instance, have never seen this major boulevard blockaded before by demonstrators, who've set fire to roadblocks that the police vehicles then have to move in and open up to allow regular traffic to come through. So, we don't know how big this is.

The funeral for this boy is scheduled to take place to tomorrow, and a big question is going to be will this anger dissipate, or will people continue to pool and vent their fury against the security forces and against the Turkish state.

I've seen a lot of protests in Turkey in the past and in Istanbul since the last summer. What was remarkable about what I've seen today is people walking right up to the riot police and calling the "dogs" and "killers" and accusing them of helping the Turkish government.

Which they also claim is robbing them, according to these wire taps that have been coming out online, which the government has denied, but in which you hear voices that sound like the Turkish prime minister and his top aides and family members talking about receiving bribes and hiding cash from the police.

This is an explosion of anger, as you can see, and we don't know where it will go from here, but it comes at a very sensitive time in the Turkish political calendar right now. Becky?

ANDERSON: And you're absolutely right, there. Ivan, I was with you during the Gezi Park protests -- what was it? -- June, May, June last year.

I'm wondering if you can describe as we watch these live pictures of riot police here, whether you can describe the demographic of those who are protesting. Certainly in the past, we've seen the younger, more affluent generation making their stand. How would you describe those who are protesting today?

WATSON: OK. Listen, most of the people I'm seeing are young here, Becky. There's an important element to this. The boy who died today, his family comes from a religious minority in this country called the Alevis. That's the house of worship that his body is lying in right now.

And one of the narratives that has emerged since the summer protests is that the government of the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discriminates against the Alevi minority, religious minority in this country.

And of course, it's a claim that the government denies. But the fact that all of the people that died during this unrest, about a half dozen demonstrators, and now this boy, who'd been killed in this violence, all of them happen to come from that Alevi religious sect. Which for members of that --


WATSON: -- community, they very much see --


WATSON: -- as proof that the government does not care about them. And that's one of the complaints we've heard, Becky, is that many Turkish have seen their prime minister live on television weeping in public over the death of an Egyptian girl due to the unrest in Egypt, the much bloodier unrest there.

And they have asked why hasn't the government stepped forward in the case of this 15-year-old boy named Berkin Elvan who, according to his family, had wasted away to just 16 kilograms during his nine-month (inaudible) being struck in the head with one of these teargas canisters that we're seeing the police use periodically here around us right now. That's the question the people are asking again and again. Becky?

ANDERSON: Two questions to you, if you can hear me. Firstly, what we're seeing around you -- and we have to contextualize this -- is one road, of course, but this is a significant security operation going on as we watch here. Secondly, has the government made any statement about the death of this boy?

WATSON: I have not heard a statement, and I confess, I've been running around in these streets and unable to make those phone calls and hear from the government. But the Turkish prime minister has been on the campaign trail. He has been speaking. He's been denouncing his critics and his political enemies day after day after day.

And as you can recall from the days of the summer protests, he used very harsh language for demonstrators, describing them as terrorists, as troublemakers, as filth, basically. So, critics of the Turkish prime minister and his government have gotten used to some very harsh insults coming from them, and have been turning those words back on the security forces. Remarkable to see.

And just to give you some context here, this is a busy, important road. It's a three-lane boulevard, and the kids here have been putting these dumpsters in the middle of the road. And this is ordinary civilian traffic in the biggest city in Turkey. It's got a population of more than 12 million people, with kids setting fire to garbage here and playing these cat-and-mouse games with the Turkish security forces --


ANDERSON: All right. You can see this is live TV, of course, and -- as ever, at times, we have technical problems. But we're going to get back to him as and when we can. But great contextual analysis there from Ivan Watson, who is right in the middle of what is a significant disturbance, let's call it that, right in the heart of Istanbul this evening.

Operations at Simferopol Airport were disrupted this Tuesday just days ahead of what is a controversial referendum. Flights from Kiev and Istanbul to Crimea were canceled, while flights to and from Moscow operated normally. Armed pro-Russian troops are in control of the airport's flight center.

Crimeans are set to vote this weekend on whether they want to join Russia or remain part of Ukraine, but the security situation in the tense region remains a confusing patchwork. CNN's Diana Magnay has more.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Security in the Crimean capital is a confusing affair. A few days ago, it was heavily-armed troops from an anonymous army who guarded the parliament building. Now, it's Cossacks.

Outside a Ukrainian army barracks, a local self-defense militia, with their signature ribbon of St. George. Inside, marooned Ukrainian troops still not surrendering.

These pensioners served in Soviet times. They can't wait for Crimea to return to Russia. But they say they feel sorry for the troops behind bars.

VLADIMIR KUCHERENKO, SIMFEROPOL RESIDENT (through translator): They are serving a state, the Ukrainian state, which has been violently overthrown, and they are hostages of this new state. We tell them, you have the right to choose.

MAGNAY: Here, another self-defense unit has set up camp. They don't yet have a name or logo, just the Russian crest at the gate. If it looks and feels a bit like the camps on Kiev's main square, the Maidan, it's not. Ruslan Dudkin says he knows because he went.

RUSLAN DUDKIN, SELF-DEFENSE GROUP CHIEF (through translator): The people on the Maidan would soil and sleep and eat in the same place. It was worse than tramps. It was like cockroaches who were prepared to live anywhere.

MAGNAY: Here, apparently, it's all about order, not so much about law.

DUDKIN (through translator): If a violent attack starts, then the law enforcement agencies can't do much. The most they can do is go in and find out what's going on. But we do things a bit differently.

MAGNAY: No weapons, apparently, just brute force. Unlike their next- door neighbors, who use both.

MAGNAY (on camera): The Berkut riot police, who were so hated by the protesters on the Maidan, are celebrated as heroes in Crimea. They've been disbanded in the rest of the country, but here, they're still fully operational. And as you can see, the enjoy pretty close relations with the local self-defense militia.

We wondered if we could speak to whoever's in charge, the commander here?

MAGNAY (voice-over): Vladimir Krashevsky was also in Kiev, at Berkut headquarters.

VLADIMIR KRASHEVSKY, BERKUT OFFICER (through translator): The Maidan was a provocation from start to finish. There was no democracy and no real indignation from the people. It was a paid-for event.

MAGNAY (on camera): Do you seriously believe that there is a danger that Ukraine will be taken over by neo-Nazis and fascists?

MAGNAY (voice-over): "Yes, I do," he says. We take a tour of the Berkut headquarters, past the snipers on their way out, and the sandbags, freshly laid in case of attack.

MAGNAY (on camera): So, Putin is hanging here because this is Russian soil, in your opinion?




MAGNAY (voice-over): Putin is the main man at the camp next-door, also. In Crimea, it's all about who punches hardest.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Simferopol, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Well, there is certainly a sense of entitlement, isn't there, by Moscow? In recent weeks, we've seen a growing Russian presence in Crimea and heard Moscow say that they will support Crimea if the region votes to join Russia in the looming referendum.

How do these actions square with international law? Well for more, now, I'm joined by Marc Weller. He's a professor of international law at the University of Cambridge. So, a good man to answer these questions.

You've outlined some of the ways in which Russia has overstepped legal boundaries when it comes to Crimea. For example, Russia has acknowledged Ukraine's borders in the past, hasn't it?

MARC WELLER, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE: Yes, from the very beginning, from the time that the Soviet Union dissolved, all the states that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, including Russia, formally confirmed that they have no territorial claims against one another.

And this has been repeatedly restated. Of course, in 1997, there was an agreement on the stationing of the Black Fleet -- Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea, so Ukraine has accepted that these forces can be stationed there, but only with an agreed limit in terms of numbers. And of course, their movements are restricted to their bases.

ANDERSON: That's the elephant in the room here, isn't it?

WELLER: Yes. And the question is, to what extent the movement of these troops and the fact they seem to have restricted the Ukrainians from exercising their own sovereignty on their territory amounts to an international act of intervention, and the answer seems to be yes.

ANDERSON: What about Moscow's view that Viktor Yanukovych is still Ukraine's legally-elected leader? Would that not stand up in a court of law?

WELLER: That would probably not stand up in a court, because in this case, we had an agreement reached with the involvement of three European foreign ministers on a transition on the 21st of February.

On the 22nd of February, when the Ukrainian parliament started to implement the agreement, he had disappeared. And then, on article 112 of the Ukrainian constitution, decided to follow the process foreseen there. Admittedly, the constitution didn't anticipate that the president disappears.

ANDERSON: Yes, I mean he --

WELLER: But --

ANDERSON: Let me stop you there. He said he was run out of town. He said his life was at risk.

WELLER: Well, he was the president. He had means at his disposal to ensure that he would be all right. He judged, I think, that the time was right --


WELLER: -- for moving on. But in any event, the fact is that the parliament disowned him formally, and the representative of the people of the Ukraine unanimously decided that he could no longer serve as president. If he cannot be president, then certainly he cannot invite a foreign armed force into the country, and that's the key issue.

Even if you say that, perhaps, formally he should still be regarded as president, if you lose control of the country to an extent that the majority of the population, parliament disowns you, you no longer have the right to ask a foreign armed forces to come in. And of course, Russia hasn't really claimed that they have been asked --


WELLER: -- and haven't responded.

ANDERSON: What about this upcoming Crimean referendum? Is that likely to be recognized under international law?

WELLER: No. The first point is that you cannot hold a referendum ever under circumstances of the use of force by a neighboring state. As long as there's a foreign armed force holding sway in the territory in which the referendum takes place, it will not be regarded as lawful.

But also, a referendum of independence is the final step. Ordinarily, if an entity wants to obtain independence, we should investigate, does it have a claim to self-determination? If so, how can this be implemented? And then you would have to negotiate.

Scotland had an agreement with David Cameron on the question to be asked in the referendum --


WELLER: -- involving negotiations, and the referendum is the final point. Here it's only the first point. It's the attempt by the Crimeans to remove themselves from the ambit of the Ukrainian constitution, because the Ukrainian constitution does not give to Crimea the right unilaterally to change the status of the borders of the Ukraine.

ANDERSON: This story continues to gain legs. Sir, we thank you.

WELLER: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, it makes its World Cup debut in Brazil later this year, but find out why one of Europe's main football leaders doesn't think investing in goal-line technology is the way forward.


ANDERSON: This is CNN, where the news comes first, and I want to get you bang-up-to-date on a story that we have been following this hour. These are pictures coming to us from the Turkish broadcaster, DHA, shot just a little earlier.

Emotions running extremely high in Istanbul over the death of a 15- year-old boy. He was critically injured by a suspected police teargas canister during anti-government protests last June. Well, clashes broke out today in front of the Istanbul hospital where Berkin Elvan had been in a medically-induced coma.

We are trying to get back to our correspondent Ivan Watson, who is in the thick of things. As I say, emotions couldn't be higher. Ivan describing earlier on one of the main streets in Istanbul, where he has never seen the likes of the security forces with water canisters, teargas tonight. Very difficult for our reporter to actually report on what is going on.

The demographic, he says, well, it's youngsters, as it was in Gezi Park, as the protesters really sort of dug in in June last year. And this, to a certain extent, I think I'd be right in saying, an evolving story, post-Gezi Park and the demonstrations against the prime minister, Erdogan, last summer.

Now, we continue to see these pictures coming to us from a local Turkish television as we get Ivan back up and we get our technical issues sorted out with Istanbul, we will bring you another live report. But these just coming to us from Istanbul. The situation extremely emotional, if not very charged on the streets in Turkey tonight.

It's been a night of glorious football here in Europe as the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals got underway. Atletico Madrid faced off against AC Milan, big match. And they're now in a good position to go through to the next round, leading 2-1 with 20 minutes or so to go.

In the other match, Arsenal traveled to Munich for the unenviable task of trying to climb back from a 2-0 deficit against last year's champions, Bayern Munich. But the Gooners so far managed to keep the hope alive as the match is 0-0 in the second half. They'll need to score if they want to go ahead, all that.

While there's no doubt about the goals scored in tonight's matches, that's not always the case. That's why FIFA has decided to introduce goal- line technology in this year's World Cup. But the president of UEFA has told CNN he still prefers the extra referees system, real eyes. And he won't simply coffer -- coffer? -- copy FIFA.


MICHEL PLATINI, PRESIDENT OF UEFA: No, because I prefer what you have done in UEFA. I prefer that we have referees, more referees, to see if there's been a default, and if bodies are going over the line. I have to look with my executive committee, my referee committee if they want to implement that for Europe 2016.

Because goal-line technology is too expensive. It costs me in four years, five years 52 million euro. And I prefer to give these millions of euros to the grass roots, to the young, to the young players in football, so they can play football

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: So, it is the cost that is stopping you for goal-line technology?

PLATINI: The costs -- costs are of course stopping me from goal-line technology. And if you want to make a report about the five referees, you have to go to Italy, because it's implemented from two years and is working very well. Because 14 or 15 cases of goal on goalies, 100 percent of good result, and 50 percent less mistakes of the referees because of the five referees.

DAVIES: Could there be some way that the two are combined, though?

PLATINI: It's possible. I tell you that is a decision of the referee committee of the executive committee. For Europe, it would be possible.

DAVIES: Is it damaging for the brand of football, for the game, though, that you have one major competition using one method, you have another major competition using another? Football has always --


PLATINI: In Europe, you have 35 national associations using five referees, one country using the goal-line technology.

DAVIES: We are now talking World Cup versus European championships. And football, the beauty of it, has been that it is the same in the park --

PLATINI: Five referees are accepted by the --


DAVIES: -- at the World Cup final.

PLATINI: -- international board, it's the international board who decides. In the world, though, there is no money. It's easier to have five referees that you don't pay, that's a camera that you don't pay. You have no camera. That means that everybody has a right to use, then everybody will use a referee, the open referees. They will do something.

But it's not my mater. It's a decision of the European football to decide if we put one or the other, with acceptance by the international board.


ANDERSON: I know that Bayern Munich have just scored, so watch out, keep an eye on CNN, we'll give you the scores as they come in the big football matches tonight. A lot of breaking news as well. I'm Becky Anderson, stay with CNN. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.