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Nepal Quake Death Toll Rises To 1,958; Aftershocks Trigger More Avalanches On Mt. Everest; FBI Probes Possible Terror Threat In U.S.; Twelve People Arrested In Baltimore Protests. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired April 26, 2015 - 06:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Utter devastation, powerful aftershock, rescue workers in Nepal are now struggling to reach all the victims as help from around the world arrives.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: The possibility of an ISIS-inspired plot on U.S. soil. This morning, a new alert is out for law enforcement agencies across the nation. Plus --


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I tease Joe sometimes. I love that man. We have gotten so close in some places in Indiana. They won't serve us pizza any more.


BLACKWELL: President Obama has saved up some good ones. You know, he is often the butt of jokes, but now the president is getting a chance to hit back and he is taking aim at the media and those who want his job.

PAUL: It is 6:00. We are so glad you're up early with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's always good to be with you.

PAUL: Yes, we need to start with some of these new details and share with you what we've learned about that powerful earthquake in Nepal this morning.

Rescue workers are desperately looking for survivors in that rubble as a new aftershock of 6.7 hit the country, 6.7 is something that we could call an earthquake on its own.

BLACKWELL: That's a pretty strong earthquake. Now close to 2,000 people have been killed and the death toll is still rising in Nepal. Local hospitals are finding it hard to cope with the hundreds of people who are injured or being brought in.

The U.S., India, China, Pakistan, all sending aid to the Himalayan nation after a 7.8 magnitude quake hit the capital Kathmandu. Let's bring in our correspondent, Mallika Kapur.

Mallika, tell us more about the search and rescue efforts because although we say that the world is now responding, it's difficult to get the resources, the people, the machinery into the areas that need it the most.

MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It is very, very difficult because, as you just mentioned, you know, the aftershock and the tremors are still continuing, that 6.7 tremor, the earthquake which you just talked about.

You know, I heard it here two and a half hours ago. Let me put this in context for you. Where I am in Calcutta is 900 kilometers away from Nepal. If you fly from Calcutta to Kathmandu in Nepal, it's more than an hour's flight.

If we feel the effects here, you can imagine what the situation is there in Nepal. So the aftershocks and the tremors are continuing, which makes it very difficult for rescue efforts to carry on there or for any relief efforts to be flown into the regions.

Countries are trying. India has been very proactive in taking the lead and sending planes. Yesterday, it sent four planes with relief supplies yesterday and ten scheduled for today.

But I am being told since it's a 6.7 earthquake that some planes have not been able to land in Kathmandu and they have been turned back.

Of course, what this means is that, it is a very, very grim and difficult scenario in Nepal where we know the death toll is around 2,000 people now, and looks like it's certainly going to rise.

Nobody is staying indoors. People scared to be inside their houses. Most people in the affected areas have spent the night outside. Search and rescue efforts are under way. We believe there are hills of rubble on every street corner.

People are using their bare hands to remove the rubble one brick at a time and trying to find survivors. Every time they find a survivor there is a loud cry of cheer that goes on, but that is becoming few and far between.

Most often, they are being able to just pull out bodies. Hospitals are overflowing with injured people. Many doctors have actually set up hospitals outdoors. People too scared to be indoors and everyone is living outside under sheets, you know, plastic sheets.

People are not being able to go home even to cook food so people are camping outside and started kitchens so they can eat together. There is no running water, no electricity. So there is a desperate need for relief efforts for aid to come into Nepal, but the problem is, of course, how do you get it in there?

BLACKWELL: Yes, the logistics hugely important here. We saw that number 1,958, there, Mallika, on the screen. There are also, as we know, several dozen fatalities in India as well. We'll talk more about those later in the morning. Mallika Kapur reporting for us, thank you so much.

PAUL: I want to go now to Carsten Peterson. He is joining us on the phone. He is climber on Everest. Carsten, we're so grateful that you can talk with us this morning. We understand there were new avalanches on the mountain. Can you help us understand what the situation is like there right now?

CARSTEN PETERSON, CLIMBER ON EVEREST (via telephone): At the moment, this morning, before the aftershock, people were being positive. A lot of the injured are being helicoptered out. They were getting a little more empty.

[06:05:09] People started focusing on the people still stuck in the mountain. But then you have the aftershock and a lot of people are afraid being in the base camp is a risk and people are just leaving base camp. I expect I soon will be the only western climber left in base camp. Most people have already left together with Sherpas.

PAUL: They have left with the Sherpas? I'm sorry. I was having a hard time understanding you. Are you saying you're one the only ones left on the base camp?

PETERSON: Yes. I am one the only western climbers left here in the base camp. Other climbers and Sherpas are leaving base camp looking for more safety lower.

PAUL: Looking for safety lower. We understand that there are -- I mean, I've heard the number of hundreds of people still on that mountain. Is there any gauge of how many there truly are there? And is this an evacuation of the mountain in a sense?

PETERSON: That is the tricky part. One of the positive signs this morning was that some Sherpas, everything looked fine. Weather was clearing. The helicopters came in. And some Sherpas were trying to find the new route going up and some Sherpas that were stuck up on the mountain were trying to walk down to see if they could reach each other and find a new road through a fault. But I have not heard any news on that so far.

PAUL: We are looking at some of the pictures here of, I would say, I guess, the rescues and the evacuation. It's amazing to see how the helicopters are able to land, to see the pictures of this avalanche. I can hear in your voice. It sounds as though your breathing a bit labored, but are you afraid, Carstein?

PETERSON: I should be, maybe. I've been caught in the avalanche but I think luckily (inaudible) -- most of the people who are injured were -- avalanche and got hit from behind and thrown off by the pressure of the avalanche and thrown into rocks, so a lot of people came down and (inaudible) in the back -- by the avalanche.

WHITFIELD: Well, Carstein, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. Please do take good care of yourself and stay safe, you and all of the folks there. We know that it's been snowing during the week. The weather has complicated the efforts and people are still stranded. PETERSON: It is snowing.

WHITFIELD: It is snowing?

PETERSON: It is snowing. No more helicopters. No more helicopters coming. So the people on the mountain are stuck and unless there is a -- (inaudible) there is no way to get to them and they are running out of fuel. Sent more fuel up to them, yes, this morning we sent more fuel up to them. Not only for heating but also to melt snow to get water, so it's getting critical up there and I'm staying in this until my -- is down.

WHITFIELD: I was going to ask how long you plan to stay until your fellow climbers are down. Carstein, we will be thinking of you and keeping you all in our prayers. Thank you so much and keep us posted and take care of yourself and everybody else as best you can.

But again, that is the situation. Thanks to Carstein Peterson, who is a climber on Everest and it is remarkable what they are able to do on that kind of terrain, but you can see how everybody is scrambling there so we thank him very much.

As we give you a closer look now to the destruction in Nepal from this horrendous earthquake. You see the people there screaming and running, but we have heard reports of people just staring at piles of rubble from buildings that will crumble to the ground.

This video was taken by a group calling themselves the Nepali Pranksters. The horror turned all too real that was that earthquake unfolded around them. Homes and villages and centuries old temples are just flat.

You can help the victims of the Nepal earthquake. You sit there and wonder and I feel like I want to do something, but I don't know what. Logon to to see how you can help and thank you for checking that out.

BLACKWELL: Back in the United States, the FBI says it is investigating a possible ISIS-inspired threat. It intercepted chatter indicating a plot could be in the works.

[06:10:05] Now officials didn't reveal details about the nature of the threat, but they did say that California was mentioned specifically. No arrests have been made, but security has been stepped up in certain areas.

Let's talk about this. We have CNN law enforcement analyst, former assistant director of the FBI, Tom Fuentes with us. Tom, I wonder, no how, no when, very vague details or few details here. Why release this information? Why say anything about it with no real form taking shape here?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I agree, Victor. I'm not sure how this got out whether it was officially released or not. Usually they try to avoid releasing such ambiguous threat information because the truth is -- and the FBI director has confirmed this publicly recently.

That there are active investigations in all 50 states right now with al Qaeda or ISIS-inspired plots that are potentially under way or at least people are talking about conducting such a plot. So those investigates by the hundreds are ongoing.

So why, all of a sudden, one, we hear chatter, we hear this or that, why that would get out like that? I really don't know especially because if they have enough information to go after, they will go after that group.

Just to put out that there is chatter, there is always chatter and always discussion and always discussion people talk to each other worldwide and encrypted systems that cannot be tapped into. This is a constant drum beat of threats against the world, not just our country.

BLACKWELL: Yes, from what I understand, CNN's Evan Perez confirmed it through his sources in federal law enforcement that Justice Department. There was actually no official statement or no confirmation in front --

FUENTES: You can confirm those kinds of reports every day of the week.

BLACKWELL: Because there is always chatter.

FUENTES: Yes. There is always. Why this one a little more than others, you know, it might be. They might have a case with a little bit more specific chatter of an individual group or a number of people. Again, this is all the time. There is every day of the week you, you know, we could come out and say threats are under way and there are.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I'm hoping we learn more because in some ways -- we got to wrap up here. It's one of those situations damn if you do, damn if you don't. If you say something like this, the question is, why is it so vague?

If you say nothing and there is an attack, the question is, why didn't you say anything at all? So hopefully we learn more throughout this weekend and the start of the week. Tom Fuentes, thank you so much.

FUENTES: You're welcome, Victor.

PAUL: You know, in several hours, family and friends are going to gather to say goodbye to Freddie Gray in Baltimore, this, of course, a day after major protests and at least a dozen arrests. We are going to have a live report for you straight ahead.

BLACKWELL: Plus, new details about just how much access Russian hackers got into President Obama's e-mails. It's being called one of the most sophisticated attacks made against a U.S. government computer system. We will have details in a moment.


BLACKWELL: Today, family and friends prepare to say goodbye to Freddie Gray. He is the Baltimore man who died a week ago after suffering a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. His wake is scheduled later today and funeral services are expected tomorrow. That is happening as protests over Gray's death yesterday turned violent and about a dozen people were arrested.

PAUL: Now as a result of the escalating tensions outside the Orioles ballpark, officials forced fans to stay inside Camden Yards. Even put a message on the jumbotron following the end of the game.

Let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval. Polo, good to see you this morning. What are police sharing this morning regarding those protesters who were arrested?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, they were outside instigators, bad apples, if you will. But at the same time, after all the skirmishes, we did hear from several high level city officials from the mayor to the commissioner, who said that about 95 percent of them were respectful.

In fact, they packed into the park before things really began to go bad. At the same time, there are new concerns this morning that perhaps more protests could bring about more violence.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): The streets of Baltimore, Maryland didn't stay quiet Saturday. A day of peaceful demonstrations erupted in violence. Angry agitators destroyed several police cars, smashing in windows, slashing tires and making off with some of the contents.

Merchandise HAS scattered on the floor of this 7-Eleven, all evidence of looting. Shards of shattered glass are all that remain of other downtown store fronts.

Despite all of the violence, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts praised the residents of Baltimore in a late night press conference.

COMMISSIONER ANTHONY BATTS, BALTIMORE POLICE: I'm very proud of the residents of Baltimore taking pride in their city and making sure our city is safe and putting themselves between agitating individuals that were causing harm here. That was our residents. That is our city.

SANDOVAL: At least a dozen protesters were pulled from the crowd and taken away. Commissioner Batts says the violence was caused by a small group of agitators.

BATTS: I am, to a degree, disappointed. We work very hard to allow people to do the protests. The vast majority of residents out here did a good job. It's just a small number of people who felt they had to turn this into an ugly event and ugly day. For the most part, people did what they were supposed to do. SANDOVAL: The skirmish has followed the largest demonstration since the death of Freddie Gray one week ago. The 25-year-old suffered a fatal spine injury while in the custody of Baltimore PD. Gray's death is triggering a slew of questions and outrage, but his family continues asking for peace.

FREDERICKA GRAY, FREDDIE GRAY'S SISTER: My family wants to say we are pleased, pleased that Freddie Gray would not want this. Freddie father and mother could not want nobody. Violence does not equal justice. Thank you.


SANDOVAL: Back out live to the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. I can tell you that the streets are quiet this morning and Freddie Gray's family hoping that really they stay that way, at least for the next two days.

You see they are preparing now to say goodbye. The wake is scheduled for today and funeral is scheduled for tomorrow. They are asking demonstrators to scale back on some of their protests as they get ready for those services -- Christi.

PAUL: Yes, understandably because they want that time to honor the man that they loved. Thank you so much, Polo Sandoval. Appreciate it.

[06:20:06] BLACKWELL: Well, last year, CNN broke the news that some Russians have been hacking White House computers and now there are new reports that revealed the Russians e-mails. New reports that the Russians even got a hold of president Obama's e-mails.


PAUL: Let's talk about some of the other things that are developing this morning. Senior U.S. officials tell "The New York Times," Russian hackers got a hold of e-mails from President Obama.

BLACKWELL: CNN first broke the story of the White House cyberhack last year, but now reports indicate that Russians actually reached the president's messages. They got access to e-mails archives of people he regularly communicated with. White House officials continue to say that none of the hacked information was classified.

PAUL: CNN has learned an internal investigation at NBC has found anchor Brian Williams exaggerated and embellished his reporting at least ten times. The network started digging deeper after Williams apologized for claiming he was in a helicopter that was hit by rocket fire during the Iraq war. Williams is suspended through August without pay. We are going to talk more about this next hour with CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter.

BLACKWELL: And we are pushing forward on the breaking news this morning, the devastating earthquake and the aftershocks rattling Nepal, more than three dozen aftershocks of the last 24 to 36 hours. Search teams are now trying to get to remote areas where it's feared many victims could be under all of this rubble. We have the latest on the search and the aid efforts in a moment.

[06:25:03] PAUL: Tonight on CNN, Anthony Bourdain is returning with a new season of "PARTS UNKNOWN" and he is kicking things off in South Korea with bar hopping, spam eating and a little something called the soup of death?


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, "PARTS UNKNOWN": Korea, land of enchantment, land of contrast, land of drinking, a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can drink well and you can recover.

BOURDAIN: We are going to find out, aren't we?

I do not love myself this morning, dried squid, M&Ms and mixing your alcohols?

The problem for me, I'm older than anybody in this country and my glass is always full. This is pretty awesome. I think a culture of liberal attitude toward spam is a money maker. Shake that. That's me.

Korea as I know it anticipates the future very well. Did I mention the drinking? We are going to show the people we have what it takes. Tomorrow, be there or be square. That's good.


PAUL: Season premiere "PARTS UNKNOWN" airs tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.