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CNN International: Ship Simulator Recreates Moments Leading Up to Bridge Crash; Draft Bill in Germany May Ban Dachshund Breeding; South Africa Struggles with Rampant Crime, Police Corruption; New Details on Federal Investigation into Sean Diddy Combs. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired March 28, 2024 - 04:30   ET



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Police in Rockford, Illinois say four people are dead and seven injured after a stabbing rampage. A 22-year- old suspect is in custody, but officials say they don't yet have a motive

Sam Bankman-Fried will be sentenced today in U.S. federal court. He was found guilty of stealing billions of dollars from accounts belonging to customers of his crypto exchange FTX. The disgraced cryptocurrency magnate faces up to 110 years behind bars, although prosecutors are pushing for a 40 to 50-year sentence.

Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at prison outside of Rome today. While there, he will partake in the washing of the feet with female prisoners. Since becoming pope in 2013, he has spent the holy day at a prison, a care facility or a refugee center.

Authorities in Baltimore, Maryland, are moving from recovery to a salvage operation after Tuesday's deadly bridge collapse. Officials have yet to provide a timeline for replacing the bridge and reopening the port.

Federal investigators say they've obtained about six hours of voyage data from the container ship that crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Four construction workers remain missing and are presumed dead. The bodies of two others were recovered Wednesday.

Search teams are contending with debris and dangerous conditions both above and below the water, as well as the ship's cargo itself.


JENNIFER HOMENDY, US. NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD CHAIR: We did bring in one of NTSB's senior hazmat investigators today to begin to look at the cargo and the cargo manifest.

He was able to identify 56 containers of hazardous materials. That's 764 tons of hazardous materials, mostly corrosives, flammables, and some miscellaneous hazardous materials, class 9 hazardous materials, which would include lithium ion batteries.


BRUNHUBER: Investigators are expected to interview the ship's two pilots today. Authorities want to find out what was happening on the massive cargo ship before it crashed into the bridge.

CNN's Miguel Marquez went to a simulator to retrace those fateful moments.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So we are on a cargo ship about the same size as the Dali, but we are navigating San Francisco Harbor in this case. This is all a simulation, but we have a real captain, Captain Morgan McManus, who is going to walk us through possibly what could have happened in a total blackout situation, as you call it, aboard the Dali.

CAPT. MORGAN MCMANUS, INSTRUCTOR, SUNY MARITIME COLLEGE: Yes. So we have the cadet simulating the maid on watch. We have another cadet on the helm.

Go left 15, please.

MARQUEZ: And the Dali would have lost both propulsion and steering?

MCMANUS: At a full blackout, they would have lost everything.

MARQUEZ: Full blackout, you call it.

MCMANUS: Yes, right. So we could run the blackout right now from the control room.

There we go. Alarms will start going off on the bridge.

MARQUEZ: Start getting alarms.

MCMANUS: Start getting alarms. The maid on watch is going to try to figure out what the alarm is.

The engine room is now calling to tell us what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bridge, maid on watch.

MARQUEZ: And in this situation, where you can see the pylon coming and you know it is disaster, can you drop the anchor? What are the -- you guys train for these scenarios?

MCMANUS: We're going to -- you're going to try to do everything you can to stop from hitting it, whether it's running the engine full astern to take the speed off.

We've already come down to almost stop on the water now. And then we'd be letting the anchors out. If we couldn't get the speed off the vessel, you can lower both anchors down and have them drag or kedge along the bottom to create resistance to slow the ship down. But for that to work, you need time and you need distance. The captain's going to be dealing with the engine room and getting on the phone and figuring out what's going on. So they would be going over --

MARQUEZ: So that engine room.


MARQUEZ: Would be the -- I think that's where the real chaos would be.

MCMANUS: That's where the real chaos is. So now if they call back and say we have power, the first thing we're going to do is then go emergency full astern to try to stop this happening.

MARQUEZ: Because it looks like they do establish power just before they hit the pylon --


MARQUEZ: -- before they hit the bridge.

MCMANUS: A billow of smoke comes out. They start trying to go astern, get the speed off.

MARQUEZ: This must have been high anxiety at this point on the bridge, trying to deal with this.

MCMANUS: Oh, incredibly stressful. Watching that first video clip when I saw the total power go out on the ship, I knew there was a major problem going on.

MARQUEZ: So one other thing we wanted to show you was what it would look like at night. We shot the simulation during the day so we could see everything, but this is much more what it would have looked like for the Dali in Baltimore Harbor. It complicates things at night, I take it.

MCMANUS: It does. You have -- you need the bridge dark so you could see the lights outside, but you also have ambient light from the skyline or the terminal coming in. It also -- in darkness, you lose some depth perception, which makes it a little challenging to actually judge your distances as well.

So it -- and it complicates moving around the bridge at night.

MARQUEZ: And this is -- you teach at State University, New York, Maritime College. I take it what happened in Baltimore Harbor will be studied for decades.

MCMANUS: It will. It will become one of those tragic accidents that we take lessons learned from and then we apply them to what we're teaching the students of what to do in an emergency on the bridge of a ship.

[04:35:04] MARQUEZ: So Captain McManus, like merchant mariners everywhere, are going to be very interested to see what's on those black boxes. Not just the conversation from the bridge and the engineering room, which must have been very intense, but the data from the ship itself. What systems went down? When did they go down? What systems were trying to come back online and why it all happened?

Back to you.


BRUNHUBER: The U.S. Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, says the party's libel for the collapse will be held accountable. There's lots of losses that need to be covered.

So first, there's the huge cost of replacing the bridge, there's damage to the container ship, the MV Dali, the port, and the city of Baltimore will want compensation for lost income. Plus, U.S. officials say there are seven commercial ships stuck in port. They'll presumably look for damages as well.

The cost of higher education is about to get more expensive at several New England universities and colleges where undergraduate tuition costs for the upcoming school year are set to surpass $90,000. Yale University, Tufts University, Boston University and Wellesley College will see costs rise in the fall, but the institutions say they're committed to continuing to meet the financial needs of students with aid packages.

Puerto Rico has declared a public health emergency as the number of dengue cases spikes. Health officials have registered 549 cases so far this year, about 62 percent of those infected have had to be hospitalized. The mosquito borne virus can cause fever, vomiting, rashes and pain and can be deadly. Officials are urging people to use insect repellent and cover exposed skin. Authorities have been spraying areas to reduce the amount of disease carrying mosquitoes.

One of online gaming's biggest stars has revealed a cancer diagnosis, but it's not game over yet. Tyler Blevins, better known by his professional gamer tag Ninja, is one of the biggest names in streaming with 19 million followers on the gaming platform Twitch.

Blevins shared his diagnosis with his followers saying in part, quote, there was a mole on the bottom of my foot. It came back as melanoma, but they're optimistic that we caught it in the early stages. Please take this as a PSA to get skin checkups.

Germany's kennel clubs warn that the future of the Dachshund, one of the country's most popular dog breeds, could soon be in jeopardy. That's because German lawmakers are considering a bill that targets torture breeding. Fred Pleitgen tells us what that could mean for some beloved breeds.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Many Germans are up in arms as one of the most popular dogs here in this country and really a staple of German culture, the sausage dog. They believe could be under threat and maybe in the future could disappear and not be bred anymore here in this country.

Now, all this comes down to a draft law which was put forward by the German Agriculture Ministry, which is in charge of animal protection here in this country. And that law seeks to end what Germans call torture breeding. That, in effect, means breeding animals with what the Germans call skeletal abnormalities. And some of those abnormalities include very long spines and very short legs, which, of course, tend to be features of the German sausage dog.

Now, the ministry itself, we've gotten in touch with them. They say that they have absolutely no plan to end breeding of sausage dogs here in this country. They say they simply want to protect animals and end what they call torture breeding, which essentially, they say, means breeding animals in a way that makes their life essentially unlivable because of their bodily features.

Now, the German Kennel Club doesn't buy any of this. They say, while some of the provisions in this draft law are good, like, for instance, combating the illegal puppy trade, they say that some of the rules set out for the breeding could, in fact, ban breeding of German sausage dogs.

We also got in touch with a breeder of German sausage dogs who says that the dogs are not inbred and the vast majority of them are very healthy and also that German sausage dogs actually live quite long. Their longevity is apparently very good.

Now, the German Kennel Club and the breeder both say that they are very suspicious of this new law. They do believe that it could mean the end of breeding of German sausage dogs.

And not just that, they also fear that it could mean the end of breeding of things like, for instance, German shepherds or schnauzers, which are also, of course, staples of German cultures. And a lot of people here in this country have these types of dogs. So there is a lot of concern out there.

This law, however, is still in the very early stages of being drafted. It would still have to go through various stages in German parliament to actually become law.


Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


BRUNHUBER: There was no jackpot winner in Wednesday's Powerball drawing in the U.S., but three players won at least a million dollars, according to Powerball officials. The next drawing on Saturday is now worth an estimated $935 million.

Meanwhile, in the Mega Millions lottery, the lucky ticket sold at this store in Neptune, New Jersey, worth more than $1.1 billion, yep, billion with a B, that's the fifth largest prize in Mega Millions history. The winner could take home an estimated lump sum payment of $537.6 million.

Climate change is slowing down the Earth's rotation and will eventually cost everyone a second of their time. That's according to a U.S. study in the journal Nature.

It says meltwater is draining away from the poles towards the equator, where all that extra mass is tapping the brakes on the spin of the Earth. Now, that could force scientists to subtract a leap second in about 2028. Leap seconds are used when atomic clocks in the Earth's rotation are out of sync by about one second.

Now, some fear leap seconds could wreak havoc on computers like they did about that Y2K bug that actually turned out to be a dud with a negligible impact.

All right, still to come, the effects of surging crime in South Africa. We'll bring you the story of a man whose life was changed forever after he became the victim of an all-too-common violent heist. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: Haiti's transitional presidential council says progress is being made towards appointing a new Prime Minister. They say the new leader will bring democratic legitimacy, stability, and dignity back to Haiti. Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced his resignation earlier this month as criminal gangs coordinated attacks against police and government buildings and took over most of the capital of Port-au- Prince.

And as gang violence and political instability continue, France has airlifted more than 170 French nationals and 70 others from various countries out of Haiti. They were flown by a military helicopter to a naval vessel and then taken to three French territory -- to the French territory of Martinique.

30 years into its young democracy, South Africa is struggling with a crime wave it can't seem to control. Violent brazen attacks and heists, which should be handled by police, are instead turned over to private security patrols because police corruption is rampant as well.

I'm going to go live now to Johannesburg, where CNN senior international correspondent David McKenzie is standing by. So, David, crime, as you well know, has long been a problem in some South African cities like Johannesburg, where you are. So what makes what you're seeing now different?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me put it in perspective, Kim, just about 20 minutes from where I'm sitting here at our bureau.

[04:45:00] Yesterday, a major highway was shut down for some time because of an attempted criminal act, but not just any criminal act. A heist attempt that often involves 10 to 15 gunmen and high explosives.

Experts say that organized crime in particular is spiking in this country. We report on this major issue for South Africans.


ANTON KOEN, CEO, NOJACK: This was a vehicle that was triggered by the license plate recognition system. We need to be on top of the vehicle as soon as we -- go as fast as we possibly can.

MCKENZIE: Anton is chasing a hijacked vehicle. This happens all the time in South Africa. They are in touch with private security groups throughout this eastern part of Johannesburg and one thing you don't hear anything about is the police.

KOEN: In the direction northeast square. Direction northeast square.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Police can't cope, underfunded and struggling with corruption.

KOEN: They're shooting. They're shooting. They're shooting.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Dashcam footage shows the criminal gangs private security are often up against. In South Africa, more than 20,000 vehicles were hijacked last year. Murders are at a 20-year high. Cash-in-transit heists are now commonplace. Armored vehicles targeted in broad daylight by heavily armed gangs. This heist on a major Joburg highway in October.

MCKENZIE: Was it difficult to get a gun?


MCKENZIE (voice-over): We met her cash-in-transit criminal who claims he's gotten out of the game. We agreed to hide his identity, so he would talk freely.

GLEN: People who are angry with the level of crime, they will never sleep with their stomach empty. Those are the people who are crying with crime.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): He says around a dozen gang members target the vehicles, often with insider intelligence. They have spotters, drivers, and shooters, splitting the cash evenly.

MCKENZIE: Did you ever kill anyone?

GLEN: Yes. I know it's bad, I feel bad about it. Some of them, you go, and you want to rob and they do not surrender. They want to become heroes.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): But father of four, TT Ngwenya says he never wanted to be a hero. He just wanted to put food on the table. TT NGWENYA, FORMER CASH-IN-TRANSIT GUARD: As I needed the money, you must take out that you're going to be killed because you will never work for your children.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): He always knew they would be hit. And in May 2021, they were. The dashcam video shows the gang working quickly, efficiently even. They made Ngwenya and the other guards lie in the grass. When they blew off the roof, it crushed his legs.

NGWENYA: And the big thing to me, I am no longer able to stand. I'm no longer walking as the way I was before I joined that job. And I always feel pain. I'm shot with some pills, you see, and I'm a father.

KOEN: Seems like the value of life has actually means nothing to a lot of people anymore. I think at the moment our crime is out of control. Our crime is really not in control. We're having a hard time fighting crime.

MCKENZIE (voice-over South Africa is losing the war against crime. The promise of its democracy hijacked by corruption, desperation and greed.


MCKENZIE (on camera): The security experts say that there are plenty of good cops in the junior and senior levels. But they are overwhelmed by a lack of resources and leadership. And underwhelmed by all the corruption that they see in the force.

That is why there are so many private security officers in this country. But often they are really protecting the wealthy and not the poor -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: So, David, let's go back a step. What's causing more people to become criminals in the first place? What are the underlying issues here?

MCKENZIE: Well, like any country, the economy plays a role in people moving into crime. As you saw from that gangster that we interviewed, he said it was to get money to feed his family.

But in fact, with unemployment at more than 30 percent and youth unemployment even higher, there is, of course, a push factor towards people moving into crime.

But I don't think you can use that ultimately as a reason to excuse the lack of intelligence gathering by the security forces. The fact that politics has become entrenched in very critical ministries in what they call in South Africa the security cluster.

And so while there are push factors and economic issues play a role, a lot of these in what they call in South Africa the security cluster. And so while there are push factors and economic issues play a role, a lot of fingers are being pointed towards the lack of organization and to take this issue as seriously as many South Africans want it to be taken -- Kim. BRUNHUBER: Yes, really disturbing. David McKenzie in Johannesburg. Thanks so much.

As rapper Sean Diddy Combs faces the fallout from the federal raids on his home, some members of his inner circle are also facing legal challenges. CNN's Josh Campbell has the latest.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sean Diddy Combs seen in this video obtained by TMZ, said to be filmed at a Miami airport. He and his twin teenage daughters were headed away on a planned spring break when federal investigators searched his homes Monday, according to a source close to the musician with direct knowledge of the situation.

A video obtained by TMZ said to show the aftermath of the law enforcement action at his home. So far, his current whereabouts are still not publicly known after Department of Homeland security investigators searched for documents, phones, computers, and other electronic devices according to a law enforcement source familiar with the searches.

Combs' attorney issued a statement Tuesday calling the search of the homes a gross overuse of military-level force and a witch-hunt based on meritless accusations, claims disputed by law enforcement veterans.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know, the roundhouse swing he took at the show of force really kind of classic defense attorney tactics to try to turn around a bad press day.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): The law enforcement action coming after a series of civil lawsuits alleging Combs' involvement in sex trafficking and sexual abuse, allegations Combs has denied.

His attorney's statement saying the musician was quote: Never detained, but spoke to and cooperated with authorities.

ELIZABETH GEDDES, PROSECUTOR IN R. KELLY CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASE: Until there is an indictment and a potential bail hearing, which could include a limitation on a defendant's travel You would not expect in this type of case there to be any limitation on his travel.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Combs' legal issues stemming from civil lawsuits including one filed in February by producer Rodney Jones also known as Lil Rod, accused Combs of among other things, sexual assault.

And other members of his inner circle also now facing legal issues. Actor Cuba Gooding, Jr., named as a defendant in an amended complaint filed by Jones in February. Jones stating in the lawsuit that he believes Combs was grooming him to pass them off to his friends. Alleging that Combs suggested Jones get to know Gooding, Jr. while on the mogul's yacht in the Virgin Islands last year and claiming Gooding, Jr. began touching, groping, and fondling Jones before he was able to forcibly push him away. The filing included two images described a screenshots from a video of Gooding, Jr. with Combs and Gooding, Jr. with his arm around Jones. An attorney for Cuba Gooding, Jr. had not responded to CNN's request for comment.

And on Monday at the same time as the execution of the search warrants were underway, an arrest of one of Combs' associates. 25-year-old Brendan Paul was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana- laced candy, allegedly found inside his personal travel bags at a Miami airport.

CAMPBELL: And you're looking at new affiliate video obtained by CNN. That's Sean Combs' Gulfstream 550 executive jet at a Miami airport on Wednesday, but still no public sign of Sean Combs nor have we heard directly from him, nor for that matter, have we heard from federal investigators about what, if anything, they found during those searches and whether any of that formation could result in criminal charges.

Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.


BRUNHUBER: All right, still ahead this hour, it's the day baseball fans have been waiting months for, opening day here in the U.S. We'll have a look at some of the festivities planned around the country. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: For American baseball fans, opening day is finally here. More than a dozen games are on the schedule for today, including Shohei Ohtani's home debut as a Los Angeles Dodger. The Houston Astros will host the New York Yankees. Slugger Mike Trout and the Angels open the season in Baltimore. And there's the Brewers versus the Mets and the Braves at the Phillies have already been postponed due to rain.

And the 2023 MLB champs, the Texas Rangers will unveil their World Series banner prior to their home opener tonight against the Chicago Cubs.

All right, now to stories in the spotlight. The Easter edition.

With Easter just days away, one of Germany's oldest egg dying factories is pulling long hours to meet demand, up to 800,000 eggs are said to be boiled and dyed at the factory every day. The chicken farmer who owns the company says the eggs must be medium in size and can't have any dirt or cracks.

And some Croatians have turned egg dying into works of art. Now these giant eggs painted by local artists are up to two meters high or more than six feet. They're on display in a city in northwestern Croatia, but officials say they'll later be shown in other parts of Europe as well as the U.S. The artists painted four separate themes on each piece. It's part of

an Easter tradition which also pays homage to a local art school.

And some zoo animals in Germany are getting ready for the holiday. Have a look at this, workers hid eggs filled with fruits and nuts for the brown bear siblings on Wednesday. The zoo's mongoose populations were given painted chicken eggs. A curator says zookeepers are always coming up with new ways to keep the animals busy.

And this zoo in Chile has been hiding treats inside eggs at Easter for more than a decade. A zoo official says the annual egg hunt helps animals develop natural behaviors like foraging and they're rewarded with eggs full of meat, cereal and peanuts. Sounds delicious.

That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber, CNN "THIS MORNING" is up after a quick break.