May 1st, 2014
01:20 PM ET

Mayor Rob Ford Takes Break From Campaign To Seek Help For Alcohol Abuse

Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he is taking a break from his re-election campaign to seek help for alcohol abuse - hours after a local newspaper reported on a new video that allegedly shows him smoking crack cocaine.

"It's not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in my life," Ford said in a statement Wednesday. "I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time."

The statement, provided to CNN by Canada's CTV News, comes after the Toronto Globe and Mail reported on the new video.

In the video purportedly filmed Saturday, the newspaper reports Ford is seen smoking what a drug dealer described to the paper as crack cocaine from a copper-colored pipe. Two Globe and Mail reporters viewed the video, and the publication said it was shot in what appears to be Ford's sister's basement.

The paper said the substance in the pipe could not be confirmed.

The video is part "of a package of three videos the dealer said was surreptitiously filmed around 1:15 a.m., and which he says he is now selling for 'at least six figures,'" the paper reported.

Leave is immediate

Shortly after the newspaper confronted the Mayor about the video, Ford announced he was taking a break to get help.

"Today, after taking some time to think about my own well-being, how to best serve the people of Toronto and what is in the best interests of my family, I have decided to take a leave from campaigning and from my duties as mayor to seek immediate help," he said.

His lawyer, Dennis Morris, told CNN that Ford's leave begins immediately.

"He has to take a break to re-energize, because he realizes he has flaws that have to be addressed," Morris told CTV.

But Morris told the Globe that he questioned the authenticity of the video, and said it is hard to prove what the Mayor is smoking.

"If these guys are drug dealers and there's money involved, they can say whatever they want to get more money, to extract more money from the people who are paying," he said of the seller.

The Globe said it did not buy the video, adding it purchased screen grabs from the three clips.


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May 1st, 2014
01:15 PM ET

MH370 Report Reveals 4-Hour Gap Before Official Search For Plane Began

 On the fateful night that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, officials apparently didn't notice for 17 minutes that it had gone off radar - and didn't activate an official rescue operation for four hours.

Those are two of the details outlined in a preliminary report by Malaysia's Transportation Ministry released to the public Thursday. The report had been sent to the International Civil Aviation Organization, the U.N. body for global aviation.

What's remarkable about the report is what's missing from it.

When did the plane disappear?

At 1:21 a.m. on March 8, the plane - carrying 239 people to Beijing - disappeared from radar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

By then, the plane's crew should have contacted air traffic control in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, but apparently it didn't.

And it wasn't until 17 minutes later that Ho Chi Minh asked Malaysian air traffic control where the plane was.

"We are left to assume (that) for those 17 minutes, Kuala Lumpur either didn't notice or didn't act," CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest said.

Why was there a four-hour gap in response?

Then came a four-hour gap - from the time when officials noticed the plane was missing to when the official rescue operation was launched.

The report gives an account of the conversation air traffic controllers in Vietnam and Malaysia had at that time. Ho Chi Minh City let Kuala Lumpur know at 1:38 a.m. that it was not able to establish verbal contact with Flight 370.

Kuala Lumpur also contacted Singapore, Hong Kong and Cambodia.

Those four hours may have been crucial.

On Tuesday, a Malaysia Airlines official said the plane probably ran out of fuel about 7½ hours into the flight. That means it might have been flying during that four-hour gap, and possibly for another 2½ hours after the search started.

Where was the military?

The Malaysian Prime Minister has said the military tracked the plane as it headed back across Malaysia.

According to the report, a playback of a recording from military primary radar revealed that an aircraft that may have been MH370 had made a westerly turn, crossing Peninsular Malaysia. The search area was then extended to the Strait of Malacca.

But it's unclear when that happened. The report makes no mention of the military's role the night of the disappearance.


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May 1st, 2014
12:58 PM ET

Clintons' Relationship With Media Still Testy After All These Years

Hillary Clinton is thinking about running for president, a candidacy - and possible administration - that would no doubt intensify the already close and sometimes sensational scrutiny of her and her husband.

For Bill and Hillary Clinton, their view on the state of journalism in the United States comes from a place of deep knowledge and exposure. And like many who have been in the spotlight for a prolonged period, it's a love-hate thing.

Watch "Inside Politcs" with John King above and get this story and other key political headlines in 90 seconds.

MORE at CNN Politics 

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May 1st, 2014
12:43 PM ET

Angry Relatives Told To Go Home

Relatives of vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 passengers wailed and yelled in a Beijing hotel Thursday as the airline announced it was closing the support centers where they'd been gathered for weeks - effectively telling the families to go home.

The closures also will mean no more mass daily briefings for the relatives - news that sparked a new wave of anguish and despair for the hundreds who heard it at Beijing's Lido Hotel.

"What can we do?" a relative yelled, as others kneeled in front of police who had assembled in the hotel briefing room to keep order.

"Who will find our family members?" another shouted.

The airline, which has hosted the families at hotels in China and Malaysia since March, said the Lido center would close Friday and all others by May 7.

"Instead of staying in hotels, the families of MH370 are advised to receive information updates on the progress of the search and investigation and other support by Malaysia Airlines within the comfort of their own homes, with the support and care of their families and friends," the airline said in a news release.

The briefing at the Lido Hotel came on the day that the Malaysian government released its preliminary report on the plane's March 8 disappearance.

The hotel has been an important hub of information for relatives in China. More than 100 passengers on the plane are Chinese.

The airline said it would open "family support centers" in Beijing and Malaysia's capital; it wasn't immediately clear what those centers would do.

Sarah Bajc, the American partner of Flight 370 passenger Philip Wood, said she was one of about 500 people at Thursday's Lido Hotel meeting.

The briefing began with the airline's CEO making a seven-minute statement in English by video, Bajc said. Most of the relatives didn't understand the message until a Chinese translation was given afterward, she said.

"That's when people started to break down," she said.

Bajc said she left the room, saying the scene started to feel tense.

"I could hear a lot of yelling. Some of the police officers that were outside went in, and they started to file family members out through a separate exit," she told CNN's "New Day."

Calm was restored when Chinese officials continued the briefing and ensured the families that the search would continue, and that the relatives wouldn't be forgotten, a CNN crew outside the briefing room reported.

Bajc said Chinese relatives previously told her they dreaded the day that the hotel centers would close, fearing they wouldn't get timely updates at their rural homes.

"They are very distraught, because the average Chinese family member will be sent home to mostly a very rural place with limited access to (the) Internet, and they just feel like all lines of communications will be cut," she said.


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