Face in the News: Washington state mudslide; the search for Flight 370

This Sunday on Face the Nation, the broadcast covered several stories from around the world. On the home front, the fallout from the devastating mudslides in Washington State has kept search teams hard at work. There was good news this weekend when the total of missing people dropped from 90 to 30. Nonetheless, at least 21 have been confirmed dead as of Sunday night, with officials fearing that number may increase.

Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., joined host Bob Schieffer to discuss efforts to recover any possible survivors.

"We are hoping for a miracle," Inslee said. "More importantly, we are working for a miracle, and we're doing everything humanly possible if that opportunity exists. These searchers, both professionals and volunteer, are really performing Herculean tasks right now."

Inslee's comments were picked up by Politico, The Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continued, with help from six nations and an array of state-of-the-art naval aircraft. The vast section of the Indian Ocean where the missing plane is believed to have crashed has made the task of locating debris extremely difficult. Search teams are scouring satellite and military images, but so far, no leads have proven successful.

Commander William Marks, the spokesman for the Seventh Fleet of the U.S. Navy, discussed the search operation over the phone from the USS Blue Ridge. Marks made clear that the absence of a clear search area would make locating the missing plane a daunting project.

"Until we can determine that original location, we can't get our pinger locator out there, and we can't use our Side-Scan sonar to search," Marks said. "If we don't get a location on that pinger, we then have to very slowly use sonar to get an image, a digital image of the bottom of the ocean and that is incredibly, a long process to go through. But it is possible, but yes it could take quite a while"

Marks's comments were picked up by Reuters, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and the Chicago Tribune.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised fears of a potential conflict with neighboring Ukraine by amassing at least 50,000 Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. Retired Air Force General Michael Hayden, who served as the head of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, and Michael Morell, a CBS News consultant and former CIA deputy director, joined the broadcast to offer their take on the standoff.

Both Hayden and Morell agreed that the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine was unlikely, but they sensed that Putin's strategy was to use the military threat as a heavy-handed diplomatic tool.

"What he wants ultimately is he wants to make sure that Ukraine does not become part of NATO - and probably not part of the E.U. either," Morell said.

Hayden agreed with Morell, adding, "His tool is that threat, that danger, that presence of forces along the Ukrainian border. So I think we'll see them there for a long time, which will be troubling and potentially destabilizing."

Hayden and Morell's comments were picked up by The New York Times, MSNBC, National Review, Business Insider, The Washington Times, and The Los Angeles Times.

Schieffer also spoke with NCAA president Mark Emmert, who has voiced his opposition to a ruling by the National Labor Relations board last week that granted Northwestern football players the right to form a union and bargain collectively.

"I don't think that unionizing the student athletes and turning them into unionized employees of universities is a way to improve their success," Emmert said.

Emmert also predicted that the case would eventually head to the Supreme Court. "It so fundamentally changes the nature of what college sport is about, and it blows up what is one of America's iconic activities," he said. "I think it winds up in the Supreme Court.

  • Peter Fulham

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