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Ukrainian Forces Retake Village Near Kharkiv; Russia Says To Cease Fire At Mariupol Steel Plant Allowing Civilian Evacuations; Biden Comes Out Swinging Against GOP Extreme MAGA Agenda; Fed Raises Rates By Half A Percentage Point; Moldovan Winery Opens Its Doors to Ukrainian Refugees; Beijing's Largest District Effectively Shut Down; Protecting Thailand's Indochinese Tigers; Comedian Tackled on Stage in Los Angeles. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 05, 2022 - 01:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and all around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

Ukrainians reporting progress on the ground as its counter offensive in the Kharkiv region takes back more territory and interest closer towards the border with Russia. Ukrainian forces have now retaken the village of Molodova, which is just 21 kilometers or about 13 miles from the Russian border. And of course shouldn't be confused with the country Moldova, it's the latest village to come back under Ukrainian control in the last two weeks.

Meanwhile, Ukraine says Russian forces have made few advances in Luhansk and Donetsk regions despite heavy bombardments on a number of fronts. Russian forces have been trying to move south from the Kharkiv region in an attempt to surround Ukrainian forces defending Donetsk and in the Luhansk region.

New drone footage shows stunning devastation in the town of Popasna. The drone appears to have been used by the Russian military as they tracked Ukrainian troops amid intense street fighting.

But for more on the situation in Ukraine. Let's bring in Isa Soares in Lviv. Isa

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very good morning to you, Kim. We are keeping a very close eye this morning on the message city of Mariupol. It's just after ATM here and humanitarian corridors announced by Russia now supposed to be open to allow civilians to evacuate from the Azovstal steel plant is very large complex.

There's no word yet on whether fresh evacuations have actually been allowed to take place where we haven't heard from the Ukrainian side. And this is really what the complex has endured over the past few days, relentless as well as growing attacks from Russian forces. Civilians are trapped there along with the city's last Ukrainian defenders. And here's how a Ukrainian commander inside the plant described the situation. Have a listen.


LT. COL. DENYS PROKOPENKO, AZOV REGIMENT COMMENADER (through translator): For two days now, the enemy has broken into the territory under plant. These are heavy bloody battles and I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the enemy's onslaught.


SOARES: While Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy says 344 people were evacuated from Mariupol, the city of Mariupol and nearby areas on Wednesday. We don't know if any of them were rescued from that steel plant.

And we are learning more about how Ukraine managed to fend off repeated Russian attempts to advance on Kyiv in the early days of course of the war. Matt Rivers takes us to a town near the carport -- near the capital that was really key in keeping Russian forces at bay.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outgoing fire from a frozen foxhole not far from the flaming pieces of an exploding armored vehicle.

As the quiet still have a nighttime bunker is shattered by what the soldier says was a direct hit right nearby. This is what happened in the tiny town of Moschun just northwest of Ukraine's capital city. It was here as much as anywhere else that the battle of Kyiv was won.

By early March Russian forces had flooded south, Ukraine seat of power in its sights that arrived just west of Moschun occupying that entire area. The Irpin River the only thing between them and the town where Ukraine would make it stand.

(on camera): Is it strange to just walk through this area now, you know, when it's safe? He says what strange was being here when all hell broke loose.

Three Ukrainian soldiers who fought here took us around Moschun before the ground assault they said relentless artillery rain down there was little they could do but wait it out. Just listen to this video taken by a soldier.

(on camera): So they dug this trench here just across the river from Russian positions of course to take cover from things like this. So this will be spent ordinance, a rocket fired from a Russian attack helicopter here on the Ukrainian position.

(voice-over): Thinking they'd soften the town the Russians decided it was time to strike with this bridge destroyed they built a pontoon bridge here and started sending special forces troops across the river.


Across the river, the Ukrainians waited some scene here ready to fight back. Street battles raged, homes were shredded, houses now with so many bullet holes like freckles on a face. The Russian some scene here actually took part of the town, but that success would be short lived. Because the woods were up next.

Moschun is surrounded by dense pine forest, the perfect area for Ukraine to stop in advance. Video shows Ukrainian troops lined up in neatly dug positions, and Russian troops would quickly come under heavy fire video shows the results, multiple dead Russian soldiers in the snow.

(on camera): That body was found right there and there were several other Russian soldiers that were killed right in this area including this soldier whose body armor is still left behind.

This was not artillery unit versus artillery unit here in these woods in this town. It was infantry versus infantry, close proximity fighting.

(voice-over): A sounds of explosions ripple around them, Ukrainian soldiers race toward an unseen enemy carrying between them what is likely the kind of weapon that could do something like this. Ukrainian drones captured the destruction of Russian armor sitting ducks on the lone road through the trees.

(on camera): And here on the ground, you can still see the remnants of two destroyed armored personnel carriers. The body parts of the soldiers that were inside still litter this area. Ukrainian forces say some 500 Russian soldiers and 40 armored vehicles made their way into this part of the forest and if they were able to continue and get through, it could have changed the tide of the entire war.

(voice-over): Moschun sits only about three miles from Kyiv city limits and roughly 15 from the city center. Ukrainian troops tell us had the Russians broke through the thousands of Russian troops just across the river would have made an all-out push into Kyiv.

But a fierce Ukrainian counter attack turned the battle around quickly. Soldiers going house to house retaking the town even destroying the pontoon bridge Russia had used to bring soldiers across. Ukrainian forces also stripping what they could from the better supplied Russian soldiers.

He says they suffered heavy losses here, even though they dominated us in aircraft and drones and 10 to one in artillery. For these three soldiers, the victory in the Battle of Kyiv is something the world should have seen coming.

(on camera): Should the rest of the world had been surprised. Our army turned out to be one of the best in the world. And nobody was more surprised than the Russians, he said, adding one more thing in English.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Surprise mother fucker.

RIVERS: Matt Rivers, CNN, Moschun, Ukraine.


SOARES: Important piece there from our Matt Rivers. Joining me now from Edinburgh is defense analyst Stuart Crawford, very well known face in the show. Stuart, a very good morning to you.

I want to start if I could really what we're hearing the village of Molodova, which we are being hearing from Ukrainian forces as been retaken by them. This, of course, is just east of Kharkiv, and some 13 miles or so from the Russian border.

What does that say to you, really, in terms of the fact that they've been able to retake this so close to Russia, this territory so close to Russia itself?

STUART CRAWFORD, DEFENSE ANALYST: Good morning. It's -- What it's good news for Ukraine actually. And it shows that far from being overwhelmed by Russian forces or indeed even being pushed back by Russian forces. They now have the wherewithal in a fairly small scale or smaller scale operations to begin to retake their territory.

And this is something that I think we've all been looking for over the past few days when will the Ukrainians be able to go from the defensive and transition to the offensive and retake the territory, which the Russians have captured. And this looks like the beginning of that phase.

SOARES: And isn't just the fact that it's close to Russia. It also brings to Ukrainian troops closer critically to the supply lines that Russia is using to try and reinforce the occupied city of Izyum.

Will Russia you think be able to continue its offensive in the Donbas region if Ukraine is able to successfully attack its supply lines here?

CRAWFORD: Well, the short answer to that one is no they weren't. Interrupting lines of communication and supply lines has always been an intrinsic part of this sort of maneuver warfare that we seem to be slowly heading towards.


And clearly given the vast expenditure of munitions and other material, which both sides are doing at the moment, if the resupply line is interdicted, then the conflict cannot be sustained.

So it will bring Russia to a halt in the Donbas. And I think we're beginning to see that that's already happening, because progress is very, very slow. And we're in a war of attrition. And the side which is best supplied and can best continue supplying itself is likely to prevail. And at the moment, it looks like the Russians are having great difficulty in that particular sphere.

SOARES: They do seem, though, Stuart, to have a lot of weaponry in Mariupol, we're looking at some footage really from Mariupol, it's been relentless in that city. In particular, the situation inside the Azovstal steel plant. We've heard from Russian forces from you -- from inside, that they broke it inside of the defensive perimeter of the steel factory.

Can you give us some insight, Stuart, you know, what an assault on an enclosed area like this wood could be could look like?

CRAWFORD: Well, I mean, it's very nasty, and it's very brutal. And it's very bloody, because we're talking about fighting from room to room in very close a confined space, where the expenditure of weaponry and ammunition is immense. And it takes a huge amount of effort, a huge amount of time to capture something, if those of your viewers who are familiar with the history of Stalingrad, or perhaps Berlin, in the second world war, will know that it took a huge amount of effort and huge numbers of troops to affect this.

Very close quarter combat, sometimes I would suspect hand to hand, very, very nasty, huge casualties, and not something that the Russians would want to get involved in for too long.

I think the interesting thing about that they hold Mariupol steel works is that the Russians have been unable to take it. And it's a thorn in their side, which prevents them sending troops further north.

SOARES: Yes, that seems to have affected of course, the number of people on the frontlines and probably as many have said, weaken them somewhat not offensive in the East.

But as we have been talking about for some days now, Stuart, you know, Mariupol could be really the victory that Putin was looking for on May 9th. What happens though, post that day? Do you think that he will de- escalate? Or do you think he could -- he would double down and expand this war, if he of course he takes Azovstal, which so far he hasn't been able to do?

CRAWFORD: Well, I mean, I guess that's the question. The problem that commentators like me have always had is that we're not inside Putin's mind. And we don't really know what his end state is aiming for, actually is.

I suspect that the consensus is that he's now going to concentrate on trying to annex the Donbas area. And then if he feels that he has sufficient combat power and political will, he might try and head towards Moldova to, you know, quotes (ph) on liberate Transnistria. But I don't actually think that they've got the combat power, or the resources to do both of those. So I think it's Donbas for the moment and see what happens.

SOARES: Yes, I mean, of course, the fear is of many of being saying that as he takes, he could use the May the 9th as a propaganda kind of tool, propaganda value to mobilize forces. I think that is the biggest fear, isn't it so far? Stuart Crawford, always great to have you on the show. Thanks very much, Stuart.

CRAWFORD: Thank you.

SOARES: Well, the European Union's proposing a ban on Russian oil imports, but may find it tricky to actually implement it. It's part of course of this six package of sanctions on Moscow for its war in Ukraine.

The Czech Republic and Bulgaria seeking exemptions from the ban while Slovakia and Hungary say they need at least a three-year transition period. Here's more now from Hungary's Foreign Minister. Have a listen.


PETER SZIJJARTO, HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): It is not a matter of lack of political will or a question about intention or time. This is simply a physical, geographical and infrastructural reality.


While the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says the ban on Russian oil is the next step to make Russian President Vladimir Putin quote, pay a high price for his brutal aggression on Ukraine.

I'll have much more from Lviv next hour but first we'll get back to Kim in Atlanta. Kim.


BRUNHUBER: Thanks so much, Isa. The U.S. central bank has an aggressive plan to bring down inflation, still ahead what it means for people buying homes, cars and paying off their credit cards.

Plus, President Biden is promising a record reduction to America's deficit while going on the attack against MAGA Republicans. Up next, stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: U.S. President Joe Biden is sharpening his rhetoric against the Republicans ahead of the high stakes midterm elections when control of Congress will be at stake. On Wednesday he went after what he called the ultra-MAGA agenda of those who still support Donald Trump's Make America Great Again movement. He said MAGA Republicans are protecting billionaires of the expense of working class Americans and took aim at Republican Senator Rick Scott's economic plan. Here he is.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Let me tell you about this ultra-MEGA agenda as extreme as most MAGA things are, it will actually raise taxes on 75 million American families, over 95 percent of who make less than $100,000 a year.


BRUNHUBER: Biden claims his administration will reduce the deficit by a record amount as opposed to Trump's administration, which increased the deficit every year he was in office.

U.S. Federal Reserve is hoping at half a percentage point interest rate hike will help bring inflation under control and signal more increases might be on the way. Wall Street responded with its best day in two years, the Dow jumped more than 900 points, the NASDAQ and S&P also finished with big gains.

So let's look at how markets in Asia and the Asia Pacific region are doing. As you can see, they're all in positive territory. So we'll have more now on the Fed's decision from CNN's Richard Quest.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE (on camera): The markets had been well primed to expect a half a percentage point rise. Indeed, over the past few weeks, they had been told repeatedly that was on the table. So if the Fed hadn't done what it did, it would have been a shock.

Initially, the market took it all in stride. But then, half an hour later in the press conference, the chair of the Fed Jerome Powell said that he was not expecting the situation to require a three quarter percentage point, 75 basis points increase in the future, that the market took as being good news. In other words, the situation wasn't so bad, that things would have to get worse. The market went up like a rocket.

And so now everyone is waiting for the next meeting. And whether there's 50 basis points there. And the one after that, they know that interest rates are going somewhere between two and a half and three and a quarter percent. It's a question of how far and how fast.

If things go according to plan, the Fed will have engineered a soft landing and will avoid a recession, but for those private economists that believe that won't be possible. But the rate rises will have to be so dramatic. The economy will slow down so severely, it will tip into recession, to be honest, on that the jury's still out. Richard Quest, CN, New York.


BRUNHUBER: For more, I'm joined by Justin Wolfers. He's a professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Thanks so much for being here with us. So, just to start off, you're what will this mean for Americans out there in plain terms? JUSTIN WOLFERS, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Well, first of all, there's the direct effect on the hip pocket. And so if you're someone who's thinking about trying to buy a home, or looking to re-refinance, or maybe looking to buy a car, and you need to borrow money, it's going to cost you more.

And as a result, they'll be less left at the end of each week to buy groceries to buy durable goods and other things.

Of course, if you've saving money, higher interest rates mean that you're going to do a little better out of your bank. That's the direct effect. But really what this is all about is trying to slightly slow the pace of the economic expansion. So there'll be a little bit less demand, give supply some time to catch up. And hopefully that'll slow the pace of price rises, which is reduce inflation.

BRUNHUBER: Exactly. Now, some economists worry that the bank was too late to the game here that the Fed waited too long to raise the rates. What do you make of the timing?

WOLFERS: Well, with hindsight, we're all geniuses, aren't we? So for sure, if six months ago, we knew that the economy would be where it is now, I think the Fed would have started tightening quite a bit earlier.

Look, this has been a recovery which I think, in many respects is just fantastic news, which is the economy bounced back from the deepest downturn since the Great Depression. And it did so more rapidly than any of us ever imagined. So it's not just that inflation is high. That's the bad news.

The good news is that unemployment is incredibly low and very close to a 50-year low. And so, you know, really, this was a calculated bid back in the pandemic days, it was should we risk a bit of inflation in order to get people back to work. And that's probably better than having a long grinding slow recession, as we did after the financial crisis in 2008-2009.

BRUNHUBER: Right, but then the flip side of that risk is risk of recession and they really have to walk a fine line here that that soft landing that Richard talked about. They don't want to trigger a recession. It seems as if, you know, these days we have so many things to worry about, should we add recession to that list as well.


WOLFERS: I haven't added recession to my list. And that's because the single best way to figure out where the economy's going next is really to look at where it's at right now. And the truth is the economy is still growing gangbusters. We've got unemployment at very, very low rates. And there's not an obvious cause of recession around the corner.

Now, if the last two years has taught us anything, it's to expect the unexpected, to the extent that people are expressing concerns about a recession. The fear is that the Fed will move too rapidly raise rates too far, too fast and cause the economy to fall over very quickly.

Look, why do we think they'll overreact. There's also a likelihood that the Fed will under react. So errors can go in all sorts of different ways. But there's none of the usual recession alarm bells are ringing right now.

BRUNHUBER: All right. But then you say expect the unexpected, I mean, that feeds into this right. I mean, how much control does the Fed actually have, and the Biden administration is well, given that they're at the mercy of many economic factors that are beyond their control, like the supply and chain issues, and the war in Ukraine especially.

WOLFERS: And as the war in Ukraine, there's supply chain issues and there's this virus going around the world still. And we shouldn't understate the extent to which that remains a big unknown. Much of China's still pursuing a zero COVID strategy, which means that a few more cases get out and you start to close down factories, whole cities, and much of the world economy could grind to a halt.

We might be one more bad variant away from people being unhappy or unwilling to get back to work. And so, I do feel that we are still living through a riskier moment than many of us are used to.

BRUNHUBER: And people, you know, are concerned about all this we saw in a recent CNN poll found that the public's view of the economy is the worst it's been in a decade and this despite the wage gains and the really low unemployment that you just talked about.

So, I guess it all basically comes down to those everyday pocketbook issues, the price of gas, groceries, things like that, and that's what the Fed is hoping to tackle with this rate increase.

We'll have to leave it there but thank you so much for your expertise. Really appreciate it. Justin Wolfers.

WOLFERS: It's a pleasure.

BRUNHUBER: A winery in Moldova is shifting its priorities because of the war in Ukraine. Next. This restaurant and tasting rooms become a new home for refugees in need. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Close to 450,000 Ukrainians have fled to neighboring Moldova since the war began. And of all places, some of them ended up in a winery near the border where employees opened their doors and their hearts to refugees in need.

Randi Kaye has the story.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When the bombs started dropping close enough to see them, these refugees from Ukraine decided it was time to go.

Tatiana and her 13-year-old son grabbed what they could and fled their home in Mykolaiv, heading for the border with Moldova.

She tells me the sky was full of rockets and they had to run to their car and hide. They ended up here at the Purcari Wineries, about 15 miles from the border crossing.

At the start of the war, the winery opened its doors to Ukrainian refugees.

(on camera): How grateful are you to be here?

(voice over): She tells me she's grateful, but anxious. The calm here scares her because it was calm in Ukraine too, she says, before the bombings started.

Eugen Comendant (ph) is the Purcari Wineries' chief operating officer. He says they've helped more than 5,000 Ukrainian refugees, housing as many as they can at the winery and putting the rest up at nearby hotels.

EUGEN COMENDANT, COO, PURCARI WINERIES: It's our duty to help the Ukrainian people. It is our duty as Moldovans because the heroes, the Ukrainian heroes, that are now fighting off the Russian armies, they are also our heroes. They are also Moldovan heroes because they are also protecting us and our families.

KAYE: Here, we also met Yuliya. She fled Mykolaiv, Ukraine too.

(on camera): How close did the bombings get to you?

(voice over): Through tears, Yuliya tells me how the bomb hit her house, but they escaped to the basement. They were lucky. This is what the house looked like after being hit. Yuliya's daughter is here with her, but her husband stayed behind to fight. She tells me she's anxious being so close to Transnistria here, the breakaway territory where about 1,500 Russian troops remain.

Eugen took me out to the vineyards to show me just how close they are to Transnistria.

COMENDANT: That over there, all you can see, that's Ukraine. And that one there you see, that's Transnistria, and the rest is Ukraine. You realize how close the war is to us.

KAYE: Corina Timafti helped coordinate the winery's refugee effort.

CORINA TIMOFTI, PURCARI WINERIES: In the first week here in the restaurant, we made a real bedroom, a large one. They were sleeping here.

KAYE (on camera): They were sleeping in this room?

TIMOFTI: Yes, yes. Because the whole hotel was full.

COMENDANT: So, this is a guestbook that we usually have for our guests.

KAYE (voice over): This guestbook usually reserved for paying winery guests now filled with messages of thanks from Ukrainian refugees.


COMENDANT: You see a lot of the blue and the yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. And of course, they are messages of peace and of thanking the Moldovan people for helping them.

KAYE: And this one here means --

COMENDANT: No to war.

KAYE: "Nyet viyni" (ph) it says, "no to war".

Randi Kaye, CNN -- Purcari, Moldova.


BRUNHUBER: If you would like to safely and securely help people in Ukraine who may need shelter, food, and water, please go to, where you can find several ways there that you can help.

Nearly 20 million people in Beijing are going through a sixth round of COVID testing Thursday. The Chinese capital is pushing ahead with the mass testing despite the high cost and relatively low case numbers averaging just about 50 a day.

Beijing's largest district is now essentially shut down due to China's zero-COVID policy. Its 3.5 million residents are being urged to work from home.

CNN's Anna Coren is covering this story for us from Hong Kong. So Anna, the fears when these restrictions began there in Beijing was that they would become, you know, a total lockdown like we saw in Shanghai. They're not there yet, but it does look as though the things are kind of moving in that direction. Is that right?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And all for 50 cases. I mean it is quite extraordinary. Shutting down parts of the nation's capital, at least the largest district, and placing all these other restrictions on residents in the city, all for 50 cases.

But I think as they saw in Shanghai, it quickly spiraled out of control. You know, case numbers were in the dozens, suddenly the hundreds, then the thousands. And that is when that they brought in that citywide lockdown.

Beijing doing everything in their power to ensure that they don't have to do that to their residents.

But you mentioned the largest district, Chaoyang (ph), that has been locked down, authorities are telling residents not to go to work or to work from home. Public transport has been suspended. We know that dining in restaurants has been suspended. And schools, as well, they have gone online.

We have to remember that China has just finished this five-day labor holiday, so many people were thinking, well perhaps, you know, life will return to normal once that holiday ends. Obviously, that is not the case.

Same goes for entertainment, sporting venues, public venues. So, basically, people are being told to stay indoors and those in that affected area Chaoyang, to really, obviously, stay at home.

They're going through a sixth round of testing, I should mention, Kim, they went through a fifth round yesterday, that's like 12 out of 16 districts, so 20 million people having to be tested virtually on a daily basis. It's really quite extraordinary.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, and all of that disruption for so few cases, as you highlight there.

Anna Coren in Hong Kong, thanks so much.

Thailand's Indochinese tigers are endangered, but their secret life captured on camera gives hope for the specie's survival. Coming up.



BRUNHUBER: A century ago, there were around 100,000 tigers worldwide. Now it is believed there are fewer than 4,000. But one place where tiger numbers are on the rise is a wild life sanctuary in northwest Thailand. On today's "Call To Earth", protecting a rare tiger hot spot from poachers.

Kristie Lu Stout has the story.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This lush, tropical forest in northwest Thailand is hiding a rare endangered species. It's one of the last bastions for the Indochinese tiger.

Poached to the brink of extinction for their fur and use in traditional medicine, this iconic species has all but disappeared from much of its range.

Almost everywhere, in fact, except for here. Huai Kha Kaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is part of Thailand's western forest complex. With almost 7,000 square miles of protected jungle, it forms the largest intact forest block in mainland Southeast Asia, fertile ground for tigers. And Pornkamol Jomburom (ph) is on their tail.

PORNKAMOL JOMBUROM, WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY: This is the tiger track. So I'm doing the measurement to make sure this is real tiger tracks. I will say this is healthy one adult tiger.

STOUT: Another way to track them, follow your nose. JOMBUROM: This is the tiger spray, so basically, tiger will spray to

mark their territories to tell other tiger, this is their home.

STOUT: Jomburom works for the Wildlife Conservation Society. The nonprofit is partnered with the Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation in a project training park rangers to reduce poaching here since 2005.

Together they developed the smart patrol system, a combination of boots on the ground, camera traps, and data collection to monitor signs of wildlife and potential threats.


STOUT: Armed and trained in self-defense, these park rangers are prepared for encounters with poachers. And unlike other protected areas in Thailand, there have been no incidents of poaching here since 2013, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

By using 250 camera traps across the forest, they found that tiger numbers have more than doubled here over the past 50 years to over 60.


JOMBUROM: Yesterday?

STOUT: And this watering hole deep in the forest has become a day spa for tigers. Somewhere to rest, relax and rendezvous. Until they eventually make room for some other forest residents, like the Asiatic black bear, Asian elephant, and wild boar.

JOMBUROM: Tiger is the top predator of the food chain in ecosystem. So if we are successful in conserving tiger, that means we can protect many other endangered species.

STOUT: And as Jomburom says, big cats need big food. Large mammals like (INAUDIBLE) and sambar deer are all on the menu here.

JOMBUROM: For one adult tiger, it needs at least 50 sambar deer a year to feed them.

STOUT: 2022 is the lunar year of the tiger, marking a deadline set in 2010 by 13 countries to double their wild tiger populations. So far, evidence suggests global tiger numbers are on the rise, but their range has continued to decline.

Jomburom is hopeful for Thailand's tigers.

JOMBUROM: For example, Huai Kha Kaeng right now, we are the biggest home of Indochinese tiger population.

STOUT: So while tigers worldwide face an uncertain future, these tigers can relax, at least for now.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: And let us know what you're doing to answer the call with the hash tag Call to Earth.

All right, we're going to take a short break. Back in a moment.



BRUNHUBER: Across the U.S., anger is building over the likely loss of federal abortion rights. New demonstrations were held around the country on Wednesday. Abortion rights supporters are furious that the Supreme Court appears to be on the verge of striking down Roe v. Wade, the landmark law giving women the constitutional right to end their pregnancies.

Meanwhile, we're getting a grim warning from the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Rochelle Walensky says more people may die without access to safe and legal abortions.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Those who have resources will easily cross state lines to be able to do so. And those who don't may take matters into their own hands and may not get exactly the care that they need in order to do so. And I do think lives could be at stake in that situation.


BRUNHUBER: The U.S. Supreme Court's official ruling on overturning Roe is expected late next month.

All right. Now to Los Angeles where police say Dave Chappelle is ok after a 23-year-old man attacked the comedian while on stage Tuesday night. The suspect is now in custody but a motive remains unclear.

CNN's Stephanie Elam has the latest.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Comedian Dave Chappelle attacked on stage while performing at the Hollywood Bowl during the "Netflix is a Joke" festival. Video taken just moments after the assault shows the alleged attacker being subdued as a shocked audience looks on.

CNN's Rachel Crane was sitting near the front row.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Out of nowhere, a gentleman jumps up from the audience and tackles Dave Chappelle. The thing that caught my eye immediately was that the gentleman was wearing a backpack. That's what got me scared. My mind immediately went to this man is wearing a bomb. But it felt very deliberate, and it was quite scary.

ELAM: The LAPD says the suspect, a 23-year-old man was armed with knife made to look like a replica handgun. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. Any motive for the attack remains unknown.

CNN has reached out to the Hollywood Bowl for comment. Netflix said, "We strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence."

And in a statement to CNN, a representative for Chappelle said in part that "The comedian refuses to allow last night's incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment."

A celebratory Chappelle returned to the stage alongside Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock, who used the moment to make light of his own recent onstage assault at the Academy Awards.

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Was that Will Smith?

ELAM: Police say Chappelle was not hurt, but the onstage attack of a superstar comedian, the second in just over a month, raises questions about security concerns and safety for performers.

CRANE: It felt like an eternity before the security got there and, you know, intervened. In actuality, I'm sure it was just a few seconds. But it was a very charged moment, and everybody -- there were gasps, screams, not crazy screams, like everyone was very alarmed by what had just happened.

ELAM (on camera): And Dave Chappelle's representative calling this incident unfortunate and unsettling. And said that the comedian is cooperating with the police investigation.

Stephanie Elam, CNN -- Hollywood.



BRUNHUBER: Actress Amber Heard took the stand for the first time in the tumultuous defamation case filed by her ex-husband Johnny Depp. On Wednesday Heard detailed the early days of their relationship claiming she endured physical and sexual abuse.


AMBER HEARD, ACTRESS: I just laughed because I thought he was joking. And he slapped me across the face. And I laughed. I laughed because I -- I didn't know what else to do.

I thought this must be a joke. This must be a joke. Because I'm -- I didn't know what was going on. I just stared at him, kind of laughing still, thinking that he was going to start laughing too to tell me it was a joke, but he didn't.

He said you think it's so funny? You think it's funny, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You think you're a funny (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Then he slapped me again. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER: He is suing heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed where she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse. In earlier testimony, Depp said he has never struck a woman, and that Heard was abusive towards him.

I'm Kim Brunhuber at CNN Center in Atlanta.

Rosemary Church and Isa Soares pick up our coverage right after the break.

Please do stay with us.