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Finland, Sweden Poised to Join NATO Amid War in Ukraine; Police Captured Escaped Inmate in Indiana After 11 Days; U.S. Intel Official: China Poses Acute Treat to Taiwan; Tensions Put Spotlight on Taiwan's Role in Global Tech. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 04:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up-to-date with the latest stories we're following for you this hour.

U.S. lawmakers in the House have passed a $40 billion bill to deliver more aid to Ukraine. It now heads to the Senate. U.S. President Joe Biden has urged Congress to act quickly before existing aid for Ukraine runs out.

It comes as Ukraine is accusing Russia of using sophisticated hypersonic missiles in an attack on the port city of Odessa. Meanwhile, U.S. officials warn Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict. And they say the war is likely to become even more unpredictable.

Finland and Sweden are so alarmed by the Russia's war on Ukraine they appear poised to take an historic step and join the NATO alliance. Earlier CNN spoke to the Deputy Secretary-General of NATO about why that's the opposite of what Vladimir Putin wanted.


MIRCEA GEOANA, NATO DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL: We see signs that they are preparing to take a decision, either that decision will be positive or respond positively. But we see that basically on every front President Putin gets the opposite of his original intention. He hoped that we'll have a weak NATO. He has a strong NATO. He hoped that it would be American allies in Europe and in the world will basically be shaky. We are stronger than ever.


And also, he -- what probably he was expecting less was this fear of brave resilience and resistance of the Ukrainian people themselves. So, I think on everything from Finland and Sweden eventually joining, from Ukraine resisting bravely, for NATO being united, for America leading with real leadership sense, I think that he is getting the opposite of his original intentions.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FOSTER: For more, let's join CNN's Nic Robertson joining me now from the finished capital Helsinki. I mean, it's a fair point, isn't it, but it's going to antagonize Putin if Finland and Sweden do join or make moves towards joining very soon.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, there's a sentiment as well which says while Russia is focused on Ukraine and has all its resources and assets or most of them there, it's not going to create big trouble whatever it says along the border with Finland.

And what they see here in Finland and Sweden that's happening in the Kremlin, the decisions, risky decisions as they have described taken by Putin, that security is better guaranteed by being a member of NATO and not by being nonaligned. And this is the moment to make that move. The move doesn't happen overnight. And that's part of Boris Johnson's visit here, will be to reassure the Finnish President that the U.K. has Finland's back while they go through this transition and acceptance process into NATO, which is expected to be fairly swift.

But it is part of mitigating that risk to take this decision and do it now rather than potentially find themselves in extremists at another moment in time. Whatever the interpretation of the Kremlin is of Finland and Sweden joining NATO, which Russia sort of indicated it's not happy with.

FOSTER: You mentioned Boris Johnson's visit to Sweden and to Finland, a major sort of NATO power. Very delicate for him though, isn't it, because he doesn't want to be seen to be, you know, encouraging them to join. Just supporting any efforts that they might have for joining. Am I right in saying that?

ROBERTSON: Oh, absolutely, and that was very much the language used by the Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace -- British Secretary of State for Defense. Of course, Ben Wallace, when he visited here, joint military training exercise with the British, American, Estonian and Finnish forces. His point was -- as you are making there, and undoubtedly Boris Johnson will also make -- there is a sovereign decision by the people of Finland or by the Parliament of Finland, and the U.K. is not trying to interfere in that process merely -- and I think this is what we'll hear from Boris Johnson -- merely say when you get in to that transition phase, when you make your application to NATO for membership, and while NATO is considering that membership, we will support you within NATO to speed that membership through.

And should Russia act aggressively, then the U.K. will support before, and this comes -- would come before of course when full membership kicks in and Finland will be a part of that. An attack on one is an attack on all and the other members of NATO could come to Finland's assistance. So, that will be the tone of the message. Not interfering, but saying when you take that step, we're ready to be your partner in the steps afterwards.

FOSTER: We'll follow the visits and all the developments of that story. Thank you very much, Nic, in Helsinki.

And still to come, new body cam footage shows the moment police recapture a fugitive on the run from the state of Alabama. We'll have the latest developments on the end of that manhunt.



FOSTER: Fugitive Casey White is back in Alabama following an 11 day manhunt. White was taken into custody in Indiana after a dramatic chase ending in the death of his accomplice, a corrections officer, who police say was the mastermind of the escape and may have taken her own life to avoid capture. CNN's Omar Jimenez has the latest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are they?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right there. Right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) voluntarily shot herself.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The final moments of a manhunt heard through police dispatch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're calling into 911.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Only one shot was fired.

SHERIFF DAVE WEDDING, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA: The female suspect shot herself. The male suspect gave up.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): An Indiana sheriff says numerous weapons wigs and $29,000 in cash were found inside the car.

WEDDING: There were at least four handguns, semi-automatics, nine millimeter so any one of these weapons could have been used to ambush our officers.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Police chased the pair in southern Indiana after their car was spotted in a motel parking lot by an Evansville police officer.

WEDDING: Members of the U.S. task force basically rammed the vehicle and pushed it into a ditch and we later found out had they not done that. The fugitive was going to engage in a shootout with law enforcement.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The fugitive Casey White was driving. Vicky White was found in the car and died just hours later, after law enforcement said she shot herself as the pursuit ended.

WEDDING: She was unconscious with a gunshot wound to her head and the male suspect gave up without incident.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Tuesday, Casey White waived his extradition hearing in Indiana saying he wanted to go back to Alabama.

SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: When we bring him back, he will immediately go before the judge and transported directly to the Department of Corrections.

JIMENEZ: The pair who are not related disappeared from an Alabama jail April 29th after Vicky White told colleagues she was taking the inmate Casey White to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation. They never got there. And no such evaluation had been scheduled. Authorities later found her patrol car abandoned in a shopping center parking lot.

SINGLETON: She arranged -- purchased the getaway car. She sold her house, got her hands on cash, you know she went shopping, bought clothes for him. You know, she just obviously put the plan together.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Then the pair fled in a pickup truck which was later spotted at a carwash in Indiana, then transferred to a Cadillac which was spotted about a week later at a nearby motel.

JIMENEZ: Sheriff, do you have any idea what they were doing here for a week?


WEDDING: Well, I think he said that he was just trying to find a place to hide out and lay low. And they thought, you know, they driven long enough that they wanted to stop for a while, get their bearings straight and then figure out their next place to travel.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The manager at the motel said he didn't recognize them when law enforcement showed him their photos.

PAUL SHAH, MOTEL 41 MANAGER: The names they were looking nobody was here under that name. So, we do not know whether they're stayed at my hotel or not.

WEDDING: There's a lot of questions that won't be answered until we have a much deeper investigation.

JIMENEZ: Now the sheriff told me, he believes Casey White and Vicky White couldn't initially get a room at that motel because of a lack of ID and that they paid a separate person to rent the room for them. But it's still unclear if that person even knew who they were at all. Because the sheriff says there are no other suspects in this case and no plans to charge anyone else as part of this investigation.

And while there are still some loose ends to tie up -- at least on the Indiana side of things -- the sheriff says he believes this case is solved.

Omar Jimenez, CNN, Evansville, Indiana.


FOSTER: And still to come, the growing tensions between Taipei and Beijing are sparking concerns over the Taiwan's supply of critical semiconductor chips. We'll explain why, just ahead.


FOSTER: Presumptive president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. claimed victory in the Philippine presidential election. Through his spokesperson, Bongbong Marcos also said he would be a president for all Filipinos. CNN has not yet projected a winner in that election.

As tensions rise between China and Taiwan, top U.S. intelligence officials are now warning Taiwan will face an acute threat by the end of the decade. They told lawmakers that China likely wants to avoid a military conflict over Taiwan but is still working to build a military that can take over the self-governing island. CNN's Will Ripley joins me from Taipei with more. Just talk us through what this actually means -- Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. And to say that they believe by the year 2030 -- so within the decade -- there is an acute threat of China making a move on Taiwan. It certainly does add on this island a sense of urgency that they need to prepare, certainly militarily. They are vastly outspent by the mainland.

But there is one area, not hard power, but soft power of the technology sector here that Taiwan is counting on to get support from the rest of the world if China were to make a move.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Taiwan's first line of defense from a Chinese invasion. Billions spent on missiles, new warships and submarines, an upgraded fleet of fighter jets. Expanded training for reserve soldiers, all of it dwarfed by the mainland's massive military. China's defense budget 17 times bigger than Taiwan.

Experts say the island's best defense, its biggest weapon against China, is technology so small you need a microscope. Super tiny, super powerful semiconductors. This tiny tech powers products you probably use every day.

Taiwan produces about 70 percent of the world's semiconductor chips, most of them made by TSMC, Asia's most valuable company, making chips for companies around the world like Apple and Intel.

Experts warn any disruption to Taiwan's chip supply could paralyze global production, impacting almost everyone.

J. MICHAEL COLE, SENIOR FELLOW, GLOBAL TAIWAN INSTITUTE: People like to say, well, Taiwan should be defended by virtue of it being a democracy. This is oftentimes too abstract. If there is war, an invasion in the Taiwan Strait, and immediately, the price of computers would increase. Your cell phones would become more expensive. It helps people make that self-serving but emotional connection with a society that otherwise would be abstract to them.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is raising questions about the future of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy, claimed but never controlled by Beijing's communist rulers.

RIPLEY: Well, what makes Taiwan different from Ukraine, right, is the economic levers?

ROY LEE, CHUNG-HUA INSTITUTION FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH: Taiwan is much more relevant to the global economy than Ukraine. That is true.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Even China relies on chips from Taiwan. More than 50 percent of the island's exports to the mainland -- semiconductors. China is Taiwan's top trading partner.

RIPLEY: So, what does it mean economically for Taiwan and China if there was some sort of conflict to break out?

LEE: It would be disastrous, not only for Taiwan, not only for China, but also for the U.S. and the EU and everybody.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Chinese President Xi Jinping had vowed to reunify with Taiwan at any cost. Taiwan's chip industry could make the cost of any invasion far too steep.


RIPLEY (on camera): And yet the United States believes that China is actively trying to build up a military that could take Taiwan even with U.S. intervention. And that that could potentially happen within the decade is what they've said. Now China also --according to the U.S. -- would prefer to avoid a military conflict. Obviously here in Taiwan they would as well.

So, in addition to trying to continue to stay competitive in semiconductor, they are light years ahead of other countries, but other countries are trying to catch up. Taiwan is also trying to revise its military strategy with a particular focus -- on asymmetric warfare. Less expensive weapons such as missiles and smaller arms as opposed to these larger weapon systems that they've spent a lot of money on, but experts say likely wouldn't be very effective or last very long if China were to move in -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Will in Taipei. Thank you very much, indeed.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says that he will restore former U.S. President Donald Trump's banned Twitter account if his deal to acquire the company is completed. Take a listen.


ELON MUSK, CEO, TESLA AND SPACEX: I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake. Because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.


[04:55:00] FOSTER: Musk says that he thinks that Twitter should be very cautious with permanent bans and banning Trump may have amplified his voice among the right wing. The SpaceX chief has said his main goal is to bolster free speech on Twitter.

After nearly 22 years, Apple has decided to retire the iPod. On Tuesday the company announced that it would discontinue production to the iPod Touch -- the only model still on the shelves. The late Steve Jobs introduced the revolutionary music player in 2001 with the promise of holding up to 1,000 CD quality songs. Apple says the spirit of the iPod lives on in all its current products where music stores and streaming has become an essential part of software. A moment in tech history there.

Now the Miami Heat are just a game away now from moving on to the NBA eastern conference finals. Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 23 points as Miami coasted to victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Seven Miami players scored in double figures. Game six will be Thursday in Philly. Out West, it was Devin Booker's turn to shine for the Phoenix Suns. The all-star guard scored 28 points in a decisive win over the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns can advance to the western conference finals with a win in Dallas on Thursday.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Reid Detmers threw a no hitter in his 11th career start. The Angels beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 12-0. This is Major League Baseball's second no hitter of the 2022 season. The record for a no hitter in a season is nine and was set just last year.

Thanks to joining me here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster in London. "EARLY START" with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett is next. You're watching CNN.