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Russian Troops Retreat near Kharkiv; First Russian Soldier Tried for War Crimes; Zelenskyy: Over 1,000 Ukrainian Villages Liberated; Israeli Police Beat Mourners Carrying Journalist's Casket; Shanghai Aims for "Social Zero COVID" by Mid-May; Brittney Griner's Detention Extended Another Month; U.S. Parents Desperate to Find Formula; Climate Change Doubles Chance of Flooding Disaster. Aired 12- 1a ET
Aired May 14, 2022 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, and welcome to our viewers here in the united states and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes, appreciate your company.
Coming up here on the program, the Ukrainian military pushes back Russian troops around Kharkiv as the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier gets underway.
And a shocking scene in Jerusalem. Israeli police using batons to beat mourners carrying the coffin of a slain Palestinian journalist.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Michael Holmes.
HOLMES: Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy says more than 1,000 towns and villages have been retaken from Russian forces, including six more over the past 24 hours.
Ukraine also says Russian troops continue to retreat from around the city of Kharkiv in the north.
Further south, the British defense ministry says Ukrainians successfully blocked a Russian advance at a key river. And you can see there, drone video showing pontoon bridges destroyed. It's not entirely clear who blew them up. The Ukrainians say it was them.
Russia now almost three months into this brutal and bloody invasion of Ukraine. On Friday, Russia's top general finally accepted a call from the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first call in 84 days, the first since this war began.
The Pentagon says they spoke for an hour but gave no details beyond saying the U.S. repeated its call for an immediate cease-fire and to keep the lines of communication open. So far, the Kremlin has been silent. And at the all but destroyed Azovstal steel factory on the coast,
Ukraine says, quote, "difficult negotiations continue" to evacuate the wounded soldiers holding out inside.
Let's get a closer look now at the bloody retreat of Russian forces from Kharkiv. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is there and reports on the shocking devastation the Russians are leaving behind.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Charred, chewed, mauled, northern Kharkiv's scars seem infinite. Putin's troops breathing artillery fire breathing down the neck of this city of 1 million for two months.
But even still, it's a shock to see just how close the Russians got, on the other side of this road. We are told this is from demining, a controlled blast. Yet here, everything is fluid. Ukraine stopped Russia's advance here on the first day of the war, killing two soldiers by this armor.
Three civilians shot dead in this car then and their bodies recovered only two days ago. You can see the colossal force used here. A tank turret literally that full distance thrown off the tank body.
The village of Tsyrkuny lies ahead, liberated days earlier. People are starting to go back, he said but they are still shelling it.
Two women died two days ago when they walked onto a tripwire trap set in the village and even around these factories, special forces here warn that a soldier was wounded by a booby-trap three days ago.
The zed markings of Russia's invasion still a deranged sign of their collective insanity, even two months on.
Why do they do this?
They say they reclaimed this area about a week ago but they're now in the difficult task of demining what they can but look around here. There's really not much left to make safe. These civilians evacuated from the next village, just 2 kilometers away.
"It's a nightmare," she says.
"The shooting is heavy," the driver adds and we let them race on.
Desperation takes different forms here and caught by another kind of survival is Dmitri, whose wife moved away a while ago, wheeling back food he's got for his six dogs.
"I haven't really left my home for two months," he said.
"I crossed the fields, passed the bomb fragments to get the food."
His gentle stroll in the open, a sign of how long the violence has swirled here, not that it is slowing -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Ukraine.
HOLMES: Ukraine is starting its first war crimes trial since the conflict began. The suspect is 21-year-old Russian soldier Vadim Shyshimarin, who appeared in court in Kyiv on Friday.
Prosecutors say he carried out orders to shoot and kill an unarmed civilian in the very early days of this war out of concern that the victim could reveal the Russians' position to Ukrainian forces.
HOLMES: Ukraine says it's investigating more than 11,000 war crimes cases, which, according to the nation's top prosecutor, will make possible future perpetrators think twice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IRYNA VENEDIKTOVA, UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL: These proceedings now can save lives of our Ukrainian civilians on the south and eastern part of Ukraine, because these perpetrators who are now fighting will see that we will find all of them, we will identify all of them and we will start to prosecute all of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: The prosecutor says most of the 11,000 cases involved breaking the laws and customs of war.
HOLMES: General Wesley Clark is a CNN military analyst and a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander.
Good to have you back, General. Let's start with this: Ukrainian defense minister said on Facebook on Friday that the Russians are scaling back their movements in order to settle into a new, longer phase of the war.
Do you believe that this is going to go on, not just months but perhaps even years?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think there is continuous calculation on the Russian side, on Putin's side, on what the most advantageous approach is. I think he clearly believes that, at this point, he's not going to make a breakthrough.
However, it will be a different battle position for Russia, when the ground fully dries out in Eastern Ukraine. It may be possible at that point for Russia, if it makes a breakthrough, to exploit with armed forces and the conventional way that you see in the war films about the Germans and the Russians in the late part of the World War II, with wide open maneuvers, dust trails, following the tanks and so forth. He also may believe that he's got a better chance to be mobilizing his
forces, retrains a little bit, wait for China to sell its leadership issue and to count on stronger Chinese support.
This pushes back a decision period to, let's say, late October, early November or even, into the early part of 2023, after the ground freezes.
HOLMES: Yes, at the moment, it's simply too muddy for them to go into those fields, as you say. There has been this more fierce fighting at the Azovstal steel plant.
I'm curious, why is it taking so long to capture that place?
And how embarrassing for the Russian military is its failure to do so, given its overwhelming numerical superiority?
CLARK: This is a very, very tough piece of terrain. It's underground. It's bombed. It's convoluted. There are a million corners, pockets, places to hide, ways to get elevation and snipe. It's enormous.
And if you don't know it like the back of your hand, you're going to blunder it and you're going to get ambushed and get shot. And the Ukrainians that are defending this, they know it. They've been there. They've studied it. They've worked it. And so, when fresh Russian soldiers are put into it, it is a meat grinder.
HOLMES: Going back to the broader battlefield, I mean, it seems Russian forces are pulling back from the Kharkiv area, which, of course, is very close to the Russian border. Some analysts are saying that situation is starting to look like Kyiv, in terms of the Ukrainian forces having success with counteroffensives.
Do you expect more counteroffensives, given the arrival of this new, more powerful Western weaponry?
CLARK: I think it's all about the balance of power. I think if the Ukrainians believe they can spare forces from holding the line in Donbas -- and that's a long line, all the way from the Kherson area in Zaporizhzhya, all the way up toward Kramatorsk and beyond.
If they can spare their forces from that area, still maintaining the mobile reserve, still maintain the artillery to return fire, then, they could put push to outflank the Russians, by continuing northward, northeastward from Kyiv. And, certainly, that's what the Russians fear. That's why they're bombing the bridges.
HOLMES: Yes, exactly. In the longer or medium term, do you think Putin is likely, or intends to annex those areas it does occupy in the south and the east of the country?
Then say, as he did in Crimea, that those places are part of Russia.
CLARK: I think he certainly has the capacity to do that. He's certainly considering doing it. He hasn't done it yet for a couple of reasons. Number one, they're not pacified. They still have a lot of resistance
in there from irregular Ukrainian forces, that have infiltrated back in and are continuing sabotage, sniping and occasion artillery raids in there.
CLARK: Number two is, I think he still believes he can swing some part of world opinion his way. And once he announces the annexation of these areas, that's over. Now the advantage for him would be, that then when the Ukrainians attack, he could say they're attacking Russian soil. This gives me the right to use nuclear weapons to defend myself.
CLARK: So it's a trade-off for him.
HOLMES: Yes, that is the big fear, if he does declare those areas part of Russia, then the Russia nuclear doctrine of self-defense could come into play again, which is very worrying. Got to leave it there, unfortunately. General Wesley Clark, always appreciate your expertise.
CLARK: Thank you.
HOLMES: Ukraine will soon be receiving more desperately needed support from Europe. The European Union's foreign policy chief says the bloc will provide military aid worth $521 million.
He made that announcement Friday amid the G7 foreign ministers' meeting. Meanwhile, Finland says Russia is cutting off electricity exports to the country. Russia claims it's due to late payments.
But it does come a day after Finland's leaders announced its desire to join NATO. Moscow only provides about 10 percent of Finland's total power consumption.
Turning our attention now to Latvia, where U.S. and NATO Special Forces are using lessons learned from Russia's brutal war on Ukraine to change the way they train. CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A lonely road, somewhere in Latvia.
Then, suddenly, an unmarked U.S. Special Forces plane touches down, practicing medical evacuation of a casualty under the toughest circumstances.
PLEITGEN: What these special operations forces are doing require a huge amount of skill. They're operating a pretty big plane on an extremely narrow runway, that's normally a road. And all of that in the middle of the night. However, this could be a very real scenario when trying to extract a patient from a dangerous environment.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): NATO's Special Operations Command granted us rare access to these medevac drills with elite NATO units on the condition that we don't disclose the identities of those taking part and even modulate their voices.
The Special Forces medics tell us the war in Ukraine is fundamentally changing the way they train.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the battlefield now. Look at Ukraine.
Not a lot reliably. So that assumption is, if the air is denied, where is that patient going to go?
How are we going to transport them to the surgeon?
PLEITGEN (voice-over): During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. built a system of medical evacuations by helicopter that military officials say gave casualties a more than 90 percent chance of survival even from catastrophic wounds.
That's because they often got to an operating room within an hour of being wounded, the concept of "the golden hour."
PLEITGEN: The fact that you guys had air superiority really was the bedrock of what you, got you in that golden hour. And that's something that's now a matter -- a well evaporated (ph) unit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we can all agree. Just watching the last seven to eight weeks of conflict, that assumption seems to be pretty valid.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): And that means it could take longer to get wounded comrades to hospitals and that operations may need to be performed on or near the front line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not ideal but, if it has to happen here, then we're able to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The spirit of what we're doing is what's called prolonged casualty care, prolonged field care. And that concept is identifying those strategies that will help us prolong life in order to bridge that and get that patient to the surgeon.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): The Special Forces medics say that they're learning a lot from Ukrainian medics, who are providing care for their wounded, while often under fire from the Russian army.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ukrainians are doing a phenomenal job of claiming the battlefield and of implementing some of these strategies, taking care of the patients en route, so you're not just throwing a person in the back of the van and leaving them unattended.
You're putting somebody with medical capability in there with that patient to deliver care while they are being transferred.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and ventilating the patient.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): And so that's exactly how U.S. and NATO Special Forces are now training, turning a regular cargo van into a makeshift ambulance and constantly caring for their patients until they arrive at the makeshift airfield.
They've got the patient alive for three days before a medical evacuation flight was possible. It's all an exercise but a scenario they fear could become a reality.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rate at which we are collaborating now is more than I have seen in my 20 years in the military and in previous conflicts. There's a sense of urgency and I think, watching Ukraine right now, that is very prescient.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Latvia.
HOLMES: When we come back, Israeli police beat and shoved mourners at a funeral of an Al Jazeera journalist, killed in the West Bank. We will have the latest Jerusalem, coming up.
Also a glimmer of hope for a Chinese city that's been under lockdown for weeks now. Officials in Shanghai talk about reopening. But the timeline, far from clear.
HOLMES: Welcome back.
It was an emotional and chaotic day in Jerusalem at the funeral of the Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. Israeli police rushed and beat mourners, who were carrying her casket through the crowd. Atika Shubert was there and filed this report.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Muslim prayers at a Catholic hospital, a display of Palestinian solidarity for Shireen Abu Akleh, from strangers and family alike.
SHUBERT (voice-over): Her niece, Lareen Abu Akleh.
LAREEN ABU AKLEH, SHIREEN'S NIECE: She meant everything to me and clearly to everyone we can see. She made a huge impact on Palestine, on all the people. She left her fingerprint on everyone's heart.
SHUBERT: But as the funeral procession began, Israeli riot police first blocked the coffin from moving forward, then charged, hitting several pallbearers with batons. The coffin nearly falling to the ground.
Things are very tense here. The funeral procession tried to walk out of the hospital gates. Israeli police did not allow it. They threw in tear gas, had flash bombs here, tried to disperse the crowds. And now, it appears the hearse is being brought here to try to bring the coffin out.
Israeli police insist they acted against stone throwing by mourners, providing this video as evidence but CNN did not see any stones but did witness dozens of plastic bottles being thrown at police. What is clear is that Israeli police ultimately used force to try and contain this outpouring of grief and anger.
Shireen Abu Akleh was beloved by Palestinian viewers for giving them a voice and chronicling their struggle. Born and raised here, Jerusalem was her home. Israeli authorities did finally permit the family to bring her coffin to the church by car.
Thousands of mourners were also ultimately allowed to swell the streets, carrying her atop a river of grief, anger and defiance to her final resting place at the Mt. Zion cemetery. Even at her own funeral, it seems, Shireen Abu Akleh gave voice to the struggles and frustrations of so many Palestinians -- Atika Shubert, for CNN, in Jerusalem.
HOLMES: New satellite images obtained by CNN indicate North Korea has restarted construction at a long-dormant nuclear reactor. The images captured over the last six weeks show new building activity at a second reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
It's about 10 times larger than Yongbyon's existing reactor but has remained unfinished under a decades-old agreement with the U.S. If completed, it could dramatically increase Pyongyang's ability to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.
On Friday, North Korean state media reported more than 20 people died from so-called "fevers" during what has proved to be a devastating COVID-19 outbreak in that reclusive nation. Leader Kim Jong-un reportedly calling the situation the greatest turmoil the country has faced. CNN's Will Ripley with more.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was just a matter of days ago that North Korea didn't even have one officially acknowledged case of COVID 19 for the entire pandemic. A lot of outside experts doubted whether that was the case.
But it was certainly significant and troubling to see North Korean state media on Thursday publish news on their first confirmed case of COVID-19 or at least first reported case. And then, one day later, 350,000 cases, a number that many outside observers fear is going to rise and potentially rise quickly.
Because if indeed it's the highly contagious Omicron variant spreading through North Korea, but this is one of two countries in the world, the other being Eritrea, where they never vaccinated anybody, nobody in the general public has gotten a vaccine.
The World Health Organization, apparently, did offer to send millions of doses of certain vaccines to North Korea. And Amnesty International says they refused. Maybe they wanted different vaccines.
Who knows what the rationale was?
But as a result, nobody in the public, the general public of North Korea, has got a vaccine, which means there is no herd immunity. And there are a lot of people who are food insecure, almost half of the population or some 40 percent of North Koreans don't have a nutritious diet.
So you combine that with a highly contagious, potentially variant of COVID-19 and you have what could be a catastrophe, compounded by the fact that North Korea has a dilapidated health care system.
They don't have ventilators and the kinds of things that were used to treat patients in the United States, the wealthiest country in the world, which lost 1 million people to COVID-19 so far.
And the North Koreans, even though their country is much smaller, they could easily lose a huge portion of their population if this thing spreads out of control and they have no way to treat people -- Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.
HOLMES: Officials in Shanghai say they're hoping to reach what they call social zero COVID, by mid May. Now that's according to a statement posted on social media on Saturday.
The timeline is unclear, since we are already pretty much halfway through the month of May, of course. Officials also say the city's overall COVID trend is improving and they're making plans for a gradual reopening. China's largest city has been under lockdown since late March, as officials struggled to get a COVID outbreak under control.
HOLMES: Lockdowns also in effect in more than 30 other cities, affecting more than 200 million people.
Meanwhile in the U.S., a new study suggests the Pfizer vaccine rapidly loses its effectiveness in children who get the Omicron variant. The vaccine was more than 90 percent effective against the original virus for kids between 5 and 15 years old. But once Omicron kicked in, the efficacy dropped to less than 29
percent for kids between five and 11. For those between 12 and 15, it fell to less than 17 percent. The effectiveness was measured two months after receiving the second dose.
But the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows boosters restore much of the vaccine's protection.
I'm Michael Holmes. For our international viewers, "AFRICAN VOICES: CHANGEMAKERS" is up next. For viewers here with me in North America, I'll have more news after the break.
HOLMES: Welcome back. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
Ukraine's military is touting success in preventing Russian forces from crossing a key river in the Donbas region. It released this video of a destroyed bridge.
While it's unclear who took them out, other pontoon bridges have been targeted and blown up by Ukrainian forces. A senior U.S. Defense official says Russian forces have not made much ground as a result. Here's how the Pentagon press secretary sums up Ukraine's progress so far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: They have prevented the Russians from achieving virtually any of their strategic objectives thus far in the war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Meanwhile, Ukraine now making use of dozens of howitzer artillery systems provided by the U.S. The Ukrainian defense ministry tweeted these images of them in action, with a message thanking the American people for sending them. It praised the artillery as high precision and effective weapons.
The war, of course, weighs heavily on all aspects of life in Ukraine. Scott McLean reports now on how the conflict has impacted a university in the Western city of Lviv.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv looks like an oasis of calm. But life has never been more chaotic for the students here. MCLEAN: You had two years of COVID-19, then you had two months of war, what has that been like?
KATE MAKSIMOVA, UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: Everything that happened forced me to grow up quickly. When you live in war every day, you just feel something like your home could be gone. Your family could be gone.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Kate Maksimova moved to Lviv from Odessa for school. She lives on campus, even though all of her classes are still online. Her professor says, after two years of the pandemic, students had figured out how to cope learning remotely. Some even thrived but not now.
YULIA KOLODIY, MATH PROFESSOR, UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY (through translator): What is different because it was a huge shock for Ukrainians. Some students couldn't cope with the shock and I can't help them with that.
MCLEAN (voice-over): The mother and math professor says Ukraine will need educated people to rebuild the country after war. But 20 percent of the university's students have fled the country.
KOLODIY (through translator): I confess, I'm afraid they will stay abroad and want to return to Ukraine.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Administrator and new mom used to fundraise for her university. Now the money she raises helps fund her country's war effort.
OLESYA KOPCHAK, ADMINISTRATOR, UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: Now I can really see it that my nation is so strong that everyone, from a little to an old man, can stand for our country.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Olesya, Kate and Yulia all fled the country when the war began. Oleysa even waited three days to cross the border with her baby son. All three found warm welcomes in comfortable homes abroad but also felt a strong pull to come back to Ukraine, despite the risks.
KOPCHAK: The people were so beautiful but still I understood that I'm not living, I'm just existing. I need to live. I need to love. I have to go back. And my husband all the time was in Ukraine so I realized that I cannot just exist. I have to live.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt alone and useless. I just wanted to carry on the life that I was living before the war.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found that living in Poland, I didn't feel that I was useful. So returning here was the best decision I could make.
I didn't return to lecture. I returned for community, to talk with my colleagues, to talk with my students.
KOPCHAK: The paradox is that I feel safe here because I'm among that brave people. I'm among Ukrainians. And I feel safe here more than anywhere else.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Scott McLean, CNN, Lviv, Ukraine.
HOLMES: A Russian court extended U.S. Olympian and U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner's detention until at least June 18. Brian Todd with the story of what might be going on behind closed doors as the U.S. government tries to negotiate her release.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seen for the first time since her arrest, Brittney Griner is shown handcuffed with her head down and she learns her time in detention in Russia has been extended.
According to Tass, a Russian court has ruled the American basketball star will be detained at least until June 18th, drawing a swift response from the White House.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I will just reiterate that the Russian system wrongfully obtained Ms. Griner.
TODD: That's an accusation the State Department leveled at that Russians last week but the latest tensions don't end there.
The Russian foreign ministry, issuing a statement to CNN, saying Griner's detention is based on objective facts and evidence, that Griner was, quote, "caught red-handed while trying to smuggle hash oil. In Russia, this is a crime," and that Griner faces a prison term of up to 10 years.
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: This is an escalation of what we've seen. We can presume that she's going to be given a fair trial. You can presume that the process isn't waited.
TODD: Griner was jailed in mid-February. Russian authorities said they found cannabis oil in her luggage, when she arrived at a Moscow airport.
Despite the ramping up of heated rhetoric between Vladimir Putin's regime and the U.S. over Griner's case, we asked a former White House hostage advisor, what could be going on behind the scenes?
DANE EGLI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE HOSTAGE ADVISER: At the National Security Council and within the highest levels, we're going to continue to insist on a proof of life confirmation of her health condition and thirdly, specific location. And those are things we want to have as a backdrop to then move into a diplomatic process.
TODD: An America diplomat was able to meet with Griner on the sidelines of her hearing today and says Griner is doing as well as can be expected under exceedingly difficult circumstances. Analysts worry about her and fellow American Paul Whelan, also detained in Russia. TOM FIRESTONE, FORMER RESIDENT LEGAL ADVISER, U.S. EMBASSY IN MOSCOW: It's not a pretty picture so I think that we have to be concerned about their health, obviously, on the day-to-day basis and the conditions in which they're being held.
TODD: Whelan has been detained since 2018 on espionage charges, which he has denied. One analyst says that charge doesn't bode well for him.
ALINA POLYAKOVA, CENTER FOR EUROPEAN POLICY ANALYSIS: Espionage charges, that's basically for life in Russia. So I think the United States, if they're involved in negotiation together with the government, that's going to take a very, very long time, just because of the complexity of the case.
TODD: The analysts we spoke to are all worried about the health and living conditions of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
But they say, as Americans, they're probably being treated better than the Russians that Putin has in prison, because they say one thing the Putin regime will try hard to avoid is having an American die in their custody -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
HOLMES: Still to come on the program, we'll take a look at the desperate measures some parents in America are taking just to feed their children amid a baby formula shortage. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: U.S. markets ended higher on Friday but it wasn't enough to erase days of heavy losses. The Dow up nearly 1.5 percent, the Nasdaq nearly 4 percent, the S&P nearly 2.5 percent.
A nationwide infant formula shortage is creating a dire situation for parents all across the U.S. And some manufacturers warn of a shortfall for some time to come. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus talks to parents who are taking desperate steps to just feed their young children.
COLLEEN HAFENCHER, MOTHER SEARCHING FOR FORMULA: Like I don't care if they say they'll have it in stock --
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's another full- time job --
HAFENCHER: -- I'm up with him at 2:00 in the morning and looking for formula.
BROADDUS (voice-over): -- searching 10 hours every week.
HAFENCHER: I start with the Similac website and then after that, I go to Target. After that, I go to Mariano's, Jewel, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS.
BROADDUS: Colleen Hafencher is one of many parents on the hunt for baby formula across the nation.
HAFENCHER: This is really anxiety provoking and it's really worrisome. When I get to work in the morning, I look for formula. When we're finally sitting on the couch for an hour at night, we are looking for formula.
So I haven't found any in about three weeks.
BROADDUS: She has supply for three weeks, thanks to a friend and her aunt. But the shortage is affecting parents coast to coast, including those who can't and choose not to breastfeed and other children who need specialty formula.
ANGELA KONCZAK, MOTHER SEARCHING FOR FORMULA: I spy with my little my eye something brown.
BROADDUS: Angela Konczak's daughter depends on specialty formula and is tube fed.
KONCZAK: So her body can't break down animal fats and proteins and the Neocate Junior is amino acid-based and it's been the only formula that she has been able to tolerate and actually gained weight and thrives on. And the fact that it's not available anywhere is very scary.
BROADDUS: Nationwide, 43 percent of baby formula was out of stock for the weekend of May 8th. And in these eight states, that number and more than 50 percent, according to figures provided to CNN by Datasembly. The problem caused by several factors, including a recall, inflation and the supply chain snag.
The Biden administration says it's working 24/7 to help ease the shortage, including importing formula from overseas. The Defense Production Act could be an option, too, but the government doesn't know when it will get better.
KATE BEDINGFIELD, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I'm not going to stand here and tell your audience that I can give you a hard timeline that I can't give you. We are being candid about moving as quickly as possible and relentlessly focused on this.
BROADDUS: However, Republicans say the Biden administration should have acted sooner.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is sadly Joe Biden's America.
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): This is not a third world country. This should never happen in the United States of America.
BROADDUS: While politicians play the blame game, parents are the ones left worried.
KONCZAK: My daughter, actually, so with her disease, she was just on life support two weeks ago. She had gotten a cold and collapsed both of her lungs.
KONCZAK: And so we just got out of the hospital. And to have her go back to the hospital just for nutrition -- her grandmother, it was $349. Normally a case of four is $168, so finding it is a necessity, even if that means not paying my bills.
BROADDUS: Not paying your bills.
KONCZAK: Yes. It's what that means.
BROADDUS: And the CEO of one formula company tells Reuters he expects to see a shortage until the end of the year. Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics says it's not OK for parents to add additional water to their formula and they should avoid making their own -- Adrienne Broaddus, CNN, Chicago.
HOLMES: Now this guy, Elon Musk, caused a bit of a stir when he said his $44 billion bid for Twitter was temporarily on hold. Twitter shares went down almost 10 percent.
Musk says the hold was conduct due to due diligence about the actual number of users on the platform. He tried to clean up the comment a little later, saying he was still committed to the deal.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is off to what could be a record-setting year. They have launched 19 rockets so far in 2022.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three, two, one, zero, ignition and lift off.
HOLMES (voice-over): That's the latest launch. It came Friday evening at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The rocket was carrying 53 of the company's Starlink internet satellites. It was the 12th Starlink mission this year and number 13 could happen in Florida over the weekend.
At its current pace, SpaceX could launch more than 52 rockets in 2022, shattering its record of 31 set last year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Hot and dry condition are about to get even worse in the Western U.S. and that is bad news for the crews fighting dangerous wildfires. We'll have an update from the CNN Weather Center when we come back.
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HOLMES: More than 120 homes in Orange County, California, still under evacuation order as the Coastal fire continues to burn. County officials say the blaze destroyed at least 20 homes, damaged a dozen others. The prolonged drought is driving it. It's burned roughly 200 acres in about three days and is only 25 percent contained.
Scientists say climate change is behind South Africa's worsening flood season. A new report says the heavy rains that fell last month were twice as likely as they would have been if greenhouse gas emissions had never heated the planet. CNN's David McKenzie has more from Johannesburg.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The intense flooding in South Africa in April caused widespread destruction. Just look at these images. Tens of thousands of people pushed from their homes. More than 400 people killed in that flooding.
Still people are missing. And a huge amount of money was lost in infrastructure especially.
Now group of scientists from the World Weather Attribution project have done a rapid analysis, both based on observations on the ground and computer modeling, which they say shows, even with the current level of global warming, that kind of rainfall, that kind of destruction, was made worse because of climate change.
MCKENZIE: And it could happen more frequently in this part of the world. We also know, based on our reporting and scientific exposes and discovery, that the southern part of this continent will be affected very badly by climate change.
And more frequent droughts in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia as well as other countries in that band as well.
Scientists say that this proves yet again that more needs to be done quickly, both to prevent the worst effects of climate change that we are living with right now and to stop it from being much worse -- David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.
HOLMES: All right, want to let you have a look at extraordinary video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES (voice-over): This is the Hassanabad Bridge in northern Pakistan. As you see there, it collapsed last Saturday after a local glacier melted. Pakistan and India are experiencing a heat wave, reaching record temperatures throughout the south continent.
In late April, two Pakistani cities recorded temperatures of 47 degrees Celsius. Pakistan's minister for climate change called the climate crisis a national security issue.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me, I'm Michael Holmes. I will be back with more news after a break.