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Military Training Lessons From Russia-Ukraine War; Baby Formula Shortage In The U.S.; Israeli Police Brutality During Shireen Abu Akleh's Funeral; U.S. Stock Market Turbulence; Twitter Bid "Temporarily On Hold"; Potential COVID Surge In The Coming Months; China Pulls Out Of Hosting Asia Cup; North Korea Resumes Nuclear Reactor Construction; Extreme Weather in the U.S. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired May 14, 2022 - 05:00:00   ET



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.

Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, learning and adapting. How U.S. and NATO Special Forces are using Russia's brutal war to change the way they train. We're live from Berlin with the latest.

And --


COLLEEN HAFENCHER, SEARCHING FOR FORMULA: This is really anxiety- provoking and it's really worrisome.


BRUNHUBER: New parents struggle to find baby formally in the U.S. amid a nationwide shortage putting the Biden Administration on the defensive.

Plus, we're live at the CNN weather center on the extreme weather across the U.S. Now climate change is destroying homes.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN NEWSROOM with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, says more than 1,000 towns and villages have been retaken so far from Russian forces. He says the Russian military is paying a heavy price for its aggression. Here he is.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Russia has lost almost 27,000 soldiers, many of them young conscripts. Russia has lost more than 3,000 tanks, armored combat vehicles, a large number of conventional military vehicles, helicopters, drones, and all of its prospects as a state. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER: Ukraine also says Russian troops continue to retreat from around the City of Kharkiv in the North. Further South, Ukraine claims it successfully blocked a Russian advance at a key river in the Donbas. Ukraine says it destroyed more than 70 armored vehicles, including tanks in multiple failed attempts to cross the Donetsk River. About 30 tanks were left stranded after making the crossing.

Russia's top general and the U.S. Defensive Secretary spoke by phone for an hour on Friday. Their first conversation since before the war. The Pentagon says, Secretary Lloyd Austin, again, appealed for a ceasefire and to keep the lines of communication open.

Ukraine has been conducting its first war crimes trial since the conflict began. The suspect is 21-year-old soldier Vladimir Shishimarin who appeared in court in Kyiv, Friday. Prosecutors say he carried out orders to shoot and kill an unarmed civilian in the early days of the war. Out of concern, the victim could reveal the Russian's positions to the Ukrainians. The Kremlin isn't commenting, saying it has no information about the trial. Ukraine says it's investigating more than 11,000 war crimes cases, which according to the nation's top prosecutor, will make future perpetrators think twice.


IRYNA VENEDIKTOVA, UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL: These proceedings now can save lives of our Ukrainian civilians on the South and eastern parts 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.


BRUNHUBER: CNN correspondents are covering the conflict from every angle. Our Fred Pleitgen is in Berlin. But first, this is CNN's Nick Paton Walsh in the pivotal Northern City of Kharkiv where Russia's pull back from the region is revealing new atrocities.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voiceover): Charred, chewed and mauled. Northern Kharkiv's scars seem infinite. Putin's troops breathing artillery fire down the neck of this city of a 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.

WALSH (on camera): You can see the colossal force used against this armor here. A tank turret, literally, about a full distance thrown off the tank body. WALSH (voiceover): The village of Tsyrkuny lies ahead, liberated days earlier.

People are starting to go back, he said, but they're still shelling it.


Two women died two days ago when they walked onto tripwire traps set in the village. And even around these factories, special forces here warned us 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?

WALSH (on camera): They say they reclaimed this area about a week ago. But they're now under the difficult task of demining what they can. But look around here, there's pretty not much left to make safe.

WALSH (voiceover): These civilians evacuated from the next village, Ruski, Titushky, just two kilometers away.

It's a nightmare, she says.

The shooting is heavy to drive around and we let them race on. Desperation takes different forms here. And caught by another kind of survival is Dimitri 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 field, passed the bomb fragments to get the food.

His gentle stroll in the open, a sign of how long the violence has swelled here, not that it is slowing.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Tsyrkuny, Ukraine.


BRUNHUBER: NATO foreign ministers are in Berlin today for talks on the crisis in Ukraine. It comes as Finland announces support for joining the alliance and neighbor Sweden is expected to follow suit. The Swedish government published a security policy review on Friday saying NATO membership would deter conflict in northern Europe.

Meanwhile, President Zelensky's chief of staff accused NATO of a double standard for welcoming those two nations and not Ukraine. CNN asked Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. if she agrees. Let's listen here.


OKSANA MARKAROVA, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: We would welcome the NATO and Sweden joining NATO. And of, course we count on NATO opening the doors, not only opening the doors but embracing us in NATO. We understand now we have to win the war but I think, you know, we can give so much to NATO. And we belong in the democratic world as independent Ukraine. So, you know, let's get there.


BRUNHUBER: All right. Let's bring in CNN's Fred Pleitgen live in Berlin. So, Fred, for the NATO Foreign Ministers gathering there, with so much on the line, what are we expecting?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly. A lot on the line. I think we're really expecting, Kim, is going to be a big show of unity. And then also, of course, a lot of talk about the possible new membership of Finland and Sweden. A lot of people expect that to be a pretty smooth transition if it does take place in both Sweden and Finland for a very long time. They've had their weaponry pretty much up to NATO's standards, if not above in many cases.

At the same time, we do see that the NATO alliance does see a sense of urgency right now in displaying that unity but also in learning from the war in Ukraine. And it was quite interesting, we were actually able to watch and maneuver by NATO's special forces, which is really a rare thing. They don't often allow that. And they told us the same thing, they said, they're watching the war in Ukraine very closely and already have some lessons learned. Here's what we saw.


PLEITGEN (voiceover): 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 (on camera): What these special forces operations forces are doing requires 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 (voiceover): NATO's special operation command granted us rare access to these medivac 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. What's flying? 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 (voiceover): During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. built a system of medical evacuations by helicopter that military officials say gave casualties 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 (on camera): The fact that you guys had air superiority really was the bedrock of what you got you that golden hour and that's something that's now -- will of operate, you think?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we can all agree. Just watching the last seven to eight weeks of conflict that, that assumption seems to be pretty valid.

PLEITGEN (voiceover): 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 frontline.

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 (voiceover): The special forces medics say 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 have been doing a phenomenal job of claiming the battlefield and implementing of these strategies. Taking care of their patients en route. So, you're not just throwing a person in the back of a van and leaving them unattended. You're putting somebody with medical capability in there with that patient to deliver care while they're being transferred.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and ventilate in the patient.

PLEITGEN (voiceover): 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 patient until they arrive at the makeshift airfield.

They've kept 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're collaborating now is more than I've seen in my 20 years in the military and in previous conflicts. There is a sense of urgency and I think watching Ukraine right now, that is very prescient.


PLEITGEN (on camera): There you have it, a sense of urgency there from U.S. Special Forces, other special forces, as well, as those exercises there were underway. Very large exercises. That airfield that we saw there, Kim, it was actually secured by Latvian Special Forces, mostly. And they also bring special capabilities to the table, as well.

They, of course, have a border with both Belarus and Russia. And so, a lot of experience with the Russians. And that's exactly what NATO was trying to do is build that coherence and also feed off of each other's knowledge to make the alliance stronger. Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, great access reporting there, Fred Pleitgen in Berlin. Thank you so much.

America's top diplomat says the U.S. is deeply troubled by the violence carried out by Israeli police at the funeral of an Al Jazeera journalist. Shireen Abu Akleh was fatally shot while reporting on an Israeli military raid in the West Bank City of Jenin on Wednesday. She was wearing clothes clearly stating that she was with the press. Palestinian leaders say they hold Israeli forces solely responsible for her death. Atika Shubert was at Akleh's funeral and she joins us now from Jerusalem. Atika, so take us through what happened.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's clear that Israeli police, from the very beginning, were trying to minimize and control this funeral. They asked the Abu Akleh family to have a very small funeral and to not display any Palestinian flags. But I think this is -- you know, she was a beloved figure in the Palestinian community. And thousands wanted to come out and did come out to show an outpouring of solidarity and grief. And in the end, Israeli police used force to try and contain this funeral procession.

We were at St. Joseph's hospital where the body was being prepared, yesterday morning. And as they tried to bring the coffin out in a walking funeral procession, Israeli riot police blocked the procession and then charged it, using batons to beat at some of the pallbearers, carrying the coffin, and they nearly dropped the coffin.

Fortunately, other people helped them to prop it up. But it was such a chaotic scene with stun grenades being led off. There were fully armed riot police there -- mounted riot police that charged through the crowd trying to disperse them. And it was just a chaotic scene in the midst of a funeral.

There has been widespread condemnation by the EU, for example, in other countries. We heard from the United States there. And I think it was a shocking development for many people. The funeral was allowed to continue, ultimately, but only according to those rules imposed by the Israeli police. So, they did allow the coffin to go forward with a car.

And then from the church to this Mount Zion Cemetery, thousands were allowed by Israeli police to walk along the route. And it was a stunning image to see thousands and thousands of the Palestinian community. Waving the Palestinian flag, singing national songs, and showing, really, not only their solidarity with her but their grief.

And I think this is the thing -- important thing to remember. She was a beloved public figure to the Palestinian community because she gave all of their struggles of what they would consider their daily struggle of life under Israeli occupation and she gave a voice to that.


Not only that, but she was born and raised in Jerusalem. This was her home. And this is why we saw such an outpouring yesterday for her to bring her to her final resting place at the Mount Zion Cemetery. Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thanks so much Atika Shubert. Appreciate it.

Well, just ahead, we'll take a look at the desperate measures that some parents in the U.S. are taking just to feed their children amid the shortage of baby formula.

Plus, U.S. markets down one day up the next. Forces driving Wall Street's wild ride after the break. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Watchmakers have dealt with pandemic restrictions for years. Now, they want to make up for that lost time. At the end of last year, Deloitte asked Swiss watch executives how they judged the outlook for 2022. More than three-quarters of them said they were feeling positive.

KARL-FRIEDRICH SCHEUFELE, CO-PRESIDENT, CHOPARD: The industry has shown remarkable resilience in the last two years, going through COVID and coming now, more or less. I think, watch and jewelry industry is thriving in a way and this will certainly help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deloitte says travelers and in-store shoppers are the lifeblood of the luxury watch industry. So, for executives in Geneva, their return is a moment to savor.

CATHERINE RENIER, CEO, JAEGER-LECOULTRE: Something, I guess, we dreamed of. But didn't really, truly, believe it would happen until the last minute because we've learned to adapt ourselves to, you know, always changing environment.

BRUNHUBER: A national supply shortage is driving up prices and sending some families into a panic. While we're not talking about gasoline here, we're talking about baby formula. Last week, store shelves were down 43 percent in many places. The supply was down by 50 percent. And at least eight States and Washington, D.C. has oversight and reform committee launched an investigation into what's causing the shortage.


White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, told the member of Congress that the administration is strongly considering having President Biden invoke the Defense Production Act to ramp up supply. But worried parents need answers now. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus talks to parents who were taking desperate steps to feed their young children.


COLLEEN HAFENCHER, SEARCHING FOR FORMULA: Like I don't care if they say they'll have it in stock.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): It's another full- time job.

HAFENCHER: I'm up with him at 2:00 in the morning. I'm looking for formula.

BROADDUS (voiceover): Searching 10 hours every week.

HAFENCHER: I start with, typically, the Similac website and then after that, I go to Target, after that I go to Meyer, Mariano's, Jewel, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS.

BROADDUS (voiceover): Colleen Hafencher is one of many parents on a 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're looking for formula. So, I haven't found any in about three weeks.

BROADDUS (voiceover): 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.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I spy with my little eye something brown.

BROADDUS (voiceover): Angela Konczak's daughter depends on specialty formula and is tube-fed.

ANGELA KONCZAK, SEARCHING FOR FORMULA: 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 thrive on. And the fact that it's not available anywhere is very scary.

BROADDUS (voiceover): Nationwide, 43 percent of baby formula was out of stock for the week ending May 8th. And in these eight States, that number at more than 50 percent, according to figures provided to CNN, by data assembly. The problem caused by several factors, including a recall, inflation, and a 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're being candid about moving as quickly as possible. And we are relentlessly focused on this.

BROADDUS (voiceover): However, Republicans say the Biden Administration should have acted sooner.

REP. ANN WAGNER, (R), MISSOURI: 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 (voiceover): While politicians play the blame game, parents are the ones left worrying.

KONCZAK: My daughter is actually, so with her disease, she was actually just on life support a few weeks ago. She had gotten a cold and it collapsed both of her lungs. And so, we just got out of the hospital. And to have to go back to the hospital for a nutrition program, I had to purchase four cans and that was $349. Normally, a case of four is $168. And so, finding it is a necessity, even if that means not paying my bills.

BROADDUS (on camera): Not paying your bills?

KONCZAK: Yes, that'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.

BRUNHUBER: Those are roller coaster ride for stocks on Wall Street this week. The major industries were in the red over most of the last five days. They came roaring back on Friday, but it wasn't enough to raise the losses of the past week. The Dow closed up nearly one and a half percent, the Nasdaq nearly four percent, and the S&P nearly two and a half percent.

Now, there is no single one thing behind all the market turbulence. It's a mix of things like inflation, interest rates, and the war in Ukraine. Our Richard Quest explains the global situation with the help of an old familiar game.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE AND CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: This is the famous game, Jenga. You know how it's played. You have a tower of wooden blocks and you remove one at a time, trying not to knock the whole thing over. Well, we can think of this as the global economy which grew by more than 30 percent in the decade before the pandemic. And although there were some wobbles on the way, essentially, it was all looking pretty good after the global financial crisis.

And then all of this came along. You've got the pandemic. The pandemic caused all sorts of problems. And then you have the results of the pandemic, and all this monetary stimulus, and government spending, that's more serious. You've got to start removing that. So, you start taking it out.


But things are going much worse than we thought because now you've got the war in Ukraine, and that's going to have a widespread effect.

As the interest rates bite harder and the situation appears to be worse. So, you see, we're having to now deal with some of these very deep, very deep problems of debt and imbalances but we're still holding. And this is now the situation where we are. Ultimately, they're going to have to deal with a really big issue. Debt, war, lockdowns in China. Because, eventually, we know what's going to happen. Something is going to be removed and that will be that. There's one other lesson from Jenga, when it all falls down, it takes ages to build it back up again.


BRUNHUBER: Confusion reigns over one of the most unusual corporate takeovers. On Friday morning, Elon Musk tweeted that his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter is now on hold. Writing, "Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than five percent of users." Well, that tweet turned heads and moved markets. But about two hours later, Elon Musk attempted damage control again in a tweet, "Still committed to acquisition."

Now, these confusing messages sent Twitter's stock on a wild ride down more than 20 percent in pre-market trading before rebounding slightly the stock ended Friday down by almost 10 percent. And now, if Musk were to simply walk away, he'd be hit with a one-billion-dollar breakup fee. But he also could be hit with a lawsuit from Twitter, which could cause the world's wealthiest person even more billions of dollars. Stay tuned.

All right. Just ahead, a dire warning about COVID later this year. While the U.S. Congress step up with badly needed funding to combat a potential surge.

Plus, China is pulling out of hosting Asia's premier soccer tournament in 2023. And the decision has a lot to do with Beijing's zero-COVID strategy. Stay with us.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Making small changes to what you eat can help make big improvements to your life. So, here are three healthy eating habits that can help you cut the bad by adding the good to your routine.


To help cut the salt, look to add herbs and spices to get that flavor you crave. And research suggests that certain spices like cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg contain nutrients that can help sharpen your memory and reduce stress.

Try avoiding inflammatory foods, those are junk foods like French fries, pastries, sodas, and red meat. Go for more anti-inflammatory foods like tomatoes and leafy greens. Remember, try to always have a glass of water with you to help quench your thirst. It can help you avoid sugary drinks and help you stay hydrated.

BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

COVID-19 numbers are nowhere near what they were during the height of the pandemic. But recent trends show case numbers ticking up over the past two weeks along with hospitalizations. And there are new questions about a dire warning from the White House over a potential COVID surge this coming fall and winter. Officials in the Biden administration are warning about what could happen if Congress doesn't make more money available.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Oh, I would say, there is no plan B. While there is, you know, a limited amount of funding that we have to work with, it's very limited. And it will require us making tough choices about what remaining tests, treatments, and vaccines we can get.


BRUNHUBER: In the U.S., a new study suggests that 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 five and 15 years old.

But once Omicron kicked in, the efficacy dropped to less than 29 percent for kids between five and 11. Now, the effectiveness was measured two months after receiving the second dose. But the study shows boosters did restore much of the vaccine's protection.

North Korea's state media is reporting 21 more deaths from what it calls fever cases, as the country fights a COVID outbreak. State media also said more than 174,000 new cases were recorded. Leader Kim Jong- un is calling the outbreak the greatest turmoil the communist nation has ever faced.

In China, they're canceling plans to host Asia's top soccer tournament as the country tries to wipe out COVID within its borders. The Asian Football Confederation says the tournament will still go ahead after a new host is selected.

And in Shanghai, officials are starting to work on reopening plans for China's largest city. It's been under lockdown since mid-March amid a COVID outbreak. City leaders now say they're hoping to reach what they call social zero-COVID in the middle of this month. Now, as President Xi Jinping's hardline COVID policy has sparked discontent at home and criticism from abroad. Selina Wang shows us how the heavy-handed approach sparked a backlash from one of the world's largest cities.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Clouds of disinfectant sprayed over every surface. This is what's happening to the homes of people who test positive for COVID in Shanghai. The metropolis has been under the world's strictest lockdown for more than a month. But the rules are only getting more extreme.

Before only positive COVID cases and close contacts were sent to quarantine facilities, like these, thousands of beds cramped together or just camping on the floor. But now, entire apartment blocks are being forced out of their homes over just one positive COVID case. Sent to prison-like facilities like this.

This video shows Shanghai residents arguing with police officers who showed up to take them to quarantine after someone on their floor tested positive. The officer says while spraying disinfectant, "It's not that you can do whatever you want, unless you are in America. This is China. Don't ask us why." Residents who tested negative and are vaccinated and boosted are terrified of being rounded up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, our neighbors do not want to go. None of us want to go.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we don't want to get COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it's safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are putting us in danger. It's -- you are endangering us. Your CDC does not know how to run a country.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want us to -- die in China? To get COVID and die because you think this is the right way to make us go with other sick people?

WANG (voiceover): CNN cannot verify the identity of the speakers or authenticity of this call that went viral on Chinese social media. Police have even kicked peoples' doors to pieces to take them away to quarantine. Some buildings are banned from placing any online orders, even food.


Chaos and fighting outside of this Shanghai apartment. Residents claimed they weren't given enough food. Some of the COVID workers beating the residents to the ground. As outrage grows over the new restrictions that crushed the last bit of freedom people had left, China's Supreme Leader Xi Jinping has vowed to double down on its zero-COVID strategy and punish anyone who doubts it.

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, W.H.O. DIRECTOR-GENERAL: When we talk about the zero-COVID strategy, we don't think that it is sustainable. WANG (voiceover): The world health organization chief's comments were swiftly censored in China, along with the desperation people have shared online. In China, zero-COVID has turned into an ideological campaign to show loyalty to the communist party. At least 31 cities in China are under full or partial lockdown, impacting up to 214 million people, turning cities into virtual prisons all in the name of zero- COVID. Selina Wang, CNN, Kunming, China.

BRUNHUBER: New satellite images obtained by CNN indicate North Korea has restarted construction of a long-dormant nuclear reactor. The images captured over the last six weeks showed new building activity, the second reactor in 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.

All from intense fires to severe storms, the U.S. saw a lot of extreme weather this week. We'll get the latest details from CNN Weather Center after the break.

Plus, South Africa is experiencing a devastating flood season and scientists are blaming climate change. More details ahead. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Climate change is here and it brought another week of extreme weather across the U.S. Intense wind gusts in the Midwest creating this wall of dust that stretched across parts of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. And in North Carolina's outer banks rising seawaters engulfed a house sitting on the coast. Also, this week, giant flames burned down a wealthy community in California because of severe drought.

So, joining me now, CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Yes, I mean, just the devastating impacts there, take us through what's behind all of this.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and we're seeing some of the images coming out of that Southern California, the coastal fire as quite significant as well. So, if we go back at the middle of October of 2021, there was about 86 percent of the State of California under extreme drought. Then you fast forward, during our wettest time of the year and we did see significant storms that had brought our snow and our rainfall right when we should see it in the State of California and it brought down our extreme drought to one percent at the beginning of 2022.

But, now let's fast forward to present day. Look at how that shade of red fills in across the State. We are talking about 60 percent of California under extreme drought conditions as we speak. So, it is creeping back. It is unwelcome. And we want to say goodbye to it but, unfortunately, that's not what's happening. Costal fire 200 acres has burned in three days. And there's only 25 percent containment and unfortunately, there were several homes, multimillion-dollar homes, that were impacted by that.

And to put it into context, Long Beach, a reporting station just outside of where the coastal fire was located, they're talking only about 14 percent of average rainfall. They should see over eight inches of rain but they've only experienced a little over one inch of rain. And unfortunately, we're moving out of the wettest time of the year for the State of California. So, not good news there.

91 percent of the Western U.S. under drought conditions, as we speak, this is impacting the Great Basin, the Four Corners Region, including the State of New Mexico where we are edging closer and closer to the largest wildfire in the State's history. Right now, we have the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fire that's at 270 acres -- 270,000 acres scorched so far. And you can see the largest fire burn -- burning in 2012 just shy of 300,000 acres. So, we're getting closer to that.

Unfortunately, it's so large that even satellites from space can pick up the imagery of this fire burning out of control. And the extent of that look doesn't look promising as well. Below-average rainfall conditions are expected to cross the Great Basin all the way to the West Coast. On top of that, we've got heat -- triple-digit heat that's moving in across parts of Southern California for at least the next couple of days. And then it'll shift Eastward into the deep South for a record-breaking territory coming up. Kim

BRUNHUBER: Derek, we're just mid-May and just getting started now. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.

Well, have a look at this extraordinary video. This is the Hassanabad Bridge in Northern Pakistan. It collapsed last Saturday after a local glacier melted. This happened as Pakistan and India are both experiencing a heatwave that's reached record temperatures throughout the subcontinent. In late April, two Pakistani cities recorded temperatures of 47 degrees Celsius. Pakistan's minister for climate change called the climate crisis and national security issue.

And 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've been if greenhouse and gas emissions had never heated the planet. CNN's David McKenzie has more from Johannesburg.

DAVID MCKENZIE CNN, CORRESPONDENT: The intense flooding in KwaZulu- Natal province 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, there are still people missing, and a huge amount of money lost in infrastructure, especially.

Now, a 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 that even with the current level of global warming, that kind of rainfall, that kind of destruction was made worse because of climate change. 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. 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're living with right now and to stop it from being much worse. David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


BRUNHUBER: Gymnastics Canada is being sued for allegedly allowing the abuse of athletes. CNN speaks of the former gymnast spearheading the lawsuit after the break. Stay with us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 9:00 in the morning at the University of Dayton.

TONY TALBOTT, DIRECTOR, ABOLITION OHIO: How is everyone? What we're going to do this morning --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tony Talbott is seeking the class of slavery.

TALBOTT: There's over 40 million human trafficking victims in the world today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But his students aren't just learning the facts about human trafficking. They're being trained to teach others about it. Students who are even younger than they are.

TALBOTT: We get the students to become near-peer educators. Going into classrooms, giving human trafficking awareness presentations. If we tell children about this now, they can become part of the solution.

AMY, UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON STUDENT: Hi, guys. My name is Amy (ph). I'm a second-year student at the University of Dayton.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, Talbott's students are taking over Nick Pant's ninth-grade American history class at the Dayton Regional STEM School.

MENA SHAHID, 14 YEARS OLD: It's definitely important to know what is trafficking because maybe you're in that situation and you don't even know that you are being trafficked.

CIARA CLAYTON, 14 YEARS OLD: A lot more online trafficking is happening and I didn't really realize that before. But now that we do, we can obviously use more precautions when you're online.

NICK PANT, TEACHER, DAYTON REGIONAL STEM SCHOOL: I'm hoping that my students, now that they're knowledgeable, hopefully, they get a little bit passionate about it. Become leaders. I'm telling you, you just got to step aside and let the next generation do its thing.


BRUNHUBER: Gymnastics Canada could be facing a long legal battle after a class-action lawsuit was filed alleging that the organization and other provincial governing bodies were complicit in allowing decades of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse of gymnasts.

The representative plaintiff in the case is Amelia Cline. She says she fell in love with the sport as a two-year-old. A fearless child reveling in learning to balance, vault, and somersault. She was good, really good. At the age of just 13, she abandoned her dreams of Olympic glory to save herself from being screamed at and physically hurt by her coaches.

Miss Cline says this wasn't coaching. It was, "Straight-up child abuse." It echoes that of other scandals in the U.S. and across the globe, hundreds of Canadian gymnasts have now come forward with similar tales. Amelia shared her painful story with our Don Riddell.



DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: So, when did things start going wrong for you?

AMELIA CLINE, FORMER GYMNAST: I had wonderful coaches who were nice people. But then those coaches left and, in their place, came a husband-and-wife team who were -- who ended up being quite abusive.

RIDDELL: In what way were they abusive? Can you describe it?

CLINE: Immediately off the bat, it was very verbally abusive. If you made any mistakes, it was -- they would scream and humiliate you. It was name-calling, you know, are you stupid? Why can't you do this? The word of choice was usually rubbish, you're rubbish. This is rubbish.

Eventually, it progressed to sort of physical abuse, where -- it started largely with overtraining and overstretching. So, they would forcibly overstretch us to the point where we would be in tears. We'd be crying. Begging to get out of the stretch. And they wouldn't let us up.

And we used to do a regular stretch where I would stand in front of my coach, my coach would be behind me, and then he would lift my legs from behind and lift it past my ear in a standing stretch, a standing split. And so, when we want to do that, I told him, you know, my hamstring feels a little bit off. There's something wrong. I don't think we should do this stretch today. And he got really annoyed. He said something along the lines of, well, you're just faking, or, you know, just trying to get out of doing the stretch. So, he turned me around and grabbed my leg and forced it up behind my ear. And when he did that, it snapped my hamstring completely town and took part of my pelvis with it. It's some of the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life.

RIDDELL: What was your coach's reaction when he put you into the stretch and that happened? Was there any regret or remorse?

CLINE: No, he screamed at me. He got very angry. He said something along the lines of, she lied to me, even though it was clear that I tried to warn him that something was wrong beforehand. So, I think he was trying to distance himself from responsibility for what he had done.

There's no offer of medical treatment. No one called my parents. I think I ended up having to limp to the changeroom myself and call my parents to take me to the hospital. It was made very, very clear that we would be in significant trouble if we told our parents what was going on. So, my parents really, truly didn't have a good understanding of what was going on until I quit.

RIDDELL: What kind of impact has that experience had on you, long term?

CLINE: Both physically and psychologically it's been damaging. I have had physical -- debilitating physical back pain since I was 14. Psychologically though, there's long-term impacts as well. So, I don't weigh myself. I can never get on a scale. Even if I'm at the doctor's, I ask them not to tell me what the number is or I don't look at the numbers because I know that that's going to cause me to spiral into disordered eating.

I, thankfully have been able to stave off a very severe eating disorder but it has required constant vigilance on my part to make sure that I'm not slipping into really harmful eating patterns. I continue to have nightmares and it's -- you know, the effects are wide-ranging and long-term. So, I'm almost 20 years removed from the sport and I'm still dealing with these things every day.

RIDDELL: So, a number of you are filing a class-action lawsuit, which I guess could grow and grow in terms of numbers. What are you hoping to achieve?

CLINE: First and foremost, we're really trying to hold these institutions accountable and to send a message that you will not be able to allow these things to continue without being held liable for them. Second of all, what we're really looking for is to ensure that survivors are taken care of and that they can seek the treatment that they need. Because as we know these types of injuries and these types of effects from this abuse are lifelong and very long term and usually require quite intensive treatment, both physical and psychological.

And many people don't actually have the financial resources to seek that treatment and to get the care that they need. You know, if these things were happening in a school or at home, there would be serious consequences almost immediately. But for some reason when we put it in the context of a sport, and particularly gymnastics, we normalize it to such a degree that we've completely lost sight of the fact that these are -- this is child abuse. This is not coaching. This is just straight-up child abuse.

RIDDELL: You are now speaking out. You are now telling your story. I suspect, many other gymnasts are going to be telling their stories as well.


How does it feel to be speaking out? How does it feel to be taking ownership of your story?

CLINE: It feels really empowering. And I'm really proud of all of the survivors who have started to come forward. It's not easy. There's still a significant culture of fear that has kept people silent for decades. And so, I -- I'm very encouraged that survivors are finally starting to find their voices, and I think it's through our collective voice together, pushing for change, that we're actually going to see good things come to this sport. And we're actually going to, hopefully, create a future for the next generation of gymnasts that is free from abuse.


BRUNHUBER: The husband and wife coaching team that Amelia mentioned is Vladimir and Svetlana Lashin. They're not named as defendants but the lawsuit points out that Vladimir Lashin was one of Canada's gymnastic coaches at the 2004 Olympics. The couple are believed to have left Canada and haven't replied to any of CNN's multiple attempts to contact them by email and Facebook.

Gymnastics Canada is waiting to see the full details of the lawsuit but it gave us a statement saying, "Although we have not been served, the allegations we have been made aware of in the claim describe behavior that is unacceptable in any sport environment, and we take them very seriously. As leaders in the sport of Gymnastics within Canada, we are committed to providing a safe environment for members of our sport, free from all forms of maltreatment."

Well, that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. For viewers in North America, "New Day" is next. Next to the world, it's "Connecting Africa.