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Too Close to Call for Pennsylvania's GOP Primary; Stock Markets Nosedive Today; Finland and Sweden Formally Applies to NATO Alliance; Turkey Blocks Two Applicants for NATO; Kalush Orchestra Won in Eurovision Contest; Russian Suddenly Change His Tune; U.S. Embassy in Ukraine Reopens; CDC Monitors New Monkeypox Disease; Buffalo Shooter Used Social Media Prior to Attack; World Temperature Rising Faster; Fires in New Mexico Charred Thousands of Acres. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 19, 2022 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN newsroom, and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, a cliff-hanger in Pennsylvania as the election primary continues to unfold. But how much weight did President Trump's endorsement carry?

And the Dow sees its biggest loss in nearly two years after retail CEOs say they are getting crushed by rising prices. We're live in London with a look at the impact on global markets.

And a standstill on the battlefield as Russia's offensive appears to have stalled. Could Ukraine have the upper hand to regain territory? We are live in Lviv with the latest.

UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Rosemary Church.

Good to have you with us. Well, the high-profile U.S. Republican Senate race in the key swing state of Pennsylvania remains too close to call, and it will likely be days before a winner is announced. TV Dr. Mehmet Oz holds an extremely narrow lead, some 1,200 votes over former hedge fund executive Dave McCormick. But former U.S. President Donald Trump, who endorsed Oz, is already urging him to declare victory.

CNN's Athena Jones has the details.


DAVE MCCORMICK (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: We could see the path ahead, we could victory ahead, and it's all because of you.

(APPLAUSE) MCCORMICK: So, thank you, Pennsylvania.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A fight to the finish in the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania with thousands of votes still left to be counted.

MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: When it's this close, what else would you expect? Everything about this campaign has been tight.

Last week and having a defibrillator implanted on election day.

JONES: The deadlock between former hedge fund executive David McCormick and celebrity doctor, Mehmet Oz could trigger an automatic recount.

RAY D'AGOSTINO, CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, LANCASTER COUNTY: We want to make sure we have integrity, veracity, and transparency. So, in order to have that in a process like this, we have teams of three people each.

JONES: Ballots remain to be counted across the state. And in Lancaster County, about 22,000 mail-in ballots printed were misprinted with an incorrect bar code. They are not being remarked by hand in order to be scanned. There would be an automatic recount if the margin is half a percent or less once the counting is complete.

LEIGH CHAPMAN, PENNSYLVANIA ACTING SECRETARY OF STATE: By next Tuesday, we will have a good sense as whether or not there will be an automatic recount.

JONES: The now two-way fight for the Republican nomination will see a nasty primary battle extended but without Kathy Barnette. The conservative commentator who saw a late surge in the race, but fell short of her rivals on Tuesday's results.

KATHY BARNETTE (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I am so grateful, so do not be discouraged because we have a country to save.

JONES: All three candidates aligned themselves with Donald Trump. But it was Oz who scored the coveted endorsement from the former president.

OZ: Do we love President Trump, Pennsylvania?


JONES: Even while votes were still being counted --

OZ: When all the votes are tallied, I am confident we will win.


JONES: Trump, today, encouraging Oz to declare victory.

OZ: We are going to miss (Inaudible), let's be honest. JONES: The eventual winner will face current Democratic Lieutenant

Governor, John Fetterman who cruised to victory from a hospital bed after suffering a stroke late last week and having a defibrillator implanted on election day.

GISELE BARRETO FETTERMAN, JOHN FETTERMAN'S WIFE: Now, you may have noticed, I am not John Fetterman. The next senator of our great state.


JONES: The ballot counting here in Lancaster is over for now and will pick back up at 9 a.m. Thursday. Right around 4,000 ballots still remain to be counted and officials expect to finish that count at some point Thursday.

Athena Jones, CNN, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

CHURCH: Earlier, I asked CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein who is most likely to win this unresolved Senate race once all the votes are counted.


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's essentially impossible, at this, point looking at the outstanding ballots. And we're not even sure exactly how many outstanding ballots there are, there's even more than we thought.

The Philadelphia Inquirer was told state officials today that maybe three thousand mail ballots to be counted. I think it's impossible to predict who has the upper hand. But I think what you can predict is that Republicans may very quickly be sailing into very choppy waters here.


Because, you know it is entirely possible that Trump's choice, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is ahead on election night may fall behind in the recount. And if that happens, I think that there's every indication that Trump will make the scene, sort of, you know, baseless charges of fraud that he did in his own election in 2000. And we could easily be in a situation, where in a couple of days the (Inaudible) leader of the Republican Party is accusing the Senate presumptive nominee, if McCormick goes back ahead of being there because of fraud.

So, this could get very ugly and unpredictable, I think, very quickly if Oz does not stay ahead.

CHURCH: All right that would certainly be extraordinary, wouldn't it? Of course, I want to go to the GOP gubernatorial race in Pennsylvania now. And while Donald Trump's pick Doug Mastriano came out on top, that win has put a lot of Republicans on edge, speaking out about the liability he poses and his likely lost to Democratic opponent Josh Shapiro in November.

Is Mastriano's loss a fait accompli, do you think? And if so, why did Trump endorse this guy and how did those actions impact Trump's credibility going forward?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first, I don't think in this environment with 65 percent of Americans saying they're losing ground economically because of inflation, and 75 percent saying the country is on the wrong track, you can't say that any Republican candidate is, you know, inherently doomed.

But having said that, if there is anyone with kind of one step over that abyss, it is Doug Mastriano, who is not only an election denier, not only someone who is kind of trafficked with the QAnon conspiracists and Christian nationalists, he is someone who wants to ban abortion without exceptions for rape and incest at six weeks.

Pennsylvania is not Alabama, you know. It's not Mississippi. I mean, that is a very hard proposition to sell at a moment when the Supreme Court is going to make it less theoretical and more practical, you know, potentially giving the states back the authority to do exactly that. So I think it's a very hard sell.


CHURCH: Brownstein went on to say that even though some of Trump's primary picks won and some lost, Trumpism is consolidating its grip on the Republican Party.

Well, it may be another uncertain day on Wall Street after the Dow dipped drastically on Wednesday, shedding more than 1,100 points, or 3.6 percent, its biggest loss since 2020. The S&P and NASDAQ also down after retail giant Target reported a stunning 52 percent drop in profit for the first quarter and amid fears of rising inflation.

But the U.S. is not the only country struggling with rampant inflation. Inflation in the U.K. has surged to 9 percent, its highest annual rate since 1982.

And CNN's Anna Stewart is in London. She joins us now live. Good morning to you, Anna. Good to see you. So, after a dismal day on Wall Street, how are markets in Europe looking right now?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Not looking great, Rosemary. This was the sharpest sell-off on Wall Street since the early months of the pandemic. It came after a bit of a rebound we saw on Tuesday. Clearly that was a bear market rally, i.e., it wasn't very long lived. And I don't think we've hit the bottom really of this big sell-off that we've been seeing.

We'll bring you the markets. In Asia, they took Wall Street's lead. They were all lower earlier. I think the Shanghai Composite has made some gain since then. It's trading rather flat. We can bring you Europe as well, also trading lower today.

Now yesterday's sell-off as you say was really sparked actually by earnings report out of the retailer Target. A 52 percent drop in profits for the first quarter really shocked the market there and also their reasons for it because they talked about supply chain issues. But they also talked about costs, high costs for labor, for fuel, for

freight. Also, consumers spending less for nonessential items. So those big-ticket items they are not buying right now as a result of inflation.

And now for weeks and weeks, months frankly, investors have been very anxious looking inflation, wondering how baked in that is. There have been concerns more recently that the Federal Reserve in the U.S. isn't doing enough with interest rates to bring that down.

And you now match that sort of fears and that anxiety with real impact of what we're seeing in terms of inflation for consumer spending, taking a big bite out of corporate profits because we saw a similar story from Walmart the day before. And that will all drag on economic growth. So a miserable pitch there for the markets today. And you know what the U.S. futures are also pointing lower. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Thank you for that, Anna Stewart live from London. You have a great day.

Well, after years of official neutrality, two key countries in northern Europe officially submit their applications to join NATO, and they do it simultaneously. A live report from Stockholm is straight ahead.

Plus, toeing the Kremlin line once again. A former senior Russian military official appears to walk back his public critiques of the war in Ukraine. We're back with that and more in just a moment.



CHURCH: Well, the leaders of Finland and Sweden will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden in the coming hours. The high-level visit comes one day after both countries formally applied to join NATO, despite Moscow's outspoken opposition.

The White House called it a watershed moment in European security. The two Nordic countries have been proudly neutral for many decades. But Russia's invasion of Ukraine has compelled both to seek the enhanced security provided by NATO.


But all 30 NATO members must agree on admitting any new nation to the alliance, and Turkey has been the lone member to voice opposition to Finland and Sweden. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused both countries of harboring Kurdish separatists that Turkey considers terrorists. He said he can't support NATO membership for either until the issue is addressed. But President Biden brushed off concerns Turkey will end up blocking Finland and Sweden from joining NATO. Here's what he said on Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Both the leader of Finland and Sweden are coming to see me on Thursday. I think we're going to be OK.

UNKNOWN: You can convince Turkey to accept their bid?

BIDEN: I think -- I am not going to Turkey, but I think we're going to be OK.


CHURCH: So, let's bring in CNN's Nina dos Santos. She joins us live from Stockholm. Great to see you, Nina. So, Finland and Sweden have now formally applied to join NATO in a historic move. So, what happens next? And what's the plan to appease Turkey's many concerns and requests for concessions?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, I think the immediate plan is to sit down and listen to what they have to say at the highest echelons of the NATO alliance. And that means that we've had the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with his counterpart from Turkey.

Just yesterday in New York of course we got this big meeting that Joe Biden is hosting at the White House in Washington, D.C. Obviously that will not include Turkey. That will just be the leaders of Sweden and Finland. But it just goes to show how much support these two nations are getting from the most powerful member of the most powerful military alliance.

Having said that, Turkey does have the second largest army in NATO. It's a big defense provider as well, and it has a president who is quite keen on voicing his opinions on certain issues, grievances that he wants aired, in particular those concerns he has about Sweden's perceived sympathies from Turkey's point of view towards members of the Kurdish diaspora, and he has indeed accused Sweden of harboring members of the PKK, and the YPG, these are Kurdish separatist groups that are deemed terrorist organizations by Turkey and also some other parts of the world as well.

And there is a thorny issue of an arms embargo that dates back to 2019 that Sweden pushed for on some Turkish material of arms equipment and so on and so forth. And the other issue that Turkey probably wants to discuss is having been frozen out of a U.S. fighter jet program after it bought Russia missile system.

So, these are the types of things that Turkey also wants a seat around the table to negotiate on. Obviously, they view this as a big opportunity. It is a big moment for the geopolitics of this part of the world. And also, we can't rule out that other outliers inside the NATO alliance might also start to talk about issues that they want to bring to the fore, perhaps in the Balkan region as well. But they won't have as much sway as Turkey. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. A lot of background noise there. Nina dos Santos, you did great there competing with it. Joining us live from Stockholm. Many thanks.

Well, coming up, Ukraine's Kalush orchestra received a hero's welcome when they returned home fresh off their Eurovision win. How the folk rap group plans to give back to their war-torn nation. We'll take a look at that on the other side of the break. Stay with us.



CHURCH: A NATO official says while the war between Russia and Ukraine is largely at a standstill, momentum has significantly shifted in favor of Ukraine. The Ukrainian military has been touting its progress and pushing the Russians back and says it's retaken another settlement in the Kharkiv region.

This video shows a Russian tank on fire in that region just eight miles, or 12 kilometers south of the Russian border. It had been engaged in a firefight with Ukrainian forces before crashing into a line of trees.

Further south in the Luhansk region, Ukraine says it's been blowing up more bridges to stop Russian forces from advancing.

And CNN's Suzanne Malveaux joins me now from Lviv in Ukraine. Good to see you, Suzanne. So, NATO says the war is at a standstill, but momentum favors Ukraine. What is the latest on this and of course the situation overall on the ground?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning. Actually, when you listen to that NATO official with that intelligence, it is not surprising necessarily because it is very much reflective of what we have been seeing and reporting on the ground, despite the fact that you have an amazing escalation.

Over the last 24 hours, Ukrainian military actually in their daily report saying that they have seen an increase in firepower in artillery, in aircraft and attacks throughout the country, cross- border skirmishes as well as heavy machinery that has actually been brought in to the theater here.

Nevertheless, the Russians are taking hits. They're taking losses. They're losing territory. Ukrainian forces have been able to hold on to land that the Russians have been trying to seize.


There have been casualties on both sides here, as just overnight there were four Ukrainian citizens who were killed.

But nevertheless, we do not see, according to this military official, that the Russians have actually taken any significant territory over this period, despite this widespread escalation throughout the country.

CHURCH: And Suzanne, signs are pointing to this being a long war. So how are the Ukrainian people dealing with this in keeping up morale?

MALVEAUX: Well, absolutely. I mean, this is impacting everyone throughout the country, as you can imagine. But all eyes have really been on Mariupol, a symbol of resistance, of the spirit of the Ukrainian people, of their fight.

And there is a singing group who recently I met. They just came back just days ago after winning one of Europe's biggest musical competitions. And they have really captured a sense of the essence of this country in their national pride.


MALVEAUX: Ukraine's Kalush orchestra returning to a hero's welcome as winners of this year's prized Eurovision song competition. The folk rap group greeted at the Ukrainian border by servicemen and women bursting with pride.

Front man Oleg Psyuk and his band launch into an impromptu version of their winning song, Stefania. Saturday, the musicians won the annual song fest in the Italian city of Turin, beating out their main rivals, the U.K. and Spain, riding a wave of popular support by voting viewers who skyrocketed them to the top.

Stefania, initially written as a tribute to the band leader's mother, turned into a rallying cry and tribute to the nation as Ukraine battled against the invasion of its neighbor, Russia.

When I met them here in Lviv, it took little prodding for them to launch into a jam session of their popular song. But Kalush is keenly aware of the impact of the band's victory and what's at stake.

What does this moment mean? This is so much more than a musical competition.

OLEG PSYUK, FRONTMAN, KALUSH ORCHESTRA (through translator): We decided to take part in it because there are attempts to destroy and kill our culture, and we took part in it to show that our culture is alive. It does exist, and it's very beautiful.

MALVEAUX: The group was given special permission by the government to leave Ukraine to perform. And despite competition rules forbidding overt political statements --

UNKNOWN: Slava Ukrainia.

MALVEAUX: -- the band was praised by many Ukrainians for calling for the liberation of the Ukrainians and Mariupol and inside the steel plant of Azovstal besieged by the Russians. Soldiers sheltering in the steel plant belted out the lyrics as shelling could be heard from above. Residents of Kalush, the hometown of the band, gushed.

UNKNOWN (through translator): With all my soul, all my love, I love my Kalush.

MALVEAUX: And President Zelenskyy promised to bring the singing contest to a liberated Ukraine next year. Now Kalush is auctioning off its trophy and planning to tour Europe to fund raise for the Ukrainian soldiers and charitable foundations for Ukraine.

PSYUK (through translator): People say Ukraine is my mother and take it that way. That's why this song is now even called the anthem of war. But if it's called that, I would rather it to be the anthem of our victory.



MALVEAUX: A victory that is still elusive, but obviously giving hope to millions here in this country. These guys love to perform. They are just -- people go wild. They're magnetic when you see them. But they do understand this moment and what this song means.

I asked the lead singer if he was out there and he was having fun. And obviously, they love to perform, but his response was, is that it's hard to have fun, the night before he was sleeping under the sound of explosions.

And so, they know the seriousness of this moment and what this song means to millions of people. They just want to spread that word, not only throughout the country, but the world to give them a sense of home and pride that they'll be able to get through this.

CHURCH: Yes, just amazing sounds coming from them too. It's just extraordinary. The healing power of music, right?

Suzanne Malveaux bringing us that report from Lviv. Many thanks.


Well, E.U. lawmakers in Brussels are debating how to bring suspected war criminals in Ukraine to justice. The debate is underway now at the European Parliament with a vote

expected a few hours from now.

Also today, we are expecting testimony in Kyiv from a Russian soldier charged in the first war crimes trial since Russia's invasion began. The 21-year-old has already pleaded guilty and could face life in prison. Prosecutors say, he killed a 62-year-old unarmed civilian, fearing the man could tell Ukrainian troops the location of the soldiers' unit. And, we'll be right back.



CHURCH: Russia says nearly a thousand Ukrainian fighters have now surrendered at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. This video from the Russian Defense Ministry is set to show the moment some Ukrainian forces turned themselves over. Russia says most of them are being held in pre-trial detention centers. Ukrainian officials have been pushing for a prisoner exchange. Meantime, Russia claims a civilian has been killed in its Kursk region

by a Ukrainian strike. So far there's been no claim of responsibility from Ukraine. And a former senior Russian military officer appears to be reversing course on his public criticisms of the war. Listen to what he says now after claiming things could get worse for Moscow just days ago.


MIKHAIL KHODARENOK, RETIRED RUSSIAN DEFENSE COLUMNIST (through translator): When people talk about Ukraine acquiring the ability to counterattack, well, it's a big exaggeration. And as concern the actions of our supreme command, there is every reason to believe that the implementation of these plans will, in the very near future, give Ukraine an unpleasant surprise.


CHURCH: Clare Sebastian joins me now live from London. Good morning to you, Clare. And what a stunning reversal coming from this Russian colonel, but perhaps more stunning was the fact that he criticized Russia's war on Ukraine in the first place. What more are you learning about this?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary. A baffling, frankly, turn of events. It was extremely quite rare and very striking to hear the comments that he made on Russian State TV on Monday night. Overtly criticizing the war, saying things could get worse for Russia, urging people not to drink, what he called, information tranquilizers. And saying that Russia is sort of isolated in the world because of this conflict.

Then, turning around and saying on Wednesday that he thinks that, you know, any sort of estimations of the Ukrainian counterattack are exaggerated. He said, there is no way that Ukraine could get naval supremacy in the Black Sea or aerial supremacy.

It's interesting, I mean it wasn't that sort of aging recant the comments that he made on Monday. It wasn't a sort of systematic denial of everything he had said. But -- but you should get the sense that the two episodes could be connected. That perhaps, you know, he felt given that the wave of international attention that his comments got on Monday, that he had to sort of correct that pessimistic tone in the war.

I think, you know, there were suggestions after those comments on Monday that it wasn't accidental. That perhaps this is part of a fairly subtle effort in Russia to manage public expectations given the rising Russian casualties. Given the fact that it seems that making any major gains in this conflict is extremely difficult and extremely slow.

But the fact that he's now gone back on television and sort of mitigated or sort of muted those -- those remarks somehow. It -- it's very bizarre, it's unclear what his motivation is at this point. And meanwhile, well of course, we are hearing, you know, from NATO

that no one in this conflict is expected to make any major gains over the next few weeks. But they believe the momentum is on the Ukrainian side.

CHURCH: All right, we will continue to watch that of course. So, Clare Sebastian, joining us live from London, many thanks.

Well, the United States has reopened its embassy in Kyiv, three months after closing it ahead of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, made the announcement saying, the American flag was flying once again over the embassy as its operations officially resumed.

Blinken also said in a statement that the U.S. will continue to support and stand with the Ukrainian government and people as they defend their country.

Well, the latest now on the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. The CDC is reporting that nearly one third of Americans live in areas with medium to high levels of COVID-19. And on Wednesday, the agency urged those communities to mask up. Take a listen.


ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: In areas where community levels are high, everyone should be using prevention measures and wearing a mask in public indoor settings. In areas with medium COVID-19 community levels in yellow, individuals should consider taking prevention measures based on their own risk, like avoiding crowds, wearing a mask, increasing their testing especially before gathering with others indoors.


CHURCH: Dr. Rochelle Walensky also says that even though cases are still much lower than during the Omicron surge this past winter, the number of infections has tripled in just the last month.


Well, public health officials in the U.S. are investigating the first case of the rare and potentially serious, monkeypox virus in the country this year. The virus was confirmed in a Massachusetts man who had recently traveled to Canada and officials are now tracing his contacts.

The CDC is also tracking multiple clusters of monkeypox reported in Portugal, Spain and the U.K. And a CDC spokesperson told CNN that it's monitoring six more people for potential infection after they shared a flight with a British patient who tested positive for the virus.

Well, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. For our international viewers, Inside Africa is next. And for those of you in North America, I'll be back with more news in just a moment. Do stay with us. [03:45:00]


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, New York's attorney general is launching an investigation into social media sites used by the suspect in Saturday's racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo. That includes a communications app Discord. And we have learned the alleged gunman used that site to reveal his plan in a private chat room just 30 minutes before the attack.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz spoke with one survivor about the terrifying moments inside the supermarket when the suspect started shooting.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Did you think you were going to die when you were in the break room and you're hearing all these gunshots?


PROKUPECZ: Jerome Bridges, an employee at the Tops market, was inside the store when the suspected gunman opened fire and ran for the break room.

BRIDGES: I thought to myself, he might come busting through the door, so there's an old oak table back there that I pull up to the door with one arm and barricaded the door.

PROKUPECZ: You grabbed customers?

BRIDGES: Actually, I told the customers to get inside, some customers to get inside the break room. I had to tell them to be quiet and just lay down on the ground, because he was getting closer and closer to the back, to the point where he was actually shooting at the displays.

PROKUPECZ: According to posts on social media, the 18-year-old suspected gunman publicly revealed his attack plans on the communication app Discord shortly before the shooting on Saturday. In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for Discord says his online chat logs were visible to some people about 30 minutes before the shooting began. Saying, quote, "what we know at this time is that a private invite-only server was created by the suspect to serve as a personal diary chat log."

CNN analyzed the posts shared on Discord and other social media sites, revealing troubling warning signs from the alleged shooter. They show the suspect made three visits to the supermarket in Buffalo in March, doing reconnaissance and writing about the activity inside the store, including how many black and white people were inside.

Do you remember seeing him in March?

BRIDGES: Yes. He had on the same exact clothes. The ugly green pants and the ugly -- that ugly green fatigues. PROKUPECZ: And no one thought -- just no one thought anything of it

or people did or?

BRIDGES: No, I didn't think nothing of it. I thought he was a lost shopper. I didn't realize he was sitting up there scoping out the store for something like this.

PROKUPECZ: Days after the massacre, Jerome Bridges can't bring himself to remove his name tag. The Buffalo, New York, supermarket just a few blocks from his home, was more than a job, he says.

You still wear this?

BRIDGES: Yes. Because I'm going eventually, if they do decide to open up the store, I'm going back. I'm not going to let nobody scare me. We're all family.

PROKUPECZ: You lost them.


PROKUPECZ: Tonight, the New York state attorney general says she's launching an investigation into the social media companies used by the suspect to plan, promote, and stream his attack, as authorities search for answers.

BRIDGES: He killed so many innocent people. Every night, I've been going in the house crying for hours and hours and hours.

PROKUPECZ: He could potentially face the death penalty.

BRIDGES: If he gets the death penalty, I will clap. I would be happy. And everybody can go on about they -- go on about their lives knowing that justice was served, because he wanted to be an idiot.


PROKUPECZ: Jerome Bridges tells us that his 15-year-old son was calling him on the day of the shooting while he was trapped inside that room and that he was afraid to answer the phone, because he thought the gunman would hear him.

Shimon Prokupecz, CNN, Buffalo, New York.

CHURCH: A new report is sounding the alarm on the climate crisis. The World Meteorological Organization says four key climate change indicators broke records last year. Greenhouse gas concentrations, rising sea levels, and warmer and more acidic oceans.


The WMO found the last seven years were the earth's warmest on record and the world's oceans are being pushed to new heights. The report finds sea levels rose twice as fast in the nine years up to the end of 2021 than a decade earlier. The report follows a U.N. climate assessment which warned the world

must cut greenhouse gas emissions or face catastrophic climate changes. The U.N. secretary general says it's time to act.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: The global energy system is broken and bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe. Fossil fuels are at dead ends environmentally and economically. The war in Ukraine and its immediate effects on energy prices is yet another wake-up call. The only sustainable future is the renewable one. We must enforce a solution and accelerate the renewable energy transition before we incinerate. Time is running out.


CHURCH: Earlier I spoke with Andy Shepherd, professor of earth observation at University of Leeds, and I asked him what stood out to him in this report.


ANDY SHEPERD, PROFESSOR OF EARTH OBSERVATION, UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS: Well, it is a grim picture, you're right. But I think from my perspective, it's really important that we're certain that the changes were happening. And we can be sure of that now and tell -- tell people about it. So hopefully they can act.

The things that stood out to me were some extreme events that happened in our weather systems, and they're driven by climate change. You see intense flooding in Europe and China. We've seen increased forest fires in the U.S. and bleaching of corals in the oceans in the southern hemisphere.

But we also saw some really, really strange things in the cryosphere. We saw rainfall on the summit of the Greenland ice sheet for first time ever. These are all things that haven't happened before with this intensity. And it's really time to do something about that.


CHURCH: And you can head to our web page for more on the climate crisis, including how it's impacting the environment and people all around the globe. That's at

Officials in New Mexico say the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon fire has now destroyed more than 300 homes and almost as many other structures. It's the largest fire on record in the state's history and has burned through more than 300,000 acres, or 122,000 hectares.

Strong winds and low humidity are fueling the spread of the flames with conditions expected to last through Friday. So far, the fire is only a third contained.

CNN meteorologist Derek van Dam joins me now to talk more on this. So, Derek, what more are you learning about this fire and of course the weather conditions playing into this.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, 100 percent, Rosemary. You said it perfectly there. And I've been following this wildfire for several weeks as we reported on it, or at least the past seven days because this is such an interesting phenomenon to see how they combine, this Hermits creek -- Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fire combined and now it's the largest New Mexico fire in the entire state's history.

And some of these pictures are just astounding to see just how dry this is. Think about the smoke that's billowing into the atmosphere here degrading the quality of the air. So, several ramifications not only being the largest fire in the state's history, but also the other impacts as well.

There is the previous largest wildfire in the state's history set back in May of 2012. That was just shy of 300,000. Now we of course have surpassed that. This is the latest visible satellite imagery through the course of the day yesterday, and you could see the actual smoke from the fire and that shading of red of course where the fire has burned.

There are actually 13 active wildfires across the entire country right now, burning over 450,000 acres. And that is set amongst the backdrop of our ongoing drought of course. And with the Hermits Peak fire now with over 300,000 acres scorched so far, that is not good news.

Now, the conditions today right for more fire weather. We have very dry conditions in place, gusty winds and the ongoing drought. That means critical weather for the firefighting efforts across the Great Basin, specifically into New Mexico.

There is the winds picking up, dying down overnight and then refiring back up into the day on Friday. And if you just look at the year to date totals, we are far surpassed the 10-year average in terms of how much acreage we've burned and how many wildfires we typically see.

To date, this year alone we've burned nearly 1.5 million acres. And we would typically only see about only 636,000 acres burned from the wildfire. So, going forward we have a projection from the Climate Prediction Center of below average precipitation for the areas hardest hit by the wildfires. And then on top of that, the above average temperatures are set to continue for the following week. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right, Derek van Dam, thank you so much for keeping a close eye on that. I appreciate it.


Well, U.S. women's soccer has scored a major victory in its fight for equal pay. After years of pressure from female players, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced a new deal Wednesday, ensuring women will be paid the same as male players.

It also makes the U.S. the first nation in the world to equalize World Cup prize money. The landmark agreement also addresses issues such as child care, parental leave, mental health impairment, and equal quality of venues and field surfaces. The deal is set to run through 2028.

And thank you so much for spending part of your day with me. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN Newsroom continues next with Max Foster.