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Deadly Storms Batter California; Race For The White House; Silicon Valley Bank Collapse; U.K. Four-Day Week Benefits Workers; Mexico Kidnapping; Saudi Arabia And Iran Agree To End Years Of Hostilities; Ukraine's Drone Hunters Under Pressure; Mars' Curiosity Rover Sends Sunset Photo. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired March 11, 2023 - 05:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to all of you watching here in the United States, Canada and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber. Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM:


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't live like this.

How do you live like this?

How do I have my kids here?

How do I have my elderly mother live here, where I carry her out of her house?

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): A powerful storm in the West dumping a dangerous amount of rain on millions of residents, putting dozens of California communities under a state of emergency. We'll take you there and the CNN Weather Center for the latest.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): And Republicans descend on Iowa. A must stop on the possible road to the White House. What Florida's Ron DeSantis had to say to key voters there.

Plus who wouldn't like to work a four-day workweek?

We'll tell you how it's working out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: We begin this hour with the deadly storms pounding California. Millions are under flood alerts as heavy rain and melting snow combine in the latest round of intense winter weather, the result of another atmospheric river.

Officials issued evacuation warnings. More evacuations were ordered in the past hour. The Tulare (ph) County sheriff is urging residents to stay clear of waterways and avoid all unnecessary travel.

Warnings of more rain and snow through Monday and heavy wet snow will continue at higher elevations in the Sierras. The most dangerous effects could impact those along the central California coast.

In this video, this roadway in Santa Cruz county has washed away and stranded hundreds of people along Bates Creek. Another strong atmospheric river event is likely to impact the state in the early to middle portion of next week. CNN's Nick Watt is in central California with more on how people are dealing with these storms.


NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Water everywhere causing chaos across central California. Some 25 million are under flood warnings. The Kern River usually runs at about 6 feet. It's up over 17. Snow is the issue up at altitude.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a quick sec, where I lost control but I caught that back.

WATT (voice-over): In SoCal, they're rushing to rebuild some sort of road for 450 households. This is their only way out. Springville's Pleasant Valley Road now, anything bad. In my 40 years, never seen it like that. So the man who shot these images.

A major artery in Oakland closed at rush hour nearby a Peet's Coffee warehouse roof collapsed, killing one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A longtime employee beloved by everyone.

WATT (voice-over): Around 25 times the volume of water that flows in the Mississippi is flowing through the air and this is the 10th so called atmospheric river to hit California this winter. Low pressure from the north meets moist air near Hawaii, they call it a Pineapple Express. Sounds fun?

It's not. Essentially a fire hose aimed at the state usually famed for its sunshine.

Throw in a couple of other winter storms that dumped a couple of years' worth of snow on some upland areas and this is the result. Today's storm is a warm one. So along with all this rain, some of that snow is melting. The residents of Felton flooded in January once more told to evacuate. Here and elsewhere, yet more upheaval.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now we have to go home, pack our stuff and leave once again when we were just able to come back a couple of weeks ago.

WATT (voice-over): Good news, all the water this winter is significantly rolling back the years long drought suffered in the West. Bad news, yet another atmospheric river is forecast to hit this state early next week.

WATT: Some places in California have had more than a foot of rain dumped by just this system alone, in this little farming town about six inches so far and look at what has happened. And it's not over. Here, this town is not going to stop raining until the middle of next week -- Nick Watt, Watsonville, California.




BRUNHUBER: In Fresno, California, emergency teams have carried out several rescues, including three elderly women who got stranded in a house. One of them is 104 years old. Earlier I spoke with the sheriff about the severe weather and asked him how bad the flooding was there.


SHERIFF JOHN ZANONI, FRESNO COUNTY: Well, we're seeing significant flooding in our area. It's mainly along our Kings River corridor, which comes from Pine Flat Lake, and then extends down through the city of Reedley, all the way down to the Fresno County line, into Tulare and, at some point, it actually heads out west toward the city of Coalinga in Western Fresno County.

BRUNHUBER: We're just showing some pictures of the flooded rivers right now. It's really dramatic. I know some people in your area have needed to be rescued. Walk us through some of the situations folks are finding themselves in.

ZANONI: Well, what we've really noticed is individuals are out there and especially near the Kings River area near Wonder Valley.

CAL FIRE had to conduct a rescue earlier today with the use of a boat, because what we're seeing is, with the excessive flooding, homes are becoming surrounded by water, which really leaves those residents no way to get out without having emergency crews come in and rescue personnel extract them.


BRUNHUBER: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is widely expected to run for president in 2024. On Friday, he traveled to Iowa to test the waters.

DeSantis isn't expected to officially launch his campaign for a couple months. But many Republicans are already looking at him as an alternative to former president Trump, who will visit the state on Monday. We get more from Jeff Zeleny in Iowa.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on his maiden voyage to Iowa.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I bring greetings from the Free State of Florida.

ZELENY (voice-over): Riding a wave of lofty expectations to the state that opens the Republican presidential contest in less than a year. People lined up to catch a glimpse of the governor, who technically is promoting his book.


DESANTIS: This is the number one best-selling nonfiction book in the country.

ZELENY (voice-over): But actually is testing a White House bid that he intends to make official by summer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This guy is a man on a mission.

ZELENY (voice-over): DeSantis has told advisers he will wait until the Florida legislative session ends so he can campaign on an even bolder agenda, one that is delighting supporters and alarming critics.

DESANTIS: I always tell my legislators, you watch Iowa, watch these. Do not let them get ahead of us on any of this stuff. So we've got our legislature in session now, so buckle up. The next 60 days should be fun in Florida.

ZELENY (voice-over): He's stoking the culture wars in schools.

DESANTIS: We're also leading on ensuring that our school system is focusing on educating our kids, not indoctrinating our kids.

ZELENY (voice-over): And beyond.

DESANTIS: We've got to fight if we see it in medicine or the universities or the corporations. You can't just say, let it go, because then we're going to be living under an oppressive wokocracy (sic).

ZELENY (voice-over): Holding up his Florida record as a blueprint for a national platform and presenting himself as a doer, not a talker.

DESANTIS: There's no drama in our administration. There's no palace intrigue. They basically just sit back and say, OK, what's the governor going to do next?

ZELENY (voice-over): That was a subtle yet unmistakable distinction with Donald Trump, who visits Iowa on Monday. The 2024 Republican campaign is intensifying, with former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley urging Iowa voters to keep an open mind.

NIKKI HALEY (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whatever the polls tell you today, that is not where the polls are going to be a year from now.

ZELENY (voice-over): But for many Republicans, the Florida governor stands as a beacon of hope for those who admire Trump but are eager to move on. BECKY GRIESBACH, IOWA VOTER: I would love to have in with him as our next president.

ZELENY (voice-over): Becky Griesbach was among those eager to see DeSantis close up.

GRIESBACH: President Trump has been an amazing president but he alienates too many people with what he says. And I think Governor DeSantis is doing a good job at appealing to Americans.

ZELENY: The Florida governor on Friday was met with an enthusiastic response from Iowa Republicans, particularly those eager to turn the page from Trump.

But Donald Trump won the state of Iowa in two general elections, 2016 and 2020. He has a deep reservoir of support here as well. He comes to campaign in the state on Monday -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Des Moines.


BRUNHUBER: A source tells CNN that former president Donald Trump plans to huddle with his legal team in Mar-a-Lago this weekend. After he was invited to appear next week before the grand jury, investigating hush money allegedly play to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The source says the team will be weighing options and deciding whether Trump will actually appear. His former personal attorney met with the Manhattan district attorney's office on Friday. He said he doubted Trump would testify.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP PERSONAL ATTORNEY AND FIXER: I have to applaud District Attorney Bragg for giving Donald the opportunity to come in to tell his story. Knowing Donald as well as I do, understand that he doesn't tell the truth.

It's one thing to turn around and to lie on your Untruth Social but it's another thing to turn around and lie before a grand jury, which I don't suspect that he's going to be coming.


BRUNHUBER: That's not clear when Trump would need to make a decision on the invitation nor whether there's a firm deadline.

Its collapse is now the second biggest financial failure in U.S. history. How a tech startup lender, Silicon Valley Bank, was swiftly shut down.

And a U.K. trial program tested out a four-day workweek found it benefits workers and employers alike. We'll chat with an expert.

Plus as another train derails in Alabama, officials say hundreds of potentially defective rail cars have been identified across the country. We'll have details next. Please stay with us. (MUSIC PLAYING)





BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Don't let those closing bell cheers fool you. It was a dismal day on Wall Street Friday. All three major indices plunged after the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. The Dow fell by 345 points. The Nasdaq dropped by nearly 2 percent and the S&P 500 fell by 1.5 percent, erasing all previous gains for the year.

The bank's collapse is the second largest financial failure in U.S. history. Regulators have taken control of its deposits in a stunning and sudden downfall for a key player in the tech world.

The lender's downward spiral began on Wednesday, when it alarmed clients with its need to raise over $2 billion. The share price dropped 60 percent the following day. Shares were down another 62 percent Friday before being halted.

Problems shook other bank stocks on Thursday. The four biggest U.S. banks lost more than $50 billion in market value. Police showed up at the bank headquarters in California Friday.

Customers reportedly lined up at a bank branch in New York City, demanding their deposits back and sparking fears this could spread to other parts of the economy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is like the S&L crisis in the '80s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not talking about a failure of this bank but that banks could, you know, fail. That's not out of the question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is clearly an example of something breaking. We can assume that there's serious contagion here.


BRUNHUBER: But U.S. officials are trying to reassure the public. Here's what a senior Treasury Department official told CNN exclusively.


WALLY ADEYEMO, U.S. DEPUTY TREASURY SECRETARY: Our regulators are paying attention to this financial institution. And when we think of the broader financial system, we are very confident in the ability and the resilience of the system.


BRUNHUBER: He went on to say the Treasury Department has the tools to deal with any other incidents that may come up. The bank collapse overshadowed the latest U.S. jobs report, which otherwise would have been the day's top economic news. Rahel Solomon reports.



RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a stunning development this week, a U.S. bank has been shut down and taken over by regulators in what is the largest bank failure since the financial crisis. The downfall of Silicon Valley Bank was swift.

Just two days earlier, the bank tried to raise over $2 billion in capital after suffering a loss in asset sales. Shares of its parent company, SVB Financial Group, fell 60 percent on Thursday and sparked a sell-off in banking stocks worldwide.

It was then halted on Friday after following another 60 percent in pre market trade. SVB may not be a household name but it is a bank that was heavily relied on by the tech and venture capital sector.

As the funding dries up, these high-risk companies have been burning through cash and drawing down deposits. That put the squeeze on SVB's balance sheet.

And its plight has really spooked the entire financial sector. Also on Friday, the U.S. data is stronger than expected, 311,000 jobs in February. But the devil is in the details.

The headline number adding weight to the argument that the Fed needs to continue raising rates.

The big question, will bank stress give Fed chair Jay Powell pause about moving more aggressively in the future? -- Rahel Solomon, CNN, New York.


BRUNHUBER: Many believe the four-day workweek is an idea whose time has come. One California congressman wants to make it federal law here in the U.S.

Representative Mark Takano reintroduced his 32-hour workweek act last week. It would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to officially reduce the definition of a workweek to 32 hours.

Last year hundreds of people last year in the United Kingdom participated in a six-month pilot program, testing out a four-day schedule with no cut in pay. Nearly 3,000 workers from 61 companies agreed to work 80 percent of their usual workweek while maintaining 100 percent of their productivity.

The results showed major benefits for both companies and workers, including increases in revenue and decreases in absenteeism. Workers saw improvements, reductions in stress, fatigue, burnout and insomnia.

For more on this, we're joined by Charlotte Lockhart, the cofounder and managing director of 4 Day Week Global and joins us live from Surrey, England.

Thank you for being here with us. A four-day workweek, most workers listening to this would say bring it on.

So what are the benefits from the worker's point of view?

CHARLOTTE LOCKHART, COFOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, 4 DAY WEEK GLOBAL: Well, obviously, there's a chance to spend more time with your family, more who you are, have healthy outcomes in mental health and well-being that comes (INAUDIBLE) highlighted in our research (ph).

BRUNHUBER: So you can spend more time with family. It's better for your well being. The benefits for the employee are pretty obvious.

But what about the company?

If you were trying to convince a CEO who is concerned about the bottom line, what would you tell them?

LOCKHART: So when we pilot through our program, we encourage facilities to take a real big focus on one's productivity in their businesses, work out how to improve it. It's about 80 percent (INAUDIBLE) about maintaining or actually what happens is improving productivity so that the business is actually protected.

Now in these slightly more challenging times, focusing in on productivity seems like a really good idea.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. In terms of people's support for a four- day workweek, a poll found 70 percent of Americans support it. That was taken in 2021. That was the height of the pandemic.

What influence do you think the pandemic had?

How has that changed people's attitudes about the way we work?

LOCKHART: I think from a business perspective, employers have worked out that they can work differently. But they have also really understand now they need to take their employees' mental health more seriously.

Employees are saying we have the right to have our mental health and our lives taken seriously. When you bring those two things together, businesses are actually working in a more partnership way with their people to find solutions that (INAUDIBLE) business and their people.

BRUNHUBER: The problem is, though, in terms of the employers, at least here in the United States, the tide seems to be going the other way. Many employers are canceling remote work arrangements and insisting all their workers go back to the office.

They are cutting perks they put in during the pandemic, if not outright laying workers off. So the idea of the office as a kinder, gentler place seems to be fading.

LOCKHART: Yes, and, obviously, that's a worry for anyone. But this is (INAUDIBLE) partnering with their people.


LOCKHART: They are finding that they're doing better because it's not an us and then environment.

If you want to grow your business, the people who are going to help you do that are your employees. So actually, creating a partnership between your employees, your leadership around how to improve productivity and drive the business forward actually just makes economic sense.

BRUNHUBER: I guess many people still snap back to that old school mentality that you have to log in the hours in order to be productive. So we talked about that one attempt here in the U.S. to make it a reality.

Is there any hope that it might succeed?

Have you seen success stories beyond what happened in the pilot program, about people implementing it and it catching on?

LOCKHART: Yes, so we're running a pilot program for the Portuguese government at the moment. We have 86 companies on their pilot. We are in discussions with a number of other local, regional and national governments around how they might run pilot programs for their organizations, for their communities.

So in conversations like what the congressman was doing and there's a politician in the U.K. who has done something similar, it's about making sure that you're pushing this conversation at the forefront. If the legislation is successful, great.

But if it's not, it's still pushing the conversation forward. We think working a 40-hour if not more workweek for the last 80 years is starting to pick away at the framework of our society. And it's not necessarily making our businesses anymore -- any better. It's certainly not creating the society that we want long-term.

BRUNHUBER: Absolutely. If there could be one positive outcome from the pandemic, maybe it will help people reframe the way we work and make things better for so many people that are working out there. We'll have to leave it there. Charlotte Lockhart, thank you so much for here with us.

LOCKHART: My pleasure. Thank you.


BRUNHUBER: Still ahead, Norfolk Southern faces intense scrutiny after three derailments in five weeks. We'll have the latest update.

Also six people are now under arrest in connection with the kidnapped Americans in Mexico. And a cartel says it's sorry. The latest after the break. Stay with us.





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

A recent string of train derailments in the U.S. is shining a spotlight on rail safety. Officials say they believe there are nearly 700 rail cars nationwide that could have an issue with defective loose wheels, similar to the train that derailed in Ohio last week.

It comes as cleanup efforts have begun in Alabama, where another Norfolk Southern trail (sic) derailed earlier this week. The company says at least 37 cars, mostly carrying mixed freight, went off the tracks with no hazardous materials leaked. It's the third derailment for Norfolk Southern in five weeks, putting the company under the microscope. Ryan Young reports.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are at the scene of the latest train derailment in Calhoun, Alabama. A lot of questions being asked about why all these train derailments keep happening.

We have to show you this from the air. This is a massive amount of work going on. About 30 rail cars derailed at this accident scene. You can see the heavy pieces of equipment that have been brought in to try to get this railway open again.

Norfolk Southern has been facing a lot of increased pressure and questions about why all these railway accidents continue to happen. We have talked to neighbors in this area, who say they don't remember for quite some time anything like this happening in their neighborhood.

But they have questions, especially on this stretch of railway.

Why would something like this happen?

But from above, you can see all the equipment and all the work that it's going to take to get this railway back open again. So how this has been explained to us, the NTSB will be involved to figure out what happened here. The railway will start their cleanup efforts. No hazardous material spilled in the area.

But there's still a lot of questions about how this actually happened -- reporting in Calhoun County, Alabama, Ryan Young, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: Mexican authorities have arrested five more people linked to the killing and kidnapping of American tourists. A sixth was in custody earlier. The cartel believed to be responsible for the crimes is now apologizing to the victims' families.

The Gulf cartel also handed over five of its members to local authorities. Meanwhile, the bodies of the two Americans killed in the kidnapping were placed in the care of U.S. diplomatic officials.

The group of friends from South Carolina drove to Matamoros, Mexico, last Friday so one of them could get a medical procedure. Investigators believe they were mistaken for drug smugglers. Josh Campbell has more on the story from Los Angeles. Just a warning: some of the video in this report may be disturbing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Y'all ain't never been to Mexico. Y'all don't know what it's like in Mexi.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New video obtained by CNN from inside the vehicle of four Americans just prior to their kidnapping in Mexico.



CAMPBELL (voice-over): The Americans shown and heard on Facebook Live just after they crossed into Mexico from the United States.

A government source told CNN the purpose of the visit was for Latavia Washington McGee to obtain a medical procedure. But they never made it. A timeline for Mexican officials indicated that, about two hours after entering the country, a gray Volkswagen Jetta starts to tail the Americans' van, followed by several more vehicles.

At 11:45 am, their vehicle is attacked by suspected members of the Gulf Cartel. Bystander video of the aftermath shows the victims being loaded into a truck. The bodies of the two deceased Americans are now in the United States awaiting an autopsy.

As the FBI continues to work with Mexican authorities to investigate, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico is calling for authorities to aggressively combat the cartels.

KEN SALAZAR, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO (through translator): They have to be dismantled. We have to do this work together with the Mexican government.

CAMPBELL: On Friday, Mexican officials announced the arrest of five individuals suspected of being involved with this kidnapping group.

We know the FBI and their Mexican law enforcement counterparts continue to work together to investigate this kidnapping. This comes as family members of the American victims are speaking out and demanding justice.


CAMPBELL: One of those family members saying she wants to see more arrests, saying, "They need to keep getting them until they get them all" -- Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.


BRUNHUBER: Italy launched more than a dozen rescue operations to save hundreds of migrants off its coast. The Italian Coast Guard says they safely rescued a boat with 500 people on board just hours ago and escorted it to shore.

It says the Italian navy was called in to assist with the rescue operations to reach more than 1,000 people on boats at sea. Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 migrants and 41 boats arrived at Lampedusa Island within 24 hours.

Earlier this week this latest influx comes nearly two weeks after more than 70 migrants were killed when a boat broke up off the coast of Calabria.

Two Middle East rivals agree to restore ties. The latest on the deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia and how it's expected to shake up the region.

Plus shooting Russian drones out of the sky. We'll talk to Ukrainians who hunt those weapons while they are on the way to their targets. Stay with us.




BRUNHUBER: A historic agreement is changing the geopolitics of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Iran are restoring diplomatic ties after a deal brokered by China. That comes as the U.S. tries to facilitate a deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Here's how Joe Biden chose to answer a question about the agreement.




BRUNHUBER: Nada Bashir is following developments for us from Istanbul.

Take us through how this came about and what it will mean for both countries and for the region.

[05:40:00] NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The last week we have seen five days of intensive consultations and talks mediated by China, by high level delegations from Iran and Saudi Arabia.

We have seen efforts in the past by members of the international community, namely Iraq and Oman, to reconcile the two parties but this is the first time we have seen this level of success when it comes to reconciliation.

This is going to be on a variety of fronts, not only the reopening of their embassies but they both agree to take steps to reactivate a security cooperation agreement signed in 2001, with a framework for cooperation on areas such as counterterrorism, drug smuggling and money laundering.

They will also be working to cooperate when it comes to trade and technology. This is a significant shift for two countries that have been at odds for the last seven years. The ramifications of this rift have been huge, to say the least, across the region.

We have seen mounting tensions in the Gulf. We have seen oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and even the UAE coming under attack by groups and actors backed by Iran. And when it comes to Yemen, we have seen a deepening of those conflicts.

This comes amid efforts to try to prolong peace, which seems to be holding in Yemen at the moment.

So this is a significant shift. We have heard from officials, Iran's foreign minister saying this is not only a big step for the region but he hopes this will mark the beginning of the regime's efforts to strengthen diplomatic relations with its other Middle Eastern neighbors.

Take a listen to what a member of Iran's national security council also had to say on this.


REAR ADM. ALI SHAMKHAN, IRANIAN SECRETARY OF THE SUPREME NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL (through translator): At the end of the talks, we reached a conclusion to start a new chapter after seven years of breaking off relations between Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia while considering the matters of the two countries and the security and the future of the region to prevent meddling from extraregional and Western states and consistent meddling of the Zionist regime in the region.


BASHIR: We have to consider the international context in which this is taking place. Iran finding itself increasingly isolated as a result of human rights abuses in Iran against protesters. We have seen antiregime protesters being detained and killed en masse since the death of Mahsa Amini in September. And then its nuclear activity, we have seen the international response

on that front. Iran failing to commit to its international commitment when it comes to the Iran nuclear deal. Those efforts to revive the 2015 deal have essentially stalled.

Then we are seeing a shift internationally when it comes to China's involvement in the region. China now appearing to seek to expand its diplomatic and economic ties to the Middle East in a sphere that's long been under the influence of the U.S. government.

So this is a significant shift. U.S. White House spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. welcomes all efforts to bring peace and stability in the region. And also saying U.S. government was kept abreast of all updates over the course of the five days of talks by the Saudi government.

BRUNHUBER: Interesting. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.


BRUNHUBER: Iran could be the unintended beneficiary of some Western military know-how, thanks to the war in Ukraine.

Four U.S. officials who spoke with CNN said Russia is sending Iran some of the U.S. and NATO weapons it seized in Ukraine. They include the Javelin anti-tank missiles, which you see here, and Stinger antiaircraft systems.

The officials are concerned Iran may reverse engineer those weapons as it did with other military technologies in the past.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is seeing a shift in Russia's strategy in the fight for Bakhmut. Kyiv says Russian army troops are starting to replace Wagner mercenaries. The reason could be a public feud between Wagner's boss and Russia's top military brass.

Russia stepped up its strikes on Ukraine's energy system bringing dozens of drones and missiles down on the country Thursday. Whether they hit their target or not partly depends on Ukrainian defenders, who try to shoot them down in midair. Melissa Bell spoke with some drone hunters who keep watch on Ukraine's skies.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every missile taken down means lives saved. Here with the German short-range Gepard or here. One missile taken down with a machine gun.

SERHIY, UKRAINIAN AIR DEFENSE SOLDIER (through translator): It's a pity that I didn't shoot down three. It's a shame that two got through.


SERHIY (through translator): They hit civilian targets, all critical infrastructure facilities and people who work there. BELL: These are Ukrainian drone hunters and, day and night, they scan the skies, eyes in the backs of their heads. Their machine gun loaded onto an armored vehicle, trading warmth for agility.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The trajectories of the missiles and drones are constantly changing, which means that stationary units were not enough, so we created mobile ones.

BELL: Most nights, this is what the skies above Ukraine look and sound like. And more than a year into the war, all that western equipment is helping. On Wednesday night, over 90 missiles and 8 tracking drones were detected.

Of those, more than 30 missiles and 4 Shaheds were intercepted, says the Ukrainian military.

Here in the front line town of Kupyansk, you can see what more than a year of heavy artillery and mortar fire have done. It was again the case on Wednesday night. There's not much air defense can do about that.

On the whole, what the Ukrainian military says is that with western help, its air defense systems have actually been remarkably efficient and from the very start of the invasion.

YUNI IGNAT, SPOKESMAN, UKRAINE AIR FORCE (through translator): If this haven't happened, we would probably not be talking to you now and there would be no such country as Ukraine. Thanks to the air force, we really managed to hold the keys to the sky.

BELL: This is a rare close-up look at Iran's technology of death, a Shahed drone relatively intact for having been fished out of the Black Sea. At its head, it would have carried 50 kilograms worth of explosives. This is what 20 kilograms looks like.

And this is what that looks like on the ground. Part of Russia's devastating war of attrition with civilian casualties on most nights, way beyond the front lines of the east -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Kharkiv.


BRUNHUBER: The U.S. and the European Union say they will soon begin talks to resolve a lingering trade dispute over American made electric vehicles. Those negotiations were announced following Friday's one-on- one meeting between President Biden and the European Commission president Ursula van der Leyen.

The dispute centers on the sourcing of raw materials for electric car batteries, like nickel and lithium. The U.S. currently offers tax credits to certain suppliers of those materials but not those from Europe. Here's what the E.U. chief said after her meeting.


URSULA VAN DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: We have agreed that we will start work now with a clear goal. The goal is to have an agreement on critical raw materials that have

been sourced or processed in the European Union, that these strategic supply chains are able to access the American market, as if they had been sourced in the United States.


BRUNHUBER: Patching up the trade dispute could help avoid the appearance of cracks in the Western coalition's opposition to Russia's war in Ukraine.

Investigators in Germany are working to understand why a 35-year-old man opened fire at a center on Thursday night. Six people, four men and two women, were killed. Another eight were injured, in including a woman with who lost her unborn child. The crime was unlike anything the city had ever seen.


ANDY GROTE, INTERIOR MINISTER, HAMBURG (through translator): It is the worst crime, the worst crime in the recent history of our city. It is most likely due to the very fast and determined intervention of the police that there are not more victims.


BRUNHUBER: Police have identified the suspect only as Philipp F., a German national, who shot himself as police closed in. They say he was once a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses and apparently did not leave on good terms.

A new era in space flight may take off today with the expected launch of a rocket that's not built as much as printed. Details ahead. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: A planned launch today could mark a major innovation for the space industry, the blastoff of the world's first 3D printed rocket.

The Relativity Space Company tried to launch the 110-foot tall rocket on Wednesday but it was scrubbed at the last minute. The process uses a 3D printer to build parts layer by layer. If it works, it could determine if 3D printing can be an alternative to traditional rocket building methods. The CEO of Relativity Space obviously thinks so.


TIM ELLIS, CEO, RELATIVITY SPACE COMPANY: I realized that instead of printing just bits and parts of a rocket, that 3D printing was really a completely new approach to manufacturing that would actually replace the traditional factory, the design process and the development process.

And result in rockets that have far fewer parts and are much faster and cheaper to build. So that's what we have been pioneering at Relativity, is this new large-scale 3D printing approach.

And seven years later, now we have a rocket that's 85 percent metal 3D printed, sitting on the launch pad, ready to go and be the first of many historic milestones for our industry.


BRUNHUBER: The International Space Station is a bit less crowded right now. NASA 's SpaceX capsule gently undocked from ISS a short time ago with four crew members who had been orbiting since last October. Taking their place is a new crew who arrived last weekend. Splashdown is expected off the Florida coast late Saturday night local time.

Farther out in space, after 10 years of roaming the Red Planet, the Mars Curiosity rover has finally sent us a picture of a sunset. The image shows sun beams shining through clouds at twilight, something the rover is studying.


BRUNHUBER: Scientists hope the information on when and where clouds form will help learn more about why the Red Planet went from warm and wet to a frozen desert.

And a quick reminder for most people here in the United States. Daylight Saving Time is upon us on Sunday, March 12th at 2:00 am. Most of the nation will move clocks forward one hour. That means many people you know in the U.S. will be losing an hour of sleep. Those who live in Hawaii and much of Arizona aren't affected.

This is either a dream or a nightmare, depending on your taste buds. I know which way I trend on this. Hidden Valley Ranch has partnered with the Van Leeuwen ice cream company to sell ranch-flavored ice cream.

It should be ready to scoop up at Walmart stores in about a week. It's the same company that introduced mac and cheese flavored ice cream last year. Yesterday was National Ranch Day.

Yes. All right.


BRUNHUBER: Finally, that flavorful orange drink for millions of Millennials' childhood, Sunny D is entering the alcohol market. They are launching this new version Vodka Seltzer. It was created because of popular demand.

It also said it has the same great orange taste as Sunny D and has 0 grams of sugar and only 95 calories. It will hit the shelves at some Walmart stores starting today.

Well, that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. You can follow me on Twitter. For viewers here in North America, "CNN THIS MORNING" is next. For the rest of the world, it's "GLOBAL CONNECTIONS."