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Tornadoes Strike Mississippi; Biden And Trudeau Build On U.S.- Canada Ties; Russia Suggests Possible Change Of Strategy In Bakhmut; More Protests Planned Across France; Two More Deaths Linked To Eye Drops; "City Killer" Asteroid. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 25, 2023 - 02:00   ET




LAILA HARRAK, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to all of our viewers watching from around the world. I'm Laila Harrak. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

Parts of the southeastern United States being pounded by severe weather. One woman tells CNN her town in Mississippi obliterated.

U.S. forces in Syria strike back after coming under attack for the third time in two days. The Iranian connection in this escalating conflict.



GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTOR AND ENTREPRENEUR: I said, "You skied directly into my effing back," and he said, "Oh, sorry. Sorry. I'm sorry."

HARRAK (voice-over): Actress Gwyneth Paltrow gives her version of a skiing accident at the center of a lawsuit against her, the case of she said/he said.


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

HARRAK: We begin this hour with extreme weather in the southeastern United States, where multiple tornadoes barrel through the state of Mississippi in the past few hours.

The National Weather Service says a large tornado caused significant damage and several towns including Rolling Fork and Silver City, leaving homes and buildings flattened and trees and power lines down.

Officials are sending search and rescue teams and first responders to the area northwest of Jackson. And as the storm system moves east, millions more people are now under tornado or severe thunderstorm watches, spread, of course, across parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia.

Brandy Showah, a resident of Rolling Fork, one of the impacted areas in Mississippi, joins us now on the phone.

Brandy, we are so glad to hear that you are OK.

Can you give us a sense of what it was like when the storm struck?

BRANDY SHOWAH, ROLLING FORK RESIDENT: Well, I was out of town. I had my grandmother on the phone. She lives over behind the hospital on Third Street. I called her because I was watching the storm chasers on YouTube actually, following the storm.

And we watched this tornado form through the lightning strikes and it became this massive monster and they said it's headed directly toward town.

So I called my grandmother. And I heard her on the phone and told her to get down. And she -- she was staying down but I could -- you could hear the tornado in the -- you could hear the roar in the background as she started screaming for help.

And she said that, she wants it stopped. Roaring -- her, she said, it's raining through my roof. It's raining through my roof.

So we rushed down to evacuate her immediately.

HARRAK: A truly terrifying and harrowing experience that you detail there.

What else were you doing all to stay safe?

SHOWAH: Well, she was in her -- in her bedroom covered up. My uncle lived with her and he has severe Parkinson's. And she's, she had a fall recently. So she's not in the best of shape.

And they were just hunkering down and in a room, that's all they could really do.

HARRAK: Just a terrible situation overall. I mean, we were just watching some of the footage that you shot, you know?

Can you detail what it was like going through, driving through your hometown and looking at it, completely obliterated.

SHOWAH: Well, we tried to come through from the north side of town and it was blocked off, because there was debris everywhere. And we had to come around to the south side. And there were -- there's power lines all over the road. There's trees all over the road.

There's brick buildings that are that are just laying out in the street. Actually, two houses down from my grandmother's house, everything is just a debris field, the houses are just destroyed.

HARRAK: And what about your neighbors?


Did they manage to get out?

SHOWAH: We -- a friend of mine lives down the road.


SHOWAH: She called me, she was trapped inside of her house. She was stuck in one room. And she said that everything was on top of them. So luckily someone had -- we weren't able to get to that end of the street because of all of the trees. And someone was able to get to her.

And we walked around where we could and, because there's power lines and antennas and there's a home on our street that was leaking gas, I guess. I guess when it ripped the house apart, it ripped the gas lines too and the gas lines were still going.

It -- I mean, it's just -- there's stuff everywhere.

HARRAK: And do you have somewhere safe to go now?

SHOWAH: Yes, yes, we are up in Indianola. We got my grandma out and got her somewhere safe. And we're regrouping to go back down and try to help.

HARRAK: Brandy, we're so glad to hear that you and your grandmother are OK. Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us during this very difficult moment for you and your family.

SHOWAH: Yes, ma'am. Thank you. I just -- I just want to say, thank you to everyone who has stopped what they were doing and rushed down to help. There are thousands of people coming to help. And they are lifesavers. This is a great community we have down here.

HARRAK: Yes, indeed. Thank you so much, Brandy. Thank you.

SHOWAH: Thank you.



HARRAK: Turn our attention now to the Middle East, where U.S. forces stationed in Syria have again come under attack from suspected Iranian proxies. It's the latest in a long cycle of drone and rocket attacks by the militants that now average one assault every 10 days.

American troops were targeted twice on Friday in Deir ez-Zor and Green Village. One U.S. service member was reported wounded.

Earlier on Friday the U.S. had retaliated in Deir ez-Zor for Thursday's deadly drone attack that killed an American contractor. More than a dozen militants were reported killed in those strikes. Here is what U.S. President Biden had to say afterward.


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To make no mistake, the United States does not -- does not -- emphasize -- seek conflict with Iran. But be prepared for us to act forcefully to protect our people. That's exactly what happened last night.


HARRAK: CNN's Natasha Bertrand is at the Pentagon and has the latest.


NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Joe Biden ordering a U.S. airstrike in Eastern Syria Thursday after an American contractor was killed in a suspected Iranian drone attack on a coalition military base.

Video circulating widely on Syrian social media appearing to show the aftermath of the airstrike, which Biden authorized against facilities being used by Iranian proxy groups to store munitions and gather intelligence, a U.S. official told CNN.

ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: We're going to continue to do whatever we can to defend themselves. And if we have to retaliate, like we did yesterday, we'll do that.

BERTRAND (voice-over): Questions now being raised about why U.S. forces were unable to stop the drone before it crashed into the base in the northeastern Syrian city of al-Hasakah, wounding five U.S. service members and another U.S. contractor.

QUESTION: Why wasn't there a contingency to shoot down the drone if it was coming into the base?

BRIG. GEN. PATRICK RYDER, PENTAGON SPOKESPERSON: Again look, we take a variety of measures to safeguard our people. But again, it's an inherently dangerous place. And again, we'll look into the details of the actual type.

BERTRAND (voice-over): Another Iranian proxy attack targeting a separate U.S. base early Friday morning resulted in no injuries to personnel. But it did strike a civilian house, causing significant damage and injuries to two women and two children, the Pentagon said.

But the skirmishes are just the latest in a series of dozens of attacks that Iranian proxy forces have carried out against U.S. personnel since early 2021. That's according to the commander of Central Command General Erik Kurilla, who spoke to lawmakers on Thursday.

QUESTION: Can you give us a feel for how often you're being attacked?

GEN. MICHAEL "ERIK" KURILLA, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: There has been a number since one January 2021. The number is about 78 times that we have been attacked. BERTRAND (voice-over): The U.S. maintains about 900 troops in Syria

as part of the anti ISIS coalition. But Iran also has proxies in the country who are fighting Syrian rebel groups on behalf of Syria's president Bashar al Assad.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They want to make sure that the U.S. and allied forces don't forget that they're there and they also want to make sure that they can, in essence, control certain parts of Syria on behalf of the Syrian government.

BERTRAND (voice-over): The Iranian strike comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, with the U.S. accusing Tehran and Moscow of supplying each other with weapons and with Iran racing to bolster its nuclear program.

But the White House emphasizing on Friday that the U.S. is not looking for a war.

KIRBY: We don't seek a war with Iran. We're not looking for an armed conflict with that country or another war in the region.

BERTRAND: So we're also learning that Iran backed groups launched another series of rocket attacks against U.S. forces based in northeast Syria on Friday. That would be the second time on Friday that these Iran-backed groups launched attacks against U.S. personnel stationed in Syria and the third such attack in just two days.

So really marking an escalation here of these attacks by Iranian proxy groups. The question now is whether the U.S. is going to retaliate yet again following that U.S. airstrike targeting those Iranian facilities in Syria on Thursday.

The U.S. has said that it does reserve the right to retaliate in order to protect U.S. personnel in the region. But they have also said they do not want a war or an escalation of this conflict with Iran. So it's going to be a very difficult balance for the U.S. to strike -- Natasha Bertrand, CNN, at the Pentagon.


HARRAK: President Biden is back in the U.S. after a whirlwind trip to Canada and meetings with prime minister Justin Trudeau.


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: The shared history and shared hope, the shared prosperity and to the shared peace and security that binds Canada and the United States together as allies, as neighbors and most importantly, as true friends.

BIDEN: (INAUDIBLE) the family of Canada and the United States here.


HARRAK: It was a friendly and productive visit that addressed a range of issues on Ukraine. Prime minister Trudeau said the U.S. and Canada are partners that Ukraine can count on.


HARRAK: President Biden signaled he's not concerned about the growing ties between Russia and China, saying it's the U.S. and Canada that are expanding alliances. Mr. Trudeau also said both the U.S. and Canada will work toward peace and stability in Haiti as gang violence surges there.

New developments in the investigations into Donald Trump. A federal judge has ordered several Trump aides to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The directive comes as a former Trump attorney was compelled to testify about the handling of classified documents. CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider has details.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trump's closest advisers ordered to testify in two Justice Department probes a federal judge rejecting Trump's claim of executive privilege.

Ordering former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior aide Stephen Miller and others to answer questions from a grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: I remember leaning against the doorway and saying, I had an interesting conversation with Brody, Mark. Sounds like we're going to go to the Capitol.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We're going to walk down to the Capitol.

HUTCHINSON: He didn't look up from his phone and said, something to the effect of, there's a lot going on, Cass but I don't know. Things might get real, real bad.

SCHNEIDER: Separately, Evan Corcoran, a top Trump attorney and a crucial witness in special counsel Jack Smith's classified documents, probe, spending nearly four hours testifying behind closed doors to a federal grand jury on Friday.

Trump also fought in court to stop his testimony. But several judges ruling Corcoran must divulge information about the conversations he had with former President Trump. Leading up to the FBI search of Mar- a-Lago last summer and that Corcoran must turn over handwritten notes documenting their interactions.

FBI agents seized more than 100 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago in August.

TRUMP: They should give me immediately back everything that they've taken from because it's mine. It's mine. SCHNEIDER: FBI agents seized more than 100 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago in August and in November, the attorney general appointed special counsel Jack Smith, to investigate, among other things, whether Trump obstructed the government's attempts to get back all the classified material still in his possession after he left office.

Evan Corcoran crafted a statement in June 2022, claiming a diligent search had been conducted at Mar-a-Lago and that all classified documents had been returned.

A source tells CNN prosecutors wanted to ask Corcoran about that statement and a June phone call between him and Trump that took place the same day as subpoena was issued for Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage that showed boxes being moved out of a storage room.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: You still have the surveillance tape. Is that correct?


SCHNEIDER: Sources tell CNN prosecutors have made clear that they believe Trump used Corcoran to advance a crime.

A Trump spokesperson has fired back, accusing the Justice Department of continuously stepping far outside the standard norms and an attempt to destroy the long accepted, long held constitutionally based standards of attorney- client privilege and executive privilege.

TIM PARLATORE, TRUMP ATTORNEY: From the beginning, he has tried to cooperate.

SCHNEIDER: Trump attorney Tim Parlatore tells CNN. He also testified before the grand jury in December, divulging details about additional searches for classified documents he organized at several Trump properties last year.

PARLATORE: They would rather make this into an adversarial fight and try to make it into a criminal case.

SCHNEIDER: Special counsel Jack Smith will now be getting an influx of new information, both from Evan Corcoran, being forced to testify in front of the grand jury on Friday, and from the array of top Trump administration officials, who will now have to testify to the grand jury about what they know about what transpired on and around January 6th.

Our team is told that Trump's legal team is expected to appeal this decision that said these top officials cannot claim executive privilege -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


HARRAK: Ukraine senses opportunity after months of brutal Russian attacks and Bakhmut. Now Ukrainian troops may take the fight to the enemy instead of staying on the defense. That's ahead. And the rubbish piling up on the streets of Paris as workers strike

over pension reform, a breeding ground for disease-carrying rats. I'll talk to a French specialist on invasive species and rodent control.





HARRAK: Ukraine says Russia has launched more than 100 missile and rocket attacks in the past 24 hours. But on the ground, Ukraine says Russian forces keep hitting a wall in their attacks in the east.


HARRAK (voice-over): This is video of fighting in the city of Bakhmut, which Ukraine says is still under Russian military pressure. But Kyiv says Russians are not gaining any new ground despite more than three dozen attacks across Eastern Ukraine on Friday.

Meanwhile Russia is stepping up production of its strategic bombers. A state military corporation says it will be turning out more of its upgraded supersonic bombers, the Tupolev 160 planes.

Russia has been struggling to produce some of its advanced weapons because of shortages of Western components. Back in Bakhmut the situation in the city is now described as stabilized after months of relentless Russian attacks.

But Ukraine is now suggesting it may change its strategy and stop playing defense in Bakhmut. Ivan Watson has more.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russia's war machine appears to be losing momentum in Bakhmut where Ukrainian commanders now exhibit optimism.

After hurling themselves for months against Ukrainian defenders in this city on Ukraine's eastern front, Russian troops and mercenaries have made on the incremental gains and suffered staggering losses. Russian forces in Bakhmut are depleted, says one of Kyiv's top generals and the Ukrainian counteroffensive could soon be launched.

Harder to judge, the enormous sacrifice Ukrainians have made in their costly defense of this embattled city. But while Russia's efforts have slowed, they haven't stalled. Ukraine claims the area has been hit with more than 200 strikes in the last day alone.


WATSON: And Russia is sending in backup to compensate for the growing losses of Wagner private mercenaries, with Russian airborne troops now playing a greater role in the fighting around Bakhmut, according to the Ukrainian military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to say that the situation in the south has not improved in such a way we can talk about some kind of victory or anything like that in the country. The enemy is applying even more pressure.

WATSON: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this week paid tribute to the defenders of Bakhmut, visiting Ukraine's eastern front to hand out awards.

The deadly grudge match over Bakhmut is far from over. The Ukrainian military says it's using the front lines of Bakhmut to bleed and exhaust the Russian army. But how long can Ukraine afford to fight a bloody war of attrition against its much larger, stronger enemy? -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine.


HARRAK: The man whose story inspired the movie, "Hotel Rwanda," has had his sentence commuted. Paul Rusesabagina, who saved many lives during the Rwandan genocide, had been sentenced to 25 years on charges related to, quote, "terrorism."

According to senior U.S. officials, he's out of prison and is currently staying at the residence of the Qatari ambassador in Kigali. The story was made famous by this Hollywood movie.


HARRAK: He's credited with saving more than 1,200 people by sheltering them in the hotel during the 1994 genocide. It is believed that more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed during this period.

The second largest school district in the U.S. has a new labor deal. Just ahead, the agreement between striking workers and the Los Angeles school district.





HARRAK: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Laila Harrak and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

After a three day labor strike, the Los Angeles Unified School District has reached a tentative deal with a local union. The school district agreed to a 7 percent ongoing wage increase, effective July 1st. In addition, all employees will get a $2 an hour increase January 1st next year and the minimum wage will be raised to $22.52 cents.

The superintendent said this is a good agreement for all sides.


ALBERTO CARVALHO, SUPERINTENDENT, LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT: This is a multi year agreement the likes of which has never been negotiated in this district, the likes of which has never been negotiated across the state or across the country.

And I can I can confidently say that. This is an agreement is going to make a lot of superintendents very nervous. And that's a good thing. That is the good kind of trouble we need. Elevate the bar.

HARRAK (voice-over): If the agreement is ratified, it will be good through June of 2024. Well, Los Angeles Unified is the second largest school district in the United States.



HARRAK (voice-over): In Paris, buses honk their horns to show support as students blocked the entrance to their school and chant slogans against pension reform. The police and president Emmanuel Macron.

Friday's protests across the country were markedly less chaotic than the day before, when hundreds were arrested after violent clashes with police.


HARRAK: CNN's Melissa Bell has more now on the ongoing protests against increasing the retirement age and plans for more demonstrations in the coming days.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Another night on Friday in Paris of sporadic small scale protests, the kind that we've seen every single night for more than a week, ever since the government announced that it was pushing its pension reforms through parliament without a vote.

The big protests, of course, came on Thursday, when more than a million people demonstrated throughout France with we saw some violence on the edges of those demonstrations in Paris but in other French cities as well.

There were nearly 1,000 fires lit, say French officials during that Paris rally. We've also been hearing from the French interior minister that nearly 500 people have been arrested as a result.

And yet those protests set to continue. It is on Tuesday that French unions have announced they will hold a tenth day of strikes and nationwide protests as they try and keep the pressure on the French government up to go back on its planned pension reform.

The idea that the age of retirement was raised from 62 to 64 by the end of the year. We should hear within a month from the constitutional council about the constitutionality of that bill.

But the expectation is that it will go through. The unions determined to keep up the pressure Tuesday, the next day of protest. As a result, the French government announcing that it is postponing a planned state visit by King Charles III, the British monarch.

He was due to arrive with the queen consort on Sunday and stay until Wednesday; that now postponed as a result of the troubles here in France. Emmanuel Macron, explaining during a press conference that it was simply common sense to ask that the state visit should be pushed back.

By Tuesday. France's bracing then again for another day of massive strikes and protests. Again, the government, insisting it will not back down on the issue -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.



HARRAK: Sanitation workers in several French cities have been on strike for weeks as part of the pension protests and that's created a massive garbage problem. Tons of rubbish have been accumulating on the streets of Paris and other cities. And with so much trash, rats and public health risks aren't far behind.


HARRAK: For more on this story. I'm now joined by Romain Lasseur. He's in Paris and is a specialist on invasive species and rodent control

Mr. Lasseur, a very warm welcome. I want to ask, you're joining us from Paris.

What is the situation right now?

I mean, we've all seen those quite shocking images of streets overflowing with piles of garbage.

What can you tell us about what the situation is right now?

ROMAIN LASSEUR, INVASIVE SPECIES AND RODENT CONTROL SPECIALIST: Yes, thanks. Thanks so much for this equation. Yes, you're right. It's amazing situation. We get a large tons of garbage over the streets and it's something really special.

But the problem of rats is not new in Paris, because, since 4-5 years, we get increasing population of rats and increasing problems of public health because a lot of people do not want any more we select and we control rats in the big cities in France.

But this special specific strike is a very good occasion for rats to gather a lot of food. So we are afraid by a public health problem and perhaps increasing of natality of rats in the 2-3 months coming.

So it's something, yes, we have to get in mind.

HARRAK: All right. And I understand that you have observed a change in rats' behavior due to the garbage that is lying around. They are adapting?

LASSEUR: What is so -- what is sure is that the rats -- a big part of rats living -- is living on -- over the ground because they can have burrows, they can have access directly to the trash cans.

And in that case, they prefer to stay on -- over the ground. And it's -- we estimate that 60 percent to 70 percent of rats are living over the ground. But (INAUDIBLE) about is living in sewers.

This specific situation of tons of trash over streets in Paris is a good opportunity for the rats living in sewers to go up and to stay over the ground. So we will -- and we will -- and we observe more rats over the grounds.

And our -- yes, our afraid (sic) is that we have now good condition for reproduction for rats because it's mainly depending on food. And if we have food everywhere, we will have babies for sure.

HARRAK: So what are some of the potential health hazards for residents, for instance?

LASSEUR: Oh, it's mainly for people living there. It's mainly for people, for people are -- who are visiting streets with dogs, with cats and so on, because these animals can enter directly but in contact with pathogens (ph).

And it's mainly for people who will have to collect this trash because the rats are able to stay over the -- over the day, over the night inside the trash bag and plays there in there and putting urines (ph), putting droppings inside.

And us -- and because we know that urines (sic) and droppings as the main -- the main tool for transfer for pathogens, all the people in Paris will be -- will be exposed. And just to have in mind that we -- it's in six months, we will have the real big World Cup in Paris and in another place in France.

And in less than 500 days, we'll have the Olympic Games. So in that situation, I think it's very dangerous to give food to a lot of rats and to, yes, to not to end and to postpone this social event.

HARRAK: And in a few words, if you can, Mr. Lasseur, the situation right now that seems impossible to manage.

How difficult will it be to combat this rising rat problem the longer this continues?

LASSEUR: Yes. The problems is it will take, you know, long weeks, I think, to evacuate trash and long weeks to get population of rats under a threshold, below a low -- we know (INAUDIBLE).

So today if we do not stop this strike and to have a very strong plan to regulate rats in big cities, I think we will have problems six months with a lot of -- lot of and millions people entering France too for sport events.

So it will take long weeks if we begin now, so -- but if we postponed the event, it will be a nightmare for us.


HARRAK: Thank you so much for joining us.

LASSEUR: Thank you very much. Have a good day, 'bye.

HARRAK: You, too.


HARRAK: Now rescue teams are searching the wreckage of a candy factory in Pennsylvania after a massive explosion killed at least two people and injured several others. That's next.




HARRAK: Rescue efforts are underway after an explosion at a candy factory in Pennsylvania killed two people and injured at least eight others. It happened Friday afternoon at the R.M. Palmer Company in West Reading outside Philadelphia.

Police say the cause of the explosion is still under investigation but the building was leveled.

Two more deaths have been linked to bacteria in a brand of recalled eye drops, making three in all. The EzriCare eye drops were pulled from store shelves last month.


HARRAK: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified 68 people in 16 states who have been infected. Here's CNN's Elizabeth Cohen with the latest.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: CNN has spoken exclusively with people who say that they were injured by EzriCare eye drops. Now these are the eye drops that have been recalled because of bacterial contamination.

But before they were recalled, you could buy them over the counter at a drugstore. These three people, they had dry eyes and so they bought the eye drops, thinking that they were closed and they were secure. And they were safe. So the first person, her name is Renee Martray. She says that she now

has corneal scarring and she has filed a lawsuit because, she says her vision, it's as if she were looking out of glasses that were lined with oil. Let's take a listen to Renee.


RENEE MARTRAY, EYE PATIENT: He said, you're probably not going to get any more vision back in that eye. And I mean, I cried for days. I would wonder how they could let something like this happen. I mean, I trust when I see a box sealed up, I would -- I'm thinking it's sterile. I'm thinking it's good.


COHEN: Another woman, Nancy Monse (ph) in Ohio, she was hospitalized. She has an ulcer on her cornea. She's lost vision in her eye. Her doctors have written a medical journal article about her.

And Clara Leva (ph) in Florida, she had to have her right eyeball surgically removed and she's now legally blind. She's filed the lawsuit against EzriCare.

The CDC says four people have had their eyeballs surgically removed and three people have died.

In their latest statement in February, they said, "As of today, we are not aware of any testing that definitively links the Pseudomonas aeruginosa outbreak to EzriCare Artificial Tears.

"Nonetheless, we immediately took action to stop any further distribution or sale of EzriCare Artificial Tears. To the greatest extent possible, we have been contacting customers to advise them against continued use of the product."

CNN has learned of several people who filed lawsuits against EzriCare -- back to you.


HARRAK: Our thanks to Elizabeth Cohen. For that

Gwyneth Paltrow takes the stand in Utah. But this isn't a movie. Just ahead, the real life trial that has the actress defending herself in court.





HARRAK: Oscar winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow testified Friday in a Utah courtroom. She's accused of crashing into another skier at a resort seven years ago, leaving him with serious injuries. Here's CNN's Veronica Miracle with the latest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon.

PALTROW: Good afternoon.

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four days into her civil trial --

PALTROW: My legal name is Gwyneth Kate Paltrow Falchuk.

MIRACLE (voice-over): Actress and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow took the stand, accused of plowing into 76-year-old Terry Sanderson on a Utah ski slope in 2016.

On the stand, Paltrow claimed she was the victim.

PALTROW: I was skiing and looking downhill as you do. And I was skied directly into by Mr. Sanderson. And your 9-year-old son, you will admit, was on your left and up a bit to my recollection.

MIRACLE (voice-over): Sanderson claims Paltrow was distracted by her children and ran into him.

PALTROW: I was skiing and two skis came between my skis, forcing my legs apart. And then there was a body pressing against me and there was a very strange grunting noise. So my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was still on the ground, right?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you said, what are you doing?



Like why did you do that?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he said, "I think you skied into me."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's when you were furious and said, "You skied directly into my effing back. At the top of your lungs."

PALTROW: Yes, I did.


PALTROW: I apologize for my bad language. MIRACLE (voice-over): Before the 50 year old star took the stand --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like a day and night as far as before and after the accident.

MIRACLE (voice-over): -- Plaintiff's attorneys claim Sanderson broke four ribs, suffered brain damage and was vibrant (ph) before the collision. But after his brain deteriorated. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not my dad. This is an alternate version

of my dad.

MIRACLE (voice-over): Sanderson's daughter recalled angry outbursts after the collision, like when he lashed out at his granddaughter while struggling to close the van door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is just so belittled and made to feel like she's stupid. And my just -- but this didn't have to happen if he just listened to her.

MIRACLE (voice-over): The defense, claiming Sanderson's prior medical issues, including a stroke like event, could have been a factor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree that he adjusted his scheme to the right side of the slope because of his in the -- because of his vision issues?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that was typical. He would. Yes.

MIRACLE (voice-over): The only witness who testified to seeing the collision, a friend of the plaintiff, said Paltrow was to blame.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She hits him right directly in the back.

MIRACLE (voice-over): Paltrow said on the stand he got it wrong.

PALTROW: I did not believe his testimony.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe that he saw the collision?

PALTROW: No. I don't believe that he saw what he thinks he saw.

MIRACLE: Sanderson is suing Paltrow for more than $300,000 in damages. Paltrow is countersuing for a symbolic $1 and attorney's fees -- Veronica Miracle, CNN, Park City, Utah.


HARRAK: And finally this hour.


HARRAK: It's not as bad as it sounds but a so called "city killer" asteroid is heading our way, according to a tweet by NASA a newly discovered asteroid will pass by Earth on Saturday. It will be about 100,000 miles away. NASA says that while close approaches are a regular occurrence when

this big only happens about once a decade. While some of us might go hiding under our bed. NASA calls it a, quote, "unique opportunity for science."

The asteroid is expected to fly by harmlessly between Earth and the moon.


I'm Laila Harrak. Thanks so much for your company. More CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment.