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CNN International: AAA Warns of Busy Summer Travel Season Ahead; Rising Prices Pushing Some Moms Out of the Workforce; Mocha Batters Myanmar's Rakhine State with Winds and Rain; British Prime Minister Sunak Welcomes Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to U.K. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 15, 2023 - 04:30   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in the U.K. meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Sunak is set to pledge more air defense missiles and new attack drones to assist in Ukraine's counteroffensive against Russia.

And the U.S. President Biden will resume talks with congressional leaders on the U.S. debt ceiling this Tuesday. Biden's economic advisers say his team has been negotiating behind closed doors to resolve the standoff before June the 1st deadline.

NOBILO: It appears the COVID-19 travel slump is officially over. The American Automobile Association, or AAA, expects a busy summer season. The unofficial start is on Memorial Day weekend, and AAA expects 42 million Americans to travel 50 miles, or more from home over the holiday. That's a 7 percent increase over last year.

Air travel it's expected to be up 11 percent with 3.4 million people flying that weekend. That's about 170,000 more air travels than in 2019 -- pre-pandemic. But most travelers will be driving to their destination. More than 37 million Americans are expected to hit the road. That's up 6 percent over last year.

FOSTER: The U.S. is facing a childcare crisis. It's typically one of the biggest expenses for families, possibly costing them as much as rent. That's why some parents, especially moms, have chosen to drop out of the workforce to save the money. But as CNN's Natasha Chen reports there is a push to change that.


BRI DWIGHT, WORKING MOTHER: Let's pick out a book.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bri Dwight says a nanny used to cost $15 an hour when her first daughter was born five years ago. Now with her new baby, it's a least $25 an hour.

DWIGHT: Then lights the moon.

CHEN (voice-over): The U.S. Department of Labor says the median cost of childcare can range from more than $5,000 a year in small counties, up to more than $17,000 a year in very large counties.


That can mean nearly a fifth of the median family income in the U.S. per child.

DWIGHT: At first, I can't believe it, but then, you know, when you go to the store and see how loaf of bread is $7, it kind of make sense.

CHEN (voice-over): Dwight is lucky, she receives $7,500 a year in childcare subsidies from her employer, soap manufacturer Dr. Bronner's.

Even so, she'll have used it all by mid-year due to high costs. Nearly 16,000 providers permanently shut down their facilities during the pandemic -- according to a report from the nonprofit Child Care of America.

Then the so-called "Great Resignation" of workers quitting for better paying jobs, coupled with soaring inflation, pushed up the price childcare providers need to charge.

DWIGHT: We wouldn't be able to pay $15 an hour and know that they can afford a place to live.

CHEN (voice-over): The cost of operating is up at the Sanderling Waldorf School in California where they offer tuition assistance to eligible families.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to show you the tricky ones.

ANDREW UPRICHARD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SANDERLING WALDORF SCHOOL: But actually, what we're finding is that gap is too big and actually we're losing families because of it.

CHEN (voice-over): Decreasing childcare costs by 10 percent could result in up to 2.5 percent more mothers in the workforce, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

JEFF MCADAM, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TOOTRIS: When the childcare programs started to close down left and right, these working parents, especially moms, were sidelined, and they don't get included in the unemployment numbers.

CHEN (voice-over): Jack McAdam is with TOOTRiS, a platform for finding childcare and administering childcare benefits. He says the partnership with companies offering these subsidies shot up 500 percent last year.

In April, President Biden signed an executive order calling on federal agencies to try to lower the costs and expand access to childcare for their workers and the recent CHIPS Act tries to draw semiconductor business to the U.S. by letting them qualify for over $150 million of federal funding only if they have a plan for employee access to childcare.


CHEN (voice-over): MiraCosta College prepare students for those semiconductor jobs but saw a drop in female student enrollment since the start of the pandemic.

KUROKAWA: And I suspect that a lot of them discovered that by staying at home they were saving an awful lot of money.

CHEN (voice-over): So, the college is partnering with TOOTRiS too, and got a grant to offer some childcare subsidies beginning this summer.

ADRIANA GONZALEZ, WORKING MOTHER: and my job is 3D printing.

CHEN (voice-over): Adriana Gonzalez if a MiraCosta alum.

GONZALEZ: I'm a single mom.

CHEN (voice-over): She was still paying for after-school care for her son when she first enrolled.

GONZALEZ: Even for the Girls and Boys Club, it was 50 bucks. Now, it's like $230. I couldn't study. I was thinking about our eviction notice.

CHEN (voice-over): Now, she makes more money as an engineering technician and can breath a little easier. The hope is that future students can benefit from a little childcare assistance. But even the best subsidies can only take parent so far.

CHEN: How do you make the rest of the year work?

DWIGHT: We just are going to be cutting back.

CHEN (voice-over): Natasha Chen, CNN, Carlsbad, California.


NOBILO: Turning to Asia and the remnants of a tropical cyclone Mocha, have moved on to southwestern China with a little more than rain. The storm left a trail of destruction in parts of Myanmar and Bangladesh. And the disaster that was feared in the Rohingya refugee camp seemed to have been averted.

FOSTER: And the storm made landfall early on Sunday along the coast of Northwest Myanmar. Winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour blew the roofs off of buildings, uprooted trees and knocked down power lines.

NOBILO: Let's get more now from CNN's Vedika Sud, who is live for us in New Delhi. Vedika, is the worst over? VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: I doubt it's not. But we have a wait and

watch for the next few hours and perhaps days. And that's essentially because the communication lines are down in the western Myanmar. Like you pointed out, it is western Myanmar that has been pummeled by the cyclone Mocha. It was initially thought that it would hit Cox's Bazar, which holds the largest refugee camps in the world with over 1 million Rohingya refugees there.

But now we're being told that the landfall was between Cox's Bazar and a place called Sittwe, a city on the western north side of Myanmar. Now the communication lines are down, power lines are down, internet is down. So, very little communication with the world outside Sittwe and the state of Rakhine. Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine and Myanmar.

What we're being told is that the streets of Sittwe and the low line areas are completely inundated. There are reports of people actually in the terraces of their building. But we really aren't hearing from officials at this point.

A huge relief for Bangladesh though, and that's essentially because they weren't expecting the worst to hit Cox's Bazar. But it seems to have largely missed the Cox's Bazar this time. But that's a miracle really because they were expecting a lot of people to be impacted by. But it has left behind a trail of devastation and destruction and both in Bangladesh and in Myanmar.


According to an official, working with the UNDP, it seems that the worst isn't over. Because they are saying that it's not looking good from the images coming in. The wind, speed like you said, was over 200 kilometers per hour. The last time there was a cyclone as powerful as this in Myanmar was in the year 2010. I believe it was called cyclone Giri and that caused about 150 fatalities in the area and over 15,000 homes in Rakhine state were severely impacted. We'll just have to wait and watch and see how this really unfolds over the next hours and days perhaps. The extent of the devastation is yet to be asserted. Back to you.

NOBILO: Vedika Sud live for us in New Delhi. Thank you.

FOSTER: I'll show you the latest pictures from Chequers which is the British Prime Minister's country residence, a few miles northwest of London. Moments ago, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcoming Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the U.K.

NOBILO: Downing Street says Mr. Sunak will announce a new package of military support. The statement said it will include hundreds of air defense missiles, as well as hundreds of new long-range attack drones. This is the latest stop by the Ukrainian president as he meets with European head of state ahead of a much anticipated and talk about spring counteroffensive in his country's war against Russia.

FOSTER: So those are the images. I mean, you were probably expecting this having seen this tour around Europe. He was bound to end up in the U.K., was he -- Clare?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and he's had a very productive weekend. He's been in Italy. He then went to Germany and France. Secured some big military aid packages, $3 billion worth from Germany. Including more tanks, 10 armored vehicles from France and now we have the U.K. Which by the, way, you know, made a sort of an unprecedented move last week in supplying those Stormed Shadow longer range missiles. Now promising more air defense missiles, and attack drones with a range of over 200 kilometers this morning.

I think, look, last time he came -- which was just over three months ago -- there was a lot of pomp and circumstance. He addressed Parliament. He made that big plea for fighter jets by presenting the speaker of the House of Commons with that helmet from a Ukrainian fighter pilot. He has yet to secure those Western fighter jets. There was a lot of talk in the Downing Street talking about F-16s. How the U.K. is going to now start training some Ukrainian pilots this summer and will work with other countries and providing those F-16s. So, I think we'll watch for that.

And also, for any clues potentially on this upcoming counteroffensive. And so far over the weekend, he just said that the first important steps will take place soon.

NOBILO: And Clare, you mentioned before that the relationship between the U.K. and Ukraine is obviously very strong. The U.K. often leads in terms of sending a lethal aid to Ukraine. Zelenskyy is also the first person to visit Rishi Sunak officially at Chequers, which is often held for intimate meetings with key allies and heads of states. This is a really important relationship for Zelenskyy, isn't it?

SEBASTIAN: For Zelenskyy and I think most of us I think there's a definite political benefit for Rishi Sunak as well in, you know, reaffirming the U.K.'s commitment, coming out first. They did it with the Challenger tanks. They've done it with a longer-range missile, in comparison is with the U.S. which has yet to provide those attack guns -- longer range missiles that Ukraine has been wanting.

And I think, you know, it is significant that he's the first foreign leader to visit Chequers because, you know, Rishi Sunak is the third Prime Minister in the U.K. since the Ukraine war started. They have to show this continuity, this commitment. And I think it gives him a sort of air of leadership and strength, at a difficult political time domestically as well. But this firstly is for sure about the weapons, but also about the optics of standing with the European countries, standing with NATO allies. Optics that will be extremely unwelcome in Moscow.

NOBILO: Clare Sebastian, thank you for joining us. We'll have much more ahead, stay with us.



FOSTER: The cement industry is among the biggest polluters in the world. It accounts for about 8 percent of global carbon dioxide admissions, and that's according to the National Academy of Sciences.

NOBILO: Scientists in Abu Dhabi say that they're developing a carbon free alternative that could bring big environmental benefits. In a new series called "BOLD PURSUITS," Christina Macfarlane meet scientists with big ambitions to change the world.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN ANCHOR: This micro sanctuary on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi is a sight to behold. But it sits in one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world. That's why I am meeting scientist Kemal Celik here.



MACFARLANE Thank you, good to see you.

CELIK: Good to see you too.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): He is taking me out into the Arabian Gulf. He is looking for new and innovative ways to make cement, a key ingredient in the construction industry and a major environmental polluter.

MACFARLANE: Wow, so it looks very clean, actually. But this is in fact very salty.

CELIK: So, in terms of concentration, I can tell it is 40 grams per liter. So, it is really salty. After the water is desalinated, that concentration increases about two times or about three times.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): Water desalination involves turning that salty water from the ocean into drinkable water. The sea water goes through big processing plants, and the leftover salt, called brine, is pumped back into the ocean.

MACFARLANE: So, this is a real problem.

CELIK: It's a real problem, but we have solutions for that, we make use of this salty water, and make a end one solution.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): Back in his NYU Abu Dhabi lab, Kemal has been conducting scientific experiments on this salty brine.

CELIK: We need to decarbonize the cement industry because it's responsible for 8 percent of the human made CO2 admissions.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): He found it contained high concentration of magnesium, a compound that does not produce CO2.

CELIK: So, what we are doing is using this reject brand from the desalination and apply a very simple chemistry. We are getting post action chemistry, and then through a stirring process and centrifugation which means that we are separating the solid liquid and using the solid part to make cement. This is the finished product.

MACFARLANE: This is this?

CELIK: This is this after one day.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): Now Kemal is looking to a future beyond his lab.

CELIK: We have not applied this material in the industry yet. So, right now we are in the proof of the concept status, and once we are able to provoke a concept and produce a large amount of material, we will be able to applied in the industry.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): When he does, Kemal says his discovery should help the environment in two ways. Less salty brine being dumped into our oceans. And I new cement with a lower carbon footprint.

Christina Macfarlane, CNN.



FOSTER: Still ahead, the NBA's game seven playoffs, scoring a record last -- just last two weeks. Something in a sense has taught you. NBA news, coming up.


FOSTER: U.S. regulators are demanding the recall of 67 million airbag inflators. They say are dangerous. But the company that makes the components disputes the need for a recall. Authorities identified at least nine cases of ruptured airbag inflators that led to injuries, including two deaths, dating from 2009. The components are used by at least 12 carmakers that regulators didn't specify which ones.

NOBILO: U.S. food and drug administration says a Gerber infant formula that was voluntarily recalled for possible bacteria contamination, was distributed to some retailers even after the recall notice was sent out in March. The Gerber Good Start SoothePro powder formula, may contain bacteria that can seriously sicken babies. The company says people who brought the recalled formula should throw it away, there are no reports of any illnesses related to the formula.

FOSTER: In the NBA playoffs, the Boston Celtics are heading to their second straight Eastern Conference finals, facing the 76s on Sunday.


Philadelphia kept things close in the first half, but the second half was all Boston which cruised to 112 to 88 win.

NOBILO: A big reason for that was a record-breaking performance from Boston Jayson Tatum. He scored 51 points, breaking the game's seven scoring records set just two weeks ago, by the Golden State's Steph Curry. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAYSON TATUM, BOSTON CELTICS FORWARD: I love being here. I love getting to put on this uniform. I love getting to play big games, put on big performances in front of them. And they feed off, you know, motion and energy, right? And it's reciprocated and I can't express enough that, you know, I just love being here, I love playing in front of this crowd.


NOBILO: Taylor Swift is showing fans why they love this anti-hero during Saturday's concert in Philadelphia, she interrupted her own performance, of "Bad Blood" to defend the person in the crowd.


TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: Hey, stop. Depending how we get there. Hey, Stop.


FOSTER: We don't actually know what prompted that reaction. No comment from the stadium, or the pop star. Swift has been on her latest tour since March. Are you going to join?

NOBILO: Join the tour?


NOBILO: No, I won't be joining the tour. I don't go to any concerts, really. It's quite loud.

FOSTER: I met Taylor Swift once.

NOBILO: Did you!

FOSTER: A very cold day. Yes, just before she sang with Jon Bon Jovi and Prince William at Kensington Palace.

NOBILO: What impression did she leave you there?

FOSTER: Well, she was fascinated by the guy from "The Times," next to me. He had a flat cap. And she asked if he was a paper boy. And he like was one of the most esteemed correspondents in the U.K.

NOBILO: She has a song called "London Boy," I think.

FOSTER: Perhaps she went after him.

NOBILO: Perhaps he was the inspiration.

FOSTER: Thanks for joining us here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster.

NOBILO: And I'm Bianca Nobilo. "EARLY START" is next right here on CNN.