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Mawar Regains Super Typhoon Status, Now Category 4 Storm; State Media Says, Russia Denies Fire at Defense Ministry Building; Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) Announces White House Bid; Wagner Chief Fired New Political Salvo at Russian Leaders; U.K. Inflation Falls to 8.7 percent but Food Prices Still Rising; Negotiations Ongoing But No Tangible Progress in Showdown; Refugee4s in Chad Say They Left Behind Families to Escape War; Restoring a Tropical Paradise. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 25, 2023 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, welcome to all those joining from all around the world. You're watching CNN Newsroom, I'm Robyn Curnow

Ahead this hour on CNN, Mawar is once again a super typhoon and gaining strength as it moves away from the island of Guam. The very latest of where the storm is and where it's heading.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. The first ever presidential campaign launch on Twitter melts down and the internet erupts in mockery of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

And remembering Tina Turner, her incredible voice, her unforgettable live performances, as well as her own personal resonance (ph).

Thanks for being here for another hour. We begin with Super Typhoon Marwar, which continues to strengthen. At last report, sustained winds were 155 miles, or 250 kilometers an hour, just shy of a Category 5 hurricane. The storm is now moving away from the island of Guam after making landfall on Wednesday. The most powerful storm hit Guam in decades left tens of thousands without electricity. But according to the governor, no fatalities have been reported.

For now, officials are urging residents to stay indoors until conditions are safe.


GOV. LOU LEON GUERRERO, GUAM: I am so glad we are safe. We have weathered the storm, the worst has gone by, but we are going to continue experiencing tropical storm winds up to about 40, 50 miles per hour. So, I ask you again to please stay home for your protection and your safety.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Storm chaser James Reynolds joins us now live from Guam with more on this. So, James, apart from what seems like a pretty widespread power outage, Guam escaped any major damage. Really, it's just kind of a mess. It needs a bit of a cleanup.

JAMES REYNOLDS, STORM CHASER: Yes, the island has certainly been roughed up, that's for sure. I was walking around today along the main tourist strip and all I could hear was the hum of generators because the power has been cut widely, there's no water right now and everywhere you look, there are trees down and huge branches strewn across the ground.

But at one point, before the storm was going to hit, there was a possibility it could have made a direct hit as a Category 5 super typhoon. But, thankfully, due to a slight wobble in the change of the track of the storm and some unexpected weakening, that didn't unfold. So, that's a relief, John.

VAUSE: The island saw, what, the same winds of 140 miles per hour, it's about 230 kilometers. You were there. Describe what it was like.

REYNOLDS: Yes. I was a little bit south of the worst of the wind and the rain, but even where I was it was blowing sustained hurricane force and the air just filled sheets of rain. There's tree debris flying through the air, there was even at one point lots of lightning filling up the skies, which is not something you get very often in a hurricane or a typhoon. So, it was pretty full on. And, again, just walking around today, you can see evidence of that really everywhere you look.

VAUSE: And officials have been urging residents to stay indoors, they're saying, until conditions are safe. Any idea of how long that will be?

REYNOLDS: Well, it looks like the cleanup could take a while and it's really easy to hurt yourself in unexpected ways when there's like rubbish and debris strewn around all over the place. So, yes, that seems to be smart advice right now.

How long the cleanup is going to take now? Just from what I've seen, I expect in the days rather than the weeks.

VAUSE: James, we appreciate that. James Reynolds live was there with the very latest from Guam.

Well, CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers has more now on how Guam caught a lucky break and where the storm is headed next.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Very impressive satellite presentation here for the super typhoon. There's Guam right there. It just wobbled just to the north of Guam. It reduced its strength from super typhoon at 150 down to 140. And that wobble certainly reduced the amount of damage in Guam.

Now, don't get me wrong, there's a lot of damage here, but it could have been maybe double when this thing could have hit it with a direct force, a direct hit and also with a super typhoon force, because right now it's back to super typhoon because it's back into warm water.

But look what happens here. It's the wobble that really made a difference with this storm last night. The storm was heading right toward the center of the island, lost a little bit of intensity with that eye wall replacement cycle we talked about last night, turned to the right and then back to the left and just missed and went through the channel, just missed with the direct hit there on Guam's east coast.


There was an awful lot of damage on the west coast as well that many people really weren't anticipating that the winds be so strong coming from the west. They expected all the winds to be coming from the east, over 20, 24 inches of rainfall in some spots already.

Here's where we are now, 150, a super typhoon. That just the threshold. We're over into super typhoon category. And the eye is getting tighter, stronger, more evident here, which means the storm is still getting stronger. So, in 24 hours, by tomorrow, this time, 155 getting really big, and then 165. So, this thing isn't done. It's in some very warm water.

These are impressive numbers for May. These are not so impressive at times for July and August when the water is hot, but the waters aren't even as hot as they're going to get. This is going to continue to be a significant storm as it makes its way toward the northern part of Luzon Island, which would be the Philippines, or maybe up toward Taiwan. But most of the models, at least for right now, stop the storm here, turn it hard to the right on a right hand and take it on up toward Japan. We'll have to see.

That's a long way. We're talking seven to ten days away before anything like that could possibly occur. But we're still going to have to watch what's happening here, because that right there is an impressive super typhoon

VAUSE: Now to a sudden about-face by the Kremlin, which is denying earlier reports that a fire had broken out at the Ministry of Defense in Central Moscow. That's according to state media, which first reported emergency services were on the scene after a blaze began on a balcony. Local officials now saying no fire, no fire, no fire has been detected.

But there is video from Moscow which shows smoke surrounding the building, and a woman can be heard complaining about a horrible burning smell.

This coming as new U. S. intelligence indicates despite all of their denials, Ukraine may have launched a drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month. Sources say U.S. officials picked up chatter among Ukrainian officials blaming each other for the attack. That contributed to the assessment that the Ukrainian group may be responsible. USA has not been able to reach a definitive conclusion, but they believe it's unlikely that its senior Ukrainian government officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy were aware of the attacks.

Now, two pro-Ukrainian, anti-Putin paramilitary groups say their operations across the border in Russia are far from over. They're now back in Ukraine after claiming the cross border military raid earlier this week. They say the raid was only one step in a bigger operation, which is ongoing.

CNN's Sam Kiley has details.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A propaganda coup, Russian dissident soldiers back from a raid inside Russia parading a captured Russian vehicle for the world.

What do you hope will be the effect of this raid?

CAESAR, SPOKESPERSON, FREEDOM FOR RUSSIA LEGION: Effect of this raid was amazing. It was information shell, information bomb blowing about today, whole internet blowing up, boiling.

KILEY: The Legion and the far right Russian Volunteer Corps, all Russian nationals, a part of Ukraine's security forces and carry Ukrainian military I.D.s.

This incursion into Russian territory, which these guys say is ongoing, was as much a propaganda mission as it was a military mission. But they say it was also done independently of the Ukrainian military. That is a claim we have to take with a big pinch of salt.

They jointly raided Russian territory this week and flooded the internet with images of their work. Russia claims to have driven them out. Still, the raid has rattled Moscow.

Do you think this is part of the coming summer offensive, an attempt to keep the Russians off balance, keep them guessing?

CAESAR: I think it's kind of -- yes, it's kind of it.

KILEY: American made vehicles appear to have been used in the cross border operation in Belgorod Province. It's unclear if they were U.S. donations.

The vehicles that you took included some of the American MRAPs, is that right, that you were using?

CAESAR: We used Humvee also, yes. We buy them in international shops, war shops, yes.

KILEY: So, you bought these vehicles on the open market?

CAESAR: Yes, of course. Everyone who have some money can do it.

KILEY: Ukraine's government, which has received U.S. vehicles and lethal hardware, says that these men operated inside Russia privately. But a security source said here that Kyiv had advanced knowledge of the raid. And Caesar admitted Ukraine helped out with supplies.

CAESAR: Small arms, artillery, weapon, heavy vehicles, everything that we need.

KILEY: So, this was a raid that the government can deny, but still enjoy the results, divisions in the ranks of their enemies.


Mercenary Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin immediately reacting with fury.


KILEY: And the far right leader of the Russian volunteer, he even warned that Moscow could face a revolution.

DENIS NIKITIN, HEAD, RUSSIAN VOLUNTEER CORPS: The operation is ongoing. This is how I should put it, to be honest. It definitely has various phases. So, phase one, we consider it a successful phase. It's over now, but the operation is ongoing. That's what I can say for now.

KILEY: Sam Kiley, CNN in Sumy Province.


VAUSE: It was unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. The campaign launched for Florida governor and presidential wannabe Ron DeSantis was meant to be groundbreaking moment for social media. Instead, it was a glitch-filled, embarrassing Twitter meltdown. Here's DeSantis a short time after the meltdown on Fox News.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We had a huge audience. It did. It was the biggest they'd ever had. It did break the Twitter Space. And so we're really excited with the enthusiasm.


VAUSE: But technical problems may be the least of DeSantis' issues right now. A new CNN poll shows him losing ground to the frontrunner, former president, twice impeach, once indicted, Donald Trump.

CNN's Jessica Dean reports.


DESANTIS (voice over): Do you go with the crowd or do you look at the data yourself and cut against the grain? And I chose to do the latter.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' attempt to declare his candidacy for president in a unique way with Twitter owner Elon Musk on Twitter Spaces, an audio only platform, plagued by technical issues at the start.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just keeps crashing?

ELON MUSK, OWNER, TWITTER (voice over): Yes, I think we've got just a massive number of people online, so it's -- servers are straining somewhat.

DEAN: But server issues caused the rollout to be plagued with problems with Team DeSantis tweeting, quote, it seems we broke the internet with so much excitement. While you're waiting, donate now.

DESANTIS (on camera): We must look forward, not backwards. We need the courage to lead, and we must have the strength to win.

DEAN: DeSantis also asked about the NAACP issuing a travel advisory against his state, claiming Florida is not safe for minorities to visit.

DESANTIS (voice over): Claiming that Florida is unsafe is a total farce. I mean, are you kidding me?

DEAN: Wednesday's Twitter event the latest move in DeSantis' presidential campaign rollout. He filed paperwork earlier Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. On Tuesday, DeSantis' wife, Casey, tweeted a hype video encouraging supporters to sign up for campaign updates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America has been worth it every single time.

DEAN: DeSantis jumps in the Republican primary following months of speculation about the Florida governor's political future, fueled by a national book tour and visits to key early nominating states.

DESANTIS: I have only begun to fight.

DEAN: As the Republican primary fight intensifies, a new CNN poll shows former President Donald Trump leading the GOP field with roughly double the support of DeSantis and no other candidate in double figures. But the survey also finds the Republican field to be far from settled. More than eight in ten of those polled said they'd either support or say they're open to considering either Trump or DeSantis.

DESANTIS: We have to reject the culture of losing that has infected our party in recent years. We have no more time for excuses.

DEAN: DeSantis and Trump have appeared to be on a collision course for months, with the former president launching repeated attacks against the Florida governor.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: DeSantis is very low and crashing. He's crashing and burning.

DEAN: But DeSantis has been intentional in not directly attacking Trump, instead using his speeches around the country to draw contrast.

DESANTIS: I don't have time for drama. I don't have time for palace intrigue. I want to make sure that we're executing the agenda. And you know what's happened over the last four years? We don't have leaks. We don't have drama. All we do is get the job done day after day.


DEAN (on camera): Up next, Governor DeSantis will gather here in Miami with some of his biggest donors and bundlers, as they really hope to make the most of this announcement. They're already working with an unprecedented $100 million in his war chest, but they are seeking to amplify this, amplify that number out of this announcement. So, we are expecting that number to grow in the days to come.

We're also expecting to see him hit the campaign trail early and aggressively. We are expecting to see him in those early states in the coming days, where he will rally with supporters all across the country.

Jessica Dean, CNN, Miami, Florida.

VAUSE: DeSantis' team tried to put a positive spin on all the technical problems, tweeting this. It seems we broke the internet with so much excitement.


While you're waiting, donate now.

But DeSantis' political rivals were quick to criticize, among them, President Joe Biden posting a fundraising tweet for his re-election campaign saying, this link works.

Let's get live to Los Angeles and tech expert Lori Schwartz, who is a principal and technology catalyst at StoryTech. Good to see you.


VAUSE: So, this was a big moment for DeSantis. It was a big moment for Twitter. The campaign launched live stream started out at 06:20 P.M. with about 600,000 listeners. By Musk's own count, it was gaining 50,000 more a minute. But with all the technical problems, the garbled audio, the crashing apps, 25 minutes after the intended start time, the live stream had about 40,000 listeners, managed to get up to about 100,000 later on.

But, you know, the Trump campaign was quick to jump on this. It tweeted out that this was a failure to launch. There we go. Is DeSantis' launch fatal? Anyway, being kind is it an A for effort and a fail for execution here? And let's face it, only vocal liberals care about rewarding effort and giving out pity prices.

SCHWARTZ: Well, it made news and it made people click on things to read more about what DeSantis had said and what had happened. And I would call it click bait, which is this idea of putting something out there that's really contagious and sexy and you want to read about it, so you click on it and it might just take you to more junk, but it does engage people. So, even something like this that has technical issues and that is plagued with problems gets people engaged. VAUSE: But is it really good to be the butt of an internet tirade of jokes?

SCHWARTZ: I mean, I think that's an excellent point as well. There are so many memes right now going on with DeSantis about what he's done here, but I think he is digging in deep with a relationship with Musk and it's a bigger play. Musk is certainly setting up Twitter it feels like to be a conservative bastion with a lot of podcasts being launched soon that will also be from Republican speakers.

And so there's a lot going on with Twitter that's even bigger than the technical platform itself. So, I think the alignment was bigger than just the audio piece.

VAUSE: And that's a good point. But just briefly, this is what it all sounded like for more than 20 minutes. Here we go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's see. So, here we go, yes, I think so. Just to simplify this --


VAUSE: Apparently Twitter servers melted down. Would this have happened if Musk hadn't fired so many engineers when he bought the place?

SCHWARTZ: Oh, there's no doubt that it is lacking that technology evolvement that he promised. I mean, he has, if anything, made it a little bit more complex to navigate. There are a lot of complaints that the site now is more complex. The app has all sorts of new icons. It's not as easy to understand. There's a lot of problems. So, yes, laying off your technology staff is not the smartest move when you make a lot of promises that you're going to evolve the platform.

I will say the hiring of Linda Yaccarino, who is a very well-respected advertising executive, is interesting and hopeful because she has such a great history with media and content. So, that's interesting for the future of Twitter. But you have to have the technology being solid and it is not a broadcast media platform, so it can't handle right now broadcast numbers.

VAUSE: So with, that in mind, here is Elon Musk, in his own words, on how he sees the future for Twitter.


MUSK (voice over): There's only so much you can actually put in a newspaper or a magazine, and there's only one thing you really put on the cover of magazine. So, whoever is deciding that is deciding to not talk about other things, whereas with a public digital town square, like we have here, it's possible for the public to choose the narrative.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: So, the speculation is that he's trying to build a media outlet that would rival Fox News for conservative viewers and listeners. But if Twitter Space melts down with 600,000 listeners, it means that those plans kind of at this point right now are out of reach.

SCHWARTZ: Yes. I think what he is going to need to do is double down on the platform itself and really invest back in fixing that or maybe strategically leverage the platform to be a launching ground for bigger audiences elsewhere.

I mean, DeSantis did go on to Fox right after this. So, maybe there's some other strategy here for using Twitter as a launching path.

VAUSE: Yes, it was an interesting campaign launch, an interesting idea. Lori, thanks for being -- that's what most people were doing. Lori, thank you. We appreciate your time.

SCHWARTZ: Thank you. Good to see you.

VAUSE: You too. Take care.


Well, a ceasefire broken and a deepening humanitarian crisis, U.N. making an urgent appeal for billions of dollars to help the soaring number of people caught between two factions at a war in Sudan.

Also, we remember the legendary Tina Turner.


VAUSE: That explosive raspy voice was unmistakable. She was an unforgettable live performer. And Tina Turner, who lived an incredible life, has died at 83 years old. This song, The Best, was just one of many chart topping hits that catapulted her to global stardom in the 1980s. She made it look easy, but getting there was a long and difficult journey.

Soon after the news broke of Tina Turner's death, flowers began appearing at her star in Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Turner's music and film career spanned decades. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. New York City's famous Apollo Theater in Harlem honored her on Wednesday with top billing on its marquee. And in London, a musical based on Turner's life and music has been playing at the Aldrich Theater for years. The show was in intermission Wednesday when it was learned that Turner had died. The cast informed the audience and then decided to pay tribute to her by continuing with the show. Here's what some members of the audience had to say after.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Initially, the break just continued and continued, it didn't stop. It ran over and we realized something wasn't right. And we looked at something on the news. And so she died during the show. And when they recommenced on stage, the whole cast was on stage and made a statement and decided to carry on the show. And it was absolutely fabulous. It was amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all know that she's gone. She's a woman to look up to. And the performance today, it was excellent. She thought that all the stops tried their best not to fire, but I was so proud of the performance, so proud of the actors. They sound off proud, and they done Tina proud. So, yes, I was blessed. So happy to be here today at the same time we met. It's sad, you know, so, you know.


VAUSE: Joining us now for more on Tina Turner's legacy is Simon Vozick-Levinson, Rolling Stone's deputy music editor. Simon, thank you very much for being with us.

SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON, DEPUTY MUSIC EDITOR, ROLLING STONE: Sure. Thank you so much for having me. Okay.

VAUSE: Now, it's difficult to know where to actually start this conversation. Her career spanned five decades. She had a groundbreaking music style, incredible live performances. But it seems it's her own personal story is what really stands out. She walked out on an abusive marriage. She left behind her husband and her professional partner. She was financially ruined, in debt. But she went on for this incredibly successful second act.


VOZICK-LEVINSON: Yes, it's true. I mean, Tina Turner was really, truly one of a kind. There was only one Tina Turner. And I think you're right that, ultimately, it's her life story that's as impressive and inspiring as the incredible music that she made and those performances that she gave. She's someone who was already a legend just when people heard her voice singing in the 1960s.

And what people didn't know at that time until years later, was that she was trapped at the time in this kind of living hell in an abusive marriage, that she then did something that took a lot of guts. She walked away from that marriage. She said, I'm not going to let this define me. And she started over. And I think that was really inspiring to people, to so many people for so many years.

VAUSE: Yes. And at least on stage, it appeared to be, you know, a successful double act, The Ike and Tina show that first hit came in 1971. Here it is.

So, at what point, though, did she develop the confidence in herself to leave that abusive relationship? Was there a point where she outgrew him?

VOZICK-LEVINSON: Well, you know, I would say, first of all, she had been making music with her husband at that time for a decade at that point, when Proud Mary became a hit, and she had already been making a huge impact as a vocalist and as a live performer. But at the same time, she was trapped in this abusive marriage.

And I think it took a long time for her to kind of say, enough is enough, and walk away. It was an incredibly brave thing for her to do when she left him, she had no money. She went out on her own. She didn't know what she was going to do, but she was able to make a new life for herself, and that's something really impressive.

VAUSE: And part of that new life came with her solo album, Private Dancer. It was released in 1984. Here's part of a review from The New York Times. The album is a landmark not only in the career of the 45- year-old singer, who's been recording since the late 1950s, but in the evolution of pop soul music itself. So, what specifically was it about that album that was so groundbreaking?

VOZICK-LEVINSON: Well, so, Private Dancer, this album that she released in the mid-1980s is an incredible album, incredible vocal performances on songs like the title track or What's Love Got To Do With It. But just as remarkable, as you said, when you were quoting that review, she was 45 at that time. People in their 40s weren't expected to make pop hits at that time. This is something really kind of revolutionary that she did that she was able to restart her career and show how much charisma and power and how much story she still had left to tell at that time. And I think that really resonated with people.

VOZICK-LEVINSON: Yes. And for the small town of Brownsville, Tennessee, this is an especially sad moment. Listen to the city's mayor. Here he is.


MAYOR BILL RAWLS JR., BROWNSVILLE TENNESSEE: She is the queen. She's the queen of rock and roll. And she is a huge icon in our community. And Ms. Anna Mae Bullock, she was born in Brownsville, Tennessee, took on the world stage from a very rural and humble beginnings. And she serves as an example about what you can do when something is -- the fire burns within you. And she expressed it on stage in a big, big, big way. So, we're extremely proud of her.


VAUSE: Well said, Mr. Mayor. But while Anna Mae Bullock may have been born in Brownsville, Tennessee, Tina Turner lived out her years in Switzerland. Why was that?

VOZICK-LEVINSON: Yes. Well, so much later in her life, she married a German music executive. She moved to Switzerland. And I think she found a real peace there that in some ways she was never able to find in other places. And I think it's kind of a happy note that she was able to live out the last few years of her life in a place that she really loved, which was Switzerland.

VAUSE: Simon, thank you for being with us. We really appreciate your insights.

VOZICK-LEVINSON: Thanks so much for having me.

Who needs a heart winner? Can be broken. We live in an unpredictable environment. My show brings you the latest news and top news makers. We also dive below the headlines to explore vital issues impacting our lives.

Amanvor today on CNN.



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

During his nightly address, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the people of Iran asking them, what is the benefit of being an accomplice to Russian terror?

Iranian-made Shahid attack drones have played a major role on Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian cities and towns. Zelenskyy says almost 1,200 have been supplied to Russia over the course of the war. Meanwhile, Ukraine's military intelligence says Russia is not reducing its military presence in the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

It says three power unit are used as staging grounds for troops and weapons despite appeals by the U.N. nuclear watchdog and world leaders. The U.N. agency is set to release its update about the situation at the facility. This coming Thursday.

The outspoken head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group is more outspoken than usual it seems. In a new interview, Yevgeny Prigozhin says Russia cannot even protect its own territory. And he says if the war in Ukraine continues the way it's going, the Kremlin could face a revolution.

Here is CNN's Fred Pleitgen.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After months of ferocious fighting in Bakhmut, the chief of Russia's private army Wagner saying his fighters are exhausted and will withdraw.

YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, HEAD, WAGNER GROUP (through translator): We will be leaving Bakhmut and the Russian defense ministry will be responsible for it. We are leaving the field camps to train and rest.

PLEITGEN: Prigozhin claims to control all of Bakhmut which the Ukrainians dispute. He also acknowledges losing around 20,000 fighters in the brutal, month-long campaign even as the U.S. and the Ukraine say that the figures are much higher, possibly up to 100,000.

Despite the alleged victory in Bakhmut, in a bold comment, Prigozhin says Vladimir Putin's war is not achieving its core objective of weakening Ukraine.

PRIGOZHIN: How did we demilitarized it? Now it turns out that we on the contrary, have militarized Ukraine?

I think that Ukrainians today are one of the strongest armies. PLEITGEN: Prigozhin has long been attacking Russia's elites, accusing

them of being corrupt, lazy and not involved in the war. And now he fears continuing losses on the battlefield could lead to a revolution in Russia.

PRIGOZHIN: All of this can end like in 1917, with a revolution. When first the soldiers rise up, and after that their loved ones rise up.

PLEITGEN: All this as the war is increasingly affecting Russia's homeland. Russia's defense ministry today, releasing video of what it says was a failed attack on a Russian warship, using unmanned speed boats. Ukraine has not commented on the incident.

And after the brazen, cross border raid by anti Putin Russian fighters, which Ukraine says it was not involved in but Russia blames on Kyiv, vowing revenge.

SERGEI SHOIGU, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: We will continue to respond to such actions buy Ukrainian militants promptly and extremely harshly.

PLEITGEN: But Prigozhin says the attack shows the Russian military is incapable of protecting the country's border.

PRIGOZHIN: sabotage and reconnaissance forces calmly enter Russia and marched uploading videos driving their tanks, armored infantry vehicles. Where's the safeguard that they will not enter Moscow?


PLEITGEN: Now, of course there has been an ongoing feud between Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu. And once again, Prigozhin criticized Shoigu very heavily even calling for him to be replaced.

But in the case of this cross border raid that happened in the Belgorod region there are a lot of Russians who are asking why the Russian military wasn't able to prevent it and why it took them so long to come to terms with the situation.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Kyiv.


VAUSE: For the first time in almost a year U.K. inflation is below 10 percent, falling to 8.7 percent last month. But as CNN's Anna Stewart reports, the cost of food continues to rise.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: While U.K. inflation has finally fallen to single digits but actually, it didn't fall nearly as much as economists had expected.

Delving into the detail of this inflation report made for a sobering read. Food inflation has barely shifted from last month. Prices are 19.1 percent higher than a year ago, with some staggering increases for basic food staples. Sugar is 47 percent more expensive than last year and there had been huge increases for things like eggs, bread and milk.

A major concern here is that food inflation hits everyone but it impacts poor households the worst as a greater portion of their income is spent on food and household bills. Now that puts huge pressure on companies to increase wages, so people can cope with the increased cost of living. That could make the situation worse. So the IMF warned on Tuesday that higher wages could result in high inflation lasting longer.

The reason food inflation remains so high, according to U.K.'s Office of National Statistics is a combination of factors. The Russian invasion of Ukraine sent global grain and fertilizer prices soaring, as well as energy input costs. Labor shortages continue to be a problem, a consequence of both the pandemic and Brexit. And then there is the issue of weather abroad from droughts to cold snaps, impacts on the cost of imported food which the U.K. is heavily reliant on. In fact, the ONS says the price of imported food has been rising at twice the rate of domestic food.

There's also a transmission lag to price shocks as they travel through supply chains, from farm to producer, and on to the retailer. The Bank of England has already raised interest rates 12 times in a row, and now it is more likely they will raise them even higher next month.

Anna Stewart, CNN -- London.


VAUSE: If there is no resolution soon in the political game of chicken with the federal government's debt ceiling, the U.S. could lose its perfect AAA rating. Credit rating agency Fitch has placed the U.S. on what it calls "rating watch negative", even though it still believes the president and House Republicans can find a resolution before the (INAUDIBLE) default deadline, which is around June 1st.

The White House calls the warning one more piece of evidence that default is not an option, and all responsible lawmakers understand that. It reinforces the need for Congress to quickly pass a reasonable bipartisan agreement to prevent default.

But the White House and Republicans remain far apart even after the latest round of talks.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think we're making progress working down there, so that that's very positive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that they need to have a deal this week and over --

MCCARTHY: I still believe that. I still believe we have time to make an agreement, and get it done. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The House will be in recess on Wednesday, but lawmakers have been told stay close to the capital because they could be called back for a vote. More details now from CNN's Phil Mattingly.


PHIL MATITNGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: With eight days from potential default, everything is riding on just a small group of negotiators, negotiators who met for more than four hours at the White House on Wednesday and that venue is actually a shift. Negotiators had been meeting with White House officials and House Republican point people had been meeting on Capitol Hill, trying to hammer out some kind of an agreement and it had been a rollercoaster up until today.

Today, there is nothing. No comments, no attacks, no real sense of what is actually happening at the moment. And when you talk to officials, they underscore that's actually a good thing.

One official told me, quote, "We are working. And that's all you need to know." And that's kind of the reality at this moment because the timeline is exceedingly short, the path forward to try and prevent the default, given how far apart the two sides have been when it comes to raising the debt limit to finding some kind of budget agreement, well it's exceedingly short and there is a lot of work to do.

There's no question about that, but there is also a very clear sense after the meetings throughout the day on Wednesday that there has been progress. Not a deal, not a final agreement, and they certainly need one sooner rather than later.

That progress was important, and underscored what White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said while the meeting was still ongoing. Take a listen.


KARINE JEAN PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What I can say is that the negotiations have been productive, which is what matters. The conversations continue, which is what matters. And the focus is on what the leaders said themselves. What Speaker McCarthy and what the president said as well, which is default is off the table. We are going to continue to negotiate in good faith and if that is what occurs than we can get to a bipartisan, reasonable negotiation or a deal on a budget deal.

MATTINGLY: The real question right now is where do negotiators go from here? Now notably, one member of the republican negotiating team, Patrick McHenry, a congressman from North Carolina actually stayed after his colleagues left, went into the White House, is working on several other issues that I'm told, whether or not that got them closer to a final agreement remains an open question at this point in time.

But again, to some degree, the silence is actually a good sign particularly after that broad sides of the course of the last several days. Productive was one description a couple of days ago, then things went south, back up again, then south again.

There is one sense when you talk to lawmakers and White House officials alike, that they understand there is no more time for posturing, there is no more time for hyperbole, they need to come together and figure something out. Whether or not they can figure out a way to reconcile two very different visions on spending, two very different visions on other elements that should be in this deal? That remains an open question, one they don't have much time to answer.

Phil Mattingly, CNN -- the White House.


VAUSE: With 18 million people in urgent need of assistance, the U.N. is calling for more than $2.5 billion dollars for the people of Sudan, more than 40 days since the outbreak of war made a growing humanitarian crisis even worse.

Sudan's two warring factions have continued their fighting this week, despite signing on to a cease-fire this Saturday -- past Saturday. The U.N. human rights chief says they have received deeply troubling reports of sexual violence committed in the capital of Khartoum as well as the Darfur region.

More than a million people are now internally displaced because of this conflict, more than 330,000 have fled Sudan. The United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees says most have headed to Egypt, more than 150,000 in all. Chad follows with about 90,000.

And from Chad, CNN's Larry Madowo filed this report.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In just a month and a half, the Sudan conflict has quickly spilled over into a regional refugee crisis. The people who are crossing into Egypt and Chad and the Central African Republic and the U.N. says there is more than 300,000 of them are mostly people who don't have any other options. They are not the ones who have dual nationalities or the foreigners who could get evacuated from Khartoum and the capital or who could make their way to Port Sudan and then across the Red Sea to Jeddah and those who have done that trip with some of the privileged few who could get those chances.

These are the poorest and most vulnerable who, for some of them, the ones I met in eastern Chad, have been displaced more than once. And now, they have had to cross the border because the level of violence has been unprecedented.


MADOWO: The kids cry constantly. the adults look weary of war. The pained faces here are a reminder of the horrors that drove them out of Sudan. At this refugee camp across the border in Chad, sadness stalks almost everyone.

As fighting intensified in Sudan's western Darfur region, they had to run or risk getting killed.

Koubra Abdullah (ph) left so suddenly that her son got lost in the chaos.

KOUBRA ABDULLAH, SUDANESE REFUGEE IN CHAD (through translator): My brother is still back there, I heard he was injured. I was forced to come to Chad to seek safety.

MADOWO: Would you go back to Sudan?

ABDULLAH: No, no. The only reason I will go back is to bring my child and my brother here. There has been too much insecurity for too long.

MADOWO: Because of decades of conflict in Sudan, many of these refugees had already been internally displaced several times.

Mastiura Ishakh (ph) is 22, but hasn't known as a permanent home for most of her life.

MASTIURA ISHAKH, SUDANESE REFUGEE IN CHAD (through translator): I'm worried about all the people we left behind especially my mother who could not cross the border. I keep asking myself how I can get her to Chad.

MADOWO: I noticed that mostly women and children here. Where are the men from Sudan?

ISHAKH: The men told us to take the children and cross the border so they can stay behind and defend themselves and our property if necessary.

MADOWO: The U.N.'s refugee agency says close to 90 percent of neo- rebels in Chad from Sudan are women and children, many so traumatized that they will need a lot of support to heal.

We had expected to meet refugees as they arrived in the border town of (INAUDIBLE) right across from Sudan. But just before we arrived, it was hit by a rocket. That is why refugees are being moved away from border towns to places like this in Gaga (ph).

CNN traveled with the U.S. AID administrator Samantha Power to eastern Chad. The U.S. is giving more than $100 million to support the over 1 million people displaced by the war across Sudan and in neighboring countries.


SAMANTHA POWER, USAID ADMINISTRATOR: We met one woman whose eye had been gouged basically, with somebody just attacking her. She's seeking medical care here in Chad.

Horrific violence which triggers for so many of these people also memories of previous horrific violence.

MADOWO: It's a full circle moment for her. She was in chat in 2004, writing in the "New Yorker" about Sudanese civilians fleeing the Janjaweed militia in Darfur.

POWER: You talk to them, you feel like you are in a time warp. Because they are describing Janjaweed coming in with their knives, and their machetes, killing people, raping women.

MADOWO: Is it surreal for you being here? Hearing these stories when you heard them 20 years ago as a reporter?

POWER: Well, I feel lucky this time, at least to be working at USAID, a big development, humanitarian agency. At least there is something I can do. But fundamentally there is no substitute for the root causes getting addressed for these two warring generals to put their own power grabs aside and put the interest of these people who are fleeing sometimes for the fifth time in their lives.

MADOWO: Chad, one of the world's poorest countries, had about 400,000 Sudanese refugees before this latest surge.

PATRICE AHOUANSOU, DEPUTY REPRESENTATIVE, UNHCR CHAD: We need to collectively work with the only actors in support of the government of China to ensure that, you know, resources are mobilized, to address the urgent needs of the refugees.

MADOWO: These are the innocent victims of a deadly power struggle in Sudan -- the poor and most vulnerable who have nowhere to go. Just another chapter in their life of hardship.


MADOWO: The one thing I heard again and again from all the people I met in eastern Chad is that they do not care which general wins the war in Sudan. They just want peace, they want the same thing you and I want. A chance to rebuild their lives, a chance at a dignified way to raise their families.

And after so many decades of conflict, so many people who have not seen peace, have not had a permanent home. They were hoping that there was a chance for a return to civilian transition and that has been aborted.

And now this one hope, if the two warring generals can be brought back to the table, that they can agree to rededicate themselves to that path, to a civilian-led government in Sudan.

Larry Madowo, CNN -- Nairobi.


VAUSE: And when we come back, we will head to Africa to find out how to restore a tropical paradise.


VAUSE: The renowned British explorer Robert Swan once4 said the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it. Today on Call to Earth, we meet a team of conservationists who take that message to heart. Getting their hands dirty and doing whatever it takes to restore the native forests that once covered their tropical island paradise.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some 12,000 miles off the southeastern coast of Africa, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, lies the island where the iconic dodo bird once roamed.

Centuries after its extinction, the flightless bird is still inextricably linked with the African nation of Mauritius. You can find it on banknotes, coins and the country's coat of arms.

Today, Dr. Nicolas Zuel and his team of conservationists are working hard to ensure other endemic species do not go the way of the dodo.

DR. NICOLAS ZUEL, CONSERVATION MANAGER, EBONY FOREST: Before human beings came here, the forest would look like what you see around us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Less than 2 percent of native forest remains on the island, due in part to poaching, pollution and logging.

Historically, one of the most sought after resources, the ebony tree, it's coveted for its durable, black hardwood which is used to build furniture, cabinets, piano keys, and more.

Now the global trade of ebony wood is controlled and most species have been protected to prevent extinction.

DR. ZUEL: The history of Mauritius is closely linked to ebony trees because when the Dutch colonized the island, one of the reasons, the main reason they wanted to colonize the island is to be able to exploit the ebony trees.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The journey to restore this patch of forest located on the southwest part of the island began in 2006. The work started with weeding, planting, and growing native plant species. It also involved the reintroduction of locally extinct species like the pink pigeon, and the echo parakeets both considered vulnerable and globally threatened.

DR. ZUEL: It's important to have birds, because forest has solution. And the animal that will live in it goes hand in hand so without these birds (INAUDIBLE) the forest will not survive.

So yes we are linked to extinction of species with the dodo but we're also an example of what can be done to save our bird species.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After 11 years of restoration initiatives, the Ebony Forest Park officially opened to the public in 2017. Visitors can bird-watch, hike or volunteer and contribute to the conservation efforts on this tropical island paradise.

DR. ZUEL: It's really important for us at Ebony Forest to raise awareness about species, about conservation. So that's something which is really important for us to just work together with people, share the knowledge, and also learn from others.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To date the conservationists say they have planted more than 140,000 endemic plants while also weeding and planting 16 additional hectares of forest.

With the dodo's legacy in mind, the ultimate goal is to safeguard the island's natural glory for generations to come.

DR. ZUEL: Ultimately Mauritius has a lot of endemic species. It's (INAUDIBLE) but for the whole world what we are preserving here.


VAUSE: Let us know what you're doing to answer the call, with hashtag "Call to Earth". Back in a moment.


VAUSE: The search for new clues into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been extended for a day, after bad weather forced a delay earlier this week. Investigators from three countries have returned to a remote reservoir in Portugal, not far from where the British toddler was last seen more than 16 years ago.

On Tuesday, authorities said they excavated and uncovered materials which will be analyzed, but gave no details on what was actually found.


VAUSE: Madeleine McCann disappeared without a trace just shy of her fourth birthday. Police are reportedly looking for evidence to bring charges against German national Christian Bruckner named as an official suspect in the case last year.

Search teams in Colombia have found evidence that four children may have survived a plane crash in the Amazon forest almost four weeks ago.

The military said Wednesday search teams in the forest had recovered a number of items including a dirty diaper, a pair of shoes, a baby bottle cover, and the frame of a mobile phone. They were all found about 400 to 500 meters from the site where a small, single engine Cessna crashed May 1st killing the children's mother, the pilot and another adult passenger.

Officials believe the children were alive between May 3rd and May 8th and were moving westward although they have no proof right now of their current condition.

Music legend Tina Turner died Wednesday at her home in Switzerland. She was 83. One of the many people honoring her legacy was close friend, Oprah Winfrey who posted a heartfelt tribute on social media. Oprah praised her late friend as an important role model and said

Turner's own example inspired her to be a better woman and a better human being.

One of the highlights of their relationship was in 1997 when Oprah was invited to appear on stage with Turner for this powerful duet on one of Turner's most memorable hits.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Please stay with us. CNN NEWSROOM continues with my friend and colleague, Paula Newton, after a very short break.

See you right back here tomorrow.