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Tentative Agreement Achieved Regarding U.S. Debt Ceiling; Interview with University of Essex Professor of Government Natasha Lindstaedt; Attorney General Removed by Republican-Led Texas House; Turkey Presidential Runoff: Second Round of Voting, Erdogan to Face Challenger Kilicdaroglu; Today, Turkish Citizens Cast Another Ballot; Ukraine's Elusive Counteroffensive; Call to Extend Sudan Ceasefire; Russia's War on Ukraine; Ukrainian Video Fuels Speculation About Counteroffensive; Conflict in Sudan; Saudi Delegation Travels to Syria to Organize Embassy's Reopening; New Mexico Shooting Leaves 3 Dead and 5 Injured; Landmark Deal Up to Congress; Highest Airport Checkpoint Volume Since 2019; U.S. Migrant Crisis; Parts of "Right to Shelter" Law Sought to be Suspended by NYC; Objective of New Drugs is to Outperform Well-Known Weight-Loss Drugs; Fastest Woman Driver Katherine Legge to Qualify for Indy 500; Third Woman to Win Palme d'Or 2023, Justine Triet. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired May 28, 2023 - 04:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers herein the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.

Ahead here on "CNN Newsroom", a deal has been reached. U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden have come to an agreement in principle to raise the debt ceiling. Now, the work to get the deal through the House and the Senate.

Voters are heading to the polls right now in Turkey's first ever presidential runoff election. We'll go live to Istanbul.

And New York City wants to change its rules on housing migrants amid a surge of asylum seekers that no one expected.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN center. This is "CNN Newsroom with Paul Newton."

NEWTON: And we do begin in Washington where Congress is drafting new legislation on the U.S. debt limit hours after officials reached a deal to try to avoid a disastrous default. Now, the White House and Republicans say they've agreed, in principle that is, to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and cap government spending. But some Republicans say, that compromise is still too costly and could bankrupt the country. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is now trying to convince those hardliners that the deal is actually worth it. Here's how he characterized the agreement. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: After weeks of negotiations, we have come to an agreement in principle. We still have a lot of work to do but I believe it is an agreement in principle that's worthy of the American people. It has historic reductions in spending, consequential reforms that will lift people out of poverty into the workforce, reign in government overreach. There are no new taxes, no new government programs. There's a lot more within the bill.


NEWTON: So, as you can imagine there is still a lot of work to be done, but McCarthy says the House is expected to vote on it this Wednesday. CNN's Manu Raju has more on what the legislation will likely to include and why there could be opposition from both sides.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After a furious round of negotiations and staring at the prospects of the first ever that default in American history, the Speaker of House, Kevin McCarthy reached a deal late Saturday with President Biden to raise the national debt limit and do that for two years' time. And also, to include a range of other spending cuts and other policy concessions.

The Republicans had demanded, including pairing back some social safety net programs that had been central to their efforts here, but the White House conceded on that -- those accounts. They ultimately shook hands, reached an agreement in principle, and now the real challenge begins because there is pushback. Some conservatives do not believe this bill went far enough. They believe that it is a retreat of sorts from the Republican position, demanding even deeper spending cuts. This proposal would cut spending for -- go back to 2023 levels of federal spending.

Republicans wanted to go back -- some of the conservatives wanted to go back to 2022 levels. But the White House had conceded substantially on that approach. They did not want any cuts whatsoever as part of this agreement. On the Democratic side, many did not want any sort of work requirements on social safety net programs like food stamps. Also, they had furiously opposed any spending cuts. And so, expect some opposition from Democrats.

Now, Kevin McCarthy, speaking to reporters in the immediate aftermath of this deal, said that a vote would occur on Wednesday then the bill text would be released on Sunday. That gives them some 72 hours, essentially to begin to lockdown the votes. The question is going to be, how many Republicans will defect? We do expect several dozen Republicans, as least 35 at the moment, warning they will vote against it. That a number is expected to grow.

But how many more will vote against his plan? And Kevin McCarthy keep a majority of his conference behind it? That is the hope and the expectation, at the moment, from Republican leaders, but that does not mean that's enough to pass the House. They will need to get support from Democrats, and there are number of House Democrats who are concerned about this bill will have to be convinced to vote for it. We do know that the House Democrats are going to get briefed by White House officials on Sunday. They'll be part of the White House effort to try to get their members in line.

Can they get that coalition? Get it through the House on -- by Wednesday and then they have to worry about the United States Senate which can take time to get any legislation through several days, sometimes up to a week depending on how members respond to this bill. So, still some major questions despite the significant agreement that was reached late after these frantic negotiations.


Still uncertain whether they can get there and avoid the nation's first ever debt default by June 5th, the deadline for Congress to get the bill through both chambers and get is signed into law. Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


NEWTON: Natasha Lindstaedt is a professor of government at the University of Essex. And she joins me now from Colchester, England. Good to see you and good to have you on board as we try and parse (ph) what this deal is all about. You know, the political take away here, what kind of a deal do you see it as in terms of a compromise? A lot of drama, right? But substantively will this represent of change in terms of how and where America spends its money?

NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: Well, as President Biden says, this is a compromise, meaning not everybody is going to be happy. Republicans aren't going to be happy because there weren't enough cuts and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is also going to -- not be happy because there was too much cuts. You know, they tried to curb government spending and create work requirement for government aid and limits on food stamps, and also limits in terms of what the IRS can do in terms of its enforcement by cutting that by 10 billion.

And so, it's going to lead to a lot of unhappy people on both sides. But if you look at recent polling about government spending, it's -- majority of Americans that do want government spending to get under control. And I think this is an opportunity to really look at that. I am very concerned about what's going to happen later in the House and the Senate, of course.

But, you know, the U.S. has been on the path of a lot of spending over the past century. We see that since 1917, they raised the debt ceiling 78 times, 49 times under Republicans. So, it's something that's commonly taking place in U.S. politics. But given how polarizing politics is, I really think it's very dangerous to engage in this constant game of chicken.

NEWTON: And it is that polarization that makes this, as you said, so dangerous in this point in time. You know, look, this deal should be easy for moderates, right? Moderates in both parties. You and I both know that the backlash from the flanks of both the Republican and Democratic parties, they're the ones that are going to be fierce. You know, one Democrat likened it negotiating with terrorist. And some Republicans are already saying they're not going to vote for it. What do you see as the middle road here? And do you think there is a substantial risk or any risk at all that it won't pass?

LINDSTAEDT: I am concerned that it won't pass. And I think the middle road has been achieved by the deal and I think they have to focus on what will be the impact if they can't raise the debt ceiling? If they can't agree to a deal. You're going to see 10 percent of the U.S. economy be immediately affected. It's going to affect 3 million U.S. jobs. It's going to add 130,000 to the average mortgage. It's going to affect our ability, you know, to pay for our national defense and social security, wreak havoc on our stock markets.

I think this is the things that they really need to be focusing on, is what is going to be the impact? It's not just going to affect the U.S. economy but the global economy. We're going to be plunged into a recession. So, I don't think this is the time to really haggle over these small details here. I think that they need to focus on how momentous this is and how important it is to get this passed.

NEWTON: Yes, and yet any kind of caucus unity from the parties, either party seems, you know, off the table for the time being. You know, without question, this was a test, it still remains a test of Speaker McCarthy's leadership. And that's significant, right? Given that the new rules passed earlier this year mean that just one, one lawmaker can force a vote on the House and the House floor to replace the speaker. Do you think he is invulnerable in that sense? Do you think he would have done this deal if he thought he was that vulnerable?

LINDSTAEDT: I think he did this deal because he had no choice and he's tried to frame it as positively as he could. That they were able to make some concessions on government spending. It's going to reduce the spending by $650 billion over a decade, and I think that's what he's trying to focus on. But he's really vulnerable, as you mentioned, because he has this freedom caucus. He doesn't have any control over them. I mean, he made almost every deal he could just so he could be basically speaker by name and anything could tip it in the wrong balance against him.

So, I mean, we just don't know what's going to happen with this freedom caucus because they seem to be willing to follow almost like a scorched earth policy here. They're happy to just destroy everything and blow up everything along the way as long as they stick to their principles. So, I'm concerned about the bill passing. And of course, Kevin McCarthy should be very concerned.

NEWTON: And just to that, "Fox News" reported earlier this week that in fact Kevin McCarthy and the former president, Donald Trump, were in close contact as this was going on. Do you think he might -- the former president might try and insert himself into this as well and try what he can do to try and really force this deal through, perhaps, a renegotiation yet again?


LINDSTAEDT: I mean, I only see President Trump inserting himself to criticize. To say that, this isn't going well. This is a disaster for Joe Biden. He's going to try to use this as an opportunity to undermine whatever Biden is trying to do at this moment. I don't see him really understanding the ramifications of the debt ceiling and being able to articulate that clearly, and I think he would just try to get involved in ways that allow him to criticize his opponents.

NEWTON: Yes, it has been an interesting weekend. The week to come will also be fraught. Natasha Lindstaedt, thank you so much for your input there. I really appreciate it.

LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.

NEWTON: Now, a stunning development in Texas politics, the Republican dominated house of representatives has overwhelmingly voted to impeach the state's Republican attorney general.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been 121 ayes and 23 nays, 2 present nonvoting, three absent. The resolution is adopted.


NEWTON: By a vote of 121 to 23, lawmakers voted to remove Ken Paxton from office. Now, recent legislative investigation accused Paxton of 20 impeachable offenses, including disregard of his public duty, bribery, obstruction and conspiracy. One Democratic lawmaker imposed -- implored his colleagues to demand Paxton's ousting. Listen.


REP. TERRY CANALES (D-TX): We have a decision to make here today. Do we listen to our colleagues, a bipartisan committee that sat and listened to hours of testimony that held that investigation since March that come before you? Members of the in highest integrity, I tell you that I have faith in them. I have faith in you. Fear not politics, fear corruption.


NEWTON: So, Paxton is now suspended until the Senate holds a trial. But Paxton remains defiant, calling his impeachment illegal, unethical, and profoundly unjust.

So, voters are going to the polls in Turkey today in the country's first ever presidential runoff election. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing off once again against his main opposition candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, after neither won an absolute majority in the first round of voting just two weeks ago. The turnout was strong in that election. Nearly 90 percent of those who were eligible cast a ballot.

We want to bring in CNN's Nada Bashir who's live for us now in Istanbul. And Nada, no doubt about it, right? That turnout was quite impressive. Do you expect the same today?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, Paula, there is an expectation that we will continue to see that turnout high. Turnout is traditionally high for these elections in Turkey. And over the last few days, we've seen the campaigns, the rallies really stepping up. The AK Party, President Erdogan's incumbent party, and the opposition alliance really trying to sway those final voters in order to get over that crucial 50 percent plus one threshold today to declare a victory.

Now, of course, there is just less than six hours left until polls close here. And we've seen voters streaming in all morning to come and cast their ballot. Family members are arriving with young children. We've seen the local council municipality sending shuttles with elderly people in order to cast their votes. Today, of course, here in Turkey, everyone is assigned a specific location, a specific polling station to attend to. Everyone is making the extra effort to make time today to go out and cast their vote.

And we've been speaking to some of these voters. Some in support of President Erdogan who feel the heal first (ph) stability in a time when the country is facing a series of crises. Be it economy, which is really at the forefront of many voters' minds. The country is facing this via cost-of-living crisis, and seen rising inflation. The lira plummeting in value, and plus the aftermath of the devastating February earthquake.

President Erdogan has made some pretty big pledges to rebuild the affected areas in the southeast. And that aftermath, really, is something that is still raw in the minds of people across the country. But this is also something that has drawn fierce criticism and backlash towards the government.

And for those supporting the opposition, which is being led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, an alliance of six very different parties along the political spectrum. They feel that this is an opportunity for change in Turkey. An opportunity to see a new approach when it comes to the economy. An opportunity to rectify wrongs. Many people believe that the government holds some responsibility and liability when it comes to the disaster we saw over the earthquake in February.

And of course, there is real fear here in Turkey around the state of democracy. In fact, we've been speaking to some younger voters here. Many of them have only known President Erdogan's rule for the vast majority of their lives.


He has been in power now for more than two decades. They fear that their fundamental rights and freedoms are being eroded progressively by President Erdogan's government and they hope that the opposition may offer a new approach. It may be a chance for them to push Turkey in a new direction. Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, interesting. As you say, an entire generation only knows President Erdogan as their leader and they are eligible to vote right now. Nada Bashir for us in Istanbul following all of it, really appreciate it.

For our international viewers, be sure to watch CNN's special live coverage of the 2023 Turkey elections today. It will be hosted by Becky Anderson, 8:00 p.m. in Ankara, 9:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi, right here on CNN.

Speculation grows in Ukraine about its anticipated counteroffensive. But as to when and where, that all remains up in the air. Guns do the talking on the ground now, that's ahead.

Plus, one side in Sudan's conflict says, it is willing to discuss extending the current ceasefire. That and what aid groups are achieving while the two warring groups consider giving peace a chance.



NEWTON: Ukraine's air defenders say they held their own in the latest barrage of Russian drone strikes. They say they shut down 52 of 54 Iranian made drones aimed at Ukrainian targets overnight. But the mayor of Kyiv says, falling debris damaged buildings and caused fires in the capital. At least one person was killed and another wounded in the city.

Now, in the meantime, Ukraine also reported multiple blasts in the occupied cities of Mariupol and Berdyansk on Saturday, while Russian missiles and artillery hit Kharkiv and the Zaporizhzhia regions. Russia says artillery fire also went over the border, striking two large enterprises in its Belgorod region. The state news agency says, one person was killed and several others wounded.

Now, the backdrop for all of this is speculation about Kyiv's looming counteroffensive which was fueled by a video posted by Ukraine's top general. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Let my hand be firm to kill my enemies. Let my eye be clear to kill my enemies. Let my weapon be sharp to kill my enemies. Let my will be of steel to kill my enemies.


NEWTON: So, the video appears to drop hints about the counteroffensive, but of course it does not specifically say when the operation is coming. The footage could be part of Kyiv's deception efforts. Ukraine has said earlier that it would not officially announce the beginning of its offensive.

For more on all of this, we're joined by Barbie Nadeau. Barbie, good to see you. This certainly seems like an inflection point in this conflict. What more are we hearing from Ukrainian officials about the counteroffensive and what kind of character it might take?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, you know, this is really a pivotal moment in this war. And you know, you hear this sort of backdrop, these warning, these ominous warnings. You know, as you said, it could be part of a deception effort. So, very much a philosophical moment though for the President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Let's hear what he had to say at his address last night.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): When Russia started the aggression, they looked at the world as if they were looking at themselves in the mirror. They thought that supposedly everyone in the world was as cynical and despised people in the same way as the masters of Russia do. But the world is different. The world helps us protect life. And anyone who goes against the world will become marginal. Russia will gain nothing and lose everything.


NADEAU: And you know, Paula, when you think about it, if this counteroffensive does happen, when and if it happens, it's going to be because of all those donations of military hardware, of ammunition, and the support for Ukraine against Russia. Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, they certainly have been planning for it for a long time and have been asking for that equipment to be in place. You know, another tough night in Kyiv, Barbie. And even though those defense systems worked quite successfully, the debris itself proved quite menacing.

NADEAU: That's right. You know, we are hearing reports of at least -- of one person who died, a 41-year-old man in those recent attacks. A 35-year-old woman was injured in falling debris. It's one thing to ward off these drone attacks, 20 over the city of Kyiv overnight, early this morning. But that debris has to fall somewhere and we're seeing the detrimental effects of that in damaged buildings, property, and obviously human life. Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, certainly. The terrifying nights continue throughout Ukraine. Barbie Nadeau for us. Thanks so much.

Now, they are so small you can hold them in your hand but they are among the most devastating weapons in Ukraine's arsenal. Car -- pardon me, can sized bombs that Ukrainian soldiers built by hand under instruction from British explosive experts. And CNN's Nic Robertson reports now. These little bombs are having a big impact against the Russians.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cold affects them. So, after three or four days in the cold, if you are leaving it outside, if there's no heating, these will last probably three weeks.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN'S INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voiceover): Ukrainian troops get a lesson on covert bomb making.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That goes through your battery. ROBERTSON (voiceover): British explosives and counterinsurgency specialists pass on decades of know-how to soldiers already well- versed in normal frontline combat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Killing somebody, blowing up property, we are showing just how it's done.

ROBERTSON (voiceover): But these are no ordinary bombs. They are secret weapons in Ukraine's clandestine arsenal to kill Russians on Ukrainian land.

"SKIF", OFFICER, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES (through translator): If we have a high priority target, we, of course, use this equipment against it.

ROBERTSON (voiceover): And it's not just individual targets, similar technology already in very experienced Ukrainian hands was used to bring down a building on dozens of Russian troops recently in Bakhmut.


"SKIF" (through translator): This equipment is used to destroy the enemy. We use it to produce explosive devices we can use on the ground, on the battlefield, or in the air as munition for drones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's very little. This switch can be really very little.

ROBERTSON (voiceover): But it's not just the subversive skills and techniques the British experts bring that are needed in undercover operations, it's the bomb components too. Sophisticated switches, specialized microchips, night vision goggles, covert monitoring devices, even 3D printers. Some relatively easy to buy outside Ukraine are in high demand because troops here are in a race against time against the Russians and getting them through NATO partners simply takes too long.

"SKIF" (through translator): It's hard to measure this help with words or numbers because it's a great moral support for us. Straight to our hearts and we are very, very grateful for this help.

ROBERTSON (on camera): It's a measure, even on the eve of an expected big counteroffensive of just how much hope Ukraine's military still needs that more than a year into the war, even the smallest of component, the most modest of hands-on help is so gratefully received. Nic Robertson, CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


NEWTON: In Sudan now where a ceasefire is set to expire, Monday. At least one side says it is ready to discuss extending it. Sudan's Paramilitary Rapid Support forces say, it's assessing the Sudanese Armed Forces commitment to the truce. The two warring sides negotiated a seven-day ceasefire just over a week ago, it was meant to enable aid groups to deliver humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of civilians impacted by the fighting. And that help is coming, the United Nation's World Food Programme says it has started providing food to suffering civilians in the capital Khartoum. Much of the fighting there has been in urban neighborhoods.

A team from Saudi Arabia arrived in Syria on Saturday to set-up the reopening the kingdom's embassy in Damascus. The two countries had agreed earlier to reopen diplomatic missions in both countries. It comes more than a decade after Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with the Syrian government over its brutal handling of the country's civil war, and weeks after Syria was readmitted into the Arab league.

Three people were killed and five others were wounded when gunfire erupted at a biker rally in Red River, New Mexico. The mayor says, everyone involved is in custody and there is no longer a threat to public safety. The gunfire happened during the Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally. The event draws tens of thousands of people to the town every year. And overnight, curfew was imposed in the town, prohibiting the sale of alcohol.

OK. So, now. It's up to Congress. After a short break, we'll explain what happens next in the landmark debt deal that could avert an economic catastrophe.

Plus, air travel in the U.S. sees a significant surge going into the Memorial Day weekend. Those details, ahead.



NEWTON: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton and you are watching "CNN Newsroom."

Now, just days before the U.S. government was expected to run out of cash and set off a global economic calamity, President Joe Biden and Republican House leaders say, they've got a deal in principle. But now, both sides are racing to secure the votes in the Republican- controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate to approve the agreement. Negotiators are said to be working on the final text which would go to a vote in the house of representatives possibly on Wednesday.

The mayor of New York City has asked a judge to suspend portions of the city's so-called "Right to Shelter" law which requires officials to house homeless people. Eric Adams says the city is struggling to cope with the influx of migrants being bussed to the state from the southern border. CNN's Polo Sandoval has the details.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amid the ongoing migrant crisis, the New York City officials are continuing their search for new spaces to offer housing for the asylum seekers that continue to arrive in New York City. But they're also taking an unprecedented legal step, asking for a court to grant them some relief. Suspending a portion for its long-standing "Right to Shelter" law. It's been in place for decades. And at its core, basically requires New York City to offer homeless individuals shelter space.

So, what we recently saw here is New York City petitioning for some relief of some those provisions, citing an unprecedented demand for housing. City officials arguing that when this law came to be, that it did not contemplate a scenario that is currently happening in which hundreds of asylum seekers without a home are arriving in New York City.

So, as you're about to hear from the chief counsel to the mayor's office, this move is to not, according to them, not to shut the door in the face of migrants and other homeless individuals. But instead to provide some flexibility long term.

BRENDAN MCGUIRE, CHIEF COUNSEL TO NEW YORK CITY MAYOR ERIC ADAMS: It's to have that flexibility. Do we want to necessarily exercise that in every case, in every way, whatever it maybe? Not necessarily. So, it's an effort to be responsible here to secure some flexibility now.

SANDOVAL: It's set (ph) here, this petition was filed, we have heard from some critics who are worried that if the city is able to successfully secure an order from the court, providing some relief from various provisions of this "Right to Shelter" law. That it could allow the city an opportunity to skirt around its responsibilities to provide resources like housing to homeless individuals. But the city maintains that they are afraid that the system will basically buckle under its own weight as we continue to see new arrivals. As one deputy mayor put it recently, they don't see an end in sight to the migrant crisis here in New York. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


NEWTON: In the United States, weather could be a spoiler in some parts of the country. This Memorial Day weekend, a coastal low could bring rain to the southeast, increasing the risk of high surf and dangerous rip currents for beaches all the way from Virginia to Florida. And in the meantime, severe storms could produce damaging wind, hail, and even isolated tornadoes from Montana and the Dakotas right into Texas.

So, air travel in the United States just hit its highest level since the pandemic as millions of Americans take to the skies. CNN's Isabel Rosales reports from the world's busiest travel hub, Hartsfield- Jackson International Airport right here in Atlanta.



ISABEL ROSALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been keeping a very close eye on the crowd size here at this main security checkpoint all day long. And it's ebbing and flowing. Moments where the size is pretty compact, like this, and other times where it's empty. You can get in and out within 10 minutes or less.

On Friday, the TSA reported that it screened an estimated 2.7 million people nationwide here in the U.S., marking the busiest day, the highest day of volume so far this year. And then here at Hartsfield- Jackson Airport, the world's busiest airport on Friday, TSA here screening 98,000 passengers, marking the third busiest day ever for the airport. I spoke with some travelers who had all sorts of struggles and frustrations even before getting inside of the airport. Listen.

MEGAN HALLISSEY, TRAVELER: Just super hectic. The traffic -- even on the shuttle to come here, it was even super, super hectic. I mean, we waited probably a good 20 minutes just to go -- I don't know, not even a mile. So, I -- my advice would be to plan, plan, plan. Leave early.

ROSALES: And last summer, you might remember, was a travel fiasco with thousands of flight -- of flights disrupted. So, experts and passengers alike are keeping a close eye to this summer, and specifically this Memorial Day weekend, as a sort of a test for the airlines, the airports, and the FAA which one of the biggest hurdles right now is that it has a major shortage of air traffic controllers. An estimated 3,000 controllers down from their ideal staffing numbers. Isabel Rosales, CNN, Atlanta.


NEWTON: Mawar is no longer a super typhoon and it's expected to continue weakening as it turns towards clear waters in the western pacific and mixes with dry air coming up from the south. Typhoon Mawar is now equivalent to a category three Atlantic hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. The storm is forecast to turn north before reaching the Philippines and Taiwan.

Still ahead for us, medical companies are trying to develop new versions of popular medicines to help people lose weight. But how effective can they be? Details on that next.



NEWTON: There is new hope for people trying to lose weight, some popular drugs used to treat diabetes and obesity are now being developed in pill forms, that's instead of injections. And some say they could be easier and more convenient to take. CNN's Meg Tirrell has more.


MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy which are approved for type 2 diabetes and for weight loss have to be administered with a shot that a patient gives themselves once a week. But there are pill versions that companies are working on. And in data, we saw just this past week, it looks like the efficacy is about similar to what we see with the injectable versions of the drugs.

Novo Nordisk which makes both Ozempic and Wegovy has a tablet version of the drug where it showed in a trial that it could lead to 15 percent weight loss. There are also some drugs in development from Pfizer and Eli Lilly. We saw some Pfizer data this week, these are all in clinical trials right now. They'll have to go through more study. And for the Novo Nordisk, they say they'll potentially file for FDA approval this year.

So, these could be coming within the next year or two if they are successful. However, we do see that they have a similar side effect profile as the injectable drugs. Things like nausea and vomiting. We've heard from doctors that this can be intolerable for about five to 10 percent of patients.

There is some hope that with pill versions of the drug, you could, sort of. change the way that you take the drug. You start at lower doses and you gradually move up over time. If you had a pill, maybe you could modulate that in a way where you could cut back on some of those side effects. So, that is a hope.

There is also a huge number of drugs in development that aim to improve on the amount of weight loss that we are seeing with the current medicines. Right now, there's a drug call Mounjaro that's already on the market with type 2 diabetes. It's expected to get approval for weight loss by the end of this year or early next year. That -- with called tirzepatide, as the chemical name, it leads to weight loss of about 22 percent that we saw on clinical trials.

But there are drugs that are coming along even behind that. One known as triple G because it goes after three different targets that doctors say, it could lead to 25 to 30 percent weight loss. The question, of course, is going to be safety. Are these drugs tolerable? And then, of course, can they be paid for? These drugs are quite expensive, more than $1,000 a month. And insurance is still getting worked out in many cases.


NEWTON: Our thanks there to Meg Tirrell.

Now, earlier, I spoke with Dan -- Dr. Dan Azagury. He is Section Chief of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Stanford University. I asked him if it's advisable to take these drugs for weight loss. Listen.


DAN AZAGURY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF SURGERY, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: You should not be able to take it unless a doctor is prescribing it for you. And the way the drug is intended, it was studied for weight loss. In a setting where you have a -- a set-up where you have diet, exercise, and we add the drug to it. And so, the goal of this is to have a long-term plan and a way to have the drug help you lose weight. And also, find a way to, you know, see how things go on the other end.

Once you've lost the weight, how do we find a way to taper off? Because medically, people think that, you know, you can take it -- lose four or five pounds and then stop taking it, you will, first of all, get a rebound and second of all the goal here is really to improve your health in the long run, right. This is a battle to prevent disease in your -- in the rest of -- for the rest of your life. This is not to really improve cosmetics.

NEWTON: Yes, really good points there. And I want to ask you, given though that it certainly has become so popular, do you worry about access for those who are obese and diabetic given that we have heard about acute shortages? And of course, there isn't yet affordable access for everyone.

AZAGURY: That's a fantastic question. I think affordable access is really critical. And all of my patients face the same problem where insurance right now does not often cover these drugs and that, honestly, is shocking to me. It's a disease that needs to be treated. And most of my patients cannot afford this drug out of pocket.

And in terms of the shortages, I do think -- beyond the shortages, it's also a matter of health for everybody, right. You don't want to have people take this in a non-supervised way with -- you know, there are some side effects. It is a drug. And so, you don't want to do this casually, first of all.


And then the -- overall, I would say, my hope is that the shortages are temporary. Think, you know, COVID vaccine a few years ago. And fast forward a few years later, you can -- you know, you can in anywhere and get your COVID vaccine.


NEWTON: And you can watch our full interview with Dr. Dan Azagury in the next hour.

Now, she is the fastest woman driver to qualify for the Indy 500. But Katherine Legge says, you know, the car doesn't know she is a woman. So, winning is all that matters. We will hear from her, you'll want to see this interview, that's next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Palme d'Or 2023 goes to Justine Triet.


NEWTON: It was a big night in Cannes for a French film director, Justine Triet. Triet is the -- only the third woman to get the Palme d'Or. And she won for "Anatomy of a Fall". Now, Triet directed the tense courtroom drama about a writer accused of murdering her husband. Triet used her acceptance speech to slam the Macron government over how it raised the retirement age in France.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUSTINE TRIET, DIRECTOR, "ANATOMY OF A FALL" (through translator): This year, the country was gripped by historic, extremely powerful and unanimous protest against the pension reform. This protest has been denied and repressed in a shocking way. And this pattern of dominating power of unabashed power is bursting out across several spheres.


NEWTON: Triet joins New Zealand's Jane Campion and France's Julia Ducournau as the only women to win the Palme d'Or. This year at Cannes, there was a record seven women competing for the top prize.

So, did you notice, it's commencement season right across the country. And as some of the best and brightest head off to face the world, they got some advice from one of America's favorite actors, Tom hanks. The 66-year-old superstar who went to college in Sacramento, as a matter of fact, braved Harvard yard to contribute his wit and wisdom to the class of 2023. Take a listen.


TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Without having done a lick of work, without having spent any time in class, without once walking into that library in order to have anything to do with the graduating class of Harvard, its faculty, or its distinguished alumni, I make a damn good living playing someone who did. It's the way of the world kids.


NEWTON: Laughter always goes over well. A little humor. Hanks also told the graduates, truth is sacred and unalterable but too many people choose to embrace ignorance and intolerance.

Now, in about four hours from now, the Monaco Grand Prix gets underway. Red Bull's Max Verstappen took his first Monaco pole position on Saturday. Now, his qualifying lap denied Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso the top slot. At 41 years old, think about this, Alonso is the eldest driver on the grid. Alonso's last win was a decade ago.

Now, in the 107-year history of the Indy 500, only nine female drivers have ever raced at the brickyard. But later today, British driver Katherine Legge will compete as the fastest woman to ever qualify. But when she spoke to our Don Riddell, Legge said, you know, the car doesn't know I'm a woman. Listen.


KATHERINE LEGGE, COMPETING IN THE INDY 500: I don't necessarily want to be the fastest woman driver, right. I want to be the fastest overall drive. And what's really awesome is in the 10 years since I've raced here before, I've noticed that there's so many more women banned (ph) here. And there's many more women in the padding (ph). And like, it was mostly men, I would say, 10 years ago.

And now, I think it's close to 50-50. And the women have come up to me and they said, you know, you're racing for every woman out there and the little girls have been really supportive. And so, it's been really, really neat to see that aspect of it. But at the end of the day, when I'm in my car and I've got my helmet on, the car doesn't know the difference and I'm just another racecar driver. So, rather than being the fastest woman, I just want to be the fastest driver, and hopefully we will get there.

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Fair enough. This is not your first rodeo, is it? You've been in this sport a long time. And often you are the only female in the field or one of not many. Do you still feel like a trailblazer?

LEGGE: No, not really, but I guess I am. Like, when you're used to outracing, which is a long time ago. Thanks for pointing out how old I am, by the way.

RIDDELL: I didn't say that.

LEGGE: I have been doing it a long time, you're right. But when used to outracing, you don't set out to be a trailblazer or a role model or any of those things, right. You are focused on Katherine and being the best racecar driver that I can be. And I'm very selfish and you just, kind of -- you work your way through. And then at some point comes the realization that you are a role model and with that comes responsibility.

So, while I don't set out to do that, I do appreciate that that's what happens. And a lot of young girls look up to me. But I think more importantly, they look up to me because then they believe that they can be anything they want to be, right? You know, when you're a kid you want to be a fighter pilot or a fireman or a racecar driver, or something like that. And so, traditionally, a very male-dominated. And if you can see it, you can be it.

So, I think if they see women running countries, women running companies, women doing traditionally man things then they believe in their heart they can be anything that they want to be. And that's important to me.

RIDDELL: Do you still get nervous before big races? How do you think you're going to feel ahead of this one?


LEGGE: Yes, I do -- I -- it's strange. So, you get older, right, and you learn how to control your emotions better and you learn how to think through things in a different way. You get to know yourself on what makes you tick and what's the best strategy is for you.

And so, yesterday I thought I had everything under control. I'm like, OK, Katherine, you're doing well. This is good. You're not nervous. All you have to do is hit your mark. You know how to drive these cars. You know what you're doing. Just do what you do. Don't let any of those stuff in. And then I got -- sat on the grid down there. Sat in line and I'm six cars back, and I have my helmet on and everything. And my heart, OK. I'm pretty nervous. No, don't be nervous. You got to think about this. And on the other end, I'm like, yes, but I'm nervous and all eyes are on you. And I thought, I wouldn't get nervous.

So, I've gone into this Indy 500 thinking I'm not going to be nervous and I'm going to take it all in because I have an Indy in the past because I've been struggling (ph) because I'm thinking about all the things that I need to do. And I thought, oh, this year I'm older and I'm more mature and I'm more likely to be able to handle. Taking I all in, you know. And racing back (INAUDIBLE) and everything's going on. I'm like, I'm going to really enjoy it this year. I'm going to make my memories instead of blacking it all out. And then yesterday happened and then I'm, like, maybe I weren't. Maybe I'll have to put my blinkers back on.


NEWTON: OK. Meantime, the Boston Celtics keep their NBA championship dreams alive after defeating the Miami Heat yesterday, 104 to 103 in game six of their Playoff series. Now, the game literally came down to the final second when Boston's Derek White drained it with one 10th of a second left on the clock with the series now tied at three games apiece. The deciding game seven is set Monday in Boston. The Celtics are hoping to become the first team in NBA history to win a best of seven series after losing the first three games. So, the winner of game seven will play the Denver Nuggets in the finals, Thursday.

I'm Paula Newton. I want to thank you for your company. I'll be right back with more news at the top of the hour.