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Impeachment Articles Against Texas A.G. Now At State Senate; Uganda Anti-LGBTQ Law Draws International Condemnation; China Launches Shenzhou-16 With First Civilian Astronaut; Memorial Day Mass Shooting On Florida Beach; Biden And McCarthy Scramble To Sell Debt Deal To Hard-Liners; Eighth Person Rescued From Partial Building Collapse In Iowa. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 30, 2023 - 02:00   ET




LAILA HARRAK, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome to all of our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. I'm Laila Harrak. Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.

Running for cover on a Florida beach during the Memorial Day mass shooting. Among the victims, a one-year-old child.

A compromise deal has been reached. The bill has been written but the U.S. debt limit drama is far from over with a major hurdle needing to be cleared in the hours ahead.

Plus, the political showdown in Texas. The Republican-led House as impeach this state's Republican attorney general. Well now, all eyes are on the lawmaker who will help decide his fate, his wife.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Laila Harrak.

HARRAK: We begin in Florida, where a U.S. national holiday has ended in gun violence and bloodshed. At least nine people were wounded including three children in Hollywood Beach as the country marked Memorial Day. Police say shots were fired during an altercation between two groups of people. They've detained one person of interest and are searching for another suspect. Officials are condemning the violence.


JOSH LEVY, HOLLYWOOD BEACH MAYOR: People come to a holiday, enjoy a holiday weekend on the beach with their families and to have people and complete reckless disregard of the safety of the public and to have an altercation with guns in a public setting with thousands of people around them is beyond reckless.

CHRIS O'BRIEN, HOLLYWOOD BEACH POLICE CHIEF: It's unfortunate when we have law abiding citizens come to our beach to enjoy the day that gets disrupted by a group of criminals who engage in this type of violent activity. As the mayor stated, we will leave no stone unturned. We have numerous agencies out here assisting us today to include state and federal agencies. These that were involved in the incident today will be held accountable for their actions.


HARRAK: Well, video from Hollywood Beach shows people running in fear after gunfire broke out. Police say the victims range in age from 65 to just one-year-old.

The bipartisan deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limits and save the country from defaulting on his debts will face its first serious hurdle in the coming day. The House Rules Committee will take up the bill and several of its members have been slamming it. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he's not worried about that committee. Both Republican and Democratic leaders are facing revolts from within their ranks by members who think their side gave up too much in the negotiations.

But the U.S. President is optimistic. The deal will make it across the finish line.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know I never say I'm confident in what the Congress is going to do. But I feel very good about it.

There's no reason why it shouldn't get done by the 5th. I'm confident that we'll get a vote in both Houses, and we'll see.


HARRAK: While many members of Congress are falling in line, realizing it's either the deal on the table or a financial crisis that was entirely preventable. Well, next Monday, June 5th is the deadline for dodging a default. CNN's Lauren Fox reports on the urgent campaign to win over as many lawmakers as possible this week.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: While the furious effort from both Republican and Democratic leaders to lock up the votes they need for this legislation, it's fully underway with the White House making a series of calls directly to members trying to explain to them exactly what's in this bill, holding multiple briefings to detail the contents of the legislation.

Meanwhile, Republicans feeling very optimistic that they are going to be able to get at least a majority of their Republican majority on the floor. If it makes it there, the first critical test happening in the House Rules Committee on Tuesday. That's because Chip Roy, a conservative from Texas has threatened to use every tool at his disposal along with conservative Ralph Norman to block this legislation from moving forward.

All eyes are on Thomas Massie, another conservative on that committee and what he is going to do. But once it passes out of the House, if it indeed gets out of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, this fight will then move to the U.S. Senate. You're already hearing backlash from some conservatives like Lindsey Graham who are arguing that the defense number agreed to in this legislation is just not high enough.


The Senate can move this bill very quickly. But that requires them to have agreement among all their members. If one member objects, that could really drag this whole process out, potentially putting you right up against that June 5th deadline, coming just about a week from now.

On Capitol Hill for CNN, Lauren Fox.

HARRAK: Well, earlier I asked a law professor Jessica Levinson, what must be done to get the votes.


JESSICA LEVINSON, LAW PROFESSOR, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: I think the real question mark here will be what happens to the House Freedom Caucus on the right and what happens to the really progressive wing of the Democratic Party on the left? And if there are significant defections, I think that will give us an indication of basically how good a job Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House has done in terms of rallying his troops and how many Democratic votes are needed here?

I think because he said, I think we have a deal. One would guess that he could count. Having said that, this is a speaker who had 15 rounds before he got that job. So, I don't think that we should assume that anything's a done deal.

HARRAK: So, we can't assume that anything is a done deal. What do you think will placate, hold out Democrats and the most hawkish Republicans?

LEVINSON: Probably nothing. And I don't think that they're needed. I mean, there's enough votes there without the right wing of the right wing and the left wing of the left wing, so to speak. And I don't think that the House Freedom Caucus on the right. I don't think they're happy with this deal, because they wanted much more concessions. They wanted significant cuts when it comes to federal funding, and big federal spending.

And they didn't get that. They did get President Biden to the table. They did get some concessions, but they're moderate wins at best. And I think that the progressives are upset that President Biden did go to the table. They're upset that he gave any concessions at all. They think Republicans held them ransom and the President basically gave into that. So, I'm not sure any part of this deal will placate them, nor does it need to.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARRAK: Well, a closer look now at what's in this bipartisan plan. The bill would suspend the debt limit through January 1st 2025. So, it won't be a distraction during next year's presidential election. The bill would also rollback non-defense discretionary spending to last year's levels. It would expand work requirements for some adults receiving food stamps. And it would claw back about $30 billion in unused COVID relief funds.

Joining me now from Ann Arbor, Michigan is Justin Wolfers. He's a professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. So good to have you with us. First, I want to get your reaction, how have markets reacted? Is everyone now breathing a sigh of relief? And is there an assumption that the bill will get approved?

JUSTIN WOLFERS, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Laila, I'll tell you, I'm breathing a sigh of relief right now. The --

this is really good news. And it's a funny kind of good news, which is it's the absence of catastrophic bad news. And we economists spend too much time being dreary. So, let's take a moment and just celebrate that fact. Now, you asked how are markets reacting.

Well, markets had actually expected that they get to this outcome all along. And so, in some -- in many respects, when you get what you expect, markets don't move a lot. But don't let that fool you. A lot of people are putting a lot of disaster scenarios away and hopefully not worrying about that for another couple of years.

HARRAK: All right. But we still have to wait and see. I mean, the vote is on a Wednesday. But let's take a look at the substance of the deal. What are your main takeaways?

WOLFERS: Well, the big takeaway, I think, is that this does very little macroeconomic damage. There's a big ideological fight. And of course, Democrats are very happy that President Biden got to keep the really important bigger parts of his agenda. Republicans are happy that they're at a point where they didn't really have much control, except for the leverage of the debt limit, yet they still got major concessions.

The most important thing that happened here from a macroeconomic perspective is that we've got caps on discretionary spending, non- defense discretionary spending for the next two years. Now, that's not going to have very large macroeconomic impacts because out of the entire federal budget, only about a third of its discretionary spending and only half of that is nondefense discretionary spending.

And so, it's that one six of the federal budget that we've got a freeze on. And so, that's not going to be large enough to either create a recession or prevent one.


HARRAK: Well, let's do a cost benefit analysis then. Was this situation at all worth it when you look at that end result from an economic vantage point? WOLFERS: Well, for Joe Biden and the White House, no, actually, let me go back. For anyone who cares about the U.S. economy, which I hope is all of us. It's absolutely worth it, because the alternative of defaulting on the debt would have yielded the great big, ugly unknown, right at a point when our recovery is feeling a little bit fragile. So, I think the American economy is for sure cheering this outcome.

Did Republicans get as much as they want? For sure they were much more aggressive in their early asks. But equally, they don't control the Senate. They don't control the White House. It's kind of crazy that they got anything out of this at all. And Democrats, particularly on the left, were very disappointed that there was work requirements put in for food stamps. There's no evidence these work requirements help anyone work.

It's just a way of being a little harsher on those who maybe really need help. So, Democrats, I think, will be somewhat disappointed by that. But, you know, so, there's the ideological push and pull. And the good news is that that push and pull didn't knock off the overall economy that affects all of us.

HARRAK: So, if they get this passed, things will settle down for the next two years. What would your advice be to the next Congress from an economic vantage point? What debate really should they be having? And what might be a way out of this cycle of crisis every few years that jeopardizes the entire global economy?

WOLFERS: Well, let me just clarify what the stakes were. Lots of people say, well, the debt ceilings really helpful because we need to prevent the government from spending too much money. Except that's not what this debate did. That's not what defaulting on the debt would do. Basically, the threat was that we would not repay our creditors. It's like a family being in trouble and deciding the first thing they should do is stop paying their credit card bills.

Truth is, that doesn't work. It just leads the credit card companies to jack up the interest rates, and you end up in even more trouble than you were before. If you're concerned about our fiscal situation, and not everyone is but if you are, then it's the usual annual spending bills. You'd want to cut back on spending and tax bills. You'd want us to tax a little more as well. So, there's a time and a place to have these debates.

But holding up our creditors is not the right time, not the right place and threatens to do a lot of damage. So, this Congress got halfway to the right solution. They said, let's get rid of the debt limit altogether for the next two years. A good start but I'd say, let's get rid of that debt limit for the next 2000 years. And then we get to put this whole cycle of hostage taking and potential economic crisis away and off the table.

HARRAK: Justin Wolfers, thank you so much.

WOLFERS: A pleasure.

HARRAK: Emergency workers in Iowa have rescued an eighth person from an apartment building on Monday, the day after it partially collapsed. Well now officials are going from search and rescue to recovery mode. Miraculously, no one died when the back section of the building caved in and detached from the rest of the building according to fire officials. But it's unclear how many people might still be unaccounted for. The building is scheduled to be demolished Tuesday.

Just ahead. Russian attacks on Kyiv continuing day and night.

Plus, breaking news on a new drone strike in Moscow.

Plus, protesters clashed with NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo. We'll explain what's behind the recent unrest.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

HARRAK: We've got breaking news just coming in right now to CNN. Moscow's mayor says a drone attack has caused minor damage to several buildings. He says no serious injuries have been reported so far. It's not clear at this point who might be behind the drone attacks but they appear to be reminiscent of an incident earlier this month when two drones were shot down above the Kremlin.

Russia blamed Ukraine for that attack. Kyiv has denied responsibility. Let's take you now live to London to CNN's Clare Sebastian, who's following these breaking developments for you. What more can you tell us?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning, Laila. We're hearing from Russian state media and from the Moscow Mayor as well as the governor of the Moscow region that several buildings sustained what the Moscow mayor called the insignificant damage as a result of what he says were drone attacks in the early hours of the morning. They're saying as of now, no casualties reported.

As I said, the damage as they're reporting it appears to be minor. But this was two residential buildings. One, essentially in a suburb to the southwest of Moscow, near one of the major airports the new cover Airport. The other one in Moscow itself, it seems to be according to the address reported by state media along a pretty major highway. One of the arteries leading from the center of Moscow out of the city in a residential building as well another high rise.

So, that is significant. This I think the first time in the course of this conflict that we've seen residential buildings in the Russian capital in any way impacted by this kind of attack. It seems that the month of May, bookended by these drones, hitting Moscow of course, at the beginning of the May -- of May, we saw that suspicious drone attack hit the Kremlin itself. So, this very significant will cause immense unease for the Russian people.

It seems also that Moscow's air defense was in action overnight as well. The governor of the Moscow region acknowledging that people had heard explosions in a number of areas of the city and said several drones and his words were shut down. So again, no claim of responsibility from any party for this as of yet the. Emergency services on scene according to state media, the cause is being investigated. But it does bring in a sense this conflict home in yet another way to the Russian people.

HARRAK: Clare, this comes of course after those scenes of terrorized residents in the Ukrainian capital running for cover. And we understand Russia has unleashed more attacks on the capital?


SEBASTIAN: Yes. Another overnight aerial assault on the Ukrainian capital. These now happening later with startling regularity, certainly over the past few weeks. This, according to Ukraine, the 17th in the month of May. The Air Force now saying that 31 Shaheed attack drones were launched from the north and south. This is also part of the pattern that we're seeing. Attacks coming in from several directions. We assumed to try to confuse Ukraine's air defenses.

Twenty-nine out of 31 according the Air Force were shut down. But we are hearing that one person was killed and four injured now according to the Kyiv police chief by shrapnel. So, it underscores that even when the air defenses are effective, as they have been increasingly so in Ukraine. There is still significant danger to those on the ground from falling debris. So, Kyiv again under attack overnight.

HARRAK: And all this, Clare, as President Zelenskyy announced that he's decided on the date of the counteroffensive.

SEBASTIAN: Yes. And his overnight address -- his nightly address rather, President Zelenskyy saying the decision has been made about the timing for the counteroffensive, though he did not for obvious reasons reveal the timing. It's interesting that while Kyiv continues to keep under wraps, its exact plans, of course, for obvious reasons. So, it's not to give them away to its enemy.

It is continuing to allow the -- sort of the pressure to build, the suspense to build around this counteroffensive. We also saw over the weekend, the head of the Armed Forces released a very sort of high- budget looking videos saying the time has come to take that what are -- what is ours. Showcasing Western weapons, showing Ukrainian troops training. So, it seems that the mental and mental was building.

And Zelenskyy now saying that the decision has been made about when they will move forward. Laila?

HARRAK: Clare Sebastian reporting there on breaking developments. So, thank you so much, Clare.

Italy's defense ministry says nearly three dozen NATO peacekeepers were injured on Monday in clashes with Serb protesters in northern Kosovo. The defense ministry alleges that protesters threw Molotov cocktails and other objects at the peacekeeping force known as KFOR. Serbia's defense minister says many protesters were also injured. For more on these developments, I'm now joined by Barbie Nadeau in Rome. She's tracking developments for you. Barbie, tempers flared there quite significantly. Potentials have been simmering in the region for quite some time.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. No, I mean, one could argue they've been simmering since 2008 when Kosovo declared independence. Serbia doesn't recognize that independence. But they really, really flared up in April when elections put into place. Albanian majority leaders in this area of Kosovo that is really -- it is really, you know, people, the Serbian people live there. And so, these tensions go back to that.

But the Serbian president had this to say trying to get these protesters to sort of tone things down a little bit. Let's listen to what he had to say.


ALEKSANDAR VUCIC, PRESIDENT OF SERBIA (through translator): I am urging the Serbs and Kosovo not to get into a conflict with NATO. Not because I'm afraid or because any of us are afraid. None of us personally have anything to lose, but because that's what Kosovo's Prime Minister wants most.


NADEAU: And, you know, Laila, these KFOR forces is a NATO force. It's been in the region since 1999. 14 of the soldiers who were -- peacekeeping soldiers who were injured are Italian. And, you know, it leaves obviously very invested in the peacekeeping efforts there. And it's a very worrying development. Nobody's looking for another conflict like this in Europe right now, Laila.

HARRAK: So, does that mean that NATO is on high alert after these clashes?

NADEAU: Well, you know, these are -- these are NATO forces. So, any clashes with a NATO force, NATO peacekeeping force is going to put NATO on high alert. They're very concerned about this in the region. They're not there for combat. They're there for peacekeeping. They've been there for a long time. NATO is on high alert over this. We even have the United States and other NATO countries issue a statement saying, you know, warning the Serbian protesters, especially in Serbia to tone things down a little bit in this area.

HARRAK: Yes. Because -- I mean, the situation seems highly flammable. Are there any efforts underway to bring down the temperature?

NADEAU: Well, it's a difficult situation because this region of Kosovo and northern Kosovo on the border with Serbia is, you know, the Serbian majority people live there. That's the minority in the -- in Kosovo, obviously. And you've got, you know, other geopolitical issues in place. Serbia doesn't recognize the independence of Kosovo and neither just Russia. And Serbia and Russia are very close ally. Serbia, obviously, supporting Russia in the Ukraine war as well. So, it's a very volatile situation. It's another conflict in Europe and people are a bit nervous about it.


NATO doesn't not want to get involved in a combat with Serbian people in Kosovo certainly. Laila?

HARRAK: Barbie Nadeau reporting. Thank you so much.

Still to come. The Texas State Senators now holding the articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton. A look at what comes next.


HARRAK: A driver navigates through heavy flames and smoke in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia as hundreds of firefighters battle multiple ferocious wildfires.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls the fires, they're incredibly serious. Officials say they've burned more than 10,000 hectares, destroyed at least 200 homes or other structures and have forced 16,000 people from their homes on the other side of the country. Wildfires in Alberta have been burning for weeks, and some 2700 firefighters are on the lines there battling more than 60 active fires.


In Texas House lawmakers have now delivered articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton to the State Senate, where he's set to face an impeachment trial in the months ahead. Well, this comes just two days after the Republican controlled House voted to impeach Paxton in an unprecedented move. CNN's Ed Lavandera has the details from Delta, Dallas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm directed by the House of Representatives to present to the Senate. The Articles of Impeachment preferred against Warren Kenneth Paxton Jr., Attorney General of the State of Texas.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): A historic moment in Texas politics. The 12 Texas House representatives who will present the impeachment case against Attorney General Ken Paxton, helped formally deliver the Articles of Impeachment to the Texas Senate late this afternoon. The day after Texas lawmakers impeached Ken Paxton, he shared these photos on social media saying, "There's nothing better than a weekend spent with loved ones." There was no love from an overwhelmingly bipartisan collection of Texas House lawmakers who voted 121 to 23 to file 20 articles of impeachment against the Republican Attorney General.

REP. ANN JOHNSON (D-TX): Either this is going to be the beginning of the end of his criminal reign. Oh, God help us with the harms that will come to all Texans if he is allowed to stay. The top cop on the tank.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): Paxton called the impeachment vote a "Politically motivated sham and an ugly spectacle."


LAVANDERA (voiceover): Former President Donald Trump's support didn't help either. Trump called the impeachment vote unfair, led by the radical left Democrats and rhinos, Republicans in name only. Paxton is accused of a litany of criminal acts including bribery and obstruction of justice, and that he's unfit for public office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The evidence is substantial. It is alarming and unnerving.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): Paxton's impeachment moves to the State Senate. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick will preside over the trial in an interview with CNN affiliate WFAA Patrick would not say when the trial will take place.

DAN PATRICK, TEXAS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: We will all be responsible as any juror would be if that turns out to be.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): One of those jurors and senators is Angela Paxton, the Attorney General's own wife. There are calls for her to recuse herself, but she has not said what she will do.

KEN PAXTON, TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Every politician who supports this deceitful impeachment attempt will inflict lasting damage on the credibility of the Texas House.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): As House Representatives prepared to cast their impeachment votes. Some lawmakers say Paxton was vowing retribution for anyone voting against him.

STATE REP. CHARLIE GEREN (R-TX): Several members of this House, while on the floor of this House, doing the State business, received telephone calls from general Paxton personally threatening them with political consequences in our next election.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): Paxton has been under indictment on felony securities fraud charges and remains under FBI investigation for a scandal involving a campaign donor. Paxton has denied all wrongdoing.

PAXTON: This shameful process was curated from the start as an act of political retribution.


LAVANDERA (on camera): We now have an update on when Ken Paxton his impeachment trial will take place. State Senators approved a plan that says the trial will have to happen before August 28th. And then on June 20th, a committee of senators will present the rules for the impeachment process. So, look for this impeachment trial to take place sometime between June 28th and the end of August. Ed Lavandera CNN Dallas.

HARRAK: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is hitting the road in just a few hours on his first campaign stops since announcing his presidential bid. Well, the Republican candidate will spend Tuesday and Wednesday in Iowa, where you lead to New Hampshire Thursday then traveled to South Carolina on Friday. And he's already busy attacking his onetime political ally, Former President Donald Trump. DeSantis is using his ongoing feud with Disney to argue why he is more likely to win the Iowa caucuses.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): He's taken the side of Disney in our fight down here in Florida. I'm standing for parents, I'm standing for children, and I think a multi-billion-dollar company that sexualizes children is not consistent with the values of Florida, or the values of a place like Iowa.


HARRAK: DeSantis was referring to Disney's opposition to Florida so called Don't Say Gay Law, which prohibits educators from teaching about sexual orientation, and gender identity to students from kindergarten to third grade. And Uganda's President assigns an extreme anti-LGBTQ measure into law during intense international condemnation. We'll explain what's in the law and why activists in the country are telling CNN they are now fear for their lives.



HARRAK: The East African Nation of Uganda is facing intense condemnation from Western countries and Human Rights groups. Following its approval on Monday of an extreme anti-LGBTQ Law. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed the measure with a golden pen, after parliament approved it. Well, it mandates the death penalty for so called aggravated homosexuality, and simply engaging in gay sex could lead to life in prison. The law also criminalizes sex education for the gay community and encourages Ugandans to report LGBTQ individuals.

Vice President Joe Biden is threatening sanctions, saying, "I joined with people around the world, including many in Uganda and calling for its immediate repeal. No one should have to live in constant fear for their life or being subjected to violence and discrimination. It is wrong."


I want to turn now to Winnie Byanyima in Geneva, Switzerland. She is the Executive Director of UNAIDS and an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. Madam Under-Secretary-General, a very warm welcome to CNN. Thank you for taking the time to speak to us. I want to ask you about how this bill and what this bill means for the country's response to HIV and AIDS in just a moment? But first, could I have your reaction? I understand you yourself are from Uganda, what do you make of this development?

WINNIE BYANYIMA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNAIDS: I'm not surprised, but I'm disappointed. And I to condemn this bill, and ask the government, the Parliament of Uganda to repeal it. Because it is going to hurt the HIV response in Uganda. Already we can see people who are living with HIV are at risk of HIV, running away from clinics, from centers where they can get life-saving health care. We're seeing people fleeing the country fearing for their lives. And that should not happen, no Ugandan should fear for their life and have to run away.

So, this bill is setting us back on our struggle to end HIV. But beyond that to, this law is also going to hurt Uganda's economic prospects. Because Uganda is trying to export oil, is trying to do value addition to export manufactured products onto the global market. It will be difficult for companies that are hosted in countries that don't discriminate to come and put their people and technology in Uganda. This will hurt Uganda's long term economic prospects.

And thirdly, it's a violation of Human Rights. Young people see sexuality different from differently from older people like me. They see gender as not binary men or women. They see sexuality as fluid. And they have a right, they were not even consulted. This was a case of old people laying down the law for younger people without even talking to them. The process of making this law was itself shameful. You had parliamentarians trying to distract the public's attention from corruption scandals, screaming and name calling and not rationally looking at the impact of this law on people's lives. It is shameful.

HARRAK: Now, the U.S. says this could affect potentially its funding for HIV and AIDS treatments in Uganda. What would the consequences be if that were to happen?

BYANYIMA: Huge because Uganda's HIV response is more than 90 percent externally supported financed. Uganda depends on the contributions of the American government and other governments. And even the private sector mobilizes money that comes to Uganda global private sector. So, Uganda's partnerships with the International Community are what has brought us to put 1.2 million people on treatment in Uganda today. But there are 200,000 other people was still to get on treatment and there are every year 50,000 new infections that we must stop. So, the struggle is still on this much work to do, and we need the entire International Community to support the struggle in Uganda.

HARRAK: Madam Under-Secretary, I'm sorry for interrupting you, just in a few words, if I may ask you. As a public health official, what is your message now to Ugandan lawmakers who voted for the bill?

BYANYIMA: My message to them is that Uganda is a poor country that is facing huge problems, collapsing public health, public services, climatic impacts, climate change impacts, poverty is increasing, and inequality is widening, corruption is runaway it has it's uncontrolled. They need to pay attention to those issues that are hurting Ugandans, repeal this law and give every Ugandan their chance to access services. They shouldn't distract the public's attention by attacking vulnerable people. They should address the difficult issues of poverty, fighting poverty and inequality in Uganda.


HARRAK: Winnie Byanyima, thank you so much. Madam Under-Secretary for taking the time to speak to us about this very important subject.

BYANYIMA: Thank you for having me.

HARRAK: Still ahead, China launches its first civilian astronauts into space with an eye on expanding its space program. We'll head to Beijing for an update on the mission.


HARRAK: Despite protests from its neighbors, North Korea says it will launch its first military spy satellite next month. According to state media, the launch is in response to dangerous military acts from the United States and South Korea.


Meanwhile, Japan has warned Pyongyang it will use extreme force if a North Korean missile lands in its territory. China has sent its first civilian astronauts into space marking another step forward for the country's ambitious space program.


HARRAK (voiceover): Official say the launch of Shenzhou-16 was a complete success with crew members on board. The craft are sets, a man China's space station taking over from the previous Shenzhou-15 astronauts.


HARRAK (on camera): Let's get you more on this, we can go now to CNN Steven Jiang, live in Beijing. Good to see you, Steven, tell us about China's space ambitions.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laila, you know, this latest mission really marks another incremental but major step forward in the country's space program. And, you know, this is -- this is really a noteworthy because, you know, when this spacecraft docks with the Tiangong, as you mentioned, in about an hour's time. We actually will be seeing six Chinese astronauts in that structure. And remember, the country's first man mission was launched only 20 years ago in 2003. So, they have been making a lot of progress since then.

Now, this latest crew, the three astronauts will be conducting a series of experiments and research to win their five months stay in space. But also, of course, installing testing and maintaining equipment and conducting spacewalks. So, all of that has become increasingly common and the space station itself. And let's not forget, the core module first entered orbit only in 2021. And by the end of last year, they completed the construction of this T-shaped, three module structure.

And now, there's already talk of expanding this into a cross shaped structure to extend further research capabilities. And, of course, one of the most fascinating aspects about this crew, as you mentioned, is for the first time China is sending a civilian into space. And all the previous astronauts had been military personnel and this professor from a very prestigious Aeronautics University here in Beijing.

He also draws a lot of attention because he wears eyeglasses, prompting officials and state media here to explain that with the division of labor. Each astronaut's tasks have become increasingly specialized. And this professor is a payload expert, not a pilot, so, he doesn't have to have naturally perfect vision and already laid out. We've seen some facetious responses online from parents complaining now, they can no longer warn their children who are obsessed with smartphones that you will never become an astronaut if you are nearsighted. That lie just won't fly anymore, Laila.

HARRAK: There is hope for all of us, Steven. What does this all mean put this in perspective for us in terms of China's competition with the U.S. and space?

JIANG: Yes, that's a good question, because obviously, we are already hearing some experts say this latest mission marks another step that China will eventually likely have a leg up because of the limited resources they have. But also remember, the space station itself, the Tiangong, may become the only operational space station within the decade because NASA has previously said, they will decommission the International Space Station. But of course, this is an increasingly heated competition here, Laila.

HARRAK: All right, Steven Jiang reporting for you from Beijing. Thank you so much. The Miami Heat are headed to the NBA finals after beating the Boston Celtics 103-84 in a must win game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. Well, Miami's victory year, thwarted Boston's effort to become the first team in NBA history to win a seven-game series after being down three games to none. CNN's Omar Jimenez has a report from Boston.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, coming into this Eastern Conference Finals games, there have been 150 unsuccessful attempts at overcoming a 3-0 deficit. Now, there have been 151, the Boston Celtics couldn't get it done overcome what was initially an improbable deficit to begin with. But, of course, they fought incredibly hard just to get to this point, becoming just a number of a select few of teams to even be in this position in the first place.

But it was a battle of improbable is here to try and advance to the finals because the Miami Heat on their side, they came in as a plan team. They had already been setting records in history along the way, becoming the first playing team to win a series. Then, they're taking out top seeds across the East and then, even though they gave up three in a row, and potentially would have become the first team to give up a 3-0 lead in the series. They came into Boston in a game seven environment, where everybody was against them in this arena from the very beginning. [02:55:12]

And they were able to turn the tide over the course of the game in the later stages as that lead grew. They're even; Celtics fans there were booing their own team as the Celtics called timeout as they tried to get a hold of the momentum that was seemingly swaying in the Heat favor. And the Heat now head on to the NBA Finals, where they're going to take on the Denver Nuggets. Obviously, that is a team that is very well rested. But the stakes have been against the Miami Heat before.

And so, while many people are already saying the Nuggets are going to sweep through and take care of business. It's been said about the heat before and they came into a very hostile Boston environment and took care of business on a Monday night and this Eastern Conference Finals. And again, battle of two improbable, but it's the Miami Heat improbable, that took the victory this time. Omar Jimenez, CNN, Boston.

HARRAK: Thank you so much for spending this part of your day with us. I'm Laila Harrak, I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM after this short break.