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Airports Bracing For A Very Busy Summer Travel Season; Fresh Explosion In Russian-Occupied City Of Berdiansk; New Treasury Estimate: Default Possible On June Five; Researchers: A.I. Helps Find Antibiotic To Fight Deadly Superbug. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired May 27, 2023 - 07:00   ET




AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone and welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. I'm Amara Walker.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's good to have you along.

This summer travel season kicks off, and millions of people are heading to their destinations for Memorial Day weekend. We'll have the latest on what to expect at the airport and what to know if you are hitting the road.

WALKER: And lawmakers inching closer to a possible debt ceiling deal. Could today be the day they reach an agreement to avoid default? We will have the latest on the negotiations.

BLACKWELL: Take back what is ours. Those are the words from the chief of Ukraine's armed forces in a new video posted online. Is the counteroffensive we've been talking about for some time now imminent? We are there in Ukraine with the latest.

WALKER: And really frightening moments on board, an Asiana Airlines flight after a passenger opens a door in the air. How does that even happen? We're going to show you the terrifying moments ahead.

BLACKWELL: Let me tell you. If that would happen --

WALKER: How does that even happen?

BLACKWELL: I have no -- I would probably just pass out. If the door is open on the plane --

WALKER: Yes, I know. Well, I mean thankfully they were so low enough to the -- you know ground.

BLACKWELL: That's 700 feet still.

WALKER: Right. I know I just -- I didn't even know that that was possible -- BLACKWELL: Yes.

WALKER: -- you know, but -- like apparently it was.

BLACKWELL: We've got an explanation for you on how it is possible. Coming up later.

WALKER: Apparently, the passenger was listless, and he just wanted to get off.

Well, the summer travel season is officially here, and experts say it will be a busy one. AAA expects 42.3 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend. At airports, it's likely to be busier than it wasn't 2019 before the pandemic. TSA officials say the agency expects to screen 10 million passengers over the Memorial Day period.

BLACKWELL: Yesterday, Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson is in its moniker the world's busiest airport. According to TSA, close to 32,000 passengers moved through security checkpoints during the busy morning rush. And just like the skies, the roads will be busy too. More than 37 million people are expected to hit the roads. CNN's Pete Muntean reports on the rush at America's airports.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): A summer of tests for air travel is already off to a record-setting start. From Atlanta --


MUNTEAN (voiceover): To Los Angeles.

CAROLINE BETETA, PRESIDENT & CEO, VISIT CALIFORNIA: We are looking at a very busy weekend here at LAX.

MUNTEAN (voiceover): With the Transportation Security Administration screening 2.66 million people at airports nationwide on Thursday, the highest number since before the pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just tried to prepare as much as I could with what I can control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the airport is really busy but otherwise no, it has -- it hasn't been easy to look at easy.

MUNTEAN (voiceover): A smooth start after airlines canceled 2700 flights last Memorial Day weekend kicking off a summer of more than 55,000 cancellations.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: This weekend will be a test of the system.

MUNTEAN (voiceover): Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is putting pressure on airlines which insist they are now the right size and right staffed hiring 48,000 workers in the last year according to his CNN analysis.

BUTTIGIEG: We're doing everything we can to press airlines to deliver that good service. And if there is an issue, we have your back.

MUNTEAN (voiceover): Though airlines worry delays could come from the federal government, which is short 3000 air traffic controllers, this week back-to-back staffing issues in Denver forced the FAA to slow flights. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby calls air traffic control shortages his number one concern.

SCOTT KIRBY, CEO, UNITED AIRLINES: That doesn't just impact those flights. That bleeds over to the whole system for the rest of the day.

MUNTEAN (voiceover): For now, the FAA has opened up 169 new more efficient flight routes up and down the East Coast. From its command center in Virginia, the agency is monitoring storms in Florida warning of delays in Tampa Orlando, Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Far as the rest of the Memorial Day weekend, it's looking pretty good.

MUNTEAN: Still pretty busy here at Reagan National Airport. And despite all this demand, travel site Hopper says airfare has actually gone down by 26 percent in the last year.


The average domestic roundtrip ticket this weekend, $273. But get this. International airfare has jumped by 50 percent. The average international round trip this weekend, $1,300.

The big tip from travel experts, try to book the first flight out if you can. That minimizes your chance of cancellations or delays. Pete Muntean, CNN, Reagan National Airport.


BLACKWELL: So, there will be more drivers on the road this weekend. But it will cost drivers less to get to destinations. CNN's Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): At this BP station in McLean, Virginia, pleasant surprises at the pump.

JOE ALIAGA, MOTORIST IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA: I am surprised because everything else is going up. A lot more, so at least gas prices have kind of been stable.

RACKIE ALLIE, UBER DRIVER IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA: All in all, I mean for the past one year, I think the price is a little bit you know better for the citizen.

TODD (voiceover): The cost of your holiday road trip at least behind the wheel is lower this year. Gas prices steeply down from a year ago. The national average standing at .357 a gallon according to AAA, down more than a dollar from the average at this time last year, which was 4.60 a gallon. Analysts say there are several reasons for this. The global price per barrel of oil is lower, but also --

PATRICK DE HANN, HEAD OF PETROLEUM ANALYSIS, GASBUDDY: The economic headwinds globally. Central banks raise interest rates to tame inflation that has cooled Americans' desires to hit the road.

TODD (voiceover): That's the case so far this year. But this holiday weekend, we'll see more Americans on the road. More than 37 million according to AAA, up six percent from a year ago.

Another reason for lower gas prices. Russia's war in Ukraine hasn't cut Russia's oil supply to world markets as much as was anticipated.

DENTON CINQUEGRANA, CHIEF OIL ANALYST, OPIS: We thought Russia was going to disappear from the -- from the world market. Their oil is still getting to market in certain places, despite the fact that the U.S., the EU, and the UK have sanctions on them.

TODD (voiceover): And experts believe motorists won't see huge price changes anytime soon.

DE HANN: The odds are against the national average hitting the four- dollar-a-gallon mark this summer.

TODD (voiceover): So, we asked motorists a key question.

TODD: Will you change your travel plans or your driving habits now that prices are low?

TED MILLER, MOTORIST FROM MICHIGAN: Well, I actually just drove in from Michigan today to be with my son, so you know, I think that I'm encouraged to keep traveling and get to family again. You know, it's been a while.

MICHELLE CHAVEZ, MOTORIST FROM NORTHERN VIRGINIA: This weekend is the first weekend that I'm actually going to a beach so that's pretty exciting.

TODD (voiceover): Analyst Patrick De Hann says if lower gas prices have you thinking about a longer road trip, planned or spontaneous, there is a certain time of summer that might be a better window to travel than others.

DE HANN: IF you're planning a road trip, really the closing innings of summer may be a better bet. Simply because the supply of that special blend of summer gasoline increases over the next six to eight weeks culminating in a peak of gasoline supply that amasses right as the peak driving season is happening in late July.


TODD: But De Hann and other analysts say this optimism over gas prices this summer, especially in the late part of the summer, comes with the usual caveat. They say if there's a major hurricane in the later part of the summer or more than one hurricane that disrupts refineries along the Gulf coasts, prices could shoot up again, Amara and Victor.

WALKER: Brian Todd, thank you. So, millions we'll head to the beach this weekend. But the weather may not cooperate in some areas.

BLACKWELL: CNN meteorologist Britley Ritz is in the CNN weather center. So, where will there be this heavy rain?

BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we're dealing with it along the east coast and back through the plains. I'm going to take you to Kiawah Island, South Carolina where it's a whopping 55 degrees. The sun's up but the clouds are hanging around. And you can tell with that area of low pressure that's hanging nearby just how rough the surf really is.

There's the rain moving in, and a little bit of lightning with it as well. So, you may hear a few rumbles of thunder down towards Savannah and up toward Charleston. Heavier rain really starting to move in so it'll be moderate to heavy off and on through the entire weekend.

Not only that, but strong winds pushing that water onto shore, so we have coastal flood conditions as well. Some of these areas along the coastline could see up to four feet of water. And the purples, high surf advisories in place. We have high surf up to 48 feet and high rip current risk. So, if you can just stay on the water, it's gloomy anyway.

On top of it all, the flooding pushes inland. This is freshwater flooding. We could pick up four to six inches of rain over the next two days time.

Not only that but the severe weather threat we get a lot going on. This pushes across the plane, so as that boundary, just kind of sits there. You'll see areas highlighted in yellow both Saturday and Sunday from Rapid City to Lubbock down into Midland, Texas, wind and hail are going to be our biggest threats here. But isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out either.


Let's head on over to the East Coast to give you a rundown through the whole weekend. The mid-60s to mid-70s, for most of us, you could see a few 80s in there. And the opportunity for a few showers rolling into DC both Sunday and Monday. Amara, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Britley, thanks so much.

Now, to Russia's war in Ukraine. We're getting word of new explosions this morning in the port city of Berdiansk. Now, this is the second time that that Russian-occupied city has been hit in the past 48 hours.

WALKER: Ukrainian officials have suggested that the strikes were made by Storm Shadow missiles which were provided by the United Kingdom just a few weeks ago. Now, nearby Mariupol has also been attacked in recent days. CNN's Sam Kiley joining us now with the very latest. So, why are these cities so significant, Sam? SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're significant -- firstly, with Mariupol, it is strategically significant because it is essentially the gateway for Russia to the offensive that they conducted beginning over 12 months ago now. And, of course, it was the scene of that very, very bloody and extended battle and the health -- hauled out by Ukraine against the Russian invaders. But it is also a port city, as is Berdiansk, so they're on the coast. They are very important logistics bases for the Russian effort to support their troops much further forward on the front line.

Now, the first Ukrainian confirmation of the use of Storm Shadow with a particular target being mentioned, I think, is significant because this is now not just an attempt to break the logistics back of the Russians, but also to signal to the Russians about just how bad things are likely to be for them down the line when this offensive gets underway. Now, we've seen some sort of propaganda video being produced by the head of the armed forces here saying an offensive is imminent, but that is really directed again at Russian troops because Ukrainians take their inspiration for fighting from scenes like this.

This is a mental health outpatient clinic. Two people killed here yesterday. One at least missing. There have found remains in what was the rubble is now being cleared up. That's going to be analyzed.

This was a daytime air strike by a Russian missile, part of the ongoing effort by Russia, of course, to break the spirit of the Ukrainians. But I have to say. When you talk to Ukrainians, it's this kind of scene that they cite as a reason why they are fighting so bitterly in places like Bakhmut, for example, which doesn't have an obvious strategic necessity about it but is a frontline position. And therefore, Ukrainians are still prepared to fight and die on it.

WALKER: All right, Sam Kiley, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

We are joined now by CNN military analyst and retired U.S. Army Major General Spider Marks. Good morning to you. So, first off, let's start with this video that was released --


WALKER: -- by the Ukrainian army. And you know, obviously, it's -- you know, it's a -- it's very well produced. And it looks like that this is a signal that a counteroffensive might be eminent. What do you make of it?

MARKS: Well, it's very significant. I think there are really two purposes. Number one, the intended audience is the Ukrainian domestic audience, which is this military that has so you know, bravely stood up, maintain the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine remains ready for whatever is going to happen. So, it's very well produced.

The second message, obviously, is to the Russians, which is, hopefully, the message is, you guys have not affected us. Russia's invasion is illegal. We stand ready, etcetera, etcetera.

And so, depending upon who's looking at this thing, it's a very motivational -- incredibly motivational video for the Ukrainians. And hopefully, the Russians are seeing this thing as well, which is, look, dudes, you haven't affected us and we're ready for you. And we're going to continue this fight.

WALKER: Yes. Yes. And in the meantime, yet another attack on a medical facility this time in Dnipro. We know at least two people have died. Dozens more have been injured after Russian forces struck this facility on Friday morning.

This would be -- I think there have been more than 900 healthcare facility attacks in Ukraine by Russia since the war began. This is according to the World Health Organization. Your reaction to this one in Dnipro.

MARKS: We should not be surprised by any of this, right? I mean, we have seen this over the course of the last year and a half since the invasion of February '22. This is what Russia does.

Look. Russia, when they engage militarily on the front lines with Ukrainian forces get beaten very badly. And so, Russia can stand off and launch dumb rockets, can launch smart missile systems that go to precise locations, and cause this kind of very precise and discriminate.


This is discriminate against very specific you know, civilian targets, infrastructure targets, or they can just launch these dumb artillery rounds and they land where they land. In this particular case, this was very intentional on the part of the Russians.

These are -- these are war crimes. These are being investigated. This goes to the list of what Russia has done, which is incredibly criminal against the Ukrainian people who will see what happens going forward. But we should not be surprised by this. This will continue.

WALKER: Right.

MARKS: There is no indication that Putin has an off-ramp. This is going to keep driving on.

WALKER: You know, also this week, U.S. officials are saying that they're looking into whether a Ukrainian group may actually be behind that drone attack. This happened earlier this month. It was quite a spectacular scene where you had the Kremlin Senate Palace, Putin's residence being targeted there.

A Ukrainian group? I mean, if that is the case and not potentially a false flag operation by Russia, I mean that -- what would that say about Russia's vulnerability in this?

MARKS: It says several things, doesn't it? Number one, you just mentioned that Russia's vulnerability. If it's a Ukrainian group or a Ukrainian-backed group, is it domestic to Russia? Was it launched from Ukraine to cover the entire distance from the border if you -- if that -- if that drone was launched from Ukraine and had to travel all the way to Moscow?

That's a pretty significant vulnerability in terms of the Russian air defense capability. It managed to maneuver all the way to Moscow and get directly above the Kremlin. We don't know that for sure.

This is intelligence. And there are certain elements of clarity within that. But they're trying to piece all this together to come up with it.

But it really talks about Ukrainian capabilities, which might be very significant in this case. And the fact that Russia has got over the Kremlin, you've got an enemy, Ukrainian capabilities loitering and attacking, where key decision-making is taking place within the Russian Federation.

WALKER: How concerned are you about the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons? According to the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, he's saying that that has to be gone from Russia to Belarus.

MARKS: Yes, significant. Anytime you start talking about nuclear capability, everybody must take that seriously. Certainly, there are elements and there are indicators of what's going on beyond the narrative, what Lukashenko might say.

But there are very specific indicators that must be tracked. And the challenge in all of this and at least, I would say, there's nothing good about threatening the use of nukes, which really gets to a number of challenges that we see most recently relative to the use of nukes. There's a lot of narrative. There's a lot -- there's a lot of very boisterous comments about Russia using nukes. So, this is very, very troubling.

I think the only good thing in all of this is that in the case of the potential Russian use of nukes, is that we, the United States, and all Western powers are multiple decisions from a bad decision and multiple levels of a decision. What I mean is, there are off-ramps. If there's the threat of nukes, there are mechanisms in place where we can try to de-escalate that.

I mean, that's the only good thing about this and that we've practiced this and those procedures remain in place. Whether they have atrophied over the course last year and a half, that needs to be determined. But at least there is some muscle memory in terms of how you de-escalate all of this.

WALKER: All right, very concerning but hopefully, there is that off- ramp. Major General Spider Marks, appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead. President Biden says a deal on the debt ceiling is very close. Now, you know, the U.S. is inching closer to a potential default. So, we're going to talk about what some of the most noticeable impacts would be if that happens.

Plus, it could be the next frontier in medical experiments. Researchers say they've discovered a new antibiotic with the help of artificial intelligence that can fight against a drug-resistant bacteria.



BLACKWELL: This morning, White House and GOP negotiators are racing to reach a deal on raising the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Friday she estimates Congress has less than nine days to prevent a first-ever default that could potentially crash the U.S. economy and impact of course the global economy. But a growing number of House lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are warning they might not vote for the deal as hardline Republicans call for stricter work requirements and concern Democrats feel left out of the process.

Here with me now is Chris Campbell. He's the chief policy strategist at Kroll and former assistant secretary of the Treasury for financial institutions. Chris, let's start with -- good morning to you. Let's start with this June fifth date now. As we get closer, how reliable is that date as a -- the X-date of when there's not enough money to pay the bills?

CHRIS CAMPBELL, CHIEF POLICY STRATEGIST, KROLL: I think we'll just take the secretary at her -- at her word that the fifth of June -- of June is the date. And we should probably shouldn't you know count many more days after that.

I think that you know like she -- you know she originally said June first. She's amended that now to give you know five more days for members of Congress and the administration to negotiate. And they have -- they have those five days, and I don't believe that would happen any days left after that.

BLACKWELL: So, help us understand this. What will it look like if unfortunately, the U.S. gets to that point where there's a default? Is it analogous to -- you know, a family sitting down at a kitchen table with the light bill, the car note, the phone bill and not having enough money and having to decide, or is there going to be you know a red alert bar on a computer screen somewhere that says all of the automatic payments that were to be made, we missed one?


CAMPBELL: That's kind of actually all the above. It's actually an incredibly great analogy, as you suggested. It's actually -- it's like I liken it to a family. You know, we have five bills, and there's going to have to choose which bill to pay first.

That -- the government will have enough money to pay some bills, it's not all the bills. And so, that -- you know, there's a lot of very important payments the government makes every single day. So, security benefits, pension benefits, defense you know, I can go on and on.

One -- also important one is we don't talk about much but as paying interest on the debt or the debt that the U.S. has accumulated, paying the interest on that debt. And so, it is -- you probably know, there's a clause in the Constitution suggested that that interest must be paid. The full faith and credit of the United States should cannot ever be diminished. And so, interest on -- the interest on the debt would also have to be something that would be very highly prioritized, but that's by the secretary and the president.

BLACKWELL: So, speaking of that full faith and credit fitch, one of the credit agencies, as placed the U.S. AAA credit rating on watch, negative. Well, remember back in 2011, S&P lowered the U.S. credit rating to AA-plus during the debt ceiling fight then. What does that -- I guess potential downgrade or even the negative watch mean for just the everyday person watching at home?

CAMPBELL: Best -- but to say this, it's just like you or me when we get to apply for credit. If we're -- if we have a lower FICO -- effectively lower FICO score, our credit is -- it's harder to get, it cost more money, and they -- and they charge us more for using our credit cards. It's really almost directly analogous to what the U.S. government does when they get -- when they get rated that this way.

And so, they're going to go down effectively. It's like saying that the U.S. is -- the U.S.'s FICO scores going down. And so therefore, when they have to go out to borrow more, they have to pay more interest to borrow that -- borrow more of that money.

And that really has a dramatic impact on everyday Americans and families. You know, that means that typically, their auto loans, their home loans, school loans, everything that's any variable interest rate loan would actually go up, and which is, you know, deeply dramatic, especially at a time when most Americans are feeling the crunch right now. And, you know, job losses are mounting.

And many people are now moving -- burned through their savings and now move into credit cards to pay their -- pay their monthly bills. And so, it's just a real challenge -- real challenge. Something that of course, we know, no one wants to face, and certainly hope and had great faith in the White House and members of Capitol Hill they'll get a deal done in the next couple of days.

BLACKWELL: Great faith you have that they will get a deal done. I hope so. And thank you for helping us understand that.

CAMPBELL: Well, can I --

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

CAMPBELL: Look. The alternative -- the alternative is something that none of us -- none of us want to -- want to have, wanted days.


CAMPBELL: And so, certainly, we all should have faith and certainly be very hopeful that they have something done in the very, very near future.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's stay hopeful. And if they do not, thank you for helping us understand what will happen if the U.S. does default. Chris Campbell, appreciate it.

WALKER: Still ahead. Researchers say they have found a new type of antibiotic that works against a particularly menacing drug-resistant bacteria by using artificial intelligence. We're going to talk to one of the researchers who worked on that study. Next.



BLACKWELL: Researchers say they found a new kind of antibiotic using artificial intelligence that could fight off a deadly drug resistant bacterium.


BLACKWELL (voice over): The scientists say, a new study found that when the antibiotic was used on the skin of mice infected with the superbug, it can control the growth of the bacteria, suggesting the method could be used to fight other types of pathogens.

One of the researchers who worked on the study is joining us now.


BLACKWELL (on camera): He is an assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. Jon Stokes is with us.

Professor, good morning to you. This is -- this is amazing.

We talk about all the challenges and potential dangers of A.I., but this is one of the benefits here.

First, let's just like frame the stakes here, and how dangerous or damaging is this superbug that I'm not even going to attempt to pronounce?

JONATHAN STOKES, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES, MCMASTER UNIVERSITY: Yes. Thanks for -- thanks for showing interest. So, the name of the pathogen is Acinetobacter baumannii, which is a mouthful, and it's a problematic hospital acquired infection.

And what makes it so challenging is it likes to hang out for a really long time on hospital surfaces, it's really hard to get rid of.

And the other reason it's a particular challenge is because it likes to take up DNA from its surrounding environment. And you would imagine, if you're a bacterium living in a hospital, you're going to be taking up lots of antibiotic resistance genes.

So, it's really common to find isolates of Acinetobacter that are resistant to many, if not all, are currently used antibiotics.

In addition to this, it's quite virulent, it can cause a lot of different types of infections, from pneumonia, to meningitis, to wound infections, to sepsis.

And it has quite a high mortality rate, you know, estimates put it at roughly one in four. So, it's a really burdensome clinic pathogen.

BLACKWELL: So, now, let's turn to the A.I. angle of this. Explain how -- because some of the numbers that you started with, to try to narrow in on pairing this antibiotic with the superbug are pretty remarkable.

How they were linked together to determine that, that this antibiotic would work against it?


STOKES: Yes. So, the idea behind using artificial intelligence to help us find new medicines is not new. People have been working on this for decades now.

But I think the technology is becoming sufficiently robust, sufficiently sophisticated in order to meaningfully, let's say, improve the drug discovery process, in our case, antibiotics.

So, what the process looked like is we gathered data, chemical training data in the laboratory, figuring out which chemicals could kill Acinetobacter and which ones couldn't.

We then use that data to train an artificial intelligence model. And then, we started showing that artificial intelligence model pictures of brand-new chemicals that we didn't know whether they were antibiotic or not, just brand-new chemicals.

And the model helped us discover this one molecule we named Addison (PH) that ended up showing this interesting activity against Acinetobacter.

BLACKWELL: How much time in potential trial and error? Did this save you?

STOKES: Yes, it's a really good question. So, we ran predictions, once we had our trained model on just under 7,000 chemicals, that would have taken us probably three weeks or so maybe a month to experiment, do -- you know, the 7,000 experiments to test those chemicals.

Our model was able to assess those in, you know, an hour and a half or two hours, you know. It's a significant time savings.

And this scales, right, you know, we did this here at a relatively small scale. But, you know, we are currently working on projects where we have A.I. models that are running predictions on hundreds of millions, billions of chemicals.

And at that scale, it's unfeasible to do that many experiments in the laboratory. So, we have to leverage A.I. to help us search these vast chemical spaces for new medicines.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it is fascinating and suggest that this could be so helpful as it you said it becomes more sophisticated in biomedical research.

Professor Jon Stokes, thank you so much for explaining it to us.

WALKER: I'm so glad you didn't try to pronounce that.

BLACKWELL: I have no idea where to go with all these syllables.


WALKER: Too many syllables.

Still ahead, it feels more like a scene out of a movie, but this was no Hollywood script. A passenger who opened a plane door mid-air as it was landing in South Korea has been arrested.

How did that even happen? We're going to explain next.



BLACKWELL: Terrifying moments for passengers on an Asiana flight after a passenger open the emergency -- I can't get over it. I'm waiting and I still can't believe it.


WALKER: I know. Seriously.

BLACKWELL: Opened the emergency exit door before the plane landed.

WALKER: Why would you do that?

BLACKWELL: I don't know.

WALKER: How did that even happened? This video taken from inside the plane shows the wind whipping through the plane's cabin.

Of course, the big question this morning, how can a passenger even open a door during a flight?

CNN's Tom Foreman explains.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Wind howling through the cabin, 200 people on board, passengers gripping their armrest. These were the chaotic minutes before landing for that Asiana Airlines flight in South Korea.

Officials say the plane was still 700 feet in the air, traveling around 170 miles an hour when a man in his 30s grabbed an exit door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Maybe the man tried to get off the plane. A flight attendant said, help, help, and about 10 passengers stood up and pulled him in. FOREMAN: Opening a commercial jet door in flight is supposed to be impossible.

The doors are locked and beveled so that air pressure inside the plane pushes them firmly into the door opening. Aviation experts say overcoming that pressure would be like lifting a car.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: So, at altitude, you simply can't do it. There are 1000s of pounds of pressure on those doors, you cannot open and you can't open the overwing exits.

FOREMAN: But at very low altitude, on some older planes, experts say it might be possible. What we know for sure is the man on the Asiana flight was arrested and others have tried the same thing.


FOREMAN: On a flight from L.A. to Boston in March, authorities say a passenger was restrained after he attacked a crew member, tried to open the emergency exit door, and said he believed the flight attendant was trying to kill him.

Soon afterward, a court ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation.

TORRES: Where is the Homeland Security with the gun? Because I'm waiting for them to point the gun at me.

I will kill every man on this plane!

FOREMAN: Other incidents that raised similar concerns in the air, including a woman who tried to open a door while flying from Raleigh, North Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: the captain has --

FOREMAN: And on the ground. In Los Angeles, authorities say a man opened the door of a park jet and jumped onto an exit slide.

And in New York officials say a couple with their dog opened the door and took an exit slide as their plane was preparing to leave.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


WALKER: You know, thank goodness, this happened at low altitude, and only then is it possible. Because can you imagine if the flight attendants were still walking around? And -- I mean, they would have been sucked out of there.

BLACKWELL: Still leave it in that. I mean, the one time did you lock up and get the exit aisle, that's the time the man comes and tries to open the door.


BLACKWELL: And they are sitting there, white knuckled, leaning back from the wind. Oh man, it's awful.

WALKER: I would have been so angry at that guy. And why?

Apparently, if he is restless or -- I don't know.

BLACKWELL: All right.

WALKER: Still ahead, two high-school students who were ignored after they requested more Asian American books be available at their own school library are now working to bring more Asian American books to schools across the country.


That's next.


WALKER: So, May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. And two high school students from Missouri started a book project which brings more Asian American books to local school libraries across the country.

BLACKWELL: They started this project after their request for Asian American books be available to their own school library were ignored.

Chris Nguyen has details.


CHRIS NGUYEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Outside the nation's capital, a special gathering.

CASSIE SUN, STUDENT AMBASSADOR, THE MAY BOOK PROJECT: I don't remember reading any books with people that look like me.

NGUYEN: These kids at Drew Elementary School are getting a timely visit from the May Book Project, which was created last year when a group of St. Louis Missouri high school students say they were ignored after asking some of their school libraries to buy more Asian American books in celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This book is called, Where Three Oceans Meet.

NGUYEN: The May Book Project now offers a free toolkit, resource guide, and a book list, organizers say, of about 250 high quality and vetted Asian American titles.

SUN: I have eyes that kiss in the corner and glow like warm tea.

NGUYEN: Student Ambassador Cassie Sun was among those who turned to the very Asian foundation for help.

We're just working to make book drops like this one a reality.

SUN: I don't know if they can fully realize how important and how like incredible it is that we're able to be here today and read these books that feature characters that look like us and look like other people.

NGUYEN: While there has recently been a nationwide push to include more diverse books in schools, there is still much work to be done.

According to the National Education Association's most recent data. Only around nine percent of children's books published in the U.S. include Asian characters.

NGUYEN: Over the past year, the foundation has worked with libraries all over the country, and now has hundreds of requests.

NGUYEN (voice over): But books cost money and the program is working to raise more of it, with hopes of reaching more people.

SOOGI HONG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VERY ASIAN FOUNDATION: These kids can now be in a world that hopefully celebrates their differences, that they can celebrate their heritage and be proud of their heritage.

NGUYEN: And eye-opening impact, one story, and one student at a time.

DORA SUE BLACK, LIBRARIAN, DREW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: It meant a lot for me because I could bring these new titles to the children that they had not yet seen.

NGUYEN: Staff members at Drew say they were honored their school was chosen as a recipient.

TRACY GAITHER, PRINCIPAL, DREW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: We have to come to needs to be there for one another. That our students are the product of what we create.

NGUYEN: Showing the next generation what's possible when we all embrace what makes each of us unique.

SUN: There is so many stories. And I think memories that are being made with these kids that we don't even know about. But you just know that it's going to stay with them for the rest of their lives.

NGUYEN: In Arlington, Virginia, I'm Chris Nguyen, reporting.


WALKER: Oh, what a great story. And I love that book, Eyes that Kiss in the Corner. I read that to my girls and, you know, it celebrates the differences and how we all look different.

Well, this week, the CNN original series, "THE 2010S" is back, with an all-new episode, examining Donald Trump's meteoric rise to the presidency in 2016. Here is a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He doesn't care what people think. He tells the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously, Trump is a threat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he doesn't fit in the same box all the other Republicans are in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something happened where a large number of people decided there was an establishment out there that had let people down. They're sending our jobs away. They're letting people come into the country who shouldn't be here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump says I'm going to make America great again. And people want to believe something good. Though, they're just about anything for a job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here comes Trump to say there is an elite establishment that thinks you're suckers. And I'm going to stick up for you.


WALKER: Watch an all-new episode of the CNN original series, "THE 2010S". Airing Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on CNN. Back after this.



BLACKWELL: A weatherman on Australia's version of the today's show ended up gagging his way through his live shot. Thanks to the overly pungent barnyard smells at the farm where he was reporting.

WALKER: OK, now, I really have to see this. CNN's Jeanne Moos, shows us how this city slicker handled the barnyard assignment.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): If watching the news --


MOOS: Sometimes makes you want to gag.

Imagine what it's like to actually gag while doing the news or at least the weather.


TIM DAVIES, WEATHERMAN, TODAY SHOW AUSTRALIA: Yes, the air is very fresh here this morning, Kyle. I can confirm. My goodness, man. We got some cattle that were hand feed. All right, I've got a case of the gags happening here but --

MOOS: The barnyard smells of the cows he mingled with get him in.

DAVIES: This one just keeps turning around on me, and I'm not so hell I feel about.

What do I have to do about that?

MOOS: Tim Davies does weather segments for nine networks Today Show in Australia. He often does gags, but this was actual gagging live.

DAVIES: Morning? I really sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop that, Tim. Oh my goodness.

MOOS: I've personally dealt with a lot of livestock over the course of my career, starting with pigs.

MOOS: You like my friend here.

MOOS (voice over): But they never triggered a gag reflex.

Back in the studio, a co-anchor sang the praises of cow manure and rubbed it in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just rub it onto your skin, Timmy. It's beautiful that stuff.

MOOS: And Tim was no lollygagger, he soldiered on apologizing to the farmer.

DAVIES: I'm sorry. I am very -- I'm such a city slicker.

MOOS: A city slicker gagging until the cows come home.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

DAVIES: I've got a case of the gags happening here.

MOOS: New York.

DAVIES: -- straight into the full coast --


WALKER: He is so funny.

BLACKWELL: What I love is that they probably didn't intend for the segment to be that long. But the more he gagged he just started killing other stuff in his show. Just stay on him.

WALKER: I mean, honestly, the smells at a barn, it can't be that bad. I've been -- really.

BLACKWELL: Oh, my goodness. Yes.

WALKER: Manure and all that mixing.


WALKER: Try changing your baby boys' diarrhea.


WALKER: We'll comparing this.

BLACKWELL: Well, there you go for your breakfast checks (PH).

WALKER: Sorry. Sorry.

BLACKWELL: That's right.

Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks has learned or earned, rather, a degree from Harvard. Sort of.

WALKER: Yes. He gave the commencement speech to Harvard's class of 2023 graduates, and the school gave him an honorary Doctorate of Arts.


The crowd erupted in laughter when he talked about how he earned that honor.