Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

AZ Limits Construction As Groundwater Disappears; Storing Your Cash In Money Apps May Be Dangerous; NM Judge Approves "Rust" Wrongful Death Settlement. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired June 02, 2023 - 11:30   ET



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Is sort of proof of Arizona trying to tame the Wild West of water pumping. For generations, you could pump whatever you wanted out of the ground there, nobody was keeping score. But now, they look at the numbers.

They're going to reach a four percent shortfall. That doesn't seem like much, but that's about five million acre-feet of water over the next century. The new laws are, if you're going to build a new development, put a thousand homes out in the middle of the virgin desert, you got to have the water to supply those homes for the next century or so. And once they did that math, they realized now the time -- now is the time to stop short and put a halt on this. Here's Governor Katie Hobbs.


GOV. KATIE HOBBS (D-AZ): That's why as required by law, we will pause approvals of new assured water supply determinations that rely on pumping groundwater. Ensuring that we don't add to any future deficit.


WEIR: This could mark the beginning of the end of a sort of sprawl and see cities like Phoenix building upwards. Now, she says she wants to make sure that folks there know there's plenty of water for the city for current developments that are permitted. It's just the new ones you have to think about.

And also, most of the Colorado River water, almost 70 percent goes to agriculture. A lot of that is for growing feed for cattle. Right now, federal money is paying alfalfa farmers in Arizona not to plant in order to conserve water.

So that can't go on for very long. All of this is sort of a sign that there's a new attitude when it comes to water and the age of megadrought and then intense weather whiplash, these flash floods, until the infrastructure is there to capture that abnormally high rainfall and hold it for those long stretches of drought. Everybody's got to conserve every job, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: As you say, Bill, a seminal moment. Bill Weir, thank you so much for being with us. Kate? KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, there is a new see -- there -- a new report out from the CDC finding that millions of Americans are not taking the medications as prescribed. The reason why? Because of how much they cost. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is joining us now. She's got much more on this.

Elizabeth, this is -- and I think this is an important conversation for everyone to be happening, especially -- happening, especially when you think of how -- talk about how many people are doing this as it comes out in this report. What are the numbers shown?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR: MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, what the CDC found is that more than nine million dollars -- that nine million Americans have been rationing their prescription drugs. In other words, not taking it as prescribed. Taking less to make it last longer, because of money.

Not surprisingly, this is much more of an occurrence among people who are uninsured. When you look at folks who are uninsured, about 23 percent have rationed drugs. This is obviously a huge health problem for these folks.

You're supposed to take the dosage that your doctor gives. It's also really a money problem for all of us. Because if they don't take the drugs they're supposed to take, they get sicker and really the whole system ends up paying for that, Kate.

BOLDUAN: The whole system ends up paying for it. It's an important as a -- it's a good way of putting it. Also, the other -- in addition to people who are uninsured, what does the report say about who else is most likely to be -- to be -- to be rationing their medications?

COHEN: Yes. There are very clear statistics about this. When the CDC analyzed this huge survey, all the data from it, what they found is that black people, Hispanic people, women -- interestingly enough, women, and people who have disabilities are more likely to ration their prescriptions than other people.

BOLDUAN: There's a lot in there to dig through and why and the motivations of and what needs to be done about it to help -- to help folks so they don't feel a need to have to do that. Speaking -- you just -- I want to ask you also about -- we talked about it earlier in the show, but I wanted to get your take on it. This new drug therapy that could help in the fight against breast cancer. It's fascinating the drugs already on the market. What are doctors saying about it?

COHEN: Right. The drug is on the market. It's used for women and other patients, you know, men as well who have breast cancer in later stages. So, the question was, would it also work for patients in early stages? Because thankfully, breast cancer often is caught early.

And so what they found it -- they did a very large clinical trial, they found that when they gave the drug to folks, and they looked at three-year survival, were people still alive three years later? If they took the drug, that rate was about 90 percent. If they didn't take the drug, that rate was about 87 percent. Now, you might say that's not such a huge difference. But you know, breast cancer is so common. When you talk about the huge number of people in the United States who get breast cancer, that is really quite a big difference.

And we're talking about survival here, you know. The difference between making it to three years and not making it to three years. So, there is -- you know, this isn't the cure to cancer by any means. But there is excitement about these findings, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes, sounds like it. It's good to see you, Elizabeth, thank you. John?

BERMAN: Officials working to identify human remains found in bags at the bottom of a steep ravine. We have new developments ahead



BERMAN: A new warning from a federal watchdog group about popular money apps like Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App about the risks of treating these apps like a traditional bank. CNN's Brian Fung is with us now. Brian, we all use these, it seems, so what's the warning?

BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECH REPORTER: Yes. John, the gist of it is that these are not banks and you shouldn't think of apps like Venmo or PayPal or cash apps like banks. And the government here is warning this because, you know, in the past few years, we've really seen a tremendous uptick in the way that users have turned to electronic payments and you know, sending payments to one another through the internet.


Particularly during the pandemic, when you know you couldn't really interact with businesses in person and all of that. So, you know, we're seeing this tremendous growth in online and electronic payments, which is leading the government to really investigate these Fintech companies and you know determine whether or not they're safe for users.

And let's take a look at what they're saying here because it's really important about the point that they're making. They said in this report. "Your money is at greater risk when you hold it in a payment app, instead of moving it to an account with deposit insurance."

Now, what they're really saying here is that, unlike a traditional bank that is FDIC insured, when you store your cash in an app like Venmo and that default wallet account, you know. If Venmo, for whatever reason were to go belly up, that money is not necessarily FDIC insured. You know, there are -- you know potential caveats here where they -- you know, they may offer conditional pass-through insurance or something like that.

But the overall point that the government is making here is that, you know, these protections that you expect of normal banks you know like Bank of America or Chase, those don't necessarily exist in the same way or come with conditions, when you're talking about these payment apps. Now, you know this is about storing money in these apps. It's not necessarily about the payments you make -- it's not that the payments you make are unnecessarily insecure. What the government is saying is that if you decide to keep the money in these apps, you're potentially putting yourself at greater risk, John.

BERMAN: So, is a way to protect yourself as simple as just not keeping a lot of cash in those apps, just transferring it there when you want it?

FUNG: Yes, that's right. You know, as soon as you receive a payment in one of these apps, you could -- you know, move it to one of your linked bank accounts and store that money there. You know, if that bank account is connected to your Venmo account and the money's in your actual bank account, that money is FDIC insured.

BERMAN: Yes, FDIC insurance, it turns out is a huge protection in so many different ways. Brian Fung, thank you so much for being with us. Kate?

BOLDUAN: I feel silly not thinking of this before. It gets us really interesting what Brian was -- what Brian was -- (INAUDIBLE)

BERMAN: Yes, I never occurred -- it never occurred to me.

BOLDUAN: It didn't -- I agree.

BERMAN: And if you leave money in there and for some reason, one of these companies -- look, companies go belly up all the time --


BERMAN: -- you'll lose it. It's not like your bank account, which up to $250,000 is insured.

BOLDUAN: I've -- this is -- I thought this -- I was like wow, amazing today.

Let's turn to this. It was a very disturbing story that we were following and we have an update on it now. Police finding body parts at the bottom of a ravine.

They were discovered in Mexico and police are investigating now to see if these body parts are linked to seven employees missing from a call center. Now, those workers reported missing between May 20 and 22nd near Guadalajara.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann. He's working on the story bringing in new details for us. Patrick, what more are you learning?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, authorities are continuing to remove bags full of body parts. And you know, let's back up. As you said a little over a week ago, you had these seven employees going to a call center, their family members immediately noticing that the phones went offline all the same day. And then there was no sign of them and begin marching, calling on officials to investigate where have they gone. Unfortunately, disappearances are often all too common in Mexico and mass graves are often find or -- found or people are just never heard of -- from again because of drug cartel violence.

And then, just in the last several days, police making this grisly discovery of 45 bags full of body parts thrown down this ravine. And now they're saying that it appears that they match some of these missing people. Some of the seven call center employees who just vanished apparently in thin air.

And that, while they're continuing to try to forensically make the match to conclude that they are the other people that they found in these bags at the bottom of this ravine, are the missing people, they're also being investigated exactly how this crime took place. How people going to work at a call center could just disappear into thin air. And, of course, there are thousands of people who disappear in Mexico -- have disappeared in Mexico.

And the crimes all too often are never solved, so family members here are calling on officials. They are hoping that this has become such a high-profile case that will force officials to really investigate and get to the bottom of just a grisly crime that has shocked people who are unfortunately all too used to this kind of violence.

BOLDUAN: Patrick, have authority said anything about why someone would target employees of a call center? Have you picked up anything on that?

OPPMANN: Yes. It seems incredibly random. But what officials have said now that they've gone into the call center and begun investigating is it appears they say, law enforcement, officials that this call center was used as some kind of real estate fraud that people would be using the call center to call up people and essentially tried to defraud them of their money.


And that could have been connected to a criminal cartel that was using the (INAUDIBLE) to launder money or to fraudulently steal money from people using a call center as a front. So, again, you know, there are pieces of evidence here and whether or not police will be able to put all the pieces together and actually bring someone to justice is another question. Because all too often as horrific as these crimes are in places -- parts of Mexico where there's a lot of corruption where officials know that it's just too dangerous to get to the bottom of these crimes that they remain unsolved.

BOLDUAN: Patrick Oppmann. Thank you so much, Patrick. John?

BERMAN: New this morning. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met briefly today with the Chinese defense minister on the sidelines of a conference in Singapore. The two defense chiefs, they shook hands but the Pentagon says no substantive issues were addressed. China had previously rejected a proposal from the U.S. for Austin to formally meet with his Chinese counterpart.

So, it's just the second day of the Atlantic hurricane season, and already tropical depression two has formed in the Gulf of Mexico putting Florida on alert. Forecasters expected it to remain offshore. Still, some communities in Florida preparing their boarding up windows and doors.

Prince Harry returns to London next week to testify in a phone hacking trial. He is seeking damages from British newspaper publishers over allegations they spied on him. He and several other plaintiffs are suing Mirror Group newspaper for unlawful gathering of information about their private lives. The publishing group says that some of the claims have been brought too late and is denying other claims. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us. A settlement is reached after the deadly shooting on the set of the movie Rust. What Alec Baldwin, movie producers, and the family of Halyna Hutchins have agreed to?

And we have a champion, friends, the eighth grader who can officially spell the impossible. We'll be back.



BERMAN: This morning, a New Mexico judge has approved a settlement agreement in a wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot to death when a prop gun Baldwin was holding fire to live round on the Rust film set in 2021. Director Joel Souza was also shot and injured. Hutchins's family sued Baldwin and the film's other producers and crew.

CNN's Chloe Melas is here now with some of the details of this civil settlement. What have you learned?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Well, first of all, this has been a long time coming and this was filed by Matthew Hutchins, the widower of Halyna, shortly after she was killed on the set when that prop gun that Alec Baldwin was holding fire that live round. And we still don't know how live rounds got to the set. So, he files this and it has been officially signed off by a judge who writes in part, and we have some of that for you, that this is a fair, appropriate settlement, especially because the settlement also includes a minor. So, the money is not just going to Matthew Hutchins, it's also going to their 11-year-old son Andros.

So, the financial details are private, and confidential, but we do know that the son is going to be getting settlements that will happen when he's 18 and again when he's 22 years old. And as for where this money is coming from, John, it's coming from the proceeds for whatever the movie Rust makes an insurance money. Because that movie, it's still going to come out. People will be able to see it. Whether it's in theaters or on streaming, they don't know yet.

BERMAN: The judge -- so this is the final judge sign-off on this, but it really does seem as if this has been in the works for some time as that clear from your reporting.

MELAS: Oh, it has been in the works for a while and it was always contingent. This could have all fallen apart. It was contingent on really Alec Baldwin being cleared of criminal charges --

BERMAN: Which he was.

MELAS: -- which he has, temporarily.


MELAS: And the DA still has an opportunity to potentially refile charges. So, there is this criminal trial still looming. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer, she still faces those charges of manslaughter. But perhaps if he had gotten criminal charges and then they never got a chance to go back and film the movie and finish it, this settlement would have fallen apart.

So, it's sort of kind of perfectly fallen into place from a financial perspective, right? And so -- I mean, the fact that the judge is now signing off on this and they've just completed the film a couple of weeks ago, it's all interesting timing.

BERMAN: With the family of Halyna Hutchins involved -- very much involved.

MELAS: Yes, he's the executive producer of that now.

BERMAN: With that film.


BERMAN: All right. Chloe Melas, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

MELAS: Thank you.


BOLDUAN: We have a champion, friends. A 14-year-old from Largo, Florida is this year's National Spelling Bee Champion. Dev Shah correctly spelled the word psammophile to win the prize -- $50,000 prize. Shah describe the win as surreal, even admitted that his legs were still shaking after the whole thing. He spoke to CNN earlier today and he says part of his strategy was to study the roots of words.


DEV SHAH, 2023 SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE WINNER: It's pretty important because it could be used as a backup plan too because when you're on stage, the nerves do get to you even though if -- or even though if spellers don't show it, the nerves do you get to us. And the pressure does get to us. So, if you forget a word, you can still piece it back together like a backup plan.


BOLDUAN: I mean, if you're -- if you're a genius like he is, you can definitely do that. John's still trying to pronounce it.

BERMAN: Well, the P is silent, I think.



BOLDUAN: Oh, man.

BERMAN: That's what got me.

BOLDUAN: 231 elementary and middle school students -- (INAUDIBLE)

BERMAN: Yes, it's silent. Why it should have to be P? Couldn't it be another letter if it's silent?

BOLDUAN: Yes, which one would you add?

BERMAN: Any? I mean --

BOLDUAN: OK. Well, this gets to something. It's -- I want to say it's spelling adjacent, OK?


I don't do spelling. You definitely don't do spelling. But I do like to look up fancy words, we call it with my girls.

BERMAN: You know how to party.

BOLDUAN: I -- we crazy. We look at fancy words for things and I've come across one that is so appropriate for the two of us. It is called -- the word is ultracrepidarian. Have you ever heard of that word?

BERMAN: Never heard it. What does it mean? I'm terrified.

BOLDUAN: Meriam Webster's definition is one who is presumptuous and offers advice or opinions beyond one sphere of knowledge. Translation, someone who talks about a bunch of stuff that they know nothing about. You're welcome, America.

BERMAN: All right. Thank you very much. That is all for CNN NEWS CENTRAL. "INSIDE POLITICS" is up next.

BOLDUAN: Thanks for joining us, everybody. We did it.