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Russia Hits Ukrainian Infrastructure In Large-Scale Attack; Zelenskyy Urges U. N. Security Council To Support Peace Formula; One Dead, 18 Injured In Back-To-Back Blasts In Jerusalem; No Suspects Yet In Brutal Stabbing Deaths Of 4 Students; FDA Approves $3. 5 Million Treatment For Hemophilia; Foxconn Workers Confront Police At Zhengzhou Factory; Retailers Predict Higher Holiday Spending Amid Inflation. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 24, 2022 - 04:30   ET




MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour. Authorities are searching for a motive in the mass shooting at a Walmart in Virginia. The suspect was an employee who opened fire inside a break room, killing six people, including a 16- year-old boy.

And the U.S. Justice Department is seeking testimony from former President -- Vice President Mike Pence. Sources say Pence may be open to providing testimony. More on that ahead in Early Start.

Most of the Ukrainian capital is still without power after Russia launched a large-scale assault on the country's critical infrastructure. Ukraine says Russian forces launched 70 missiles on Wednesday, 51 of them were intercepted. But those that did strike knocked out power and water service across Ukraine and killed at least seven people. Several regions say their power has now been largely restored.

Russian strikes also slammed into a hospital maternity ward, killing a newborn baby. The International Rescue Committee has condemned that attack in the Zaporizhzhia region, saying women and children continue to pay a high price.

Following the strikes, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy urged an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to support the Ukrainian peace formula, saying there should be no room for terror in the world. CNN Correspondents are tracking all these developments. Fred Pleitgen is standing by for us in Moscow. Salma is live for us here in London.

Fred, what is the motivation for this latest round of attacks?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Max. Well, it clearly is part of Russia's war effort in Ukraine. It was interesting because at that U.N. Security Council meeting that we were just showing on our screens there, the Russian representative, Vassily Nebenzia, said that those attacks, as he put it, will continue until, as he said, Ukraine adopts a more realistic stance.

He essentially accused the west of fueling the conflict by providing weapons to Ukraine and said that the Russians are going to continue to strike Ukraine's critical infrastructure as long as that support by the west continues. So clearly, the Russians believe that this is part of their wider strategy. A lot of it, however, also Max, seems to be for domestic consumption here in Russia as well.

These attacks on the civilian infrastructure are something that's prominently played here on Russian state TV. Often also playing clips from Ukrainian television, talking about the fact that there is no power, there is no water, that people are very cold. And essentially trying to say that Russia -- that it shows that Russia is making headway in what it called its special military operations.

This is also, by the way, Max, one of the ways that, at least, in public opinion here, the Russians have managed to put the defeat that they suffered in Kherson behind them by showing that they are still striking that infrastructure.


One of the interesting things that we've heard was from Vladimir Putin's spokesman. Vladimir Putin late last night was in Armenia, in Yerevan, for a summit there. And there Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, said that the special military operation will continue, of course, meaning the war in Ukraine, and that its success is not in doubt.

So that's clearly one of the things the Russians are trying to show with these attacks. And they are very clearly part of the strategy that Russia has in Ukraine as well, Max.

FOSTER: Salma, Zelenskyy going to the U.N. Security Council. Russia sits on the U.N. Security Council. They're not going to give him the decision he wants. So what's he hoping to achieve there?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think President Zelenskyy, throughout this conflict, his one and most important goal has been to be loud. We hear from him every single day, whether he's directly addressing his people or whether he's speaking to a parliament in Europe, or whether he's speaking to the U.N. Security Council. And yesterday was a day for him to voice his anger, voice his opposition.

Let's just take stock of what happened. You had over 70 missiles, around 70 missiles fired by Russia towards Ukraine. Many of those, as you mentioned, were struck down. But those that did hit their targets, that ended up meaning every Ukrainian in the country who is an electricity consumer was cut off from power at some point yesterday in the capital Kyiv. That meant many people didn't have running water.

And we're not just talking about people's homes. Think hospitals, think schools, think transportation, think what keeps a country running, which is water and power. That's why President Zelenskyy was at that U.N. Security Council accusing Russia yet again of crimes against his people. Take a listen.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): Energy terror is comparable to the use of weapons of mass destruction. When we have the temperature below zero and scores of millions of people without energy supplies, without heating, without water, this is an obvious crime against humanity.


ABDELAZIZ: Now, repairs were going on all through the night. Some of those services have been restored, some of the water, the electricity.

FOSTER: It's amazing, isn't it, considering the scale to that.

ABDELAZIZ: It's amazing if you consider the scale. And these workers do have to work 24 hours to do that --

FOSTER: In the cold.

ABDELAZIZ: -- in the cold, with little lighting, in the darkness. But remember, this infrastructure now, it's so precarious, it's so weak. It's sustained weeks of attacks. It is ever more difficult to repair every time. That's why President Zelenskyy is asking his allies, bring me generators, bring me transmitters.

It's not just about bullets and missiles anymore. It's about infrastructure support for Ukraine as they bolster themselves this winter.

FOSTER: Salma, thank you. Also, Fred, in Moscow.

There are no claims of responsibility yet in the deadly back-to-back explosions in Jerusalem. Authorities say two bombs went off less than 30 minutes apart on Wednesday, killing a teenager and wounding 18 other people. Hours after the attacks, hundreds attended a funeral for the 15-year-old who was killed. Israel's Prime Minister says the bombings were more sophisticated than usual, and there's concern there could be prelude to more similar attacks to come.

Rescuers in Indonesia pulled a six-year-old boy alive from the wreckage of Monday's earthquake. His parents and grandmother are among the 271 people, though, who were killed. The boy survived unhurt, protected by a mattress.

Meanwhile, a woman who started having contractions during the earthquake has given birth to a son. She was evacuated to a medical tent. Despite the quake and subsequent landslide, the baby's father says he's feeling overjoyed and blessed.

Now, a week and a half after four college students were found brutally stabbed to death in Idaho, police still have no suspects. The university's security force has been increased, and those in the community are being urged to stay vigilant. Police say they're determined to give the victims justice.


CHIEF JAMES FRY, MOSCOW POLICE: We continue moving forward to understand why this occurred in our community and seek answers to bring justice for the victims and their loved ones because they deserve it. I personally want you to know we care, and we will continue to work hard to get these answers for these individuals.

ROGER LANIER, MOSCOW POLICE CAPTAIN: You know, in some ways, this took our innocence. I would tell students that you need to stay with a friend. I know that the university staff is looking at different options to increase some of the safety on campus and providing certain options to students. So, yes, going forward, there's a lot of things that maybe we wish we would have done before, but we need to start doing now.


FOSTER: Investigators continue to search the crime scene, and will be working through the Thanksgiving holiday. They're also yet to find the murder weapon.

Now, just ahead, iPhone maker Foxconn backs down after violent worker protests rockets China facility agreeing to pay workers as promised. We'll have a live report just ahead. Plus, the controversies are coming pretty much every day at Twitter. We'll tell you about Elon Musk's latest mocking tweets and is now deleted, follow up.


FOSTER: The Georgia Supreme Court has reinstated a restricted ban on abortions in the states. Georgia's Life Act prohibits abortions, with some exceptions after cardiac activity is detected. That can be as early as six weeks, when many women don't even know that they're pregnant. A Superior Court blocked the ban last week, calling it unconstitutional. But the state court, Supreme Court decision to reinstate the ban was unanimous.

We are now learning global efforts to eliminate measles where Delta setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found global coverage with the first dose of the measles vaccine in 2021 dropped to its lowest level since 2008. 25 million infants do not receive their first dose of vaccine or they didn't last year. Still, reported cases of measles were down, as were annual estimated deaths.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug to treat hemophilia, but at least $3.5 million per treatment. So Hemgenix is the most expensive drug in the world. Hemophilia is a genetic bleeding disorder in which people don't produce a protein needed to create blood clots. About one in 40,000 people have the disease, most of whom are men.

Coronavirus problems are mounting to China despite its zero-COVID policy. The country recorded more than 31,000 local cases, its highest since the start of the pandemic.

This comes as violence protests erupts at the world's largest iPhone assembly factory in central China, with workers, they're upset about pay and insufficient anti-COVID measures.


Social media video shows workers at the Foxconn plant confronting police in hazmat suits. The company is offering those who are willing to quit their jobs and leave the Zhengzhou compound a $1,400 payout. For more on this, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us live from Hong Kong. We're relying on the social media video here, aren't we? But even that --


FOSTER: -- is pretty shocking.

LU STOUT: Yes, very shocking. Remarkable online video that we've been closely monitoring showing these clashes taking place at this massive iPhone factory located in Zhengzhou, the central Chinese city. You have Foxconn workers that are absolutely fed up and furious with their pay, with COVID-19 restrictions, and also with the sanitary conditions inside this factory.

Foxconn earlier today announced that it's willing to offer $1,400 to recent hires if they quit and leave the facility immediately. Now, $1,400 is roughly equivalent to two months salary for these workers. And even though the term, Foxconn is heavily censored online.

In China right now, these dramatic online videos have been circulating widely. And in them, we see the tense standoff between the Foxconn workers out on the streets against the hazmat suit clad security forces. You see the workers tear down barriers and hurl them. And in live streams, which have since been taking down, you can hear the workers describe and complain about the conditions that they're up against inside the closed loop system, inside the factory, the facility there in Zhengzhou.

Earlier today, we got a fresh statement from Foxconn. Let's share it with you. The company says this, quote, "Taking care of the health and safety of employees is the primary operating principle that the group has always adhered to. We fully understand the concerns of some newly recruited employees in the Zhengzhou Park about possible changes in the subsidy policy. Our team has been looking into the matter."

Now, CNN has also learned that Apple has staff on the ground in Zhengzhou at the Foxconn factory. And Apple has also issued a statement as well. Let's bring it up for you. Apple's saying this, quote, "We are reviewing the situation and working closely with Foxconn to ensure their employees' concerns are addressed."

And Max, we will continue to monitor the situation there in Zhengzhou and to see whether that payout from Foxconn will succeed in quelling these angry protests there. Back to you.

FOSTER: We'll keep an eye on it. Kristie, thank you.

Elon Musk is stirring the social media pot with a new tweet mocking the Stay Woke movement. The new Twitter owner posted a video of a Stay Woke t-shirt with the caption, "Found in a closet at Twitter headquarters." Twitter founder Jack Dorsey wore that shirt in 2016, supporting protests in Ferguson, Missouri over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man.

Musk has since deleted a follow up tweet where he claims, hands up, don't shoot, was made up, and the whole thing was a fiction. Elon Musk's tantrums and antics, how Twitter users try to find some alternatives. Several other platforms have reported a surge in new users. The latest to gain mainstream momentum is Hive Social. An analytics firm confirmed to CNN this week that Hive Social now has nearly 900,000 downloads, and more than a third of them happened in the last week alone.

Now, next on CNN Newsroom, the rocket man helps wring in a holiday tradition at Saks fifth Avenue, all for a good cause.



FOSTER: Captain fantastic himself, Elton John had a holiday treat for all his fans, making an appearance on Tuesday to help kick off Saks Fifth Avenue's annual holiday window unveiling. And the singer gave a surprise performance of his hit "Your Song."




FOSTER: Saks's partnered with Elton John AIDS foundation. The partnership includes $1 million donation to the foundation's rocket fund, as well as a line of merchandise from designers like Versace, Valentino and Gucci.

New data out of the University of Michigan shows U.S. consumers still aren't confident about the economy. But will that affect their holiday shopping habits? CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich spoke with shoppers trying to stretch their dollars for holiday deals.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): On this year's holiday shopping menu, more sales, but with a healthy side of inflation.

(on-camera): Setting up your circulation.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): Denise Sallette is in the middle of her holiday shopping at Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, New Jersey.

SALLETTE: So this is for my mom, and then I got stuff from my kids and my niece.

YURKEVICH (on-camera): Yes.

SALLETTE: And, oh, my God.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): But this year, the wish list is looking a little different. Last month, inflation cooled, but was still running hot at 7.7 percent year over year.

SALLETTE: So I've had a cut back on shopping because things are too expensive. I mean, I do have three girls. They do understand that, you know, times are hard right now and it's just me being a single mom.

YURKEVICH (on-camera): Despite high inflation, the National Retail Federation estimates that nearly 8 million more people will shop between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and spend up to 8 percent more this year than they did last year.

MATTHEW SHAY, PRESIDENT & CEO, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: We're looking at records in all categories. It is remarkable in the face of the cost and the price pressures that consumers are still finding a way to increase their spending, power the economy, drive economic activity.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Last month, retail sales beat expectations up 1.3 percent in October. But this month, consumer sentiment fell. Still, higher prices haven't stopped some people from shopping.

(on-camera): Has that impacted the way you're going to spend this holiday season?

CYNTHIA PENDELTON, HOLIDAY SHOPPER: For me, not really, because I try not to overspend anyways. So even before this is going on, I try not to exceed what I can do.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): And according to the National Retail Federation, while online sales are expected to increase this year, a return to instore shopping will make up a larger portion of all holiday sales.

PENDELTON: I kind of like in person more.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): You do -- why is that?

PENDELTON: I don't know. It's just more of the feel of being able to touch it, being able to see it, being able to try it on for the stores that you allow to, and then being amongst everybody else.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): It's that holiday nostalgia that Willowbrook Mall says will help this year's shopping season return to pre-pandemic expectations. (on-camera): Do you anticipate that inflation will play a role in how people shop, people coming to the mall?

RYAN HIDALGO, SENIOR GENERAL MANAGER, WILLOWBROOK MALL: I think people are planning better in terms of what their spend is going to be. I think they've budgeted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I don't come back at Christmas.

YURKEVICH (on-camera): How many more stores are you going to?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, maybe five more.

YURKEVICH (on-camera): Five more?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe, I don't know.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, Wayne, New Jersey.

FOSTER: Keep going. Now, this is not a fishtail. Check this out. A fisherman with a carp. Weighing a staggering 67 pounds or 30 kg, it's believed to be the second largest fish of its kind ever caught. The giant has been nicknamed The Carrot because it's orange color resembles a goldfish. In case you couldn't figure it out. It took no less than 25 minutes to reel in. But the carrot was released back into the water because that's the rule at a French fishery where it was caught.

Thanks for joining me here on CNN Newsroom. I'm Max Foster in London. Early Start is next here on CNN.