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CNN International: Eurozone Inflation Slows to 6.1 Percent in May; Government in Nigeria Says Fuel Subsidy to End; Jordan Celebrates Marriage of Its Crown Prince; Three Unaccounted for as Demolition on Hold; Farmers in Florida Turn to Foreigners to Work in the Fields; Mars Makes Its Streaming Debut; Billy Joel Moving Out of Madison Square Garden. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 02, 2023 - 04:30   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with the top stories this hour.

Ukraine's air force says all 36 cruise missiles and drones that were launched at Kyiv during an overnight attack have been destroyed. This was the sixth wave of attacks over the capital in the past six days.

U.S. Senate passed a bill late last night to suspend the country's debt limit through to January 1, 2025. President Biden says that he will sign the bill into law and plans to address the nation Friday night.

Stock futures are pointing green so far on Wall Street in the wake of the Senate's historic vote. The Dow has been on a roller coaster over uncertainty about the debt limit.

And it's the same story in Asia. As you can see, all of the major indices there have been bullish since that vote. Which obviously would have had global repercussions. And here is a look at the European markets with these major exchanges also beginning the trading day in positive territory.

FOSTER: A happy Friday.

Inflation in Europe has fallen to a slower pace since Russia invaded Ukraine. Consumer prices in the eurozone was 6.1 percent in May, compared with a year ago. That's down from 7 percent in April. CNN's Anna Stewart has more.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Prices are still rising in the eurozone, but month on month, they are heading in the right direction. With a fall in inflation across a broad range of categories. Food inflation dropped by 1 percentage point in May compared to April. Although it remains high at 12.5 percent. And at this early stage, it's unlikely households and consumers across the block are feeling much benefits from this improvement.

While the glimmer of good news caused some economists to question whether the European Central Bank might ease up on its rate hikes. The general consensus is that there will be a rate rise this month and another to come this year.

Not least after ECB President Christina Lagarde spoke about the bank's determination to bring inflation down to 2 percent in a speech in Hanover Thursday. Adding, we have made clear that we still have ground to cover to bring interest rates to sufficiently restricted levels.

One other headwind for the ECB is wage growth in the eurozone. Unsurprisingly given how costly life has become thanks to inflation, workers have demanded higher wages. Wage growth in the eurozone was 5.1 percent year on year in the last quarter of 2022. Now that is not enough to offset the cost of living but it does contribute to inflation.

So, the ECB will no doubt be watching that indicator as well as CPI before considering a new phase for interest rates.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


NOBILO: The Nigerian government is clarifying its plans to end fuel subsidies after a seemingly off the cuff remark from the new president triggered panic buying at the pump and prices nearly tripled.

FOSTER: During his inauguration speech the president declared the critical fuel subsidy is gone. Now his office says it will end by the end of the month. A bit of clarity there. CNN's Stephanie Busari joins us live from Lagos. He really did cause some scenes by that comment.

STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR, AFRICA: Good morning, Max. I don't think the president could have imagined what this adlibbed remark. We know it's adlibbed because we received a copy of the speech before he delivered it. And those remarks were not there.

What he meant to say was that the previous administration had not left anything in the budget beyond the end of June for him to pay for the subsidies. And he was deciding actually after the end of June we have to review the spending on this. It's not sustainable, he said in that speech.

Nigeria is spending around $867 million every month on fuel subsidy. It's a very expensive venture for a country which is over $100 billion in debt. And that budget debt is actually more than the education and health budget put together that the country spends.

But you know, Nigerians are angry at the manner in which it was announced. It immediately caused panic because people suddenly stormed petrol stations trying to stock up. Some gas stations stopped selling all together because they sensed a greater pay day ahead. Not Nigerians consider the subsidy or cheap gas, part of their

inheritance if you like. Citizens of oil a producing country, they receive so little. And it's something that is very dear to Nigerians. But the reality is that the country just cannot afford it. But the manner in which it's been done leaves many feeling a little angry. We've been speaking to people on the streets of Lagos. Take a listen to their reaction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we were given time before Bola remove the subsidy, it would have helped us in a way because I believe that the government is heading towards the right direction.


The only difference is the manner with which they told us the subsidy was removed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The subsidy removal is a good thing anyway. Assuming our leader has been proactive in everything. What I mean by proactive, setting things in place, you understand, that will ease this softly.


BUSARI: Yes, and there is a lot of suffering, Max. Transport fairs have spiked in some cases up to 200 percent in some parts. Essential commodities are rising. This is the poverty capital of the world. Some 97 million people live below $1 a day. So there is a lot of hardship ahead for Nigerians, Max, unfortunately.

FOSTER: OK, thank you. Stephanie in Lagos.

NOBILO: In Jordan, a lavish ceremony for the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, who married he married Rajwa Al Saif, member of Saudi Arabia's most prominent business families.

FOSTER: It was a celebration of love. And also a joining of two Middle Eastern powerhouses. Becky Anderson has the story.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A major Royal Wedding Jordanian style.

Crown Prince Hussein and his Saudi bride, Rajwa Al Saif, tying the knots in a lavish ceremony in Amman.

Crowds of Jordanians waved flags along the 10-kilometer motorcade route across the capital. The star-studded event attended by world leaders, by celebrities and by royalty. Including the Prince and Princess of Wales, the First Lady of the United States Jill Biden also in attendance.

The ceremony taking place at Zahran Palace, where King Abdullah and Queen Rania were married in 1993. The royal couple expected to greet more than 1,700 guests at their son's reception.

Rajwa is the daughter of a wealthy family in Saudi Arabia, and with her ascent to the Jordanian throne comes hopes of a new era of stability between two of the most important countries in the Middle East.

This wedding coming at a crucial time for Jordan. For the past two years, a former Crown Prince Hamza bin Al Hussein, half-brother of the current king, has been under house arrest, accused of trying to destabilize the kingdom. And Jordan is home to a huge refugee population. And its dire economic situation means it needs vital investment and aid.

The wedding, raising hopes that improved relations between Saudi Arabia and Jordan could usher in more economic benefits. For now, though, the wedding is a day for the country to come together and celebrate the emergence of a new Middle Eastern power couple.

Becky Anderson, CNN.


NOBILO: Coming up, more legal trouble for Bill Cosby. Another lawsuit was filed against him for sexual assault. Those details coming up.



FOSTER: A U.S. judge has approved a settlement agreement for the family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was fatally shot by actor Alec Baldwin on a movie set in 2021. Hutchins family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and producers of the film "Rust." Last year it alleged numerous industry standard violations.

NOBILO: A settlement was reached in October and was formally approved on Thursday. Hutchins died after a prop gun held by Baldwin fired a live round of ammunition. Financial details on the settlement haven't been made public.

Bill Cosby, the man once known as America's dad, faces a new sexual assault lawsuit. A former Playboy model Victoria Valentino filed a civil suit Thursday accusing Cosby of drugging and raping her more than five decades ago.

FOSTER: Now 85-year-old Cosby is no stranger to these types of accusations. He was found guilty of sexual assault in 2018, but that conviction was later overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Officials in Iowa are expected to give a news conference in the coming hours about the latest in the building that collapsed on Sunday. On Thursday, search teams and cadaver dogs arrived on the site and were entering the building there. Police say two people who were previously unaccounted for were found safe. Three others remain missing. Plans to demolish the building are on hold. Officials say repair work had begun just days before the apartment building collapsed. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICH OSWALD, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES, CITY OF DAVENPORT: The permit originally was issued to start the repair work. And when that permit was issued, it was issued with a passing mark on it. When that permit was moved from pass to incomplete, we have a system error that on the outward facing program -- and I think we're pulling that up -- it showed failed. The inspection never failed. It was that it was incomplete. So basically, the work was still in progress.


NOBILO: As officials grapple with how to proceed, families of the missing are waiting in agony. Brandon Colvin, Jr. has been sleeping on the pavement outside the building where his father may be trapped under the rubble. He is desperate for rescuers to find his father, but there's a risk that the rest of the building could come down crashing at any moment. The 18-year-old would be getting ready for his high school graduation on Saturday, but he can't pull himself away from the scene.


BRANDEN COLVIN, JR., SON OF MISSING MAN BRANDEN COLVIN: Honestly, I've been out here for three days, at night, all night. Just waiting for anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's happening for you this weekend?

COLVIN: I'm supposed to be graduating in three days. Walk across the stage. We have finals this week. I tried to go Tuesday to school and as soon as I walked in, I just broke down and was crying. I couldn't do it. Being around all them people, my friends and stuff to see me like that. So, I don't know if I'm going to be able to go to the graduation and be around all them people. I don't know if I could do it.


NOBILO: Colvin's family hasn't given up heap and they're urging officials to keep searching.

FOSTER: Severe weather in western Texas caused major flooding to highways on Thursday. People had to be rescued as their vehicles became submerged. Heavy rain causing road closures at several locations and officials warned against traveling.

NOBILO: There were at least four collisions including a multivehicle crash. No injuries from those incidents have been reported so far.

Across Florida, Thursday was dubbed a day without immigrants. Activists and migrant workers went on strike to protest the state's new immigration law.

[04:45:00] FOSTER: Governor DeSantis calls it the strongest anti-illegal immigration legislation in the country. It limits social services for undocumented immigrants. Puts more requirements on their employers and requires certain hospitals to ask patients about their immigration status.

Some farmers are concerned the new immigration law could lead to a shortage of workers especially since they rely on foreign nationals to the jobs that Americans don't want to do. CNN's Gary Tuchman shows us just how difficult this work can be.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's 07:30 a.m. in humid north Florida. The beginning of a long day, on a large farm where hired workers are in the middle of harvesting roughly 2.2 million watermelons, about 32 million pounds worth over the course of about six weeks. With more than 150 people working to harvest the watermelon.

I ask farm owner Trevor Bass this question.

TUCHMAN: How many U.S. citizens pick crops on your farm?



BASS: Zero.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Actually, on this day, there is one U.S. citizen. Me. I requested a chance to work for one day on this farm to learn more about why so many farmers have such a difficult time getting Americans to work on their farms.

TUCHMAN: OK, so this watermelon is ripe. It's ready. We turn it over so the yellow part is on top. So then the people who pick it up know it's ready because they see the yellow part on top.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Everyone I'm working with here is from Mexico. All part of the U.S. government's guest worker program known as H-2A. American farmers can hire foreign nationals under the H-2A program as long as they follow strict provisions, which include only hiring them after trying to employ Americans first, which this farm owner did and got no takers.

TUCHMAN: The idea is we have this chain here, and we're going to be taking these watermelons, putting them on this bus, and we're going to be doing it for hours straight.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dustin Blank is a farmer and also represents other farms when selling finished product to stores.

DUSTIN BLANK, OWNER B&H FARMS: LNG farming operation.

TUCHMAN: And you represent how many farms? BLANK: Over thirty.

TUCHMAN: And how many U.S. citizens do you know of who work on any of those farms?

BLANK: Florida management, zero.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Under H-2A, guest workers can't get paid less than Americans. Florida's minimum H-2A salary is $14.33 an hour. And at this farm, the Mexicans are permitted to work for as many hours as they want. With extra bonuses for the amount of work done. They can easily make more than $1,000 a week. They are subject to income tax.

Edgar Hernandez is a husband and father who sends all his money home to his family. I ask him why he doesn't think there are any Americans harvesting with him.

It's heavy, he says. The work is hard.

These farm owners don't disagree with that assessment. Americans have other choices and just don't want to do this, they say.

BASS: I would say this work on a scale from one to 10 would be at a nine. I mean, it's about as hard as it gets.

TUCHMAN: There are about 18,000 pounds of watermelon on each of these buses. In addition to these being heavy, it's extremely monotonous.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Both these men describe themselves as politically conservative. However, they say this government program is not only a necessity but should have an application process that is faster and more flexible.

BASS: Yes, we don't need to open the borders and let everyone across, but these guys are coming here for a reason. They're coming here for serious work to try to support their families in Mexico or wherever they've come from. They're not here to play. I mean, it's very obvious. Look behind us.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): There is a lot of work to do and many of these men work into the evening, all of them except for me will be back for several weeks to come.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Newbury, Florida.


NOBILO: The NBA finals are under way in Denver and the league's two- time MVP came ready to play. Highlights from the hard court up next on CNN NEWSROOM.



FOSTER: Mars is making its streaming debut. The European Space Agency is set to stream images on YouTube directly from the Red Planet. While it's not truly live, the new images will actually refresh every 50 seconds. Not bad considering the distance. This event is in honor of the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Mars Express which took three dimensional images of Mars' surface. The stream will go live as it were, with the 52 second delay, at 6:00 p.m. Central European time or noon Eastern time on Friday. So that's your Friday night viewing, Bianca.

NOBILO: It is. I love how much faith you have in my social life. But also 50 seconds is not bad for Mars. I have trouble in central London trying to refresh live streams.

FOSTER: It's a very good point.

NOBILO: The Denver Nuggets are off to a strong start in the NBA finals with a 104-93 win over the Miami Heat -- which is your team -- in game one.

FOSTER: Indeed.

NOBILO: Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic led the team with 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. Jamal Murray added 26 points for Denver.

FOSTER: Bam Adebayo scored a team-high of 26 for the Heat. But the Nuggets held Jimmy Butler to just 13 points. Game two is Sunday night in Denver. The best of seven series moves onto Miami next week. [


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, PART OF YOUR WORLD SONG: Watch and you'll see some day I'll be part of your world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said you will kill mermaids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That doesn't make us enemies.


FOSTER: The story is in the spotlight. The Disney film "The Little Mermaid" is allegedly being reviewed bombed on the website IMDB by people wanting to lower its rating. The speculation is that in this case it's likely because the actress who plays Ariel -- Ariel?

NOBILO: Ariel.

FOSTER: Ariel, Halle Bailey is Black.

NOBILO: IMDB says it detected unusual voting activity for reviews of the movie and is working on its rating system to counter it.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) I BILLY JOEL, SINGER, SONGWRITER: If that's what it's all about If that's movin' up then I'm movin' out. (END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Billy Joel will practice what he sings and move out of New York's Madison Square Garden. Officials say is record breaking 10-year residency there is coming to an end. But not before a final round of performances which start in October and end with his 150th show there in July next year. In a way Billy Joel made it clear to borrow another one of his lyrics, he is still in a New York state of mind.


JOEL: It is hard to end. Even though 150 lifetime shows, as I said, we're not abandoning New York, we're just spending a little more time someplace else. And I just want to thank everyone for the wonderful thing that happened here. Thank you very much.


NOBILO: I have never understood less of the problems (INAUDIBLE). 1.6 million fans have seen Joel at Madison Square Garden over the past 10 years.

FOSTER: Amazing that he did that for 10 years, one place. And he is a big star.


FOSTER: I have a question for you.


FOSTER: You can spell psammophile?

NOBILO: No, but I haven't had breakfast yet and my brain is starting to slowly slow down.

FOSTER: Are you going to try to say psammophile?

NOBILO: I don't know what that is.

FOSTER: Guess.

NOBILO: I don't know. I'll just do it fanatically. S-A-M-P-H-I-L-E.

FOSTER: I knew you would know the answer.

For one teenager, that was a $15,000 question and he got it right.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you said for us?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Psammophile. SHAH: P-S-A-M-M-O-P-H-I-L-E, psammophile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is correct.


NOBILO: Well, he's got a bright future in front of him.

FOSTER: He absolutely has. We don't because it was written up in the font.

Thanks for joining us here on CNN newsroom. I'm Max Foster.

NOBILO: I'm Bianca Nobilo. Have a great weekend. See you next week.