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CNN This Morning

Arizona Suburb Cut Off from Water; Tesla Cuts Car Prices; Egg Prices Soar; Mafia Bos Captured after 30 Years. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 17, 2023 - 06:30   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone, to CNN THIS MORNING.

Coming up, Tesla slashing prices on its electric vehicle by 20 percent. Our Christine Romans will explain why.

Plus, Italy's most-wanted mafia boss arrested after 30 years on the run. How he was finally caught.

And, shading your ex all the way to the bank? Miley and Shakira's new music hitting the top of the charts as breakup songs surge. Who they're singing about, straight ahead.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: But, now, Arizona's drought conditions have reached a critical stage for a group of people in one community just outside of Scottsdale, Arizona. Residents in the unincorporated community of Rio Verde foothills are suing the city to restore their water delivery service. They were cut off because of the extreme drought conditions in the Colorado River. That's where the majority of Scottsdale's water comes from. Last year, Scottsdale's water department told CNN in an email that they were being good neighboring in allowing this community to temporarily use that water supply. Well, the department said that due to the current water shortage by law it, quote, must dedicate its limited water supply to their residents.

They started doing that in the beginning of this year and now there is a crisis for folks. A mega drought plaguing America's west is the worst in 1,200 years. Look at this. These are images of Lake Mead, the nation's largest reservoir in volume. You can just see how much the water levels have decreased in the past two decades. That is because the levels of the Colorado River, which feeds right into Lake Mead, are also plummeting, affecting millions of people across seven states and in Mexico.

Our chief climate correspondent Bill Weir is with us.

I was just asking in the break, is this the same Colorado River crisis that is causing another issue in Colorado? So, walk us through - I mean this -- can you imagine living there? You can't flush your toilet. You can't take a shower. BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: But it's sort of like they've been living as if they were hooked up to the public water utility.


WEIR: The folks in this unincorporated town. They have 5,000 gallon tanks buried in their yards and a water hauler goes over to Scottsdale, loads up the truck, fills up the neighborhood, until they don't. Until it become the point where people start deciding who gets what. You know, the old saying that some attribute to Mark Twain, whiskey is for drinking, water's for fighting in the American west. And that is the theme right now. Way too many people, not enough water. Places like Vegas have really learned to conserve, even as population has grown. And so it's conserving every drop.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: When you say unincorporated, you mean that's because they're not part of that infrastructure.

WEIR: Exactly. Exactly.

COLLINS: And so I think the question is then, you know, for these people who feel like they've been slapped in the face with this is, why is there not any kind of alternative that they have here?

WEIR: That is the question for the developers, you know, folks who buy some land and chop it up and sell subdivisions there, they can do it unincorporated, and then it's really on the homeowner to decide where your water is coming from. And the homesteader, that was the attitude. A little different if you're a retiree moving from the Midwest and you're used to this sort of thing.

But they voted to set up another separate water taxing district, and unanimously the Maricopa board voted it down. And so that's where you kind of see people, you know, metaphorically pulling up the ladders around communities and saying, you know, maybe we don't need this rampant unchecked growth when we're in the middle of this mega drought.

LEMON: Yes, with urban sprawl or whatever, moving out into the suburbs. People know, like, when I was looking for my house here, they're like, you're good, this house is on town water. This house is on -

HARLOW: I was just going to say that. I think about that.

LEMON: That's a big - that's a big thing now.

WEIR: You don't -- you don't think about that in the east a lot or in the Midwest.


WEIR: But out west, that's everything. LEMON: So, this is part of a much bigger problem, correct me if I'm

wrong because you're the expert here because you were just in my hometown, remember, in Baton Rouge -


LEMON: Talking about the Mississippi River at its lowest levels ever, correct? So --

WEIR: And you can go around the world. The Yangtze, the Danube.

LEMON: That's - there you go. So then what's going on?

WEIR: Yes.


On a planet that's - that's warmed up by fossil fuels, it throws off the water cycle. It means too much water in some -- at some points, as you're seeing in California for the last, since Christmas. Not enough in other places.

And we've built our society around that predictable water cycle that we're all so familiar with that had its peaks and valleys, especially in the arid west. But now it's sort of passed as no longer prologue. So you have to figure out how to adjust infrastructure, how to adjust - manage entire watersheds or basins like that.

Katie Hobbs, the new manager -

HARLOW: Right.

WEIR: Or the new governor of Arizona, one of her first acts was to unseal this report that said this huge development plan for - for one part of Phoenix doesn't have enough water.


WEIR: And so the law is, if you develop in Arizona, you have to have water for 100 years. They did the math. This one in - section will fall short by 4.5 million acre feet in there. So and that -- when that gets into developers and real estate values, that's when the fighting and the hollering (ph) starts.

HARLOW: Wow. Bill Weir, thank you very much.

WEIR: You bet.

LEMON: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

So, if you're in the market for a new car, you may be able to afford a Tesla now. Maybe. Why the company is dramatically cutting prices.

COLLINS: Also, an alarming broadcast showed a toddler waving around -

LEMON: Oh, my gosh. HARLOW: Oh, my gosh.

COLLINS: And pulling the trigger of a handgun on live television. We'll tell you who police now have in custody, ahead.




It is now not as -- emphasis on "as" -- expensive to buy a Tesla. The company cut prices by as much as 20 percent. This is an effort to try to spark new demand as rising interest rates pose challenges to the EV industry and it gets more competitive.

Our chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here now.

I mean they're still - they're expensive but --

LEMON: Teslas ain't cheap.

HARLOW: There you go.

LEMON: That's the technical, grammatically -

HARLOW: Thanks for saying it better, Don.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: But he wants you to be able to afford this new EV tax credit.


ROMANS: And he wants to kind of inspire some demand if we're heading into maybe slower growth this year.

He had a -- Elon Musk had a really tough year last year. He lost more money in one year than I think anyone humanly has ever done in history.


ROMANS: I'd have to fact check that but I'm pretty sure it's true. And the company lost 65 percent, the share price of Tesla. So, he is cutting prices aggressively here to try to inspire some demand here.

And now more of these models will qualify for these new tax breaks, these new EV tax breaks. If you are in the market for an electric vehicle, this might be your year, especially early in the year. We're talking about a $7,500 EV tax break. So now the baseline Model Y crossover for Tesla is now under $53,000. So, it will qualify for that. You can see the income limits, those first two lines there are how much money you have to make less than those income limits to qualify for this free money from the government. The high-performance version of the Model 3 sedan, now $53,990, so it

would qualify.

Also you've got GM and Toyota cars that now qualify as well because they've lifted that -- the Inflation Reduction Act lifted that 200,000 car cap for how many cars can qualify for tax credits. So, there's some tax credits, there's some lower prices.

You look at the Chevy Volt. I think if you put that $7,500 tax credit on there, it's like a $20,000, $19,000 car, which puts it cheaper -


ROMANS: New. It puts it cheaper than some used cars.

So, I'm just saying, 2023 might be the year of the EV for some people. Check all of the, you know, all the fine print. But it's kind of an interesting moment. And it looks like Elon Musk and Tesla trying to lower the price of some of those Tesla models so they can qualify.

COLLINS: My question is, what do we know about -- once people have an electric vehicle, do they stay with electric vehicles or do they go back to --

ROMANS: It's so interesting because some of these cars and vehicles have cult-like status.


ROMANS: Tesla is one of those. Those Rivian trucks.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: I mean people - the -- I was just looking at used Rivian trucks, which cost more than the new truck if you, you know, sign up for - for -- you have to get on a waiting list, you know, to get your - your Rivian truck or SUV. There's, like, cult status for some of these EVs.

Others, though, I mean, there's a -- there's a Mustang that - the EV that I drove with our auto writer, Peter Valdes-Dapena, recently. You know, there's the Chevy Volt. There's some that are lower-cost cars, too, that they're working hard to, you know, fulfill the demand for those as well. So, 10 percent global car sales last year was EV. Did you know that?

HARLOW: I don't - I don't -- no, but I don't think in our house I'm going to have a choice when we ever buy a new car because Sinisa doesn't even let me use plastic bags.

ROMANS: Really?


ROMANS: That's smart.

LEMON: He is a New Yorker.

HARLOW: He's a New Yorker.

ROMANS: But, you know, we drive to Iowa. You drive to Minnesota, I'm sure.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

ROMANS: And that's the thing that I'm worried about, like, how am I going to chart out that path?

HARLOW: Yes, the range. Yes, that's true.


HARLOW: Thank you, Romans, very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

LEMON: You guys drive that far?

HARLOW: Do you see what it says in the prompter?

LEMON: It says egg prices.

HARLOW: Egg - it says egg-spensive. Ha, ha.

LEMON: Do I say it?

HARLOW: It did.


LEMON: I did not -

HARLOW: Well -

COLLINS: I was like, no, it doesn't.

LEMON: I was like, wow, Poppy, are you seeing things this morning, but she actually - it does say egg-spensive.

COLLINS: It's early.

LEMON: Egg prices - I thought you were calling me an egghead, which you do sometimes.

HARLOW: Not enough.

LEMON: Egg prices are up. Anyone who has been grocery shopping lately can't help but notice how the price for a dozen eggs has skyrocketed. So, what is causing the price surge? Vanessa Yurkevich, hello.

Vanessa, what is causing the price surge?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, many Americans would go to the grocery store, not think anything much about buying a dozen eggs, not really looking at the prices. It was considered and is considered a staple in American households.

But just in the last year, there's been a big price increase. It started last year at about $1.25, $179 for a dozen eggs. Now it's $4.25. And this is in part because of the deadly bird virus that started last spring and is catching up to us right now.


YURKEVICH (voice over): In chilly Palmer, Alaska, the demand for chickens and their eggs is heating up.

DOON DYER, OWNER, POLARIS FARM: I was already sold out even before the egg shortage. I was - I was selling everything I had.


YURKEVICH: If you've been to the grocery store recently, you may have noticed fewer eggs and higher prices, up about 11 percent last month on average from November, up nearly 60 percent in the last year. $11.49 for a dozen eggs in New York, $10.99 in Hawaii.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's ridiculous for it to be that much.

YURKEVICH: The highly pathogenic avian influenza, or avian flu, is largely to blame. Nearly 58 million birds and climbing have died across 47 states in the last year, a result of the deadly virus. Wild birds can carry the disease and spread it to domestic flocks when they migrate.

CHELSEA CARRIGAN, OWNER, RED BARN FARM: One wild bird coming into their chicken run and the next thing you know 10 birds, 20 birds, 30 birds, they're just dropping dead.

YURKEVICH: Some states now recommending that all poultry be maintained indoors. Poultry and bird shows, canceled. And biosecurity around chickens, strictly enforced.

SARAH SCHNEIDER, OWNER, EGG SHOP: The avian flu is serious.

YURKEVICH: Egg Shop, with two cafes in New York City, is struggling with prices on their main ingredient. The fall migration of wild birds sent avian flu cases spiking again.

SCHNEIDER: We go through 7,000 to 9,000 eggs a week. So it's a significant amount of eggs. And in the last couple weeks they've jumped as high as 60 percent.

YURKEVICH (on camera): How have you been able to absorb the high price increases of eggs?

SCHNEIDER: Unfortunately, we have raised all of our prices about 10 percent on our menu items.

YURKEVICH (voice over): For some, the increased cost is too much. Baked after Dark bakery in Nebraska will close its doors this weekend.

STACEY JOHNSON, OWNER, BAKED AFTER DARK: I think about what our family could afford to pay for a cookie. I take that into consideration. We can't charge $5 a cookie.

YURKEVICH: The ripple effect goes beyond restaurants and bakeries. Take a look around the grocery store. Items that use eggs, like mayonnaise, are up 11.8 percent in the last year.

ANGELO PULEO, SUPERVISOR, MORTON WILLIAMS SUPERMARKETS: From the flu to the increases in inflation, all combined together with the shortage, it is the perfect storm.

VERA NEWHOUSE, NYC SHOPPER: And I definitely have seen the prices shoot up recently.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Does that stop you from making the purchase?

NEWHOUSE: No, not at all.

I'm just buying things to make a chicken cutlet. And you need eggs as the basis for that too. It's one of the reasons why there's no way not to purchase them.


YURKEVICH: And some good news from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This week they said that prices are starting to fall a little bit, but that supply remains light to moderate. And, you know, the holidays was really a time when there was a lot of demand for eggs. People were baking. People were cooking. But we're through the holidays now. So, demand may be just a little bit lower.

But, you know, it's not - it's not fun to go to the grocery store and see eggs that are costing about $10.99 here in New York. Hawaii, same price. So, just keep your eye out. Look for those cheaper prices in your egg aisle.


LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Vanessa. I sent a photo to you guys. I was in the grocery store the other day and it was - I thought $3.99, $4.99, which is high but not as bad at $11, obviously.

HARLOW: Better.


HARLOW: All right.

LEMON: And that's here in New York. So, hopefully they'll come down.

COLLINS: Up next, we're going to talk about one of the world's most wanted men who's been finally caught after 30 years on the run. How did this mafia boss avoid being arrested for so long? We'll tell you.



COLLINS: This morning, Italy's most wanted man is now in police custody after 30 years on the run. Notorious mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro is thought to have ordered dozens of mafia-related murders and was given several life sentences in absentia (ph). He once boasted that he could fill a cemetery with his victims.

CNN's Barbie Nadeau is live in Rome.

Barbie, what are we learning about how this finally happened given he has been evading arrest for so many years?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, you know, authorities here today, 24 hours after they've arrested him, are trying to unravel this protective network, which, of course, went back 30 years. They've uncovered his most recent hideout, but they're going to want to know where he's been and who protected him and how far up the ladder it went. Were there law enforcement officials or local governments involved in the cover-up in all these years.

They're also looking at what's next because just because he's behind bars, that' doesn't mean the criminal enterprise is over. They want to know who's in charge now and how that handover went, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yes, a lot of questions, I imagine, that they have.

Barbie Nadeau, thank you.

HARLOW: Coming up, this -


MILEY CYRUS, MUSICIAN (singing): I can buy myself flowers, write my name in the sand.


HARLOW: Miley Cyrus, Shakira, both striking commercial gold by calling out their exes with revenge pop hits.




MILEY CYRUS, MUSICIAN (singing): I didn't wanna leave you. I didn't wanna to fight. Started to cry, but then I remembered I - I can buy myself flowers, write my name in the sand.


COLLINS: Apparently 2023 is the year to buy yourselves flowers, maybe you can go after your exes. Two of the world's biggest stars, Miley Cyrus and Shakira, have both released new songs over the weekend that deliver scathing rebukes of their former partners. Cyrus' song "Flowers," that you hear there, has been dubbed an ode to self-love. It is topping charts around the world after she released it on Friday, which just so happens to be her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth's birthday. Their on again, off again relationship ended in divorce in 2019. But her new single seems to be filled with jabs aimed directly at Hemsworth, driving fans wild with conspiracies about the song's lyrics. There's one line that says, we built a home and watched it burn. Many believe that could be a reference to their Malibu house which burned down in a 2018 wildfire and has given plenty of fuel to feed those theories.

Shakira, meanwhile, is not pulling any punches.


SHAKIRA, MUSICIAN (SINGING): (Singing in a Foreign Language).


COLLINS: Her new song tears into her ex, Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique and his new girlfriend and his mom even. After 12 years together, the couple, who have two sons together, split last year when she reportedly caught him having an affair, with lines like, quote, you traded a Rolex for a Casio. She is not exactly trying to hide who her latest song is about.


I love the Miley Cyrus song. I'll stand up for that one.

HARLOW: I do too.

LEMON: If it.