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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Europe Begins Digging Out After Historic Flooding; U.S. Officials In Vienna Report Mystery Health Symptoms; U.K. Prime Minister Reverses Decision And Will Isolate After COVID Contact. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 19, 2021 - 05:30   ET




LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Julia Chatterley. It is 31 minutes past the hour and it's great to be with you.

JARRETT: Great to have you here.

CHATTERLEY: All right, let's take it to Europe now where the death toll with the historic flooding in Western Europe now climbing to 194 people. Even as the water subsides, hundreds are still missing.

These German farmhouses stood for more than a century. Now they're all but destroyed, crushed by a torrent from a nearby river.

JARRETT: Just terrible. These before and after images showing a lush green field turned muddy brown by the raging floodwaters.

A top European professor says, "The deaths and destruction is a tragedy that should have been avoided. For so many people to die in floods in Europe in 2021 represents a monumental failure of the system."

CNN's Sam Kiley is on the ground for us in western Germany. Sam, what is the scene there. What's it looking like?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you heard from Professor Cloke talking about the monumental failure of the system. She went on to say that this was obviously a direct consequence of climate change.

She's part of the academic team that set that group up and runs it that did warn Germany and other countries across Europe that these flash floods were going to happen. And by that, the flash flood is the key element here. We're talking about eight inches dropped in 24 hours in this area; six inches in 24 hours in other areas.

Gigantic amounts of rainfall that result in this kind of scene, Laura. These are fully mature trees -- some of them old, some of them older -- all snapped over like broccoli sticks.

When you look at the level of the water here on the Ahr River, it's up almost three times my height. And this is the kind of debris these rivers were carrying away as a consequence of these flash floods.

These flash floods actually race down off the agricultural areas into the -- from the catchment areas to the rivers. These were not rivers that swelled and engulfed local towns. These were rivers that actually, effectively were used to drain away this gigantic amount of excess rainfall, which as we say, the European Flood Awareness network actually warned governments was coming. They came out with quite a lot of detail about which towns and which villages across Germany and Belgium and elsewhere would be affected.

And as a consequence of this information now emerging there's an outcry in many western European countries against their own government about their failure to create the situations -- the conditions which would mean that, for example, dams could be preemptively emptied and the whole drainage system improved to cope with these flash floods -- Laura.

JARRETT: Clearly, those warnings were not heeded. Climate change is here, folks.

Sam Kiley, thank you so much.

CHATTERLEY: OK, now to a health mystery in Vienna where nearly two dozen U.S. officials have reported strange symptoms. U.S. diplomats, intelligence officials, and other staff are reporting symptoms similar to what's known as Havana Syndrome. There's unexplained headaches, vertigo, and other weird sensory issues that have affected U.S. officials both at home in the United States and abroad.


Our Nic Robertson joins us live. Nic, is there any more information about what's actually causing these symptoms?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The problem is there isn't an answer for that at the moment, Julia. Speaking to people in Vienna, their problem is -- and the authorities there say that they're absolutely working to find a joint solution for this with U.S. officials. But the problem is they can't pinpoint what has triggered these mysterious incidences, as they're being described.

We do know that some of those diplomats who have been affected have been medically evacuated back to the United States. We do know that the State Department say that they're working vigorously to get to grips with the situation. That they'd already started this on a baseline program across embassies and facilities throughout the world to try to get an idea of what the normal state of play would be for diplomats and others so that they've got a baseline to measure these incidents against.

But it's nausea, it's headaches, it's loss of memory, it's loss of hearing. So these are very, very concerning medical situations now. But the key problem remains what triggered it -- what physically triggered it and where did it come from. And at this moment in Vienna that seems to be the big issue.

We know that the Viennese authorities say that they're taking this hugely seriously. That they take the welfare of diplomats and their families very seriously. But that doesn't provide a solution and that's where the situation is at the moment, Julia.

CHATTERLEY: Nic, thank you very much for that report there.

JARRETT: All right. Major tension brewing this morning in South Asia. Afghanistan withdrawing its diplomats from Pakistan following the alleged abduction of the ambassador's daughter in Islamabad.

CNN's Anna Coren is following these developments for us. She joins us live from Hong Kong. Anna, the Pakistanis are pushing back really hard on this, blaming a third country for orchestrating some sort of conspiracy. What more are you learning about this?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura, I've just returned from Afghanistan and it is a complicated part of the world. But this recent development that had occurred with the Afghan ambassador's daughter in Islamabad, Pakistan just adds another layer of complexity to it.

It happened on Saturday. The daughter -- she's in her 20s -- Silsila Alikhil -- she got into a taxi and it was in this taxi where other men jumped in. She was taken away. She was beaten, assaulted, and then after several hours, she was returned.

We don't who were the perpetrators. We don't know what the message was. But we do know that shortly after the Afghan government announced that the ambassador, his family, and all diplomatic staff will be returning to Afghanistan. And we understand that they are due to land in Kabul in the next few hours.

Certainly, as I say, a lot of question marks. But the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- they described it as unfortunate and regrettable that not only the incident took place but that Afghanistan was recalling its diplomat staff.

An investigation has been launched but the minister of the interior in Pakistan is saying that this is an international conspiracy. That India is behind it. We know that India and Pakistan are not friends and that relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been very sour for a very long time. I mean, it just, as I say, adds another layer of complexity.

And this is all happening as the United States is withdrawing from Afghanistan.


COREN: All troops out, Laura, by the 31st of August.

JARRETT: Yes, yes. A lot of questions on this one for sure. Thanks so much. Appreciate it, Anna.

CHATTERLEY: A deal, finally, on oil production. OPEC+ agreed to increase oil production over the weekend as demand and prices surge across the country. The group will raise overall oil production by 400,000 barrels a day on a monthly basis, starting in August. Oil producers will then reassess market developments in December.

Oil prices surged two weeks ago after the group canceled a meeting to discuss increasing production. Brent Crude price is currently under $72.00 a barrel.

Last week, the International Energy Agency warned major oil producers that failure to agree on supply increases could raise fuel prices, stoke inflation, and threaten the pandemic recovery.

The national average per gallon of gas is currently $3.16.

JARRETT: People are feeling it.


JARRETT: They're not happy about gas prices right now.


JARRETT: Christine always says that's the main indicator for people about how well they're doing is if gas is going up.


CHATTERLEY: Fingers crossed --


CHATTERLEY: -- this will bring some relief.

JARRETT: All right.

Teenage tennis phenom Coco Gauff will miss the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Andy, this is a real disappointment, I'm sure for Coco, but also for the Olympics.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (via Webex by Cisco): Yes, for everyone -- the fans and everyone involved in wanting to watch Coco in Tokyo. You know, this is certainly heartbreaking for her. She was going to be one of the biggest stars for Team USA at the games. And the 17-year-old was going to be the youngest Olympic tennis player since 2000. But yesterday, Coco announced she tested positive and will no longer be able to compete in Tokyo.

She tweeted she was disappointed and said, "It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future." Now, this news comes as three members from the South African soccer team -- two players and one official -- tested positive for COVID after arriving to the Olympic Village. The South African Football Association says the whole team is now under quarantine until cleared to train.

All right, the U.S. men's basketball team, meanwhile, getting a nice win over Spain in their last exhibition before heading to Tokyo. The U.S. was down by nine in the first half but new addition Keldon Johnson helping to lead the charge back and scored 15 points in this one.

The U.S. was getting hot from three-point land in the second half. They would go on to get the win 83 to 76.

In the meantime, the U.S. women will head to Tokyo on a winning note as well. They routed Nigeria 93 to 62 for their first win in their pre-Olympic exhibition scheduled. Team USA had lost back-to-back games against the WNBA All-Stars and Australia. The U.S. is going to play Nigeria again a week from tomorrow in their Olympic opener.

All right. American golfer Collin Morikawa making history at the British Open yesterday becoming the first-ever to win two Majors in his very first attempt. He also won the 2020 PGA Championship. The 24- year-old winning yesterday's final round trailing Louis Oosthuizen by one stroke. But Morikawa -- he ended the Open going 31 straight holes without a bogey. That's the third-longest streak over to end a major by a champion.

Next up, Morikawa is going to be playing with Team USA in Tokyo.

All right. In baseball, a Yankees fan has been banned from all 30 stadiums after throwing a ball at Red Sox outfield Alex Verdugo on Saturday night. Verdugo had thrown a ball to a Red Sox fan but it got intercepted by that Yankees fan and then thrown at him.

Boston manager Alex Cora -- he came out and pulled the entire team off the field momentarily after the incident. That fan was identified and ejected from the ballpark.

All right. The Mets, meanwhile, looking like a Little League team in the first inning against the Pirates yesterday. Bases loaded -- Kevin Newman hits a dribbler that starts moving back to fair territory. Well, pitcher Taijuan Walker swats the ball, shooting it towards the dugout. The umpire, though, called it fair because it touched the chalk.

The Mets immediately just started throwing a fit out on the field instead of going after the ball. Three runs come in to score to make it six to nothing.

Manager Luis Rojas comes out to argue and gets ejected. He's likely also going to get suspended for pushing an umpire.

Amazingly, the Mets actually came back to win this game seven to six. But I'll tell you what, Laura. This is certainly a teaching moment for

all the kiddos watching that game. You don't stop playing until you are -- you know, whistle stops.

JARRETT: Right, right.

SCHOLES: There's no whistle in baseball but you don't stop until you know that ball is foul.

JARRETT: Right. You can have it out afterwards but get that --


JARRETT: -- play finished.

All right, Andy, appreciate the tip.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: I'll remember that. Thanks so much.

We'll be right back.




BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Hi, folks. Like so many hundreds of thousands of our people across the country, I've been pinged. I've been asked to self-isolate by the test, trace, and isolate system after I've been in contact with somebody who has COVID. In this case, of course, the health secretary, Sajid Javid.


CHATTERLEY: Pinged. A U-turn from 10 Downing Street. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will self-isolate after being in contact with someone who has COVID, AKA the health minister. He initially said he would not because he was taking part in daily testing.

Overnight, the prime minister urged caution as lockdown rules in England are lifted today.

Phil Black is live in London for us. Phil, the timing on this couldn't be worse. We've been counting down to what's called freedom day in the U.K. as all the restrictions are lifted. What are people saying about this?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's hugely symbolic, isn't it, on this so-called freedom day Julia that you have the prime minister and two other sitting members of government essentially confined. And it speaks to, really, the very complicated reality here. On one hand, you have people making the most of it -- notably, people who filled the dance floors of London's nightclubs as soon as the clock struck midnight last night. People haven't danced together like this since March 2020 -- not legally, anyway.

But more broadly, the situation is far more restrained. This isn't a triumphant return to normal life in England. It is the start of an experiment -- a hugely uncertain one that hasn't been tried anywhere else -- reopening while being in the middle of a growing wave of cases.

The prime minister is determined to continue because he essentially believes if not now, then when? There is no good time to do this, he says, so let's move in summer and especially now that we've just hit this two-thirds coverage of the adult population in terms of full vaccine protection.

We know that the vaccines mean you will have fewer people seriously ill relative to the total number of infections. But the risk is and the modeling shows you could have so many infections in the coming months that you still end up with more people in hospital than at any stage during the pandemic.

So for all these reasons, the prime minister's message now is more complicated -- some say contradictory. Yes, the rules are changing but he is pleading with people not to change their behavior. To continue acting cautiously.

And what it means in practice is that individuals -- organizations, for example, like the London Underground, will be determining just what the rules are going forward.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, and they'll watch those cases rise, but also the hospitalizations, to your point.


Phil Black, thank you for that.

JARRETT: All right, back to the U.S. now More than 50 Texas House Democrats trying to keep up momentum after leaving the state to protest the passage of new voting restrictions there. Short-term, it was seen as a politically savvy move to prevent the state's Republican-led House from having the required number of members to present -- to conduct a vote. But the question is how does it translate to effective change long-term?

The group remains in Washington to pressure senators to pass a federal voting rights bill, but it's unclear if they'll be able to actually achieve that without 60 votes in the Senate to get anything passed.

CHATTERLEY: And the legislative mountain is a tall one. The group already met with West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin who remains staunchly opposed to eliminating the filibuster -- a major roadblock to passing most legislation in the Senate. And that's not the only roadblock the Texas Democrats are facing.

After a maskless flight together, five of the lawmakers have tested positive for COVID.

The delegation says it plans to stay in D.C. until August seventh when the special session called by Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is set to expire.

JARRETT: Yes. You know, those lawmakers were actually vaccinated, so it's another example of what we think of breakthrough cases. I think, hopefully, they are asymptomatic. But it just goes to show you COVID is still out there. It's not over --

CHATTERLEY: Yes, a maskless flight.

JARRETT: -- right?

CHATTERLEY: You've still got to wear masks.

JARRETT: All right.

A big win for the cruise industry and public safety. A federal appeals court ruling the CDC can continue to enforce mandatory safety protocols on cruises. The decision, which came late Saturday, blocked a lower court ruling minutes before it would have gone into effect.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has argued the CDC's safety rules are too burdensome and would hurt revenue coming into that state.

Norwegian Cruise Lines sued Florida last week, arguing that DeSantis' ban on vaccine passports puts the company in the position of either breaking state law or violating CDC rules.

All right. An empowered Britney Spears says she will not perform as long as her father remains in control of her conservatorship.

The pop star wrote a lengthy post on Instagram this weekend saying, "This conservatorship killed my dreams, so all I have is hope. And hope is the only thing in this world that is very hard to kill -- yet, people still try." Spears goes on to say her so-called support system has hurt her deeply.

The conservatorship drama is back in court today. A judge will rule on a request by Spears' temporary conservator who is overseeing her medical care and wants 24/7 security herself.

CHATTERLEY: OK, you're looking at markets around the world to begin the week and as you can see, it's a sea of red. Asian markets ended the session lower. European markets have also opened up weaker. And take a look at what's happening on Wall Street as well. We can show you the performance there.

Stocks did end the week lower last week and yes, once again, we're heading for a weaker open today, too. That, despite strong retail sales, if you remember, on Friday. And they remain strong. Now, despite the decline, the Dow and the S&P 500 not far from recent record highs.

This week, plenty of earnings -- United, American, Alaska, and Southwest will report their numbers. United says it expects to be profitable starting this month.

In the meantime, Zoom is getting even bigger. It plans to buy Five9, a Cal-based software provider in an all-stock deal worth nearly $15 billion. Zoom became critical during the pandemic with millions of people working and learning from home.

The deal will help Zoom expand its cloud business and offer more services to its business customers as everyday users return to offices and classrooms. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2022. It also needs approval from regulators.

JARRETT: Does Mary's dress wave or does it sway? Forty-six years after the release of Bruce Springsteen's iconic "Thunder Road," the debate over those lyrics is finally settled.




JARRETT: Springsteen's manager Jon Landau confirming the correct lyric is "Mary's dress sways."

Now, for years, fans have been insistent that the word was "waves" and they had the lyrics included with the original record to prove it. But, Landau tells the "New Yorker" dresses can't wave and any printed lyrics saying otherwise are typos.

OK, I don't know about you, Julia. I definitely hear waves.

CHATTERLEY: Well, that's the third (ph) time we've listened to it. I heard sways there.

JARRETT: First of all, you just gave away that we hadn't heard that song before (INAUDIBLE).

CHATTERLEY: Yes, sorry. Sorry about that.

I have to say it depends who it's waving at. And I like to say that this early in the morning.

JARRETT: You can say anything this early in the morning.


JARRETT: All right.

CHATTERLEY: Thank you for joining us. I'm Julia Chatterley.

JARRETT: All right, I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Brianna Keilar alongside John Avlon on this new day.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Happy Monday.

KEILAR: Happy Monday. Great to have you here.


KEILAR: And it is four days to go and the pandemic is already disrupting the Olympics. There were more positive tests overnight and problems are mounting for athletes arriving in Tokyo.

Plus, as President Biden says Facebook is killing people with vaccine disinformation, an E.R. doctor says he blames Fox, not his unvaccinated patients.