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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

41+ Dead In Spreading Iran Protests As Government Cracks Down; Floridians Urged To Prep Insurance Policies As Ian Approaches; Banks Reopen In Lebanon After Wave Of Depositor Stick-Ups. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 27, 2022 - 05:30   ET



BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Each delivered a speech. The constant theme from almost everyone who spoke, including the current prime minister, focused on Abe's accomplishments and how much he will be missed, and the fact that he had so much more life to live.

Now, as a result of the high-ranking officials and world leaders in attendance, including multiple heads of state, roads have been closed off and the police presence around Tokyo, especially around this venue, have been drastically increased to ramp up security.

And just around the corner from where I'm standing there were long lines all day -- people telling us that they had been waiting for hours for the chance to lay flowers at an area set aside for mourners to pay their respects and say a final goodbye to Japan's longest- serving prime minister.

And Christine, at the same time, a constant stream of protesters have been marching, chanting, and getting into altercations with the police here where I am just a few hundred yards from the state funeral venue -- Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Blake. Thank you so much for that. Keep us posted.

All right. Coming up, a rash of bank heists with a twist. The robbers steal their own money. First, Iranians mourn those lost in violent protests across that country.



ROMANS: In Iran, state media is reporting at least 41 people have been killed as protests sweep the nation.


Protesters in Iran.


ROMANS: Thousands are marching despite violent government crackdowns.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins me live from Istanbul. Jomana, social media is showing women leading the charge against the regime.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And many will tell you, Christine, that is what makes this protest movement different compared to previous ones we have seen over the years in Iran.

You know, we have to say it's very difficult for us to assess right now, as these protests enter their second week, how widespread and how big they are because of the government's restrictions on the internet. But it does appear from video that we are seeing emerging overnight people are still defiant, still taking to the streets despite an intensifying crackdown.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): Regime supporters out en masse. These organized pro-government rallies a show of unity against the so-called rioters, they say. Iran's leadership is dismissing the thousands of protesters across the country as a handful of mercenaries. They claim it's all a foreign plot to destabilize the Islamic Republic that is only just beginning to unleash its brutal force to crush the rising voices of dissent.

It's throttling the internet, blocking social media sites, dragging protesters off the streets, and using lethal force to silence those rising up for their rights.

No one really knows how many lives have been lost but the gut- wrenching scenes of those grieving their loved ones are slowly trickling out. The heartache -- the agony of families burying their dead need no words to explain.

Javed Hideri (PH) was 36, shot at a protest last week. His family says he bled to death. Amir Fouladi was only 15, one of several children killed, according to Amnesty International.

Her name is Hadis Najafi , one of countless women who have said enough to tyranny and repression. Hadis never made it back from a protest. Her family says she was shot six times. Her Instagram posts tell a story of a young woman who loved her country, loved life, music, dressing up, and dancing.

Her devastated sister warning her in this Instagram post. She writes, "Sis, how did they have the heart to shoot you? My tears have dried up. I can't breathe. Forgive me. I wasn't there to defend you."

Hadis was 23.

The threat of bullets, of prison, of flogging hasn't stopped the protests. Nightfall brought hundreds back on the streets, their daring chance of death to the dictator echoing through the dark streets of Iran. A defiant generation risking it all for freedoms they've never known.


KARADSHEH: And Christine, it's very important for us to point out that CNN cannot independently verify death toll claims but we are getting different casualty figures coming from different organizations, including Amnesty International, Iranian state media, and opposition groups, and they put the death toll anywhere between 30 to 50 people.

But there is a lot of fear that it is far worse than that as we've seen in previous protests and crackdowns in Iran over the years. And we may not know the extent of this brutal crackdown until internet connectivity is restored in the country, if we do at all, Christine.


ROMANS: Certainly, the social media outpouring of grief is just -- really brings that story home. Thank you so much for that, Jomana Karadsheh. Thanks.

All right. Still ahead, the latest on an NFL player hurt after flipping his Porsche. But first, covering your assets. What you should know about hurricanes and insurance.


ROMANS: All right, Ian moving over western Cuba right now as a category three hurricane with its sights set on Florida next. As people there prepare for what could be a once-in-a-century storm, officials are urging them not to forget their insurance policies.

Let's bring in Dulce Suarez-Resnick, V.P. of sales for Acentria Insurance in Miami. Thank you so much for getting up early with us this morning.

What is your advice to people waking up, for example, in the Tampa area this morning and to those who have already left?


DULCE SUAREZ-RESNICK, VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES, ACENTRIA INSURANCE (via Webex by Cisco): Well, my advice is make sure that your insurance policies are paid up and to document the condition of their homes and their contents in their homes.

As I had mentioned to some of my colleagues, the cell phones that we are so accustomed to having with us at all times are our best friends. Go ahead and videotape the interior of your home and the exterior of your home, especially if you're going to have to evacuate like they might have to do in Tampa -- and I know the evacuation order has already been given. Before you leave, take pictures and videotape and take -- and make sure you have your phone with you with all that information.

Also, make sure that you have copies of your policies -- your homeowners policy, your windstorm policy, your flood policy, and your auto insurance policy -- if you have a watercraft or watercraft policy. Put it in a Ziploc bag so that you can keep all your documents nice and dry. And that way you can take them with you if you have to evacuate as well. That way you have all of your insurance documents and information in hand. Should you have any severe damage to your house and you have to put in a claim you have all that information.

And keep in mind that your local agent might not have power either, so it's very helpful to have this handy.

ROMANS: Yes. So what will happen is the insurance companies will come in and they'll do the hardest-hit areas first, right, and they'll set up sort of --


ROMANS: -- local command centers. That's -- that might be your first point of contact.

SUAREZ-RESNICK: Absolutely, absolutely, and you'll head down to the command center with your documents and it will make the process so much easier.

Yes, those command centers do have laptops and information. They can look you up by your name and your address. But, especially here in South Florida, with all the companies that have gone insolvent in the last 18 months, who you were insured with last year might not be who you are insured with right now. So it's good to have copies of your current policies with you.

ROMANS: And use that phone. Take pictures of everything and videos of everything.


ROMANS: What about -- what about renters?

SUAREZ-RESNICK: With renters, the same thing. Make sure that they have documentation of all their personal belongings. Again, take pictures and video as you leave or as you're going to hunker down.

And one of the things that you should do -- because, like you said, they're going to start from the hardest-hit areas first -- make sure you take pictures of the damage and that you are ready to make certain repairs to prevent further damage, and document that as well. Take the pictures and keep your receipts of any repairs that you make before the adjuster gets there.

ROMANS: All right, Dulce Suarez-Resnick. Thank you so much for your expertise. This is going to be a tough few days I think for a lot of people in Florida.

SUAREZ-RESNICK: Yes, it will.

ROMANS: Nice to see you. Thank you. I hope everyone --


ROMANS: -- stays safe.

All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

Looking at markets around the world, a bounce-back in Asian shares and a mixed opening in Europe. On Wall Street, stock index futures at this hour pointing a little bit higher here.

Look, U.S. stocks tumbled Monday. The Dow sliding into a bear market. That's defined as a drop of 20 percent or more from a recent high. It really hurts. A brutal year for stock investors you can see.

And now, huge global currency and bond market moves. The dollar is surging. It is the global go-to currency in times of uncertainty and Fed rate hikes have made it even more attractive.

The British pound hit a record low against the dollar Monday, trying to stabilize here around 1.08. The pound, though, tumbling on the new British government's plan to cut taxes and boost spending. The U.K. has the worst inflation of the G7 nations and markets are saying this new plan doesn't help that.

The weak pound means U.S. tourists, U.S. business travelers -- you'll get more for your money traveling to the U.K., but it dings the profits of U.S. companies earning money abroad.

The euro, by the way, is also at a 20-year low.

First on CNN, a new Bank of America-sponsored survey finds 71 percent of employees in July said inflation is outpacing their pay. That's up from 58 percent in February. Some employees also considered quitting. Twenty-one percent say they thought about switching jobs, and nine percent did switch. The top reasons they gave were compensation, burnout, and work-life balance.

All right, just ahead, the return of traffic jams. What's driving more people to the roads.



ROMANS: Banks in Lebanon partially reopened Monday ending a weeklong closure. The shutdown was a response to a string of bank holdups by depositors desperate to withdraw their own savings from frozen Lebanese bank accounts.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has more.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to Lebanon where citizens storm banks just to get their own money.

Sali Hafiz became an instant icon after she held up a Beirut bank to withdraw thousands of dollars from her family's savings account. She broadcast the heist live on Facebook, explaining she was desperate to pay for her sister's cancer treatment.


ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): "I'm here to get my sister's money," she says, "because she is dying." Hafiz later said she was carrying a toy gun.

Lebanon's banks have locked millions of citizens out of their own savings accounts after a financial meltdown in 2019. And with the currency losing 90 percent of its value, more than three-quarters of the population now live in poverty, unable to pay for basics.


From hiding, Hafiz said she had run out of options.

HAFIZ: (Speaking foreign language).

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): "People consider me a hero," she says, "but I'm no role model. I'm not a hero. I'm just a normal person who took back her rights."

Hafiz inspired a wave of copycats like (INAUDIBLE). He failed to get his money, sustained an injury to his hand, and wound up in jail for a week. But he later told CNN he was just trying to save his business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): "We're not stealing, we're taking what's rightfully ours," he says. "I encourage other people to do the same because there's no other way. We gave the money to our banks then we should take it back from the bank."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my money.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): No official arrest warrant has been issued for Sali until now. Abid (PH) has been released without charges.

After five hold-ups in a single day, banks shut down for nearly a week, citing ongoing risks to employees and customers. They reopened Monday, but only partially for commercial banking. Individual account holders can only enter by appointment, pushing desperate families even further away from their own money.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


ROMANS: All right, the Cowboys hand the Giants their first loss of the season thanks to a spectacular touchdown catch.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christine. You know, things were not looking good for the Cowboys when quarterback Dak Prescott got hurt in week one. But backup Cooper Rush has stepped in and beat the Bengals and now the Giants. With the game tied at 13 in the fourth quarter, Rush going to CeeDee Lamb and he makes the incredible one-handed grab. Take another look -- just a great catch there.

The Cowboys would hold on to win this one 23-17, handing the Giants their first loss of the season.

Browns all-pro defensive end Myles Garrett, meanwhile, was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after flipping his Porsche in a one-car accident following yesterday's practice. The Ohio State Highway Patrol says impairment by drugs or alcohol is not suspected and that Garrett and his female passenger were both wearing seat belts. Garrett's status for Sunday's game in Atlanta is still unknown.

All right, Monday was media day for many NBA teams, including the Brooklyn Nets. After a very rocky off-season and trade demands, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are back together for another season. Durant saying he understands the Nets were unable to trade him because they couldn't get their value.

Now, Kyrie, meanwhile, revealing his decision to not get vaccinated cost him much more than just the ability to play home games.


KYRIE IRVING, BROOKLYN NETS GUARD: I gave up four years, 100-and- something million deciding to be unvaccinated, and that was a decision. The contract, get vaccinated or be unvaccinated. And there's a level of uncertainty of your future, whether you're going to be in this league, whether you're going to be on this team. So I had to deal with that real-life circumstance of losing my job for this decision.


SCHOLES: Net's G.M. Sean Marks pushed back on there being an ultimatum for a new contract, saying it was about reliability, adding that he stands by Kyrie and his decision to not get vaccinated.

All vaccine mandates have been lifted pertaining to NBA players, so Kyrie will be available for the Nets all season.

All right, and finally, President Biden rolled out the red carpet at the White House for the Atlanta Braves yesterday. Biden called the team the upset kings of October and praised them for turning their season around, defying expectations.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The franchise never quit. It never gave in. You rebuilt the whole outfield practically overnight. Play-by-play, inning-by-inning you grind -- you ground it out and you did it together. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Yes, and the Braves giving the president a custom jersey with his name and the number 46 on it.

And Christine, Aaron Judge watch continues tonight. The Yankees at the Blue Jays in Toronto. You can watch that on our sister network TBS. Judge still stuck on home run number 60. We're all waiting for 61.

ROMANS: All right, indeed.

All right, Andy Scholes, nice to see you. Thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining me today. I'm Christine Romans. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hurricane Ian now a major category three storm making landfall in Cuba as it continues on a path toward Florida. We just got some fresh forecast information a short time ago.

I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

Officials across Florida sounding the alarm along Florida's west coast. People are being urged to get out of harm's way. Tampa's mayor tells residents if you can leave just leave now. Officials say the Tampa region could see a storm of a lifetime.

More than 15 million people are expected to feel the impact of Ian when it arrives.