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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

U.S. Takes On England Today In Huge Soccer Showdown; Cuba Using Sharks As Way To Lure Visitors Back; COVID Cases Hit Record In China, Dissent Grows Over Restrictions. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 25, 2022 - 05:30   ET




WHITNEY WILD, CNN ANCHOR: Don't expect texting back from your soccer fans - soccer fan friends this afternoon because they are going to be glued to the T.V. for today's huge showdown. The U.S. men's team taking on England. It is only the third time they've clashed in the World Cup. The Americans hoping to pull off the latest upset in a tournament that has been really full of stories of upsets, full of headlines of upsets.

CNN's Amanda Davies joins us now from the World Cup in Doha. Amanda, what do you think of the Americans going to take --


WILD: -- to, you know, run over England?


DAVIES: Whitney, I feel I have to apologize because today, my professional neutrality -- I find it quite hard. But this is an English side where it's a pretty ominous warning for the U.S. because Gareth Southgate, their manager, despite the 6-2 victory in the last game, said he feels England needs to do better. He wants them to qualify as quickly as possible for the next round and they would do that if they got a win against the U.S. later today.

But this is a really young, dynamic, exciting U.S. side with so many of their players who played their domestic football in England. They know their opponents really well -- the likes of Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams. And the goal scorer in their game against Wales, Timothy Weah, said that they're relishing this title as underdogs.

Coach Berhalter said that they've seen their moments on the stage. They've got through the emotion of that opening game. And he's backed them to repeat what has become something of a U.S. tradition in this tournament, which is embarrassing England at the World Cup. They did in 1950. They did in 2010.

And they had a barbecue with their friends and family earlier this week to really gear them up mentally. They're very much hoping they can get something out of the game, which would give them a huge boost with the hopes of making it into the next round.

WILD: All right. Well, we're holding out hope over here. You do what you have to do, Amanda. I understand.

DAVIES: (Laughing).

WILD: But -- so there was a pretty horrific -- a pretty -- you know, a pretty horrific injury. A top Brazilian player had to leave the match against Serbia with an ankle injury. So is there -- is there any word on how that player is doing? He was -- I mean, he left the pitch in tears.

DAVIES: Yes. The World Cup hasn't been kind to Neymar. Such a superstar for everything he's done and won his career. It really was heartbreaking to see him sit on the bench last night in tears, as you mentioned, having limped off the pitch after -- with 10 minutes left to go of Brazil's opening game of the tournament.

His -- the pictures of his right ankle are really quite gruesome -- really, really swollen. It's the same ankle that ruled him out of their cup America success in 2019.

The coach, Tite, trying to play down the emotion, saying he's confident Neymar will still play some part in this tournament. The medics, though, have said the next 24-48 hours will be crucial in finding out more.

The good news, though, for Brazil is that they seem to have a new superstar who really announced his presence here on the World Cup stage. Richarlison scoring an absolute stunner and doing very little to play down the expectation of Brazil as favorites for this title.

WILD: That injury is so hard to look at.

Amanda Davies, thank you so much.

All right, a remarkable story of good fortune and timing. This has got to be everybody's worst nightmare if you go on a cruise, right? A man who was reported missing from a Carnival cruise ship -- he was rescued off the Gulf of Mexico, though. He was last seen on Wednesday night at the bar on the cruise ship -- the Carnival cruise ship Valor. It turns out he had gone overboard.

So on Thursday, the Coast Guard received notice of this missing guest. They launched this massive search and they were able to retrace the ship's route to find the man and confirm he actually had gone overboard -- and taken out of the water. When they found him he was responsive but there is no word yet on his condition.

Officials say more information will be released later today. I mean, what a harrowing story -- wow.

Meanwhile, Cuba is taking a big bet that tourists are looking for a thrill by diving with sharks. They're hoping to lure vacationers to the island nation by giving them a chance to swim with the sharks -- swim in shark-infested waters. CNN's Patrick Oppmann, extremely brave, took the bait and takes us beneath the surface.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Usually, they are the last thing you want to see in the ocean, but sharks are the reason why we have some here to the waters off eastern Cuba. We're hoping to see the predators up close and with no cage.

Local guides say this is the only place in Cuba -- perhaps one of only a handful in the world where divers can safely sign alongside bull sharks. We are taking them at their word, praying the sharks had a big breakfast.

Bull sharks are considered some of the most aggressive in the world, but the ones we see seem mostly curious -- swimming around me for a closer look before gliding away.

Guide Lazaro says they want to teach visitors to respect sharks and to protect them.

LAZARO SUAREZ ZAYAS, SHARK DIVING GUIDE: (Speaking foreign language).

OPPMANN (voice-over): "The shark is the perfect machine and the perfect predator," he says. "It's inspiring, emotional, and satisfying to interact with them."


Marine biologists say robust shark populations are necessary to maintain healthy coral reefs. In 2015, Cuba placed restrictions on shark fishing, one of an increasing number of countries in the Caribbean to realize that sharks are not only important to the environment but a way to attract visitors.

OPPMANN (on camera): People in the Caribbean used to commonly catch and kill sharks either for food or because they were considered a nuisance. But more and more countries in this region are now taking steps to protect sharks. And it's not just about conservation -- shark tourism. Visitors specifically coming to a country to dive with sharks can generate millions of dollars in revenue.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Just before her first dive with sharks, Canadian tourist Carrie tells us she's been terrified of them ever since seeing "Jaws."

CARRIE PREVOST, CANADIAN TOURIST DIVING WITH SHARKS: I watched the movie very young and I was even afraid to swim in pools, let alone the ocean. So this is a challenge to overcome.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Guides spear fish to attract the sharks but are careful to use the minimum bait necessary. They say they have never had an attack involving a client or guide and that people who come to dive here gain a new perspective on sharks.


OPPMANN (voice-over): "It's the myth of the shark being dangerous -- a man-eater that is aggressive," he says. "Then you manage to see a shark a meter and a half away from you, and when you come out of the water they say this is the best dive of my life."

The sharks we swam with are undeniably powerful and also incredibly beautiful. At the top of the food chain but never seeming to threaten us.

OPPMANN (on camera): When they said the shot of adrenalin in your arm, they were not kidding. I don't want to admit to being afraid but they're very impressive creatures.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Creatures that there are now more and more reasons to try and protect.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Playa St. Lucia, Cuba.


WILD: They are majestic but I think I'm a hard pass on that. Patrick Oppmann -- a man who will go anywhere for the story -- thank you so much for that.

COVID-19 cases are surging in China again. For the second day in a row, the country recorded its highest number of cases -- more than 31,000. That surpasses the record set last April. Residents are railing against China's zero-COVID policy, and the lockdowns, and the quarantines, and the mass testing that comes with it.

CNN's Selina Wang joins us live from Beijing. Selina, the backlash against these extremely stringent restrictions are taking a toll on the population.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Whitney, because we have to remember here that it's been three years of this endless cycle of lockdowns, mass testing, and restrictions, and it's only getting worse as we see these cases get to a new record high. It's driving a lot of fear, anger, and confusion, and that's why we are seeing these rare scenes of public dissent breaking out in several cities across China.

There's no certainty in your day-to-day life. At any moment, your home could be suddenly locked down. You could be sent to a quarantine camp for being identified as a COVID case or as a close contact. And the conditions at those COVID quarantine camps can be incredibly rough.

Not only that, but in lockdown, time and time again, we're seeing people struggling to get enough food, daily essentials, emergency medical care. I recently interviewed a man on the outskirts of Beijing who blames the zero-COVID policy for his father's death because in lockdown, he couldn't get emergency help in time. That is what is driving so much of this anger.

WILD: Selina, this is sort of tangentially related, it is COVID- related. Foxconn, the largest iPhone factory in the world, based in China, has been dealing with very significant worker protests. So why are employees pushing back there, and what is the result?

WANG: Yes, Whitney. This comes after weeks of chaos at Foxconn. Now, this is the world's largest iPhone factory located in central China. The workers there -- they are protesting against wage disputes, against unfair treatment, as well as chaotic COVID restrictions. And it really all boiled to these violent protests this week.

In some of the videos you can see there, there are groups of law enforcement in hazmat suits. They are beating the workers. There are other videos that show workers tearing apart the COVID barriers that are made out of metal and throwing and hurling them at law enforcement. Even at one point, a group of workers working together to push over a police car.

This follows a closed-loop system that's been put in place on this campus. Because of a COVID outbreak in mid-October, these workers -- they've got to live and work on-site. There have been complaints about not enough food -- food shortages -- about terrible living conditions.

And just a few weeks ago, there was a mass exodus of workers who were literally walking miles across highways to try and escape the COVID restrictions and the fear they were dealing with from that factory campus.

So, Foxconn then went on this big recruitment drive because they need those workers ahead of this critical holiday season when Apple is selling a lot of products. However, workers said when they got to the campus the payment that they -- Foxconn had advertised was nothing like what they were getting -- Whitney.


WILD: You can only push people so hard until they -- until they react like that.

Selina Wang, thank you.

Venezuela's government and opposition leaders are set to resume talks this weekend in Mexico, ending a yearlong standoff that could pave the way for easing international oil sanctions.

We get more from Stefano Pozzebon.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In two coordinated statements published on Thursday, the delegations of the Venezuelan government and the opposition have announced they will travel to Mexico on Saturday to sign an agreement to facilitate international aid in the country, as well as restart a negotiation process that has been halted for more than a year.

The agreement was brokered by Norway with the support of Mexico and the United States, all of whom welcomed the news on Twitter.

The announcement came after months of painstaking reproachment between the two parties, as well as years of deep political crises in the South American nation.

According to two sources with knowledge of the process, who spoke with CNN, the talks will gather around three main areas. The creation of a fund to address the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis managed by the United Nations and backed by Venezuelan foreign reserves. The partial relief of U.S. Treasury sanctions on the Venezuelan oil industry. And the guarantees of free and fair elections to elect the new Venezuelan president.

Venezuela has been suffering a deep economic downfall since 2014 due to chronic mismanagement and the collapse of the price of oil. To this day, still 80 percent of Venezuelans live below the poverty line, according to an independent survey by the Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas. And according to the United Nations, over seven million Venezuelans have fled the country in recent years to escape the crises.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.


WILD: Stefano, thank you.

Ahead, there's a new top dog in show who took home the big prize, next.



WILD: Welcome back to EARLY START -- 5:51 a.m. -- early -- and Black Friday is here.

Retailers are hoping to ride a wave of good news right into the holidays. The Census Bureau reports retail sales were up 1.3 percent last month despite inflation challenges. That was the biggest gain since February and it beat expectations. Nearly 70 percent of Black Friday shoppers now expected to hit the stores today. That is up a good amount from last year. And the National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales this month and next month will grow up to eight percent over 2021.

The Vikings capped off a full slate of Thanksgiving games with a comeback to win over the Patriots.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Andy, I'm a long- suffering Lions fan. Just skip past that part.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Ha, ha, ha. Hey, almost got those Bills, though. That was a good game.

But Vikings fans, Whitney, were certainly pumped last night because for the first time ever, they got to host a Thanksgiving game. They were taking on the Patriots

In the third quarter, New England thought they had a touchdown here. Mac Jones to Hunter Henry -- it looks like he caught it. They called it a touchdown but upon review, it was called incomplete. The Patriots couldn't believe it. It certainly looked like he caught that ball the entire time. Henry said afterward he thought his hands were under it.

The Pats settled for a field goal. They took a 3-point lead at that point but with the game tied in the fourth quarter, Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen for the touchdown -- his third T.D. pass of the game.

The Vikings take the lead for good there to beat the Patriots 33-26.

The Bills, meanwhile, playing in Detroit for the second time in five days. Before the game -- check this out. A Bills fan had a sign that said "All I want for Christmas is to play catch with Stefon Diggs." Well, Diggs, in the holiday spirit -- he grabbed the fan, took him out on the field, and granted that wish. He played a little catch. Pretty awesome there from Diggs.

Then Diggs coming up huge in the game. After a Detroit field goal, the game was tied with just 23 seconds. But Josh Allen just threw a missile to Diggs over the middle of the field. Great catch by him. That got the Bills in field goal range for the game-winner. They would win 28-25 to improve to 8-3 on the season.

All right. And finally, the Cowboys trying to snap a 3-game Turkey Day losing streak, hosting the Giants. In the third quarter, Dak Prescott gets it over to Jake Ferguson, who then is going to leap the Giants' defender like a hurdle. That set up Peyton Hendershot for a 2-yard touchdown run to put the Cowboys up by 15.

And check out the celebration. The tight ends all jumping in the big Salvation Army bucket, and then Hendershot played Whac-A-Mole with the football.

The Cowboys win 28-20. And Dak said afterward that celebration was planned all along.


DAK PRESCOTT, DALLAS COWBOYS QUARTERBACK: The Whack-A-Mole was great. The guys told me about it earlier in the week. They were worried about getting fined or getting a penalty. We said make sure you're up two touchdowns. And we got -- we got a couple of guys that can help with the fine, so go for it.


SCHOLES: Yes, Whitney. We'll see if a fine eventually comes. Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys running back, actually got fined $13,000 for jumping in there a few years ago. It's fun. I don't know why they fine them for stuff like that.

WILD: Eh, curmudgeons.

Andy Schole (sic), thank you.

SCHOLES: All right. WILD: Andy Scholes, thank you.

All right, it's Perry Mason and Winston for the win. Winston, the French bulldog, won Best in Show at the 2021 (sic) national dog competition. It is the first of the breed ever to win top honors beating out hundreds of other canines in the most-watched dog show in the country.


All right, thank you so much for joining us. We've got to go. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right after this break.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Do not adjust your television sets. You will notice when we get closer that Kaitlan and I happened to wear the exact same thing.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: This is what happens when Poppy is off. There's no one here to make sure that we're not dressed exactly alike.

LEMON: We walked into the studio and everybody cracked up.

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

COLLINS: Like -- I did, I did.

LEMON: Good.

COLLINS: What about you?

LEMON: I had a great Thanksgiving.


LEMON: It is the day after Thanksgiving though.