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Iran Calls For U.S. To Be Kicked Out Of World Cup; U.S. Gives Chevron Green Light To Pump Oil In Venezuela Again; Ukraine: Russian Oil Should Be Capped At $30-$40 Per Barrel. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 28, 2022 - 05:30   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The national government has declared a state of emergency and released more than $2 million of aid and assistance to the island. More than 200 people have already been evacuated from the area and crews are working to clean up leftover debris. The true magnitude of the damage is still being assessed as locals try to pick up what remains and carry on.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Michael. Thank you for that.

Iran wants the U.S. booted from the World Cup after U.S. Soccer posted a graphic showing the Iranian flag without its Islamic emblem -- only its green, white, and red colors. The since-deleted post was a show of support for protesters in Iran. This is what Iran's actual flag looks like. The incident coming just ahead of the U.S.-Iran match on Tuesday.

Let's go to CNN's Amanda Davies live in Doha, Qatar for us this morning. Hi, Amanda. Are there any consequences for messing with another country's national flag?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Hi, Christine. I'm not sure there's a precedence of any other team changing the flag of an opponent. But what Iran are pointing to is section 13 of the FIFA statutes, which talks about any person who offends the dignity or integrity of a country, a person, or a group of people. FIFA as yet hasn't commented.

But this match was always going to be played against the political backdrop given the relationship between the two countries, wasn't it? But what we have here is the U.S. Men's National Team very much putting the politics to the fore with this decision to post what they did on social media. They have said it was a one-time move for 24 hours only. That the original flag is still in place on other websites and other platforms. But Iran, for their part, is calling for the USA to be thrown out of the World Cup -- to be handed a 10-match suspension. As yet, U.S. Soccer haven't revealed who took this decision and how many people knew about this move that was going to be made. But as if so often the case, it's the players who are left publicly to front these issues.

And this is what Tim Ream had to say yesterday.


TIM REAM, DEFENDER, U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM: Like we said, we support the women's rights. We always have and we always will. That message will remain consistent. And what we're doing as a team is supporting that while also trying to prepare for the biggest game that this squad has had to date.


DAVIES: It certainly added another layer to what was already a crucial match.

Both team coaches -- Gregg Berhalter of the U.S., and Carlos Queiroz, the Iran boss, are speaking to the media later today. There's no doubt this will be a hot topic in those news conferences.

But both teams very much needing the win in this encounter on Tuesday. Both need it to book their place in the round of 60.

ROMANS: Yes, absolutely.

All right, Amanda. Thank you so much for that. Nice to see you.

Quick hits around the globe right now.

A BBC journalist arrested while covering COVID lockdown protests in Shanghai. A spokesman says Edward Lawrence was kicked and beaten by police. He has since been released.

Kim Jung Un says he is planning to build the world's most powerful nuclear force. The North Korean leader declaring that his ultimate goal is to possess a nuclear program that is quote "unprecedented in this century."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz now calling for reforms to the citizenship process after facing criticism over his government's naturalization rules. It's a day after officials said citizenship legislation was ready.

President Biden easing sanctions against Venezuela. What did he get in return? And NFL star Odell Beckham removed from a plane in Miami and he's talking about it on Twitter.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

The Biden administration is easing some sanctions against Venezuela and granting Chevron limited authorization to resume pumping oil from the South American country.

Jasmine Wright is live in Washington for us. And Jasmine, what has Venezuela agreed to do as part of this deal?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Christine. Venezuela has basically agreed to do two things. First, to restart opposition talks, and second, to humanitarian relief. Now that has led to then, the U.S. granting Chevron that limited scope agreement to start repumping oil. But, of course, it comes with conditions.

First, it's six months. And after those six months, it would have to be renewed. It can be revoked at any time. And the money doesn't go to the Maduro regime. Instead, it goes directly to Chevron.

But if Maduro keeps up with this agreement, of course, it could really pave the way for Venezuela to reenter that international oil market after years of crippling sanctions intensified by former President Trump and his administration -- something that Maduro really, really wants.

Now, of course, for domestic issues, it comes at a time where the Biden administration has been searching globally for ways to boost oil production that was hindered after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. It's something that's been top of mind for President Biden as we've talked about a lot of times on this program. High gas prices have been a headache for this administration and they want to cut the prices.


Now, to be clear, though, a U.S. administration official told reporters while announcing this deal over the weekend that this deal is not about boosting global production and it's not about cutting prices, they say. They say it is about the Biden administration's intention to restore democracy in the country, and it's about free and fair elections come 2024.

But, of course, any movement that they could make on gases for the Biden administration and gas prices would be helpful when it comes to whether or not President Biden could run in 2024 for Democrats -- Christine.

ROMANS: Yes. The oil infrastructure dilapidated, to say the least, in Venezuela. So whether this would lower gas prices in the very near term unlikely. But again --

WRIGHT: Exactly.

ROMANS: -- it is a huge source of oil and energy there that is -- you know, a lot of it offline because of what the government has done there.

All right, nice to see you. Thank you so much.

All right. Ukraine wants Russian oil to be capped between $30.00 and $40.00 per barrel. Ukrainian allies in the West have struggled to agree on a number that would hurt Russia's ability to fund the war without causing an oil supply shock.

CNN's Clare Sebastian live in London. And a reminder that big export -- you know, Russian oil is what funds its war machine. What price is the G7 considering here?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine, price is the big issue here. Of course, the context -- the problem that this is trying to solve, as you alluded to, is that throughout this war, Russia has been making more, not less money from its oil exports because of the disruption that it has caused through this war to the oil market.

So the G7 looking, according to reports coming out of diplomats' meetings from the EU last week, is around the $65.00 to $70.00 a barrel mark -- much higher than what President Zelenskyy is looking for and controversial as well. Because that is really around the level that Russian oil is trading at the moment. It's pretty much at the level that they have budgeted for over the next year. So it wouldn't really hurt Russian revenue. It's probably more to do with bringing down inflation elsewhere.

But what President Zelenskyy is pushing for, and other countries like Poland as well, is also controversial. Because if you put it too low and it does hurt Russian revenue, they could retaliate and cut back on production. And ultimately, what the world does not really want, Christine, is for a lot of Russian oil to come off the market because that will push up prices --


SEBASTIAN: -- even more.

The other thing to consider is that time is running very short on these discussions. The deadline to get this agreed was December fifth. It's designed to coincide with that EU embargo on seaborne oil exports.

ROMANS: Interesting.

All right, Clare Sebastian in London. Thanks, Clare.

Just ahead, the Oscar and Grammy winner who will play at President Biden's first state dinner.

And it's Cyber Monday and surging inflation is not slowing shoppers down.



ROMANS: All right. Your Romans' Numeral this morning, 166,000,000. That's how many Americans are expected to shop either in person or online between Thanksgiving and today, Cyber Monday. It's the National Retail Federation's highest prediction since it began tracking this data in 2017. More on the mighty American consumer in a moment.

But looking at markets around the world, Asian markets fell. The Hang Seng Index in Shanghai stocks sliding as protests spread across China -- protests against its zero-tolerance COVID policy. The fear there in markets is those protests will provoke even stronger responses from President Xi.

On Wall Street, stock index futures right now also leaning lower.

It was gains, though, for markets during the holiday-shortened trading week. The Dow and the S&P 500 finishing up more than one percent on the week. The Nasdaq also up slightly last week.

A busy week is in store from the economic calendar. On Wednesday, we'll see new employment data -- the number of job openings in October -- leading up to Friday's critical jobs report.

Gas prices fell slightly overnight, now sitting at $3.55 per gallon. And did you know that in eight states now -- in a growing number of states, the average price for gas is lower today than it was a year ago?

All right, today is Cyber Monday, which used to be the day shoppers went online to get what they couldn't find in the stores on Black Friday. This year, plenty of people skipped that first step. Black Friday saw an estimated $9.1 billion from online shoppers this year. That's according to Abode Analytics. That would be a record.

Let's bring in Claire Tassin. She is a retail and e-commerce analyst at Morning Consult. Nice to see you.

You know, I feel like it has been a Black Friday for weeks already. I mean, this is kind of a critical test of the American consumers, but consumers are still spending.

CLAIRE TASSIN, RETAIL AND E-COMMERCE ANALYST, MORNING CONSULT (via Webex by Cisco): Absolutely, and I agree with you. It's been Black Friday I think since before Halloween at this point, so it continues to stretch earlier and earlier every year.

But what we're seeing in the reflection of at least the early numbers that are out is that ongoing resilience of the American consumer despite inflation that we've been reporting on all year it feels like at this point.

ROMANS: I'm really surprised. A lot of the doomsday predictions about an American retrenching -- American consumer retrenching just hasn't come true.

TASSIN: Absolutely not. We're continuing to see strong spending from shoppers. In our data, we did track about a 5-point drop in the share of consumers planning to shop specifically today on Cyber Monday. But the Black Friday numbers are looking really strong. And again, I think the salience of those names of specific sale holidays has really diminished for the American consumer.


TASSIN: The downside of this, though, is that we're seeing a lot of people leaning on savings and debt in order to afford a lot of these purchases.

ROMANS: Well, that's an important trend to continue to eye because these store credit cards -- some of them have an average APR of like 29 percent. So that could be a sign of weakness if you've got American consumers putting a lot of stuff on credit cards.

TASSIN: Absolutely. But even more than credit cards, we're seeing a lot of people leaning on buy now, pay later services, which is sort of a newer form of debt that American consumers are really embracing. We see about 30 percent of Americans planning to lean on the NPL loans to afford the holidays this year.


ROMANS: Yes, and those generally are not really a good deal for consumers, right?

TASSIN: Well, they can be if you are sure you can stay on top of the payments. They are often interest-free and the payments are set over a defined timeline. But if you start missing those payments or you take out a few too many of the NPL loans, that's when we get into trouble.

ROMANS: So, apparently, in-store shopping is cool again. People want to go look and touch stuff. Do retailers still have better deals online for Cyber Monday, or is it all kind of squishy now?

TASSIN: It's all kind of squishy now. I like the way you describe it. What we're seeing is that yes, more people are planning to shop in stores this year than they have over the course of the pandemic. So that -- those numbers look a lot more like 2019 in terms of the share who do plan to head into stores.

But for Cyber Monday specifically, most people still firmly believe they're going to get the best deals online. It's kind of in the name of the holiday. Plus, a lot of us are back to work today so it's harder to get into the store. So we do expect to see e-commerce really win today.

ROMANS: What are -- what are consumers buying this year?

TASSIN: You know, what's really interesting is seeing the impact of inflation on the categories that people are shopping for. We're seeing that intent to give gift cards and money are up significantly over last year. Gift cards are up seven points -- seven percentage points, which is a pretty big lift considering they're already the most popular gifting category.

And that's just one way that folks are looking to stay on budget because you can control the amount of the gift card. You can't control the price of the sweaters, which have gone up. We're also seeing that plans to give apparel and food -- so, sort of specialty food, but two categories that have really been hit hard by inflation this year -- are up. So it's kind of a way to either have a more practical bent to your holiday gifting or to make something feel a little bit more special because those aren't quite as affordable as they once were.

ROMANS: Fascinating.

All right, Claire Tassin of Morning Consult. Thank you so much.

TASSIN: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, rare protests and clashes with police across China in response to COVID lockdowns. And the dramatic rescue of two people trapped after a plane hits power lines.



ROMANS: The police in Miami escorted football star Odell Beckham Jr. off an airplane yesterday for refusing to comply with safety protocol.

Carolyn Manno has this morning's Bleacher Report. What's he saying?


Well, we haven't seen that many of these incidents involve an NFL star but he's currently a free agent. I mean, he's continuing to recover from a knee injury that he suffered during the Super Bowl with the Rams.

But he was on a flight bound for Los Angeles yesterday morning when the crew apparently became concerned for his health. According to a police statement obtained by CNN affiliate WVSN, flight attendants said that Beckham appeared to be coming in and out of consciousness, and while they tried to wake him to fasten his seatbelt, they couldn't do it.

Beckham's attorney released a statement calling the incident completely unnecessary, saying that "The overzealous flight attendant refused to simply allow Mr. Beckham to fasten his seatbelt and proceed with the flight and instead immediately removed everyone from the plane. At no time was Mr. Beckham disruptive or combative."

Later, OBJ took to social media to offer his take on the situation. He tweeted, "Never in my life have I experienced what just happened to me. I've seen it all," he said.

On the field, the Packers with their seventh loss in the last eight games. Aaron Rodgers left in the third quarter against the Eagles with what he called a rib injury from a pair of hits that he took in the game. He's set to have another scan today to check for fractures. He was in so much pain though on Sunday, he needed a staff member to carry his suitcase out of the visitor's locker room. But he says he isn't ready to shut it down for the season quite yet.


AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: I'm just having a hard time breathing and rotating my upper body. So I was worried about a punctured lung as well, so I want to get that checked out. As long as we're mathematically alive, I'd like to be out there.


MANNO: So, that left Jordan Love to finish things up on the field. Nearly 15 years to the day that Rodgers filled in for an injured Brett Favre. But the 2020 first-round draft pick had his best showing in three seasons and fell just short of rallying Green Bay to a win. Love didn't get a shot at a tying drive at the end, with Green Bay's defense failing to get a stop in the final minute.

The Eagles ran out the clock -- they did that all game long -- and they ended up winning it 40-33.

And in what will likely be his last start for the Browns this season, Jacoby Brissett went out with a bang. A 23-17 overtime win against Tampa. That marks the first time in 219 games that Tampa quarterback Tom Brady has lost after leading by seven or more points in the final two minutes.

But after the game, an elated Brissett quoted his former teammate and mentor.


JACOBY BRISSETT, CLEVELAND BROWNS QUARTERBACK: And I mean this in no disrespect, but in the words of Tom Brady, that was f-ing awesome. That was f-ing awesome.


MANNO: So, Christine, I got a little bit of a laugh there. Cleveland is now Deshaun Watson's team. As many people know, the quarterback served an 11-game suspension. He will likely be back under center this Sunday against Houston. So, a nice way to go out.


MANNO: Always good to go out with a win.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

All right, Carolyn Manno. Nice to see you this morning. Thank you.

MANNO: Thank you.

ROMANS: And thanks for joining me. I'm Christine Romans. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.