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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

First Woman Referee In Men's World Cup Match; Russian Parliament Targets LGBTQ With Tough New Law; Global 4-Day Work Week Trial Was A Huge Success. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 01, 2022 - 05:30   ET



AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: And a bit of help from Saudi Arabia after Saudi scored that late, late goal against Mexico. They were beaten by Mexico but it was enough to send Poland through on goal difference.

But really a brutal evening at the office for Mexico, missing out on the round of 16 for the first time since 1978. And the fans and the federation not happy. Their coach, Tata Martino, is out of a job as of post-match last night.

Plenty to look forward to here in Qatar on this Thursday, though. Second-rank side in the world -- Belgium -- no. They have to win against Croatia if they want any hope of making it through. Twenty-ten winner Spain -- they need just a point in their encounter.

And a real crunch match for 4-time winners Germany if they want to avoid the same humiliation they faced in Russia four years ago going out at this stage. They take on Costa Rica.

And a really spicey one that -- who will be the first female referee to take charge of a game at the men's World Cup -- Stephanie Frappart. She is used to leading the way as a female referee. She was the first female to take charge of a men's game in the league and the first female referee to take charge of a UEFA Champions League game.

But I can tell you from my experience in speaking to her in the past, Christine, she does not want to be the center of this story today. She very much --


DAVIES: -- wants it to be the football that's writing the headlines.

ROMANS: Very cool.

All right, Amanda. Thank you so much for that.

All right, 31 minutes past the hour. Quick hits around the globe right now.

A deadly landslide in southern Brazil killing two people. Thirty others still missing as cars and trucks were buried on a highway. A Buckingham Palace official has resigned after a Black charity founder said she was interrogated about her heritage at a royal reception. The official, Lady Susan Hussey, is Prince William's godmother.

The humble French baguette has entered the upper crust. It's being added to the U.N.'s cultural heritage list alongside Korean kimchi, Belgian beer, and Arabic coffee.

All right, Russia's Parliament cracking down on the LGBTQ community by toughening an already controversial ban. And backlash over this reporter's question for the prime ministers of New Zealand and Finland.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people will be wondering are you two meeting just because you're similar in age.


ROMANS: The prime ministers respond, next.



ROMANS: All right, Russia again targeting the LGBTQ community. It's Parliament unanimously passing a new law against Russian citizens who quote "promote or praise gay relationships or even suggest that gay is normal."

We get more from CNN's Fred Pleitgen.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): For years, being gay has been extremely tough in Russia. Now, it's about to get even harder after Russian Parliament passed what it calls the LGBT propaganda law -- claiming, in part, it's a defense against U.S. influence.

VYACHESLAV VOLODIN, SPEAKER OF RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT (through translator): I cannot put it any other way. The United States of America has become the global center of this sodomy. Let them live there. Do not touch us.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Anti-gay tirades are often embedded into coverage of what Russia called its special military operation in Ukraine on state T.V., making the war out to be part of a larger battle of Russia against the West of its alleged moral decay.

Yarolslav Rasputin, a gay rights activist in Moscow, says he feels singled out.

YAROLSLAV RASPUTIN, LGBTQ ACTIVIST (through translator): This is the information noise that we are becoming victims of. We're being used as scapegoats to distract attention and redirect the hatred of the electorate that supports Putin and the war.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Russian President Vladimir Putin often portrays himself as the savior of traditional family values, even equating Western LGBTQ freedoms to devil worshipping.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Such a total denial of a human being -- a rejection of faith and traditional values. Suppression of freedom begins to look like perverted religion -- outright satanism.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The new law bans praise of what the government considers non-traditional sexual relationships or otherwise suggesting those relationships are quote "normal."

And with LGBTQ activist Renat Davletgildeev, who has fled the country, says the law will essentially make it illegal to be openly gay in Russia.

RENAT DAVLETGILDEEV, GAY ACTIVIST AND JOURNALIST (through translator): The only text that I can now show publicly -- according to the law in Russia -- in my social network, on the street, in a newspaper, or in a movie is gays are outlawed, gays are bad, and lesbians should be in jail.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Not a single Russian legislator voted against the bill. Punishment includes fines up to thousands of dollars for individuals. Foreigners could be jailed for up to 15 days and deported.

Vladimir Komov heads an organization providing legal aid to the LGBTQ community, and he fears the lawyers might soon be targeted as well with significant fines for legal entities.


VLADIMIR KOMOV, HEAD OF DELO LGBT (through translator): There are fears among lawyers that if they defend political cases like rallies or alleged gay propaganda this may be turned against them in the future.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): But activists and lawyers fear that even more of Russia's LGBTQ community will come to the conclusion that their only way to live openly will be to flee the country.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


ROMANS: All right, Fred, thanks for that.

OK, this is getting a lot of attention -- this awkward moment after a meeting between the prime ministers of Finland and New Zealand. The two women were holding a news conference when a male reporter asked a rather sexist question. Listen to how Jacinda Ardern and Sanna Marin shot it down.


JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZEALAND: My first question is I wonder whether or not anyone ever asked Barack Obama and John Key if they met because they were of similar age. We, of course, have a high proportion of men in politics -- it's reality. Because two women meet it's not simply because of the agenda.

SANNA MARIN, PRIME MINISTER OF FINLAND: Yes. We are meeting because we are prime ministers, of course.


ROMANS: In case the male reporter was wondering, the two prime ministers are meeting for three days in New Zealand to discuss trade relations and support for Ukraine.

All right, if you had a 4-day work week, today would be your Friday. Hear from bosses who have tried it. Plus, the traditional holiday staples you may have to sacrifice because of inflation.



ROMANS: All right. Your Romans' Numeral this morning, $46.00 -- the average price this year for a live Christmas tree. The American Christmas Tree Association says inflation and droughts have pushed prices up 20 percent higher. We'll talk more about the costs of some other holiday essentials in a moment.

But looking at markets around the world, higher following a big U.S. rally Wednesday -- higher around the world.

And on Wall Street, holding steady right now after that monster Powell rally and a strong reading on the economy in the U.S. The Dow soaring more than two percent, officially entering a new bull market. It means it's up 20 percent from its 52-week low.

As we turn the page on a new month, stocks finished November higher again. The Dow and the S&P 500 gaining about five percent in November. The Nasdaq up more than four percent. Still on track though, guys, for the first down year since 2018 and the worst year for the S&P 500 since 2008.

Gas prices, though, falling overnight. That's a relief for consumers -- $3.47 a gallon.

And jobless claims numbers are due out later today.

All right, 24 shopping days until Christmas. Buyer beware -- a lot of things will cost you more this year, but not everything.

Let's bring in senior economy reporter at Bankrate, Sarah Foster. Good morning, Sarah. SARAH FOSTER, SENIOR U.S. ECONOMY REPORTER, BANKRATE (via Webex by Cisco): Good morning. Thanks for having me, Christine.

ROMANS: OK, so what's going to cost more this holiday season as people gear up for celebrations?

FOSTER: Well, I can tell you it's some of the things that you might not expect. There is some good news here. We saw that gifts were the least-inflated items in our analysis of 40 different holiday staples.

But those holiday parties, those holiday gatherings -- you know, even getting to where you're celebrating the holidays -- that's going to cost you the most. Because we've seen that food inflation -- it's been a problem all year. Consumers know about it. It's still a problem for the holidays, as well as the cost of buying an airline ticket.

ROMANS: So the airline ticket is going to cost you, but the electronics you're buying your loved one are going to cost less. What kind of gifts will cost less?

FOSTER: So we looked at 40 staples. Only five of them had declined in price, and three of those were gifts. And so, the ones that we saw that were falling in price the most were electronics -- so, smartphones, for example. Those are down 23 percent from last year. Televisions are even down 17 percent from last year. Computers down three percent.

I think what's really interesting about this time of year is that it's so different from the last holiday season where supply shortages, supply bottlenecks were really feared to be what would keep Americans from celebrating the holidays.

And, of course, retailers have jumped on that by -- at least some of them -- accumulating elevated levels of inventory. And now that they've seen this kind of demand level off a little bit they are trying to get ahead of the slowing economy with introducing --


FOSTER: -- a lot of great deals that could hopefully help bring those retail inventories back to balance.

ROMANS: Sarah, I'm looking at your numbers and it seems to me like people are going to pay more because they want experiences. So on some stuff, they'll pay less, but on experiences, they'll pay more? Is that too simple?

FOSTER: Well, on some experiences, for example. So the cost of eating out at a restaurant, for example -- that's up about nine percent. But going to a sporting event -- that could be down about 17 percent in some cases, according to this analysis that we looked at. So it really depends on what you're looking for.

Of course, my family -- we love to go see movies on Christmas Day. We didn't really like looking at this analysis because we saw that the cost of going to a theater is up 6.5 percent from last year. ROMANS: All right, Sarah Foster, Bankrate. Nice to see you this morning. Thank you so much for your analysis.

FOSTER: Thank you.

ROMANS: OK, the results are in. A 4-day work week is not only good for you, it's good for business. Organizers of a global pilot program say most of the 33 companies and 900 workers who tried a 4-day work week for six months -- they're unlikely to ever go back to five days. Companies say average revenue rise 38 percent compared to the same period last year. And workers reported lower levels of stress, fatigue, and burnout.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And one of the big benefits we've seen is just the perspective and almost kind of freshness that people bring to work with them because of those four days, and that fifth day really giving them time to do stuff they want to do.



ROMANS: Most of the companies involved in the trial were based in the U.S. and Ireland.

And they were working four days but paid for five. This isn't cramming 40 hours of work into four days. They were working four days and paid for five.

That one day of swing time was something that was incredibly important for balancing work-life. Almost everybody thought it was a good idea so we'll see if other companies do it.

All right, ahead, Democrats calling in their closer. Former President Obama on his way to Georgia ahead of next week's critical runoff election. And the royals courtside at a Celtics game. Prince William's Super Bowl kicks off tonight.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Five, four, three, two, one -- here we go.


ROMANS: It's beautiful. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the nation's capital. President Biden and the first lady joined a host of celebrities for the official lighting of the national Christmas tree on the Ellipse at the National Mall Wednesday. It marked the 100th anniversary of the national tree-lighting ceremony. All right, NASA's Orion spacecraft getting ready to return to Earth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Past point 11, the farthest point from earth. And the decision gate that we discussed today was essentially to reverse that 2-minute (PH) over sequence and start that blue line to head back towards Earth.


ROMANS: This afternoon, the spacecraft will leave the distant retrograde orbit around the moon in a return burn. Next, it will perform a close lunar flyby on Monday, which will fling the spacecraft back toward Earth.

Orion's uncrewed flight is part of NASA's historic Artemis mission, which aims to send astronauts back to the moon in 2024.

If all goes well, Orion will splash down in the Pacific Ocean December 11.

All right. The Rose Bowl has reportedly cleared the way for the expanded college football playoff to begin two years earlier than expected.

Coy Wire has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You excited about this, Christine --


WIRE: -- or are you not excited? I mean, it's pretty interesting. We'll say that.

Back in September, the college football playoff board of managers voted to begin the expanded 12-team playoffs starting in 2026 when a new T.V. deal would be in place. But they'd hoped to start it in 2024 and to do that they would need approval from the quote "New Year's six bowl games that would host those playoff games."

The only holdout was the Rose Bowl, which had requested the game be played at its traditional time slot of 5:00 p.m. eastern on New Year's Day, even if it had an impact on the playoff schedule. But ESPN reported yesterday, citing an unnamed source, that the Rose Bowl finally relented and agreed to be part of the playoff format without any special favors.

The plan is to begin an expanded playoff in 2024 to be finalized in the coming days, several outlets have reported.

Here is what a 12-team playoff would look like if it were being held this year. Georgia, Michigan, TCU, and USC would all have byes. Washington would be the 12th and final team in. They would face Ohio State in the first round. Very interesting. All right, Celtics-Heat. These highlights are not royalty-free. Prince William and Princess Kate sitting courtside in Boston.

Jayson Tatum says put up your dukes, taking it to the Heat. The Celtics' 24-year-old crowned jewel goes supernova from the get-go -- 12 points in the first three minutes and three 3-pointers. In the second half, he's still hot. Third quarter, draining another three. He becomes the first player in NBA history in this game to have multiple games with at least eight 3-pointers, 45 points overall, and 10 rebounds.

The royal couple royally enthused.

The Celtics win by 13.

Devin Booker, of the Suns, was hotter than one. He beat the Bulls so bad it was like they were talking bad about his mama. He went 20 for 25 from the field last night, scoring 51 points -- and he didn't even play, Christine, in the fourth quarter.

Fans in Phoenix started chanting "MVP" and for good reason. Booker's average career-highs in points and rebounds.

Phoenix wins 132-113.

Russell Westbrook, meanwhile, putting on a show for the hometown Lakers fans in their win over the Blazers. Not only did he drain a buzzer-beating 3-pointer just before the half, he comes out, Christine, in the second half and says that was so nice let's do it twice -- this time from half-court. He beat the buzzer in the third. Westbrook scoring just 10 points but they were fun ones -- half of them coming with zeroes on the clock.

But what tops a player beating a buzzer from half-court? I'll tell you what -- a fan hitting a half-court shot, especially when that shot is worth $25,000. Oh my goodness. You remember Monday, Christine, another Lakers fan had hit a half-court shot worth 75 grand. They have something going on really nice there in that arena.

ROMANS: That's amazing. I mean, the skill or the luck -- OK, the luck to actually do that is amazing.

WIRE: Yes, preparation meets opportunity. That is luck. Believe that.

ROMANS: There you go. All right. I need that on a t-shirt.

OK, thank you. Nice to see you.

WIRE: You got it.

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