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U.S. Intel Expects Lull In Fighting Over Winter Months; Report: China Operating 100+ Covert Overseas Police Stations; Thousands Evacuated After Mt. Semeru Erupts In East Java. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 05, 2022 - 05:30   ET




AVRIL HAINES, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: -- to whether or not the Russians will be, in fact, prepared to do that.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, the Russians are still targeting several regions, including the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

CNN's Will Ripley joins me this morning live from Kyiv. Good morning, Will. When is this showdown -- slowdown, rather, supposed to begin, and why do U.S. intelligence agencies expect it?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was interesting insight from Avril Haines, the head of U.S. intelligence, Christine. And it does reflect, to a certain extent, what we're experiencing on the ground here.

Yes, there are front lines that are active right now, both in Donetsk in the east and then down south outside of liberated Kherson where there has been active shelling over the weekend that killed at least one civilian.

And as you mentioned, that town of Bakhmut where Russian tanks and artillery are trying to move west. They're trying to take that town. They've actually called it target number one and that's how the Ukrainian military is describing it out there in the eastern group of armed forces.

And the reason, frankly, that the Russians are trying to do this, the Ukrainians believe, is to demonstrate some success on the battlefield. To show some victory to their very increasingly skeptical domestic audience back home in Russia if you believe the latest polls that are out. Of course, Russia's not exactly known for transparency or for leaders necessarily being fully accountable to the public.

But public support inside Russia, according to a number of different new polls, is eroding with more than half of Russians in at least two separate polls that I read this morning saying that they support peace talks moving forward. And a much smaller percentage -- maybe about 25 percent in one poll -- said they want the war to continue.

In terms of this slowdown, we see reduced righting, partially just because the temperatures are really starting to plummet here. It's not even winter in Ukraine but it's been snowing almost every single day. And the temperatures are really going to drop in the coming weeks ahead to well, well below zero. You're talking almost arctic cold, where if you open the window for just a few moments your room temperature is going to drop by about 20 degrees. It's really pretty intense, so imagine if you're in a trench in that kind of a condition.

That said, though, Christine, there is still growing concern of a major Russian attack on the power infrastructure here -- the civilian infrastructure -- with Russia expected to lob perhaps dozens of rockets and missiles just like they did a little less than two weeks ago, with the intent of trying to plunge this nation into a blackout at a time that they really need the electricity and the power with the temperatures dropping so quickly.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

All right, Will Ripley. We know you're there for us covering it. Thank you, Will.

All right. A human rights group claims China is operating 100 covert police stations around the world to monitor and harass exiled Chinese citizens. Beijing denies this accusation, insisting these centers help their citizens with required documents.

CNN's Nina dos Santos has more from London.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): For three years, Simon Cheng has called London home. After fleeing a brutal clampdown on democracy in his native Hong Kong, he sought sanctuary in the U.K. But even here, he says, Beijing tentacles are never far away.

SIMON CHENG, HONG KONG DISSIDENT: Sometimes I receive some threatening letters.

SANTOS (voice-over): He shows us an email he received last year with a warning.

CHENG: And it said the Chinese agents will come find you and take you back. It's just a matter of time.

SANTOS (voice-over): And then, pictures of people he says have been following him, like this man in Westminster and this car he spotted in multiple locations.

Last year, Cheng says someone offered around $12,000 on WeChat to get hold of his address.

SANTOS (on camera): Do you feel safe in the U.K. at the moment?

CHENG: I don't think safe in the U.K. It's actually happening -- the persecution happening on the British soil and if you don't protect it, it only shows to the British public that even the government in here don't try to protect the judicial sovereignty and dignity.

SANTOS (voice-over): Last year, the U.K. opened up a pathway for more and more Hong Kongers to gain citizenship on U.K. soil. And as more people continue to arrive here seeking shelter, the pressure is on for authorities to make sure that Hong Kongers' rights are protected.

That issue came to a head last month after a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester was assaulted on the grounds of the Chinese consulate in Manchester. After that, this warning to Great Britain.

YANG ZIAOGUANG, CHINESE EMBASSY IN U.K.: Protecting shelter to the Hong Kong independence elements will only, in the end, bring disaster to Britain.

SANTOS (voice-over): Now, this NGO report says that Chinese police have been operating covertly from three addresses across the U.K. and elsewhere around the world, in part, to pressure people to return home. China says these centers help nationals with admin, like renewing driver's licenses, and is staffed by volunteers. They say to suggest otherwise would be, quote, "a smear."


Either way, lawmakers are demanding urgent action.

IAN DUNCAN SMITH, CONSERVATIVE MP: People have fled to the U.K. because we believe in human rights, the rule of law, and democracy, so they can have free speech. Hong Kongers -- many students came over the (INAUDIBLE) and what do they find when they come here? Chinese unofficial police stations. That is shocking and under anybody's rulebook should have been sorted out by now.

SANTOS (voice-over): CNN wasn't able to independently verify Simon Cheng's allegations but we have heard multiple similar stories from other Hong Kongers in the U.K.

SANTOS (on camera): And what do you think the objective of Chinese authorities is?

CHENG: They try to silence us with fear. If we succumb to fear, the Chinese Communist Party will win.

SANTOS (voice-over): Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


ROMANS: All right, quick hits around the globe right now.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is refusing to resign. He's facing possible impeachment by the African National Congress for allegedly covering up a $4 million theft from his farm.

El Salvador is sending 10,000 soldiers and police to seal off a town on the outskirts of San Salvador this weekend. It's part of a 9-month crackdown on gangs after a wave of homicides and other crimes.

Brazilian soccer legend Pele says he's feeling strong as he receives treatment for colon cancer. Pele posted on social media after local media reports said the 82-year-old's health had worsened.

Still ahead, the moment a coyote attacked a 2-year-old before dad saved her. And hundreds evacuated as a volcano erupts in Indonesia.



ROMANS: Thousands in Indonesia are on high alert right now after the Mt. Semeru volcano erupted Sunday in east Java. Nearly 2,000 residents forced to evacuate as thick ash blanketed roads and homes.

CNN's Allison Chinchar has more.


ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Ash fills the skies in Indonesia forming a thick caustic cloud over Mt. Semeru on the island of Java. Video from the country's Ministry of Environment and Forestry captured the explosive eruption on Saturday. A burst of ash shooting 15 kilometers into the sky -- a sign for people living in the volcano's shadow it's time to go.

This man escaping on a motorbike, the ash caking on his face. He says he doesn't know where he's going, just somewhere out of the volcano's reach.

Authorities say nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated from the slopes of the volcano, which is located about 800 kilometers southeast of Jakarta.

The roads in the area packed with vehicles rushing to outrun the volcanic ash that is still raining down. Emergency workers are directing people out of the danger zone, handing out masks, and urging them to go to shelters.

INDAH AMPERAWATI MASDAR, LUMAJANG DISTRICT DEPUTY CHIEF (through translator): "We have readied some nearby schools and village halls. We will prepare them until the observatory post declares it's safe."

CHINCHAR (voice-over): The damage already done to some areas. Rooftops are singed and the ground is covered with smoldering soot. Authorities are telling people to stay at least eight kilometers away from the eruption center, but there are fears the hot ash could drift further.

So far, many people are heeding the warnings, a lesson learned last year when more than 50 people were killed in a previous eruption and thousands were forced from their homes.

Allison Chinchar, CNN.


ROMANS: All right.

A rogue wave slams into a cruise ship killing an American passenger. And good luck getting a work-from-home job these days.



ROMANS: All right. Romans' Numeral this morning, $1,935. That's the cost of sending a standard shipping container from China to the U.S. right now -- $1,935. That is down 90 percent from the peak back in September 2021. That same container would have cost more than 20 grand to ship back then.

This is a sign, folks, that the global supply chains are finally working like they should. Shortages are easing. The hope is prices should follow.

Looking at markets around the world, Hong Kong stocks jumped four percent overnight. China has relaxed some COVID-19 restrictions in some cities. And on Wall Street, stock index futures, right now, leaning lower a little bit here.

Stocks notched a higher week. The Nasdaq up more than two percent, while the S&P finished one percent higher.

The economy resilient last week. We saw GDP and jobs strong. Inflation showing signs of cooling.

A busy calendar again this week. Data on factory orders, consumer credit, weekly jobless claims, and producer prices all set to be released.

And also on inflation watch, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline fell another penny overnight, now sitting at $3.40 a gallon.

All right. November's jobs report was strong but economists worry the Fed may take it as a signal to raise rates -- continue with sharp rate increases and worry about a recession next.

I want to bring in Nela Richardson, chief economist at Automatic Data Processing (ADP). Good morning, Nela. How are you?


ROMANS: OK. So, as you know, sometimes good news can be bad news and that might be the case in the jobs market right now.

Listen to the Fed chief last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: The labor market is incredibly strong. It's too great, in a way, because it's going to be adding to inflation.


ROMANS: He said that even before that Friday jobs report, which was robust -- 3.7 percent unemployment rate. Job growth slowing but still quite strong historically.

What do you make of it?

RICHARDSON: I think the issue with the labor market, which has become really complex, Christine, over the past two years, is that it's strong but hollow -- meaning that at the same time we're seeing really robust job gains, we're not seeing any productivity growth in the economy. In fact, this year was the first year since 1983 where productivity declined year over year for the first three quarters. That's worker productivity.


So wages are going up, but they're not going up because we're more efficient, we're more profitable. They're going up because of labor shortages, which is inflationary.

ROMANS: Oh, interesting. Strong but hollow. That's a really good --


ROMANS: -- way to sort of summarize it.

RICHARDSON: Strong but hollow.

ROMANS: Let's talk about this mismatch in supply and demand for remote work. Fifty percent of applications --


ROMANS: -- on LinkedIn are for remote jobs, but only 15 percent of listings advertise flexible work.

What do you -- what does this imply about changing labor -- power dynamics in the labor market?

RICHARDSON: Well, the first thing to recognize is that most jobs cannot be done remotely. I come on your show occasionally and talk about my mom who is an English teacher. Not a remote job.

ROMANS: Right.

RICHARDSON: Sixty percent, roughly, of jobs -- you have to go on site. And so that leaves us with roughly 40 percent that can be done remotely.

And as you note, those jobs have been in high demand as worker priorities have shifted. There is much stronger desire to have more balance in one's life, shorter commutes, and keeping costs down in terms of going into the office. And so you see now -- starting to see as more firms are requiring people to be on site. But there is going to be this mismatch and I think there's going to be a normalization between business priorities and where the workers have evolved to over the past --


RICHARDSON: -- two years.

ROMANS: Meanwhile, in tech, we're seeing a lot of layoffs. Amazon cutting 10,000 employees. Layoffs at Meta, Twitter, and Lyft. But I think it's important to note that tech as a share of the overall job market is still something less than eight percent, right?

So how concerned should we be about these layoffs in tech?

RICHARDSON: So, I started our talk together talking about how complicated the labor market is. And one reason why it's complicated is that firms in different sectors of different sizes have been hiring with different intensity over the last two years.

Tech is a prime example. It really hired and amped up its hiring during the heart of the pandemic. It may have gotten, as an industry, over its skis and now it's starting to pull back.

But as you note, it's a very small fraction of the overall labor market, so it's unclear whether tech is a bellwether to a broader weakness. When you look at health care, when you look at leisure and hospitality, and consumer-facing industries, they're still hiring strongly in this market. So it remains to be seen whether we're going to see that weakness in tech spill over.

ROMANS: Yes. We'll all be watching and so will you.

Thank you, Nela Richardson, ADP chief economist. Nice to see you this Monday morning.

RICHARDSON: Great to see you, Christine. Thanks.

ROMANS: All right. Gunfire takes out power substations in North Carolina. Is this a case of domestic terrorism? And the brawl in Senegal's Parliament. A male lawmaker slaps a female colleague.



ROMANS: All right. A close game between the Cowboys and the Colts turned into a rout in just a matter of minutes.

Carolyn Manno is here this morning with the morning's Bleacher Report -- hey.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. I'll give Indy credit. They were really scrappy. I mean, there are losses -- there are ugly losses and then there is what the Cowboys did to the Colts last night.

Dallas had a 2-point lead in the fourth quarter before the defense absolutely put the hammer down. They were the story of the game led by Malik Hooker, former number-one pick of the Colts of all teams. He had one of the all-time revenge games against his former team. His safety had a 26-yard interception return that led to a touchdown in the first half. And in the fourth quarter of this game, he iced the game with a fumble recovery for a 38-yard touchdown.

So, Indianapolis had five turnovers in the game that turned into five Dallas touchdowns. The Cowboys scored 33 unanswered points in a little more than 11 minutes in the final quarter, which ties for the second- most ever scored in the fourth quarter in NFL history as Dallas rolls to a 54-19 win to improve to 9-3 on the season.

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson receiving a mixed welcome in Houston for his first game since the 2020 season. Watson was suspended for the first 11 games of the season after more than two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct while he was with the Texans.

It was his first regular-season game in 700 days and the rust was evident. Just 12 passes, no touchdowns, and one interception. Cleveland still ended up winning 27-14 thanks to defense and special teams.

But afterwards, Watson said he expected that reaction from fans.


DESHAUN WATSON, CLEVELAND BROWNS QUARTERBACK: They're supposed to boo. I'm a Cleveland Brown now, so we on the road -- so they supposed to boo.

I was just excited to be back on the field today. I did everything that I was asked and was required to do. I did all that. And they were -- I was able to be able to play and be on the field today.


MANNO: And the College Football Playoff is set. Ohio State with the fourth and final spot despite a 22-point loss to Michigan. The Buckeyes going to play top-ranked Georgia in Atlanta on New Year's Eve. TCU taking that third spot despite their overtime loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game. They're going to take on second-ranked Michigan.

Alabama's left out with a pair of close losses to Tennessee and LSU, so they will face Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl. Clemson going to face Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. So this is the first time that Alabama and Clemson are left out of the 4-team playoff.

And the Baseball Hall of Fame will welcome at least one new member next summer. Five-time All-Star Fred McGriff was the unanimous choice among the 16 members of the inaugural contemporary baseball ear committee.

The Crime Dog finishing his 19-year career with 493 home runs, while finishing in the top 10 of MVP balloting six times. So that means that Barry Bonds, the all-time home run king, and pitcher Roger Clemens, who won 354 games in his career, were denied entry for the 11th time.

Both faced widespread allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs. Neither was ever suspended, so that storyline continues, Christine. Those guys left on the outside looking in.

ROMANS: All right, Carolyn. Nice to see you this morning.

MANNO: Thank you.

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