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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

President Lula Da Silva Sworn Into Office, Ex-President Bolsonaro Flees; Kenyan Environmentalists Overwhelmed As Plastic Piles On Shores; The Metaverse: What It Is, What It Could Become. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 02, 2023 - 05:30   ET



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And that is certainly the wish that will be granted. That funeral, though, will be presided over by the current pope, Pope Francis, Kristin.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. So unusual that here you have a current pope presiding over that service for a former pope -- something that obviously hasn't happened in hundreds of years.

Frederick Pleitgen, thank you so much.


FISHER: So, new Brazilian President Lula da Silva acting quickly after being sworn into office. He's already reversed several policies of the right-wing Bolsonaro government, reimposing gun legislation and strengthening environmental protections.

CNN's Julia Vargas joins us live from Santos, Brazil. And Julia, the outgoing president, Bolsonaro -- I mean, he not only skipped the oath ceremony, he's already skipped town?

JULIA VARGAS JONES, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Kristin, that's right What a whirlwind the past few days have been for Brazil. On Thursday, we lose the soccer legend, Pele. On Friday, the sitting president -- the then- sitting President Jair Bolsonaro leaves town, with no explanation, for Florida. On Saturday, New Year's Eve, a huge celebration in Brazil. And then on Sunday, a new president is sworn in.

This, after Brazil holding its breath for basically two months since the election. That's because President Jair Bolsonaro had said that he would accept the results of the elections if he had lost. His supporters blocked highways and marched to military headquarters asking for military intervention. But eventually, the president decided instead of resisting he would leave the country, opening the way for Lula to focus on the future.

Like you said, he's already enacted a series of executive orders making it tougher to own and carry guns in this country. But that had been a very important point of the Bolsonaro campaign and of his government -- this idea of self-reliance, of self-protection. He's also made it already easier for Brazil's environmental agency to

charge and prosecute environmental crimes, signaling to that really important issue of Lula's campaign of saving the Amazon.

And another issue -- something that is very dear to Lula's heart -- is bringing financial aid to families in need. This has been a tent pole of his political career -- something that he's been campaigning over since 1989, the first time he ran for office -- hunger, food insecurity.

He got quite emotional, Kristin, talking to crowds in Brasilia yesterday about this issue. He cried several times throughout the day. And he even mentioned a story from his first presidential campaign of a man who was holding up a sign that said "Help me, please. I'm hungry."

Now, Lula has already said that he's going to be meeting with several leaders of Latin America and Africa today -- a series of bilateral meetings in Brasilia.

And Brazilian media is reporting that he is expected to be here in Santos later today to pay his respects to Pele. You can see behind me here people have been lining up since this morning. It's going to be a full house. And how significant for the first day of a new president on a third term, after 12 years not being in power, to come and say goodbye to a man that has meant so much to so many Brazilians, Kristin.

FISHER: That is a great point. And you're right -- what a busy and big few days for Brazil.

Julia Vargas, thank you so much.

Time for some quick hits around the globe right now.

Two soldiers have been killed in an Israeli airstrike at Damascus International Airport, according to the Syrian state news agency. Officials say two others are injured and the airport is, quote, "out of service."

North Korean leader Kim Jung Un calling for an exponential increase in its nuclear arsenal in response to what he claims are threats from South Korea and the United States. Pyongyang tested a large nuclear- capable rocket system over the weekend.

More than 900 passengers have been stuck for days on a cruise ship barred from docking in Australia because -- get this -- of a fungal growth on its hull. The ship has to get a thorough cleaning before it docks in Melbourne today.

And just ahead, mountains of plastic waste on the Kenyan coast. What residents are doing to fight it, next.


[05:37:30] FISHER: Mountains of plastic pollution are piling up on the shores of Kenya. It's a critical problem for the people there who depend on tourism to make a living. Local activists are doing their best collecting and recycling the plastic waste, but it's a global problem that they can't solve on their own.

CNN's Larry Madowo has more.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ancient city of Lamu, a popular part of the northern coast of Kenya -- but the Indian Ocean brings more than just tourists to the Lamu Archipelago.

Tons of marine litter is also washing up on these shores -- mostly plastic. They pick up what they can but more keeps coming.

MADOWO (on camera): And this is -- it was manufactured in Indonesia?

DIPESH PABARI, CO-FOUNDER AND LEADER, THE FLIPFLOPI PROJECT: Definitely, I've never seen this being sold in Kenya. Fasclean -- never seen this.

MADOWO (on camera): That's not a brand from here?

PABARI: That's not a brand that sold over here.

MADOWO (on camera): It says manufactured in China.

PABARI: China.

Nestle noodles. I don't recognize them over here.

MADOWO (voice-over): Kenya banned single-use plastic from protected areas, including beaches, but they're still being manufactured locally and piling up all over the coastline -- a major headache for the local government.

FAHIM YASIN TWAHA, GOVERNOR OF LAMU COUNTY: We are more receivers of the plastic than the givers of the plastic. This plastic is dumped elsewhere and drifts to our shores. I guess we are a magnetic place. We hope we can also attract good things and not just junk.

MADOWO (voice-over): Piti (PH), who calls herself Mama Plastiki, has been collecting that junk from her community for 35 years, but there's nowhere to take most of it.

MAMA PLASTIKI, LAMU RESIDENT (through translator): We don't have a market for this plastic, so it has slowed us down a little. We had two people working on this but we ran out of money so we're stuck with it.

MADOWO (voice-over): Even this better-funded efforts to clean up plastic from around Lamu is barely scratching the surface.

MADOWO (on camera): The mountains of plastic waste just keeps growing here on the Kenyan coast, and it's threatening the oceans, the mangroves, and the tourism industry here.

MADOWO (voice-over): Discarded plastic is sorted, then crushed at this facility, breaking it down into smaller particles that can get molded into something more useful.

MADOWO (on camera): This is incredibly strong.

MORRIS KILONZO, PLASTIC RECYCLING EXPERT, THE FLIPFLOPI PROJECT: This is a product of sorted, crushed, and washed plastics -- bigger piece.

MADOWO (on camera): And it could revolutionize construction.

KILONZO: This one -- (INAUDIBLE) use. We can innovate and put whatever is (INAUDIBLE) for something useful.


MADOWO (voice-over): These boats are leading a scientific expedition to study the impact of marine litter and the east African coast. Its organizers, The FlipFlopi project, say this is the first time such research has been carried out on this part of the West Indian Ocean.

The scientists are measuring the presence of nano, micro, and macroplastics in the ocean.

MADOWO (on camera): What do you hope to learn from the samples you're collecting?

BAHATI MAYOMA, AQUATIC ECOLOGY AND POLLUTION LECTURER, UNIVERSITY OF DAR ES SALAAM: For the first time, we'll be able to understand how deep can you still find plastic pollution. Most of the focus has been on the surface. Now we want to understand -- because actually, even most of the organisms -- they live underneath.

MADOWO (voice-over): By 2050, without intervention, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, the U.N. has warned. Some of it may building the next sailing boat like this one made entirely of flipflops. But most of it just suffocates marine life in coastal communities.

PABARI: Someone needs to pay for this. This is not something that these communities and us, as local organizations, can support and solve. Yes, we are contributing to it but it's a global problem. It's no different to climate change in that respect.

MADOWO (voice-over): Recycle, reuse. Residents here are doing every bit they can to tackle a global problem at the local level.

Larry Madowo, CNN, Lamu, Kenya.


FISHER: Just ahead, new year, new minimum wage. Some pay hikes already in effect. And back to the office after the holidays. Words of wisdom from bosses and workers, next.



FISHER: Well, it is back to work after the holidays. Hopefully, workers and their bosses have had a chance to recharge and return armed with some new ideas.

So let's bring in Jessica Kriegel, chief scientist of workplace culture at Culture Partners. Good morning, Jessica. Happy New Year.

JESSICA KRIEGEL, CHIEF SCIENTIST OF WORKPLACE CULTURE, CULTURE PARTNERS (via Webex by Cisco): Good morning. Thanks for having me here.

FISHER: Of course.

So, there are the Sunday scaries and then there is the post-holiday break Sunday-Monday scaries. Any advice for people, perhaps like myself, waking up and heading back to the office either today or tomorrow?

KRIEGEL: Yes. Oh my goodness, it's time to go back to the office. It's been so nice on the break but here we are.

And so, when you go back into the office -- I mean, the number one thing to remember is that holidays were not a wonderful break for everyone. For some people, it's a time of grieving and it's of mourning. And so, we need to have compassion for each other when we go back into the office.

For some of us, we're thrilled to get back in so that we can distract ourselves from how stressful the holidays were. And so, now we're just raring to go back. And so, we're all in different places and we need to meet each other where we are and have compassion for each other, and understanding that we may not all be in the same place.

FISHER: That's a great point. I had not really thought of that. But you're right -- some people are thrilled to go back to work.

One of your keys to starting work off on the right foot in the new year is -- I'm going to read it to you. "Purpose fit is more powerful than culture fit."

Can you -- can you explain that?

KRIEGEL: Yes. Culture fit is not a good thing. I mean, I've got culture in my job title but I'm telling you, culture fit is so detrimental to the workplace. And the reason is because when we think about culture fit most people think about who would I want to go get a beer with. Who would I like to hang out with?

And what that does is it allows for unconscious bias to seep into workplace decisions. Then you end up hiring people who look like you, who act like you, who talk like you. And that is going to decrease the level of diversity that you have in the workforce. So what we want to do instead of culture fit -- ignore culture fit. That's not a thing. That's a thing of the past. We want to think about purpose fit.

When you look for people who you want to promote in the organization, or when you're a worker and you're looking for a job that you want to have, what company should you join -- think about companies that have a purpose that align with your purpose.

What's your why? What's the company's why? And do they match? That's how you're going to truly find fulfillment.

FISHER: You have another great, great saying and I want to read it here. You say that "Workplace rituals create connection, meaning, and drive performance."

So what are some -- what are some examples of rituals that people could perhaps start heading into the new year?

KRIEGEL: Yes, that's a great question.

So, one of our rituals at Culture Partners is every single time we have a meeting -- every Friday our executives get together -- we start with gratitude, and everyone takes a moment to share something that they're grateful for. It allows us to take a pause and get to know each other a little better and get our headspace right before we get into the business of the day, right?

Another -- one of our clients -- they have a big bell in the middle of their office. And every time there's a win, they ring the bell and they gather together and they celebrate that together. They recognize people for the achievements they have been able to accomplish. And not just work accomplishments. They'll ring that bell when someone gets a degree.

So having these kind of rituals, whether they happen weekly, monthly, or annually -- they're a way to come together in tradition.

FISHER: When you look at everything that's going to be happening in 2023, we're just at the very beginning of this new year, but a lot of people heading back to work perhaps anxious as they look into this kind of new world as employers and employees try to deal with this work from home versus coming into work debate.

And something else that you say is to "Avoid future tripping to reduce burnout and anxiety."

How can people do this?

KRIEGEL: So, future tripping is where we're living in the future and we're worried about something that happened in the past, even. I mean, we need to stay present.

Jeff Bezos was just quoted as saying that work-life balance is a determinantal term because he believes that work and life are a circle. And it's like that. We go into the office and if we have a bad day, we come home and we're in a bad mood with our families or vice versa. If we have a really rough holiday break, we come into the office and we may not be in the best headspace. So our energies and the thing that we bring to the table -- it feeds off of itself at work, it feeds off of itself at home.

So we need to really think about how we can stay present. How we can -- for example, we were in a meeting the other day and someone said to the CEO of Culture Partners this is a make or break quarter. And he said no, nothing's breaking. Don't worry about it. We're here for the long term. We're here building a sustainable business.


And so, it's about being present. Being active with our coworkers and community and not worrying about the future.

FISHER: About being present and all about perspective.

Jessica Kriegel of Culture Partners, thank you, and Happy New Year.

And we'll be right back.

KRIEGEL: Thanks for having me.


FISHER: The term metaverse gaining popularity but it's still not completely clear what it means exactly. So today, it's used as a platform for gaming, virtual real estate, digital classrooms, and entertainment. But in just the next few years, it could be so much more.

CNN's Anna Stewart takes a look.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Remember this movie?

Clip from "Ready Player One."

STEWART (voice-over): The concept of a virtual universe is rooted in science fiction. Over years, it's been just that -- fiction. But now, technology is beginning to catch up bringing the idea of the metaverse to reality. It's home to concerts, expensive digital real estate, and huge and popular games.

But what exactly is the metaverse? What does it do and why should you care? Let's break it down.

NEAL STEPHENSON, AUTHOR, "SNOW CRASH": It means a virtual environment --

STEWART (voice-over): This is Neal Stephenson. He came up with the term metaverse back in 1992 for his book "Snow Crash." Back to you, Neal.

STEPHENSON: -- where large numbers of people can get together and interact with each other not as they are but through avatars, which are kind of the three-dimensional representations.

STEWART (on camera): Ta-da.

STEWART (voice-over): For so long, our experiences with the internet have been 2-D. It's been something we look at. But the metaverse gives users the sense of being transported into the internet, like this.


STEWART (voice-over): Oh, hi.


STEWART (voice-over): Meet Andrew Bosworth, also known as Boz. He works at Meta, formerly named Facebook.

Great. Do we shake hands? How does this work?

BOSWORTH: We can do a high five.


This is Horizon Workrooms, the company's foothold in the metaverse. It's just one of the many ways into the metaverse that are currently available.

In these virtual worlds, you can play games, do business, and dance with strangers that turn into friends, except that this friend could be on the other side of the world.

BOSWORTH: Is it as good as being together? No, and it probably never will be. But it's the next best thing.

STEWART (voice-over): This all sounds exciting until you realize that the technology for building this new iteration of the internet is, well, still being built.

Where are my legs?

BOSWORTH: You also have no legs. We are working on that.

STEWART: Where are my legs? Where are my legs?

BOSWORTH: We -- to be fair, we are working on legs. It's one of the tricky things about V.R. We're so early on.

Oh, she left me. I'm so sad. She's back -- maybe. Nope, she left again.

STEWART (voice-over): In short, it's difficult to define the metaverse because it's constantly evolving, just as the technology is. What it is is largely dependent on what it can do for us. And right now, its capabilities are just a fraction of what they might be in five, maybe 10 years.

For now, it's this place where you can be whoever you want and immerse your virtual self into this alternative world that pushes past physical barriers to collaborate and interact with other virtual avatars, objects, and environments. As promising as it all may sound, we still have a long way to go before we're living like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: IOI Plaza. You're a hologram in the real world.

STEWART (voice-over): Anna Stewart, CNN, Dubai.


FISHER: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are headed back to the playoffs thanks to a dramatic fourth-quarter rally from none other than Tom Brady.

Coy Wire has this morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning, and Happy New Year, Coy.


Where have we heard that before? Tom Brady leading this team to the post-season again -- yes, probably. During his 23 seasons in the NFL, Tom has only missed the playoffs once, and that was all the way back in 2002.

But this one wasn't easy. The Panthers had a double-digit lead early in the fourth. Then came the yards -- a Brady bunch. This 63-yard touchdown -- this is prettier than an Artemis launch. This goes to Mike Levin. It was the longest for Tom Brady in more than five years. Incredible touchdown pass there for 63 yards and the touchdown.

And then he connected with Evans 10 times for three touchdowns in total. It was that 57-yarder as well. And at 45 years old, Brady finishes with a season-high 432 yards. He runs one in on the ground with two minutes to go.

Bucs win 30-24. They claim a spot in the playoffs with their second- straight NFC South Division title.

And you don't ever count out Mike Tomlin's Pittsburgh Steelers. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett comes up clutch on their final drive against the Ravens -- their rivals. They're down 13-9. There's one to Pat Freiermuth. Then he slings it to Steven Sims for another 28 yards.

And finally, with a minute to go, Pickett escapes the dominant defense and delivers to Najee Harris for the go-ahead score.

Kenny P. -- a 16-13 win. Those Steelers are still in the playoff final.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NAJEE HARRIS, RUNNING BACK, PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Shoutout to the O- line. Shoutout to the whole line. Shoutout to Kenny P. right here. You all see this rookie serving, man? He's saying have a good composure. He's doing his Dougie. Shoutout to -- shoutout to my man, Kenny. Shoutout to Mike T., man. Hey, shoutout to the Bay.


WIRE: And how about those New York Giants, back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016 after crushing the Colts 38-10. Quarterback Daniel Jones having one of the best games of his career, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for two more.

A scary moment in this one, though, just before halftime. Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux sacked Colts quarterback Nick Foles. And the rookie celebrates, making snow angels on the ground right next to Foles, who remained on the ground clearly in pain. He'd been carted off the field.

Later, Thidodeaux would say that he didn't see Foles after the sack, but he was still criticized online for making the "go to sleep" gesture on the sideline while Foles was still receiving medical attention.

NBA now. Celtics have the best record in the league facing the Nuggets who are tied for second-best. And check out Boston's Robert Williams III rocking the rim so hard with that powerful dunk in the fourth. Kristin, it took six workers, two ladders, and a level to get this rim fixed -- a delay of 35 minutes before the game would resume. Even Rocky the Mountain Lion helping out in the Nuggets' win.

Finally, Grizzlies star Ja Morant making a young fan's day by giving him the shoes right off his feet. Nine-year-old Zander Carr held a sign all game saying that he couldn't wait to jam out in a new pair of Ja's signature sneakers this summer. Well, he didn't have to wait until the summer because Morant took off his shoes, signed them, and gave them to the youngster who could not hold back those tears of joy.