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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Israeli Raid Kills At Least 11 Palestinians In The West Bank; Transportation Secretary To Visit Site Of Rail Accident, Toxic Spill; Brandon Miller Leads Alabama After Link To Murder Case. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired February 23, 2023 - 05:30   ET



WANG YI, SENIOR CHINESE DIPLOMAT (through translator): We would like to emphasize once again that the comprehensive strategic partnership between Russia and China has never been directed against a third party and is certainly not subject to interference and provocation by any third party.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): While Beijing says it wants a political solution, Vladimir Putin is drumming up support for his military operation, trying hard to keep the Russian population motivated for a battle he deems existential.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Chaos on the streets of the occupied West Bank.


Daytime Raid.



ROMANS: Deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians escalating. Israeli military forces killed at least 11 Palestinians during a daytime raid on Wednesday that also injured almost 500 others.

Elliott Gotkine joins me live from Jerusalem. Elliott, Palestinian officials are calling this latest raid a massacre -- their words -- but the Israeli Defense Force says it was targeting three militants. What can you tell us?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN That's right, Christine. Daytime raids are quite rare because of the risk both to Israeli forces and, of course, to civilians, and they're not unprecedented. But this one happened yesterday. It started soon after 10:00 a.m. local time. The Israeli security forces saying that they were targeting three

militants who had holed themselves up in a house. When they didn't surrender, they -- one of the militants fled. He was shot dead. And then a rocket was fired into the house and the other two militants were also killed.

As you say, 11 dead so far and more than 100 injured due to live ammunition. That's according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. And as you also said, almost 500 injured in total, including wounds from tear gas inhalation and shrapnel.

Now, Israel said that it carried out this raid in the daytime because in its words there was a specific intelligence indication of an imminent attack. And it says that the militants that they were seeking to apprehend were responsible for killing an Israeli soldier.

And now according to the Palestinian Red Crescent -- according to its head in Nablus -- this is Ahmad Jibril -- he says that there was live ammunition being fired from the rooftops. He said the bullets were flying everywhere. And, of course, at that time of the day many people would have been out shopping in the old city of Nablus and there were many civilians around. And it does seem that of those 11 deaths that we have so far that several of them at least were civilians.

Now, we've asked the IDF to get back with us with more detail as to just how so many Palestinians could have been injured in this raid on Nablus yesterday and we are awaiting their reply. We'll get back to you when we get it -- Christine.

ROMANS: Elliott Gotkine, thank you so much for that.

Quick hits around the globe right now.

The death toll rising to four people after a mine collapsed in Mongolia. At least 49 others are still missing. Rescue efforts paused now because of a major landslide near the site.

A teacher in France stabbed and killed by a 16-year-old student who claimed to be possessed. Officials say the teen suffered psychological troubles and is now in custody.

Japanese authorities dispatching a bomb squad after this mysterious five-foot metal sphere was spotted on a beach southwest of Tokyo. Officials say it's not a threat but they didn't clarify exactly what it is.

Just ahead, the lawmakers you will not see at a congressional border hearing today in Arizona. And Alabama's Brandon Miller scores a big win on the court as he's linked to a murder case in court.



ROMANS: Here is today's fast-forward lookahead. Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein back in court for sentencing this morning. He was convicted in a second sexual assault trial in December. He faces 18 more years behind bars.

Singer R. Kelly also back in court for sentencing today on federal child porn convictions. Expect the defense to make a motion for a new trial.

And the House Judiciary Committee set to hold a field hearing in Arizona today on the border crisis. House Democrats calling it a publicity stunt and are not attending.

Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg heading to Ohio today. He's under intense scrutiny after that train derailment released toxic chemicals into the soil and water in East Palestine. Meantime, rail safety advocates are criticizing Donald Trump's visit there Wednesday.

CNN's Pete Muntean reports for us.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION AND TRANSPORTATION CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The disaster in East Palestine was predictable and preventable say rail safety advocates who want sweeping change to an industry they call off track.

SARAH FEINBERG, FORMER FRA ADMINISTRATOR: The regulatory process is completely broken.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Sarah Feinberg headed federal railroad oversight under the Obama administration. She says now is the time for shorter trains, more crew members on board, and better braking systems -- proposed rules advocates say were rolled back by the Trump administration or killed by lawmakers after lobbying by railroad companies.

FEINBERG: When they are able to push back on even common-sense safety regulations because it's going to improve their bottom line this is the kind of thing that we end up with.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): It is the latest plea to fix failures in Ohio by addressing them in Washington. Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg insists his inaugural visit to East Palestine on Thursday will not be about politics but, rather, putting pressure on railroads to change.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: I've had it. I mean, we have had situation after situation where even modest, reasonable reform gets just a full-court press.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): In a Sunday letter, Buttigieg called on Norfolk Southern's CEO to take action on safety reforms now, not later. Buttigieg tells CNN that safety-related fines must be upped, right now capped at about $225,000.

BUTTIGIEG: For a company the size of Norfolk Southern or any of the major freight railroads are multibillion-dollar companies that are wildly profitable -- it's just not at a level that's going to get their attention.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Norfolk Southern posted record profits last year, approaching $5 billion. According to Open Secrets, the railroad spent $1.8 million on lobbying, armed with three dozen lobbyists. The top lobby for the railroad industry insists that safety is a top priority.


But in an interview on CNBC Norfolk Southern's CEO evaded a question about its lobbying efforts.

ALAN SHAW, CEO, NORFOLK SOUTHERN: I'm looking forward to having discussions with our regulators and with elected officials on how we can make Norfolk Southern a safer railroad.

GREG HYNES, NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR, SMART TRANSPORTATION DIVISION: It's important to keep the pressure because this isn't a one-time thing. This is going to happen again and any class one railroad is vulnerable. This can happen anywhere if they don't change their operating practices.

MUNTEAN (on camera): The transportation secretary's visit to East Palestine is happening on the same day that the NTSB is releasing its first investigative findings. Investigators will not be releasing a cause just yet. But Buttigieg says no report is needed to see that rails would be safer if the industry just did not fight so hard against proposed rules and legislation.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: All right, Pete. Thank you for that.

Alabama's Brandon Miller hits the game-winner in overtime just one day after he was linked to a murder case.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. What is happening here?


So Alabama has faced lots of criticism for allowing a projected top- five NBA draft pick Brandon Miller to continue playing. Police in Tuscaloosa say Miller brought now-former teammate Darius Miles' gun to him on the night of the shooting of a 23-year-old -- shooting death of a 23-year-old woman. So Miles and another man are facing capital murder charges.

Miller, meanwhile -- he has not faced any charges and Alabama announced that he would continue to be on the team.

And during the game in South Carolina last night, fans chanted "lock him up" and "guilty" as he was playing every time he touched the ball, but it did not phase Miller. Miller scored a career-high 41 points, including a basket to send the game into overtime. And then in O.T. he actually hit the game-winner as well.

Second-ranked Alabama wins 78-76.

And here was Tide coach Nate Oats after the game.


NATE OATS, HEAD COACH, ALABAMA: Basketball kind of becomes a safe haven a little bit for some of these guys. They get on the floor and they can kind of lock in to what they've done their whole lives and put some of the outside stuff that's -- out of their mind. So I thought Brandon did a great job really getting himself mentally prepared to play. Obviously, he could have been a distraction but Brandon showed up.


SCHOLE: All right, the U.S. Women's National Team, meanwhile, will head into this summer's World Cup on a high note. They beat Brazil 2-1 last night to capture their fourth-straight SheBelieves Cup trophy.

Alex Morgan gave the U.S. the lead late in the first half. It was Morgan's 14th goal since the birth of her daughter back in 2020, making her the all-time scoring leader as a mom in U.S. Women's National Team history.

Mallory Swanson scored then in the 63rd minute, clinching the game for Team USA.

The U.S. will kick their World Cup championship defense off against the Vietnam in New Zealand on July 21.

All right, we had a great finish in women's hoops last night. Fordham down two to Rhode Island in the closing seconds of overtime. Anna DeWolfe -- the length of the floor, the pump fake, and then hits the three at the buzzer. She gets mobbed by her teammates as Fordham won that game 74-73.

All right. And finally, Netflix has given us a series on F1 tennis and golf. Well, now they're going to be diving into the NFL.

They're partnering with NFL Films for a docuseries titled "QUARTERBACK." It's going to give viewers exclusive access to three guys -- Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Marcus Mariota. Peyton Manning's Omaha Productions is producing the show along with Mahomes' newly-formed 2PM Productions. "QUARTERBACK" set to premiere later this summer.

And Christine, if it's anything like "FULL SWING," the golf documentary, I'm going to be a big fan because I'm loving that one right now.

ROMANS: There are some really good sports doc content. You know, I love it. It's just so great to go behind the sport like that.

SCHOLES: Yes. ROMANS: All right, nice to see you.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Thanks, Andy.

All right. Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" a gunman kills a child and a news reporter in separate attacks. More coverage from Orlando.

And next right here, not a recession, a richcession, and why we may already be in it.



ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 2.3 trillion. The U.S. housing market lost $2.3 trillion in market value at the end of last year. Redfin says the total value of U.S. homes fell nearly five percent from a record high of $47.7 trillion. That is the largest June to December percentage drop since 2008 when we had a housing crisis.

Looking at markets around the world right now, Thursday edition, Asia closed lower. European markets are mixed. Eurozone inflation grew at a slightly faster pace than initially estimated back in January.

On Wall Street, stock index futures are barely moving here but leaning higher after the fourth down day in a row yesterday for the S&P.

Minutes from the most recent Fed meeting reveal most officials support slowing the pace of interest rate hikes.

Tech layoffs in the news. The Washington Post reports Meta could slash 11,000 jobs. It's about 13 percent of its workforce as of November.

On inflation watch, gas prices fell by a penny overnight to $3.39 a gallon.

All right, breaking economy news. At 8:30 a.m. eastern time, in just a few hours, weekly jobless claims and a revision to fourth-quarter GDP.

I want to bring in Spencer Jakab, editor of the "Heard on the Street" column at The Wall Street Journal. Good morning, Spencer.


ROMANS: So you write that we are already in something you're calling a richcession -- not yet a recession. Maybe we even skirt a recession. But a richsession is happening. What is that? What do you mean?

JAKAB: OK. Well, I think that my team at Heard on the Street really should have trademarked this because we're now getting pitches after our writing about this from P.R. people saying hey, do you know it's a richcession. [05:50:07]

So it's this strange situation where typically in a downturn it's people who have less money who really take it a lot harder. And -- because you have less savings, you're more likely to lose your job, you're more likely to lose your home or be evicted. And people who have more money have much more of a cushion built up.

Now, that's still the case this time. It's still better to have more money and more education heading into a downturn than it was before, but it's a really unusual one.

You have more economists now predicting a recession in the next 12 months than you did before the big great financial crisis.

You have -- you just mentioned Meta laying off another 11,000 people. Tens of thousands of layoffs of these very highly-paid workers. Yet, you have unemployment at a 53-year low when you have help wanted signs going up all over the place for service-sector jobs.

So you are, relatively speaking, in a much better position if you are someone who does something that's not as well-rewarded or doesn't have as much education because people want you to do jobs and they're looking for you. And that's not to say you're getting out the world's tiniest violin for people who have a lot of money but it's different.

And so the playbook for how investors should treat this downturn is totally different as well, which we've found looking at all kinds of companies.

ROMANS: Yes. And to clarify that, Meta -- those Meta layoffs -- The Washington Post is saying more layoffs are coming. We know they did lay off 11,000 back in November so this is sort of a slow-motion tech layoff thing that we're seeing.

Let's talk about people's spending patterns, right? I mean, I think that there are a lot of Americans who are not going to cry champagne tears for rich people who are -- who are being hurt --


ROMANS: -- a little bit in the richcession.

But what are we seeing in terms of how spending patterns are changing along these income strata?

JAKAB: So, for example, during the 2008-2009 recession you really would have wanted to -- well, you wouldn't want to own any stocks but especially, you wouldn't have wanted to own any. That was sort of entry-level luxury, or let's say own stock in an eatery that catered to the well-to-do. Something like Cheesecake Factory. But then when we came out of it those things actually did better.

So the -- all the policies that led to stimulus -- those things came back faster. And things that catered to the people who had really been hit hard and had suffered job losses or anxiety about job losses took a much longer time to come back and have their profits recover.

This time we're seeing all kinds of interesting things. For example, we're seeing Walmart, which is not a company that caters to the wealthy, saying that they had a great year. They had a great fourth quarter compared to other retailers.


JAKAB: And that a big influx of customers who earned more than $100,000 are typically not a group that flocks to Walmart.

Companies like Aldi -- and they're abandoning places like Whole Foods or Kroger --

ROMANS: Right.

JAKAB: -- to trade down -- buying store brands and things like that.

And all kinds of other things that companies that are benefiting that you might not expect to in a downturn, and companies suffering that you also might not expect to suffer as badly.

ROMANS: I guess that the richcession theme probably has a lot of housing market -- house market information in it, right? I mean -- I mean, there's a lot of financial pressures I think for folks in the housing market. We just said $2.3 trillion in value wiped out.

JAKAB: Yes. I mean, think about the balance sheet of someone who is in the 80th percentile in terms of wealth and income and someone who's in the 30th percentile. It's totally different.

You know, if you're in that higher income cohort you are much more likely to own a home and you're much more likely to be anxious about your mortgage or the now declining value of that home. You're looking at your stock portfolio. Maybe you owned -- you know, owned some cryptocurrency, which has melted down in the past year.

If you are in the 30th percentile you're unlikely to own any of those things or to have a ton of wealth tied up in that. It's the wealth effect is much, much more modest. On the other hand, you're walking around your town and you're seeing all kinds of wage offers and help wanted signs and you're able to negotiate a raise.

You know, just here where I live in New Jersey I walked by Chipotle and it's starting at $16.25 an hour, which makes me really envious considering what I made back in the day --


JAKAB: -- working fast-food jobs. It's a -- it's a kind of a -- it's in a -- you're in a relatively strong bargaining position in that income cohort if you're say an adult --


JAKAB: -- and you're working at Chipotle. ROMANS: Yes. A help wanted sign at my New Jersey Target was like, I think 17 bucks an hour or something -- just incredible.


ROMANS: All right, Spencer Jakab, of The Wall Street Journal, thank you so much. Nice to see you.

JAKAB: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Millions of Americans under winter weather alerts. Details on the dangerous blizzard conditions coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING."



ROMANS: OK, our top of the morning, the top podcasts on Spotify.




ROMANS: "The Joe Rogan Experience" is number one.

Here's number two.




ROMANS: "New Heights" with Super Bowl brothers Jason and Travis Kelce.

And number three --


"Huberman Lab"


ROMANS: All right, Academy Award-winning songwriter Tom Whitlock has died. You know his music.




ROMANS: The lyrics for that one sung by Kenny Loggins.