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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

French Protests Erupt Into Violence Over Retirement Policy; Lawmakers Grill TikTok's CEO Over Security And Privacy Concerns; Tom Brady Buys Partial Stake In Las Vegas Aces. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired March 24, 2023 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Has been remarkable to watch. President Macron standing firm in the face of all of this.

You know, in Paris -- in France, it's sort of a way of life to strike and to peaceful protest. I mean, they happen all the time. This is different. There are spontaneous protests here against this pension change.

Why is Macron standing firm here?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's standing firm in a way that has provoked a lot of these demonstrations across the board -- across the nation in this country, Christine, and that's because he forced through legislation against the -- without the support of the National Assembly -- the French Parliament.

Now, that provoked these on-street demonstrations. Yesterday's demonstration was an organized one rather than a spontaneous one with a little over a million participants across the country with large numbers of -- then later on in the afternoon, violence.

And the reason he's standing so firm is really straightforward as far as he's concerned. Within three years' time the country will be facing a 12.5 billion euro -- a similar amount of dollars deficit on every year just on the pensions file. And he says that is economically unsustainable.

The other day he gave an interview saying I don't want to do this. I understand why people are taking to the streets. I'm rejecting, of course, any kind of violent activity. But I am not going to do a U- turn on this.

But because he forced it through using presidential feat (PH) effectively, rather than a parliamentary vote, the Parliament -- the government then survived last Monday a vote of no confidence -- indeed, two votes of no confidence -- the latter of them only by nine votes.

But even in the face of all of this opposition with about two-thirds of the country opposed to these reforms, he's saying France simply cannot afford that kind of large, yes -- and ultimately, that's because they've got an aging population, Christine.

ROMANS: And, I mean, just from the perspective on this side of the -- of the pond, quite honestly, 62 years old -- the U.S. is 67 and we're still talking here about the solvency of Social Security. So clearly, the math is very, very hard on pension benefits.

All right, Sam Kiley, thank you so much. Nice to see you.

KILEY: Yes, indeed.

ROMANS: Quick hits around the globe right now.

North Korea claiming it tested nuclear attack simulations using an underwater drone and two cruise missiles this week. State media reporting leader Kim Jung Un personally guided the weapons test.

Interpol, in South Korea, confirming the fugitive arrested in Montenegro is crypto mogul Do Kwan, wanted for defrauding investors and helping cause the crash last year. Officials confirm his fingerprint was a match.

Surreal video capturing a zebra on the run for more than three hours on the busy streets of Seoul after it escaped from a zoo. It was finally captured, sedated, and sent back to its enclosure. That's like an episode of the "Madagascar" movie.

All right, later today, Gwyneth Paltrow could be on the witness stand in her ski crash trial.


NCAA TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCER: This is all you'll get -- more than one opportunity. (INAUDIBLE) for the lead.


ROMANS: Gonzaga surviving a wild finish against UCLA. March Madness, next.



ROMANS: All right, here is today's fast-forward lookahead.

Today, former President Trump's defense attorney set to testify in the classified documents probe. The special counsel suspects Trump intentionally misled his lawyers about the documents.

President Biden set to deliver an address before the Canadian Parliament today. The White House says he will promote the domestic and foreign policy goals shared by both nations.

Gwyneth Paltrow expected to testify in court today after a retired doctor accused her of violently crashing into him at a Utah ski resort a few years ago. He's seeking $300,000 in damages. TikTok's future in the United States in jeopardy after the company's

CEO appeared before Congress defending the popular video app against being banned.


SHOU ZI CHEW, CEO, TIKTOK: The bottom line is this. American data stored on American soil by an American company, overseen by American personnel. I have seen no evidence that the Chinese government has access to that data. They have never asked us. We have not provided it.


ROMANS: Shou Chew tried to ease lawmakers' concerns over security and data privacy, but his defense fell on deaf ears.


REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R-WA): We do not trust TikTok will ever embrace American values -- values for freedom, human rights, and innovation. Your platform should be banned.


ROMANS: Let's bring in managing director and senior equity analyst at Wedbush Securities, Dan Ives.

And we should say that the company -- you know, the company, yesterday, after the hearing, said it was political grandstanding -- that hearing. And the Chinese Ministry of Finance spoke out also against the U.S. action there -- or the discussion at least.

You called the testimony though a, quote, "disaster moment." Why was it a disaster in your view?

DAN IVES, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND SENIOR EQUITY ANALYST, WEDBUSH (via Skype): Yes, it was a disaster of epic proportions. Because ultimately, if you look at it, lack of concrete answers I think was really the big issue for lawmakers. I think many came out of there with more questions than answers.

I think this is really clock strikes midnight for TikTok -- a ban -- and looks like a likely sell will probably happen by the summer.

ROMANS: This is that TikTok statement after the hearing. Shoe (sic) came prepared -- or Shou came prepared to answer questions from Congress but unfortunately, the day was dominated by political grandstanding that failed to acknowledge the real solutions already underway.

Was it political grandstanding?

IVES: Look, of course, you're going to have some theater in there and that's not a surprise given the Beltway. But I actually think the lawmakers came with pretty strong questions as opposed to usual. And this is something where I think TikTok ultimately came out looking

more like a black eye. They just didn't have the right answers around big brother from Beijing. Can they access the data? What's the plan going forward? A lot of yes-no, get back to you. And that's why this is really what I'll call a nightmare on Elm Street for TikTok's CEO.


ROMANS: Yes. He -- the CEO said he doesn't believe the data that TikTok collects is more than what other tech giants collect. I don't know what kind of a defense that is, right, when we're all so concerned about everything that's being collected. Is that a solid defense?

IVES: I think it actually makes it worse because the difference with TikTok versus others is the Beijing situation -- and in terms of that, really being different than any other social media app. And I think you've already started to see a ban within governments. And I think this is going to be something that now -- you know, over the next, call it, few weeks we'll probably hear from the White House -- say, CFIUS, which will be the big one.


IVES: And I think this ultimately really sets probably what's a darker path for TikTok.

But when you look at Meta, you look at Zuckerberg, you look at Snapchat -- they were watching this, eating popcorn, like watching a movie in terms of the testimony.

ROMANS: Yes. You mentioned CFIUS. That's the national security review at the highest levels of government.

I just will -- I'll point out one irony before we go. You know, China bans whatever it wants without any hearings at a moment's notice, right? I mean, the idea that Chinese authorities are upset about how this is playing out in the U.S. is sort of interesting to me because China just bans what it wants and doesn't allow U.S. companies to come in on their own anyway.

So, Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities, thank you so much.

IVES: Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

All right, Gonzaga survives a wild finish against UCLA to advance to the Elite Eight in March Madness.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.


So, what a game this was in Las Vegas. The second half -- I mean, it was one wild ride. And Gonzaga was actually down 13 at halftime of this one but they came

all the way back and actually had an 8-point lead over UCLA with a minute to go. But the Bruins would go on a frantic 10-1 run capped off by Amari Bailey hitting a three to give them the lead with 13 seconds to go.

But Mark Few then dialed up what he calls the Jay Wright play -- the same one Villanova used to win it all a few years ago. And Julian Strawther, the Vegas native, nailing the three. UCLA would take the ball and have one last chance, but they would turn it over.

Zags win a thriller 79-76.


JULIAN STRAWTHER, GUARD, GONZAGA BULLDOGS: I mean, as soon as it came up it looked like it was online and, I mean --


STRAWTHER: Yes. I mean, like coach said, we work on that play literally in practice all the time and I shoot it in practice. And you all may be joking around sometimes but here we are and it mattered today.


SCHOLES: All right. Kansas State and Michigan stayed, also playing a thriller at Madison Square Garden.

And it was another legendary performance from Wildcats point guard Markquis Nowell. The five-foot-eight Harlem native scoring 20 points to go along with an NCAA Tournament record 19 assists. No assists bigger than this one to Keyontae Johnson in overtime for the reverse slam. That was certainly impressive. In the closing seconds Nowell then also getting a steal and taking it the other way for a lay-in to seal the win.

Kansas State gets the victory 98-93 to advance to the Elite Eight.

And here is Jerome Tang on his point guard after the game.


JEROME TANG, HEAD COACH, KANSAS STATE: You know, where we was at it was a place of fire, but we practice in a place of fire all the time, so he was ready for it. This is a bad boy right here. He's a bad boy.


SCHOLES: Yes, and Keyontae Johnson led the Wildcats with 22 points, including that big dunk. And he continues to just be one of the best stories of the tournament.

Johnson collapsed in 2020 while playing for Florida and was in a coma for three days. He was diagnosed with a heart inflammation. And instead of taking a $5 million insurance payout and never playing again he transferred to KSU and now has them a win away from the Final Four.

All right, the Wildcats are going to face number-9 seed Florida Atlantic in the Elite Eight on Saturday. The Owls playing in just their second NCAA Tournament, upset Tennessee 62-55. FAU had never won a tournament game before this year and now they've won three.

Check out the fans celebrating outside Madison Square Garden. Well, not here, but they were chanting "FAU! FAU!"

The rest of the Elite Eight will be decided later today. Four more games on the schedule starting with San Diego State taking on the overall number-1 seed Alabama. That one tips off at 6:30 eastern on our sister channel TBS.

All right. And finally, Tom Brady made another big announcement on social media yesterday.


TOM BRADY, 7-TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: I'm excited to announce I'm going to become part of the Las Vegas Aces organization.


SCHOLES: All right. The retired 7-time Super Bowl champ is buying a stake in the reigning WNBA champions. Brady says he's always been a fan of women's sports. He grew up with three big sisters. And Christine, Brady actually said his three big sisters were the best athletes in the household.

ROMANS: Ha, ha, ha -- good for him. All right.



ROMANS: Nice to see you, Andy Scholes. Have a great weekend.

SCHOLES: All right -- you, too.

ROMANS: Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" the U.S. military retaliates after an attack on U.S. personnel in Syria. And next right here, ghost jobs -- posting for positions that aren't really there.


ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 25,000. That's how many Camaros Chevy sold in 2022 and it might be the end of the line.


Chevrolet Camaro T.V. ad.


ROMANS: Yes, GM will stop building the Camaro next January, leaving the Ford Mustang as the last gas-powered American muscle car. Ford sold almost twice as many Mustangs last year. GM promises it's not the end for the Camaro brand. The Camaro was introduced back in 1966.

All right, looking at markets around the world, Asian markets finished lower. European markets are also down. Citigroup downgrading the European banking sector to neutral from overweight.


On Wall Street, stock index futures at this hour also leaning lower. It looks like it's going to be a tough morning here. Dow futures down about seven-tenths of a percent.

Markets rose yesterday focusing on the possibility of a pause in interest rate hikes. The Nasdaq up more than one percent.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped for a second week in a row. That mortgage rate coming in at 6.42 percent.

On inflation watch, gas prices held steady overnight at $3.44 a gallon, down nearly 80 cents from a year ago.

All right, have you ever applied for a job and you never hear back? The struggle is real. There's a chance that position you applied for doesn't even exist. It's called a ghost job.

Let's bring in chief scientist of Workplace Culture at Culture Partners, Jess Kriegel. Nice to see you.

OK, so what is a ghost job exactly?

JESSICA KRIEGEL, CHIEF SCIENTIST OF WORKPLACE CULTURE, CULTURE PARTNERS (via Webex by Cisco: It's a job that doesn't actually exist. It's a posting and no one is checking the resumes that are getting submitted, and no one's ever going to get a callback. And we all hate getting ghosted. Well, now we've got to worry about it not only in our romantic lives but at work, too.

ROMANS: So this survey finds that 68 percent of employers had active job postings for more than 30 days. Why do employers leave active job postings for more than a month or even more than six months?

KRIEGEL: Well, companies are obsessed with finding the right candidate -- the top talent. And so that means that we're often having many more interviews than we used to. We're also putting people through assessments, application tests. And so sometimes it takes longer than 30 days to fill a position. That's normal.

And just because a job posting date is over a month old doesn't mean that it's a ghost job. That's one thing that candidates need to know.

Also, many times people are leaving these job postings up because there might be a temporary hiring freeze and they have future intentions to hire, and so some of these are just about bad coordination and communication. And we can put our pitchforks down. It's not just about the evil CEO who is trying to trick the candidates.

ROMANS: You know, because it fits -- I mean, how does it fit into this narrative that I hear that there are all these 11 million open jobs in America? You know, there are two open jobs for every jobseeker and that CEOs -- they're really concerned about the lack of workers. How does it fit into that trend?

KRIEGEL: Yes. There's the JOLTs number that everyone looks at -- the job opening and labor turnover survey. And that number, if it's getting distorted by ghost job openings, has been distorted by those job ghost openings for years.

This isn't a new trend. Something isn't different now in 2023 suddenly. This is just the nature of business and the reality that not all the things we see on the internet are real and this is one of those things. So it's not a drastic change suddenly that means the economy is actually much worse than we thought it was.

ROMANS: Right.

Jess, just quickly, what is -- what do job seekers -- how do you know if it's a real or a ghost job?

KRIEGEL: The posting date is a good indication but reach out to your LinkedIn connections and talk to people. Job seekers aren't stupid. They can see when there are postings open for a long time and no one's getting hired into those roles. And people are talking now. Social media makes it easier to find out.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

All right, Jessica Kriegel, of Culture Partners. Always nice to see you. Have a great weekend.

KRIEGEL: Thanks -- you, too.

ROMANS: All right.

The chief executive of TikTok on Capitol Hill trying to save the app from being banned in the U.S. Could it really happen?

And a school shooter's parents ordered to stand trial for their son's crimes.



ROMANS: All right, happy Friday.

Our top of the morning, the top country songs in America. Here is number one.


LUKE COMBS, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Singing "Going, Going, Gone."


ROMANS: There's Luke Combs' "Going, Going, Gone."

Number two.


BAILEY ZIMMERMAN, SINGER: Singing "Rock and A Hard Place."


ROMANS: Bailey Zimmerman with "Rock and A Hard Place."

And number three.




ROMANS: I think you may have heard that one in those Dodge Ram commercials -- Lainey Wilson's "Heart Like A Truck."

All right, a powerful storm system targeting the south with 19 million people under flood alerts from the Midwest to the south.

CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray has the forecast. Good morning. What do we expect?


This is going to be a very busy day as far as the weather goes, especially across the south. We have this line of showers and storms that's pushing through Texas and Oklahoma. Right now we have a tornado watch in place. A couple of severe thunderstorm warnings in place.

And just in the last three or four minutes, a tornado warning has just popped up just to the west of Dallas or northwest of Fort Worth. You can see north of Weatherford. And this one is heading to the north and east.

And so this is going to be a very dangerous line of showers and storms throughout the day. We do expect for this to remain strong throughout the morning as well as the afternoon, and this should peak by later this evening. That's when we're expected to see the most tornado warnings with this.

But a lot of rainfall with this system as well. We have flood alerts out there and flash flood warnings in effect.

But here's the area for the main risk of concern throughout the day. Tornadoes, some intense -- this area shaded in red. That's really where we're going to be watching for those strong tornadoes, damaging winds, and large hail. There's a 15 percent chance of a strong tornado within this area of black lines, and so that's the areas we're going to be watching. And the storms should be reaching there by this afternoon.

So here are the storms in progress and you can see that line strengthening throughout the afternoon. This is 8:00 tonight. And then throughout the evening hours they should be exiting that area of the strongest storms but then still remaining strong, Christine, as we go throughout the overnight hours into tomorrow morning. So we're going to be talking about this throughout the entire day.

We could see a lot of rainfall as well. We could see up to four inches of rain across some areas.