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France Braces For Huge Protests Ahead Of Key Court Ruling; White House Vows To Keep Fighting To Keep Abortion Pill Available; U.S. National Recording Registry Adds New Songs At Library of Congress. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 13, 2023 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. France bracing for a 12th day of strike action and protests this morning. Up to 600,000 people are expected to take to the streets again denouncing the government's pension reforms. This comes ahead of a ruling on Friday of the constitutionality of the divisive law. That law, to remind you, raising the retirement age by two years to 64 years old.

CNN's Saskya Vandoorne joins us live from Paris. I mean, compared to the rest of Europe and, of course, to the United States that is a very generous -- even that higher retirement age is very generous, but this is something that has really sparked outrage from the streets of Paris.

What's the mood in the city this morning?

SASKYA VANDOORNE, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Christine, I'd say that the mood is one of determination and really, it's gotten bigger than the pension reform, right? So, yes, they're angry with the pension reform. Yes, they're angry at the way that it was run through Parliament. But they are particularly angry with one person and that is French President Emmanuel Macron.


VANDOORNE (voice-over): Anger on the streets of France. "Macron resign," protesters all united against a defiant president.

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): If you want the pact between generations to be fair this reform needs to be carried out.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): Pension reforms were a landmark policy of President Emmanuel Macron's reelection campaign but upping the retirement age from 62 to 64 may have been a step too far for too many. Forcing the bill past one of the two parliamentary chambers pouring fuel on the fire of popular anger. Much of that ire has come Macron's way. DOMINIQUE MOISI, POLITICAL EXPERT: Now, it is really against the denunciation of the president himself. I don't think in the history of the Fifth Republic we have seen so much rage, so much hatred at our president.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): With most French people polled supporting the protests his approval ratings are nearly the lowest of his two terms at just 28 percent in March. It was only worse during the yellow vest protests four years ago. Popularity at rock bottom, hundreds of thousands in the streets weekly. For Macron, the yellow vests protesting what they called economic injustices upset his first term. He now faces a similar risk.

VANDOORNE (on camera): The deficit-balancing moves slammed by many as tone-deaf will face its final hurdle here Friday -- France's equivalent of the Supreme Court. It will either rubberstamp it or deem that some parts or, indeed, the whole thing is unconstitutional, which would be a further embarrassment for President Macron.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): For the young reformer pensions were supposed to be the first of several policy revamps, but his crusade of government reform now looks dead in the water with little hope of energizing lawmakers behind yet more controversial rethinks. And his legacy may be even troubled, opening the door to the far-right.

MOISI: The comparison with Barack Obama applies. He is paving the way to the coming to power of a populist leader, and he will be remembered in history as the man who allowed (PH) Marine Le Pen to finally come to power.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): With four years remaining in his term as president we may still not know the true cost of Macron's hunger for reform for quite a while.


VANDOORNE: Now, Christine, protests already underway in cities like (INAUDIBLE), Marseille, Toulouse. And we expect to see 11,000 police officers deployed across France. According to police intelligence we will see, once again, that kind of radical fringe -- that violent minority taking part in the protests, so we can expect scuffles later on today. But on the whole, these protests will undoubtedly be peaceful just for a few thousand or 2,000 violent protesters that will, as I said, create scuffles later on today -- Christine.


ROMANS: Yes. We certainly hope they mostly remain peaceful. Saskya, thank you so much for that. A remarkable story unfolding on the streets of France.

All right, quick hits around the globe right now.

The death toll rising to 133, including women and children, after a military airstrike in Myanmar. It's one of the deadliest attacks on civilians since Junta seized power two years ago. A convicted rapist and murderer in South Africa accused of faking his

own death and escaping from prison has been recaptured in Tanzania. Thabo Bester was deported back this morning.

After months of speculation Buckingham Palace confirming Prince Harry will attend his father, King Charles', coronation in May, but his wife Meghan will stay in the U.S. with their children.

Breaking news this morning. An appeals court has partially frozen a Texas judge's order keeping the abortion pill Mifepristone available while the full appeals process plays out. Reaction from the White House next.

And Vice President Harris building bridges today with a major infrastructure announcement.



ROMANS: Here is today's fast-forward lookahead.

Jury selection begins today in Dominion Voting Systems' defamation case against Fox. The judge is considering whether to tell the jurors that Fox blocked Dominion from obtaining key evidence.

This afternoon, Vice President Kamala Harris announcing a major infrastructure project connecting Virginia to Washington, D.C. It will wrap up the administration's "Investing in America" tour.

President Biden will be busy in Dublin today. He is meeting with the Irish president, the Irish prime minister, speaking to the Irish Parliament, and attending a banquet dinner at Dublin Castle.

All right, more now on our breaking news. The Biden administration already speaking out about the federal appeals court ruling on the abortion pill Mifepristone. Overnight, the Fifth Circuit partially froze that Texas judge's ruling that would have suspended FDA approval of the drug overall. The decision keeps the medication on pharmacy shelves but blocks the drug from being sent to patients through the mail and restricts the generic version.

CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak live in Dublin. You know, the White House press secretary, Kevin, just spoke, we're told. What did she say?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. This decision came out in the early morning hours here in Dublin so White House lawyers are still sort of going through it. But I was able to ask Karine Jean- Pierre about the reaction. She said that the White House remains committed to preserving access to abortion. Listen to what she said.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are going to continue to fight in the courts. We believe that the law is on our side and we will prevail. So that I can reassure the American people that is our commitment to women -- millions of women across the country.


LIPTAK: So we will see President Biden at various points later today. It's possible he could answer a question on this. It sort of depends how he's feeling. He did respond to the original judge's ruling as he departed for Ireland this week. He said it was completely out of bounds.

But, you know, it is interesting. Ireland -- where we are now -- it's a country that actually had a vote in 2018. It cemented the right to abortion, which was really kind of a shock at the time, really sort of throwing off the weight of the Catholic Church that has so much dominated this island over the last several centuries.

And so when President Biden sits down with his counterparts today here in Ireland he will be really talking about a new country that really does share a lot of values with the United States. This is a much more progressive country than Biden's ancestors departed centuries ago. It's a much more progressive country even than when John K. Kennedy visited here in the 1960s.

And so, President Biden, when he sits with the Taoiseach and when he sits with the president they'll have a lot to discuss -- really, a lot in common -- as he continues this trip in Ireland, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, and you'll be covering all of it for us. Thank you so much, Kevin Liptak.

All right, back here, the Bulls are one step closer to reaching the NBA Playoffs after a huge comeback to win their Play-In game against the Raptors.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. And, Andy, the Bulls -- they had a - what, a secret weapon in Toronto, didn't they?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Christine, not often can we say that one of the player's kids literally helped the team win, but that was the case for the Bulls last night in Toronto. Listen to DeMar DeRozan's daughter Diar every time the Raptors shot a free throw.


NBA ANNOUNCER 1: So you're hearing when Raptors shoot she's screaming.


NBA ANNOUNCER 2: This guy thinks she can do more offensively.

NBA ANNOUNCER 1: The third and fourth periods.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHOLES: Just incredible dedication from Diar to help her dad win, and it worked. The Raptors missed 18 free throws. It's the most misses in a winner-take-all game since 1969.

The Bulls were down 19 in the third but thanks to all the missed free throws they battled back. DeRozan and Zach LaVine leading Chicago to a 109-105 win.

And here was DeRozan after the game on this daughter's performance.


DEMAR DEROZAN, CHICAGO BULLS FORWARD: She went viral. She -- I haven't let it soak in yet. Everybody keeps saying -- but that's all right. I kept hearing something during the game and it was on a free throw somebody missed. And I looked back and I was like damn, that's my daughter screaming?


SCHOLES: All right. In the Western Conference elimination game, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a big second half for the Thunder, scoring 25 of his 32 points in the final two quarters. OKC had a three-point lead with just a few seconds on the clock and the Pelicans' Herbert Jones ends up throwing the ball out of bounds. The Pelicans don't even get a last shot off. Thunder will 123-118 to move on to the eight-seed game.


Here is a look at Friday's schedule. OKC is going to play at the Timberwolves with the winner moving on to face the Nuggets in the first round. The Bulls are going to now play at the Heat with the winner getting the Bucks.

In baseball, will the Tampa Bay Rays ever lose again? They beat the Red Sox 9-7 last night to run their season-starting winning streak to 12. So 12 is the biggest winning streak the team has ever had at any point in their history. They're now just one win shy of tying the Major League record to start a season, which was set by the Brewers and Braves back in the '80s.

All right, and finally, baseball games -- they have become considerably shorter this season. Thanks to the pitch clock and other new rules they are about 30 minutes shorter, which means there's less time to buy beer. Well, several teams are now changing the rules to try to get some more sales in. Historically, beer sales -- they end in the seventh inning. The Diamondbacks, Rangers, and Twins confirming to CNN they are now going to sell through the eighth inning.

And Christine, I actually experienced this firsthand. I was at an Astros game a week ago. You know, I got a beverage in the third but by the time I was going to get another one sales were over because the game went so fast. So --



ROMANS: I was wondering how they were going to handle that because the almighty dollar is pretty important during those games. I was -- I didn't think they were going to try to give up any of those sales.


ROMANS: Nice to see you, Andy Scholes.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Sorry to be the cynic but, yes -- all right. Beer into the eighth inning. Thanks.

Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" former President Trump back in New York today for another legal case. And next right here, what's finally getting cheaper at the grocery store.



ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 10.9 -- as in egg prices tumbled 10.9 percent last month -- relief from months of soaring food inflation. That's the biggest tumble for egg prices since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. Grocery prices, overall, fell for the first time since 2020. Relief at the grocery story -- it's been rare but we saw it.

Annual inflation eased to five percent in March, the lowest in nearly two years. But Fed economists now project fallout from the banking crisis could trigger a mild recession later this year and then two years of recovery to follow.

All right. Looking at markets around the world right now, Asian markets finished mixed. China's exports rose in March for the first time in six months. Europe is mixed at this hour with a pop there in Paris.

On Wall Street, stock index futures barely moving here. I'd call that indecisive for the Dow. But the Nasdaq, as has been the trend, a little bit more optimistic than the other averages.

Stocks slipped Wednesday after those minutes from the Federal Reserve revealed worries of a mild recession later this year. The Dow snapping a four-day winning streak, reversing earlier optimism on news those consumer prices cooled for a ninth month in a row.

Prices for groceries, gasoline, medical care all fell over the month. On the flip side, shelter, airfare, and vehicle insurance all rose. On inflation watch, gas prices rose by two cents to $3.65 a gallon.

The Producer Price Index and weekly jobless claims due in just a few hours at 8:30 a.m. eastern time.

All right, joining me now Dan Ives. He's a managing director and senior equity analyst at Wedbush Securities. So nice to have you here this morning.


ROMANS: So the Fed minutes from March show that the staff is preparing for a -- for a mild recession later this year. But the Nasdaq is up 14 percent this year. Why is tech -- technology stock a safe haven in all of this uncertainty?

IVES: It has become the new safety trade. I mean, look, it's a game of high-stakes poker and the street's basically reading this. The Fed's handcuffed in terms of more rate hikes and ultimately, they're going to have to cut probably later this year. That's great for risk assets.

And also, tech has been better than feared. I mean, fundamentals have held up. I'll call it soft to no landing. That's why big tech, in my opinion, continues being the green light to own these names.

ROMANS: Is cost-cutting part of this story because I just sort of anecdotally watch when you hear of job cuts at a company suddenly the stock goes up. I mean, the street likes to see that?

IVES: Yes, no doubt. I mean, these companies were spending money like 1980s rockstars. And you look at names like Meta, Amazon, Microsoft -- that really indicates the low in terms of once that starts happening. The street loves it. Music to the ears. You're starting to see cost- cutting continue to happen.

ROMANS: Right.

IVES: That's good for margins and that's part of why tech continues to move higher.

ROMANS: Well, in tech -- I mean, part of the layoff story there is that they hired so many people. You saw this reporting earlier this week that people were making $150,000-$190,000 to not really even do anything because the companies were hoarding talent and now they're reversing that essentially.

IVES: Yes. And look, I mean, now all of a sudden, there's no omelet person in the breakfast place at some of these tech firms. And look, I think it's just the new reality, right, because you're starting to see cracks in the armor. For the first time now tech -- really in the last 10-11 years cutting costs. And the macro is softer.

But I think ultimately, the strong get stronger. That's names like Microsoft, Apple. You look at Google and others. And I think that's why big tech FAANG names --


IVES: -- I still think have a significant upside here.

ROMANS: I mean, they had a tough year last year but again, this beginning of the year has been remarkable for tech investors. Does that persist or is the best baked in here?

IVES: Look, I mean, clearly, it's been the strong run to start the year. I still view it as 10-15 percent upside there because --

ROMANS: Even if there's a recession later this year you think they hold out OK?

IVES: Look, I think they hold out because right now numbers -- they've already ripped the Band-Aid off.

ROMANS: Right.

IVES: Guidance has been lowered.

ROMANS: Right.

IVES: We're starting to see tick-ups. And the earnings season -- I view that -- I'm not going to say roses and champagnes but a positive for tech.

ROMANS: Yes, all right. Really nice to see you. Thanks for dropping --

IVES: Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: -- by today. Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities. It's always great to have you here.

Breaking news this morning. The White House already speaking out on the appeals court ruling overnight that partially froze a Texas judge's order keeping the abortion pill Mifepristone available for now. Full coverage on "CNN THIS MORNING," next.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

Our top of the morning, the top-trending T.V. shows right now.


Clip from Netflix "BEEF."


ROMANS: "BEEF" is number one.

Here is number two.


Clip from Netflix "THE NIGHT AGENT."


Number three -- and number three.


Clip from Showtime's "YELLOWJACKETS."



All right, some of music's greatest songs have been added to the U.S. National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress.





ROMANS: Madonna's "Like A Virgin" was one of 25 tunes to make the cut, joining Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You," John Lennon's "Imagine," and Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."

All right, thanks for joining me. I'm Christine Romans this Thursday morning. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.