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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Generals Agree To Extend Truce, Deadly Violence Goes Unchecked; Health Concerns Over Ya Ya The Panda Stresses U.S.-China Tension; Lamar Jackson Reaches Record-Breaking Deal With Ravens. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 28, 2023 - 05:30   ET



DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But there is a sense of danger when coming in by air. A lot of nations have managed to get people out by aircraft. Just this morning, a Turkish C-130 transport plane was fired upon by a gunman north of the capital. They say there were no injuries. But it speaks to the general chaos and the difficulty of people getting out in that route.

The Secretary of State Antony Blinken said they're working on more sustained plans.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: We believe that the best way to have an enduring capability to help people leave Sudan, if that's what they so choose, is over land and we are working to establish a process that would enable people to move over land to a place where they can more easily exit the country.


MCKENZIE: Many millions of Sudanese, of course, and foreigners, are in the capital facing this kind of chaos and looting, as well as a dwindling supply of medical supplies as we've been reporting on. It's not just in the capital -- other parts of the country, especially in the western part of Darfur on the border of Chad where there is significant instability. And it's not just the two sides warring -- the two generals -- other militant groups are also getting involved in the general state of chaos.

And all of the pressure from the U.S., from the Saudis, from the African Union, from the East African Bloc, and even this morning from the prime minister of Ethiopia haven't stopped these two sides from fighting -- Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Just a tragedy unfolding there.

All right, David, thank you so much for that.

I want to bring in now Gasim Ibrahim, a chemical engineering PhD candidate from Sudan. Thank you so much for joining me this morning. You know, you were born and raised in Sudan. You have family there still. I want to know how are they. And how has this been, Gasim, watching this unfold from abroad?

GASIM IBRAHIM, CHEMICAL ENGINEERING PHD CANDIDATE (via Webex by Cisco): Hi, Christine, and thanks for having me.

My family is safe now. It was very tense for the first few days because it just came out of nowhere. Actually, for the first four days, they were scattered around Khartoum in various fighting areas but now they've kind of gathered in one location. Still in Khartoum and safer but still every day they hear like bombings, fighting. It's kind of tense for us and for them as well.

ROMANS: How has it been watching it from abroad?

IBRAHIM: It's been very hard. Like I said, the first few days, especially, because you can see everything -- I could see my house on some of the footage I see, like, on the news. And you see bombings and you have to call. Sometimes there's no internet. Sometimes the network drops. I have to call three different households for the families scattered.

For a lot of people abroad, I hear it's just as tense. Even my family told me you should stop worrying. You're probably more tensed up than we are -- but it's rough.

ROMANS: Yes, I can imagine.

You know, so many people are on the move. We know it's a humanitarian crisis now. And now we're learning about this water shortage.

What is your biggest concern right now for the people back home?

IBRAHIM: There are multiple concerns. I think, basically, the collapse of the medical industry is actually probably one of the largest concerns. A lot of doctors have been harping on this for quite a while now.

Water shortage is temporary. Sudan has lots of water. It's mainly just the facilities and people have been unable to operate the facilities due to the security concerns. But electricity is in shortage. Water is in shortage.

But if things keep going on because Khartoum is the central hub of Sudan -- if things keep going on there's going to be a humanitarian crisis for sure.

ROMANS: You know, one of the most frustrating things here is that this ceasefire, such that it is, hasn't really been a ceasefire. There have still been skirmishes and violence all along. That must be frustrating to watch, too.

IBRAHIM: Yes, it's very hard because like, for example, the first few days when there was part of a ceasefire, some people tried to move and they actually got shot down. There is a famous case from the University of Khartoum where a lot of

people were trapped initially. And once they heard the ceasefire was going to go down some of them tried to leave and one of them got shot and died at the university and actually had to get buried in the university because they couldn't even leave to bury him. It was --


IBRAHIM: -- quite a problem.

So definitely, yes, safe corridors and being able to move around is necessary for civilians to be -- get out and find safety.

ROMANS: Well, we certainly wish your family well and hope that there can be a resolution to this sometime soon here.

Gasim Ibrahim, thank you so much for telling your story.

IBRAHIM: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

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

Iran's Navy has seized an oil tanker bound for the U.S. after it collided with a boat and tried to flee the scene, according to state media. The U.S. fleet is monitoring the situation.

Thousands rally in Jerusalem for Israel's plan to overhaul the judicial system, marking a rare mobilization of right-wing support. Moderates have been protesting against the divisive plan for months.


A new report from the Church of England focuses on the importance of family relationships. One of its key messages, honor singleness and single-person households, reminding people that Jesus himself was single.

OK, just ahead, Ron DeSantis in the U.K. right now -- a new stamp for his passport and a new bullet point for his resume. And a young Crimson Tide quarterback makes history as the top overall draft pick.


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

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will meet with top government officials in the U.K. today. It's the last leg of his four-nation foreign trip to polish his foreign policy credentials before an expected presidential run.

Jury deliberations continue today in the seditious conspiracy trial of the right-wing extremists Proud Boys. The four-month trial is the Justice Department's longest January 6 trial so far.

[05:40:07] History will be made today by United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi. He's set to become the first Arab astronaut to perform a space walk along with his NASA crewmate Steven Bowen.

All right. Ya Ya, the giant panda, back in China -- a living symbol of growing tension between Washington and Beijing.

CNN's Will Ripley has more on the panda propaganda.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In China, a hero's welcome for Ya Ya the panda at the end of a 16-hour flight from Memphis to Shanghai. Crowds gathered outside the airport trying to catch just a glimpse of Ya Ya's crate -- her first moments back on Chinese soil.

She'll spend the next month in quarantine at the Shanghai Zoo where a media feeding frenzy is in full swing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And many Chinese have been watching closely and looking forward to Ya Ya's return.

RIPLEY (voice-over): This geriatric giant panda is a household name in China for all the wrong reasons. When Ya Ya's panda playmate died of heart disease in February, pictures of Ya Ya with scraggly fur and sagging skin sparked online panda-monium -- a Chinese social media frenzy fueled by false claims. Rampant rumor denied by the zoo of panda abuse and neglect in the U.S. -- outrage amplified by anti- American sentiment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ya Ya, come back home.

RIPLEY (voice-over): "Bring Ya Ya home" became a rallying cry for millions of Chinese. The panda's picture plastered on billboards from Beijing to the Big Apple.

It's true -- Ya Ya was young and fluffy when she arrived at the Memphis Zoo 20 years ago on a long-term multimillion-dollar lease from China. U.S. and Chinese scientists say she has a genetic condition affecting her skin and fur -- a condition that worsens with old age. No impact on her quality of life, just her looks.

They even issued a joint statement saying, "The fact is Ya Ya had excellent care."

But facts don't always matter in a world full of fake news. Anti- American panda propaganda is filling the feeds of Chinese social media users. No mention of the healthy pandas at two other American zoos, but plenty of pictures of an active and playful panda in Russia -- a panda Chinese state media praises for improving bilateral ties.

Ya Ya's saga will end where it began, the Beijing Zoo, where she'll live out her final years. She just might be the world's most politicized panda -- a beloved bear that brought the U.S. and China closer now being used to divide. Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


ROMANS: All right, to sports now.

The first round of the NFL draft is in the books and the quarterbacks leading the way.

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


So three of the top four picks in the draft this year were quarterbacks and we had all kinds of drama early on with a bunch of trades. But, of course, it all got started with the tradition of welcoming Commissioner Roger Goodell to the stage. Yes, the huge crowd on hand in Kansas City letting Goodell hear it.

Then -- well, it was no surprise. The Panthers taking Alabama quarterback Bryce Young with the top overall pick. And check out the reaction from his Alabama teammates when the pick was announced. Despite all the amazing players in their history, Young is the first Crimson Tide player to ever get selected first overall in the NFL draft.

Now, with the number two pick, the Texans selected Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. And he got emotional, breaking down in tears backstage after he got the call from his new team.

And the Texans weren't done. They then traded their other first-round pick, a second-round pick, and a first and a third-round pick next year to the Cardinals to get the third pick in the draft. And they snagged EDGE rusher Will Anderson out of Alabama. So the Texans are really going for it this year.

The Colts then took Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson with that fourth pick. The 20-year-old -- he made headlines at the Combine after clocking the fastest 40-yard dash time of all the quarterbacks, as well as jumping the highest and the furthest.

But one quarterback who did not hear his name was Kentucky's Will Levis. He was considered by many a top 10 pick, some thinking he'd go in the top four. Instead, Levis is now going to have to wait for tonight's round two. So definitely, a rough day for him.

Not a rough day, though, for Lamar Jackson. Jackson finally getting the deal he was looking for, resigning with the Baltimore Ravens. And in doing so, becoming the highest-paid player in the league. According to multiple reports, the five-year contract is worth $260 million with $185 million of that guaranteed.


All right. In the NBA Playoffs last night, the Celtics looking to close out the Hawks but Trae Young trying to live to fight another day. He scored 18 points in the first quarter. The Hawks were up three in the fourth but that's when the Celtics just went on a run. Jayson Tatum, the step-back three there. Then a few moments later, Tatum going to come through with the monster put-back slam.

The Celtics, an 11-0 run and puts the game away. They would win 128- 120 to move on to face the Sixers in round two.

The Lakers and Warriors could potentially face each other in round two as well. Both of them in action tonight trying to close out their series.

In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Golden Knights becoming the first team to advance to the second round with a dominant 4-1 win over the Jets. After losing game one of the series they went on to win four in a row to move on. Vegas will now face either Edmonton or Los Angeles in round two.

And the playoffs continue tonight with a four-game sixes. The action gets started at 7:00 eastern with the Hurricanes at the Islanders on TBS.

And, you know, Christine, becoming the first pick in the NFL draft comes lots of endorsements. Bryce Young already got one with Snickers. They were handing out Bryce cream bars there at the NFL draft in Kansas City and on his campus in Alabama.

How early is too early to eat an ice cream bar for breakfast? Do you do that?

ROMANS: Never too early. Never too early.

SCHOLES: Never too early? All right, I'm going to dig into this.

ROMANS: I endorse wholeheartedly.

All right, nice to see you, Andy Scholes.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING," for the first time in history, a former vice president telling a grand jury about his ex-boss, the president, in a criminal investigation.

And next right here, the AI arms race. The biggest names in tech with hundreds of billions of dollars at stake.



ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 800 billion. The top analyst at Wedbush Securities says artificial intelligence is an $800 billion market opportunity over the next decade. For example, tech titans like Tesla's Elon Musk could use AI for self-driving, of robotics, and customer supercomputing. Wedbush's top analyst, the person who gave us that number, will join me next -- but just a second.

Looking at markets around the world right now, Asian markets finished higher. European markets have turned lower here. Bank shares in the region fell, heading for their heaviest daily loss since late March.

GDP in the Eurozone, by the way, grew at just 0.1 percent in the first quarter of the year. Contrast that to the U.S. where 1.1 percent growth was registered.

On Wall Street, stock index futures right now are leaning lower a little bit after a higher day yesterday. In fact, the Dow and the S&P had their best day since January. The Nasdaq up more than two -- almost 2 1/2 percent.

Stocks propelled by news that Meta posted a better-than-expected earnings report. Meta shares jumped more than 14 percent after that report.

Mortgage rates, by the way, ticked up this week. A 30-year fixed averaging 6.43 percent.

And on inflation watch, gas prices fell a penny overnight to $3.63 a gallon.

The Fed's preferred inflation gauge, the PCE indicator, is due out at 8:30 this morning. That will likely be the big driver.

A big week for tech. First-quarter earnings coming in basically higher than expected for Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft.

Here to break down what's driving these numbers is Dan Ives, managing director and senior equity analyst at Wedbush Securities.

So let's talk first, I guess, about these big tech earnings better than expected. What's happening here?

DANIEL IVES, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND SENIOR EQUITY ANALYST, WEDBUSH SECURITIES: Well, it's not roses and champagne in terms of the macro but this has been much better than feared. I mean, really, hold up the Rock of Gibraltar, like in terms of tech, cloud, digital advertising. And this really is putting fuel in the tech rally. I think it's a green light from here in terms of tech stocks.

ROMANS: So the Nasdaq is already up 17 percent this year, so tech has had a good year. We're talking about GDP in the U.S. of only 1.1 percent and signs of slowdowns elsewhere. But you're saying these companies have cost costs aggressively this quarter and they're looking ahead.

IVES: It's the perfect combo. I mean, they were spending money like 1980s rockstars and now, ripping the Band-Aid off and cutting costs. And now growth is not just stabilized but on an uptick -- that one-two combo.

And I think -- I continue to think many investors are underinvested in tech. It's a scarcity of growth. And especially, also, with an AI arms race playing out --


IVES: -- more and more tech investors are betting on that.

ROMANS: Let's talk about that -- that $800 billion number there. How much of the growing hopes for AI kind of the new -- the new, I guess, frontier for all of these tech names?

IVES: I think it's going to be a new paradigm and it's probably the biggest technology trend we've seen in 25 years. And it's real. I think many investors will be skeptical -- oh, is it just hype, like Metaverse? This is real.

And that's why right now, Microsoft's leading that game of thrones battle. You have Google behind them. You look what Meta and other tech players are doing. I think Apple is going to talk about it next week.

And this is really, really -- welcome to the gold end of the rainbow -- $800 billion over the next decade.

ROMANS: And we're just in the early -- the early innings of all this, of course.

But you're saying we've looked at all this cost-cutting and these layoffs in techs but they're hiring in AI like crazy.

IVES: Oh, I mean, because they're really trying to aggressive developers and engineers because for tech companies, they really realize this is going to be the next trend. And you cannot -- even though Microsoft and ChatGPT is really owning the market every other tech player is doubling down on AI in terms of what's really an arms race playing out in tech.

ROMANS: So for about a year everyone's been where's the recession? How big will the recession be? Will it be a shallow recession? What you're seeing in tech is looking way beyond that at this point.

IVES: It's the forest for the trees and I think that's why tech stocks have rallied so much this year. And I still see green light rest of the year because investors are looking on the other side. Where is the growth? And if you look back in these environments it's been the best time to own tech stocks despite many yelling fire in a crowded theater.

ROMANS: All right, Dan Ives. Always nice to see you. Have a great weekend --


IVES: You, too.

ROMANS: -- a great rest of your day.

IVES: You, too.

ROMANS: All right.

Artificial Intelligence may be coming to your local police precinct. How law enforcement is using AI to monitor how well it does its job, ahead.


ROMANS: Our top of the morning, the top songs streaming right now on Pandora.




ROMANS: Morgan Wallen's "Last Night" is number one.

Here is number two.





ROMANS: That's "Flowers" by Miley Cyrus.

And at number three --


TOOSII, AMERICAN RAPPER: Singing "Favorite Song."


ROMANS: -- Toosii with "Favorite Song."

All right, have a great weekend, everybody, and a great rest of your day. Thanks for joining me. I'm Christine Romans. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.