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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Kenya Braces For Three Days Of Anti-Government Protests; Moscow Launches Air Strikes On Odesa For Second Night; Rejection Rate For Credit Applicants Highest Since 2018. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 19, 2023 - 05:30   ET



LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But this is one of the neighborhoods in Nairobi where the opposition leaders have promised to hold a gathering. The government of Kenya has said that these gatherings -- these demonstrations are illegal because they did not give formal notice to the government and to the police to protect them.

But there was a last-minute attempt by some people to try and block these in courts, but the Kenyan high courts, three times, said no, you cannot block these protests because the right to assemble, to picket, to present a petition to public authorities is constitutionally protected in this country.

But what you see now is cops who are supposed to be maintaining the peace, trying to clear the roads. They have been burning tires and -- every so often.

Just walk with me and I'm going to show you on this other side. The scene where the cops are constantly trying to push back these protesters and they're getting into this neighborhood. This is one of the informal settlements in Nairobi where some of the people who are worst affected that these tax hikes live, but there are also opportunities. People who are taking advantage of this situation to throw rocks at the police and to just enjoy the anarchy that's been created in this situation.

The U.N. has warned that the violence has been witnessed and these demonstrations is concerning. And also has called in the police to follow the law. Not to use this proportionate force in dealing with protesters. Because last week when Kenya had similar protests, at least 23 people were have said to have been killed when the police were using live ammunition, for instance, which is obviously concerning.

So today, so far, we're seeing a lot of restraint. But three different cities have schools closed because of situations like these, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Amazing reporting. All right, thank you so much, Larry. Keep us posted there. Russia attacking Ukraine's southern port of Odesa for the second consecutive night. Ukraine's military says its air defense has intercepted multiple cruise missiles both in Odesa and in Kyiv. Meantime, Moscow says its strikes are in retaliation for Ukraine's attacks on the Kerch Bridge. That's the bridge connecting Crimea to Russia.

CNN's Clare Sebastian joins us live from London. She is monitoring all these developments. Clare, where does the Ukrainian counteroffensive stand at this hour?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine, I think while our eyes are focused on the Kerch Bridge and what seems to be the Russian retaliation from that, the front lines continue to be extremely difficult. There's a lot of, sort of, one step forward two steps back.

Russia is said to be advancing over the weekend up in the north near Kupyansk. Ukraine now says that it has stopped that advance. We know that Ukraine has been claiming some ground around Bakhmut. Now they say that Russia is redeploying forces there. And they continue to come up against those heavy fortifications in the south where in the words of the deputy defense minister they have to create the conditions to advance, essentially demining and going through those lines of defenses.

So it continues to be difficult but I think overall Ukraine has not gained ground in this counteroffensive. And that strike, which it claimed responsibility for, on the Kerch Bridge shows how serious it is as well about disrupting Russia well behind those lines.

And I want to bring you an incident today in Crimea. A fire has broken out, according to the Russian head of that region, at an ammunition depot. He is calling it a military training ground. We believe there's also an ammunition dump there.

These are images that are coming out on telegram. Rolling explosions have been reported there. They've had to evacuate some 2,000 people from surrounding villages and close a section of highway.

We don't know the cause of this yet but one Wagner-affiliated telegram channel is suggesting that it could have been a storm shadow missile, but no corroboration of that as of yet, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Clare. Thank you so much for that.

Quick hits around the globe right now.

The head of the Wagner mercenary group is reported alive after his short-lived mutiny against the Kremlin. The head of Britain's MI6 spy agency tells CNN Yevgeny Prigozhin is not under detention and that his rebellion has put Vladimir Putin under pressure.

The leading elected candidate to be Thailand's prime minister has been suspended from Parliament because he owns shares in a media company -- an alleged violation of Thai election law. This comes as a military- appointed Senate is voting for a second time on a new head of government.

Straight out of a Hollywood movie. A 54-year-old Australian fisherman and his dog were rescued after three months at sea. Castaway Timothy Shaddock said he stayed alive by fishing.

Coming up, just how much more it will cost you to stay cool. And media mayhem as Messi takes a Miami field for his first practice.



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

Today, the White House will announce three new actions to lower food costs and support small businesses. It says they are the latest steps to increase competition and invest in rural communities.

Today, in Missouri, there will be a hearing on gender-affirming care after restrictions issued last month were paused. Transgender people and health care providers are seeking an injunction.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog set to speak before a joint session of Congress today. Some progressive Democrats plan to boycott the speech to protest Israel's policies toward Palestinians.

All right, with temperatures rising, so are your energy bills, folks -- but just how much extra does it cost to stay cool?

Joining us is CNN Business reporter Nathaniel Meyersohn, who has been digging in for -- into this. No surprise home cooling bills are going to be higher. How bad is it?

NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Right, Christine. So this is really going to take a toll on Americans' finances. Last summer, consumers spent about $517 on their energy bills; this summer, up to $578. That's a 12 percent jump. Some areas of the Southwest that is just being devastated right now by this heat wave are going to spend about $700. So this is really taking a toll on folks' finances.

ROMANS: Yes. Some of the folks in Texas are going to see double -- you know, double their bills -- their normal bills.

And the impact on low-income families, in particular -- this is where it's really focused.

MEYERSOHN: Yes. So these are the folks who are going to get hit the hardest. There are already about 20 million Americans who are behind on their utility bills, so this is going to stretch them even further. And the federal aid system is just not set up to help folks during the summer. It's really geared toward the winter heating programs, not summer cooling.


ROMANS: So how could lawmakers address this, or will they address this -- you know, this summer bill crisis for so many families?

MEYERSOHN: OK, so there are a few steps that advocates say that congressional leaders and state leaders should take to help lower- income folks afford their energy bills. They should suspend gas shutoffs during the summer and make sure that folks can still stay cool.

Advocates are calling for about $3 billion in congressional aid to help low-income folks with their energy bills. That will impact about six million people -- help six million people.

And then, we need to be reorienting our strategies over the summer. Extreme heat is here to stay but there's no long-term solution to help folks. But this is the -- this is the new reality and people really need to adjust to help these people.

ROMANS: A very warm new normal. A very expensive new normal.

Thank you so much, Nathaniel Meyersohn. Nice to see you.

All right, Messi mania continues to build in South Florida as the global soccer superstar practices with his Inter Miami teammates for the very first time.

Carolyn Manno has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Carolyn.


You know, usually, a guy running around a practice field is not that big of a deal, but this is no ordinary guy. We're talking helicopters and drones in the sky and hundreds of media members on the ground, all to catch a glimpse of arguably the greatest to ever play the game.

Just three days after signing that two-year deal that will pay him between $50 million and $60 million a year, Messi taking the field for some warmup drills with his new teammates. He's expected to make his Inter Miami debut Friday night against Mexico's Cruz Azul in the new league's cup competition. And tickets are selling for as much as $110,000 on the secondary market. Just incredible.

The Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand kicking off this week. The U.S. Women's National Team looking to make history as the first country ever to win the tournament three straight times.

This is also going to be the fourth and final World Cup for Megan Rapinoe. The 38-year-old retiring from the game at the end of her NWSL season.

Kelley O'Hara fighting back tears as she spoke about her teammate.


KELLEY O'HARA, USWNT DEFENDER: It's said to think about this being her last but she's done such incredible things for this team and for the world. So to be able to see the up close and personal, you know, and be close to that has been -- has been really special. And I hope that we all send her out on a high.


MANNO: Team USA's quest for the three-peat begins on Friday night at 9:00 Eastern against Vietnam in New Zealand.

Five months after winning the Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs ready to start all over again. The team taking the first step yesterday with quarterbacks and rookies reporting to training camp. Patrick Mahomes say they are ready to be the first to win back-to-back titles since the Patriots in '03 and '04.


PATRICK MAHOMES, QUARTERBACK, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: You should be motivated every year in the league. It shouldn't matter what the last year was. I mean, you should be motivated to do it again. When you have that parade, when you go through the off-season that I have been through, you want to do it again.

You only get those opportunities by winning the Super Bowl. And so, for us, we want to make sure that we can build up and try to win that Super Bowl again because that moment, that feeling is something that you just want to grab every single time that you get the opportunity to do.


MANNO: And it was not a good day to be a pitcher. On Tuesday, the Braves and Diamondbacks playing one of the wildest games you will ever see. Atlanta posted a five-run inning and a four-run inning and somehow it was not enough. When the dust settled, Arizona walked away with a 16-13 win that featured 27 hits, including six home runs. Talk about getting your money's worth.

The slugfest saw six lead changes, three ties, and it wasn't the only high-scoring affair. Twelve teams scored double-digit runs last night. Major League Baseball has not seen a night like that in 129 years. It actually ties May 30, 1884 for the second-most teams with 10-plus runs in a day, and it trails on 13 on July 14, 1894, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.


MANNO: So a wild day in baseball.

And I think Messi enjoyed maybe a day of anonymity in Miami --

ROMANS: I know, right?

MANNO: -- and now that is way out the window.

ROMANS: That Messi mania is real. Like, my kids -- my little boys keep scouring for tickets to see him when they play the Red Bulls in the --

MANNO: You've got to put the money in the piggy bank.

ROMANS: Too expensive.

MANNO: Yes, yes.

ROMANS: Maybe next year.

All right, thanks so much, Carolyn Manno.

MANNO: Sure.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" another criminal indictment looms for Donald Trump. The former president says so himself.

And next, right here, tough to get a loan right now in America. Why it's harder for Americans to access their credit.



ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning is 34. Regional chain Taco John's abandoning its trademark on the phrase "Taco Tuesday" after 34 years. Taco John's says it doesn't want to pay millions of dollars in legal fees to fight Taco Bell's petition to cancel the trademark. A food fight of sorts.

Taco John's is also donating $40,000 to the nonprofit Children of Restaurant Employees.

All right. Looking at markets around the world right now, Asian markets finished mixed here. Asian -- European markets have opened higher. A big bounce there in London. Britain's inflation cooled more than expected in June.

And on Wall Street, stock index futures also leaning higher, although just a touch so.

The Dow rose more than 300 points yesterday. That's the longest winning streak in two years now. The Nasdaq and the S&P -- they are at the highest levels this year and only maybe six or seven percent from record highs. Markets rallied after retail sales rose in June for the third straight month.

Goldman Sachs, Netflix, Tesla, and United Airlines will all report earnings later today.

And on inflation watch, folks, gas prices rose a penny overnight at $3.57 a gallon. You can see, though, well below last year's level -- almost a dollar below.

All right, are you finding it harder to get credit? You're not alone. New data from the New York Federal Reserve reveals that the overall rejection rate for credit applicants increased to nearly 22 percent. That's the highest level in five years. [05:50:06]

Joining us to discuss this and more is Sarah Foster. She's an analyst at Bankrate. Good morning.

So this is higher interest rates at work. This is what the Fed is trying to do, right, which is to slow things down.

SARAH FOSTER, ANALYST, BANKRATE: Absolutely. It's painful but this is kind of the reason why higher interest rates are relied on to slow inflation. Effectively, it cools demand, which also kind of weighs on credit and makes it harder for households to access that credit and even disincentivizes them from taking out a loan.


FOSTER: I think the housing market is really the best example. It's also the most rate-sensitive. I was just crunching some numbers earlier and back when mortgage rates were at a record low of 2.93 percent in our Bankrate data, it cost about $2,000 a month to finance a $500,000 mortgage.


FOSTER: Today, with interest rates pushing seven percent, that's now about 300 -- $3,350.

ROMANS: And that's a big -- that's a big difference.

For people with credit scores below 680, it's becoming even more challenging to access credit.

FOSTER: And this is kind of also what happens when you see the price of borrowing money rise too extensively. It requires a lot more capital monthly for these households to be able to make these payments. Lenders don't necessarily stop lending altogether; they just focus on lending to households that are so-called less risky.

And that's why we at Bankrate -- we really say that it's important to concentrate on your credit profile. In fact, that could probably impact you more than the Fed itself.

ROMANS: Well, absolutely because the lower the credit score the more you're going to pay for everything if you're -- if you're borrowing money.

What can people do? I mean, if you're below the 680 number -- I mean, what should you be doing to improve that credit profile so it doesn't cost so much to borrow?

FOSTER: Absolutely. I mean, it's important to look at your credit utilization rate. That's one of the most important factors, and your credit score. Credit history is also important. Make sure you have a history of on-time payments. That can help make sure that lenders maybe have more of a direct history to rely on, to look at, and to make sure that you aren't as risky. I would even say that it's important, really, to just shop around, too, because every lender has a different option right now --

ROMANS: Right.

FOSTER: -- especially when competing for that is extra competitive in a higher rate environment.

ROMANS: All right, Sarah. It's so nice to see you, Sarah Foster of Bankrate. Thank you.

FOSTER: Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: All right. Former President Trump says he is expected to be indicted and arrested for a third time. When to expect fresh charges by special counsel Jack Smith ahead.

And a U.S. soldier in North Korea in custody for the first time in decades after he crossed the demarcation line willfully and without authorization. New details on Army Private Travis King coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING."



ROMANS: Remember not too long ago when you had to wear a mask to work? In-N-Out is now banning workers from wearing masks in some states unless they receive a medical note from a doctor. The burger chain says this new policy is about -- it's about customer service with an emphasis on showing smiles and facial features. It affects workers in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Utah -- but state laws prevent this policy from going into effect in Oregon and California, and that's where most of the chain's locations are.

Now to what could be a big change for the chicken industry. An Israeli company says it has developed gene-editing technology to prevent the killing of billions of male chicks.

CNN's Anna Stewart explains.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): It's a girl! Well, in this laboratory, the males will not be coming out of their shells. Only female chicks hatch here. Females are preferred for their taste, egg- laying ability, and economic value.

So the poultry industry kills billions of male chicks every year through what many consider to be inhumane culling methods banned in Germany and France. But technology is poised to end the cruelty.

YUVAL CINNAMON, SCO, POULTRY BY HUMINN: So what we are trying to do is to give a solution to the probably most devastating animal welfare issue worldwide, which is the culling and slaughtering of day-old male chicks in the industry. STEWART (voice-over): How do they do it? Gene editing. They alter the DNA of hens so only female chicks hatch in the first place.

YAARIT WAINBEG, CEO, POULTRY BY HUMINN: The males stop developing very early upon induction and very early in embryogenesis, meaning that they are not fully developed to a full -- to a chicken. They don't hatch.

STEWART (voice-over): They do this by exposing the gene-edited eggs to blue light. This activates a kill switch that affects only male chick embryos.

CINNAMON: And we're able to confirm that, indeed, the eggs which carry the genetic trait -- namely, the male embryos -- they, indeed, stop developing at a very early stage of embryogenesis while the unmodified female layers normally hatch and become a laying -- a chicken.

STEWART (voice-over): The global demand for eggs is expected to increase until 2035, according to Huminn, putting millions more male chicks on the line -- a fate this lab hopes to prevent by 2025 when they go to market with their technology.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.



All right, our top of the morning this morning, the top-trending TV shows.


Clip from FX Networks' "THE BEAR."




Here is number two.


Clip from Max "FULL CIRCLE."


ROMANS: That's "FULL CIRCLE" on Max.

And number three.


Clip from Prime Video "JACK RYAN."


ROMANS: Tom Clancy's "JACK RYAN."

All right, thanks for joining me. I'm Christine Romans. Have a great day, everybody. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.