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At Least 30 Killed, Dozens Injured After Pakistan Train Derailment; President Biden Heads West To Promote Climate And Economic Policies; "Barbie" Makes History With $1 Billion Box Office Haul. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 07, 2023 - 05:30   ET





Pakistan has now launched a formal investigation into a deadly train derailment. At least 30 people were killed and dozens were injured when a passenger train crashed Sunday in the southern Sindh province.

CNN's Anna Coren covering the story from Hong Kong. Anna, good morning to you. So any early theories about what may have caused this?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rahel, we don't know what caused this train crash but we know that the death toll from Sunday's train derailment is expected to rise due to the severity of the injuries. That's according to local officials. And looking at the pictures of the mangled wreckage -- of the aftermath -- it's not difficult to understand why.

Yesterday, the Hazara Express left Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, at 8:00 a.m. local with 950 passengers on board. More than five hours later, just after 1:00 p.m., the train derailed near the town of Nawabshah in Sindh province. Authorities say the train was traveling at moderate speed -- about 28 miles an hour -- when it rain off the tracks. Ten cars in total derailed.

Now, this is a remote farming area so the first people on the scene were local villagers trying to pull survivors from the wreckage. Eyewitnesses spoke of people screaming and bodies strewn across the ground of women and children.

Local media reports that it took hours for emergency crews to arrive. They had to bring in heavy machinery to free the passengers who were trapped. The military also assisted.

Now, the injured were taken to local hospitals. There were body bags lying on the ground next to survivors. Let's now have a listen to one of those survivors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JETHA NAND, INJURED IN TRAIN ACCIDENT (through translator): It was so sudden and we were seated comfortably until then. We heard the growling sounds and I gathered that the train had derailed. Then a storm of dust spread. Then a berth fell on my head and blood splashed.


COREN: Rahel, as I said, the cause of the derailment is unknown but the railway minister said that it could be either a technical fault or an act of sabotage. An investigation is underway.

SOLOMON: A lot more to come here. Anna Coren live for us there. Thank you, Anna.

Now for quick hits around the globe right now. Let's start here.

An Israeli missile strike near Damascus has killed four Syrian soldiers and wounded four others. This, according to Syrian state TV. Last month, Israel attacked seven (INAUDIBLE) targets in the area.

Four U.S. Navy destroyers were recently deployed to Alaska to keep an eye on 11 Russian and Chinese ships patrolling off the Aleutian Islands. U.S. Northern Command tells CNN that the joint patrol did not pose a threat to the U.S. or Canada.

And a senior Ukrainian official said that peace talks hosted by Saudi Arabia over the weekend were, quote, "productive." Moscow called the meeting, quote, "doomed." Russia did not take part.

And still coming up for us, new rules for gay and bisexual men in the U.S. when it comes to donating blood. And Simone Biles back in competition after a two-year absence. We'll be right back.



SOLOMON: Welcome back, and here is today's fast-forward lookahead.

The judge overseeing Trump's January 6 case says that he and his team have until 5:00 p.m. today to respond to a protective order limiting what they can share publicly. It comes after he posted online a reference to revenge on those who go after him.

New blood donation guidelines go into effect today for the American Red Cross that allows more gay and bisexual men to donate. The new rules focus on behavior rather than sexual orientation.

And President Biden kicks off a three-day trip to the American West. His first top, Arizona. CNN Kevin Liptak has more on the president's Bidenomics tour.


KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER (on camera): President Biden is heading west this week to sell voters on his climate agenda. This is all part of a broader effort by the White House to sell the president's accomplishments and take credit for those accomplishments, including the Inflation Reduction Act, which you'll remember included $370 billion meant to combat climate change.

Now, the president will visit Arizona first, and sources tell us that he is considering designating a new national monument around the Grand Canyon. This is something that native tribes have been lobbying for, for years, and it would prevent new drilling in the area.


So the president really trying to bolster his climate agenda of the 2024 election. Of course, this is a critical issue for key members of the democratic coalition -- progressives, young voters -- people who haven't necessarily been satisfied with the president in this area so far when it comes to drilling for fossil fuels and when it comes to cutting carbon emissions. The president really hoping to show voters that he is serious about combating climate change.

Now, this is all part of a bigger effort by the Biden administration to take more credit for their economic agenda in the month of August. And you'll see the president, the vice president, members of the cabinet all out talking about their economic record, and they do believe that they have a good story to tell. Inflation is easing. Consumer sentiment is ticking up. And certainly, hiring remains strong.

But there does remain this disconnect with voters. In a poll last week by CNN, 75 percent said that they viewed economic conditions as poor, and that is translating into political headwinds for President Biden when it comes to his approval rating. So, certainly, the challenge for President Biden as he gears up for re-election is to close that gap and remind voters of all that he has accomplished when it comes to the economy.

Kevin Liptak, CNN, Wilmington Delaware.


SOLOMON: Our thanks to Kevin there.

Later today, a new consumer credit report will be released giving fresh insight into America's borrowing habits on everything from car loans to credit cards. And according to a new Bankrate survey, 47 percent of U.S. credit cardholders are currently carrying credit card debt month-to-month.

Let's bring in Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Ted, always great to see you.

So I want to start there with that 47 percent. Put that in context for us. Is that pretty standard? Is that higher than usual? What does that mean to you?

TED ROSSMAN, SENIOR INDUSTRY ANALYST, BANKRATE.COM (via Webex by Cisco): It's up. A couple of years ago, that percentage was 39 percent. So, really, what we're seeing here is more people carrying more debt.

The New York Fed says credit card balances were at a record high for longer periods of time. That was another part of our survey. Sixty percent of people with credit card debt have had it at least a year. That's up 10 percentage points over the past 18 months.

And then, finally, these really high interest rates. The average credit card charges about 20 1/2 percent. So there are definitely some worrisome signs there.

SOLOMON: Yes, the interest rates have been brutal.

So, Ted, what is your number one tip for people? People ask me all the time and I'm not a financial analyst so I -- you know, I get a little concerned about giving people financial advice. But what is your financial advice for people who are holding credit card debt?

ROSSMAN: Get a zero percent balance transfer card. These offers are widely available. They let you pause that interest clock for up to 21 months. So you take your existing high-cost debt and you move it over to a card like the Wells Fargo Reflect of the BankAmericard, or the Citi Simplicity.

You have to be disciplined about paying it down. I mean, really, the business case here is they bring in balances. After the clock expires the interest rates goes way up. But for those 21 months, the ability to avoid interest is really powerful. That could save you hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars depending on how much you owe.

SOLOMON: Yes. The caveat is you have to pay off that principal -- that's for sure.

Ted, what about student loan repayments? A lot of people, come October, are suddenly going to have another bill to pay. I mean, how concerning, if at all, is this?

ROSSMAN: It's something that about one in six households are dealing with. So I think the big picture is not so bad. I don't think this will really do much to dent the economy overall. But at the individual level I like to say all news is local -- not just geography, of course, but do you have credit card debt or not? Do you have student debt or not?

The average student loan payment is close to $500 a month, so if that's something that you haven't been used to paying for a few years and now you need to fit that into the budget, I think it's really important to recalibrate, figure out where you're at. I do think for those households this could be an obstacle and maybe this does lead to more credit card debt either directly or indirectly.

SOLOMON: Ted, what about the auto loan space? We know that interest rates are high there but also, car prices are very high. What are you seeing in this space?

ROSSMAN: I think this is the biggest trouble spot in terms of delinquencies, especially subprime auto loans. Those are actually more delinquent now than they were during the Great Recession. And I think, as you said, a lot of that speaks to high car prices. The average new car price is getting close to $50,000.

And it's actually that even more than higher rates that are making it hard to pay off. I mean, a lot of people have $800 a month car payments. That's tough to swing. Many people are starting to fall behind, especially those with lower incomes and lower credit scores.


SOLOMON: Yes, really hard to wrap your head around $700, $800 monthly car payments.

Ted Rossman, great to have you. Thank you.

ROSSMAN: Thanks.

SOLOMON: Turning to sports now, Team USA's chase for a historic three-peat at the Women's World Cup comes to a heartbreaking end.

Coy Wire has this morning's Bleacher Report. Coy, you were trying to explain to me this morning how it all went down.


SOLOMON: Heartbreak.

WIRE: Heartbreaking fashion. Don't let two Pennsylvania kids get on set, by the way.


WIRE: Good morning, lovely people.

Some people are recognizing, Rahel, that this was a very young team with a bright future; others questioning everything from the coaching to also, some of the perceived overconfidence, to the seemingly flippant demeanor at times -- even from one of their stars, Megan Rapinoe, who is smiling after missing that crucial penalty.

Sweden won by the slimmest of margins, stunning the U.S. They get sent home before the semi-finals for the first time in World Cup history.

Now, here it is, Rahel. Look at that ball just barely, barely getting across the bar there -- across the line.

As for Rapinoe, she's going to go down as one of the greatest U.S. players ever and someone who played for something more than just the game. She was asked what memory is going to stand out most.


MEGAN RAPINOE, PLAYED FINAL GAME FOR USA SUNDAY: Probably equal pay chance. After the finals, I think this team has always fought for so much more and that's been the most rewarding part for me. Of course, playing in World Cups and winning championships and doing all that. But to know that we've used our really special talent to do something that's really, like, changed the world forever, I think that means the most to me.


WIRE: Lionel Messi not messing around in MLS and Messi-mania is real. Tickets for Sunday's Leagues Cup match between their Inter Miami and FC Dallas were selling out in 10 minutes and going for as much as $20,000.

The 36-year-old Argentinian superstar made it worth every penny, netting two more goals. That's his seventh now in four matches. His second was yesterday. It was an equalizer in the 85th minute to tie the game at four. He also had an assist.

Miami rallying from down two in the final 10 minutes to win in penalties and advance to the quarter-finals.

Don't look now but Coco got her groove back. Gauff finding her form just in time for the U.S. Open later this month. The 19-year-old winning the Citi Open in D.C. She twirls and gives a little curtsey, Rahel. And this was her fourth singles title -- first, though, on American soil.

And now she's looking to dance her way into the first major title, and what a better place to do it than right down the road here in Queens. The U.S. Open starts August 28.

WNBA, a now sellout in Brooklyn for a battle of the two best teams in the league -- Aces and Liberty. The defending champs, Vegas, didn't stand a chance. Coach Becky Hammon said it was a good old-fashioned "you know what" whooping. New York winning 99-61.

Sabrina Inonescu, lights out -- 31 points, six three-pointers. Breanna Stewart proving why she's the MVP frontrunner -- 23 points and that monster block as Liberty snap the Aces' eight-game win streak.

And she is back. Simone Biles doing that thing. The GOAT in her first competition since the Olympics two years ago and it was like she never left. On Saturday, the 26-year-old newlywed soaring to the top of the podium at the Core Hydration U.S. Classic, posting the top scores in vault, floor, and balance beam, on her way to winning the all-around title.

And she says her mentals are in a good place, Rahel.

SOLOMON: Love to hear that.

WIRE: So --

SOLOMON: Love to hear that.

WIRE: And she did not rule out those Paris Olympics in a year from now.

SOLOMON: Love to hear that, too.

WIRE: Yes.

SOLOMON: But also, Simone also got her groove back.

WIRE: Yes.

SOLOMON: Coco got her groove back.

WIRE: Yes, yes.

SOLOMON: Simone got her groove back.

WIRE: Yes, that's some good --

SOLOMON: And you got two PA people at your table.

WIRE: You got it.

SOLOMON: A great start to the week.

WIRE: Yes.

SOLOMON: Coy, good to see you.

WIRE: Good to see you, too.

SOLOMON: Thank you.

All right. Coming up for us, a developing story right now. Ukraine uncovers what it says is a plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. We have the details next on "CNN THIS MORNING."

And next, right here, a billion-dollar Barbie. A big moment for the movie business.




Clip from Warner Bros. Pictures "Barbie."


SOLOMON: It's Barbie's world and we are all just living in it, clearly. A little over two weeks after its release, "Barbie" has already raked in over a billion dollars worldwide, becoming the fastest movie to reach $400 million domestically and $500 million internationally. That's according to the film's studio, Warner Bros., which is owned by CNN's parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.

For more to discuss, let's bring in Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for Comscore. Paul, always great to see you and have you.

So let's start with how do they do it. How did "Barbie" do it? What do you think they tapped into?

PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, SENIOR MEDIA ANALYST, COMSCORE (via Webex by Cisco): Well, there was something, Rahel, that was going. When these two films were dated for July 21 -- both "Oppenheimer" and "Barbie" -- the "Barbenheimer" phenomenon was born. And when those two films opened -- really, now they're in their third weekends each -- they doubled the original projections that they were expected to open to.

And now, "Barbie" is at over a billion dollars -- $1.031 billion to be exact, according to our Comscore numbers. "Oppenheimer" at over half a billion. So these two movies are I think always going to be linked. They're both incredibly important films.

But "Barbie" has just captured fashion, architecture. People are talking about the cultural implications of the movie. The color pink. All these things have become a huge deal and it's great for movie theaters right now and great for the industry.

SOLOMON: Yes. So you've said that this has created a bit of a watershed moment for diverse filmmaking.


SOLOMON: What do you mean?


DERGARABEDIAN: Well, I mean, when you have a director like Greta Gerwig posting the biggest solo directorial box office number ever at over a billion dollars, that says that having a lot of different voices in the mix -- all types of filmmakers from all backgrounds -- can certainly create movies big and small and certainly, blockbusters that can really do incredible business around the world. So I think that's really an interesting part of this.


DERGARABEDIAN: But it's also about the communal experience of the movie theater, and this has really captured the imagination of audiences. It's kind of bringing -- "Barbie" is bringing the world together, in a sense. And "Oppenheimer" is right there as well. Two very different movies both doing incredibly well. It's really a good sign for the industry facing headwinds from the strikes that we all know about are out there and looming.

SOLOMON: So do you think that becomes a larger takeaway for the industry? The communal experience that both of these films really sort of foster -- that maybe that's one way to do it? Because as you know, there were so many concerns about the death of the industry but I don't know now.

DERGARABEDIAN: Yes. Oh, I don't know. I think naysayers are proven unequivocally wrong. Those who thought the movie theater would be replaced by stream --

SOLOMON: Yes. DERGARABEDIAN: -- particularly when the pandemic hit. But look at the movie theaters right now. They're bustling with people --


DERGARABEDIAN: -- in movie theater lobbies. People are loving going.

The "Meg 2" did better than expected, as did "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." So we're going to have a great August and a great summer at the box office.

SOLOMON: For sure. It seems like everyone has gone out to see one or the other two. I'm still on my way but I will be there.

Paul Dergarabedian --

DERGARABEDIAN: I'm going to go back.

SOLOMON: I know. Great to see you. Thank you.


SOLOMON: And thanks for watching EARLY START. I'm Rahel Solomon.

Just ahead on "CNN THIS MORNING" the clock is ticking for Trump's legal team in a deadline in his latest criminal indictment. And breaking overnight, tragedy involving two firefighting helicopters in California.