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Russia: 60+ Injured After Plant Explosion Near Moscow; 36 Killed In Wildfires Raging In Hawaii; Soon: Key U.S. Inflation Data To Be Released. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 10, 2023 - 05:30   ET




RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight in Russia, two combat drones were shot down as they approached Moscow. That's according to the city's mayor. He says that it's the second type of attack like this in as many days.

Russian officials are also investigating an industrial plant explosion near the capital, saying at least 60 people were injured and eight people are still missing.

CNN's Matthew Chance reports.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The explosion shook the Russian city, sending a dark mushroom cloud blowing into the skies. Closer to the blast you can see the windows falling from the buildings above.

Even residents shocked at the devastation. One local records these images of her destroyed sewing business and suggests a drone may have been spotted by one of her friends moments before the explosion. Outside, a local reporter spots what appears to be an artillery shell on the ground although, officially, the blast is being cast as an industrial accident at a fireworks factory.


Russian officials denying sabotage although this is a sensitive military plant making optical equipment like night vision goggles for Russia's war.


CHANCE (voice-over): "This place hasn't been used to produce mechanical optics for ages," says the Moscow governor at the scene. "It's only pyrotechnics made here," he insists.

Still, amid an upsurge of attacks at home, Russians have good reason to be nervous. August has been particularly fraught with a spike in small-scale drone strikes on Russian cities, including the capital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

CHANCE (voice-over): There's also been at least two dozen arson attacks on military recruitment centers across the country, like this one in the far eastern Republic of Buryatia, home of more casualties in the Ukraine conflict than any other Russian region.

But arrests are nationwide. Russian officials say vulnerable citizens, like pensioners, are being duped into fire bombings by Ukrainian agents posing as police or creditors calling in loans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

CHANCE (voice-over): "I was called by bankers," says this arrested woman. "And I thought they were the FSB," she says.

But a spokesman for one Russian partisan group denies Russians are being coerced, telling CNN that if people weren't angry with the authorities they wouldn't do anything. The Kremlin, he says, wants to hide the true level of discontent.

At the moment, there's no real evidence the latest factory explosion was anything more than the devastating safety breach officials claim. But with the impact of war now increasingly felt at home it's got many Russians on edge.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


SOLOMON: And quick hits around the globe right now.

Let's start in France where French authorities are investigating after a fire erupted at a vacation home in the northeast. The vacation home was hosting people with disabilities. Eleven people died and another 17 people managed to escape.

Forty-one people, meantime, have died in the latest migrant shipwreck tragedy. This one happened off the coast of Italy. The Coast Guard there says four people survived by holding on to the remnants of another shipwrecked vessel.

And Iraq has ordered all media and social media to stop using the term "homosexuality." Instead, they have to say "sexual deviance." Now, Iraq does not outlaw homosexual activity but morality clauses in its penal code have been used to target members of the LGBT community.

And coming up for us, a number of fake electors in Michigan are set to be arraigned on criminal charges. And the July inflation report will be released in just a few short hours. We'll tell you what to watch for just ahead. (COMMERCIAL)


SOLOMON: I want to get back to our breaking news at this hour. Officials say at least 36 people have died in the devastating wildfires in Hawaii. More than 2,100 fire victims are now in emergency shelters and at least 11,000 people were flown off Maui on Wednesday with more set to go today.

And the message we keep hearing from residents of Maui is that they just cannot believe how quickly the wildfires arrived at their homes.

CNN's Bill Weir now picks up the story.


SYLVIA LUKE, HAWAII LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: We never anticipated in this state that a hurricane, which did not make impact on our islands would cause this type of wildfires.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While Hurricane Dora is hundreds of miles south of the Hawaiian Islands, the storm brought winds of up to 80 miles an hour to Maui, turning the tinder-dry hillsides here into a blowtorch and catching hundreds of people between flames and the Pacific Ocean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody was prepared for this.

WEIR (voice-over): Lieutenant Gov. Sylvia Luke issued an emergency proclamation Tuesday, and Gov. Josh Green is returning to the state tonight.

LUKE: He is cutting his trip by a week, and that tells you the magnitude of how grave we think the situation is.

WEIR (voice-over): Thousands are in evacuation shelters and rescue operations are underway for both Maui and the big island of Hawaii where several other fires are burning as well.

MAJ. GEN. KENNETH HARA, ADJUSTANT GENERAL, STATE OF HAWAII, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Right now, the priority is for savings lives, preventing human suffering, and then mitigating great property loss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone I know in Lahaina, their homes have been burned down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lahaina is on fire.

WEIR (voice-over): In one of the hardest-hit areas, the charming tourist mecca of Lahaina, the Coast Guard said it rescued 12 people who jumped into the ocean trying to escape the flames. Officials say that thousands are without power. The 911 emergency system has been down at times. And hospitals are overwhelmed with burn patients -- at least three in critical condition.

LUKE: It has turned very serious and very dire.

WEIR (voice-over): Most striking to so many residents, just how fast the flames spread.

CLAIRE KENT, ESCAPED FROM LAHAINA: At one point, we were sitting there and I was like feeling the wind shifting. And I said to my friend -- I was like, should we turn the radio on and see if this, like -- you know, things are getting bad? But, I mean, I didn't get a text message. It was all just like word of mouth. Like, people running down the streets saying, like, you need to get out. There were guys riding around on bicycles just screaming at people to leave.

WEIR (voice-over): With hundreds of homes and businesses feared destroyed the extent of the damage won't be known for days, but images from the sky give a glimpse of the destruction. Overnight, more than 1,000 travelers had no choice but to sleep on airport grounds after several flights were canceled. Officials in Hawaii now discouraging non-essential travel to the Aloha State.


LUKE: Even as of this morning, planes were landing on Maui with tourists. This is not a safe place to be.

WEIR (voice-over): Bill Weir, CNN, en route to Maui.


SOLOMON: And turning now to business. July's Consumer Price Index report will be released in just a few hours -- a little less than three hours for all of those who are counting down. The closely- watched report will give key insights on the progress the U.S. is making in fighting inflation.

Let's bring in Jeanna Smialek, a Federal Reserve and economy reporter at The New York Times. Jeanna, great to see you.

So look, we're expecting modest increases with inflation. If, in fact, we see that in line with expectations, is that good news for the Fed? What do you think?

JEANNA SMIALEK, FEDERAL RESERVE AND ECONOMY REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES (via Webex by Cisco): Yes, this is going to be a complicated report to read for the Fed but I think overall, the takeaway is going to be good news.

So we're likely to see the headline inflation number -- the one that sort of makes all the headlines every month actually tick up a little bit, which would be the first time it's done that in 13 months. But that's really sort of a mechanical effect because we had a low inflation reading last July. We had a strong one last June and the one last July, so last month's looked a little softer. This month will look a little stronger.

SOLOMON: What about -- SMIALEK: And I think the real takeaway here will be -- exactly -- what is called a base effect. And I think that the real takeaway here though is going to be that we're going to see a slower movement upward in the inflation number that takes out food and fuel, both of which move around a lot from month to month on a monthly basis. And I think that's really what the Fed is going to be watching here.

SOLOMON: I see. So you expect core inflation to move up not as much, perhaps, as it had. And that is really important to the Fed because that, of course, is what the Fed has control over.

We know that energy prices had been falling and that helped in terms of headline inflation, but they've sort of ticked back up. In what areas, Jeanna, do you see perhaps ticking back up or remaining stubbornly high?

SMIALEK: Yes. So that energy index is an important one to watch. It won't matter a huge amount for this report because it started happening later in the month. It will matter a lot for the August report. There's a good chance that's going to keep inflation elevated next month. So that is a thing to watch.

I think that used cars are actually really interesting right now. They've been really cooling inflation down for a while. If you talk to dealers and you talk to people in the industry they're not sure how long that can last.

And I think that airfares and hotels, both of which have sort of been caught up in this revenge spending surge back toward experience spending and then sort of normalization after that. I think both of those are very interesting.

SOLOMON: Jeanna, talk to me about this debate that seems to be happening at the Fed. And I know based on your reporting you've been talking to different Fed officials about whether more rate hikes are necessary, if at all. I mean, what are you hearing about what the path looks like moving forward in terms of rate hikes?

SMIALEK: Yes. So you'll hear different things from different Fed officials. But I think it's important, probably, to pay attention to sort of the officials who sit at the very center of the committee.

So, for example, Michelle Bowman, who is a governor at the Fed, has suggested that you might need multiple more rate increases, but she's not super central to the committee. John Williams, who is the president of the New York Fed, very important on the committee, is saying that he thinks that it's likely that the debate is really about one rate increase from here.

So they're not talking about potentially doing a ton more; they're talking about should we do another one or should we be done now. And so that is a debate that suggests that we're very near the end of the road when it comes to rate increases.

SOLOMON: I think a lot of people at home would love to hear that -- would love to be at that base. Jeanna, what are they saying about potential rate cuts for people who, perhaps, have been sitting out buying a home because of how high mortgage rates have gone? What are they saying about cutting rates?

SMIALEK: Yes. So in an interview with me last week, John Williams suggested that they could cut rates next year and, potentially, even quite early next year -- just sort of depending on how inflation is shaping up. If inflation is sinking really quickly that could mean earlier cuts than otherwise. But he sort of dodged the question. He didn't exactly say that they were planning on cutting in early '24 but he didn't rule it out entirely.

And so, it does seem like we could be talking about sort of a pretty imminent set of rate cuts if it is the case that inflation continues to moderate.

SOLOMON: Yes. I think what you're alluding to there is the Fed speak that we often hear so much of, which is saying words but not really saying much. It's sort of like read between the lines here.

Jeanna Smialek, great to see you. Thank you. She's of The New York Times there.

SMIALEK: Thank you.

SOLOMON: All right, coming up for us and coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING," we will hear from residents who fled the devastating fires in Hawaii. And also, the latest on the assassination of a presidential candidate in Ecuador. I'll be right back.



SOLOMON: Turning to sports, Phillies pitcher Michael Lorenzen throws a no-hitter in just his second start with the team. Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Andy, that is not a bad debut in front of the home fans. And Philly fans --


SOLOMON: -- they are rough. I mean, I can say that because I am from Philly. So, you know, we're an unforgiving crowd.

SCHOLES: Yes, but when the players do really well like Michael Lorenzen did last night, they certainly cheer them on.

SOLOMON: That's right.

SCHOLES: And yes, what a debut in front of those home fans for Michael Lorenzen, the fourth no-hitter of this baseball season. And he needed 124 pitches in order to get it done. That was the most by a pitcher in a no-hitter since 2019.

Now, Lorenzen had thrown 100 pitches through seven innings. Manager Rob Thomson told him he'd give him about 20 more to try to get it done. Lorenzen's mom, wife, and daughter praying hard with two outs in the ninth. And Lorenzen getting Dominic Smith here to pop up to center to get that final out.

Lorenzen was then mobbed by his teammates out there on the field and then got to celebrate with his family on the field after his teammates were all done. He lifted up his 9-month-old daughter June into the air.

Lorenzen said the whole night -- just a dream come true.


MICHAEL LORENZEN, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES PITCHER: Don't let other people tell you what you can and can't do, and that's -- man, I worked insanely hard to make this dream come true. I've watched every single one of Nolan Ryan's no-hitters because I've always wanted to throw a no-hitter. And the fact that I just did it in front of this fan base, I can't believe it.



SCHOLES: Now, Lorenzen wasn't the only special moment in this game. Outfielder Wes Wilson making his Major League debut after spending seven years in the Minors. And at his very first at-bat, the 20-year- old hitting a home run to left.

Look at his family in the stands just going nuts. And check out dad. He broke down in tears he was so happy. What a moment for them. Amazing night all around for the Phillies and their families in the stands.

All right. Elsewhere, baseball's home run leader Shohei Ohtani did not a homer last night but he still made history on the mound as a pitcher. The Angels two-way superstar earned his 10th victory of the season, giving up three hits over six innings in the 4-1 win over the Giants.

Ohtani now the first player in Major League history to have multiple seasons with both 10 victories on the mound and 10 home runs at the plate. He's also the only player ever to have 10 wins and 40 homers in the same season.

All right, and finally, what do you feed Fenway Park's green monster when it gets hungry? Well, a baseball, of course. Kansas City's Kyle Isbel hit a line drive literally into the famed left-field wall. Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida -- he spun around there looking for that ball but it was nowhere to be found. He ended up finding it inside the now-busted covering for one of the out lights.

It was actually lucky for the Red Sox because Isbel got a ground rule double and the runner on base had to stop at third and wouldn't end up scoring at all in the inning.

After Boston's 4-3 win, manager Alex Cora said "Never seen a ball go there."


ALEX CORA, MANAGER, BOSTON RED SOX: And I was like finally, something's going our way, I guess, you know? I've never seen -- I've never seen that -- not even in BP. We go over the rules and they always talk about if the ball gets stuck in the monster. And I'm like that's not going to happen, but it did -- yes.


SCHOLES: Yes, so kind of a lucky light now for the Red Sox, Rahel, because like I said, the run ended up not scoring because it went into the light and the Red Sox won by one.

SOLOMON: Yes. I guess there's a first time for everything, even in sports.


SOLOMON: Andy Scholes, great to see you. Thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

SOLOMON: And thanks for joining us. I'm Rahel Solomon.

Still to come, more on the breaking news out of Hawaii. At least 36 people killed in a wildfire on Maui. We have a live report from the ground straight ahead on "CNN THIS MORNING."