Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

China's Tennis Mystery; Faith-Based Communities are Warned of Violence; Billionaires Add %4 trillion to Fortunes during the Pandemic; woman Takes Selfie on Top of Sinking Car. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 18, 2022 - 06:30   ET



PATRICK MCENROE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's very worrying to me that he said this and made these comments. And Peng Shuai, we haven't heard from her since she appeared with Yao and a couple other athletes at this skiing event in China. I'm expecting that we'll hear from her or see her again during the Olympic games.

You know, the Chinese approach in situations like this over the years, John, has been pretty simple, deny this thing ever happened, which they did. They had Peng Shuai do it herself, deny the allegations that Peng had put out against the official from the Chinese government. Number two, squash all the news, which they did on their own Internet. You couldn't even search the word "tennis" for a time being. And then sort of attack the people that are attacking them. Saying, why are you turning this into a political situation? Sports should be a place where we all come together and sort of bridge the gap. That's what Yao Ming's statement said that, yes, we have collisions on a bridge, but we should all try to work together.

So, I find this extremely worrying and very, very troubling.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And everything we're seeing right now in terms of sport in China I think is a precursor to the Olympics and China getting what it wants from Yao Ming in terms of Peng Shuai.

China also getting what it wants from a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors.

Listen to what this person said about the situation of the Uighurs, the victims of what many consider to be genocide, in China. Listen.


CHAMATH PATIHAPITIYA, EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Nobody cares about what's happening to the Uighurs, OK? You -- you bring it up because you really care. And I think it's nice that you care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What? What do you mean nobody cares?

PATIHAPITIYA: The rest of us don't care.

I'm telling you a very hard, ugly truth, OK? Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line.



MCENROE: Pretty insensitive for those comments to come from someone who's, obviously, a very successful businessmen and a minority owner. The Golden State Warriors immediately put out a statement, John, saying, this gentleman has nothing to do with the day to day operations of the Warriors and doesn't reflect at all on how we feel about a situation like this around the world. So, I don't know what -- what he was saying. I guess he was saying later in the podcast, which I listened to, John, that he was sort of comparing -- we shouldn't be talking about situations in other parts of the world when we've got our own issues in our own country. I don't think anybody would deny that we've got issues in our own country. There are issues all around the world. But that doesn't mean you can't speak out about situations that are happening. And, clearly, what's happening with the Uighurs in China is very troublesome. And I don't see why any normal human being could be able to talk about that as well.

BERMAN: Yes, look, I should make clear, he sort of issued a statement walking it back later. He said, as a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues, so this is something that's very much a part of my lived experience. To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States or elsewhere, full stop.

Aside from that, I do have to say, I'm fascinated by the idea that the Olympics are about to take place in a country where, again, many consider a genocide is happening. And I'm fascinated to see how it is handled by the business community, by NBC, which is broadcasting the Olympic games. I mean do you think we're going to see the traditional Olympic, you know, gauzy (ph) look at everyone smiling, montages as they open the games every night?

MCENROE: Well, I'm sure that's what the Chinese government is going to try to do. They did that in the previous Olympics that they hosted. So this is another sort of chance for them to put out their, if you want to call it propaganda, I think that's exactly what they're trying to do. And I think if there's anything that we can do on this side, whether it's corporations, whether it's the media, it's really speak out and set benchmarks as to what we would like to see happen. And that's why I'm so proud of what the Women's Tennis Association did, John. We haven't heard from them for a while, but they told China, they told the world that this is unacceptable. That they need proof that Peng Shuai is OK and they can reach her. And, you know, the Chinese government doesn't need to put Peng Shuai

in jail. They don't need to imprison her. They're basically imprisoning her in her own country by controlling what she says, controlling what she does, and controlling all the information that she's getting. We don't even know if she even understands what's being -- what's gone on around the world and that the tennis world has reached out to her. Even Naomi Osaka, at the Australia Open, right now was -- said she was very proud of what the WTA did in standing up to China and saying, listen, we're not going to play there if we don't get some real, real information about her whereabouts and that she's OK and free.

BERMAN: YOU know, maybe NBC should put a picture of Peng up every night when they do their Olympic coverage, or put an investigative reporter on every day to try to get the conversation with her.

I've got to let you run, but Novak Djokovic not playing the Australian Open, which is underway. What do you think is going to happen for the French and Wimbledon coming up this spring and summer?

MCENROE: Yes, not only those tournaments but the rest of the tournaments around the world. You can talk about Spain, you talk about Italy, all the rules are changing. And here's the bottom line, John, just as we said going into the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic can get vaccinated. He'll be able to continue his incredible career and continue to change history.


If he doesn't, it's going to be increasingly difficult and complicated for him to even continue playing professional tennis.

BERMAN: Patrick McEnroe, a pleasure to see you, my new colleague. Thanks for coming on this morning.

MCENROE: Thank you, John.

So, we have a stark warning from the FBI to faith-based communities following the synagogue standoff in Texas.

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, hashtag, don't look up. A giant asteroid twice the size of the Empire State Building is going to fly right by earth today.



BERMAN: New this morning, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have issued a stark warning for faith-based communities in the wake of Saturday's Texas synagogue attack. Officials are now urging state and local leaders to evaluate security at houses of worship.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz joins us now.

Shimon, what are they saying exactly?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, the big concern here, John, is that there could perhaps be some kind of copycat attack. You know, often when these things happen, law enforcement always gets concerned that someone else could perhaps get inspired and try to carry out some kind of similar attack.

So what they've done is they've issued this alert to law enforcement and also to the faith-based communities, re-evaluate your security, remind yourselves of things you can do to protect yourselves. And they say this is also, in part, because we are living in such a heightened state of alert. The threat level is heightened, certainly, both domestically, which is really interesting, and also foreign terrorists who still want to target Jews and other faith-based communities.

And in this letter, the FBI and DHS write that the faith-based communities have, and will likely, continue to be targets of violence by both domestic violent extremists and those inspired by foreign terrorists.

So, also what they're saying is that they're seeing a lot in online forums because of the pandemic, because of just the division that exists in this country, and so they are warning faith-based communities to look at their security. And also, as we heard from those hostages talk about how they took courses to learn how to protect themselves. They're reminding the communities to do some of that again. Refresh some of those courses so that folks there could protect themselves.

But, nonetheless, we're going to be seeing some stepped up security all across the country at faith-based institutions and communities so that people can feel protected, John.

BERMAN: Look, it's that training that seemed to have made all the difference in Texas.

Shimon Prokupecz, thank you very much.

HUNT: And one of the four hostages held at gunpoint inside the Texas synagogue described to CNN their daring escape from that long and really frightening ordeal.

Jeffrey Cohen says he didn't think they would make it out alive as the hostage taker grew more and more belligerent. The gunman did, however, allow them to call their loved ones.


JEFFREY COHEN, HOSTAGE AT COLLEYVILLE SYNAGOGUE: At one point, the terrorist let us call our families. So, I made calls to my wife and my son and basically told them, there's a gunman here. He claims he has a bomb. Things don't look good right now. I love you. And, remember me.

In the last hour, half hour, he degraded. He devolved from being relatively calm to being very agitated. Extremely agitated. To the point where it was -- concerned us that up until that point we were very willing to wait for law enforcement to do their thing. At that point, we knew we had to get out.

At one point he even said that, I'm going to put a bullet in each of you. Get down on your knees. At which point I glared at him, I raised up in my seat, kind of like I'm doing now, and may have shaked my head like that, but I -- I glared at him, and I mouthed, no. And at that point he kind of -- that was the first time that we had been not subservient to him. And he -- he pulled back. The aggression kind of made him pull back. He sat back down.

I think that that's when he put down his gun and went to pour his soda. I didn't actually see that, but that's when Rabbi Charlie yelled, run, and threw the chair at him.

I want to make it clear, two things. We were not released. We were not rescued, OK. We escaped.



HUNT: Wow.

BERMAN: It's amazing that they got out alive there. It is amazing what their training helped them do over time.

Now, the dramatic part's the ending there, where they threw the chair at the terrorist and were able to escape. But it was over the course of many, many hours that they got themselves closer to the door. That they positioned themselves physically in the right place. That they established the right kind of relationship. And it was only because of all those hours of work, based on the training that they had learned, that they were able to get out.

HUNT: I know. It's a -- it's a sad commentary that this training is needed. And, you know, I was -- I was reading a little bit about this yesterday and the idea that they have to pay for that training. I mean tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for many synagogues to do things like this. It's a very sad statement that that's something that's needed in America today. But, as you can see, it save lives.

BERMAN: Chilling.

All right, coming up, there were two pandemics. One for the less fortunate and one for those who pocketed trillions of dollars. Christine Romans explains.

HUNT: And ahead, who betrayed Anne Frank?


What a six-year-old cold case just revealed about the investigation.


BERMAN: So, this morning, a new area of concern when it comes to inflation, orange juice. Futures are surging. No, this is not trading places. Florida's orange crop is the smallest since World War II. The problem is because of citrus greening, which is some kind of disease which causes fruit to grow smaller than usual and drop from the trees earlier than usual.

Meanwhile, aside from this, the chief executive at Target predicts that Americans will drive less and make fewer trips to stores this year because of rising gas prices and inflation. Consumer prices rose 7 percent last year, the fastest 12-month pace since 1982. AAA shows gas prices rising this month.


This is after a drop in December. Cornell says this will likely prompt shoppers -- he's the head of Target -- to eat at home instead of restaurants and look for cheaper, generic brands.

HUNT: So while so many Americans have been worried about putting gas in cars and feeding their families, it's been a fantastic pandemic if you are one of the world's super rich. Even as the economy has shuttered, and everyone is grappling with all of these price increases, the wealth of the world's wealthiest grew by trillions. That is trillions with a t.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans has the details.

Christine, this is a probably pretty frustrating situation for people who are having a real hard time.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes, you know, Kasie, when times are tough, the rich get richer. When times are good, the rich get richer. You see the pattern there? The pandemic, a profit machine for the world's richest people. A new report from Oxfam finds billionaires added $5 trillion, with a t, to their fortunes during the pandemic, jumping from $8.6 trillion in March 2020 to $13.8 trillion as of November. That's a bigger jump than in the previous 14 years combined.

Now, that's all billionaires. Let's look at the combined wealth of just the world's richest ten men. That includes Tesla's Elon Musk, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. You see them there. Their wealth more than doubled during the pandemic, jumping by, get this, $1.3 billion a day. Every day. All told, their total worth is six times greater than the world's poorest 3.1 billion people. It's almost mind-boggling.

So, how did this happen? Well, central banks pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets to save the economy, Kasie, during the pandemic. That set off a stock market boom. That lined the pockets of billionaires. Oxfam says this inequality is not by chance, they say it's by choice. And governments should tax those gains and use the money to fund health care, vaccines, to address the climate crisis.

You've heard calls, as you know, in this country, in the U.S., to tax wealth, not earnings of the super rich. You know, their money doesn't come from a salary or hourly earnings like regular workers, it comes from the stakes they have in their companies, their investments. So they're, I guess you could say, the super richer. They're different than the rest of us, Kasie.

HUNT: And that's why you've got Warren Buffet out there saying there's no sense that his secretary, who makes a salaried wage, should be paying a higher tax rate than he, as an investor, is struck with. All right.

ROMANS: Yes. And he has said that for years and nothing has changed.

HUNT: It has not.

Christine Romans, thank you very much.

All right, coming up here, people were rushing to rescue here as her car was sinking through ice. Oh, my God, that is my worst nightmare. She decided to take a selfie. We'll show you how that ended, coming up next.

BERMAN: And there are two types of people, those who Wordle and those who don't.

HUNT: That's me.

BERMAN: Today's game was hard. The big thing you need to know, at the end of the show we're going to tell you how to win. The definitive strategy to succeed at this every day.



HUNT: A stunning scene in Canada. A car racing on the frozen Rideau River near Ottawa when the ice cracked, and the car began to sink. Most surprising, the driver appeared to be taking a selfie as she stood on top of the car.

CNN's Laura Jarrett joins us now.

Laura, this sounds incredibly dangerous, and I'm hoping you can help explain what exactly was going on here.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Dangerous, downright scary I think for most people. But, Kasie, as you mention, it's the driver's behavior during this ordeal that's raising so many questions this morning.


JARRETT (voice over): A life-saving rescue in Ottawa. A driver pulled off her sinking car by quick-thinking strangers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) car right in the middle of the water.

JARRETT: The yellow car was first seen flying across the ice on Sunday afternoon in the town of Manotick along the Rideau River.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely a wild day in the quiet village of Manotick, that's for sure.

JARRETT: The car managed to cross a considerable stretch of the river unscathed. That is, until it hit a patch of much thinner ice, according to Ottawa police.

KRISTOPHER SMITH, WITNESS: From where it is, there's all these pylons. So, it's like the weakest spot in the lake.

She came from, like, a long way down the lake. She was driving for a while.

JARRETT: One neighbor told CNN that the first thing she heard was the car. Something unusual for the area. Then she heard the ice crack and saw the car start to sink and quickly called 911.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's on top of the car. She's going in. Hurry up, Doug.

JARRETT: Neighbors scrambling as the car takes a nosedive, grabbing a kayak and running to help the driver before her car went under.

ZACHARY KING, RESCUED DRIVER FROM SINKING CAR: I was untangling the rope. He got back. We tied the rope to the kayak and then just got it out to her. It's like everything worked out perfectly. Like, it got her on the kayak, pulled her in. And as soon as we pulled her in, the car went under fully.

JARRETT: But before she was pulled to safety, the driver took a selfie on top of the sinking car. Why? Well, that's unclear.

Luckily, the driver was unharmed, but the Ottawa police have charged her with one count of dangerous operation of a vehicle. The Ottawa police say the car is almost completely submerged and could pose a risk to curious onlookers. The police are now warning residents that the ice this time of year can be unpredictable. Writing, no ice is safe ice.


JARRETT: So, Kasie, I'm happy to report that all of the nice, friendly Canadians that helped this woman, this driver, are also OK. They were not harmed. I guess the moral of this story is, not all selfies are safe selfies.

HUNT: That's one way to put it.

Laura Jarrett, thank you.

John Berman, I have so many questions about this. Driving on the ice seems like the primary issue here. And also, like, can't you get a count of dangerous driving for speeding 15 miles over the limit?

[07:00:02] I mean this seems like a lot worse.

BERMAN: I don't understand Canada. I do not get Canada at all. At all.