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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  November 26, 2021 6:00am-7:00am PST

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i want to say before we head on out of here, kaitlan, i had a lovely time with you. >> this has been so much fun. i loved joining "new day" twice this week. i can't believe how quickly three hours goes by. i'm excited to go eat my leftovers from last night. but this has been fun, thank you for having me. >> thank you. cnn's coverage continues right now. good morning to you. i'm jessica dean and welcome to a special holiday edition of "cnn newsroom." and we begin with breaking news. a new and alarming coronavirus variant with an unusually high number of mutations causing it to spread rapidly has sparked concerns among experts around the world. this variant also showing the ability to evade immunity. cases in south africa where it
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was first detected on the rise. the fast spreading variant has also been spotted in other places, like israel and hong kong. and dr. fauci says this morning u.s. scientists will hold a meeting with south african scientists to discuss the situation. in europe, travel restrictions are being weighed against seven african countries. six of those already being added to the uk's red list. all flights from those locations suspended beginning today. and all of this comes as fears over a new variant are slamming the global financial markets. with dow futures plummeting overnight by at least 800 points. our reporters, correspondents, and guests are all standing by to bring us the latest. we want to begin first with cnn's senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen and cnn international correspondent david mckenzie. elizabeth, to you first, what do we need to know about this new variant detected in south africa? >> so, jessica, to take a step back for a second, variants and
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mutations have been found over and over again during this pandemic. the question is which will peter out and not really be important, and which will take over the world like the delta variant. we just don't know at this point. but there are reasons to be concerned about this new va variant. let's look at what we know. first of all, it has not been officially called the variant of concern by the w.h.o., so it doesn't have a greek letter. this is the concerning part. they found the south african researchers found more than 30 mutations in the spike protein. the spike protein is how the virus gets into our cells, the vaccine is designed to fight it. if there are too many variations that do too many alterations in important places, that could be a problem for the vaccine. the world health organization currently lists four variants of concern and two variants of interest. we're hoping to hear from the world health organization later today on whether they have
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designated this one, either a concern or a variant of interest. now, we -- we spoke earlier with dr. anthony fauci and he talked a bit about whether or not this variant could be a cause for concern for vaccine efficacy. let's take a listen. >> when you look at a mutation, it can give you a hint or prediction that it might evade the immune response. what you need to do is you need to get that particular sequence of the virus, put it in a form in the lab, where you can actually test the different antibodies. so you can have a prediction that it might evade or actually prove it. right now we're getting the materials together with our south african colleagues to get a situation where you can actually directly test it. >> so there is a lot of work to be done. to learn more about this variant, keep in mind in january there was a variant that was spotted in south africa. it looked bad. it had a lot of mutations in all
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the wrong places. it did certainly do damage in south africa and that region. but it never took to the worldwide stage like delta, unclear what category this new variant will be in. jessica? >> good perspective there, elizabeth. thanks so much. david, turning to you now, we know there have already been restrictions implemented from some flights traveling to and from some countries in south africa. what can you tell us more about that? >> well, jessica, just hours after south african scientists came public, very soon after noticing this variant in genomic studies and pcr tests, the united kingdom was first out the gate. they banned effectively through a red list, through several countries in the southern african region from traveling to the united kingdom and citizens will have to be in mandatory quarantine that was very quickly enforced ban which the south african government said seemed quite premature. but since then, other countries
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have followed suit, countries within the european union, several countries in asia have also effectively banned travelers from the southern africa region to their shores. and now the africa cdc has come out quite strongly saying they don't recommend bans that in this ir their words had limited impact on the variants and the spread of the virus and might inhibit future scientists from coming out quickly like south africa did in announcing this variant. as elizabeth said, there was the variant earlier this year. we were inside the lab as they worked very, very fast to try and figure out how that variant could evade immunity or impact the vaccines. there will be scientists in this country and around the world right now trying to figure out what this means, but it could take several days, if not weeks, to see whether these travel bans have really been put in too
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quickly or they are warranted. >> right. time will tell. elizabeth cohen and david mckenzie, thank you. here to discuss more about this, dr. paul sacks, professor of medicine at brigham and women's hospital and harvard medical school. dr. sacks, thank you for being with us. we appreciate your time this morning. so we're hearing from experts, they're concerned about the mutations, they're concerned it could evade immunity, that it could be more transmissible. what are your concerns as you're getting this information and how should we be thinking about this. >> well, jessica, you outlined two of the most important things, whether it is more transmissible, which delta was, and whether it evades the immune system, which will have implications for how effective our vaccines are. it has there is a third issue whether it causes more severe disease and that is very, very hard to determine. not just at this point, but in general. so far the variants have not conclusively shown that the
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disease becomes more severe. one thing i do want to mention is that many of the cases that have been identified so far have actually been identified in people who are without symptoms and that's encouraging, it means maybe the vaccines are still providing protection against severe disease, even if they have allowed people to have a breakthrough case. a lot to be learned. a lot of uncertainty at this point, i'm really glad and very excited that scientists have reported this, and that we can get to work on it quickly. >> right, and we heard dr. fauci saying that now they're going to be meeting with their south african counterparts. it sounds like based on what we're hearing it is going to take a couple of weeks to get some of this information that you're talking about, it is going to be important about how to attack this variant. >> well, couple of weeks would be on the longer end. it wouldn't surprise me if we hear a lot of information over the next week, in experiments that are done, for example, in taking people who have been vaccinated and checking their blood against whether it neutralizes the virus and other experiments that can be done in the lab.
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one thing that has been encouraging as i've alluded to is that people have been collaborating a lot internationally to try to get the latest information and the most accurate information out to people as fast as possible. >> and so what do you think about these travel bans that are being in place. we heard from david talking about how there is some concern that maybe these were put in too quickly or perhaps put in just the right time. how do you think the travel bans play into the spread of this and do you feel like that's the right action to take right now? >> travel bans so far have had a very limited effect on spread of the virus globally, except in certain isolated countries, island countries, such as new zealand. in general, what has happened is the virus has already spread at the time that it has been discovered. so whether this has any impact or not is really too soon to say. >> and do you think, is there a chance it is here in america at this point? i guess we may not know right now, but it certainly is possible? >> well, we don't know.
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it is possible. one thing that is potentially going to give us information rel relatively soon is that more like the complete sequencing which can take a while, some of the signatures of this particular virus might have clues on the pcr tests done by certain pcr machines and i know the people i communicated say that we should be able to tell relatively soon whether it is circulating widely here. i suspect it isn't because the only place it is circulating widely so far has been in southern africa. but at least we'll be able to find out is there a signal of early cases. >> right. more information is always good in this situation. and, in terms of the vaccine, before i let you go, boosters right now open to all adults. it would seem to me this underscores go get the booster. is that the correct medical advice at this time? >> yeah, absolutely. i can't stress that enough. one of the things that has been really encouraging about looking at the booster data is that
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we're seeing that people who received the third dose of the vaccines have very high antibody tighters, higher than people who had covid-19 and recovered. this is the best way to be protected. it is conceivable despite all the mutations mentioned that people who have received their booster are still protected from this virus and i'm hopeful that's the case. even if it does escape the immune system to a certain extent, it is very likely that the vaccines will still prevent severe disease. because, remember, our immune system is much more complicated than antibodies. it also includes cellular immunity. >> thank you for your insight. we appreciate it. right now, dow futures are down more than 800 points, oil has dropped more than 5% and global markets are rattled over fears of this new covid-19 variant. i want to bring in cnn chief business correspondent christine romans who has been following this. christine what should we expect today ahead of the opening bell? >> i mean, you're going to get a big sell-off here.
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markets don't like uncertainty. conventional wisdom was the u.s. economy was roaring ahead, heading into the end of the year. and that covid, countries were dealing with covid and we were working ahead on vaccination rates. now we have this new variant with a lot of uncertainties. we don't know if it evades immunity. we don't know if it is easily transmissible and there is alonalarm among scientists. you see european stocks down sharply, 2% move is a pretty big move for the opening, so we'll see if it holds. i will tell you this, jessica, there are a few people telling me they feel like it might be a bit of an overreaction in a quiet holiday market in the united states. there is so much that we don't know here. you got a rush out of the stock market into the bond market, out of oil futures, oil prices are falling, the idea being that if you have this new variant, you could have travel shutdowns in the future. and that could dampen demand for
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oil and oil products. that could mean maybe a lid on gasoline prices here in the u.s. just an awful lot of uncertainty and reminder that covid is still a big driver in market psychology here. >> yeah, no question about that. christine romans, thanks so much. still to come this morning, this is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year. inflation and supply chain issues are putting a damper on that. will we see a return to normal? bigotry in the gop, a republican congresswoman implies one of her democratic colleagues could be a suicide bomber because she's muslim. well, congressman lauren boebert, will she be held accountable. and ukraine's president is alleging that russia is plotting a coup against him. cnn's new reporting is ahead. ♪ ♪
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it is black friday. but shoppers are facing supply chain issues, labor shortages and higher prices. so are they hitting the stores in person this year? cnn business correspondent alison kosik is outside macy's in new york city. what are you seeing? >> reporter: it is feeling pretty festive already at macy's in herald square. despite the fact that we are spending -- paying more for items than we have in almost 30 years, people are spending money. spending a lot. the national retail federation expects a holiday spending this year will actually break records with consumers shelling out anywhere from $843 to $859 billion by the end of the holiday season. now, today is black friday.
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unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. just today, 108 million people are expected to shop and 60% of them are actually expected to shop in store, this is a divergence from previous years, even before the pandemic, most people like to shop online more. this year it is different, they want to go in and make sure they buy their items because all the supply chain problems, people are concerned that what they ordered may not come in, in time. because retailers haven't been able to really stock up on inventories like in previous years because of these disruptions. now as far as retailers go, there are winners and losers. a lot of the big box retailers like walmart, costco and target, they have been able to weather these supply chain disruptions. macy's has also been able to sidestep the issues, hiring its own private cargo ships to ferry its merchandise around the globe to get where it needs to go so they can build up their inventory. i spoke with the macy's ceo earlier today, listen to what he
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had to say. >> we're in really good shape. so as we discussed on the third quarter earnings call, we're about 20% ahead of 2020 inventory for demand that we expect to be up in the mid-20s for the fourth quarter sales. so we're in good shape this year. >> reporter: the downside to higher demand and less supply, fewer deals and door busters, jessica? >> alison kosik for us in new york city. thanks so much. joining me now to discuss is hitha herzog, a consumer spending analyst and retail expert. so perfect to talk to about all of this. thanks so much for joining us this morning. i want to first ask you about the fact that the national retail federation says they expect this to be the largest holiday shopping season on record, despite inflation, despite concerns about supply chain issues. is it the consumers that are going to win out here?
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who is the winners in this scenario? it sounds like people are going to be shopping. >> people are definitely going to be shopping. i think people -- consumers were really experiencing two things. pent up demand and frugal fatigue. basically in the last two years, no one really was able to go out and really experience what the magic of holidays. people want to see the lights and see people shopping. they have been saving a lot. they really -- there wasn't much to spend on. i don't know about your family, but we didn't really give gifts last year. so people really want to give gifts. and gifting is going to be something that people are going to be doing not just in this season, but year round. this is according to toby donager group. people are going out and wanting to spend this. to your point, oracle came out with a study and 77% of consumers are worried that supply chain is going to -- those issues are going to have an impact on whether they're going get gifts. you're going to see a rise of
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people going into the stores. that concern about whether or not they're going to get the gifts if they do end up shopping online. >> and so let's talk through some of the supply chain issues. you've talked about how there is -- people are going to feel this differently or corporations and businesses will feel this differently if you're big box store, if you're a macy's, you can hire a ship to get your merchandise around the world. that's harder for a mom and pop star o store or local business. how will the supply chain issue be affecting different types of businesses. >> the supply chain issue is certainly bifurcated and the big box strores are going to f fare well. the small mom and pop stores and i always think about this store that is in this beach town i go to every summer that sells christmas items, those stores are going to be the ones that are most affected because to try
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to get the merchandise out from the cargo -- the cargo ships and that are docked in los angeles and long beach is very, very expensive. and in addition to the fact, ports are charging these stores and retailers to store this merchandise. so they can't get the merchandise out, but they're also getting charged. this is a lot of overhead costs and could potentially decimate some of these small businesses that take this time, this three months leading up to holiday, to really make a lot of the revenues. >> right, so for people at home who maybe want to go out shopping, you know, a lot of people to your point do want to do big this year, they want to buy the presents, go out and experience everything, what should they be keeping in mind. we're talking about supply chain issues and inflation. what are they really going to see when they're out there and how might this be affecting them? >> i think the sooner you go out and shop, especially for those bigger items and those items with electronics, as you know,
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there is a supply chain issue having an impact on the microchips, so anything that has a microchip, which is basically everything, and on the electronics side, you want to go out and get that sooner versus later. as we get closer to the holiday, those products are going to be in short supply. but also the older models too. you don't necessarily need the newer stuff that goes by -- that gets bought up quickly and gets sold quickly. if you want the older models of the electronics, that is actually more effective too. but one thing i wanted to mention is that, you know, while people are maybe going out and hitting the malls this weekend, there is also a lot of live streaming events. this is another tactic retailers are using to get people to shop online. facebook and instagram really have this on lockdown, and they keep having events where people are showcasing their stuff and making it really easy for people to shop. walmart is also doing the same thing and attaching ing celebr
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to it. be on the lookout. it is another model of this omni channel retailing that retailers are becoming -- taking part in. >> right, so many options for shopping this year. all right, hitha herzog, thank you for joining us. appreciate it. coming up, congresswoman ilhan omar responding this morning after her republican colleague lauren boebert told a bigoted story, colored with offensive anti-muslim rhetoric. the ergo smart base from tempur-pedic responds to snoring- automatically. so no hiding under your pillow, or opting for the couch. your best sleep. all night. every night. save up to $500 on select adjustable mattress sets during the black friday event. ♪ ♪it's a most unusual day♪ ♪feel like throwing my worries away♪ ♪as an old native-born californian would say♪ ♪it's a most unusual day♪ ♪it's a most unusual sky♪ ♪not a sign of a cloud passing by♪
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saying this about one of the few muslim members of congress, representative ilhan omar. listen. >> i was getting into an elevator with one of my staffers. and he and i are leaving the capitol, going to the office, i see a capitol police officer running hurriedly to the elevator. i see fret all over his face. i look to my left. and there she is. ilhan omar. and i said, well, she doesn't have a backpack, we should be fine. so we only had one floor to go. like, i looked over, oh, look, the squad decided to show up for work today. >> melanie zanona joining me live now. congresswoman omar responded. what is she saying about this?
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>> she is essentially calling bs. here is what she tweeted about what lauren boebert had to say. fact, this buffoon looks s down when she sees me at the capitol. this whole story is made up. sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout. the fact that she's retelling it for laughs, they thinks earns her points for the base, i think it says a lot about where the republican party is now. you have this whole class of maga republicans who came to congress, pedalling this brand of outrage politics, they fund-raise off the controversyies and suffer little to no consequences from their own party. kevin mccarthy last week stood by paul goeasesar and kevin mccy said he would install them to their committees if the republicans win back the house. and one more point about all of this, ilhan omar already faces a number of death threats. she walks around the capitol
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with a security detail. likening her to a suicide bomber is going to inspire more death threats and adds to the harmful rhetoric we have seen on capitol hill, which is really contributing to the toxic work environment. i would not be surprised if we do see some democrats try to make a push to censure boebert or kick her off her committees as well. >> it is really just unbelievable to watch that video. i also want to ask you about congresswoman marjorie taylor greene, she is now laying out her demands for any republican who wants her vote for house speaker if the republicans take majority back in 2022. what is she asking for? >> yeah, we're already -- only a year away from a potential race for gop speaker. and we're already seeing some of these trump allies flex their muscles in congress. just take a listen to what she had to say on an episode of matt gaetz's podcast yesterday. >> we know that kevin mccarthy has a problem in our conference. he doesn't have the full support to be speaker. he doesn't have the votes that are there because there is many of us that are very unhappy
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about the failure to hold republicans accountable while conservatives like me, paul gosar and many others just constantly take the abuse by the democrats. i've demanded it. i want adam kinzinger and liz cheney kicked out of the gop conference. >> do you respect the republican leadership now? >> i can't respect leadership that doesn't hold people accountable. >> so specifically greene wants kinzinger and cheney kicked out of the house republican conference and also wants to see these 13 house republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill to lose their committee assignments. these are demands that so far kevin mccarthy has resisted and that's because he also needs to win the majority and that includes protecting some of his moderates who did vote for the infrastructure bill. so all of this really is an early preview of the challenges and the potential math problem facing kevin mccarthy in his quest for the speaker's gavel. >> he's doing the splits in a lot of ways.
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melanie, thank you for your reporting. joining me now to discuss is former republican congressman of illinois joe walsh. great to see you. thank you for making time for us today. i want to start with republican leadership, we just heard melanie talking about kevin mccarthy. so far he has pretty much shrugged his shoulders at this behavior from paul gosar, marjorie taylor greene, she was stripped from the committees, he was censured because there was no reaction. i talked to congresswoman ilhan omar before that censure vote and i asked her about her feelings about all this. she told me i think the presence of many of my colleagues on the republican side has made us feel less safe. do you believe that mccarthy has paved wait for more incidents like this, by just turning the other way and not enacting any sort of consequence for these members? >> yeah, hey, jessica, good to be with you. yes, kevin mccarthy paved the
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way, but, you know what, jessica, the whole republican party has, the whole republican establishment and the republican leadership has paved the way for this ignorance and this bigotry and, look, the incitement to violence, i served with kevin mccarthy, he's a tool, he wants to be speaker of the house, he would throw his mom under the bus to become speaker, so he's got to appease the paul gosars and the marjorie taylor greens of the world to become speaker. but, jessica, here's kevin mccarthy's problem. there are going to be more marjorie taylor greens elected in 2022. there are going to be more republican crazies elected next year and that's going to be a real problem for mccarthy. >> right, and he's really going to have to balance that. i mean, again, you know, these freedom caucus members like marjorie taylor greene are pushing for him to punish the republicans who voted for a
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bipartisan infrastructure bill that, by the way, got the support of mitch mcconnell in the senate and that's getting punished, but saying something like what lauren boebert just said what we heard, or paul gosar tweeting out that video depicting violence against fellow members gets no response at all. it is -- as i said, it is quite the splits he's having to do right here. and how do you see this playing out and does one side finally get the upper hand in all of this? >> i think -- i think, jessica, there is going to be an ugly fight next year after the republicans take control of the house. because, again, the scary thing for all of america is, right, imagine marjorie taylor greene, imagine ten more marjorie taylor greens in the house. so there will be a real fight within the republican party caucus. i think kevin mccarthy is the odds on leader. but let's not forget, jessica, what the danger is here. lauren boebert is lying. lauren boebert, what she said
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about ilhan omar, she's a bigot. boebert is a bigot. but most importantly lauren boebert incited violence against another fellow member of congress. she called a fellow member of congress a suicide bomber. the scary thing, though, jessica, is lauren boebert is exactly where the republican party base is. you and i consider what she said to be outrageous. the base doesn't. >> it is outrageous. and to just sit there and listen to it, you hear her getting laughs from the crowd there, it is clearly done for laughs. and she's probably going to fund-raise off of it and make a fair amount of money for her re-election campaign. it boggles the mind, but to your point, that's where her base, that's where the republican party base is right now. >> that's the danger. look, lauren boebert is who she is. jessica, the danger for all of us is the republican party base
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does not consider outrageous and insulting what she said. we're talking about the base of one of our two major political parties, jessica, has become completely radicalized. this is a danger to all of us. >> yeah, i know we sound like a broken record, but it wasn't always extreme like this. likely when you were in congress even then. >> no. >> joe walsh, thanks so much for your time. we appreciate it. and we're following breaking news on wall street. right now the dow is down more than a number of points. let's look at it right here. down 723 points right now as markets are rattled over fears of the new covid-19 variant. christine romans is following this. we're looking at the numbers right now, changing on our screen, christine. what are you seeing? >> 2% move is a big move for these markets. it just shows you the incertainty of this new variant is really causing investors to
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rush to safer havens like the bond market and some different currencies. i can tell you the backdrop here is the s&p 500 is up 25% this year. the assumption -- the narrative has been a strong u.s. economy is going to finish out this year. you add in this new variant, this new variant from southern africa and you have concerns about whether that narrative can hold. the very unusual constellation of mutations, that's what this particular variant has, and it is getting a lot of interest from investors and economists and scientists as they try to figure out what this is going to mean going forward. it could mean markets are getting ahead of themselves. there are so many questions still that need to be answered. so much testing that still needs to be done. we're in the very early moments of this. it reminds you here that this is a covid driven economy. we still live in the midst of a pandemic and this is a big reminder on that we are not out of the woods here yet. >> no question about that. and as you say, the markets do not like uncertainty, christine.
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and we're -- it is uncertain right now. thanks so much to you. still ahead, the president of ukraine warns that russia is plotting a coup against him. the kremlin already responding to those claims. ♪ ♪ there are beautiful ideas that remain in the dark. but with our new multi-cloud experience, you have the flexibility you need to unveil them to the world. ♪
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kylie atwood joins me from the state department. zelensky says they're trying to garner the support of the country's richest man. what else do we know? >> a remarkable press conference from the ukrainian president zelensky. he said that ukrainians and russians, a group of them, are trying to stage a coup in ukraine. and he warn that the country's richest man is being pulled into this. this is according to conversations, audio conversations that the ukrainian security services have gain the access to. he warned if that russian oligarch gets pulled into this, this is an oligarch with a lot of business connections in the country, to mining, to media, and the like, he warned that it would be a mistake for him to be pulled into, quote, a war against ukraine. now, the backdrop here, jessica, is that zelensky has been going after oligarchs in the country for quite some time now. some view that as positively,
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some view it as concerning because they fear that he's doing it to go after those who oppose him, to silence opposition to him in the country. and then the other piece of this puzzle, of course, is what we have been watching over the last few weeks, this russian military buildup along the border of ukraine. near ukraine. and the united states has been watching this extremely close there. we know that bill burns, the director of the cia, discussed this matter when he visited russia a few weeks ago. this is something that will be top priority for nato, when there is a nato meeting next week among the folks who are going to be attending will be top united states officials. and one of the things that the united states has been saying is that they don't know exactly what president putin is trying to do with this military buildup along the border with ukraine, but they have been warning that he shouldn't take anything too far, right, to take it into an invasion into ukraine. so they have been sharing
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intelligence about what they're seeing with allies and partners and they will continue to do so. we'll watch for more, jessica? >> more to come on this. kylie atwood, thank you for your reporting. coming up, coordinated smash and grab crimes are still climbing as the holiday shopping season heats up. what stores are doing to protect their merchandise and their customers next. ( ♪ ) what a pain in the... alice? if it's "let's wrap this up" season, it's walgreens season. (rapping) hah i do what i want when i want it i buy my own rocks and i flaunt it stunnin', you know i'm a diamond, honey wow, i'ma celebrate this feeling feeling elevated, gotta celebrate it you know that unstoppable feeling every single time that i walk in the building ♪ walk in bold, eyes on me ♪ ♪ raining down like diamond rings, everyday ♪ (rapping) i be shinin', what you know about it?
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today is black friday, the biggest shopping event of the year and as stores open doors to consumers, thieves are eyeing merchandise. brazen smash-and-grab robberies
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continue to climb especially in northern california. looters made off with $20,000 in products. camilla bernal joins me live from san francisco. how are stores preparing in light of the thefts? >> jessica, good morning. for starters, a lot of these luxury stores are boarded up at the moment. it may not seem like it, but this is the louis vuitton store, one of the many stores that this week essentially had thousands of dollars in products stolen. so it is so concerning for the store owners and for the customers and of course for the employees that are working at the time of these incidents. so we do know at the moment there are additional police officers all over this union square area. we're seeing them in pairs outside of the luxury stores. they said they would even be in the parking lots to help people feel a little safer. they've also closed off some of the streets surrounding this area they say to block some of
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the escape routes in case this does happen again. so not only are we going to see a lot of shoppers today, but we're also going to see a lot of police officers working here on the streets but also working to watch and go over the hours and hours of surveillance video trying to identify the people responsible for the break-ins earlier this week. and so you're hearing a lot of frustration and really a lot of people asking for accountability. here's what the president and ceo of the california retailers association had to say. >> it's like nothing we've seen before. i think in california we have to have a lot of uncomfortable conversations about some of the laws that have been passed, some of the consequences for this type of behavior, and how do we go forward, because we can no longer let this happen. this is not california. this is not what we're about. and we need to make sure that we do everything we can to get law enforcement protection for retailers and particularly small
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businesses the tools they need to protect their employees and customers. >> reporter: and, look, this has been an ongoing issue here in the bay area. just this week, we saw it happening in santa rosa and in walnut creek, but it's also expanding beyond the bay area. we saw it happening in los angeles and even in chicago. so a lot of work to be done on this issue, this as we continue to watch these incidents happening over and over again. jessica? >> hopefully they can get a handle on that. camilla, thanks so much. leaders in philadelphia are pleading for an end to the violence as the city just witnessed its 500th homicide this year. a tragic milestone that ties a record set in 1990 according to police records. mayor jim kenny saying he's, quote, heartbroken and outraged by the deaths. brinn gingras, what is the city doing to combat these killings?
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>> reporter: philadelphia averaging one homicide every 16 hours. we know the year isn't over dwret. yet. a city council leader saying recently please stop killing each other. the city hit that grim statistic on wednesday when a woman was gunned down on the street in what police believe was a domestic violence incident. philadelphia, as you said, hasn't seen this high number of killings since 1990 according to police records. the chief says homicide had been trending down, but it's not just the killings but gun violence. it's a critical problem impact manager places across the country, a result of many things including the pandemic, the economy, and the aftermath of all those protests that we saw over racial injustice and police brutality. philadelphia's mayor says the city is on track to get guns off the street, more than 6,000
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guns, and they're investing more money into crime prevention and reduction. here's the mayor. >> 299, 261, nobody asked me a question about homicides. i've been mayor for six years. i don't remember getting all this attention to less than 300. one is too many. one homicide is too many. >> all those city leaders that you're seeing there, they're pleading with the state legislature to have more stricter gun laws, essentially saying they're just allowing too many gun purchases, straw purr chagss of these illegal guns that people can buy many of them, jessica, and resell them on the street. that's a major issue, not just, again, in philadelphia, but in many cities. they're really hoping hearing the number of 500 will resonate with people to just stop with the homicides, stop with the violence. >> one can only hope. brinn gingras, thank so much. a new and alarming coronavirus variant has been detected in south africa.
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scientists are concerned about this variant because it spreads rapidly and is showing an ability to evade immunity. live team coverage next. [gusts of wind] [ding]
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hey, it's me. plus, get holiday gifts for everyone on your list with great deals on fan favorites from today. join over a million members by signing up for free on the xfinity app. our thanks. your rewards. good morning to you. i'm jessica dean. welcome to cnn holiday news. a new and alarming coronavirus variant with an unusually high number of mutations causing it to spread rapidly has now sparked concern among experts around the world. this variant also showing the ability to evade immunity. it was first detected in south

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