Return to Transcripts main page


Sochi, Russia, is the Site of 22nd Winter Olympics; Cold Winter in the U.S. Affects Local Businesses

Aired February 6, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers around the world. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN STUDENT NEWS. Millions have access to this show, but 3 billion people worldwide will be watching the 22 Winter Olympics. They start tomorrow in Sochi, Russia. Is the city ready? Journalists have been arriving from all over, some have found that their accommodations, hotel rooms aren`t ready. As of yesterday, construction was still going on in Olympic park. But Russian officials say everything will be set on February 7.

Here`s something in place. The Olympics torch. It traveled almost 25,000 miles from the bottom of the world`s deepest lake to the International Space Station before arriving in Sochi Wednesday night. It`s more than 600,000 miles from the American heartland to Sochi, Russia, but that doesn`t mean we can`t give a tour of the Olympic city.


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s lucky there`s a giant Olympic rings to greet you as you walk out of the door at Sochi airport. If it wasn`t for the athletes you`d be forgiven for thinking you`ve landed in the wrong place.

Sochi isn`t your normal Winter Olympic venue. The sun is blazing down this beautiful wide boulevards. You can see why it`s known as the Russian Riviera. Just have a look at this beach.

This beach (inaudible) in snowboots - in the suitcase down here at the coastal plaza, which will play host to the figure skating, the hockey and the curling. It`s bright sunshine all the way for the next few days. But .

Look at this - we have snow and lots of it. 40 kilometers inland and up in the mountains. That really is the beauty of this place. Temperatures here this week are well below zero.

Athletes are arriving day by day and getting in the last minute practice and preparations. The downhill course is being described as tricky, while changes have been made to the snowboard slope start course after Norwegian medal contender Torstein Horgmo crushed and broke his collar bone.

President Putin didn`t need his visit this weekend to convince him of Sochi. The area has long been a favorite skiing of his, but now it`s over to the athletes for the real verdict.


AZUZ: Yesterday, about a million U.S. homes and businesses were without power, and more than a third of the country`s population from the Midwest to the Northeast is hunkering down in cold snow ice or all three. It`s easier to show you what some of that looks like, with snow piling higher in places like Kansas City, Missouri, as the storm froze its way east. But you can`t really see the cold. Not like folks in (inaudible) Montana are feeling it. In high temperatures of three degrees below zero. This weather is also having an economic impact.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out of business because of a broken water pipe.

KENNETH MCGILL, CONTRACTOR: Found water just all over the place, and .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is hard to imagine anyone more upset about this winter than the owner of Rozal`s Italian Cuchina in Chicago`s Little Italy.

MCGILL: He was literally crying. When I spoke to him on the phone he was literally crying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The harsh unrelenting snow and freezing temperatures have four cities across the country to shell out thousands in overtime pay to plow streets and now many areas are running low on road salt, forcing crews to cut back or pay three times the regular price for the other white stuff, now in short supply.

TOM BRIER, GENERAL MANAGER, ICE MELT CHICAGO: Price have skyrocketed because of - really because of the lack of supply.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several industries are feeling the effects of this winter. Airlines have lost an estimated quarter of a billion dollars according to analyst. Poor auto sales in the Midwest, South and East are being blamed on the weather along with some lower retail sales.

Even restaurants without broken water pipes are getting hit.

At Gyro-Mena in Chicago`s Greek Town the owner says his business goes way down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During heavy snow or freezing cold.

MARKELOS: I might see about a 40 percent decrease in my carry-out sales. Now, we deliver. So I see an increase overall about a 25 percent hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, not a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Consumers are also feeling the effects.

JACK GORDON, ASHLAND TIRE AND AUTO: You hit that pile - and the wheel bottoms out, and you get a nice dent in a wheel like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Business in Ashland Tire and Auto in Chicago has never been better.

(on camera): Good for you, guys. But do you feel bad for some of the customers?

GORDON: Absolutely. Because we are human still.


AZUZ: The CVS pharmacy chain is getting out of the cigarette business. The company announced yesterday it will stop selling tobacco products at the more than 7600 pharmacies it owns. From the company`s CEO, "Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health." "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."

CVS hopes other companies will follow its example, but the decision will cost CVS about $2 billion in early revenue, and critics point out that the pharmacy still sells sugary drinks, candy and alcohol and doesn`t plan to get rid of them. Cigarette smoking in the U.S. isn`t as widespread as it used to be. The percentage of smokers has dropped from 42 percent in 1965 to 19 percent today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shoutout." What time is it? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it, 7:45, 9, 11:22?

AZUZ: OK, OK. It depends on when and where and maybe even how you`re watching CNN STUDENT NEWS.

Time keeping is not an exact science. I thought my watch was pretty darn accurate at keeping time, but the tiny bit that it loses here and there is unacceptable for the U.S. military. So, it`s taking the time to track time down to the atom, in an effort to address the problem of time loss.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Pentagon is looking for a solution. This high tech lab of lasers and mirrors measures the movement of atoms. 429 trillion atomic vibrations add up to just one second.

STEPHANIE TOMPKINS, DARPA CHIEF OF STAFF: That vibration is sort of a smallest unit of time that we can actually measure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their goal is to make the most precise clock in the world, currently the source for precision time is GPS satellite, which contain atomic clocks used to synchronize clocks on the ground. But the Pentagon worries the satellites could be jammed, so the want an even more accurate alternative. Your wristwatch loses a second every 30 days. Clocks on GPS satellites lose a second every 30,000 years. This program is aimed at building the clock that wouldn`t lose a second for a billion years.

Synchronizing time has always been vital for soldiers, but now it`s more important than ever.

TOMPKINS: You`ve got all of these high speed aircraft, you have precision- guided munitions, you have cameras and sensors and radars, and are all operating simultaneously. You have to actually do that synchronization much more precisely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, if GPS goes down, troops will face new dangers.

TOMPKINS: If you were to lose a couple of billionths of a second your positioning starts to get off by about a meter. You lose a few more billionths of a second, and now you`re starting to get off by several meters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And your life won`t be so smooth either. GPS time is in everything from power grids to your cell phone to the ATM you use to get cash. Without precision time, that ATM would eventually stop.


AZUZ: I heard it through the great vine - it`s horses around today`s "Roll Call". We`re settling out first in Grapevine, Texas with the Mustangs of Great Wine High School. Up in Nebraska, we are barking up the right tree. Hello to the North Platte High School Bulldogs in North Platte. And in New York State, Union Springs to be specific, watch out for the wolves of Union Spring Central High School.

Sliding into our last story today, a Minnesota family is in the Winter Olympics spirit, and not just because they live in Minnesota. They have a luge in their backyard, and it`s no tiny track. It runs the length of 1.5 football fields, and it takes 45 seconds to get from top to bottom. The man who owns it says it started simply as a wall to protect the garden, but that the idea just snowballed from there. For keeping kids occupied on snow days, this thing is on the right track. It`s helping neighborhood families twist and shout. It`s sled locals to spend more time outside. In short, there is just no way they can luge. One thing I can count on for those of you who like the puns - a deluge. We`ll always be successful. We`ll see you tomorrow on CNN STUDENT NEWS.