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A High Level Gathering Takes Place in North Korea; Fort McMurray Wildfire Affects Land and Sky in Canada; Why Are Opioids Addictive?

Aired May 9, 2016 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hope you had a great weekend or that one is just five days away. I`m Carl Azuz. Welcome to the show.

First up, we`re reporting from North Korea. A major political gathering is going on there. It`s called the Seventh Congress of the Workers Party of

Korea and it`s a rare event. The last time this meeting took place was 36 years ago.

This event brought more than 3,400 party members to the North Korean capital Pyongyang. It started on Friday and doesn`t have a formal end

date, though it`s expected to last a few days.

Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un who heads up the communist state didn`t announce any major policy changes in his three-hour speech. But he did outline a

five-year plan to help his nation`s struggling economy, increasing coal output, automating jobs and factories and mechanizing farms were all part

of it. He also discussed the need to generate more electricity, promoting renewable energy and nuclear power.

In Pyongyang, which has the highest standard of living in North Korea, many people only have electricity for a few hours of the morning and the


So, what`s it like for international reporters to cover an event like this and a country whose government controls its media.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s day three of the party congress and we`ve been waiting here in the parking lot of the Yanggakdo Hotel for

almost an hour. We see a lot of the government officials on their phones, perhaps trying to figure out where exactly the group of press is going to

be going today.

We took a short drive through Pyongyang, a beautiful Sunday morning, didn`t know where we were going, and we just arrived at the People`s House of

Culture. We don`t know who`s inside the building, but if you look at this row of shiny black Mercedes here, and specifically look at the licensed

plate numbers, that would indicate, these are some of the highest level members of the Workers Party of Korea.

We`ve been told to bring all of our gear, including our backpacks inside. We`ve been given our passports as well, for some kind of a security check.

What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Program has changed.

RIPLEY: Program changed. Where are we going?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back to hotel. Have lunch and rest.

RIPLEY: Well, there you go. We`re heading back to the hotel. The program has changed.

After three hours of waiting at our hotel, we were all told to rush and gather in front of the television for this. State TV broke in for a

special report, which turned out to be the leader`s full speech that he gave on Saturday to the Workers Party congress. It`s been going on for

well over two hours. Of course, we already read the full transcript. It`s the first eight pages of morning paper, coverage of the front and back


If you`re looking for any major policy changes or announcements, you won`t find them in the speech. The leader talked about North Korean history from

1980 until today. He did say this country won`t use its nuclear weapons unless provoked first, but we`ve heard that before.

So, in the end, even through we`re inside this country covering the Workers Party congress, the state controlled media continues to be our best and

only source of information.


AZUZ: A man who was evacuating Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, over the weekend says it looked like a scene out of a disaster movie. A wildfire

whose causes still being investigated has forced at least 90,000 people to evacuate their homes, most of them in Fort McMurray and surrounding

communities. It has spread to an area of more than 770 square miles.

The blaze is about half the size of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. Even with 500 firefighters, 15 helicopters and 14 air tankers involved,

officials don`t have it under control. But they hope that nature could help out. There was a 70 percent chance of rain the area last night and

more possible this morning. That could make a noticeable difference in a province that`s been described as tinder dry and windy, two conditions that

make wildfires more dangerous.

Fort McMurray has had its power grid damaged. The water is undrinkable. For some residents, everything at home is lost.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s heartbreaking because I don`t know if I have anything to go back to. I really don`t know. And I`ve been -- with my 7

years old, I went through the same thing. I left the Congo to come here. So, it brings back those memories so bad, the last few nights, I haven`t

slept. I`m up all night. I realized that I`m a refugee again in a country that I thought I wouldn`t be a refugee. So, it`s so heartbreaking.


AZUZ: So far, no deaths have been blamed directly on the disaster. Plumes of smoke can be seen as far away as Iowa, though. And that`s not the only

atmospheric effect of a wildfire.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: If you`ve been watching this wildfire video, you notice the smoke rising up into the sky. But you may notice

something else -- you may find a pyrocumulus cloud. So, how does it happen?

Well, you have the ground. And in the summertime, the sunshine hits the ground and you get big wide puffy clouds.

But with the fire, this is rapidly rising here. This isn`t sunshine. This is really hot air going straight up into the atmosphere, and then you get

the condescension.

The condescension makes clouds. The clouds can become a cumulu-like nimbus cloud, what we call pyrocumulus because of the fire. But you can get

lightning. The lightning can create more fires.

Also, when the storm dies, you can get wind blowing out of the thing and taking the embers from one fire, blowing it down wind and making more

fires. So, that`s the danger of a pyrocumulus cloud. Look for the puffy clouds than look like a thunderstorm that`s created by the fire itself.


AZUZ: Time for a quick check of who`s watching this Monday. This is a CNN STUDENT NEWS "Roll Call".

From Omaha, Nebraska, the Packers are here. Omaha South High School leads things off for us.

Moving east, we`re making a stop in Gnadenhutten, Ohio. Great to have the Braves of Indian Valley High School watching today.

And last but not least, from Liberty, South Carolina, we`re looking to the Falcons. Liberty Middle School rounds out our roll.

The U.S. government estimates that every year, opioid painkillers are linked to as many as 19,000 deaths in America, and that the number of

overdose deaths has quadrupled since 1999, along with the sales of prescription drugs. An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug

Administration is recommending that doctors should be required to get a special form of training before they`re allowed to prescribed opioids.

Critics including some national doctors groups say that mandatory government training isn`t the answer, that physicians already have

extensive training, and that a new FDA program wouldn`t cover some causes of the problem, like when a patient doesn`t use opioids correctly, or when

someone illegally gives his painkillers to someone else. Many doctors, health officials and experts do agree, though, that more needs to be done

to address opioid addiction.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Every 19 minutes, someone dies from an accidental drug overdose. Most of the time, it`s from

prescription drugs like oxycodone or hydrocodone. These drugs all belong to a family of drugs called opioids.

SUBTITLE: Why are opioids addictive?

GUPTA: They are prescribed to deal with pain. But they also boost dopamine, giving some people a high. They can also slow down your

breathing and are highly addictive.

So, why is it so easy to get hooked?

Well, for one, your body can build up a tolerance, so that the more you use, the larger dose you need to get the same effect.

Secondly, you can become dependent on them. In fact, your body creates natural opioids that are released when you hurt yourself. But if you

habitual use painkillers, your body stops producing its own and relies on the drugs instead. If you try and stop then, the body goes through


Consider this, in 2012, there were 259 million prescriptions written for opioid painkillers, nearly enough for every American adult and child to

have their own bottle of pills.

Look, we need to treat pain. But we also don`t need to treat everything with a pill.


AZUZ: The public has spoken, but Britain`s government didn`t like what it had to say. Boaty McBoatface is what people voted to name a new $287

million research ship. Boaty got 124,000 votes, but Britain`s Science Ministry says it wanted something that fits the ship`s scientific mission.

So, it torpedoed Boaty and chose a fourth place name that got 11,000 votes.


REPORTER: So, yes, Boaty McBoatface didn`t win that infamous ship-naming contest.


REPORTER: I know, I know.

McBoatface became a household name when U.K. officials made a mistake of asking the public for input on naming their newest research vessel. Boaty

quickly shot to the top of the list and spawned countless imitators Horsey McHorseface, Trainy McTrainface, and so forth.

So, who did win?

Well, the ship will be named the RSS Sir David Attenborough, after the knighted English broadcaster and naturalist.

I guess he`s worthy. But don`t worry, Boaty isn`t making a total Abouty McBoutface and sailing out of our lives forever. The moniker will live on

as the name of the one of the ship`s small submersible vehicles. Aw, Suby McSubface.

Bon voyage, Boaty.


AZUZ: So, while some might put on some a Pouty McPoutface, saying subbing the name for the sub is a subliminal and unac-sub-eptable way of sinking

public opinion, others might say it`s fitting in the name of science to Attenborough David`s name. It all begs the question, what`s in the name to

keep a shipping shipshape? Guess it comes to whatever floats your boat.

I`m Carl Azuz.