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CNN 10

China Sees Two Red Alerts Already This Year; Famous Traditions For New Year`s; Congressional Hearing Focused on Russia`s Cyber Threats

Aired January 6, 2017 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ: Thank you for taking 10, to join CNN10 for 10 minutes of international news. And just so we`re on the same page, Fridays are

awesome. I`m Carl Azuz we`re happy to have you watching. We`re starting in the Asian country of China, the world`s most populated nation and some

parts of it have seen two red alerts already this year. What is a red alert?

It`s China`s strongest warning about air quality. One of the recent red alerts was for smog. In more than 20 Chinese cities, schools were closed

earlier this week. Factories were shut down. Vehicles that give off a lot of pollution were banned from the roads. And then yesterday, China`s

northern and eastern regions received their first-ever red alert for fog visibility was severely limited in some areas. Pilots and sailors were

told to be careful. Drivers were told to slow down.

Air pollution is an ongoing problem in many parts of China and it`s usually worse in winter. Cold air inversions in the atmosphere can trap smog close

to the ground and more coal is burned in cold weather to keep heaters running.

A congressional hearing yesterday, Washington, D.C. focused on global cyber threats and almost all of it centered on Russia, which the Obama

administration accuses of hacking into American computer systems and interfering in last year`s U.S. election. A Republican Senator said,

quote, every American should be alarmed by Russia`s attacks on our nation, a Russian government spokesman said his country was sick and tired of

people quote irresponsibly blaming everything on Russia. Taking a look at Russian President Vladimir Putin what makes him tick.


BLACK: Some have argued Vladimir Putin could be the most powerful man in the world, not everyone sees him that way. But Putin has powerful levers

he`s often willing to use including cyber power, military might, and the cult of personality. Together they form an often effective web of


While Moscow denies its highly skilled hackers trying to influence the U.S. election, they`ve also been accused of spying and causing big disruptions

in other countries like Estonia and Ukraine, claims Russia also rejects. Russia`s enormous hacking power state that criminal isn`t new, it traces

back to the USSR when its universities were designed to produce world-class engineers.

Putin`s power is also hugely enhanced by his very personal control of Russia`s vast military, much of it including the nukes is also a Soviet

legacy. So Putin is pumping extraordinary amounts of money into modernization, but most analysts agree Russia`s conventional forces are

still only mighty enough to project power close to its borders.

Russia also used limited airpower to successfully prop up the Syrian regime. The critics say that works because of Putin`s willingness to

indiscriminately bombard civilian areas, something Moscow denies.

One of the biggest sources of Putin`s power is his own extraordinary popularity at home. The more other world leaders criticize him, the more

Russians celebrate their president. His approval figures soared with Ukraine and spiked again with Syria.

The reason many Russians really care about their country`s ability to influence world events even if it comes with sanctions and a hit to their

own quality of life, they`re proud of it. Putin also benefits from a political system and a media landscape with zero tolerance for criticism.

So no doubt Vladimir Putin is powerful and unpredictable, but he`s also limited by some pretty big problems. The Russian economy isn`t going

anywhere. That`s why there`s another popular theory about Putin and his web of influence. He`s someone who plays a weak hand very well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten-second trivia. What do all drone bees have in common? Are they all males, females, worker bees or carpenter bees?

While the queen and worker bees are all females, it`s the drones who are all males.


AZUZ: But bees are disappearing worldwide. Scientists theories as to why include a mite that attacks bees, pesticides that kill the insects, habitat

loss, and even bad nutrition for bees. And the cause for concern goes well beyond the collapse of honeybee colonies.

Bees help pollinate 35 percent of the world`s food. The Franklin`s bumblebee alone would help pollinate cranberries, blueberries and melons.

But that type of bee may already be extinct.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bee vacuum in one hand and net in the other. Robin Thorpe is on a quest.

THORPE: So we`re coming into the area where I last saw Franklins.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s searching the mountains of Oregon for Franklin`s bumblebee. It`s a species he`s believed to be the last person on earth to

have seen alive. And he`s got a sample of the bee in the back of his truck, it`s from the 1950s.

THORPE: And this is Franklins and you can see she has a black face, a little touch of whitish hair, pretty subtle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a bee that could be extinct in the wild.

THORPE: Could be I`m not willing to give up on it, but I`m hoping it`s still out there under the radar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last time you saw it was 2006. Exactly 10 years before he invited me to join him. Thorpe is 83 now, a retired professor

from UC Davis and mostly he works alone day after day, year after year.

I spent two days looking for Franklin`s bumblebee with Thorpe. I found the work absolutely maddening.

THORPE: The ones that you hear fly by your ear, I`m always that must have been a Franklins. I don`t think you can put an economic value on the

species. They`re all priceless really, but Franklins is one that I`ve had a lot of personal investment in and I feel an attachment and kinship to it.

I`m not sure whether he`ll find it, but maybe that`s beside the point. The truth is that for anyone to know a species like Franklin`s bumblebee had

vanished, someone like Thorpe has to be looking.


AZUZ: In Atlanta, Georgia there`s a giant peach that drops on New Year`s Eve. It`s one of many annual traditions nationwide. In Wisconsin, there`s

a giant cheese drop. In North Carolina, a possum drop or at least a possum lowering. It`s in a box, it`s not hurt. But the most famous drop is

probably at New York`s Times Square, what exactly got this ball rolling?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before we had time zones, each city kept their own time based on the sun. This was a problem for sailors whose timepieces

often got decalibrated at sea. In the early 1800s an official in the Royal Navy suggested using a visual on shore. So they put a ball on top of a

flagpole and raised up a second ball a few minutes before 12. When light passed between the two, sailors set their clocks to noon.

Eventually self-winding clocks and other new tech made these time balls unnecessary. Fast forward a few years, The New York Times relocates to

what is now Times Square. To celebrate, they decided to throw a party on New Year`s Eve. Before then, New Yorkers gathered at Trinity Church where

people would throw bricks in the air like confetti.

So The Times opted for fireworks instead. But a couple of years later, the city banned the display tasked with finding an even safer celebration, the

newspaper found inspiration in those old naval time balls. In 1907, a 700- pound ball of wood and iron outfitted with 125-watt light bulbs is lowered to ring in the New Year. A tradition was born.

Since then we`ve only gone without the ball twice, that was in 1942 and 1943 when the government was worried the bright lights could be a target

during World War II, so chimes were used instead.


AZUZ: We`re 10 out of 10, it`s too bad basketball shots can`t be worth more than three points. Because while the Golden State Warriors regularly

sink three-pointers at Oracle Arena in Oakland California, a member of the Harlem Globetrotters recently trotted to the roof of the arena itself and

took a shot from 100 feet up and 100 feet away, swish.

No, it`d be a bad idea to jump up to celebrate and he didn`t do that. But if your job is trotting the globe, banking on an outlet or zone to lay up a

world of hoop dream possibilities, fans will raise the roof when you raise up to the roof and sink a shot that`s kind of an air ball, and a free throw

and a slam dunk all at once.

For that you get 10 points and we hope you`ll make it a point to join us again Monday when CNN 10 returns. I`m Carl Azuz. Have a great weekend,