Return to Transcripts main page

CNN 10

Kurds Vote on Independence; U.S. Congress Holds on Health Care Vote; Puerto Rico Struggles with Storm Damage

Aired September 27, 2017 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi. I`m Carl Azuz.

Jumping right into the CNN 10 today, we`re taking you to the Middle East where an ethnic group has repeatedly voted for its independence but may not

be likely to get it.

In the nation of Iraq, home to more than 39 million people, about 15 percent to 20 percent of the population is Kurdish. This is Iraq`s largest

ethnic minority.

Kurds have been active in the fight against the ISIS terrorist group. They governed a region in northern Iraq called Kurdistan. And this week, they

held a referendum, a vote on independence, which a Kurdish political leader said resulted in a yes.

Kurds have sought their own country for decades, but several nations, from Iraq to the United States, opposed the Kurdish vote. Some concerns are

concerned that it can lead to more instability or even ethnic fighting in the region and Iraq is concerned that it would lose a significant source of

oil and a large chunk of territory if Kurdistan becomes independent.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Even as many here continue to ride the waves of post-referendum euphoria, leaders in the

region and beyond are making their feelings increasingly clear, this is the referendum nobody wanted to happen. With both Turkey and the central

government in Iraq threatening to turn off the tap on Kurdistan`s oil exports and the Syrian foreign minister saying that this is an

unacceptable. The hope had been for the Kurdish leadership that this referendum would give them a mandate to negotiate with Baghdad`s central


Iraq`s Prime Minister Haider al Abadi says not only is that not going to happen, but that his parliament has now given him the empowerment to have

all options on the table, including the use of force to protect what they`re calling Iraq`s territorial integrity.


AZUZ: Updating you now on political events from Washington, D.C. A controversial attempt to repeal and replace a controversial health care law

has fallen short -- meaning that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will stay at least for now.

Republicans have been trying to repeal and replace this law since it was passed in 2010. And though the House of Representatives approved their

plan to do that in May, repeal efforts in the Senate were Republicans have a smaller majority than they do in the House have not been successful.

This week, a few Republican senators said they would not support their party`s latest bill, the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal and replace

Obamacare. And yesterday, Senate leaders announced they would not hold a vote.

The political divide over health care was clear earlier this week in a debate hosted by CNN.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: The truth of the matter is the Affordable Care Act has done some very important things. Let`s not throw

the baby out with the bath water. What the American people want is not their proposal. A poll came out today, 20 percent of the American people

think your idea is a good idea. What the American people want is us to work together to build on and improve the Affordable Care Act.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), LOUISIANA: This is a debate about who has the power. Is it you the patient, or is it the federal government? The

narrative on the other side is that you don`t have the capability to care for yourself, that your governor is corrupt, scheming to take away your

protections if you have a preexisting condition. And they think the federal government taking control of your life is a better way to go.


AZUZ: So, what does this mean? Analysts say they expect Republicans to continue trying to replace Obamacare in the months ahead. There`s also a

bipartisan health care plan being discussed in the Senate.

Beach erosion, coastal flooding and gusty winds are expected over the next day or so in North Carolina`s outer banks as Hurricane Maria hovers nearby.

From there, it`s expected to move out to sea and into history.

The storm killed dozens of people in the Caribbean before it made landfall in the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico. On that island, power is still

out in most places, phones aren`t working. A dam in northwestern Puerto Rico is in danger of collapsing, threatening as many as 70,000 people who

live nearby.

The Trump administration has been criticized for not doing enough to help. But the government says its response has been anything but slow, and that

planes and ships with supplies are either in Puerto Rico or headed that way. In some places, Hurricane Maria`s damage is extreme.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I like to show around what was left of what once was one of the most scenic neighborhoods in Aguas Buenas, the good

water. It`s a town of about 28,000, south of San Juan. First of all, the first thing you see as you drive up in the highlands, it looks like a bomb

went off. This is lush tropical green area. Imagine the flowers and the foliage, and it`s like a lawn mower in the sky came down, and it`s like

that across the island.

But this house is in a neighborhood perched right on the ridge. It`s so beautiful up here, and this is Deanna (ph) and here husband Miguel. Say

hi. She`s OK. She`s OK. Her son Miguel.

Here`s the little dog Mika. Hello. Hello. He`s doing OK.

So, they survived thankfully, but they`re very worried because her husband Miguel who`s a Vietnam War veteran is bedridden inside and he needs

insulin, and so refrigeration is a matter of life and death, and the power is out for most of Puerto Rico and here`s why.

Look at his, one of the main transmission powers that goes to San Juan crushed this home. Thankfully, the man who lives here evacuated before the

storm. He`s in a shelter.

But only about 50 people in this town of 28,000 evacuated, most rode it out. And so, search and rescue teams aren`t able to go check on everyone,

because the roads are impassable as you can see right here.

This is not something you fix with a bucket truck. This will take helicopters. This will take months. But as we follow the line across,

imagine, this scene is being replayed across Puerto Rico and the need is so desperate. If this is any indication, Puerto Rico may rise gain, but

they`re going to need a ton of help and a lot of time.



AZUZ: Eagles, hedgehogs, honey badgers, mongooses. There are a number of animals that have no fear of poisonous snakes. And one of the more awesome

ones is the secretary bird.

It`s a native of Africa. It`s about four feet tall and kind of funny looking. And it doesn`t spear or drop or wrestle snakes. It kicks them

with the force that`s five times its own body weight and quicker than the blink of an eye. A secretary bird can kick the daylights out of a cobra

and then eat it for a snack.

Now, that`s random!


AZUZ: OK. Our next story is about a CNN Hero.

At one point, Khali Sweeney had dropped out of high school. He had no job, no education, and nowhere to live. But he was able to turn his life around

and since then, he`s helped to bring a sense of family to 267 students. He says his program has helped them all graduate high school and he`s taught

them to keep their guard up.


KHALI SWEENEY, CNN HERO: My house is that one right there that`s still standing. That`s the house I came to when I was six weeks old. This is

where my parents dropped me off. I always wonder, where was my family at?

So, I found the family that I was looking for in the streets.

I`ve been shot at multiple times. I had a guy who shot 26 rounds at the car. There was a reason that he didn`t hit me -- it was for me to be here

for these kids.

If you`ve spent enough time with kids, you find out that they`re going through the same thing that I was going to. No mentors, no positive role

models. You put them in a prime position to be ready for prison, or on a county morgue.

I`ve been there for real. So, when they hear from me, they`re like, OK. He`s not sugarcoating it.

There`s actually an academic program as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going for the title today? All right. Cool. So, your (ph) homework yesterday?

SWEENEY: Books before box. It`s always been basically the model here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have your math ready? OK. Let`s get started on it.

SWEENEY: We hold our kids at the same standard with counterparts in the suburbs or anywhere around the world. The stuff that we`re doing here is

the stuff that should be given to everyone.

When I first met Jordan, I didn`t see the kid that everybody else saw. I don`t see bad kids. I see a kid who haven`t been heard yet.

You`ve been in the ring?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I haven`t found Khali, I think I`ll be dead or in jail.

SWEENEY: You draw him like this, open it up too wide. You got him. Keep working. Let`s go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He thought me how to be a man basically.

SWEENEY: There you go. I saw what you got to do, just do it, George. Just do it.

What`s up, man! Are you all right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throughout my life looking for a family.

SWEENEY: Stay (ph) right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have become my family.


AZUZ: In Colorado Springs, Colorado, a police van was recently making its way to the scene of an accident when this happened. And thankfully, it

didn`t cause an accident of its own.

No one knows why a raccoon would decide to hitch a ride, or why it would interfere with an officer in the process. It jumped off the van when the

policeman pulled over. No one was hurt in the incident. The police department said the officer was pawsitively surprised.

He probably raccouldn`t believe his eyes. Certainly, the animal had seen a carnivore, didn`t he just jumped on a police van by accident? I mean, why

take such an arresting risk? Maybe it thought its mass would keep it out (ph) of trouble.

I`m Carl Azuz and that`s CNN 10.