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CNN 10

New Wildfires Spread Quickly in California; Two U.S. Lawmakers Announce Resignations; South Korea Faces Unique Challenges As It Gears Up for the Olympics

Aired December 8, 2017 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: This Friday awesome edition of CNN 10. I`m Carl Azuz, welcoming everyone watching worldwide.

We`re starting in the U.S. state of California. Officials there don`t know yet what started a new surge of wildfires. But they`re spreading extremely

fast and one of them, in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles, is almost three times larger than the worst fire we reported on in October.

It`s known as the Thomas Fire. At one point, it was scorching an acre every second. And as of last night, it was only 5 percent contained, which

means most of this fire was burning wherever it could without boundaries.

Throughout southern California, 110,000 people have had to leave their homes, hundreds of schools have been closed, 5,000 firefighters are

involved in the fight and witnesses have described affected areas as looking like a warzone.

There are several factors making these blazes worse. For one thing, the summer heat dried out a lot of the region`s vegetation, which is like fire

fuel. Humidity in the area is a very low 7 percent. It`s usually between 20 percent and 30 percent.

And then there`s the Santa Ana winds. They usually blow in from the desert this time of year. They`re not usually this powerful, blasting gusts of

dry, 80 mile per hour winds across higher elevations.

A state spokesman says the Santa Ana winds can push a fire the length of a football field in a minute and they`ve been so strong that planes which

could normally drop thousands of gallons of fire retardant have had to stay on the ground.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the upscale neighborhood of Bel-Air, there is still a battle going on here, trying to keep embers from homes

that have burned from spreading. And the big concern throughout the evening and overnight will be the increase in the wind speeds, which are

expected to get upwards of 70-mile-per-hour. That is extremely dangerous in this dry condition.

The fire is only 5 percent contained and many of these fires as we get into the overnight hours.

One of the other huge fires that`s burning is, of course, down in Ventura. My goodness, that is an absolute vision of Armageddon as you watch what is

happening there.

But in Bel-Air, the number of homes that had been damaged are incredibly small compared to how large the blaze was in the very beginning when the

winds are higher. We are now hearing about 11 homes are damaged. Four of them have been destroyed. So, an incredible number and an incredible fight


A lot of that fight from the air. Plus, there was a lull in winds, they were able to get at least some of the fires that were heading towards

structures on the top of the canyon and below the canyon. They were able to stop those fires from burning through dozens of homes.

Right now, though, the fight continues because the winds again picking up. A lot of worry in four different communities as these fires continue to go


Sara Sidner, CNN, Bel-Air.


AZUZ: U.S. Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, announced yesterday he`d be resigning. The 66-year-old was first elected to the

Senate in 2008, and he worked as a comedian before that, performing for years on "Saturday Night Live".

But over the past month, he`s been accused of behaving inappropriately toward women, both before and during the time he`s been in office. And

though Franken has spoken out repeatedly against sexual harassment and said some of the accusations against him are false, other lawmakers pressured

him to resign after several people came forward to accuse him. He said he`d leave the Senate in the coming weeks.

After Franken`s announcement, another one came last night. Representative Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona, said he`d also resign. The 60-

year-old was first elected to the House in 2002, and he worked in the Arizona state legislature before that, promoting laws and programs to

protect children.

But the House Ethics Committee was reportedly looking into claims of misconduct by Representative Franks. He said they were related to

discussions he`d had that made two women he used to work with uncomfortable. He said he`d leave the House on January 31st.


AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

What happened in Chamonix, France, in 1924?

The first Winter Olympics was held, the first World Cup was held, the United Nations was established, or Van Gosh painted "Starry Night"?

Chamonix was the site of the first Winter Olympic Games, though it was known at the time as Winter Sports Week.


AZUZ: With the start of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games just over two months away, the host nation of South Korea has a couple of unique challenges

ahead of it. Usually, with the games looming, there are concerns about readiness. Will the venues be finished? Will transportation be efficient?

Will security be in place?

But when it comes to the games in Pyeongchang, which is close to the border with North Korea and just 200 miles from southeast Russia, concerns

involving geography and geopolitics seem to be playing a bigger role.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the Olympic torch makes its way around South Korea, problems are mounting for this winter


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russian Olympic Committee is suspended with immediate effect.

HANCOCKS: One of the world`s major winter sports powers is out. The IOC is banning Russia for systematic manipulation of anti-doping rules.

And there`s another major country wavering. U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, was asked by FOX News if U.S. attendance was set in stone.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: There`s an open question. I have not heard anything about that. But I do know that in the

talks that we have, whether it`s Jerusalem, whether it`s North Korea, it`s always about, how do we protect the U.S. citizens in the area?

HANCOCKS: For South Korea, there is no plan B. Officials say North Korea, just 50 miles or 80 kilometers away from Pyeongchang, does not pose a risk,

referring to previous sporting events they have successfully held, including the Summer Olympics in Seoul in 1988.

These were the final preparations in Pyeongchang a few weeks ago, transforming the area outside the stadium where the opening and closing

ceremonies will be held.

Park Seung-hei is the site manager.

Personally, I don`t think you need to worry, he tells me. No one around here is talking about North Korea.

Ham Young-man has sold jewelry in the area for 40 years. He also dismisses security concerns.

The slogan for the games is the peace Olympics. I believe tensions will ease and people from many countries will take part.

Confident voices in the region that stuns to lose the most if visitors stay away.

Two months out and lagging ticket sales enjoyed a boost from 100-day events (ph) and the torch relay. Fifty-four percent is being sold as of November,

slightly better than the winter games in Sochi four years ago.

But organizers now have to contend not only with tourists put off by North Korea, but the likely loss of many Russian spectators, if there`s no

national team to cheer on.

Paul Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


AZUZ: For the families who participate in a certain Christmastime custom that involves elves that sit on shelves as a way to get kids to behave

themselves, there`s a rule that people can`t touch the elves.

Sadly, for one Florida family, that rule didn`t apply to their German shepherd. Thankfully, the family had a connection to an emergency room

staff in Orlando. The elf in question was severely wounded. It was still mostly intact, but it was missing something that really bothered the

family`s 7-year-old.

See, the dog decided the elf look edible, or at least durable. So, it attacked. But the mom happens to be a nurse manager at the Arnold Palmer

Hospital for Children and she assured her daughter there was nothing to fear. Sam, the elf, was brought into a trauma bay for surgery.

Now, that rule of no touching the elf applies to everybody. So, the medical team got a hold of special operating gloves that apparently came

right from Santa Claus, though CNN could not independently confirm that.

Nurses reportedly used medical products that had expired to patch Sam up, because you just never know when an elf is going to show up and need it.

And in the spirit of Christmastime magic, they added some medical glitter to give him some extra sparkle.

Perhaps the biggest sparkle of all though was the girl`s smile when Sam was installed back in her shelf and out of the dog`s reach.

One nice thing about Santa`s workshop, it`s got great elf insurance. That`s a benefit of working for a saint and the nick of time, nurses are

able to North Pole off exc-elf-tional treatment and saw things up round the clock for a magical delivery back home even if it was the night before


I`m Carl Azuz, wishing all a good night.