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Iraq Says It Has Kicked ISIS Out; Attempted Terrorist Attack Panics Commuters in New York; A Maze Maker discusses the Balance in Making Perfect Puzzles

Aired December 12, 2017 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN 10. Give us 10 minutes, we`ll give you objective explanations on world news events. I`m Carl Azuz.

First story, another major milestone in the international fight against the ISIS terrorist group. The Iraqi military says it`s kicked ISIS out of the

country and regained complete control of Iraq`s border with Syria. Both of these nations are significant to ISIS, the name is an acronym for Islamic

State in Iraq and Syria. And that`s what the extremist organization had hoped to establish.

At one point, ISIS controlled more than 34,000 square miles of land, from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, to some areas south of the Iraqi

capital. But after more than three years of fighting and the support of about 25,000 air strikes carried out by a U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi Prime

Minister Haider al-Abadi told his people that their land had been completely liberated, and that ISIS`s dream had come to an end.

The U.S. government says it will continue to stand with Iraq, help Iraqis return to their homes and help stabilize the areas that were liberated from

ISIS. The scars of war are stretched across Iraq. The United Nations says more than 3.2 million people had to leave their homes because of the

conflict. And some of the factors that led to the rise of ISIS remain.

Iraq still faces challenges of poverty and unemployment. There are still tensions over religious and ethic differences and attacks inspired by ISIS

in Iraq and abroad are still a threat.

Possible example of that, what authorities call an attempted terrorist attack in New York City yesterday. At around 7:20 a.m., a man wearing a

homemade pipe bomb set it off at a bus terminal near Times Square. Witnesses said there was a lot of chaos after the explosion, with people

screaming and running in panic, but no one, not even the bomber was killed. Officials say the explosives didn`t fully go off.

Still, three people went to the hospital with headaches and ringing in their ears, and police say the suspect, the 27-year-old man named Akayed

Ullah was burned and cut in his hands and abdomen. He was born in Bangladesh and he moved to the U.S. legally in 2011. Police say he told

investigators he carried out the attack because of recent actions by Israel and the Palestinian controlled territory of Gaza. A U.S. law enforcement

official says that Ullah had pledged allegiance to ISIS and police are investigating that.


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

Which of these U.S. zoos is located the farthest south?

Albuquerque BioPark Zoo, Chattanooga Zoo, North Carolina Zoo, or Santa Barbara Zoo?

At just over 34 degrees north latitude, it`s the Santa Barbara Zoo in southern California that`s the furthest south on this list.


AZUZ: That zoo has been closed because of the effects of the largest of the wild fires currently burning in California. It`s named the Thomas

Fire. It`s burned an area that`s bigger than the size of New York City, more than 230,000 acres.

It`s 15 percent contained, meaning a barrier has been established around 15 percent of it. It`s caused $34 million to fight so far, and it`s involved

more than 5,700 of the 9,000 firefighters tackling a series of blazes throughout California.

More than 1,000 homes and businesses had been destroyed, though 25,000 homes are still threatened, at least 98,000 people have had to evacuate and

not all of them have a home to return to.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Unrelenting and growing as punishing winds and dry land fuel the largest of California`s

fires, the Thomas fire.

DAVE ZANIBONI, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: It`s not a house by house fight yet. We`re trying to prevent that. And, you know, if we can

get the wind to cooperate with us the wind`s definitely picking up now.

LAH (on camera): So you`ve been hitting it from the air as well as working it from the ground?

ZANIBONI: Yes, correct. The helicopters have been a huge help.

LAH: You can see the wind as it pushes the embers this way, all of these embers fly towards the houses that haven`t burned yet.

ZANIBONI: Firefighters -- they`re busy.

LAH (voice-over): Exhausted and in the back this truck injured. Thousands of firefighters weary after nearly a week battling wildfires raging across

southern California.

In northern San Diego County, homes burned in minutes.

This entire neighborhood disappeared in just 20 minutes. Daylight revealed all that was lost.

In Los Angeles` Bel-Air neighborhood, hillsides and mansions burned. More people running from flames.

FELICIA WALDMAN, EVACUEE: We just started panicking. We didn`t know what to do. So, we hadn`t been told to evacuate but we were going to evacuate.

So, we just started thinking my husband said just take anything that you think you might need. Everything can be replaced. Let`s just get out of


LAH: Nearly 200,000 people in southern California evacuated this week, some returning to a home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, honey. It`s me. Our house is still there. Yes, everything looks good.

LAH: Others digging through what`s left.

DAVID KARIAN, FIRE VICTIM: There`s not much but if there`s a few things that will help them, you know, have some connection to the past then that`s

what I`m trying to do. It`s what it is. Material stuff, like you said memories -- a lot of years.

LAH (on camera): Back here in Santa Barbara County, it`s at night when the fire`s fury is most visible. You can see it churning in those hills. It

continues to march northwest.

But it`s not just the wind. It`s also the dry brush, 250 days here in California without any significant rain.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Santa Barbara County, California.


AZUZ: We have a puzzling Great Big Story for you today. It`s about a man who`s made news for making mazes. Adrian Fisher has designed more than 700

of them in 40 countries. They range in costs from 130 bucks to $1.3 million.

But his talent isn`t just making the mazes, it`s finding the balance between making them challenging and making them fun.


ADRIAN FISHER, MAZE DESIGNER: Mazes are the one the most fascinating things or what everybody as soon as they can call always wanting to find

out what`s hidden, what`s at the site.

My name`s Adrian Fisher, I live in Dorset in England and I create mazes and labyrinths all over the world.

SUBTITLE: The maze maker.

FISHER: While I spent the first few years of my career in accountancy, there came a moment when I`d created amazing my father`s garden, and then I

started building one and two more and so on.

And then I suddenly realized this is going to be far more fulfilling if I spent my life creating mazes.

This is the site of the place. This is 40 meters in diameter and the maze is being here.

Over the years of creative mazes in some 40 countries and I guess I`ve built over 700 full-sized mazes in the landscape. I think a maze design is

a very esoteric art. You sketch out ideas and develop ideas on paper, with drawings.

But one of the exciting things is a maze is a network. Now, a maze is a special kind of network where I decide there`s only one start point, I

decide where the finish is, and I make sure that every single bit of it can be as confusing or as easy as I wish.

I`m trying to make it as ingenious and tricky as possible, but in the end, I`m also an entertainer. I like to leave clues that help you solve it and

you feel so good about yourself when you have beaten the maze designer.

Like a good movie, you get to the end, you this still -- you don`t want it to stop.

I`m appealing to some basic instincts to us all that want to be entertained and explore and a maze is an ideal way of doing that. Its purpose is

totally to one side of normal, sensible, practical things in life, but it gives so much pleasure to so many millions.


AZUZ: Cold weather doesn`t bother giant pandas. They`re native to Western China and experts say they`re actually more active in the cold. But who

would expect to want to play in it?

Mei Xiang, a giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., showed just how enthusiastic she is about the snow by rolling in it. Her body

language pretty much says it all.

The question is, will she still be doing this when it`s still snowing in March? Or will she turn up her snowse at it thinking it`s snow longer an

excisting (ph) event, refusing to panda her audience and freezing them out with frosty glazes while she chills under unbearable conditions and longs

for a summertime snows? Guess we`ll find out in the spring.

I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.