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CNN 10

The Role of Religious Tension in Yemen`s Civil War; CDC Director Resigns; The Skills of a Hyperpolyglot

Aired February 1, 2018 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Welcome to February and a new edition of CNN 10. I`m Carl Azuz explaining what`s going on in nations around the world.

First, today, we`re going to the Middle East, for an update for the war- torn country of Yemen. It`s located between Saudi Arabia and the Gulf of Aden. Its location is important because Yemen also borders one of the

world`s most used shipping lanes where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden, and its ongoing civil war, which flared up in 2011, could have an impact on

international shipping.

Ninety-nine percent of Yemen`s 28 million people are Muslim, but there are religious divisions among them. Most Yemenis are Sunni Muslim, but just

over a third are Shiite Muslim. And for years, a Shiite militant group called the Houthis has been rebelling against the Yemeni government.

International officials believe the Houthis are supported by Iran, a predominantly Shiite Muslim country. The Yemeni government forces are

supported by Saudi Arabia, a predominantly Sunni Muslim country. So, religious tensions in the region outside Yemen factor in, too.

The situation, especially for many civilians is desperate but there`s no end in sight.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yemen is in a midst of a civil war. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels unseated the internationally recognized

government of President Abdrabbuh Hadi in 2015. The Houthi rebels initially took control of the capital Sana`a and much of the rest of the


Saudi Arabia, through airstrikes, leads a coalition, including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Sudan, supporting the government`s ground offensives,

who now claimed they hold 85 percent of the country`s territory. However, Houthi rebels still control the capital Sana`a and the strategic Red Sea

port of Hodeida.

The U.N. report says neither side is doing enough to prevent civilian suffering. More than 13,000 civilian casualties are reported so far, with

nearly 1/3 of Yemen`s population close to starvation, and one million at risk of cholera. The value of the Yemeni rial is suffering. Fuel is in

short supply and food is getting more expensive.

The U.N. report also accuses Iran of failing to stop direct or indirect supply of Iranian made ballistic missiles to the Houthi rebels who fired

them at Saudi cities, including the capital Riyadh.

Houthi rebels are threatening international shipping in the Red Sea, warning they`ll close the waterway through which 1/10 of the world`s

maritime trade passes. The conflict is complex. Yemen has always been poor and has long relied on aid from its prosperous northern neighbor Saudi


Hadi`s government is battling not just Houthi rebels but al Qaeda or ISIS with American military help and faces a separate strong separatist movement

in the south. For now, the government plans to continue its military offensive to pressure the Houthis to talks.

The war is far from over.


AZUZ: Investigators are trying to figure out what led to an accident yesterday that involved a large garbage truck and train carrying dozens of

members of the U.S. Congress.

Almost 100 Republicans, including senators, representatives and House Speaker Paul Ryan were headed to a retreat in West Virginia when the train

they were traveling on collided with the tractor trailer. The driver of the truck was killed. Six other people, including two Amtrak crew members

were hospitalized.

Except for some minor injuries, all the members of Congress were reportedly OK. Several of them thanked the first responders and asked people to pray

for the victims of the accident and their families. And because some of the lawmakers are doctors or have medical training, they were able to help

those who were hurt.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the Republican lawmakers conference would go on as planned.

The director of the CDC, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, resigned from her job on Wednesday. Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, an

obstetrician/gynecologist from Georgia, had served as head of the CDC since she was appointed last July. But about a month after that, she reportedly

bought stock in a number of companies that included Japan Tobacco, one of the largest tobacco businesses in the world. That`s according to a report

that came out earlier this week from "Politico", a political news organization.

Tobacco smoking is the leading caused of preventable death in the U.S. And Dr. Fitzgerald has spoken out against it and offered the government`s help

in getting people to quit. So, critics say here stockholding in a tobacco company was a conflict of interest.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, says the stock purchase wasn`t made directly by Dr.

Fitzgerald, that her financial account manager did it. And another former director of the CDC says he believes that Fitzgerald didn`t know that her

financial manager had made the investment in Japan Tobacco, and that when she found out, she said to sell the stock.

Another doctor has been brought in to head up the CDC until Fitzgerald`s replacement is named.


SUBTITLE: What tobacco does to your health.

Tobacco kills more than 7 million people worldwide each year.

It causes many diseases and harms nearly every organ within the body.

Toxins from tobacco smoke enter the blood stream and reduce oxygen circulating to organs.

Ninety percent of all lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking.

Tobacco can also lead to heart disease, and doubles the risk of a heart attack.

Oral health is affected, causing tooth loss, bad breath and gum disease.

It reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your skin, ageing the skin quickly. About one in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.

But quitting will gradually reduce the risk of being affected by these diseases.



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

What country has the highest number of different languages spoken?

China, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea or Trinidad and Tobago?

More than 820 languages are believed to be spoken in the Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea.


AZUZ: The CIA world fact book says that`s about 12 percent of all the languages on earth. And they`re spoken in a country that`s just a bit

bigger than the U.S. state of California.

There are three official languages in Papua New Guinea that are widely spoken, that helps with communication since many of the other languages are

understood by less than a thousand people. It would be a great place for a hyperpolyglot to practice.


IOANNIS IKONOMOU, TRANSLATOR, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: My name is Ioannis Ikonomou. I`m from Greece and I speak 32 languages.

SUBTITLE: The hyperpolyglot, 32 languages and counting.

IKONOMOU: Russian, Portuguese Norwegian, Turkish, Hungarian, Czech, Polish --

REPORTER: Ioannis is what we call a hyperpolyglot. It means he can speak a lot of languages.

IKONOMOU: By the time I was 20, I had already learned some 15 languages, and when I moved to Brussels and started my career or the EU institutions,

I added more official EU languages.

REPORTER: See, the thing is, Ioannis, he`s a quick learner.

IKONOMOU (translated): I`m a very curious person by nature.

So I have figure out ways to learn other languages.

REPORTER: This doesn`t happen by just sitting at home in the studying well.

IKONOMOU (translated): No, of course not. You have to travel and talk with people.

This, for me, is a great exercise for my language skills.

This is the best method. To learn a new language, you use it.

I get to use all the languages I`ve learned with my colleagues here every day.

REPORTER: The world is a big place with different cultures and, yes, different languages.

IKONOMOU (translated): I live my life in many languages, not just one.

I dream in all kinds of languages.

Through all the languages I`ve learned, I can understand our vast world.

REPORTER: Wait, wait, before we go. If anyone knows, it`s you. What is the most complicated language to learn?

IKONOMOU: Mandarin.

REPORTER: Mystery solved.


AZUZ: What do you get when you crossed a celebrity portrait with dessert? A pietrait. No, I didn`t make that up. It came from a baker and artist

and punster who goes by "thepieous" on Instagram.

Besides baking up puns, she does this, putting people like Oprah Winfrey, Betty White and Thor in pie form. And if you want another dimension to

your dessert, 3D delicacies like the Kraken could be considered both edible and artistic.

Of course, to enjoy them, you have to deface them. And some celebrities might be crusty about the idea, a bad pietrait could hurt their fillings.

But others would go nutmeg for it. Having your day all spice up with your face pastried in good taste, how do you like them apples, y`all?

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