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CNN 10

An Armenian Political Crisis; Scientists Work to Help Rid the World of Plastic Waste; A Great Big Story about a Savant

Aired April 25, 2018 - 04:00:00   ET


I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.>

CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: A political crisis in Armenia leads of today`s edition of CNN 10. I`m Carl Azuz. Glad to have you watching.

Armenia is a small landlocked nation between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Its government is officially a parliamentary democracy. But large protests

welled up in the country`s capital recently, because the Armenian public believes their former prime minister had done something unconstitutional.

Serzh Sargsyan was the president of Armenia for 10 years starting in 2008. During that time, he promoted changes in the nation`s constitution that

made the office a prime minister, more powerful than the presidency. And though he said he would not try to become prime minister, after his term as

president ended, the nation`s parliament, which is controlled by Sargsyan`s political party elected to give him the job anyway.

Tens of thousands of people protested. They saw this as an illegal power grab. And things escalated when members of Armenia`s opposition political

party were held by police.

On Monday, though, Prime Minister Sargsyan announced he`d resign, saying the street movement is against my tenure. I am fulfilling your demand.

So, what happens now?

Armenia is faced with a task of working out some sort of political compromise so the nation can move forward.

They`ve also been some rapid changes on the Korean peninsula. In late 2017, the international community placed the toughest sanctions, economic

penalties that it`s ever put on North Korea after the communist country flaunted it`s nuclear and missile programs. Now, just a few months later,

North Korea`s weapons test have apparently quieted down and the country`s dictator, Kim Jong-un, looks like he`s ready to turn his back on years of

isolation to appear on the world stage. He`s preparing for a summit that will be held later this week with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a

possible meeting in May or early June with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Both South Korea and the U.S. have been rivals of North Korea since fighting stopped in the Korean War in 1953.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We`re just a few days now from that North-South Korean summit that the South Korean President Moon

Jae-in has called a guide post, a stepping stone, to the next summit, that between the U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

We have been hearing from White House officials. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders saying the U.S. is not naive in this process. They won`t make the

same mistakes the previous administrations have been, something we have heard before. Also hearing from the White House that they`re not going to

make any concessions until Kim Jong-un does show that he is going to dismantle the nuclear and missile programs.

So, the final preparations now ongoing for the meeting on Friday. We know there will be rehearsals over the next couple of days with both North and

South Korean officials to make sure that everything goes very smoothly. They appreciate this is an historic moment.

It`s the first summit between North Korean and South Korean leaders in more than a decade, but it`s going to be the first time that a North Korean

leader crosses the border into South Korea. And just for that occasion, they`re going to let South Korean journalists cross the border into North

Korea so they can capture that moment on camera.

We`re told this will all be broadcast live with a welcoming ceremony and also a banquet after the meeting. The meeting itself clearly won`t be

broadcast live.

We also have the menu. Obviously, well thought out, this food sources not only from the town of a South Korean president, but also the two previous

presidents who met the late Kim Jong-il at the two previous summits, the father of the current leader Kim Jong-un. There`s also going to be cold

buckwheat noodles from North Korea. They`re bringing a chef with them and the machine to make those noodles.

So, clearly, a lot of thought has gone into this, trying to show an even keel between the two Koreas. So, the preparations as I say are ongoing now

as both sides appreciate that this is an historic moment.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.



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

Which of the world`s major oceans is the shallowest?

Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, or Southern or Antarctic Ocean?

The Arctic Ocean has the distinction of being both the shallowest and smallest ocean in the world.


AZUZ: We`ve reported on the great Pacific garbage patch. Now, it looks like the Arctic Ocean has one of its own, but it`s not necessarily visible

to the naked eye.

Researchers gathered samples from the Arctic in 2014 and 2015, and they say they detected a tremendous amount of microplastic particles. Those are

pieces of plastic smaller than five millimeters. It`s possible that animals at the bottom of the food chain could be eating them, and

scientists say the biggest sources for this type of pollution included packing materials, nylon, paint and a fiber often found in cigarette

filters. They believe some of these particles probably traveled through the air at some point on their journey.

Last week, we mentioned how scientists had developed an enzyme that can help break down a common form of plastic called polyethylene terephthalate

or PET. Here are the details on how that works.


REPORTER: PET is found in everything, from plastic bottles to clothing. First developed in 1940s, it`s now a major part of our plastic problem.

Euromonitor International forecasts more than 600 billion PET bottles will be made next year alone. PET can take hundreds of years to break down in

the environment. But now, scientists have stumbled upon a shortcut.

JOHN MCGEEHAN, PROFESSOR, STRUCTURAL BIO, UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH: A couple of years ago, there`s a Japanese group that made a spectacular

discovery of a bacteria that can digest PET plastic in a recycling dump in Japan. And what we`ve done is we`ve taken the enzyme that this bacteria


REPORTER: That enzyme is called PETase. It works, but it doesn`t work fast enough to use in an industrial scale.

Using this particular accelerator in Oxford in U.K., McGeehan along with his colleagues in Brazil and the U.S. examine the enzyme write down to the

economic level. They found that by tweaking it slightly, it could break down plastic at an even faster rate.

MCGEEHAN: The bacteria can break this down in a matter of days or weeks, but what we`re hoping to do with the enzyme is just in the same way you use

an enzyme in a biological washing detergent, breaking down grass stains. These enzymes we hope can break down PET ideally in a matter of hours.

That`s the goal.

REPORTER: McGeehan says its was the scientific community that developed plastics and now that same community must use all the technology at their

disposal to find solutions to the problems plastics have caused.


AZUZ: The subject of today`s "Great Big Story" is a savant, defined as someone who has incredible skill or brilliance. And this is despite the

fact that he was diagnosed with autism, a developmental disorder as a child.

Today, Stephen Wiltshire is an architectural artist, and one amazing thing about him is that he doesn`t draw his cityscapes from photographs or on

plain air.


STEPHEN WILTSHIRE, ARTIST: I`m Stephen Wiltshire. I do drawings.

REPORTER: Stephen is an artist who creates incredibly intricate drawings of cityscapes.

WILTSHIRE: I love drawing tall buildings, tall skyscrapers, skylines, street scenes.

REPORTER: And he does this entirely from memory.

SUBTITLE: Drawing the world from memory.

REPORTER: When Stephen was 3, he was diagnosed as autistic. He was completely mute and lived entirely in his own world.

Early on, Stephen`s teachers noticed he loved to draw. He had found his way to connect with others.

Stephen has the ability to look at a subject one and then draw an accurate and detailed picture of it, including panoramas of entire cities based off

just a quick look.

WILTSHIRE: I`ll go up from the helicopter and then memorize it, and then up to in on a helicopter and then straight back at the hotel and then start

to draw.

REPORTER: His incredible talent launched an artistic career that has taken him around the world.

WILTSHIRE: Los Angeles, Dubai, Houston, Texas, and Tokyo in Japan.

REPORTER: And that`s just to name a few.

WILTSHIRE: New York is my favorite. Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and there are a lots of yellow New York taxi cabs.

REPORTER: And Stephen has no plans of stopping anytime soon.

WILTSHIRE: Someone told me that people like my drawings, I feel good. Always be happy about it.


AZUZ: You`re about to learn why I was told to be careful with today`s "10 Out of 10" segment.

First, it`s about the seventh planet from the sun. That`s Uranus. Second, it`s about what scientists say they`ve detected in the planet`s clouds,

hydrogen sulfide. That`s the molecule that gives rotten eggs their stinky smell.

So, the possibly pungent planet probably isn`t particularly pleasant, but it also isn`t likely anyone would notice since people couldn`t survive


Still, if they wanted to take a trip, they`d have to carefully planet. The journey alone would stink. Traveling more than one and a half billion

miles could take nine years. So, maybe you`d want to Saturn your attention to the ringed planet, or Neptune your compass to the farthest one. The

seventh planet may not pass the sniff test.

I`m Carl Azuz and I`m pun-willing to say anymore than that.