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CNN 10

Hong Kong Bullet Train To Guangzhou, China; Hong Kong, British Rule Now Under China Rule; Straw Law Signed Last Week By Governor Jerry Brown; E-Scooters in Cities Are Becoming Dangerous; Spiders In Greece Catching Gnats

Aired September 24, 2018 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: On this last Monday in September, we`re grateful to have you watching CNN 10. I`m Carl Azuz. Objectively explaining news

from around the world. Today that takes us across the Pacific to a special administrative region of China. We`re starting in Hong Kong. The first

ever bullet train from there to mainland China opened up on Sunday. The $10 billion rail link connects Hong Kong to the Chinese city of Guangzhou

where travelers can access more legs of the largest, high speed rail network on the planet and easily get to places hundreds of miles away like

Shanghai and Beijing. More than 80,000 passengers are expected to use this new rail link every day.

It`s expected to cut a two hour trip time down to 47 minutes and increase opportunities and business benefits for the region around Hong Kong but

there`s some controversy to this. For one thing, critics say Hong Kong already had rail links with China and that this project was too expensive

as it went 30 percent over budget. For another, part of the new train station in Hong Kong is under Chinese control. It`s governed by Chinese

law. It`s patrolled by Chinese mainland police. They`ll have the authority to arrest people inside the station and transfer them to the

mainland and that`s the first time that China`s government would have direct control over part of Hong Kong since it was ceded to the British in

1841. There are more than 7 million people who live in Hong Kong and for many of them, Chinese influence and government control are sensitive



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not easy being Hong Kong. It is simultaneously China and not China. It`s a special administrative region. Three words

that distinguish it and Macau from the rest of the country. To understand why it has this status let`s rewind more than 175 years, way back to 1841

when the British took control of Hong Kong from the Chinese during the first Opium War. Back then, it was just a handful of fishing villages.

But in more than a century under British rule, Hong Kong transformed to an international financial powerhouse.

The British introduced western style banking, legal and education systems to Hong Kong. Hong Kongers also enjoy freedom of expression and freedom of

the press, liberties that don`t exist in mainland China. As China was embroiled in international conflicts and civil war, Hong Kong thrived. But

in 1984, when Britain negotiated to give control of the territory back to China, people feared life would dramatically change. Under the one

country, two systems principle Beijing promised that Hong Kong would operate just as it had under British rule for 50 years.

July 1st 1997, the momentous return of Hong Kong from Britain to China and at the handover ceremony, the people of Hong Kong were observers, watching

as their new flag which was chosen for them was raised on the lower pole than that of the bigger flag of the People`s Republic of China. Since

around the time of the handover, there has been constant soul searching among the people of Hong Kong about their cultural identity, their

political future and when this special administrative region would start to feel less special. Critics say, it`s already started. Pointing out

China`s refusal to grant Hong Kong free and fair elections for it`s top leader without Beijing vetting the candidates and that sparked the Umbrella

Movement Protests that paralyzed the city`s central business district for more than three months in 2014.

Others will say life under Chinese rule has largely remained unchanged and that Hong Kong Inc. has prospered along with the rise of China. Hong Kong

still has an independent judiciary and capitalist economy with it`s own financial system and currency. But many are worried that Beijing is

increasingly imposing itself on the city`s affairs. And then there`s the question of what happens after China`s promise of one country, two systems

expires in 2047. Will Hong Kong be allowed to mostly run it`s own affairs or be ruled just like any other Chinese city?


CARL AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. Alaska`s home to several of America`s highest peaks. But where would you find the highest mountain in the lower

48 states? California, Colorado, Utah or Wyoming. Mt. Whitney with a summit of almost 15,000 is the highest mountain in the lower 48.

California`s also home to a new ban on plastic straws but the law is limited. The state`s governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation late last

week. What it does is make it illegal for dine in restaurants to automatically hand out plastic straws to customers. They can still ask for

the straws and get them. Fast food restaurants and convenience stores can still automatically hand them out and full service restaurants can still

give customers paper and metal straws without them asking. But if dine in locations hand out the plastic kind, they could eventually be fined $25 per

day up to a maximum of $300 per year.

Governor Brown says that plastics in all forms are hurting the planet and that the new law is a small step that might make customers think about an

alternative. But according to the San Francisco Chronicle, a legislative analysis found the new law won`t significantly reduce litter. And it`s

also not likely to change consumer behavior. The Straw Law takes effect on New Year`s Day.

A California business factors into our next story. Bird is the name of one but not the only E-Scooter company. These are electric scooters popping up

in cities across the U.S. and abroad. The company`s that rent them say they cut down on pollution if people ride on them instead of in cars.

They`re intended to be an inexpensive way for folks to get around and at a speed faster than walking. Many E-Scooters go as fast as 15 miles per hour

which is the speed which some runners can sprint. But there are downsides to tall this scooting. Some cities have banned E-Scooter use on sidewalks

because of possible collisions with pedestrians. That puts the scooters next to cars in the street. And some riders have been involved in

accidents either because of their own mistakes or scooters malfunction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The alarm is starting to sound on the E-Scooter invasion. A two wheeled collision at stop speed. Another scene,

paramedics tending to the injured downed by an E-Scooter. Doctors and lawyers are seeing crashes every day. Some are pushing back accusing these

scooter start-ups of putting profit over rider safety and E-Scooter riders can be hard to spot on the road. Last month in Cleveland a driver struck

an killed a 21 year old woman. The driver was under the influence and charged with homicide.

While no official stats exist, some ER`s say they`re saying an influx of E- Scooter related injuries. Cedar Sinai Hospital in California told us, patients are regularly coming in now requiring urgent surgery and because

the devices are so new, insurances policies may not cover any resulting medical bills. In the past year, California based Bird has launched

shareable E-Scooters rented via Smartphone apps in more than 40 cities worldwide and is now valued at an eye popping $2 billion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The goal of Bird is to reduce car traffic and trips. People have been trying to find ways to get Americans out of cars for a

long time and - - and we think Bird can have a big impact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bird says that users should be 18 or older, follow local traffic laws and should wear a helmet. Critics say riders routinely

break those rules. In a statement Bird told CNN, safety is our top priority. For those involved in any incidents with Bird scooters, we

strongly recommend reporting these to Bird so we can take necessary action on our platform.


CARL AZUZ: For 10 out of 10, we`re 37 days away from Halloween but it`s like this town in Greece is decorating early. It`s not people who`ve

covered the beach, the trees and the street signs with spider webs though. It`s actual arachnids. Relatively small ones that are less than an inch

long. Thousands of them creep beneath the webs feasting on the gnats that thrive in the area. Thankfully, the spiders are not dangerous to humans

though it`s no "cephalothoraccident" that arachnophobics would quicken their "carapace" running as though they has eight legs or "spinneret ting"

their wheels to avoid eye contact that could catch them in a web of fear. I`m Carl Azuz and we`ll crawl back with some "fang" new for you tomorrow.