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Southern California Hit by Strongest Quake in 20 Years; Holiday Event Features Military Salutes, Flyovers; British Marines Seize Iranian Oil Tanker Bound for Syria; South Korea Struggles to Rein in Unemployment; Memory Foam an Innovation from Space Travel. Aired 12- 1a ET

Aired July 5, 2019 - 00:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes, Southern California, you do live in a quake zone. And authorities warn the strongest tremor to hit the region in two decades is a wake-up call. Be prepared for the big one. It's still coming.

[00:00:27] With tanks on flatbeds, warplanes and helicopters flying overhead, combined with an afternoon downpour and the baby Trump blimp, and there you have it, Donald Trump's Salute to America.

And the U.S.-Iran crisis escalates. British Marines seize an Iranian oil tanker for a sanctions violation, leaving Tehran outraged, Washington delighted, and a chance of this conflict ticking higher.

Hello. Welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm John Vause. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

It wasn't the big one, but it was big enough. The 6.4 earthquake which shook Southern California early Thursday was the strongest to hit the region in 20 years. More than 150 aftershocks followed, some quite strong.

The epicenter, about 240 kilometers north of Los Angeles, in the town of Ridgecrest. And here's the moment when the earth started to shake, sending children performing a holiday musical into a panic.





VAUSE: Everyone inside that hall escaped unharmed. A wall behind the performance area later collapsed.

Across the quake zone, there have been no reports of death or serious injury, but damage is significant and widespread, including a number of homes destroyed by fire.

Ridgecrest has declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of the quake, and we get the latest now from CNN's Nick Watt.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Ridgecrest, California, a town of about 30,000 people, who bore the brunt of this earthquake. The biggest earthquake to hit Southern California in 20 years.

This is a town of about 30,000 people. They have suffered some minor injuries, some power lines down, some gas lines broken, a few fires, some cracked walls, some cracks in roads, but nothing major so far. No terrible injuries and no fatalities. And authorities feel that they have got a handle on the situation.

But what everybody is waiting for are the aftershocks. There have been many, many so far. And we are warned that there will be many more.

Seismologists down at Cal Tech say that there is an 80 percent probability of a 5.0 aftershock or greater.

Now, this quake was felt as far away as Vegas, and the coast, Los Angeles. Now, people in L.A. were wondering why their early warning app didn't trigger. Well, because by the time it got to L.A., this was just felt as a 4.5, and the threshold to trigger was 5.0. That has already been changed.

People up here in Ridgecrest, up in the Mohave Desert, braced for the aftershocks and, of course, Southern Californians, as they have been for a long time, are braced, ready for the big one; and this might just be a warning sign for people to get prepared. For Heaven forbid if that ever comes.

Nick Watt, CNN, Ridgecrest, California.


VAUSE: Jessica Weston joins us now on the phone. She's the city editor of "The Daily Independent" newspaper in Ridgecrest.

So Jennifer, thank you for being with us. You're staying quite late there. But I guess all of this was made a lot more terrifying by the dozens of aftershocks in the hours since the quake. So at this point, are those aftershocks still coming or has the earth stopped shaking for now?

JESSICA WESTON, CITY EDITOR, "THE DAILY INDEPENDENT" (via phone): There was one about an hour ago.

VAUSE: OK. So they keep coming?

WESTON: So I would say they're still coming, but they seem to be getting fewer and further between.

VAUSE: Can you explain what that feeling is like when you feel that tremor, and I guess they're becoming less powerful, but they're still there. And I guess there's still that fear that comes with them. WESTON: Yes. I mean, it -- I mean, it depends on your personal

experience with earthquakes. The initial quake was so dramatic that the aftershocks, to me, are not that big of a deal, although I understand there's a one in five chance there could be a really big one. So -- no excuse me, a one in -- a 5 percent, a one in 20 chance. But yes, it's a little bit rattling. But I was just having dinner in one of the few restaurants that's open, and nobody seemed to be that bothered by them.

VAUSE: I guess that's the thing. If you are used to it. But a lot of people are not used to earthquakes, because there has been something like -- of an earthquake drought in Southern California.


VAUSE: At least of powerful earthquakes for the last 20 years. So for a lot of people, you know, this was a magnitude 6.4, and it was their first serious quake.

WESTON: Yes. Yes.

[00:05:05] VAUSE: How are they dealing with it now?

WESTON: People are rallying. We -- this is a very tight-knit community, and there's a number of volunteer groups that actually, you know, got together with the police department, formed a grid and searched -- they're searching the entire area to make sure that everybody is OK.

VAUSE: Right. So I guess --

WESTON: There's been a lot of volunteer -- a lot of people pulling together and trying to help each other.

VAUSE: Which is the sort of stuff you'd hope for and you'd suspect after something like this.


VAUSE: But put this in context. One of the reasons why we're, you know, reporting on the quake, which you know, so far, no deaths have been reported, no significant injuries. It's because there was a fairly sparsely populated area where the epicenter was.


VAUSE: By way of contrast, the North Ridge earthquake back in 1994, it was a 6.7, and that caused widespread damage and left, you know -- and left a death toll behind, as well. So it does seem that just by good luck, that we're reporting on an earthquake which was powerful but did not, you know, leave behind a high death toll. Right?

WESTON: Correct. Absolutely. We don't have very many buildings. A few homes are two stories, but most of the buildings are one story here. We have no large cement parking structures. We don't have a freeway with an overpass. None of those places that people tend to be injured, in an earthquake, we don't have them. So you're absolutely right.

VAUSE: I was reading also that a lot of people have been concerned, have been a little bit afraid to go back inside. They're heading to, you know, a parking lot at Wal-Mart. Do we know if they're still out there, how long they plan to be there, or if they're headed back at this point?

WESTON: I don't know. I -- I have not been to the Wal-Mart, so I don't know what's going on there. But from what I've observed, people are shopping, and they seem to be trying to get back to business as usual.

VAUSE: Yes, and that's the important thing, I guess, at this point, trying to get back to some kind of normality, but be prepared for the next one.

WESTON: Yes, and absolutely. Yes. And they've emphasized that there's a possibility of an aftershock, and everybody is definitely on alert with that.

VAUSE: Yes. Jessica, you have been great with us. We appreciate your time and appreciate the update there from, you know, not far away, about a couple of miles away from where the epicenter actually was in this powerful quake.


VAUSE: But Ridgecrest, you survived, for the most part. Thanks, Jessica.

WESTON: Thanks.

VAUSE: Let's go to meteorologist Karen Maginnis now for more.

And that's the point here. This could, anywhere else -- Southern California is a highly-populated area in places. This could have been just so much worse.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And John, you have just said exactly how I was going to start. And that is, if this had materialized in that very populated are, along the coast of California, different scenario.

But this is in a relatively very sparsely-populated area, right at the edge of the desert. We have Trona, Searles Valley and Ridgecrest. Ridgecrest is getting a lot of attention because that is primarily one of the more popular areas in this region.

We're going to zoom in on this Google Earth, and this is that cluster of aftershocks and the primary earthquake that occurred just after 10:30 local time.

As you can imagine, just how terrifying that quake was -- felt for people, even in Los Angeles, even in Las Vegas. But for the people right at this epicenter, this was a shaking. This is a slip fault, meaning they are rubbing against each other. This is not something that is dropping, or a subduction zone, like we typically see in some of these coastal areas, but this is slipping.

What fault did it occurred on? A lot of people are saying it was the San Andreas Fault. It was not the San Andreas Fault. There are many small, miniature faults along this region. Many of them. Dozens of them. And they're still assessing which particular fault this occurred on.

But where you see these yellow, where you see the red, where you see the orange, those are aftershocks. I just counted the 4.0 magnitude earthquakes. Let's zoom in a little bit more. There were 17 since this earthquake, considered a strong earthquake, occurred. Seventeen! It is unnerving for people to feel this.

But they were saying, in California, closer to the coast, that it felt like it was 30 seconds or a minute. Well, the noted seismologist Dr. Jones said this was actually about a five-second earthquake, but it bounces off of those mountains, and so it reverberates. It feels like it's a lot longer.

But, John, I'll have information on just what kind of damage we were expecting and just what we can look forward to as far as aftershocks are concerned coming up over the next few hours.

Back to you.

VAUSE: Karen, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

We move to Washington now, where Donald Trump promised the show of a lifetime this July Fourth Independence Day. Instead the crowd was soaked by thunderstorms, and the president gave them a 45-minute history lesson. Trump said this was all about honoring the U.S. military. That usually happens on Veterans Day.

[00:10:03] A source says White House officials were praying for rain so they'd have an excuse for low attendance.

Nonetheless, the crowd cheered as military jets and helicopters flew overhead. Notably, the president avoided partisan politics in his televised speech.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now we must go forward as a nation with that same unity of purpose. As long as we stay true to our course, as long as we remember our great history, as long as we never, ever stop fighting for a better future, then there will be nothing that America can not do.


VAUSE: For more on Donald Trump's very big day, here CNN's Abby Phillip.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Independence Day is usually a nonpartisan affair, July Fourth, but this year was different, as President Trump finally pulled off that military-focused event he has always wanted.

There were tanks and fighter jets and military service members everywhere, leading some to worry that the president was cloaking himself in a usually nonpartisan institution for his own benefit.

But here on the National Mall, the biggest concern might have been the weather, as the rain came down four hours before and during the event. But, still, the crowd showed up, even though some White House officials were worried that there wouldn't be enough for President Trump, who has been so focused on his own crowd size.

In the crowd here, were many of the president's own supporters, wearing "Make America Great Again" hats and carrying Trump-focused memorabilia.

But the president himself tried to stay on message and tried to stay nonpartisan. He talked about the history of the United States, the valor of its service members, and called on the American public to tap into that patriotism into -- in the future.

At the same time, the president talked at length about the U.S. military, and as he spoke about each branch of the military, overhead was the roar of fighter jets and helicopters. And as the crowd here watched that go by, they watched in awe. It was a very rare occurrence here in Washington D.C. Almost never do you see planes flying over in that fashion. And that may be exactly what President Trump was hoping for.

Abby Phillip, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: There are essentially two types of legitimate military parades. There are celebrations to mark the victorious end to a military conflict. Think June 8, 1991, and the national victory to mark the end of the first Gulf War.

And the other part of the traditional ceremony, to mark an annual patriotic holiday. This is the other type of military parade, like Bastille Day in France.

To be sure, military parades are held around the world in absence of both of those reasons, but usually in places like North Korea, where a fearsome display of military hardware is a symbol of the deep insecurity and isolation of the country's leader.

In other places, like China and Russia, nationalism and militarism combine to serve as a message of deterrence, both internally and externally, where goose-stepping soldiers are a dance craze for a tyrant, about which George Orwell wrote, in "England, Your England," "The goosestep as one of the most horrible sights in the world. It is simply an affirmation of naked power, contained in it, quite consciously and intentionally, a vision of a boot crushing down on a face." There were no goose-stepping soldiers in Washington Thursday. But nor

was there a military victory to celebrate, or a national holiday which has always been marked with a military parade. But there was, quite possibly, an insecure and isolated U.S. president.

Joining me now from Orlando, Florida, CNN military analyst and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton.

Cedric, thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You bet, John. Always a pleasure.

VAUSE: You know, the former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, she's known to have said, "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, then you aren't." To put it another way, restraint and understatement are the characteristics that made America a great nation, and that is not what we saw in Washington on Thursday night.

LEIGHTON: Well, I think that's basically true. I mean, you look at, you know, just as an example from people that I've talked to who lived through World War II when they experienced German occupation, the goose-stepping soldiers made a lot of noise when they marched through the town.

When the Americans came in, they were very silent, and it was really that quiet power that transformed Europe and really served as the basis for Cold War, post-Cold War and post-World War II order that -- that came after that.

And so that's really what we're looking at. We're looking at a situation where our country, the United States, has had a history of really being the purveyor more of soft power than of hard power. We have certainly used hard power when we've needed to, when we felt the need to, but generally speaking, we have a much more muted way of dealing with things than, say, a country like North Korea, China or Russia.

[00:15:04] VAUSE: Yes. The U.S. does not revel in its military might. You know, it doesn't celebrate it. It uses it when it has to.

LEIGHTON: Exactly. And that's, you know, something that, you know, like you mentioned earlier, the parade that marked the end of Desert Storm, the first Gulf War. That was a parade that was done for a very specific occasion. It was done because it really did mark a major military event in the history of the United States, but once it was done, it was over with.

And that was something that -- that we did. And we reserved those two holidays, you know, Memorial Day, for the end of the May for the fallen soldiers and Veterans Day for the serving veterans in November. And that's really how we celebrate the military forces. And we respect them. You know, Americans that I've worked with and, you know, been a part of, I've been in this country all my life, but it's been a situation where we've respected the military for what it does and what it does not do.

VAUSE: You know, CNN's counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd, who served in the senior ranks of the FBI and CIA, he described what the politicization of the military and this independence holiday actually sort of means in real terms. Here he is.


PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Let me be subtle here. On a professional level of 25 years in national security, I hated it. On a personal level, I hated it more.

Can we actually have a day with hamburgers, hotdogs, and a few beers, without a politician? Please, one day. And now we can't, because now we've got politicians saying, "Let's celebrate guns and aircraft and forget about the Founding Fathers, who talked about being cautious with a standing military."


VAUSE: That's still the view from the back yard of the United States, but how will this sort of military parade on July Fourth be seen, you know, around the world by both allies and adversaries?

LEIGHTON: Well, you know, on the adversary side, you look at the reaction from Russia; and you see what Russian state TV is talking about, when they look at and analyze this parade. They're basically deriding it. They're saying this is nowhere near the kind of parade that they put on in Russia.

And they're right, you know, in this case. The parades that are put on in Russia are practiced for many months before the actual event. In the case that I'm thinking of, we're talking about the May 9 Victory Day parades in Russia that are an annual occurrence there. With probably similar reactions in China and, you know, perhaps even North Korea.

As far as our friends are concerned, our allies are concerned, most of them, you know, will probably look at this and kind of shrug their shoulders. Those who are very good at these kinds of things, like the British, will look at this and say, "Well, they're the American cousins who are, you know, a bit amateurish at this kind of thing. And you know, they don't do it quite like -- you know, like the Coldstream Guards," for example.

But, you know, the Americans, we have a very somewhat understated way of doing this, but we believe our military competence is shown through other means, and not necessarily through parades.

VAUSE: Yes. Yes, it speaks for itself. You know, the record of the U.S. military speaks for itself.

On Thursday the president talked about honoring the military. He often talks about how much he is doing for U.S. servicemen and women. Much of what he claims is not true or is an exaggeration. I want you to listen to CNN's Barbara Starr with the view from the Pentagon. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Service in the United States military over the decades, over the hundreds of years, is not a reality TV show. You know, right now, today, as we stand here, there are homeless veterans on the street. There are veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress all the way dating back to their service in Vietnam. Suicide is at an all-time rate.


VAUSE: You know, so just very quickly, it seems there are a lot of ways of honoring the military which would have had a real difference in their lives, but not as much fun for someone wanting to play with tanks and things.

LEIGHTON: Well, that's true. You know, it kind of reminds you of some of the old rulers in -- you know, a couple of centuries ago who loved to play with toy soldiers, and then they actually got to run their armies all around the place. That's something that, you know, we don't -- we don't want to do. We don't want to be that kind of a military.

And Barbara is absolutely right. You know, we need to focus on things like PTSD, veterans' homelessness, and all the other issues that really can plague a generation of fighters, veterans who have really given their all for this century.

VAUSE: Yes, the fact that there are homeless soldiers out there, and you know, resources are desperately needed, is important; and it should not go unsaid.

Cedric, thank you. Appreciate you being with us.

LEIGHTON: You bet, John. Anytime.

VAUSE: Thank you.

Well, a diplomatic spat brewing a diplomatic spat brewing between Britain and Iran after U.K. authorities detain an Iranian fuel tanker in Gibraltar. Ahead, we'll tell you why the ship was seized and where the request came from.

Also live to Ridgecrest, California, once more. A state of emergency there following a major earthquake.


[00:22:15] VAUSE: Well, tensions in the Persian Gulf continue to rise, this time after British authorities seized an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar. The U.K. says the Grace 1 was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of E.U. sanctions.

According to the tracking service Lloyd's List, the ship loaded up in mid-April and turned off its tracking signals, apparently to avoid detection. The ship sailed around Africa, because it was too heavy to pass through the Suez Canal. Iran says the seizure is illegal and summoned the British ambassador.

For more, CNN global affairs analyst and executive editor for the "New Yorker" website, David Rohde, is with us now from New York.

David, good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. On the one hand, we have the Spanish authorities, and you know, traditionally, Spain disputes British claims over Gibraltar. But they're saying this super tanker was seized by the British in Spanish waters at the request, or interestingly, the demand of the United States. Listen to this.


JOSEP BORRELL, SPANISH ACTING FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Naturally, we were aware of this operation. Police patrol boats were guarding the area, but we are studying the circumstances in which it happened. It was a demand by the United States to the United Kingdom.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: But we have Gibraltar's chief minister, you know, making no mention of any U.S. demand, no mention of sanctions on Iran. He says that the seizure was enforcement of E.U. sanctions, not on Iran but on Syria. Here he is.


FABIAN PICARDO, GIBRALTAR CHIEF MINISTER: This action arose from information giving the Gibraltar government reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel, the Grace I, was acting in breach of European Union sanctions against Syria.

In fact, we have reason to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria. That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria.


VAUSE: So in the bigger picture here, you know, do these word games actually matter, because the end result seems to be the same?

ROHDE: Yes, the broad dynamic here is that the conflict between the Trump administration and Iran is spreading. This is, you know, this is sort of creating an incident involving the U.K. and Spain. The story about enforcing these Syria sanctions is sort of a cover story. I think, unquestionably, Britain did this because of pressure from the Trump administration. And this is an effort by the Trump administration to pressure the Iranians, to crack down on oil sales that were not cracked down on -- I'm sorry, cracked down on before.

VAUSE: Yes, we heard Iran say in media reporting that the foreign ministry in Tehran summoned the U.K. ambassador to Iran, Robert Macaire, informing him of Iran's protest over what they say is the illegal seizure of an Iranian oil tanker, essentially, you know, making no attempt to deny it's their ship, it's their oil.

[00:25:07] And if you look at the route the ship had taken, a long journey around Africa, 23,000 kilometers, as opposed to 6,000 and some kilometers through the Suez Canal.

This gave the British a lot of time to plan the boarding and the seizure of the Grace 1.

The Iranians, though, they've been supplying oil to Syria for a very long time, despite E.U. sanctions on Damascus. It's hard to remember the last time the E.U. sanctions were actually enforced so aggressively.

Does that suggest that Iran may have been genuinely surprised that the Grace 1 was boarded? They never expected it? Or perhaps expectations in Tehran that the British or other E.U. countries would let this shipment slide in the face of U.S. pressure.

ROHDE: Yes, you're -- it's a good point. Something changed here, because there has been a tremendous amount of Iranian oil supporting the Syrian government. Iran, I would say, has been, you know, the biggest supporter of the Assad regime. Russia is in second position.

So maybe U.S. intelligence noticed this ship, and they alerted the British, but something clearly happened. Maybe the U.K., you know, intelligence services saw it.

But again, this is -- you know, this is the U.S. pressuring Britain to do this. You know, the public statements are, you know, accurate, but there's no question we're seeing the escalation of the, you know, standoff between the Trump administration and Iran.

And so I think Iran will push back, you know, and there will be some response to this. The Iranians are threatening to now increase the amount of highly-enriched uranium they're going to produce, beginning on Sunday. So we're seeing a-for-tat that's intensifying, and it's -- I think it's increasingly dangerous.

VAUSE: And this is all in the context of the Iran nuclear agreement. You know, we have the U.K., France and Germany still part of that agreement, still trying to convince the Iranians to comply by the conditions laid out by that 25 deal -- 2015 deal, I should say. That seems to be an incredibly difficult task now after the British boarded and seized the Grace 1.

ROHDE: Yes, this is a bad sign for the Iranians. They were hoping that they could get the Europeans to give them some economic relief in terms of the really crushing sanctions that the Trump administration has put on Iran. And so this is a sign that the British sort of are going to, at least temporarily, side with the Trump administration.

So, you know, Sunday will be a big day. They say they're going to increase the amount of enriched uranium. That is designed to get Europe to help them economically. And this whole effort by Iran is to get, hopefully, Europe and the U.S. and the U.K. to split over this Iran nuclear deal issue. That's not happening. So I -- the Iranians are going to do something, I would say, in the next week.

VAUSE: Very quickly, if they go ahead and if the E.U. actually enforces E.U. sanctions on Iranian oil, what impact will that have on Iran's economy?

ROHDE: Even more, you know, devastating. I think the Iranians shot down this drone and they're doing these more provocative things, talking about enrichment, because the economic pressure is so intense. So if there are new European sanctions, you know, I think the Iranians will act. You can see, you know, more attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. They can increase world oil prices. That's Iran's leverage in this.

And again, it's very dangerous. This is accelerating week by week, and you know, this could get very messy.

VAUSE: David, thank you. Good to see you.

ROHDE: Thanks.

VAUSE: David Rohde there in New York. Thanks.

ROHDE: Thanks.

VAUSE: Still ahead, the most powerful tremor in 20 years has left Southern California on edge. We'll be live from the town closest to the epicenter. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.


[00:31:08] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. I'm John Vause with an update on our top news this hour.

More than 100 aftershocks have rattled Southern California since a 6.4 quake struck near the community of Ridgecrest, north of Los Angeles. It's the strongest to hit the region in a generation.

No fatalities have been reported, but many utilities were knocked out, and damage has been significant, prompting Ridgecrest to declare a state of emergency.

A new U.N. report says Venezuela's security forces are killing thousands of young men, staging evidence that appears they were criminals who'd resisted arrest. The report says it's all part of a government strategy to target the opposition.

Meantime, Venezuela's National Assembly president, Juan Guaido, has called for a major rally to be held Friday on the county's Independence Day.

And angry reaction from Iran after Britain seized one of its oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar Thursday. Authorities say the vessel was carrying fuel to Syria, violating E.U. sanctions.

Iran has now summoned the British ambassador.

A maritime journal says the tanker turned off its tracking signal to avoid shortly after taking on its cargo.

It's been 20 years since it's been 20 years since California felt a major earthquake of magnitude six or greater. But that ended abruptly Thursday morning, when a 6.4 quake rolled across the desert. Here's the moment when two newscasters in Los Angeles actually realized what was happening.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you serious?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's an earthquake? That's the worst it's going to get, right?

Oh shoot, it shaking. Look! Oh, shoot! Oh, oh, oh.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, look it! Shoot, you guys.


VAUSE: OK. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Ridgecrest, near the epicenter of the quake. So Paul, I guess the question from many people seems to be this: Is this a sign or a warning the big one is coming sometime soon?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Vause, that's a great question, and of course, that is what all of the experts are now looking at.

Here's what one expert told us. They said the chances that this is foreshadowing a bigger quake are slim. But as we speak, and not long before I came up live, another one of these menacing aftershocks, this one about 4.0. And it's been jangling the nerves of the residents here.

Behind me, at the hospital, they've taken precautions. Now, because of these aftershocks, they certainly don't want any patient in a very serious condition to be injured by all of these aftershocks. So they moved about ten of them to the west of me, to Bakersfield, California.

Ridgecrest, by the way, is about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles, 27,000 residents. We don't have any major casualties or injuries to report. There are not a lot of high-rise buildings here. And California retrofitting of buildings have similar work, because there is not to be seen a lot of unreinforced masonry around, that sort of thing.

But we have seen this. A calling card of earthquakes. Those gas line fires. There was a man who was downtown. He races to his home. He gets inside. He's surveying damage: lots of things off walls, paintings, glass everywhere, and all of a sudden, he hears something. And he'll pick up the story now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK MINTON, OWNER OF CLASSIC CARS DESTROYED BY FIRE: I heard something crackling a little bit and went to that door and opened it. And it was all fire, in that garage, the front end of the garage. So I was able to slam the door.


VERCAMMEN: And after that heartbreak, he noticed, he suspected that a gas line break near his water heater started a fire. And then two classic cars, a 1948 convertible Chrysler Woody, a 1941 Buick, consumed, burned up in these flames.

And there's lots of small stories just like that, Vause, of heartache here in Ridgecrest, California, on the Fourth of July.

[00:35:04] VAUSE: Yes. It's a sad sight, you know. You've got to keep reminding yourself, obviously, that this could have been so much worse. But when you see that, it's kind of tragic.

You know, a lot of questions, too, about this shake L.A. alert app for smart phones. This early warning system which actually didn't send out any early warnings, mostly because what was felt in Los Angeles didn't meet the threshold for early alert.

So we have this tweet from the city of L.A. "The Shake L.A. Alert app only sends out alerts if shaking is 5.0 plus in L.A. County. Epicenter was 6.4 in Kern County. The U.S. Geological Survey confirms L.A. shaking was below 4.5." But they add this: "We hear you, and we'll lower the alert threshold."

So clearly, a lot of people in Los Angeles, they're on edge and they want that heads up, even if it's a minor quake is on its way.

VERCAMMEN: And that's right. And by the way, I work in Los Angeles, Hollywood, to be specific, and we felt that quake come through the building. It started as just a side to side thing at first, Vause. It was not one of those sewing machine type quakes, and then we could feel it.

So clearly, this is something that they're trying to hash out and make better, and that is tweaking this app. Because if they can forewarn people, then they'll know.

And by the way, for a moment there -- and I've been through serious quakes -- I thought about diving under the desk when that thing started picking up momentum.

But you're right: Everyone feels like this could've been a lot worse. This was not the North Ridge quake of 1994 which blasted the city of Los Angeles, killed some 57 people, caused almost another 9,000 to be injured, massive devastation and destruction.

It is obviously serious to anybody here, such as that man who lost those cars and lost much of his home. But this is almost a warning shot across the bow of all of California to not be complacent when it comes to these devastating quakes, Vause.

VAUSE: Yes. Get your earthquake kits. Have some cash on hand, have some fresh water, be ready. And Paul, good to see you. Thanks, man.

Well, still to come, South Korea's president raising the minimum wage, trying to shorten the work week. All of this trying to get the economy moving. But none of it seems to be working, and we'll explain why when we come back.


VAUSE: Right now, South Korea's economy seems to be a case study that proves that when the minimum wage goes, so, to, does unemployment. And it's one of a round of reforms President Moon Jae-in has implemented to reboot the economy, but many critics argue it's all happening way too soon, and it's way too much.

Here's CNN's Paula Hancocks.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Business is tough for Kim Jae-un (ph). He owns three convenience stores in Seoul. He's cut his staff from 15 to 11 over the past two years.

"If you walk along the street," he says, "you see so many signs in windows that say 'For lease.' It's the same with convenience stores. The price of goods goes up with inflation, but this nowhere near makes up for the rise in labor costs."

[00:40:05] The minimum wage in South Korea has more than doubled since 2009. President Moon Jae-in raised it nearly 11 percent in January. The unemployment rate for the first quarter is the highest in almost a decade.

Mr. Moon is being criticized for doing too much, too soon. Raising the minimum wage, raising taxes, cutting the work week.

YANG JONG-SEOK, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS: They're driven more by personalities --

HANCOCKS: One economics professor agrees but also blames the one-term presidency in this country.

YANG: Well, I think you're stuck between a rock and a hard place. Traditionally, in Korea, after your five-year term, your policies do not seem to get enacted. So it's very unusual for policies to go across presidents.

HANCOCKS: Moon has reshuffled his cabinet and replaced his economic team to deflect criticism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Through the minimum wage increase, salaries for those currently employed in the job market have improved. The percentage of low-income workers have fallen to an all- time low.

HANCOCKS: Student support for Moon has slipped. The man they saw as the jobs president hasn't delivered in their eyes.

Labor unions are protesting for the opposite reason. They don't think his reforms go far enough.

For Kim, he says Moon's pledge to improve the country's work-life balance rings hollow. He and his wife now work opposite shifts in the store, so there's always someone home with their child.

"The government provides some support," he says, "subsidies to help pay employment and benefits, but these are only temporary. Because of that, we're constantly living in fear."

(on camera): South Korea has the same issues as much of the rest of the world: slowing growth, an aging population, a widening income inequality. And it's hard for experts to know if Moon's pro-labor policies will ultimately succeed, but short-term prospects look bleak.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


VAUSE: This week kicks off -- that's a special one. This week kicks off "Space 50," a special month of coverage on CNN, leading up to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. A technology which made space travel possible, though, is now part of our daily lives.

CNN business anchor Julia Chatterley has more now on the tech which changed the way we sleep.


JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR (voice-over): These days, you might associate memory foam more with mattresses then space flight, but this versatile material is all thanks to aeronautical engineer Charles Yost, who also helped design the Apollo command module back in the 1960s.

He also worked with NASA to develop airplanes seating that absorbed energy during a crash, increasing the chance of survival. He first called it, slows springback foam, because it would return to its original shape.

What we now know as memory foam helps evenly distribute body weight for more comfort, especially on long flights, whether that's a transatlantic trip or further, into space.


VAUSE: Make sure you stay with us all month for our space coverage, including an exploration of the economy of space; personal accounts of the moon landing; and we'll take a look forward to missions and a plan for Mars, if we ever get there.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. WORLD SPORT is up next.

But before we go, this is the July Fourth holiday. It's coming to an end across the United States, but there have been the celebrations. Cities across the country lighting up beneath a huge fireworks display. Rockets' red glare and all that kind of stuff. Check it out.






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