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Wildfires Spread Across Parts of the Amazon Rainforest; Deterioration Takes Toll on Iconic Ocean Liner; ISS is Increasingly Open for Business

Aired August 23, 2019 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Like international news, big hair and bright shirts, Fridays are awesome. It`s great to have you spending 10 minutes of

your Friday with CNN 10. I`m Carl Azuz at the CNN Center. We`re starting in the largest country in the Southern Hemisphere today. That`s Brazil.

It`s also home to most of the world`s largest rainforest and large parts of the Amazon are on fire. Brazil`s space agency says there have been 72,800

nationwide this year and that more than half of them are in the Amazon region. It`s referred to as the "lungs of the earth". Scientists estimate

that the Amazon produces 20 percent of the oxygen in the planet`s atmosphere.

It`s home to hundreds of indigenous tribes. It`s rich in natural resources. The Amazon also harbors countless species of plants and

animals. These are some of the reasons why environmentalists around the world are concerned about the increase of wildfires there. One note of

caution though, some of the photos being shared to raise awareness about these disasters aren`t accurate. A number of actors and internet stars

have posted pictures of previous Brazilian fires. Some dating back 20 years and implying that these are the current fires and some of the other

pictures that have gotten millions of likes aren`t even of fires from Brazil. While this type of fake news is circulating widely on social

media, environmentalists say the reality that`s currently taking place in Brazil is troubling enough.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brazil`s largest city plunged into darkness. Black clouds filling the sky, blanketing Sao Paulo Monday afternoon. Thick smoke

billowing from more than 2,700 kilometers away where fires are consuming the world`s largest rainforest. The Amazon Basin is burning at a record

rate according to Brazil`s research center. More than 72,000 fires have scorched the country this year. An over 80 percent increase compared to

the same period in 2018. Flames destroying one and a half ball fields of rainforest every minute of every day. Smoke spreading across nearly half

of Brazil. Visible from space more than a week ago. Even spilling into neighboring Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay. Now the haze stretches across

South America, spreading along the east Atlantic coast.


AZUZ: The Amazon is a humid rainforest. So you may be asking, how are large parts of it being scorched by wildfires? Experts say, even in the

dry season the Amazon doesn`t catch fire that easily. Scientists don`t know for certain yet what`s causing the fires but there`s a lot of blame

being thrown around. Some environmental organizations point to farmers, cattle ranchers and loggers. For a long time, they`ve used fire to clear

land and the dry season which peaks in September is usually the most effective time for them to do this so their cattle can graze. So

researchers say they`re the ones behind most of the fires.

Critics of Brazil`s leadership say President Jair Bolsonaro is partly to blame. He`s been accused of relaxing environmental rules and opening parts

of the rainforest to businesses in an effort to improve Brazil`s economy. For his part, President Bolsonaro has suggested that non-profit

organizations which have lost funding from the government might have started the fires because they`re hoping to generate negative attention on

the president and the government. And an environmental official within that government said, dry weather, wind and heat have caused the fires.

While that debate rages on, activists are warning that if they`re not stopped, the wildfires could turn parts of the Amazon into a dry savannah

that`s no longer inhabitable for a lot of wildlife.

10 Second Trivia. Which of these discoveries was made as part of a secret U.S. military mission in 1985? Titanic wreckage, Dead Sea Scrolls, Hope

Diamond or Terra Cotta Warriors. A secret military mission to recover two sunken submarines led to the discovery of the Titanic.

Discoveries are still being made at the Titanic`s final resting place in the north Atlantic. The most recent dive there, the first one in 14 years

was just completed this month and what scientists noticed this time around was that the ocean is swallowing up the ship. Bacteria and salt are eating

away at the ocean liner`s metal. The pressure of deep water currents is taking a toll. The ship`s hull is starting to collapse into the sediment.

Some of the staterooms are going with it and experts expect the deterioration to speed up until the ships remains crumble to the ocean


The ship that was once called unsinkable was gashed by an iceberg on the night of April 14th, 1912. Less than three hours later, it fell to where

it now rests in two giant pieces about 370 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. Of the more than 2,200 people who were on board, more than 1,500

died in the disaster. The dive team that studied the wreckage this month laid a wreath and held a ceremony in honor of those who lost their lives.

From the depths of the sea, to the heights of the sky, the International Space Station has been described as the most expensive object ever

constructed. It`s cost has been around $150 billion or more. Most of that paid for by the United States and for years scientists and observers have

debated whether the research and work that`s been done aboard the ISS is worth the money. But as NASA shifts it`s focus from maintaining the

station to missions that go deeper into space, it`s opening up ways for private organizations to utilize the ISS.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: The International Space Station represents the longest continuous human presence in low earth orbit. As a

working laboratory, the astronauts aren`t researchers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The amazing thing about the space station is that it`s a place where we do research. We`re simulating aspects of future

space missions and at the same time we also have commercial providers that are coming in and becoming part of the space economy.

CRANE: The space economy is in many ways the latest form of the space race. Low earth orbit, the space occupied by the ISS, is defined by NASA

as the area in earth`s orbit close enough for easy transportation, re- supply and communication.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Low earth orbit gives you access to a place where gravity is no longer a dominant force like it is on earth. It also is a

place where you can potentially harness laws of physics in ways you can`t on earth to make products or other things that can`t be produced here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`re going to have an economy in space, you`ve got to have supply and demand and you have to have the research capabilities

that a lot of small companies are now providing.

CRANE: Some commercial companies like Space Tango, which facilitates manufacturing and research in microgravity already have a presence on board

the ISS, while others have designs on starting their own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the ISS now, government is the landlord if you will. We are on the platform with our - - with our partners. That`s not

sustainable in the long run because we have exploration goals. So we need to turn lower earth orbit over to the commercial sector and then we become

a customer. In the last year or so, NASA has pivoted to starting to enable companies to learn that they can actually produce something in space.

CRANE: NASA took a big step in that direction last month with the announcement that private astronauts with approved research projects can

pay their way on the ISS and companies can bid to use a port on the station. More and more it seems, the human presence in low earth orbit is

set to expand in ways we`ve never seen before. Rachel Crane, CNN reporting.


AZUZ: We`re heard of cat cafes, dog cafes even rabbit cafes and this one looks pretty unusual just based on the art outside. But to actually share

a cup of coffee with a raccoon, like a live, awake raccoon that you can pet. Now that`s something eye opening. This business is in Ukraine. It`s

called Raccoon Cafe, of course. It features animals that have been socialized since they were babies that`s so popular that the wait to get in

is as long as half an hour.

Now some would "nocturnal" way from the very idea. It might not make a "latte" sense to have a cup of joe with a "caffeine". Some would rather

wear them than share with them and that`s a "ringtail" for another day. But if you "raccouldn`t" resist the idea of making the "mocha" of an

opportunity, one man`s "pest" is another man`s pleasure. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.