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Winds Fan the Flames of Several Wildfires in California; A Recession is Expected to be Declared in Hong Kong; A New Airport Opens in Beijing, China

Aired October 29, 2019 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.

In the U.S. state of California, students at Mount St. Mary`s University and NBA star LeBron James have a couple of things in common, one, they live

near Los Angeles. Two, they`ve evacuated because of wildfires.

The one threatening the L.A. area broke out on Monday morning, in a place known for expensive homes and celebrities. Mandatory evacuations were

issued, meaning residents were told to leave immediately.

But this is just for one fire. Two other major fires are burning in California, with powerful winds literally fanning the flames. A blaze

about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles has destroyed dozens of homes. It was mostly contained, meaning, block off as of last night.

But that wasn`t the case with the fire further north, near the San Francisco Bay Area. That one forced the evacuations of almost 200,000

people. And California`s largest utility company shut off electricity to 965,000 homes and businesses in northern California. It`s trying to keep

its equipment from causing new fires as it`s blamed for doing in the past.

Pacific Gas & Electric says another shut off could occur on Tuesday because of another strong and dry wind event in the forecast. California`s fire

season is often worsened by the hot dry winds that blow across the state. The Santa Ana winds blow westward across southern California, and can be at

their worst in October. The Diablo winds blow northeast across northern California and can be at their worst in October.

"The New York Times" reports that this year`s fire season hasn`t been as bad as it has been for the previous two years, but that`s little comfort to

those witnessing the flames flare up.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The speed in which these flames have spread, even just last hour when we were talking, this whole hillside just

behind me was completely engulfed in flames. You see at this point, it is smoldering and that`s because as you look at the direction of this smoke

here, it`s moving west-southwest, you can already see it has moved on further into the hillside, burning fresh new vegetation. And again, here

are homes located throughout this hillside, and, of course, that is why we have seen mandatory evacuations up and down throughout this area as well.

One of the other things that we`ve been looking that has changed over the course of the past hour, we heard from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti who

says they are going to have Cal Fire plains come through to basically drop fire retardant, to help spot some of these fires, and just within the past

20 minutes, we have seen those flames circling this area, and really disappearing over the backside of this ridge here, likely dropping fire

retardant onto some of the homes below.

This is a fire that started 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time, just in a matter of hours ballooning to more than 500 acres. And based on the conditions

today, we`re going to have to see how fast it moves from there.



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

A recession is said to occur when gross domestic product shrinks for two consecutive what?

Years, months, quarters or weeks?

Generally, a shrinking GDP for two quarters in a row constitutes a recession. The one could be called for a different time period.


AZUZ: It doesn`t seem like ongoing protests in Hong Kong are going to stop anytime soon, but they have put the breaks on the city`s economy. It`s

believed to be on the brink of an official recession.

The demonstrators have been calling for more democracy and speaking out against the government in this special administrative region of China. The

local government has met one of their demands but they have made five of them. And though there`s division in Hong Kong over whether to support the

ongoing protests, their effects are being felt throughout the city.


SHERISSE PHAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hong Kong is headed for a recession. Five months of mass demonstrations, sometimes in popular tourist areas,

often ending in violence, are taking a toll on the city`s economy.

The government here is saying it expects report negative growth for the third quarter on Thursday. That would be the second consecutive quarter of

economic decline, which means Hong Kong is in a technical recession.

Hong Kong had already been hit with a one-two punch of the U.S.-China trade war and China`s slowing economic growth, a political crisis that hurts

tourism and retail industries isn`t helping. Scenes of violence and tear gas have scared off many tourists. The number of visitors to Hong Kong

fell nearly 40 percent in the third quarter over the previous year and hotels are on average only two-thirds full.

Some protesters have targeted shops and restaurants they view as unsympathetic to their cause, smashing windows and spraying graffiti to

stores fronts, leaving employees to clean up the mess.

And some shops have had to close early simply because workers need to get home. Hong Kong subway has been operating on reduced hours to repair

damage caused by protesters.

Hong Kong government expected to report official estimates for GDP on Thursday.

Sherisse Pham, CNN, Hong Kong.


AZUZ: While events in Hong Kong are hurting tourism there, Chinese planners are hoping a new airport will help increase visits to the

mainland. Just before 8:00 on Sunday morning, a flight took off from Daxing International, near the Chinese capital, and it headed for Bangkok,

Thailand. It was very first international flight from the new airport.

Daxing International has been nicknamed the starfish for its unique design. It has five concourses connected to a main hall. It was built because the

city`s other international airport, Beijing Capital, is the second busiest aviation hub on the planet, and it was hitting full capacity. The new hub

will give travelers another gateway in and out of China.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There`s a peaceful serenity to this space. The sort of walkway that takes you over a koi pond. Not what you

think about when you talk about the chaos that often comes with air travel.

This is one of five what they`re calling China gardens at the brand new Beijing Daxing Airport. It`s just opened up to the public, and it`s the

high tech features that everyone is really talking about.

So, let`s take you inside and show you them.

This is the international concourse. It`s one of five concourses that they have here. And what really you feel as soon as you step in to Daxing is

the sleek, modern design. This was done by the late architect Zaha Hadid.

But what officials are really touting about this airport is the technology. As soon as you walk in, right when you`re checking in your back, facial

recognition starts. It continues as you`re walking through security, security that they say is a lot quicker and more efficient because of

technology. They didn`t go to too much detail about that. But the facial recognition technology continues as you`re in ready to board at your gate.

They`ve got screens that are taking in your image, and they continue all the way up until you go through and board your plane.

One of the big takeaways of Daxing is the size. It is massive. They estimate 97 soccer pitches or about 100 American football fields, if you

will, could fit inside. So, when you think about the size of an airport, you think about getting around, right? That`s always a challenge,

especially if you have say, arrived here at E85 and you`ve got to get to another concourse.

The argument is that because it`s the starfish-shaped, that essentially you can go from one tentacle and get to the main center, they argue, in about

eight minutes time. That`s what they say it will take on average. So, they say this is really going to be a time saver ultimately.

But overall, it`s this newness that you feel, this high tech surrounding, and that`s something that they say continues even on the runway. The

officials here say they have a sensor system that can detect two centimeters of an object, of debris that might be on the runway and they

can then zoom in with multiple cameras to see where exactly it`s located. So, high tech is all over this place.

All of this coinciding with the seventh anniversary of the founding of communist China. In fact, to inaugurate this new airport, President Xi

Jinping himself was here. He had a crowd that was gathered, of dignitaries, a lot of airport officials as they begun this new chapter in

air travel right here in Beijing.

Ultimately, Beijing is expected to have the most number of air travelers and passengers through the city and anywhere else in the world.

David Culver, CNN, Beijing.


AZUZ: Sure, there are a lot of satellites, but it`s not like they just fall out of the sky.

Here`s what a couple in Michigan found in their yard last weekend. It appears to be Samsung`s space selfie satellite, a stunt that was intended

to allow people to get their face in space. It was also intended to be up there until the end of the month, but Samsung says weather conditions

resulted in a, quote, early soft landing.

The Michigan couple was thankful their horses weren`t out and that it didn`t hit their house.

And they said the satellite`s smartphone was still working, so at least that`s not a total piece of space junk. Also, it survived out of the sky

test, after a not so satellite landing, it could have been in orbits and pieces. And at least they know where it came from so they didn`t have to

investigate them selfies.

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