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At This Hour

TikTok To Set 1-Hour Daily Screen Time Limit For Users Under 18; FBI Director: Coronavirus "Most Likely" Leaked From Wuhan Lab; Scientists Sound Alarm As Antarctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired March 01, 2023 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, TikTok just announced this morning that every user under the age of 18 will soon have their account default to a daily limit of one hour of screen time. You can turn the setting off. But it's still one of the -- seen as one of the most aggressive safety moves yet by this social media giant.

Brian Fung is looking into this forest. He joins us now. Brian, this sounds good. But it looks like it's pretty easy for people to get around it.

BRIAN FUNG, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Kate. There are two key provisions here we need to talk about. One is this you know 60-minute time limit that you can actually bypass by entering in a code -- a passcode. And then the second, being suggested limit of one hundred minutes. If you exceed your usage of the app for a hundred minutes, the Apple suggests, hey, maybe you should think about setting a daily limit for yourself.

And now, as you suggested, both of these things could be very easily bypassed by users. But you know, that kind of highlights the overall intent here, which is for TikTok to just kind of slow users down and pump the brakes a little bit, just say, you know, hey, you may want to think twice about how much you've been using this app. It's not really a hard restriction so much as a soft limit that gets you to reflect a little bit on how you've been using the app.

The big question here is whether all of this actually works. And TikTok is upfront about the fact that you know, there's no scientific consensus about how much screen time is too much. And so, some of this is a little bit of an experiment here. And it just highlights the intense scrutiny that you know the Biden administration and civil society groups and activist groups have brought against TikTok and other social media companies for the potential impact that this technology may have on young people and mental health, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes, absolutely. Let's -- let in -- let's see. To your question of -- the big question going forward is does it work and the impact of it, that'll be very interesting to see what it says. It's good to see you. Thank you. So, the FAA is now investigating a fifth near collision this year involving a commercial jet on a U.S. runway. This time it was in Boston on Monday night. Two planes came within a few hundred feet of hitting each other.

Pete Muntean back with us more on this. Pete, more and more you were having to talk about these near collisions. What went wrong here?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kate, the good news here is that the safety system worked and that this disaster was avoided. But the disturbing news, like you mentioned, this keeps happening over and over again. JFK, Austin, Honolulu, Burbank, and Boston on Monday night when the FAA says this JetBlue flight 206 was coming into land on runway four right at Boston Logan International Airport when a Learjet, a private jet, was taking off on the crisscrossing runway, runway nine.

And according to the latest data from flight radar 24, these two planes came within 565 feet of hitting one another. Worse yet, the FAA says that Learjet was told to line up and wait on that crisscrossing runway for that landing JetBlue flight, but instead took off without clearance. This is just one of a litany of safety issues facing the FAA right now, which has no permanent leader right now. It's still an acting administrator.

The Biden administration has put for their nominee to lead the FAA, Phil Washington. And right now, at this moment, he is going through his Senate confirmation hearing. The big issue that senators have is that he doesn't really have aviation safety experience.

He has led the Denver airports. He's led public transit agencies. He was in the military. I want you to listen now to Phil Washington and how he describes his experience.



PHILLIP WASHINGTON, FAA ADMINISTRATOR NOMINEE: I believe that what I'm doing now and what I have done for the last 40 years to include my military career is directly transferable.


MUNTEAN: There are a lot of issues facing the FAA right now not only a big reform when it comes to aircraft certification after the 737 max issues, that NOTAM issue that caused a nationwide ground stop earlier this year, now we've got these runways incursions that keep happening over and over again. The NTSB has not said it will investigate this issue just yet, although it has investigated those four other previous issues, Kate.

BOLDUAN: And as you lay out, Pete, the new FAA administrator has quite a job on his hands.

MUNTEAN: No doubt. BOLDUAN: Thank you very much.

So, the FBI Director weighing in for the first time confirming that the bureau believes the COVID pandemic likely began in a lab in Wuhan, China. That's next.



BOLDUAN: FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking out confirming that the bureau believes that the COVID pandemic was most likely caused by a lab leak in Wuhan. It's the first time that he's ever said this publicly. Listen.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: The FBI has, for quite sometime now, assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan. So, here, you're talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans. And that's precisely what that capability was designed for.


BOLDUAN: Wray adds that it has been hard to work with the Chinese government in their investigation into this, which we have heard many times before. Wray's comments come days after you remember the release from the Department of Energy intelligence assessment, saying that they believe with low confidence that most likely -- the pandemic most likely originated from a lab leak. The intel community is still very clearly, though, divided on this topic.

Meanwhile, a rare bipartisan House hearing was held on competition with China, where members of both parties agreed on the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party. But Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher made clear that his concerns -- made clear that his concerns and objections lie with the Communist Party, not the people of China.


REP. MIKE GALLAGHER, (R-WI): This should remind us at all times and in all the work that we do together that we must constantly distinguish between the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people themselves, who have always been the party's primary victims.


BOLDUAN: Congressman Andy Kim joins me now. He's a member of the House Select Committee on strategic competition between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party with this big first hearing last night. Congressman, thanks for coming on.

REP. ANDY KIM, (D-NJ): Well, thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: What's your take from this first hearing? Do you see it as successful?

KIM: I think it was very successful in terms of being able to bring us together and show that we can have a conversation about what challenges we face. But I will say I continue to have concerns about how the committee is framing the problem. Yes, there are threats that we face but we have to make sure that we're understanding the full picture.

I am very concerned about continued calls to say that this is a new Cold War. It is not. I don't want us to signal to the American people that we are at war. We have fierce competition but we have to be very careful about how we frame this.

BOLDUAN: I wanted to ask you about that because you were outspoken going into this hearing about concerns over especially that the commentary about being in a new Cold War because we did hear some -- we can call it inflammatory or aggressive or extreme language in the committee hearing last night. Let me play some of this for you.


GALLAGHER: This is an existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century. And the most fundamental freedoms are at stake.

REP. SETH MOULTON, (D-MA): Like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping seems to believe his own propaganda so how do we make our powerful deterrent believable to Xi and the Chinese Communist Party so that they don't draw us into war?


BOLDUAN: That kind of language, Congressman, and existential struggle or that talking about being drawn into a war, do you take issue with what was said last night?

KIM: Well, I just find it unhelpful. As -- we had a very robust discussion, but at the very end, the chairman talked about good versus bad, and just kind of framing it in ways that I just thought is not giving the American people the full picture here. And when you -- again, call things a new Cold War, it's inherently framing what kind of tools you would use to try to solve that problem.

I, for one, believe that, yes, we do have real concerns, real vulnerabilities that we need to fix but a lot of that is about investing in ourselves, about making sure that we were making our economy as strong as possible. I raised questions about how we need to fix our democracy, that if we were to actually default on our debt, for instance, that that is giving China the upper hand in terms to be able to show that this narrative that democracy is not working in America. We should be fighting a bit -- against that as well.

BOLDUAN: Let me -- let me ask you about the origins of the COVID pandemic because we just hearing the FBI Director speak out about that. The statement from him. With -- your background is in national security, of course. You have long worked with the intelligence community. What's your reaction to Chris Wray's comments? And the fact that it seems that we just don't seem to have a definitive answer to what really happened here?

KIM: We don't. And first of all, I think we should all be unified globally on the fact that we should have been able to get greater access to the international community.


I mean, this was a pandemic that affected every single country in the world. And the fact that we don't have the ability to do an investigation which would help better protect our globe from future pandemics, so yes, that is a problem.

But beyond that, yes, we're going to have a continued disagreement because there is just no way based off of what we have now an ability to substantiate what the origins were. But I also hope that the energy that we put into that and the concerns that we raise will hopefully channel into actions that we can do to better prepare ourselves for future pandemics. And that's a conversation that I don't think is happening nearly enough here on Capitol Hill.

BOLDUAN: I have heard that from other officials formerly in intelligence as well saying that while it might be difficult to really ever land on the exact origins, the focus and the energy and the time spent should be on making sure that this type -- this type of virus can't get out again, that this type of -- the -- if it does come from a lab leak these -- there needs to be -- to protect ourselves from a future pandemic. We'll see what comes from this. Thank you. Congressman. Thank you for your time.

KIM: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We also have new evidence and a new warning on the climate crisis. Our Bill Weir has literally gone to the ends of the earth to bring us this story.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we have a doozy of a live location from the end of the world for you coming up. But the real news is what's happening on the other side of those mountains at the bottom of the world. Details coming up.



BOLDUAN: New warnings about the climate crisis. Scientists say an Antarctic Sea ice has reached now record low levels for the second time in two years. One climate scientist even wondering if it's "the beginning of the end for sea ice." Our bill Weir is at the southern tip of Argentina right now as he makes his way to Antarctica and filed this report for us. Watch.

WEIR: Kate, greetings from definitely one of the most gorgeous remote offices I've had the privilege of working from in a long time. Get a load of this. We're at the southern end of Patagonia here near Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. It's right around the corner. You can see the airport there.

And that is where we're about to board a ship and go around these mountains, that island with gorgeous national park there and sail five days to Antarctica to hang out with some whale scientists. But while we're here, we got this news out of the National Snow and Ice Center in Colorado that for the second year in a row, the South Pole, Antarctica, this sort of frozen other world, the ice around it is shrinking in the most dramatic ways. They're the lowest levels since we put satellites into the sky in the 70s right now. And it broke last year's record which was already studying enough.

And for perspective, you got to understand that for a lot of years, science didn't know what to make of the South Pole, even as the North Pole, which is a frozen ocean surrounded by continents was shrinking and melting rapidly. The south pole which is a continent surrounded by oceans seems to be growing. And sea ice in 2014 got to 7 million square miles but now less than a decade later, it's just under 700,000. So, that's a 90 percent drop just in that swing.

It has been yo-yo-ing. And science still doesn't know definitively what to make of this because so little is understood. But all the signs are showing to increasing vulnerability of sea level rise. If that inland freshwater sea ice on Antarctica, if that's released, if the weights glaciers goes like a -- like a dam failure, that would forcibly rearrange every coastal city from Miami in New Orleans to Shanghai and, of course, here in South America and Buena Aires and Lima. And so, it is of huge concern, it should be, to infrastructure planners, to leaders on the coast.

The bracing was kind of built into the system. The only way to stop it, of course, the science tells us is to get off of fossil fuels, stop using fuels that burn. It's fastly and as equitably as possible and probably pull tons -- Giga tons of carbon out of the sea and sky that's already there to try to stabilize this. Because all of its connected and you're seeing both the megadroughts and the crazy weather patterns in North America were all connected on this little blue marble. And here's another warning sign that both the top and the bottom of our world are in trouble, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Bill, thank you so much for that report. We'll continue to follow his reporting as he continues his journey.

Let's end with this today. Closing arguments could begin any moment in Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial. The jury has just returned from visiting the scene of the crime, getting a first-hand look at the family estate in South Carolina, known as Moselle where Murdaugh's wife and son were shot and killed.

Dianne Gallagher is live outside the courthouse in South Carolina for us once again. Dianne, what are you hearing about this visit to the crime scene?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Kate, the jury has returned here to the courthouse. We are expecting those opening arguments to hopefully get underway here soon. They left this morning in vans with lots of law enforcements, roughly a dozen car convoys, including some of the agents who actually responded to the murders about 20 months ago. They're on scene. Some of them who even testified during this trial, acting as security.

And now, look. There was no media allowed on the property when the jurors were touring it. But the pool said they were able to see some of the jurors sorts of walking around the kennel area.

Remember that's around where Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were murdered. They said that they saw one juror standing in the feed room doorway sort of looking up into the doorway. That's been the subject of a lot of the testimony here because that is where Paul was killed.


The pooler said that once the media was allowed on the property, that she and another member of the media pool sort of walked the steps from where Paul Murdaugh fell, that concrete slab area, and where Maggie Murdaugh fell near the shed area and said that it was roughly 12 steps between where we were told the two bodies were found. So, they were quite close to one another there on the crime scene. We haven't been able to see this until this point.

One other thing. Two of the defense attorneys were on the property at the time as was the South Carolina State Attorney General Alan Wilson, while the jurors were visiting along with Judge Clifton Newman.

BOLDUAN: Dianne, thank you so much. We'll see how things as they get survived to start getting underway back in the courthouse very soon. Thank you.

And thank you so much for watching, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS WITH JOHN KING" starts after this break.