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CNN 10

Election in Alabama Changes the Makeup of the U.S. Senate; Iceland Becomes Bitcoin Mining Hub; U.S. Shopping Malls Face Changing Landscape

Aired December 14, 2017 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: You`re only a day away from Friday and you`re 10 minutes away from being up to speed on current events. I`m Carl Azuz.

This is CNN 10.

We`re starting with an unusual election in Alabama and its effect on the U.S. Senate. On Tuesday, a vote was held in the southern state. It was to

fill a vacancy in the Senate that was left when Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was appointed to the job of U.S. attorney general earlier this


Mr. Sessions is a Republican. In fact, everyone from Alabama who`s won a U.S. Senate seat since 1992 was a Republican until Tuesday. That`s when a

Democratic candidate named Doug Jones defeated a Republican candidate named Roy Moore to win the seat. Though as of last night, Mr. Moore hadn`t

conceded. He hadn`t officially accepted a loss.

The election was close. With 99 percent of ballot counted, Mr. Jones had won 49.9 percent of the vote. Mr. Moore had won 48.4 percent.

The race wasn`t just unusual because a Democrat won in a state that usually votes Republican. Moore, a former supreme court chief justice for the

state of Alabama is one of the politicians who`s been named in a series of recent sexual harassment accusations made across America. Judge Moore was

accused of behaving inappropriately in the past toward women who were underage. The candidate repeatedly denied all the allegations, and

questioned the timing and details about them.

But despite that and an endorsement that Moore received relatively late in the race from Republican U.S. President Donald Trump, Jones emerged

victorious on Tuesday night. The former federal prosecutor said he was overwhelmed by the victory and that he`s campaign had been about making

sure that everyone in Alabama is going to get a fair shake in life.

Senator-elect Jones will serve out the remainder of former Senator Jeff Sessions` term, but it won`t begin immediately.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Take a look at these numbers. These are the ones that really matter. Republicans came in to this election with 52

seats under their control in the U.S. Senate. Democrats and their allies had 48 and the new numbers will be 51 and 49.

It may not look like much, but that is a world of difference. That`s why President Trump so wanted Roy Moore to win and not Doug Jones, because with

that one shift of the vote, it becomes significantly harder for the Republicans to pass any of his legislation on border control, budgets,


In fact, if you even talk about this giant tax reform package they`re working on, if Doug Jones is seated before the final vote on this, a single

Republican defection could burn it to the ground.

So, what are the odds of that happening?

Well, we have to look at the calendar. The secretary of state of Alabama has to certify the vote result before Jones can take the oath. That will

probably happen down here, around 27th, 28th, 29th, which means Jones probably get sworn in early next year, January.

But are the Republicans are trying to do is get this tax plan fully approved, finished by the 22nd. So, if nothing else changes and Democrats

can do nothing to speed up this calendar, they have no power over that, the two will not come together in all likelihood, and Doug Jones will not be

able to derail the Republicans` last big stab at some kind of big legislation this year, before the numbers change and maybe the whole

equation changes with it.



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

What are Ether, Dash and Monero?

Are they all Pokemon, cryptocurrencies, ThunderCats or investment banks?

These are examples of three cryptocurrencies, the type of digital money like bitcoin.


AZUZ: Bitcoin is the most famous of them. The currency was created in 2009. It`s not issued by any central bank or tied to any particular


Bitcoin can be saved or used to buy merchandise anonymously, and the price has soared recently. The value of a single bitcoin is currently more than

$17,000. But getting one is the tricky part.

You can just buy the currency online, but bitcoin units are generated through a process called mining, when computers solve complex math puzzle

to create them. Given their value and the increasing number of computers trying to solve those puzzles, this takes a tremendous amount of computing

power and electricity.

One place that just maybe perfect for a bitcoin mining computer warehouse is an island nation between Norway and Greenland.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s called the land of fire and ice. Ancient Iceland is now the home to an extremely modern

endeavor, mining for bitcoins. At this bitcoin farm near Reykjavik, noisy computers run 24/7, hoping to solve the puzzles that create the virtual

money. Those who succeed are rewarded with bitcoins.

(on camera): What is all of this?

PHILIP SALTER, GENESIS MINING: All of these are our mining rigs, we call them, we have standard hardware optimize in the design for bitcoin mining.

QUEST (voice-over): It takes this number of computers to stand a realistic chance of mining bitcoins and winning the Blockchain battle.

Since January, bitcoin`s value soared some 450 percent. So, with returns like these, you can put up with a bit of noise.

(on camera) : Why is it so noisy?

SALTER: It`s the fans at the top. These fans are strong fans. They take out a lot of air.

QUEST: There is one overriding reason why these bitcoin mines are here in Iceland, plentiful, cheap electricity, the country abounds with geo-thermal


The whole set up in Iceland is perfect for cooling all these machines. Ordinary air from outside is just drawn in, wafted through the computers,

and then heated up and sucked back outside.

Some call bit coin, the biggest financial bubble the world has ever seen. Those who run this bitcoin farm see it more a part of a thrilling future.

SALTER: There`s several rival cryptocurrencies coming up which are competing for market share in the space. And many of them offer similar

features, but I think bitcoin has most of the benefits that all cryptocurrencies have and it`s going to be the largest player for a time to


QUEST: Iceland is a volatile, unforgiving landscape, perhaps perfect for bitcoins, it makes this country a fitting location to mine digital gold.


AZUZ: Another noteworthy event of the digital age, the struggle of the American shopping mall. There are currently 1,100 of these in the U.S.

But experts are predicting that around 300 of them will close over the next five years, when larger stores like Macy`s, JCPenney or Sears closed and

dozens have. The smaller stores around them often follow. There`s still hope for many malls, but the landscape is changing.


PAUL LA MONICA, CNNMONEY REPORTER: The American mall was once the go-to destination for many shoppers looking for bargains and suburban teenagers

looking to have a place to hang out.

But the rise of Amazon and changing trends and fashion have turned some malls into modern day ghost towns.

Once popular chains like Wet Seal, Aeropostale and Pacific Sunwear had filed for bankruptcy. Other larger retailers like Sears, Kmart, JCPenney,

Macy`s and Kohl`s have been forced to close stores. Several of these chains have announced layoffs as well.

Amazon is a big problem for all these companies. The king of e-commerce now sells just about everything. It is even starting its own line of

clothing. And Amazon is also opening up more and more of its own brick and mortar stores.

Gap and Abercrombie and Fitch once red hot brands for younger shoppers are struggling to stay relevant too. This has hurt urban malls particularly

hard, with big shopping centers in Cleveland, Detroit, and other cities closing in recent years.

But all hope is not like, you know, lost for shopping malls just yet. Many malls, particularly in more affluent suburbs are adding popular retailers

like Apple and fast fashion retail kings H&M, Zara and Uniqlo as new tenants.

So, the mall may not be dead just yet.


AZUZ: When the snow starts a-fallen, you`d probably seen toddlers riding on sleds with their parents. This is one girl who started snowboarding

solo before she reached her first birthday. Now, if she looks natural and unafraid, she`s been in training. Her parents bought her a tiny snowboard

when she was a baby and they thought her how to stand on it while pulling her around the living room.

This is here first time snowboarding on an actual bunny slope. But if she looks more relax on her first outing than most of us, it`s because she`s

had practice, baby. She probably thought it was pretty coo, bet she babbled about it for days, sure she wants to carve out time to crawl back

to the slopes. She`s got an edge, and if she decides to become a mogul of the snowggle, it`s going to be hard to pacifier.

CNN 10 is back tomorrow.