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CNN 10

Russia Builds Up Its Military In The Arctic; A Volcano Erupts In The Democratic Republic Of Congo; A Census Takes Stock Of An African Natural Resource. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired May 25, 2021 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: With our Spring broadcasting season wrapping up this Friday, we`re happy you`re taking 10 minutes this Tuesday to watch our

show. I`m Carl Azuz and it`s time to bundle up ya`ll because even though a heat

wave is settling over the eastern part of the United States, our first story takes us to a cold archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

This is Franz Josef Land. It`s part of Russia but the only people who live here are researchers and members of the Russian military, which has been

upgrading its bases in the far north. On to the ice, the Arctic region is believed to be rich in resources like gas and minerals.

Some experts think huge reserves of oil and gas are located here. According to the United Nations Law of the Sea, countries with territory inside the

Arctic Circle can freely make use of these resources within 200 miles of their coastlines. Russia currently controls more than 50 percent of the

Arctic coastline.

For years, it`s been working to expand the Arctic territory it has access to and to prevent other nations from taking what Russia sees as its own. To

accomplish this, it`s been building up its military here and increasing its presence in the waterways nearby. But what`s being called a "Race to the

Arctic" has created friction with other countries including the United States which don`t want Russia to dominate everything that Arctic has to



FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The course, due north, flying for hours to Russia`s northern most military installation. Moscow granted us a rare

visit to its space on Franz Josef Land, a barren archipelago in the Arctic Ocean but which Russia believes is key to dominating the Arctic.

This entire air base is covered in ice and yet, the Russians have managed to extend the runway to a point that they can land even their heaviest

aircraft here including strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The effort Moscow is making to upgrade its Arctic bases is


Inside the modern housing complex called the Trefoil, the air commander confirms to me that even Russia`s dangerous TU-95 strategic bombers, a

plane similar in size to the U.S.`s B-52s can now operate out of the airfield here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE TRANSLATED: Of course, they can, he says, have a look. We can land all types of aircraft on this base.

PLEITGEN: A chilling prospect for the U.S. and it`s allies considering Franz Josef Land is only about 160 miles east of NATO territory. That`s

well within range of these powerful, coastal defense rockets the Russians also showed us. They`re capable of hitting ships more than 200 miles off

the coast. A threat that worries the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have concerns about some of the increased military activities in the Arctic. That increases the dangers or prospects of

accidents, miscalculations.

PLEITGEN: As polar ice melts, the region is becoming more accessible and Russia is moving fast to stake its claims. Much of that effort is led from

here, the headquarters of the northern fleet in the closed military town of Severomorsk which we also got access to. Russia has been upgrading its

fleet up here for years.

Its flagship is the Peter the Great Nuclear Battle Cruiser, outfitted with its array of weapons to hit targets on sea and land and fight off planes

and submarines. Russia has a clear strategy up here in the Arctic and it essentially revolves around three different things. On the one hand, a very

strong military, then dominating the northern sea route and also tapping and exploiting natural resources. And Russia is warning the U.S. and its

allies not to mess with that plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE TRANSLATED: It has been absolutely clear for everyone for a long time that this is our territory. This is our land and we are

responsible for our Arctic post to be safe. Everything that our country does there is absolutely legitimate.

PLEITGEN: Rhetoric that increasingly had the U.S. and Russia on a collision course in the high north with Moscow, so far, in a stronger position. Fred

Pleitgen, CNN, Severomorsk, Russia.


AZUZ: In part of central Africa, government officials are trying to figure out whether it`s safe enough for thousands of residents to go back home.

This was what Mount Nyiragongo looked like last weekend when it erupted for the first time in 19 years.

The volcano is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, near that country`s border with Rwanda and about 8,000 people

crossed that border after the eruption began on Saturday. Some of them have gone back home since but the Norwegian Refugee Council estimates that 600

homes have been destroyed along with five schools and officials say they`ve recorded at least 15 deaths related to the eruption.

Goma is the nearest major city to the volcano. The United Nations estimates that 670,000 people live there and many of them spent the night outside

after the eruption started. The British embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said on Saturday that the eruption didn`t threaten the city

itself but lava from Mount Nyiragongo did reach Goma`s outskirts before it stopped flowing on Sunday.

The mountain is one of the most active and dangerous volcanoes in the world. It`s last major eruption was in 2002. At that time, it killed 250

people and left thousands homeless and some experts say its activity over the past five years was similar to its activity before the 2002 eruption.

Right now, the priority for government officials is building shelters for those who`ve lost their homes. The Democratic Republic of Congo says the

volcano continues to rumble.

10 Second Trivia. In what nation would you find the Si Mara National Reserve? Australia, Kenya, Indonesia or Tanzania. This famous reserve is

located in the eastern African nation of Kenya.

The last time Kenya recorded elephant twins was 40 years ago. That`s a quote from the nation`s tourism minister who`s participating in Kenya`s

Great Wildlife Census. It`s a $2.3 million project to track exceptionally valuable resources.

The coronavirus pandemic has had positive and negative effects on Kenya. On the plus side, elephants have had a baby boom and no rhinos were illegally

killed in 2020. On the minus side, the lack of tourism dollars has hurt conservation groups and locals who benefit from visitors.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) getting a break from curious eyes. Now that the pandemic has stopped most tourists from coming here, keeping track

along with 1,000 other species. Officials watching closely for an irreversible decline in numbers. It`s Kenya`s most ambitious conservation


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did get the tourists to help us to (inaudible) conservation. We lost a lot of livelihoods because we had no tourism. The

parks are closed and we could not help the (inaudible) this area. Though Kenya lost 80 percent of the -- the tourism revenue --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- because of the pandemic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long will it take to recover?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The prediction is that year 2024. So we need to rethink and remodel our -- our way of doing things so that we can survive until

tourism rebounces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To do that, they are using aircraft, GPS trackers, camera drops and a whole lot of manpower to know exactly how many are left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel that I`m really empowered and I feel that -- I feel that, yes I`m contributing to the conservation and getting out

(inaudible). That`s going to be used to inform decisions on conservation matters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the front -- in the front, one (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five hours a day, seven days a week, researchers are in the air combing through every inch of the country`s rolling landscapes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are just kilometers away from Kenya`s family of (inaudible). We`re about (inaudible) ground. (Inaudible) firm and report

any animals that they see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wildlife census will cover all of Kenya`s 58 national parks and reserves on land and on water. The results will provide

the largest ever source of data for Kenya`s conservation and tourism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government says it will help protect the millions who depend on this for their survival.


AZUZ: American actress Marilyn Monroe, famously sang that "Diamonds are a Girl`s Best Friend". This could be a friend to anyone or at least anyone

with $29.3 million. That`s how much it cost the winning buyer in a recent auction to take home the 15.81 carat purple-pink stone. It`s the most

expensive diamond of this color ever to sell at an auction and it`s been classified as internally flawless.

Now that`s the kind of coal you want for Christmas. Even just a "cut" of that sales price would give enough "color" to a bank account that would add

"clarity" as to why folks "carat" so much for the kind of "stone" that no one would skip out on. It`s just too bad for buyers who fall a few bucks

short because they`d be between a "rock" and a hard place.

I`m Carl Azuz. Kailua Intermediate School is catching the spotlight today. Thank you for watching from Kailua, Hawaii. We hope your day has plenty of

sparkle and shine.