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High-Stakes Call Between Leaders Of The U.S. And Russia Centers On Ukraine; An Asian Country Takes Steps To Expand Habitat Of A Recovering Species. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired December 09, 2021 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: International diplomacy isn`t just a course in higher education, it`s part of our first topic today. I`m Carl Azuz. An

estimated 70,000 Russian troops have been gathered along their country`s western border with Ukraine. This is a divided nation. Some Ukrainians

want their country to be more involved with the European Union, others want closer alignment with Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes a coup maybe in the works. That a Ukrainian businessman who`s an ally of Russia may try to take over

Ukraine, and that the Russian troops stand ready at the border to help. That businessman and the nation of Russia has repeatedly denied that, but

Russia does support forces in Ukraine that are fighting for independence from their government.

And Russia did annex, or take over, a Ukrainian peninsula in 2014, after people there voted to become part of Russia. Other countries said the vote

wasn`t fair and that the Russian takeover was illegal. The United States was one of those countries. It`s Obama Administration imposed sanctions or

penalties on Russia for this, but critics said those penalties were too weak.

U.S. President Joe Biden said they`d be stronger this time, if Russia invades Ukraine but his administration says it won`t send American troops

into a possible conflict. Why might Russia want to invade Ukraine anyway? Well, it`s concerned that other European countries, with the support of the

United States, could be moving weapons and defense equipment closer to Russia`s border.

It does not want that happening in Ukraine, a Russian-Ukrainian alliance could help prevent that. U.S. President Biden and Russian President

Vladimir Putin spoke about all this on a call this week. The diplomacy is delicate.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A high stakes call amid fears of a Russian invasion.



BIDEN: Good to see you again.

COLLINS: With tensions simmering on the border of Ukraine, President Biden spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin for two hours and one minute.

JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: The call covered a range of issues but the main topic was Ukraine.

COLLINS: The call posing a critical test for Biden as he tries to avoid a major European security crisis if Russia invades Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, did President Biden get clarity from him on whether or not that is his intention?

SULLIVAN: We still do not believe that President Putin has made a decision. What President Biden did today was lay out very clearly the

consequences if he chooses to move.

COLLINS: Biden warning Putin about strong economic consequences and quote, "other measures" but it remains to be seen if the combative Russian leader

backs down.

SULLIVAN: There was no finger wagging, but the president was crystal clear --

COLLINS: Putin had his own demands, including blocking Ukraine from joining the military alliance known as NATO.

SULLIVAN: He made no such commitments or concessions --

COLLINS: Sullivan adding that the U.S. is prepared to act in ways it didn`t after Russia illegally annexed Crimea when President Obama was in


SULLIVAN: I will look you in the eye and tell you, as President Biden looked President Putin in the eye and told him today that things we did not

do in 2014. We are prepared to do now.

COLLINS: Tensions between the United States and Russia have only gotten worse in the months since Biden and Putin sat down for talks in Geneva. At

that meeting in June six months ago, Biden predicted he would know soon if he had made real progress with Putin.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: What is going to happen next, is we`re going to be able to look back, look ahead in three to six months and say did the things

we agree to sit down and try to work out. Did it work?

COLLINS: Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. The gray long-tailed goral is native to what country? Ukraine, China, Australia or South Africa. This antelope like

mammal is also known as the Chinese goral for its native habitat.

Until today, I was more familiar with another native species of China. This one. The giant panda, which as of this year, is no longer on China`s

endangered species list. According to the Chinese government, giant pandas have joined Asian elephants, Siberian tigers and crested ibis` in seeing

their numbers increase in the 21st century.

The species is still considered vulnerable. There are fewer than 2,000 of them in the wild, but in protecting more habitats. China hopes the giant

panda populations will thrive in the years ahead.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is China`s most beloved species, the iconic face of this nation, treasured globally. Once

endangered and near extinction, now the giant panda is on path to populate China`s majestic mountains for generations to come. Welcome to "Panda

Valley" as it`s called. For years, these cuddly looking creatures have lazily roamed here in central China`s Sichuan Province.

Despite decades of encroaching human development, in 2021, as part of an effort to increase biodiversity across China, five new national parks were

unveiled. Half of the 10 pilot areas under review for national park status. Among the first batch created the Giant Panda National Park. It`s

become a panda sanctuary, thanks in part to what happens here. At the Chengdu Base of Giant Panda Breeding when we visited, this one is getting

ready for its close up.

The giant pandas are known as flagship species. You mean, ecologically, they`re not as important as they are culturally here in China. But by

protecting the giant panda, to protecting the ecosystems for potentially millions of other species. I met some of the rangers tasked with

protecting that ecosystem and was surprised by how big tech has revolutionized their jobs.

Looking to protect pandas, well, there`s an app for that. They are using the digital panda system developed by Chinese tech giant Huawei with the

Sichuan Forest and Grassland Administration along with other partners. Spanning all of Sichuan province, this system uses more than 600 cameras,

along with drones and satellites to detect wildfires in hard-to-reach areas, with data installed in the Huawei cloud.

ZHAO JIAN, SOLUTION EXPERTS FOR HUAWEI TRANSLATED: In most locations, there is often no power supply. So, we provide microwave transmission

network solutions and solar power solutions to support this kind of system in the wild.

CULVER: Technology like this has also been used to track and monitor the other residents of the forest, like the black bear, golden pheasant,

Tibetan macaque, and long-tailed goral. Helping to protect the biodiversity that sustains all life, including us humans.

AHIMSA CAMPOS-ARCEIZ, PROFESSOR AT CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCE: (Inaudible) supervise what we call ecosystem services. It`s a goods and service that

we are paid for, but when you (inaudible) clean water we can drink, but if we need to produce this water it`s more expensive. And when we use

biodiversity, we are going to break in this function, the technology will have much (inaudible) information that we can learn from.

CULVER: This is just the latest of the long-standing conservation efforts that have helped revive the once dwindling giant panda population. Over

the past 20 years, the number of wild giant pandas in China has jumped nearly 80 percent from about 1,000 to roughly 1,800, removing it from the

endangered species list in 2021. This conservation success story is thanks to the work of people like Hou Rong, nicked named "panda mom". She`s

worked with pandas for almost three decades.

HOU RONG, DEPUTY DIRECTOR AT CHENGDU RESERVE OF GIANT PANDA BREEDING TRANSLATED: Through protecting giant pandas, we want more people to pay

attention to biodiversity protection. The giant panda is definitely not the only species we care about. We hope to extend the conservation efforts to

other species.

CULVER: Here in Chengdu, it`s not only the giant pandas but also, you`ve got these guys. Red pandas, a bit more approachable, but equally as cute

and cuddly. Sadly, red pandas are still in danger, but the hope that is with new technologies designed to protect these newly minted national

parks. There will be more safe spaces for a range of species from the lesser known, to the most famous to lounge freely for centuries.


AZUZ: In general, skydiving doesn`t sound like something you need to add speed to, but don`t tell that to these two. They`re the world record

holders in speed skydiving, when you just don`t jump out of a plane. You angle your body and prevent it from wobbling in order to fall as fast as

possible, like more than 300 miles per hour possible when normal skydiving only drops you at 120 miles per hour. It`s reportedly the fastest non-

motorized sport.

On the Earth? No, off the Earth. And they need no "atmosfear" my dear at the speed they post and the "posts" they share. So, believe it or not,

they`re walking on air. It`s a scare. It`s a thrill. Takes a dangerous drive to head down, head first on a "headstrung" dive to put their "heads

together" as they dare to "chute" down towards the ground before they "parachute".

Well, that will get our heads out of the clouds. We are headed to the United Kingdom before we jump today. Shout out to Lakenheath High School

in Lakenheath. I`m Carl Azuz, and tomorrow is Friday.