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Ups and Downs of President Biden`s First Year; Discovery of a Deep Coral Reef; History-Making Flight of a Teenage Pilot. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired January 21, 2022 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome. Happy to have you watching. My name is Carl Azuz. Washington, D.C. is our first destination

today. Just ahead of the one-year anniversary of his inauguration day, U.S. President Joe Biden gave a rare news conference this week. Wednesday`s

event lasted almost two yours and covered a lot of subjects.

The president is first year has seen ups and downs. Concerning the COVID- 19 pandemic, the U.S. leader came into office with the promise of defeating the virus and he said Wednesday his administration has overseen hundreds of

millions of vaccinations in America. But despite that, corona virus continued to spread and claimed more lives in 2021 than it did in 2020 and

the Supreme Court recently struck down a Biden Administration requirement that 84 million private workers be vaccinated.

Concerning the economy, the president highlighted the addition of millions of jobs over the past year and the drop in the unemployment rate, the

percentage of American workers without jobs. But he also acknowledged inflation was a problem, the rise in prices of the goods we buy. It`s at

its highest level in decades.

Legislatively, President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID Relief Bill and a $1 trillion Infrastructure Bill which had bipartisan support in Congress,

but a more controversial social spending plan he supported and a recent effort to overhaul voting laws in America both of those large-scale bills

failed in Congress. President Biden suggested they could be broken up into smaller pieces of legislation that may have a better chance of passing.

Concerning the withdraw of troops from Afghanistan, it was a troubled effort that saw evacuation problems, a deadly terrorist attack and a quick

takeover by Afghanistan`s former rulers. The president said there was no easy way to get Americans out after 20 years of war in Afghanistan and that

he made no apologies. But on another international front, involving a recent buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine something President Biden

said caused confusion in the U.S. and abroad.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As he begins his second year in office, President Biden bluntly predicting that Russia will invade Ukraine at least

to some degree. At a news conference here on Wednesday on the final day of his first day in office, the president says he does believe that Vladimir

Putin will to some degree invade Ukraine but he first said a minor incursion would not necessarily be treated in the same way as a larger


Well, less than an hour after this nearly two-hour news conference, the White House quickly corrected that comment, saying that any invasion, any

crossing over the land barrier would be considered an expanded invasions and tough sanctions would follow.

Now the president was defiant and defensive about his record during his first year in office, talking about the jobs created some 6 million,

talking about the economic recovery after the COVID pandemic which of course is still raging high. Also talking about that infrastructure law

and other programs, but he did acknowledge some shortcomings particularly in terms of COVID testing. He said he wishes his team would have done more

earlier on that.

We also asked him if he has any sense of changing anything during his second year and he said he does plan to stand by all of his White House

staff. But he said he would like to get out of the White House more, he would like out of the presidential bubble more, travel more across the

country, take his case to voters.

He also said he does not want to be seen as a president/Senator, acknowledging that too often he was, sort of, weighted into these

legislative debates rather than being a leader. So even after a half century in office, the president is still finding his footing here as the

46th American president. But clearly making his case, defending his first year, but knowing the country wants to see him do better his poll numbers

indicate that. The question year, this mid-term election year be any stronger. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What language`s alphabet has the fewest number of letters? Afrikaans, Hindi, Tahitian or Nepali. Of these options, Tahitian

has only 13 letters, the least of any language here.

And one thing they`re talking about in Tahiti whether i`s in Tahiti or the official language of French is the discovery of a previously unknown coral

reef. It was located in November. It`s almost two miles long. It`s reportedly in impeccable and unharmed condition. Scientists say that

something so large and so beautiful was just found, indicates how little we know about the world`s oceans. The reef is located in what`s called an

oceanic twilight zone.


JENNIFER GRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Divers ready their breathing equipment and down they go. An amazing discovery before their eyes, a rare and

unique coral reef ecosystem found off the coast of the French Polynesian island of Tahiti. At three kilometers long, the reef is one of the largest

in the world to lie at the depths of more than 30 meters.

The majority of the known coral reefs are found at depths of up to 25 meters. This area of ocean is unique. It`s middle ground between

shallower waters and the deep ocean floor, but still has enough light for coral to grow and reproduce. These giants rose shaped corals are in

pristine condition. Some reaching two meters in diameter. Now the scientists are examining them in an effort to find out if there could be

other large reefs at the same depth yet to be discovered, but it`s not an easy task.

JULIAN BARBIERE, HEAD OF MARINE POLICY, UNESCO: That maybe one of the reasons we don`t find, you know, deep reefs, you know, because, you know,

the conditions for diving varies are quite complicated. When you`re going over 40 meters to a deep 70 meters, you cannot go there with your usual

scuba gear. You need some -- some special apparatus.

GRAY: For this expedition led by UNESCO, these divers are using state of the art, computer controlled breathing equipment known as rebreathers. The

special helium-based gas mixture allows them to stay down longer and go down deeper. The divers take photos of the reef during their mission while

also measuring and taking samples to study it further. According to UNESCO, only 20 percent of the world`s seabed has been mapped.

BARBIERE: You can only protect what-- what you can measure and -- and -- and as we are trying to set targets for global ocean conservation around

the world, you know, this is the very information that you need to start, you know, establishing more protected areas in -- in the world

GRAY: This mission was only a first attempt. More expeditions are planned in the coming months to further to investigate the reef.

BARBIERE: Coral reefs is one of the most discovered ecosystems. When we discover a major new jewel in the crown, it`s quite unique.

GRAY: Jennifer Gray, CNN.


AZUZ: Around the world in 155 days, when 19-year-old pilot Zara Rutherford arrived in Belgium Thursday, she landed two Guinness World Records.

Rutherford is the youngest woman ever to fly around the world solo and she`s the first woman ever to do that in a micro light aircraft. She took

off from Belgium on August 18th and thought the trip would take around three months. But bad weather and passport delays grounded her in several

countries, and various COVID restrictions often kept her from sightseeing.

The hardest part of the journey, she said, was in Siberia where it was 31 degrees below zero and a forced landing could have been dangerous. But

Rutherford made it and she made history. Her trip was funded by airports and sponsors according to the New York Times and it raised money for two

different charities.

Favorite snack in the world. But this popcorn story is nuts. At Disney`s Epcot Theme Park in Florida, there is an unofficial mascot named `Figment`.

The park recently released a commemorate popcorn bucket of `Figment` charging $25 for it, but even though some people are listing it for $200 or

more on eBay. It`s what they had to go through to get it that`s surprising. Some folks waited seven hours in line to buy a purple plastic popcorn

bucket. And you think I`m corny.

Now some expected they`d have to line up in rows, but they were still amazed the wait was that long. Guess they figured since we all came `ear`

to get it and we`ve starched it waiting, we`ll be the `stalk` of the town even if some people `corn` us. It shows there`s more than a kernel of

truth to Disney`s lore. That it`s not just a `Figment` of the imagination.

I`m Carl Azuz. Today`s shout out goes out to Jeremiah Burke High School. It is located in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Thank you and everyone else

for watching and have a wonderful weekend. This is CNN.