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President Biden Stirs Debate And Controversy When Addressing Taiwan; Monkeypox Spreads To Countries Where It`s Not Normally Found; Sicily`s Mt. Etna Erupts. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired May 24, 2022 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi. I`m Carl Azuz. You are minutes away from being up to speed on worldwide events,. including the recent eruption of a

famous European volcano.

But we`re starting in the Japanese capital of Tokyo. U.S. President Joe Biden is there. It`s his first trip to Asia as president and during a news

conference Monday, the American leader made a comment that got a lot of international attention and analysis.

It concerned the island of Taiwan. For decades, its government which sees itself as an independent democracy has been at odds with the government of

China, which sees Taiwan as part of the communist mainland. So, the two sides have a dispute. They`re not at war but China has been holding

military drills near the island in recent months.

What does this have to do with President Biden? Well, the United States is an ally of Taiwan and they don`t want China to forcibly try to take control

of the island. But if China did, what would the U.S. do? Would it stand by or would it get involved in a war with China to protect Taiwan?

Analysts say American leaders have intentionally avoided answering this question because they want to keep things as they are with China and Taiwan

coexisting. The U.S. doesn`t want China to invade Taiwan. It doesn`t want Taiwan to push for independence from China.

When asked about this yesterday though, President Biden did answer directly.


REPORTER: Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?


REPORTER: You are?

BIDEN: That`s the commitment we made. We agree with the One China Policy. We signed on to it, and all the attendant agreements made from there. But

the idea that that it could be taken by force -- just taken by force is just not -- it`s just not appropriate. It`ll dislocate the entire region.


AZUZ: So, is U.S. policy changing? Did the president promise that the American military would fight for Taiwan if China were to invade or did he

make a mistake in what he said? His administration in Washington dc quickly walked back his comments saying America`s policy hasn`t changed, that the

U.S. is committed to peace and stability in the Asian region. But that America would continue to provide Taiwan weapons to defend itself.

Taiwan said it welcomed President Biden`s, quote, rock-solid commitment to the island, but China said it firmly opposed the American leader`s comments

and that it wouldn`t allow another country to interfere with China`s, quote, internal affairs.


SUBTITLE: Taiwan & China: One China.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This island of 23 million people is a vibrant democracy and a U.S. ally that sits just across the sea from the

world`s largest one-party state.

I`m Matt Rivers in Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I`m Steven Jiang in Beijing, the capital of what`s officially known as the People`s Republic of China.

It`s been called that since 1949 when the communists here won a civil war, forcing the previous government to flee to the island of Taiwan.

RIVERS: Both sides set up their own governments, each claiming to be the only legitimate rulers of the entire Chinese territory. Decades of

hostility ensued. There was no travel, no trade, or communications between two and the threat of military action was a constant presence. But those

tensions begin to ease in 1990s, that`s when Beijing and Taipei came to an agreement on the so-called "One China Policy".

JIANG: Both sides acknowledged despite the existence of two governments, there was only one nation of China, and that paved the way for economic and

cultural cooperation. Businesses in Taiwan had invested billions of dollars here on the mainland, home to 1.3 billion people and the world`s second

largest economy. And millions of mainland tourists have flocked to Taiwan after direct flights resumed.

China insists Taiwan as a renegade province that must be reunited with the mainland by force if necessary. Both the governments say that`s all the

more reason to strengthen communication and build mutual trust.

RIVERS: But whether that trust can be built in Taiwan remains to be seen. Many people here are wary of the growing influence of their massive

neighbor just across the straits, fearful that their unique way of life cultivated over the last six decades may be under threat.



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

What country has the largest population in Africa?

Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, or Kenya?

With more than 216 million people, Nigeria has Africa`s largest population.


AZUZ: And Nigeria is in a region of Africa where a virus known as monkeypox is endemic, meaning outbreaks are more common there. What`s

unusual is that dozens of recent cases have been reported in countries where monkeypox isn`t common -- Australia, Canada, Israel the United

States, and at least 11 nations in Europe. When we produced this show, health authorities were tracking around a hundred cases in these countries

and no deaths had been reported.

Monkeypox does not spread as easily as COVID-19. Officials say people have to come in close contact with one another in order to catch it. Symptoms

are said to be like the flu at first, fever, chills, aches, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and a rash on the face and body can follow and that

usually goes away after a couple weeks.

Unlike COVID, a couple years ago, monkeypox is not a new virus. There are treatments that can be used for diseases like it, including an antiviral

drug. So while it`s uncommon for it to spread outside of West and Central Africa, officials say it isn`t something that should cause panic.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: So, here`s what we know so far. Monkeypox cases have been confirmed in more than a dozen countries around

the world. These are countries where the virus is not endemic.

So, it is unusual to see this level of cases in these regions. And we should see a list here of those countries. It does include, as you see, the

United States.

And just this morning, President Joe Biden spoke from Tokyo about how this is a virus that we know well. It doesn`t spread as easily as COVID-19.

People should not panic but we should be aware. Have a listen.

BIDEN: We`ve had this monkeypox with the larger numbers in the past, number one. Number two, we have vaccines to care for it -- to take care of

it. Number three, there is, thus far, there doesn`t seem to be a need for any kind of extra, extra effort beyond what`s going on. And so, I just

don`t think it rises the level of the kind of concern that existed with COVID-19 or -- and the smallpox vaccine works for it. So -- but I think

people should be careful.

HOWARD: And the CDC here in the U.S. and the World Health Organization have both said they are investigating these cases and will release more

information as they learn more.


AZUZ: We`re soaring across the Atlantic now to the Italian island of Sicily where Mount Etna has been doing what Mount Etna does. People on and

around the island can tell you this is a pretty common sight. Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe. It typically erupts several times a year

and in addition to the plumes of ash billowing from its crater, cameras recently recorded some amazingly vivid pictures of lava flowing downhill at


Even though the city of Catania is only about 15 miles south of the mountain, its eruptions don`t usually cause a lot of damage there, and

experts say people who live nearby aren`t directly threatened by the volcano. They do however get a serious light show when they can see sights

like this in the distance.

And as one of our long-time viewers at Sigonella Middle High School tells us, you`ve got to get your food off the grill when you hear Etna rumbling,

or your dinner could soon be coated with ash.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the mountain`s height actually changes over time when ash is deposited from eruptions it gets taller when

the edge of its crater collapses it sinks back down.


AZUZ: For 10 out of 10, the most expensive car ever sold. What brand would you expect? It`s not Rolls Royce Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Bugatti. It`s not

Duesenberg if you`re old school.

It`s Mercedes. This one. A 1955 Gullwing Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. It`s one of only two ever made, part of the reason why it fetched $143 million at an

auction early this month. The company says it`ll use the money to establish a new scholarship fund.

Things the buyer would never say: it`s for rent, my other car was Jeeper. Aren`t its wings adorable? It`s all I could a Ford. Now that I bought it,

I`m Audi. Hey, let`s race for pink slips. And finally, can you believe Mercedes gas prices?

I`m Carl Azuz. And that`s our show for today. I want to give a shout-out to Morgan Middle School. Our viewers watching in Ellensburg, Washington. We

have three shows left to go in our spring season.