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U.S. Democratic Primaries In Michigan; Iranians Vote In First Elections Since 2022 Protests; Deadly Texas Wildfire Torches 1 Million Acres -- The Largest Blaze In State History -- As More Infernos Rage; Black Bear Crawls Out Of The Vent Of A North Carolina Home. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired March 01, 2024 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: What`s up lovely people. We made it to the best day of the week, Friyay. We are here in the Chi, Chicago, check out our

@CNN10 YouTube shorts for a fun little nugget on one of the best tourist destinations here in Chicago. And no, it wasn`t the pizza, although that

was pretty darn good too.

All right, we are motoring along this week, this year. It`s already March 1st. I swear, it feels like it was February just yesterday. Let`s keep

right on marching along. And now we`ve been talking a lot about the election primary picture on the Republican side, right, in recent weeks.

But today we shift our focus to the Democratic primary specifically in Michigan.

President Joe Biden won that primary earlier this week with 81% of the vote. And while that is a massive victory, the vote revealed some red flag

with a warning from progressives, young voters and Arab of American Democrats as they issued a sort of protest vote, if you will, in the form

of an uncommitted vote.

The Michigan primary gives voters the option to select "uncommitted," meaning they`re exercising a vote for their political party, but they`re

not yet willing to commit to any of the candidates listed on the ballot.

A coalition movement, any Michigan asked Democrats who were unhappy with Biden`s handling of Israel`s war in Gaza to select uncommitted, about 13%

of primary voters chose this option. This result highlights how the war in Gaza is a divisive issue among Democrats, and that could hurt President

Biden in the general election.

He has publicly backed Israel`s right to defend itself, but has also pushed for a ceasefire to bring relief in Gaza. The result in the Michigan primary

reveals the battle Biden`s team faces as he works to build a broad political coalition, they could be strong enough to possibly beat the

likely Republican nominee former president Donald Trump in November. We are just about eight months away now from the presidential election.

Pop quiz, hot shot. What was the dominant religion in Iran before Islam?

Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, or Taoism.

Prior to the Muslim Arab invasion of Persia, which is modern day Iran, the religion of Zoroastrianism had been the primary religion of the Iranian


OK, from the us elections, we now turn to another important election that`s actually taking place today in Iran. About 15,000 candidates are vying for

the 290 state parliamentary elections. Also 144 are competing for the 88 seats of the assembly of experts, which has the power to appoint the

country`s Supreme leader, Iran`s highest political authority.

Currently Iranians are facing an ailing economy as well as growing political distrust. Our Fred Pleitgen reports from Tehran as Iranian voters

prepare to cast their votes.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Iranian conservatives with a show of force ahead of what many say will be a

key election on Friday, supporting their leadership`s tough stance against both the U.S. and Israel. His sons, Hassan and Hussein dressed up in

military fatigues voter Mohammed Kalantari says he wants to show the U.S. Iran`s strength.

They know that Iran is a powder keg, he says. It only takes a spark to blow up the entire region. Iranian youth, me and the children are wearing these

clothes to say that we are the soldiers of this country.

And this man says through this election we will prove that we can stand against the U.S. not only economically but militarily. They are sanctioning

us but this will be solved soon and then we will be a country sanctioning them.

Tension between the U.S. and Iran has reached a boiling point as Washington accuses Tehran of supporting Houthis in Yemen firing missiles at cargo

ships, as well as pro-Iranian militias in Iraq and Syria targeting U.S. bases there including the January 28 attack, killing three U.S. service

members and wounding dozens.

Iran denies any involvement, but has ripped into the U.S. for Washington support of Israel and its campaign against Hamas in Gaza. At the

conservative event, disdain for Israel on full display. Flags with a Star of David on the floor for people to step on.

PLEITGEN (on camera): It certainly seems pretty clear how most of the people at this rally are going to vote in the upcoming parliamentary

elections. But this event is really about something else. It`s about getting out the vote. In fact, the supreme leader of this country has urged

people to head to the ballot boxes to make sure there will be a high turnout.

PLEITGEN (voiceover): It`s the first election since massive protests erupted in Iran in late 2022 following the death of Mahsa Amini after she

was detained for violating job laws.

On the streets of Tehran, get out the vote posters nearly everywhere. But with many moderate candidates barred from running, inflation high and the

economy reeling from tough U.S.-led sanctions. Some say they feel unenthusiastic when we ask if they will vote.



PLEITGEN (voiceover): The country belongs to the people, this man says. There should be participation in the elections but it should be freer with

the presence of all groups and minorities.

It`s unclear if Iran`s leaders can persuade more people to vote in an election deemed pivotal for the country`s future.


WIRE: All right, we do have to turn now to the Smokehouse Creek Wildfire that`s devastating parts of Northern Texas. The fire has already burned

more than one Northern acres making it the largest fire in the state`s history. And as of this recording, crews have only been able to contain 3%

of it. There are four additional wildfires scorching across the Texas Panhandle damaging scores of homes, farm lands, and public utilities like

power and water.

Officials are battling for solutions to stop this historic fire. But they`re also tasked with figuring out how exactly this fire may have

started, why it spread so quickly and why more wildfires seem to be spreading larger and faster than ever.

To that last question, CNN recently spoke to a professor of Fire Sciences at the Imperial College of London to explain how climate change might be

adding fuel to these wildfires.


GUILLERMO REIN, PROFESSOR OF FIRE SCIENCES, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON: In order to have a wildfire, you need the three sides of a triangle, the

oxygen, the fuel, and the ignition source.

Climate change has a very strong effect in one of the sides of this triangle, the fuel. Heat waves are drying vegetation. We know that drier

vegetation is much more flammable. Once it ignites, the flames are taller. And when it moves, it moves faster.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of fires -- flaming wildfires. These are the ones that spread faster and are more concerning in terms of damage

to people, and to property and to ecosystem. And the other one is smoldering. They propagate slowly, but they produce very toxic smoke.

What is happening in Europe, what is happening in Australia and United States, there are so many changes that is very difficult to quantify. What

is the climate? What is not.

The top of the boreal and the Arctic, that`s Alaska, that`s Canada, that`s Siberia, we are seeing an increase of bad wildfires. That is for us, a

clear sign of climate change.


WIRE: All right, today`s story getting a 10 out of 10, a North Carolina resident was put on pause and is very lucky. They didn`t unexpectedly meet

a fur neighbor face to face. A huge black bear crawling out of a tiny hole in their Asheville house, which had -- had been calling home during the

hibernating season.


JEREMY ROTH, CNN DIGITAL VIDEO PRODUCER: Wakey-wakey, Mr. Bear. Video posted by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission shows the

squatter sneaking, snout-first, from a vent outside a home in Asheville.

Apparently, the bulky bear turned that house into a winter home. Now, springing up as spring arrives, squeezing its way into the open air.

Clearly a tight fit for the trespasser, as it`s taking some extra effort to wiggle free.

The commission says the video is a reminder to stay vigilant. As warmer weather arrives, be wary of bear dens and do your best to not disturb their



WIRE: From hibernating to hibernating, but before we go, the best part of the show, you. This shout out goes to East Sac County Community School

District in Sac County, Iowa. We see you, Raiders.

And this shout out goes to Karns Middle School in Knoxville, Tennessee. You better be relieve at Beavers, rise up. Go on out and making an awesome

Friday, Friyay. Remember, you are more powerful than you though.

I`m Coy Wire. It`s been a blessing to spend this week with you.