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Columbia Crisis Spirals as Tensions Simmer and Protests Continue; Space Junk Crashes Into Florida Home. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired April 23, 2024 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Terrific Tuesday to you. Time to get our minds right so we can shine bright.

I have a challenge for you. See who can say red leather, yellow leather five times really fast. Red leather, yellow leather. Red leather, yellow

leather. Like that. It`s not easy.

I`m Coy Wire. This is CNN 10. And we start today in New York. Columbia University has announced that all classes must be held virtually on Monday.

This after pro-Palestinian protests in and around the New York City campus have raised tensions on the campus.

Last week, Columbia President, Minouche Shafik, sent a letter to New York Police Department requesting that they remove people who had created an

encampment on the south lawn of the Manhattan campus.

More than 100 people were arrested. The students are protesting U.S. involvement in Israel`s bombing of Gaza, which has killed more than 34,000

people. According to the enclave`s health ministry.

Israel says it is fighting to defeat Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist organization located in Gaza that attacked Israel on October 7th, killing

around 1,200 people. The students at the Ivy League University distanced themselves from more extreme non-student protesters who have tried to

intimidate Jewish students.

The White House, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have condemned any acts of anti-Semitism or any calls for

violence against Jews.

Additionally, Monday was the first night of Passover, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar. Our Polo Sandoval has more.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All weekend long we have seen demonstrations supporting the Palestinian people both on and off the

Columbia University campus here in Manhattan. Behind me, the one that`s actually off campus, you see students able to only make their way up to the

fence as the campus itself remains restricted with access only allowed for students and staff because of these ongoing demonstrations.

On campus, there is still what`s referred to as the Gaza Solidarity Encampment that continues to grow. A collection of people that have been

gathering on the campus south lawn with that unified message, with those protesters on the outside of the campus calling on Columbia University to

divest from companies with Israeli connections.

The question now though is exactly how long those protesters will be allowed to remain on the Columbia University given that it was just a few

days ago. The university officials called on the NYPD to make their way onto campus to clear out that encampment which resulted in well over 100

arrests and some student suspensions. The question is, are we bound to see that yet again?

Now, over the weekend, I had an opportunity to visit that encampment and things were peaceful as security looked on and really university officials

not really intervening at this point. But also over the weekend, a separate vein in which there are now growing concerns among Jewish students, some

Jewish students attending Columbia University, many of them saying that they feel unsafe coming to school because of these ongoing pro-Palestinian


So much so that Rabbi Elie Buechler with Columbia University`s Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative reached out on Sunday morning to well over

300 Jewish students saying that it is best that they simply stay home until Columbia University and the YPD do more to make sure that they feel safe.

Now the university for its part released a statement over the weekend saying that they are acting on these concerns. And they also added that

students do have the right to protest on campus so long as those demonstrations do not interfere with campus operations. And also that they

do not intimidate any of their fellow students. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


WIRE: Ten second trivia.

Which of the following are not considered debris in orbit around the Earth?

Old spacecraft pieces, rocket fragments, dropped tools, working satellites.

If you chose working satellites, you are cosmically correct. Space waste is any debris left behind by humans like an inactive satellite or tools

dropped by astronauts. A working satellite, not considered debris.

There are thousands of pieces of space junk floating above our heads right now up in outer space. We are talking rocket parts, broken down satellites,

pieces of satellites that may have collided and much, much more.

In 2021, NASA threw out 5,800 pounds of garbage from the space station and the belief was that it would burn up as it entered the Earth`s atmosphere.

But as CNN`s Alex Marquardt explains, things have not gone as exactly as planned.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: When it comes to Earth`s orbit, scientists are saying that cosmic clutter, as it`s known, is

getting worse. Space trash, broken satellites or leftovers from rocket boosters as well as junk from the space station. That`s all a growing

problem, they say. NASA estimates about 100 million pieces of space junk are hovering over our heads as we speak.

On Monday, NASA confirmed that this piece of space junk, which reentered the Earth`s atmosphere and came crashing into a home in Florida last month,

was trash from the International Space Station.

Joining me now is Terry Virts, former NASA astronaut and a retired U.S. Air Force colonel. Colonel, thanks so much for joining us. Isn`t the

expectation that this trash is just going to burn up upon reentry so that it doesn`t hurt anyone?

COL. TERRY VIRTS (RET.), FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: Well, that`s the hope and NASA had done analysis on this piece that they thought it would burn out.

But if you look at it, I remember seeing it. It`s basically the size of an SUV. So I remember thinking, wow, that`s a pretty big thing. I bet you

parts of it will -- will make it through. And a lot of space debris does make it down to earth. Usually it ends up in the mountains or usually it`s

in the ocean. And so this one was just so big and unfortunately it landed at a house in Naples, Florida.

MARQUARDT: So I think that the common sense, the conventional wisdom was that most of this stuff just does burn up. Are you saying that that is not

normally the case? Why is the best way then of getting rid of this trash to throw it overboard if so much of it gets through?

VIRTS: Well, the best way is not, and NASA`s plan was not to do that, but there was a Russian Soyuz explosion a few years ago and that really --

there was a snowball effect on the schedule and so this giant battery, like I said the size of an SUV was supposed to come back on one of our cargo

ships. And because the schedule got reworked, it was like the odd man out, so they didn`t have anything to do with it. So they released it after

analyzing, hoping that it would not make it back to earth. And you know what, luckily, knock on wood, it didn`t hurt anybody, but it did

unfortunately go through the roof of that house.

MARQUARDT: So if you`re NASA or another space program, even a private space program, I imagine it`s in all their interests to try to get this stuff

cleaned up essentially. So how do you go about cleaning up 100 million pieces of space trash?

VIRTS: Well, unfortunately, nobody has come up with that solution. If you - - excuse me, if you could come up with that solution, that would be a pretty good business model. These pieces are going many miles per second.

They`re all going in different directions. It`s a tough problem. What we`re doing is we`re just trying to avoid it.

So when I was on the space station as commander in 2015, we actually had to maneuver to avoid some debris that the Chinese had created. They did a

military demonstration. They exploded a satellite, and that debris still causes a space station to maneuver usually once or twice a year. So

military explosions and space are really, really bad idea because that debris will last for years, or sometimes centuries if that`s high enough.

And the only thing you can really do is track it and maneuver to avoid it.


WIRE: Next up, we take you to the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, where local officials have a kind of weird request. They want fewer

tourists to visit. The local government has stopped the building of any new hotels to discourage what they call overtourism. Why? They say they want to

make the city more livable for residents and for visiting out of towners.

Now, there are some workarounds. If you already had a permit to build a hotel before the government issued this announcement, you`re good to go. Or

if a hotel closes or a new hotel has plans that maybe make it substantially better, for example, more eco-friendly, then the government may issue a

permit to build a new hotel. Officials say this plan is part of a larger goal to keep the number of hotel stays in the city below 20 million per


For today`s story getting a 10 out of 10, the world`s largest wildlife crossing. This, according to the California Department of Transportation,

which is constructing a wildlife crossing that will span 10 lanes of Los Angeles County`s 101 Freeway. The pathway received more than 5,000

individual contributions and should be finished sometime next year.

It`ll provide safe crossing to coyotes, bobcats, deers, snakes, lizards, toads, even ants, but mountain lions will be among its chief beneficiaries.

They`ll be able to safely pass from the Santa Monica Mountains on one side into the Semi Hills of the Santa Susana Mountain range on the other.

All right, superstar, we are pumped for #YourWordWednesday. Follow me @coywire on Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. Put your unique vocabulary word

and definition in the comment section of my most recent post. And we`re going to choose a winner to work in tomorrow`s show, along with a shout out

for you and your school.

We are giving a shout out to the Patriots at Patriot Center in Emmett, Idaho. Thank you for learning with me. And thanks for all the love.

And this shout out goes to DelSesto Middle School in Providence, Rhode Island. Go on, Jaguars, do your thing. Rise up. Go on out and make it an

awesome day, everyone.

And I`ll see you right back here tomorrow on CNN 10.