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Hala Gorani Tonight

House Judiciary Holds Impeachment Hearing; "No Signs Of Life" After Volcano Erupts In New Zealand; Russia Slapped With Four-year ban From Major Sports Events. Aired 2:50-3p ET

Aired December 09, 2019 - 14:50   ET



GORANI: We will get you back to the impeachment hearings in just a moment. I'm Hala Gorani. I want to bring you the day's other world news headlines


Some of the top stories we're following in New Zealand, tourists visited an active volcano, some walking right into the crater, many of them never made

it out. Take a look at these dramatic images.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go inside. Go inside. Go inside. Go inside.


GORANI: Imagine the terror and chaos of having to race onto a boat and escape for your life. The volcano on White Island erupted several times

while the tourists were there.

Five people are confirmed dead. Eight people are still missing. There doesn't appear to be much hope of finding them alive.


Rescuers aren't able -- aren't even able to get near the island right now because it's too dangerous. The prime minister of New Zealand spoke a

short time ago.


JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZEALAND: The focus has to be on those at this time who are critically injured and, of course, what is very

sadly our recovery operation. Of those questions that people definitely won't that the context would simply provide is that my understanding is

that tourism operations have been undertaking therefore several decades up to 30 years.

It has been a live volcano throughout that time, at various times has been at level two. But it is a very unpredictable volcano. There will be

questions that will be asked and do need to be answered by the appropriate authorities. And we will be ensuring that that happens.

But for now, we're focused on those who are caught up in this horrific event.


GORANI: Well, meteorologist, Tom Sater, joins me now with more.

So the prime minister of New Zealand said this is an active volcano. So, how risky was it to actually be on that island? Because if it had been a

tourist destination for that long --


GORANI: -- people have been visiting that place for a while now.

SATER: Yes. Tourist companies, we believe, Hala, take about 10,000 tourists to the volcano every year. But we're going to go through some of

the questions they're going to be asking that the prime minister is bringing up.

Forty-eight kilometers off the coast of the north island, the Bay of Plenty. This volcano, 70 percent of it is underwater, making it the

largest volcano in all of New Zealand. But you can see where past eruptions have, you know, kind of collapsed side of this, what we call a

cone volcano.

You just never know what these things, even though there are tremors have been picked up in the last week. Himawari satellite imagery, actually,

will show the plume here picking up, getting up to about 12,000 feet in elevation.

But here are the questions. We found a report that was issued just one week ago, and it comes from GeoNet, of course, of New Zealand monitoring

the situation, and it states moderate volcanic unrest continues. Substantial gas, steam, mud burst, and in fact goes on to say mud burst 20,

30 meters in the air.

This activity has been present since late September becoming more frequent. May be entering a period where eruptive activity is more likely than


So that begs the question, why allow the tourists to get there to begin with?

Now, at one time briefly we're at a three minor eruption, Hala, it did jump to a four during that activity, but it's backed down. And I know

everyone's trying to keep up hope for any survivors. But this toxic gas in the smoke plumes is just so high in intensity.

Not to mention, of course, the temperatures, the water on there is acidic, they're probably boiling. I mean, we're trying to keep all hope out. But

no one knows if it'll erupt again. You just have to hope that all that energy trapped underneath has been released.

Wave heights for rescuers one to five meters up. They're going to be battling some winds, I think, in the next 24 hours.

GORANI: All right. And people, as we mentioned, they are still missing. Thanks very much, Tom.


GORANI: The world anti-doping agency, WADA, is dropping the hammer on Russia again.

On Monday, the Russian national team was banned from major international sporting competitions for four years. Now, that includes next year's

Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

It's as a result of Russia's anti-doping agency being ruled noncompliant with the international anti-doping code and what has been described by WADA

as Russia's decision to, quote, continue in its stance of deception and denial.

Don Riddell is in Atlanta. I mean, obviously the implications of this are that Russian athletes won't be able to compete at all in Tokyo?

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The devil is in the detail, Hala. It is expected that Russian athletes will be able to compete in their

winter, summer Olympics and indeed play in the World Cup in Qatar, assuming the team qualifies. It's just they won't be able to compete as Russians.

They'll have to compete under a neutral flag and assuming they can demonstrate that they are actually clean athletes and they don't have a

history of doping and cheating.

It is a spectacular headline. It reads very badly for the Russians. But many clean athletes and advocates of clean sport are really disappointed

that it didn't go far enough because it sounds like a big deal, they would argue an actual fact. It doesn't really change very much at all.

GORANI: All right. Don Riddell, thanks very much.

Well, that's a quick look at our world top stories. Back to our impeachment coverage in the United States in Washington. Of course, yet

again, another dramatic day with both sides of the argument battling it out on Capitol Hill.

The big question, of course, centered around that July 25th phone call and subsequent alleged pressure that the president of the United States has

placed according to his critics on the Ukrainian president in exchange for security aid.

We will have a lot more after a quick break. In fact, I pass you over now to our colleagues at CNN, USA for more.