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March 2, 2017
Meteorology, epidemiology, sociology and technology all factor in to this edition of CNN 10. We’re reporting on the science behind tornadoes. We’re monitoring an epidemic of bird flu in humans. We’re examining action being taken against modern-day slavery, and we’re explaining why a company wants to develop self-driving racecars. There’s a lot of ground covered this Thursday!
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Great to have you watching CNN 10. We are 10 minutes of world news explained and I am your host, Carl Azuz.
It’s been a destructive week for parts of the U.S. Midwest and Southeast. For days, severe thunderstorms have roared through the region, spinning off tornadoes and causing damage in Iowa, Virginia, and the states in between. At least three people have been killed in these storms, thousand have lost power.
In Tennessee, a woman at a convenience store captured this video of heavy wind and rain blasting the earth outside. Homes and businesses were damaged. The National Weather Service said it got more than 20 reports of tornadoes or suspected tornadoes in seven states, including Tennessee and Illinois.
The city of Ottawa was where at least two people died. Dozens of homes nearby were destroyed and a glass manufacturing plant in the area was damaged.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said, quote, “We’ve got to count our blessings. This could have been way worse.”
Tornadoes can form at any time of the year, but they’re most common in the spring.
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Tornadoes are so powerful, they can flatten homes to their foundation, they could peel asphalt right off of a highway, and it can toss around 18-wheelers like they’re small toys.
SUBTITLE: Tornadoes: 101.
GRAY: Tornadoes can be the most deadly and destructive weather phenomenon on Earth. In fact, about a thousand tornadoes occur every year in the U.S. That’s more than anywhere else on the planet.
Some of the strongest tornadoes can pack winds of 300 miles per hour or more. It can be as small as a couple of hundred of yards wide, all the way to two and a half miles wide, and their path of destruction can be a couple of hundred yards or extend out fifty miles or more.
When conditions are just right, you’ll get warm moist air coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. That will collide with dry, cooler air from the North. When these air masses collide, it creates a lift in the atmosphere, and when you get those winds rotating and increasing speed with height, that will create a horizontal column of air that’s spinning, then you get a downdraft from a thunderstorm and that will cool that column of air all the way down to the ground and then you have a tornado.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:
When officials say they’re concerned about H7N9, what are they discussing?
A virus, a location, an asteroid or a plastic?
H7N9 is a strain of a virus that’s also known as avian influenza.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: Or bird flu for short.
Though this virus mainly affects birds, hence the name, certain strains of it have mutated to sicken people. The Asian country of China is now going through its fifth epidemic of H7N9 since 2013. The World Health Organization says 460 people there have had confirmed bird flu infections since last October.
Scientists say this year’s outbreak seems worse than previous ones and dozens of people have died.
Bird flu symptoms are like those of the regular flu, fever, coughing, sore throat. The virus can be treated with certain medications.
Despite this outbreak in China, health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control say there’s not much risk to the general public right now. But because this disease has the potential to spread, they’re raising warning flags and may ramp up production of emergency vaccine.
China has shut down a number of live poultry markets to prevent bird flu from spreading. Other strains that have affected only birds have been reported recently in the Middle East and especially Europe.
You probably won’t be surprised by the fact that slavery is illegal in every country on Earth. What is surprising is that tens of millions of people are enslaved anyway because the slave trade is worth billions to the criminals who run it. But worldwide, adults and students are raising their voices and raising money to fight slavery. Some young people are doing this by putting one foot in front of the other.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ready, set –
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some of these teenagers are athletes, runners, and swimmers used to competition but few of these are faced a challenge like this. For 24 hours, teams of eight from Hong Kong-based schools will run continuous relay laps, a bold mission to raise awareness of modern-day slavery and money to fight human trafficking.
CRICKET RICHTER, TEAM LEADER, HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: It’s really like important for each other, for all of us to motivate one another.
BAILEE BROWN, RUNNER, HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: And just keeping the main idea in mind that we are doing this for a good cause. And this is 24 hours, compared to our entire lives which most people go through.
FIELD: The Global Slavery Index estimates there are 48.5 million enslaved people across the world and that two thirds of them are in Asia. For the seventh year, the nonprofit running to stop traffic is putting on this race entirely organized by high school students.
They race along Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak and partner with runners in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and South Korea. Together, the Asia relays race raised more than US$700,000 since 2010.
KESHAV MENON, BUSINESS DIRECTOR, 24 HOUR RACE: And slowly, I started to go back to my home roots. And when I found out more about the problem of slavery in India, how it manifests in many different forms, I felt really bad because I thought that I’m living in such a privileged area in Hong Kong. I was to go back and I am not really able to do some change. I slowly got more interested in the 24 Hour Race itself.
FIELD: At 5 o’clock on a Sunday morning, the finish line feels far.
RICHTER: Very, very tired. Four hours to go. A few of us have injuries and some of us are starting to get sick.
ALIX AGUZIN, RUNNER, HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: When you get a cramp and you are running and you feel like you can’t go on anymore, just think about what they’re going through, and then keep ongoing for them when you can’t go on for yourself. You want to give up, just go on for the cause that you have.
FIELD: The fuel for these runners, fighting for so many others.
Alexandra Field, CNN, Hong Kong.
AZUZ: Now, taking a look at self-driving cars. The pros and cons are clear. Potentially fewer accidents but significantly higher costs. Freeing up passengers during commutes, but a potential loss in human driving skills. When you take a look at self-driving race cars, though, one question that comes up might be why? Isn’t racing a sport for human drivers and crews?
According to Diverge.com, showing that self-driving cars can safely rocket themselves around a race track might make the general public feel better about self-driving cars on the street.
One company developing them is having a wild ride.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: This is the world’s first self-driving race car called Robocar and when they’re out on the track, they won’t have any drivers. There’s no cockpit. All of the cars will be exactly the same, same specs. The only difference will be the team behind them and the different algorithms they’re creating.
What makes this self-driving race car different from the typical race car that has a driver seat?
DENIS SVERDLOV, ROBORACE CEO: I would say everything. It looks like a plane with wheels. And it’s super efficient in terms of aerodynamics and it’s super fast. Professional drivers cannot take the G-force which is going to be created in this type of cars.
And it’s super powerful. So, we created special motors for these cars, so it’s almost 500 horsepower per wheel. So, it’s a beast.
And, software engineer needs to find a way how to manage this car.
BURKE: Do you think that the common man in the street who makes minimum wage is going to be able to relate to this? Or this kind of a sport for rich guys?
SVERDLOV: The future in any case is going to be driverless. So, we’ll see those cars, like on the roads, very soon. Much sooner than we can expect. And, of course, it will touch every day life and we’ll see (INAUDIBLE) very, very quick.
BURKE: When I talked to the people creating self-driving cars, they always say it’s not to be cool. The real perk is to try and eliminate car accidents. But one of your prototypes had a car accident recently in Argentina. So, doesn’t this defeat the purpose?
SVERDLOV: I think it’s opposite. Of course, it’s plot (ph) from where all the teams are (INAUDIBLE). When you crash, what you get, you get a lot of data. You can listen why did it happen, how to avoid it in the future. And there is no risk for why. So, this knowledge you can reuse in real road cars. So, it means that our real road cars will become safer.
BURKE: So, how much did it cost you?
SVERDLOV: To me?
SVERDLOV: Around one million pound to make this car.
BURKE: So, a little more than a million dollars. Worth it?
SVERDLOV: Yes, for sure.
AZUZ: So, robots aren’t just getting faster, they’re getting more athletic y’all. This is Handle. Why the name? Because it can pick up and handle stuff. It can also travel up to nine miles per hour. It can balance, spin, it can go down stairs and its vertical leap is 48 inches. When he unveiled it, the CEO of the Google-owned company Boston Dynamics said he thinks this could cause nightmares. Guess that depends on whether the 6-foot 6-inch robot is chasing you.
It has excellent handling and it’s a home on a range of 15 miles which techies will get a charge out of. But it could cost a battery of concerns for movie fans who’ve seen what can happen when robots get their wires crossed, go on a power trip and cause dismalfunction. It’s almost too much to handle.
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