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CNN10 2019-10-21

CNN 10

Obstructions at North Korean High-Rises; Weekend Developments on Brexit; Two Astronauts Who Just Made History; A "Blob" in Paris

Aired October 21, 2019 - 04:00:00 聽 ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Mondays are necessary. Doesn't have quite the same ring as Fridays are awesome but hope your weeks off to a good start and we thank you for spending 10 minutes of your Monday with CNN 10. I'm Carl Azuz at the CNN Center. First story takes us to North Korea. There's a lot that happens here that's unknown to the outside world. North Korea is a secretive country that threatens people who expose those secrets and it doesn't allow independent media organizations to exist. The government controls the radio and TV stations that are allowed and it's illegal for North Koreans to listen to broadcasts made from other countries.

So in a nutshell, if the dictatorship doesn't want certain information getting out it makes it difficult and dangerous for North Koreans to find it out. And as far as foreign journalists are concerned, North Korea limits who's allowed in, where they're allowed to go and what they're allowed to cover. That's why international observers are confused by something noticed recently at some high-rise buildings in North Korea's capital. The views, which once overlooked the rooftops of government buildings, are now blocked, obstructed or blurred by new coverings.

According to the New York Times, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has built up a number of high rise apartments and the people allowed to live there are elite members of society. But the top floors of these apartments are where these coverings have appeared. NKNews.org and the Daily NK, two websites outside North Korea that focus on news inside the country, say the coverings block the views of North Korea's forbidden city to tourists and citizens and also prevent pictures of government buildings from being taken and sent outside North Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chad O'Carroll, correspondent for the South Korea based news website NK News, was recently checking a lead on a construction project in the North Korean capital when his sources noticed something strange. Near an important section of Pyongyang, O'Carroll's sources saw many upper floor windows in some luxurious high-rise apartment buildings mysteriously covered and at great risk they started to take pictures.

CHAD O'CARROLL: These window bars are made of concrete. They're immovable and they are basically either fully opaque or they are kind of slat - -slats that just allow you to look in one way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at O'Carroll's comparison for NK News of a tower block in the Chan Chun (ph) Apartment Complex, about a year ago and now.

O'Carroll says his sources observed what they believe are hundreds of apartments and hotel rooms with windows covered and in some cases only on upper floors. Windows at the Koryo Hotel, a famous destination for tourists, were replaced with translucent covers so guests can't make out detail of anything outside.

O'CARROLL: And the over action (ph) goal of all of these, as far as we understand, is to prevent people being able to look into what's known as North Korean's forbidden city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The forbidden city analysts say is a nickname for a section of Pyongyang where important government buildings are located. The headquarters of the Korean Workers Party and other offices were Kim and the elites from his inner circle conduct business. The position and height of many of these now blocked windows analysts say seems to be fueling the regime's paranoia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were an assassin you'd probably love to be someplace higher up. If you wanted to try and eavesdrop, if you wanted to observe who is coming in and who's going. If you wanted to try and establish somebody's schedule these would all be apartments that would give you a great view of who is in which office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But by closing off these windows in what's known as "Pyonghattan", Kim's regime is also likely taking away the views of some people who are very powerful. Top North Korean officials who've been given those exclusive apartments. Those elites who analysts say the dictator bribes with luxury goods and cash to keep him in power.

O'CONNELL: When you get to the stage that you're blocking the view of your - - your apparently trusted elite families in North Korea, I think it - -it's something that is potentially going to breed some discontent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Others say all those who've been elevated to power by the supreme leader likely understand this is something they may just have to swallow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a regime that retains it's authority through open execution with mortar rounds and anti-aircraft canon. Compared to that, having your, you know, nice window barricaded is not exactly, you know, something worth dying for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: More delay and more questions in the process of Brexit, the British exit from the European Union. Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on October 31st and an agreement between the country and the EU on exactly how to do that would make things smoother and more organized. The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson did recently make a deal with the EU but Britain's parliament has to approve it first and in a vote held Saturday, when lawmakers were expected to either approve or reject the deal.

They delayed making a decision on it and they passed a law requiring the prime minister to ask the EU for another delay in the Brexit process. The European Union could accept or reject that request. Britain's parliament could still pass the prime minister's deal with the EU. So bottom line, it's still uncertain what will happen next when it comes to the Brexit.

10 Second Trivia. Who conducted the first spacewalk, which took place in 1965? Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, Alexei Leonov or Ed White. While Ed White was the first American to do it, the first ever spacewalk was made by Soviet Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov.

His spacewalk attempt was kept secret until it happened. Leonov later told the Smithsonian that when his four year old daughter saw him making the spacewalk on TV she cried, please tell daddy to get back inside. He has his crewmate faced a series of life threatening challenges afterward before they made it home. So it's risky and on Friday American's Christina Koch and Jessica Meir also stepped out for a walk about 248 miles above the Earth's surface and they also made history in the process.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK WATT, CNN REPORTER: NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir nailing the first all female spacewalk. The women working outside the International Space Station replacing a broken battery charger. NASA streamed the event live. The two astronauts seen emerging from the hatch of the Space Station to start their mundane sounding work making history in the process, identified by their bulky spacesuits, Koch in the red stripes,

Meir plain white. The helmet cam giving their POV.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) to get better eyes on it. OK?

WATT: And what you're hearing, them communicating with each other. Watch Meir pass by Koch's dangling feet.

JESSICA MEIR: I'm right below your feet so don't move down.

CHRISTINA KOCH: Copy.

WATT: And communicating with NASA HQ back on Earth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to ask where we're over. It's beautiful.

WATT: The answer 400 kilometers up from a spot just south of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The first all female spacewalk was supposed to take place back in March, cancelled due to issues getting a couple of spacesuit's the right size says NASA. This was Koch's sixth spacewalk, Meir's first although they have trained together for the past six years. Forty-two year old Meir holds a Doctorate in Marine Biology. Forty year old Koch is an electrical engineer. She's been up there on the International Space Station since March and will be until February breaking the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For us, it's really just us doing our jobs. It's something we've been training for, for six years and preparing for and at the same time we recognize that it is a historic achievement and we do, of course want to give credit to all those that came before us.

WATT: Nick Watt, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: There's a new resident at the Paris Zoological Park. See if you can guess what it is. It can grow as fast as one and a half inches per hour.

It has no mouth but it likes to eat bark and oatmeal. It has no brain but scientists say it can communicate and solve problems and it's not an animal, a mushroom or a plant. Give up? It's a blob, a slime mold.

We don't expect it to be the most exciting organism at the zoo because after all it's not really a "fungi" and watching it tends to get "mold" after a while. But when it's excited it can "blob" a lot. When it's sad we bet it "blobbers" and we hear it likes movies like "The Blob", the "green slime" in "Ghostbusters" though it always roots for "Slimer". I'm Carl Azuz for CNN 10 and it's just too bad we're all out of "slime" today.

END