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CNN10 2019-12-12

CNN 10

New Restrictions on Americans' Visits to Cuba; Early Flu Season in the U.S.; Project to Clean Up the World's Oceans

Aired December 12, 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: Penultimate is a word you don't get to use too often. We're using it today. Welcome to our penultimate program of 2019.

After tomorrow's show CNN 10 will be off the air until Monday, January 6th, 2020. It's always great to see you. I'm Carl Azuz. We're jumping right into new developments concerning the United States and Cuba, a Caribbean island country only 90 miles away from American soil, but in some ways the two nations are worlds apart. This week new rules take effect that limit where Americans can fly in to visit Cuba. Nine of the previous destinations on the island have been cancelled, now U.S. airlines are only allowed to fly into the Cuban capital Havana.

This is expected to have a negative impact on Cuba's economy and it's one of the ways the U.S. government is pressuring Cuba to make changes. The Trump Administration wants the communist nation to start holding democratic elections. It wants Cuba to stop harassing opponents of the nation's government and it wants Cuba's government to stop supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro whom the U.S. doesn't recognize as Venezuela's rightful leader. American sanctions on Cuba's economy are nothing new but five years ago former U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro formally started the process of normalizing relations between the two countries which had been rivals since the Cold War.

President Obama said decades of cutting off Cuba economically and politically had failed to influence it's communist government to improve its record on human rights. But critics said Cuba's human rights record didn't improve under the Obama policy either. The Trump Administration's pressure on Cuba includes the new flight limits, a ban on U.S. cruise ships from visiting Cuba and preventing ships carrying Venezuelan oil from sailing to Cuba.

10 Second Trivia. Which of these events is the oldest? Ramadan, Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa. According to Jewish tradition, Hanukkah was instituted in the year 165 B.C. making it the oldest observance on this list.

Christmas hasn't come early this year but the flu season has and there ain't nothing merry about that. Flu viruses circulate around the world throughout the year but a flare up in the U.S. is most common in the fall and winter hitting it's worst point between December and February according to the Centers for Disease Control. But it says it's been 15 years since flu season started as early as it has this time around. Currently the virus is classified as widespread in 16 states and is intense in 12 others. What's also unusual is that Influenza B, a type of flu that usually hit's a small number of people at the end of flu season, is hitting in bigger numbers at the start of this one and children are particularly vulnerable to Influenza B. The CDC is urging Americans to get vaccinated even though the vaccine isn't perfect and many of those who get the shot still get the flu.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last flu season the flu killed at least 36,000 people so this shot could literally save your life but it's far from perfect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even on a good year influenza effects - - effectiveness of the vaccine is about 60 percent on a bad year it's as low as 10 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we need to make a better flu vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we really absolutely do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In September, President Trump signed an Executive Order noting that the current system for making flu shots has critical shortcomings. The order pledges to modernize the process. The first step, stop using eggs to make flu vaccine. They grow the virus in the eggs like the eggs you eat for breakfast and then they kill the virus and put it in a vaccine. But sometimes the virus changes inside the egg so it doesn't end up matching the flu that's out there spreading among people. That's why some companies like this one have figured out ways to grow the flu virus without using eggs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right here we have the cells growing the virus. The virus stays the same and when we make the vaccine it looks closer to what's in the wild.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So no eggs here anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No eggs here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump's Executive Order is designed to encourage more of this technology and something even bigger. Something researchers have been working on for years. A flu vaccine you would get only once in your life instead of every year. Karen Craney is one of the first people in the world to get what's called the Universal Flu Shot as part of a study at the National Institutes of Health. The shot is prepped and medical history is made. A universal flu shot is at least a decade away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's complicated. It's not going to be easy but we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So for now get your regular flu shot to protect yourself and everyone around you while we wait for something even better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: Since we first reported on the Ocean Clean-Up Project, which uses a giant U shaped tube and a net to corral plastic in the ocean, it's hit some headwinds. About a year ago one of the devices broke and scientists have questioned whether it's money well spent and they've floated the idea that the project could actually have a negative effect on the environment. But Ocean Clean-Up has had some success since then and its hope to become one of a number of solutions to the problem of plastic in the ocean.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we see here are actually the - - the stomach contents of a single sea turtle that was found dead two years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what's all in one sea turtle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One sea turtle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at all that plastic. There are approximately 150 million tons of plastic in the world's oceans and a recent UK report predicts that that number will triple in the next decade. Pieces of plastic in the ocean can kill sea life, threaten industries like fishing or tourism and negatively effect our health when they end up in our food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That plastic is still going to be there in one year. It's still going to be there in 10 years. It's probably still going to be there in 100 years. Only if we go out there and clean it up, this amount of plastic is going to go down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One young Dutch inventor and his team have their sights set on solving the plastic problem. How? It's an almost 2,000 foot long floating pipe with a net hanging below.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look around the world there's plastics washing up on beaches. Basically we designed an artificial coastline here as a method of taking plastics out of the water over there. The wind is like propelling the system through the area such that the open end of the U, so to speak, is going forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it's kind of like a catcher's mitt for ocean plastic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Exactly. And every couple of months there is a boat coming that's like a garbage truck in the ocean and that takes the plastics out there on the boat and brings it back to shore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This first version of the system was deployed to much fanfare in 2018 but it failed to collect and retain the plastic. Since then, the team has added a parachute to slow it down and a cork line to prevent the plastic from going over the top of the floating pipe. Now the team says, the new system is working. But critics have worried about the systems effect on marine life. Are these the tubes that we see out there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. So, we have the floater at the top that basically (ph) keeps it afloat while we have this screen underneath it that prevents plastic from going under. So we don't have anything that can entangle marine life and what happens is the current flows underneath it while the plastic which floats will remain in this zone (ph) in front of the (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You obviously have a ton of support for your project but there's also a lot of critics out there who are saying, you know, you guys are just skimming the surface of this problem and you're not dealing with micro plastics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 92 percent of the plastic isn't micro plastic but are larger objects.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're not micro plastics yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, so it's kind of a ticking time bomb. The sooner we get that out (ph) the better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're starting with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating mass of trash more than twice the size of Texas. The group plans to make consumer products out of recycled plastic from the patch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This pair of sunglasses. They're already made from plastic coming out of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the ultimate goal, to clean up 90 percent of ocean plastic by the year 2040.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back in the day people said, well there's no way to clean this up. The best thing we can do is not make it worse but to me that's a very uninspiring message. You know, everyone wants the future to be better than the present and that's what we hope to achieve with this clean-up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: If the deck is a bridge's surface, is it redundant to say deck the bridge. It's not if you're on this bridge in Tennessee. It's all decked out as part of Gatlinburg's efforts to show its Christmas spirit. This is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge on the continent, 680 feet of Great Smoky Mountain walkway that's also a tunnel of color. So if you're a fan of lights, you're not afraid of heights and the cold never bothered you anyway. Then leave the boughs of holly in the halls and join the chorus of jolly lads and lasses who are obviously heedless of the wind and weather as they take merrily measured steps across a bridge decked with "falalalalights" that look like yuletide treasure. Blazing across the valley as the old year passes. I'm "Christmas Carol" Azuz and we'll see you tomorrow for our last show of 2019.

END