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CNN10 2021-01-04

CNN 10

Reports On A Stimulus Package; COVID-19 Vaccines; Rocketing Value Of Bitcoin; Robots Dancing "The Human." Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired January 4, 2021 - 04:00:00 聽 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Happy New Year and welcome to our show. My name is Carl Azuz. Our mission is to bring you down the middle explanations of events taking place worldwide. And one of them taking place right now in the United States is the arrival of new stimulus payments in the bank accounts and mailboxes of residents.

The cash is meant to help stimulate the economy when people spend it and to help those who've lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic. It's part of a massive economic relief bill that President Donald Trump signed in late December.

Individuals who earned less than $75,000 in 2019 will receive payments of $600. Married couples who earned less than $150,000 will receive payments of $1,200. There was a push by the president and some members of Congress to increase these payments but critics said giving out more cash wasn't the best way to help the economy recover from the pandemic.

The latest stimulus package cost the U.S. government $900 billion. It's the second largest one ever behind the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed last March. In addition to direct payments, the new spending bill includes more government benefits for people who've lost their jobs, more money and available loans to small businesses, more grant money to help theaters and concert venues that have lost money without live events and more money to provide COVID vaccines free of charge to those in need, and to get those vaccines distributed across America.

Currently, vaccines from two different makers have been approved for emergency use. One comes from the companies Pfizer and BioNTech. The other is from the drug maker Moderna.

Millions of shots have been given to Americans so far with healthcare workers and nursing home residents getting priority for the first available injections. There have been some side effects. Several people in the United States and Britain have had dangerous allergic reactions to a coronavirus vaccine.

And polls have shown that a significant number of people don't plan on getting one because of concerns that the shots aren't safe or necessary as the vast majority of people who get infected with coronavirus survive it. But many government and healthcare workers are hopeful that the vaccines will bring the world a step closer to getting back to normal after last years pandemic.


ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fireworks erupt over a now infamous city in China, what a difference a year makes especially in this place where the virus that would change the world was first detected. The World Health Organization in China was informed on New Year's Eve in 2019 of a sickness spreading in Wuhan, a pneumonia with an unknown cause.

It would be an outbreak that would sweep the world. A universal heartbreak that has so far killed more than 1.8 million people. A year later survivors in Wuhan turned to some time honored traditions like praying at this Buddhist temple for better luck this year and to close the door on an unthinkable year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TRANSLATED: I hope that health takes priority. I hope I become healthier and feel more safe and sound.

ASHER: Similar prayers around the world in India, priests performed the cleansing fire ritual overlooking the Holy Ganges. Others prepared for an upcoming year by taking a renewing bath in rivers and in temples.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 2020 was a challenging year for all of us but yes it has taught us many lessons.

ASHER: Like these brave souls underdressed for winter temperatures but perfectly suited for the yearly plunge into the Tiber River in Rome. Or families on a mountain slope near Frankfort, Germany where shops and restaurants may be closed but the thrill of sledding, that's something that can't be regulated. There's a saying that time heals all wounds. Here's to a collective wish from the world that 2021 is that remedy. Zain Asher, CNN,

New York.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. Which of these currencies is currently worth more than the U.S. dollar? Australian dollar, Cayman Islands dollar, Libyan dinar or Danish krone. Of these options only the Cayman Islands dollar is worth more. Each one is about a $1.19 U.S.

Bitcoin is also stronger. One unit of that currency is currently worth almost $33,000 U.S. dollars. That's why it's often sold in fractions.

Bitcoin has never been this valuable before. When this type of digital money is exchanged between two online parties, there are no traditional banks involved. There are no government regulations involved. There's also not much to protect people who lose Bitcoin if they're scammed for instance.

It's value has spiked and plunged in the past but it's been on the up and up over the last year. That's partly because of economic instability brought on by coronavirus. It's partly because more investors are accepting Bitcoin. The online payment company PayPal recently announced it would start accepting online currencies like it. But whatever happens with Bitcoin itself, the technology behind it is gaining a foothold.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have been getting a lot of hype lately. And while some investors believe that these (inaudible) could be the future of money, other experts believe that what's actually more valuable is the underlying technology. It's known as block chain.

It's basically a public list of transactions, a more transparent record. You can think of this digital ledger like a game of dominos. The block chain is powered by a decentralized network of computers that all work on the same task. No one owns the system, very one helps run it.

Whenever a transaction is initiated between two computers, it has to be certified by another. That makes it difficult for anyone to cheat. For the sale to go through, a bunch of mining computers have to try and solve the cryptographic puzzle. Sort of like a really complicated math problem.

Once one computer solves that puzzle, a record of the successful transaction gets added to the list for everyone to see. All additions are permanent so no one can delete or change the data. You can only keep adding.

You may be asking yourself, what's so great about this glorified list? Well since the ledger can't be changed after the fact, getting away with fraud is a lot harder. Block chain advocates also argue that this technology cuts out the middle man by fulfilling the role of institutions like banks and government agencies.

This means more direct access to your property not to mention the possibility of smaller transaction fees. Sounds promising but does it live up to the hype? The exchange of cryptocurrencies is a clear use case but block chain could also be useful for other types of record keeping.

Let's say you're a farmer and you lose the deed to your land in a fire or a flood. If the government lost your paperwork too, you may be out of luck.

But if you uploaded that deed to the block chain, it's easy to prove that you own that land. In fact, people are experimenting with block chain technology in a variety of places.

From preventing voter fraud, to storing health records, to authenticating memes on the Internet, even the very institutions block chain threatens to disrupt are exploring the technology's possibilities with companies like Bank America investing in their own block chain tools. But for right now, those experiments are still in the early stages and it might be a while before we see the kind of crazy block chain take over that the media's talking about.


AZUZ: If I say Susie Q, Grizzly Bear and Madison, I'll probably get some confused stares. If I say waltz, the Charleston and Gangnam style, the picture gets clearer. And if I say the robot, hey a lot of folks will know I'm talking about a 1970s era dance that seeing a sort of resurgence.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dancing robots. With enough rhythm --(MUSIC)

MOOS: -- to make someone tweet, great. Now even robots have better moves than me.


MOSS: That's Spot, Boston Dynamics robodog you can buy for $74,500. Look at that footwork. Noted one Twitter user, that dog robot has come along way.

The dance video released by Boston Dynamics to celebrate a happier new year inspired humans to imitate the robots.


MOOS: It's cool and creepy at the same time. We're doomed. Even Elon Musk was impressed. This is not CGI. Instead of its usual work lifting boxes --(MUSIC)

MOOS: -- Handler the Robot worked the dance floor after years of being shoved by researchers. Being dragged by the tail to test its doggedness.

Even kicked. The robots got their kicks for a change. The robots do the human as well as humans do the robot? (MUSIC)

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


AZUZ: So do the robots call it the "Human"? Can they do the running robot? They should probably avoid the "Car Wash" and stick to a "Safety Dance" like the "Electric Slide". Because if they ever get "Pop and Locked Up" and "Grind" their gears when they're not synchronized, they could "Break Dance" and require a "Hammer" to get back to their algorithm march.

Is today's shout out school South Florence or Florence South? It's South Florence High School in Florence, South Carolina. Thank you for your comment at YouTube.com/CNN10. We hope you enjoyed the show. I'm Carl Azuz for CNN.