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CNN10 2021-02-03

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Japanese Officials Say Tokyo 2020 Olympics Will Go On; WHO Starts Investigation of Where the Corona Virus Started; NASA Has Space Walks on the ISS; Working to Save the Golden Snub-nosed Monkey; Two Athletes Climb the World's Largest Chimney in Slovenia

Aired February 3, 2021 - 04:00 聽 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: No matter what, a Japanese official says the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will go on and that's our first story this Wednesday.

I'm Carl Azuz for CNN 10. The games are still officially called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics even though they were postponed last summer because of the corona virus pandemic. They're not set to begin on July 23rd of this year. But we've told you how there's been some doubt about that because the disease is still spreading and Olympic organizers have said that if the 2020 games don't happen this summer, they'll be cancelled all together.

Well here's what's new. Japan's prime minister says he's determined to hold the Summer Games in Tokyo this year and the President of the nation's Olympic Organizing Committee says that will happen no matter what's going on with COVID.

This is significant because there've been reports that Japanese government officials have privately discussed cancelling the game. That government has publicly called those reports categorically untrue. If concerns about this persist though, the Chief Financial Officer of the U.S. state of Florida says the games could be held there instead. He's reportedly sent a letter saying that to the IOC. He highlighted the fact that Florida has successfully held several major sports events during the pandemic including the NCAA College Football Championship, the NBA Final, the upcoming Super Bowl and he mentioned that Disney World is open and operating safely. There are questions about that proposal as well though in terms of how the games could be moved? How much would it cost? Who would pay for it? For its part, the International Olympic Committee which is based in Switzerland has said it's committed to holding the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo this summer.


BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Blake Essig in Tokyo. The Summer Olympic Games are pressing forward with no plan B. Japan's prime minister had extended the state of emergency for Tokyo and nine other prefectures through March 7th. That's 18 days before the Torch Relay is set to begin all in the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Now Olympic officials have said that vaccinations will not be a prerequisite for athletes hoping to compete in these games but there will be rules that they have to follow. Now those rules are being weighed out in a series of playbooks expected to be released as early as tomorrow explaining how Japan plans to protect the health of athletes, coaches and others.

STEVEN JAING, CNN JOURNALIST: I'm Steven Jaing in Beijing. A team of World Health Organization experts are continuing their closely watched investigation into the origins of the COVID virus in the city of Wuhan. Visiting an animal disease control center on Tuesday, indicating their looking into the possibility the virus made the jump from animals to humans. Although they say the Chinese authorities have been transparent and helpful so far, critics remained unconvinced with the U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken saying over the weekend that the Chinese government had been finding far short of the mark in terms of allowing access to sites the experts needed to visit.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. Which of these astronauts participated in NASA's longest spacewalk? Peggy Whitson, Susan Helms, Scott Kelly or Buzz Aldrin.

Susan Helms joined James Voss in a 2001 Space Odyssey lasting eight hours and 56 minutes.

Astronauts Helms and Voss were installing new equipment on the International Space Station. Theirs was one of 234 space walks conducted on the most expensive manmade object. NASA calls these missions EVAs, Extra Vehicular Activities and two of them were completed within the past week. NASA Astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover, Jr. upgraded some batteries and installed some high-definition cameras on Monday. They were assisted by NASA's Kate Rubins and Japan's Soichi Noguchi who were operating a robotic arm from inside the space station.

The latest spacewalk took five hours and 20 minutes, but the astronauts experienced seven cycles of day and night during that time alone because the space station is orbiting the Earth at 17,500 miles per hour. So lots of quick bright sunlight and quick cold darkness. NASA says the astronauts outside the space station don't feel the extreme cold and heat but they do have heated gloves to keep their hands from getting too cold. Two more space walks are planned for the weeks ahead. One is related to the station's power supply and the other will include more upgrades.

About 240 miles beneath the ISS an effort is underway in China to save the Golden snub-nosed monkey. This is one of the most endangered primates on Earth. Conservationists say they're numbers are dwindling because of habitat loss and hunting. Other animals like wolves and tigers try to catch Golden snub-nosed monkeys for food, people have also sought these primates for their fur and meat. But some Chinese wildlife officials have been able to breed the monkeys in captivity and community programs near their natural habitat are helping as well.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This Chinese national treasure is more endangered than the panda. It's likened covered forest home at risk. Known as the wild men of the mountains, the Yunnan Golden monkeys or black snub-nosed monkeys are fighting for survival. In the high-altitude woodlands of southwest China Yunnan province, they're hanging on for dear life and conservation groups say only a few thousand are left in the wild.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Almost 100 monkeys are killed by hunters every year in the region according to the nature conservancy. But as part of a forest monitoring campaign, Shu How (ph) trains local villagers to patrol the monkey's habitat and look for old wire traps.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His team has installed over 100 infrared cameras in the forest to monitor the monkeys and some of their inquisitive neighbors like the red panda, the Asiatic black bear and the yellow throated martin. Protecting the astonishing biodiversity of this region is the goal of the nature conservancy which has been working with local villagers for the past 20 years alongside government agencies and other partners. In 2019, this conservation coalition established a protection network for the monkeys stretching across nearly 2,700 square miles. Their work includes supporting local communities to create alternative livelihoods to hunting and logging like selling handy crafts and training them in forest monitoring.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ensuring the monkey's survival for future generations hangs in the balance for all the residents of the region.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to consider the development of the local area, the community but at a main time we need to consider the conservation of the monkeys and hopefully we can make sure the people and the monkey can survive at the same time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Proving the proverb, it takes a village. Golden monkey populations in the region are finally increasing say Lee Pong (ph).

He says Logenshan (ph) area now has around 300 golden monkeys and the total number across Yunnan and Tibet is around 3,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully the number will grow even more in the future. This monkey is like a black sheep species in the area. One of the only kind of animals living in this high altitude. So the existence of this species is kind of important and critical to the whole world.


AZUZ: The tallest chimney in Europe is at a power station in Slovenia. It stretches more than 1,180 feet into the sky and after weeks of preparations with holes fastened to the tower specifically for them, two athletes decided to try to free climb it last fall. Speaking of fall, there were some. Thankfully they had ropes and after seven hours and 32 minutes of climbing, they reached the top of the world's tallest artificial multi-pitched route.

If the fear of heights is at the height of fear it seems, why not try to climb a chimney just let off some "steam". It takes power to "ascend" a "tower" up in the clouds. You've got to "vent" your fear, don't give it "rise". Just "funnel" it out. You've got to take it one "hold" at a time like climbing a ladder. You've got to make your mind to put your mind over the matter. And if the words "don't look down" cloud up your head and start to pound it. Remember it takes Santa's chimney magic just to come down it. Woo. These pun raps are a "tall" order.

You know what's not? Shouting out schools like Battle Creek High, it is located in Battle Creek, Nebraska. Thank you for your subscription and comment at YouTube.com/CNN10. I'm Carl Azuz.