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CNN10 2021-09-29

CNN 10

U.S. Military Officials Testify Before Congress; Wax Palm Trees Stretch Toward Sky In Colombia; Drone Sailboats Deployed To Help Study Hurricanes. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired September 29, 2021 - 04:00:00 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi, my name is Carl Azuz and my game is objective explanations of world news. Thank you for taking 10 minutes to watch today. For the first time since America's troubled withdraw from Afghanistan, top U.S. military officials testified before Congress on Tuesday. A big reason why this is so significant is that lawmakers from both major political parties have criticized the Biden Administration for how the withdraw was carried out. In April, U.S. President Joe Biden ordered American's military to leave Afghanistan where U.S. troops had served since 2001. It was America's longest running war. The White House said unstable conditions in Afghanistan could have kept American troops there indefinitely and the president said in terms of money and manpower, it no longer made sense.

His original deadline to complete the withdraw was September 11th. That was moved up to August 31st, but as that date approached, Afghanistan's government and military collapsed and the nation's former rulers the Taliban took control of the country in a matter of weeks. On Tuesday, the leader of U.S. Central Command said he'd been afraid something like that would happen. So, he advised President Biden against pulling all U.S.

forces out. He joined other military leaders in recommending that 2,500 of American troops stay in Afghanistan, but in an interview with ABC News in August, President Biden said he couldn't recall anyone saying that. Yesterday afternoon, the White House said leaving troops in Afghanistan passed August 31st would have escalated a conflict with the Taliban.

U.S. lawmakers have criticized the Biden Administration for completing the withdraw while American citizens were still in Afghanistan, and for not saying for sure how many Americans are there. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, efforts are still going on to evacuate Americans though he said that was now the job of the State Department not the military. Secretary Austin was also asked about long-range missions. On August 29th, the U.S. carried out a drone strike that was intended to kill a terrorist but instead killed 10 Afghan civilians. The military called that a horrible mistake and the defense secretary said Tuesday, it's difficult but still possible to carry out successful long-range missions without U.S.

troops on the ground. The Taliban, meanwhile, say the U.S. breaks international law when it flies drones into Afghanistan airspace. That group's swift takeover in the face of the failure of Afghans Army took military officials by surprise according to Secretary Austin. What does it mean for Afghanistan? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, we're now inside the green zone. This is the area where all diplomats, international organizations were based and it's so eerie driving through. It's now completely empty except for Taliban guards. So just up here, these are the gates to the U.S. embassy here in Kabul, and the Taliban guards are telling that nobody has been in here since the U.S. left this embassy just days after the Taliban took power.

So, you can see through here. This appears to be, sort of, the first layer of security to get into the embassy, and now it's just completely abandoned. So essentially as you saw there that green zone is basically completely abandoned. That's part of the reason it's difficult for the U.S. to go about evacuating the roughly 100 Americans who remain on the ground because there is no embassy. There is no American footprint here.

I will say on the streets of Kabul, things feel a little bit calmer. You do see women on the streets. You see fewer Taliban on the streets, but make no mistake, there are some very troubling finds that the Taliban have not changed their true colors. Women are not part of the transitional government here. Women are not allowed to go to school, girls, after 6th grade, and so on and so forth. So even though traffic might be flowing in Kabul, and I might be wearing a slightly looser headscarf, there is still a very high level of fear here on the ground that things are going to take an ominous turn.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What is the longest mountain chain in the world? Himalayas, Alps, Andes or Rockies. Stretching 5,500 miles down South America, the Andes Mountain chain is the world's longest.


MARIA JOSE SANIN, BOTANIST: When you think of palms, I'm sure most people think of beaches. Wax palms like cooler environments. They develop and evolve tightly with mountain evolution. So, in part, we owe having wax palms to the evolution of the northern Andes Mountain chain. Many (inaudible) landowners are protecting palms and the different areas where they grow, but for the general public which is anyone being able to experience a cloud forest, these enormous palms that completely alter the (inaudible) silhouette is a fascinating view.


AZUZ: Out in the Atlantic, Hurricane Sam is thundering over the sea. It's currently a powerful Category 4 storm. Officials aren't sure where Sam's going to go. They don't think it will threaten the continental United States, but the island of Bermuda could be in its path. Those storms can form outside of hurricane season that officially runs through November 30th. This year has been an active one with 19 named storms so far, but it hasn't been as active as last year's record-breaking season. Understanding hurricanes, predicting how they'll strengthen and where they'll turn is an ongoing challenge for scientists, but new tools are constantly being developed including the drone sailboats you're about to see. Getting data from them reportedly costs $2,500 per drone, per day, but that could still be cheaper than a plane or a boat with a human crew.


MAYOR LATOYA CANTRELL, MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: This storm in no way weakening. Time is not on our side.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN SCIENCE AND INNOVATION CORRESPONDENT: Hurricane Ida grew from a Category 1 to a Category 4 hurricane in less than a day. This effect known as rapid intensification, means emergency planners little time to react.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your window of time is closing.

CRANE: To help make better forecasts, the company Saildrone believes its autonomous research vessels are up to the challenge of finding out what conditions cause storms to intensify so quickly.

RICHARD JENKINS, CEO SAILDRONE COMPANY: (Inaudible) eye of a hurricane where no one's ever managed to get before.

CRANE: Traditionally, scientists capture hurricane data by flying planes directly through them, dropping probes into the sky along the way. But in order to completely understand a storm, scientists say more data needs to be collected from the surface of the ocean.

JENKINS: What drives a hurricane's strength is the transfer of heat and moisture from the ocean to the atmosphere. We don't quite understand the dynamics of how that works.

CRANE: In order to find out, Saildrone deployed five ships into the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean. Areas where lots of hurricanes develop are likely to hit land. They're powered by the sun and wind, can stay out at sea for months at a time and are built to take a beating.

JENKINS: It's really designed to get hit by a wave, tumble, submerge then come back up and carry on sailing.

CRANE: And I see a camera up top.

JENKINS: This hurricane mission is key to understand the spray, the foam on the water. So, we're hoping that we can see with the camera, what the water looks like.

CRANE: The drone's sensors and cameras can send data and images in real time back to Saildrone headquarters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are measurements of wind, temperature, humidity, right at that interface level that may help the modelers understand the fundamentals of hurricanes better. That's never been done before.

CRANE: And more accurate models could allow emergency planners to give better direction to residents back on land.

JENKINS: We're hoping to get a really precise measurement. It really drives our intelligence that predicts the future strength of hurricanes and enable people to make preparations or move out of the way with ample time.

CRANE: Rachel Crane, CNN.


AZUZ: With winter on the way, most red squirrels are hiding the walnuts they collect in pits around their neighborhood. One squirrel however is storing his collection in a Chevy Avalanche. It belongs to a man named Bill Fisher who lives in North Dakota, in just a few days Bill removed 42 gallons of black walnuts from the truck and there are some he can hear but cannot remove. Bill says the squirrel was planning to do some "car camping" over the winter.

Guess there are worst places to "squirrel" something away. But if the "AM" general idea as the "Sierra" turns colder, is to have a "land cruiser" where you can "Taculm" an acorn or "F-150" of them. Why not pick up a "power wagon" so you can "Cheverolet" up a few tokens of your "harvester" so you can store them by the "truckload". These puns are "nuts" ya'll. And we're going nuts for Everett Area High School. Shout out to our viewers watching from Everett, Pennsylvania. They subscribed and left a comment on our You Tube channel, and you should too. I'm Carl Azuz for CNN.