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CNN10 2021-10-27

CNN 10

Severe Fuel Shortage And Chaos In Haiti; New Technological Efforts To Map The Ocean Floor; CNN Correspondent In London Demonstrates You Can Make Turkeys Due Tricks. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired October 27, 2021 - 04:00:00 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Great to have you aboard as we launch into a new addition of our show. My name is Carl Azuz. We begin today in the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Still don't have an update for you on the fate of 17 American missionaries who were kidnapped there on October 16th. The gang responsible has demanded $17 million for their release.

American and Haitian authorities have been assisting in negotiations to get the Christians freed. An extreme increase of kidnappings like this is only one of the problems the island nation faces. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. government says almost 60 percent of Haitians, that's most of the country's 11 plus million people live below their nation's poverty line and more than 40 percent of Haiti's workforce is out of a job.

Decades of political corruption, a series of recent natural disasters, the assassination of Haiti's president earlier this year, it's all taken a toll, and the ongoing shortage of gasoline is one of the problems. Haiti's government has a gas law that's contributing to this crisis. It limits the price that fuel can legally be sold at, and if international oil prices go higher which they have. The government is supposed to make up the difference, but often times it can't. In the recent financial year that ended in September, the fuel subsidy cost Haiti's government about $300 million and sometimes it just doesn't have the cash to buy enough gas for Haiti's population.

The hardship this causes are hitting hospitals. One of the largest medical care facilities in the Haitian capital doesn't have enough electricity to properly treat its patients, and it doesn't have enough gas to run its back-up power generators. Businesses and factories, they're having the same problem and even if Haiti's government has the revenue to subsidize fuel, it might not have the manpower to safely get it to gas stations.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Spot protests across Port-au-Prince, burning tires below sending black smoke into the sky. The country is in crisis once again in part fueled by a lack of fuel. A crushing shortage of gasoline has crippled the capital city. Here are taxi drivers protesting, arguing with police outside of a gas station with no gas.

MAKINSON LOUIS, HAITIAN TAXI DRIVER TRANSLATED: We don't have a government this man says if we don't demand change. Who will?

RIVERS: Tires set on fire and debris thrown into the street are desperate attempts to cause enough chaos that the government tries to fix the problem, but it won't be easy. Not only is the government so broke, it often can't buy enough fuel, but when some arrives it can't be delivered.

The vast majority of fuel is imported at these two locations, but gangs in Port-au-Prince are so powerful they have near complete control over this crucial stretch of highway, which means they control the flow of fuel into the capital. A gas retailer, identity hidden due to security concerns told us what happens if you try and drive a tanker truck into pick up fuel. So, I might get kidnapped.


RIVERS: I might get shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, if you don't stop.

RIVERS: I might get killed.


RIVERS: Or at the very least I'm going to have to pay an exorbitant bribe to get past.


RIVERS: Haiti's government and law enforcement are either unwilling or unable to secure a flow of fuel from the ports. But not having enough fuel doesn't mean you can't use your motorbike. Consider this, here in Port-au- Prince the electricity grid is not reliable. So, let's say you own a small store and you sell cold drinks. In order to keep that refrigerator running, you need to use a generator, and if the fuel going into that generator is way more expensive than it was before. That means you have to charge your customers more for those cold drinks. Not having enough fuel makes all kinds of things more expensive and that's brutal in a country already dealing with so much poverty.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What percentage of the ocean floor has never been mapped or explored by humans? 5, 10, 50, or 80 percent. According to the U.S. government people haven't mapped or even seen 80 percent of the world's oceans.

An eye-opening fact considering they cover more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface and contain about 97 percent of Earth's water. But the U.S. government spends a lot more on space exploration than ocean exploration. NASA receives more than $20 billion in Federal funding each year. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, receives less than $6 billion. Several hundred people have traveled to space, fewer than 30 have ever been to the deepest part of the sea.

Why is this? One reason is technology. People have been able to build orbiting stations in space but we don't yet have the ability to build a station that can withstand the crushing pressures of the deep ocean. Critics of ocean exploration say some of the remote seafloor that has been observed is like a desert. It doesn't have a lot of features except for the strange animals that sometimes appear. But different companies are developing new technologies to map it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This electric submarine roams the ocean using sonors, cameras and lasers to navigate and map the bottom of the sea. That's according to Anthony DiMare. He co-founded U.S. based start-up Bedrock Ocean Exploration in 2020 to develop the robotic vehicle and give marine industries a better understanding of their environment.

ANTHONY DIMARE, CO-FOUNDER OF BEDROCK OCEAN EXPLORATION: It seems strange even today that we don't actually have a full ocean map, let alone understand the complex geology of any given area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In fact, we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the ocean floor. Just over 20 percent of the ocean floor is mapped today, getting a fuller picture can help build critical infrastructure on the seabed from off-shore wind farms to telecom cables and better predict the effects of climate change, but gathering this information requires a lot of resources.

DIMARE: Right now, most of ocean mapping happens through ships that require 30 to 60 people to operate and then there's a whole data analysis problem on top of that. Understanding exhibits (ph) of geospatial data about the ocean and then being able to pick out the important things within in it, and that process just takes six to 12 months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bedrock can create seabed surveys up to 10 times faster than traditional methods. The submarine is also safe for the marine environment according to DiMare.

DIMARE: It moves it a little over two miles an hour. This is an equivalent of like a human swimming through the water at very low speeds and the sonors on board are all above a 200 kilohertz limit. So, we -- we don't have any auditory effect on marine mammals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But Bedrock's battery power submarine can venture less than 60 miles before it needs to return to shore and recharge DiMare says, which means it can't reach more remote parts of the sea. Limited battery life is a problem facing autonomous mapping vehicles around the world. One California based oceanographer Yi Chao is trying to solve. While working at NASA, Chao developed technology to power data gathering robots by the very depths they are exploring.

YI CHAO, CEO AND FOUNDER OF SEATREC: We can harvest energy from the sea, from the natural occurring temperature difference. So, the robot where swim in the ocean, they get charged by the sea. So, they can extend a lifetime almost indefinitely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chao founded Seatrec in 2016 to commercialize the technology. He says each power unit costs around $25,000, but the ability to stay in the water longer makes data gathering up to five times cheaper according to Chao. Even with cost-cutting technologies, completing the seabed map will be expensive experts say.

CHAO: The estimate is somewhere between $3 and $5 billion U.S. dollars which is a huge amount, but actually it's pretty much the same order of magnitude as a cost to sending a mission to Mars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both Chao and DiMare are working toward the goal set by the NIPPON Foundation -GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project to complete the ocean map within this decade. So while there is still a way to go, for these explorers it's about time we started investing in our own planet.


AZUZ: CNN reporter Anna Stewart has an awesome rapport with turkeys. They were simply star-struck surrounding her as she gave an update on a worker shortage in England's turkey industry. Now Anna didn't say if she had any food in her pockets to attract such attention, but she did a trick for CNN I Anchor Julia Chatterley.


JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN I ANCHOR: I mean they're always a great audience.

AZUZ: Now you can't do something like that and not be asked to do it again. Anna did.

CHATTERLEY: Fabulous. On a turkey farm in Essex.

AZUZ: Well that about "gobbles" up our time. Maybe you "smelled that one cookin'". But if we're about to "trot" out some "turkey" puns, you know I'm not going to be "snooty" about it. I will "waddle" them out one by one, like your goofy "Carluncle" giving thanks to have listeners to my "retricks" of the trade. I'm Uncle Carl Azuz. Today's shout out takes us to Arimo, Idaho, where we would like to recognize the students of Marsh Valley High School. They did the only thing you can do to get mentioned on our show. They subscribed and left a comment at YouTube.com/CNN10.