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A Shakeup in Saudi Arabia; A Day of Elections in the U.S.; India Tries to Cut Down on Pollution by Staggering Traffic
Aired November 8, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10, your daily down- the-middle explanation of world events.
We`re starting with news concerning Saudi Arabia. Significant changes are being made in the Middle Eastern country.
This is an absolute monarchy. Its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was appointed by his father, King Salman, two years ago. And since then, the nation has gone through what one CNN reporter describes a top to bottom overhaul.
We reported in late September how the government had decided to allow women to drive. Saudi Arabia was the last nation on earth where that was illegal, but it`s also what experts call one of the most religiously conservative Islamic countries, and there were some Saudis who disagreed with the decision.
Crown Prince bin Salman has promised to destroy what he called extremist ideologies and work to return Saudi Arabia to a, quote, more moderate Islam. He`s trying to reshape Saudi Arabia`s economy, reducing its dependence on oil sales.
The nation is leading in international group to fight terrorism. It`s executed dozens of people on terrorism charges. It`s playing a major role in the civil war of neighboring Yemen, with Saudi Arabia leading international airstrikes, targeting rebels who were supported by Iran and trying to take control of Yemen.
And over the weekend, more than 17 Saudi princes and top government officials were arrested on corruption charges. This includes people who`ve been described as some of the wealthiest figures in the Arab world.
Regarding all of this, experts and observers have been using words like shocking, historic and even revolutionary. And globally, Saudi Arabia`s changes have been met with criticism, as well as praise, and caution, as well as trust.
SUBTITLE: The One Thing: Saudi Arabia`s changes.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: One thing you need to know about what is going on in Saudi Arabia is the phase of change is fast and unprecedented. The person driving these changes, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a 32-year-old who rose to power just two years ago.
He`s the man calling all the shots and his latest moves inside and outside the country show that he means business.
Take this for example. Earlier this year, he said in an interview, he won`t tolerate corruption at any level by anyone. Now, a newly formed anti-corruption squad has gone after a high number of high profile princes and businessmen, sending a clear signal of the prince`s intent.
His critics say the crown prince is just making a power play and removing potential rivals before he ascends the throne. But to his supporters, it`s all part of his plan to transform the kingdom. And that same zeal for action can be seen in Saudi foreign policy, with a much more muscular posture towards its arch rival Iran, in places like Yemen and Lebanon.
An active new leadership upending traditions, we have ended a new era and no matter what, the results will be dramatic.
AZUZ: It wasn`t a presidential election. That`s was last year, and the next ones in 2020. It wasn`t a congressional midterm election. Those are every two years and the next one is 2018.
But it was the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and that means Americans across the country went to the polls. They were voting in state and local elections, from Washington to Georgia.
A lot of the attention was centered on the governor`s races in New Jersey and Virginia. Why? Because at recent decades, the political party that loses the presidential election usually wins the next year`s gubernatorial races in those two states.
So, last year, a Republican won the presidency, so Democratic candidates were expected to be chosen as governors in New Jersey and Virginia, though the race in Virginia had tightened up, according to polls before the vote.
You can get results on the races at CNN.com. Both major parties will be scrutinizing the outcomes of yesterday`s votes to help form their strategies for next year`s congressional midterm elections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:
Which of these world capitals has the largest population?
Washington, D.C., London, U.K., Beijing, China, or New Delhi, India?
With more than 25.7 million residents, according to the CIA, New Delhi is the most populated capital on this list.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: And it`s one of the most polluted. In fact, an Indian doctor says air quality conditions in New Delhi right now are so bad that breathing there is like smoking 50 cigarettes a day.
The Indian medical association has declared a state of medical emergency. It`s asked the government to take urgent action to cancel an upcoming marathon. Some officials have been asked to consider shutting schools, extreme air pollution in New Delhi is nothing new. Fires, traffic, dust, industries, they all contribute. But right now, there`s not much wind to blow pollutants away.
And according to the British Broadcasting Corporation, Delhi`s problem is worst in winter because farmers in nearby areas burn crops double at that time. That adds to the haze hanging over the capital. Some air quality instruments can`t even measure the spikes in pollution. They`re literally off the scale.
The government is trying to address this by regulating traffic. But even that may not be enough.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is worst than bad. Not the traffic, actually, there`s less about the normal. It`s the air.
To help clear it, Delhi`s government says these steps are necessary. A temporary ban giving odd numbered cars off the road on even days, and even numbered cars off the road on odd days, an attempt to target a toxic problem, pollution.
(on camera): When you walk through the streets of Delhi, you can`t help but see it, of course, and smell it. But the most disturbing part is you can actually taste it in your mouth, if you`re not used to being here, you can feel it burning in your throat. In fact, the city`s highest court recently said that living in Delhi was like living in a gas chamber. So, those are the conditions that some 20 million people face every single day.
There are 9 million registered cars on the streets of Delhi, 1400 more cars come on the roads each day. So, while cars are only part of the problem, every driver is being asked to be part of the solution, and the reason people who are out here to remind you.
(voice-over): Following the rules, (INAUDIBLE) takes a walk, followed by a ride on rickshaw. Then there`s a 30-minute train ride, followed by a rush through throngs of commuters and another rickshaw ride -- all that to get to work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s like one hour and 15 minutes to reach office.
FIELD: So, is this working?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without taking emergency action, pollution levels would have been much higher. And so, what this scheme has done is to play a role to moderate the high pollution levels.
FIELD: Clearly, cars are part of the city`s pollution problem because of their numbers, because of congestion, because of toxic emissions. But the odd-even rule doesn`t cut Delhi`s pollution in half. There are a lot of exceptions, public vehicles, high ranking officials, motorcycles and women traveling alone. It`s just a temporary measure, just one of a number of attempts to fight pollution, including a ban on large diesel SUVs and higher taxes on commercial trucks coming into the city.
(on camera): When it comes to a long-term solution, odd-even exchange wouldn`t be enough to move the needle?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, absolutely not.
FIELD: There is a consequences that too many other factors contribute to the city`s pollution, and the more practical matter on everyone`s mind.
Delhi`s public transit system couldn`t handle it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, for the first time, I think people in Delhi are talking about public transport and I think that`s the pressure that needs to be built on government for the systemic change.
FIELD: That would be the giant leap. Activists hope it starts with these smaller steps.
AZUZ: Over the weekend, I had the chance to see autumn paint the great Smokey Mountains bright yellow, orange and red. It`s a typical sight this time of year in the U.S. state of Tennessee, but not for everyone. One man who`s color blind says this looks like all one color to him.
The Tennessee Department of Tourism changed that. It installed new viewfinders at scenic places that allow people with color blindness to see the vivid changes and color. It was a first for several visitors to spot over Gatlinburg, including a man who described as simply awesome and said he now understands why people come up here.
For the trees, of course, the changes are autumnatic. But all things being equinox, it`s often worth the harvestment to take leap of a city and season your life with a beauty that`s easy to fall for.
I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.