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CNN 10 - January 12, 2017

CNN 10

Mudslides Wreak Havoc in California; U.S. Congress Advances a Controversial Intelligence-Gathering Law; Great Big Story: The Google Before Google

Aired January 12, 2018 - 04:00 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10 where we explain events happening around the world. Thank you for watching on this second Friday of 2018.

A series of disasters has devastated parts of southern California, the largest wildfire in state history flared up in early December. It was named the Thomas Fire because it started near Thomas Aquinas College. It`s been burned more than 281,000 acres and it`s still not completely contained or blocked off. Officials expect that to happen later this month.

But its effects led to another problem. The Thomas Fire burned off trees, brush and bushes in the area. And when a storm struck earlier this week, dumping rain on charred hillsides, there wasn`t enough living vegetation to help keep mud, boulders and dead trees from flowing downhill. Debris covered roads and swamped buildings.

Mudslides and flooding destroyed 65 homes and damage more than 460 others, and at least 17 were killed, though several others are still missing.

The rain has stopped and hundreds of first responders are working through the debris searching for survivors. Deadly mudslides have struck this area before. Its unique landscape has contributed to both each beauty and its potential threat from disaster.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The sun has come up and it`s exposing the vastness of the devastation. Look at his house behind me. Not only a debris field of enormity with trees and parts of other houses and so much other, but it looks like the front windows were blown straight out of the house because in some of these instances, we had ruptured gas lines. And then looking just over to the left, this house, cars, sealed off, debris everywhere, trees, poles, all of that.

Montecito is unique in that it goes from about 300,000 feet to sea level in just a few miles and running up to this first range, they had warned that this area that is the Thomas Fire burn area, so vast, the largest brush fire acreage wise in California history, they had feared that they could get a big slide. They had so much rain here.

At one point, nearby Carpinteria in just one hour, an inch of rain and once those loose hillsides were hit by this pin-wheeling storm, the ashy mud just came flowing down, jumped over a creek. You see yet another home devastated and it came right down a main road here.

There are people who have been cut off by these huge boulders, trees, power lines. They`re in the Romero Canyon neighborhood, just little northeast of me. We saw hoist rescues as they call them yesterday. That`s when they literally get the helicopter and pull people out by helicopter.


AZUZ: The U.S. Congress is moving closer to renewing a controversial law that allows the government to collect information about people in other countries who aren`t U.S. citizens. This is part of something called FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which dates back to 1978. A component of FISA passed more recently in 2008 lets U.S. intelligence officials gather email and text messages of foreigners without a warrant.

But because the information of American citizens can also be caught up in this intelligence gathering, some privacy advocates oppose the law, while its supporters say it`s necessary to keep American safe.

These divisions aren`t strictly along party lines. Most Republicans, including President Donald Trump, support reauthorizing the law, but dozens don`t. Most Democrats don`t want to reauthorize the law, but dozens do.

We say reauthorize because this part of FISA is set to expire on January 19th unless Congress renews it. And lawmakers moved a step closer to doing that yesterday when the House of Representatives voted 256-164 to renew the law.

The House votes considered a victory for the Trump administration, even though the president appeared to criticize the FISA law on Thursday morning. He tweeted that it might have been used to inappropriately collect information on his presidential campaign. Later in the morning, President Trump tweeted his support for the law, saying the vote was about, quote, foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land and that the U.S. needed it.

Critics said the tweets caused confusion on Capitol Hill. The White House denied that, saying President Trump supports the law and was happy to see it passed in the House. Now, it goes to the Senate for its consideration, where again, support and opposition is not divided straight down party 2018/1/12lines.


AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia.

Which of these search engines was founded first?

Yahoo, Google, Bing, or Ask Jeeves?

Yahoo dates back to 1994, which makes it the oldest Internet search engine on this list.


AZUZ: What was the name of Napoleon`s most famous horse? What does it mean when you dream you`re being chased by an elephant? Is there a book on how to build with popsicle sticks?

Search engines could help you find these answers. But in their current form, they`ve only been around since the 1990s. The New York Public Library has been opened since 1911, and if you don`t feel like searching through its collection, you can always give them a phone call.


SUBTITLE: The Google Before Google.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you call a group of cat?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me check on that.

It`s called a clowder of cats.

REPORTER: If you have a question, any question, there`s a number you can.

ROSA CABALLERO-LI, MANAGER, ASK NYPL: Nine, one, seven, two, seven, five, six, nine, seven, five.

REPORTER: And the librarian at the New York Public Library will try to answer it for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. Thanks for calling Ask NYPL.

CABALLERO-LI: We have 10 librarians on a team, and we answer any question that you may have over the telephone.

In the office today, we have Matthew, Bernard, Sarina (ph), Diane and me.

Our department Ask NYPL began in 1967. We started answering questions over the telephone. But people have been reaching out to librarians for as long as there have been libraries.

REPORTER: The New York Public Library has actually saved records of some of the more interesting questions they`ve been asked over the years.

Like, is there a full moon every night in Acapulco?

Why do 18th century English paintings have so many squirrels in them and how did they tame them so they wouldn`t bite the painter?

Are Plato, Aristotle and Socrates one in the same person?

In a world of Google, it`s a bit surprising to know that they get around 30,000 calls per year.

My question is, why?

CABALLERO-LI: Oftentimes, people might not have access to the technology at home and I honestly think some just want somebody to talk to.

REPORTER: So, the next time you have a question like how many teeth does a Great White Shark have, you can call this number.

CABALLERO-LI: Nine, one, seven, two, seven, five, six, nine, seven, five.

REPORTER: That will ring inside of this building, up on this floor, and maybe Bernard or Rosa will pick up and they`ll answer it for you.

CABALLERO-LI: They have about 300 serrated teeth.


AZUZ: For a news reporter in the field, being on the air live with animals can be a bit unpredictable.

Case in point, Alex Dunlop, a reporter from the British Broadcasting Corporation, recently learned what it was like to be swarmed by lemurs.

Thankfully, he was at a zoo, but these things can still be pretty wild.

Dunlop was trying to report on animal count. He probably wasn`t counting on the highly social animals to be quite so highly social.

I wonder if he thought to tell them, lemur alone. You`re lemurking this too difficult. I`m a professional, you`re only prosimians and we`ll never

be primates unless you stop being an arboreal pain. Oh, yes, lemur puns. It`s like they grow on trees.

I`m Carl Azuz. And we`ll see you next Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Have a great weekend.