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(CNN)August 17, 2017
There's been an outbreak of cholera in Yemen, potentially infecting as many as 500,000 people. Today's show explains what's exacerbating the problem. Also featured: an examination of NAFTA as talks begin on renegotiating the deal. And a couple of science stories discuss a possible new use for carbon fiber and the distances some people will travel to witness a total solar eclipse.
CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN 10, your daily objective explanation of world events. And I'm Carl Azuz. Thank you for watching this Thursday.
Especially if you've been watching for a while, you've heard us talk a lot about the civil war in Syria. But it's not the only Middle Eastern nation struggling with the consequences of war. A conflict in Yemen, which is located between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, started in 2015.
Forces who are loyal to the country's president had been fighting the rebels who drove him out of the country. Thousands have been killed in the conflict, tens of thousands have been wounded and the World Health Organization now says there have been half a million cases of suspected cholera.
It's an intestinal infection caused by bacteria. It spreads through contaminated water and food that comes in contact with it. Because millions in Yemen don't have access to clean water and because garbage collection has stopped in major Yemeni cities, health officials believe cholera is infecting as many as 5,000 people per day. The spread has slowed down over the past month and people who contract the disease are all but certain to survive if they get health care.
What's worsening the problem in Yemen and contributing to the fact that almost 2,000 people have died from te nation's cholera outbreak, is a widespread shortage of medicine, hospitals and health care workers to help.
Leaders from the U.S., Canada and Mexico huddled in Washington, D.C. yesterday. It was the official beginning of an effort to renegotiate NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. This is a trade deal between the three countries. It went into effect in 1994. Renegotiating NAFTA is something that Donald Trump promised to do while he was campaigning to become U.S. president.
A Mexican government official said the goal is to make the agreement work better. A Canadian official said her country wants to protect NAFTA's record of creating jobs and economic growth. A U.S. official said that while NAFTA has benefitted many Americans such as farmers, it's failed for countless others with at least 700,000 American jobs lost because of NAFTA.
All this gives an indication of the deal's mixed results.
REPORTER: So, just what is it?
Well, let's begin with the basics. First, it includes Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. It was proposed in 1992 by these guys and it was extremely controversial.
Critics feared massive job losses, with businesses packing up and moving production to Mexico. Supporters though, they claimed that it will lead to cheaper goods and that will lead to economic growth.
But NAFTA won out in the end with Congress and then President Clinton ratifying it in 1993.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, THEN-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are ready to compete and we can win.
REPORTER: NAFTA is a large, incredibly complicated document. But at its core, it's pretty simple. Before NAFTA, when items were imported, they were taxed. After NAFTA, they weren't. This protects goods made domestically at the expense of consumers since the tax on foreign products is passed down, higher tariffs, more expensive goods, less trade.
Free trade agreements like NAFTA removed those tariffs, incentivizing trade and lowering cost for consumers. Tariffs were greatly reduced at the start of the agreement in 1994 and totally eliminated by 2008.
So, what did NAFTA accomplished?
It's not easy pinpointing the exact effects that NAFTA's had because there are many factors in how economies function. But since the agreement, U.S. trade amongst Mexico and Canada has tripled. The U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico has increased significantly.
But according to this congressional report, NAFTA actually hasn't had that large an effect on the U.S. economy. NAFTA only increased the U.S. GDP by a few hundreds of a percent because relative to the size of the total economy, trade with Mexico and Canada isn't that big.
So, the biggest question of all, how has it affected American jobs?
Economists agree there's no simple answer. It's impossible to completely separate the effects NAFTA's had on the economy from other external forces, like recessions, currency evaluations, technological automation and overall increases in globalization. Many U.S. manufacturing jobs have moved overseas to countries that America doesn't even have free trade agreements with, like China.
Overall, domestic manufacturing has taken a spill. Trade has increased and goods are cheaper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:
Polyacrylonitrile is a synthetic resin commonly used to make what?
Carbon fiber, amber, turpentine, or dragon's blood?
All of these materials come from natural resins except for carbon fiber, a synthetic resin commonly made from polyacrylonitrile.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: Unlike hurricanes, blizzards or heat waves, there's no way to predict earthquakes. They just suddenly happen. Once one occurs, there are early warning systems that could give people miles away a few seconds notice, but could a carbon fiber material be used to better protect the buildings they're in?
Here's some research from Japan where earthquakes are common.
REPORTER: This is the Zenkoji Temple in the city of Nagano. It's one of the oldest and most important in all of Japan and it's under the constant threat of earthquakes. And this is the story of how a monk, an architect and mystery material could help save it.
Here's our monk, Souryou Wakaomi, and he can get the story started.
SOURYOU WAKAOMI, MONK (translated): There is a history of about 1,400 years of Zenjoki. Every year, our temple welcomes around 6 million visitors. Several big earthquakes have occurred in this area.
REPORTER: The worry is that one of the 1,500 earthquakes that hit Japan each year could destroy all that history in an instant.
And that's where this comes in, a carbon fiber rod that was made by Komatsu Seiren, a material research company.
Here's Shizuka Haga holding 15 meters of it.
SHIZUKA HAGA, DESIGNER, KOMATSU SEIREN: It weighs only 1.4 kilograms.
REPORTER: The rod is made up of this thin carbon fiber strands, the strands that twisted into six type bundles and wrapped in a special thermo plastic resin, that's the white stuff.
This braiding technique is actually borrowed directly from an ancient method of braiding used in making a kimono.
HAGA: We made this rod and then we were like, OK, I don't know what to do with this material. So, we had this connection with the Kuma Kengo.
REPORTER: Enter our architect.
KENGO KUMA, ARCHITECT: I'm Kengo Kuma. The architect that's based in Tokyo.
REPORTER: Kengo is designing is the 2020 Olympic Stadium and he was actually just in an earthquake.
KUMA: I was watching TV at 2:00 in the morning, and suddenly, an earthquake came to Tokyo.
REPORTER: OK, Kengo, you've got this new carbon fiber rod. What was your first thought?
KUMA: My first thought is, it look weak.
REPORTER: But he tested it, and soon realized it was just the thing he was looking for. Kengo's idea was to retrofit a building using the rods, making it, he hoped, earthquake-proof. He attached the rods to the outside of a building, he put them on the inside, too. He stuck them next to the windows, through the stairwells. He strung them from the roof to the ground.
Altogether, he fitted nearly 4,000 rods to grip the building to the ground. The idea being, if an earthquake causes the building to shift from left to right, the rod stretch and pull it back in the opposite direction, preventing the building from shaking itself to smithereens.
KUMA: Flexibility and softness is a real strongness.
REPORTER: This was the first real world application and the building has not been through a major earthquake yet, but the promise of the solution proved too powerful for Souryou, our monk, to ignore.
Back in Nagano, the monks have started retrofitting an ancient storage house called the kyoso (ph), the building right next door to the main temple. Eventually, all the temple buildings will have the rods installed on the inside, so you won't actually see them. But they're hopefully be able to keep the temple safe from an earthquake.
FRED ESPENAK, NASA SCIENTIST, ECLIPSE CHASER: In a manner of seconds, you go from bright daylight to twilight. And all you see is this inky black disc of the moon.
SUBTITLE: Eclipse chasers travel the world to see these rare astronomical events.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eclipse chasing has really delivered some of the most spectacular adventure I could have ever imagined.
SUBTITLE: The moment is hard to describe.
DR. KATE RUSSO, AUTHOR, ECLIPSE CHASER: You just can't convey how stunningly beautiful. It was spectacular, awe-inspiring, life-changing, transformative.
BILL KRAMER, ECLIPSE CHASER: The best description for it is a kind of felt like I went into a hyper drive.
SUBTITLE: Chasers say solar eclipses are also very addictive.
GLENN SCHNEIDER, ASTRONOMER, ECLIPSE CHASER: There's something going on that turns this into an obsession. I've been in the path of totality now 33 times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been to 27 total eclipses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've seen 16 of these things and I'm still not done looking at it.
AZUZ: No matter how much people prepare, though, Monday's weather could make or break their view. Like all forecasts, the current outlook could change, but at this point, it looks pretty good for the Pacific Northwest. It's iffy for the Midwest and it could be cloudy or stormy in the Southeast.
We'll have your ticket to CNN's live stream of the eclipse at CNN10.com. So, wherever our cameras can capture the eclipse, you'll be able to watch from our home page.
If you're a suspension bridge enthusiast and who isn't, you'll love this. It's the longest pedestrian suspension bridge on earth. It's located in Switzerland. It stretches more than 1,600 feet from end to end, and its highest point from the ground is 279 feet.
So, why is it here? It connects two Swiss mountain towns and gives hikers incredible views of the Alps. They can only cross at single file though. The bridge is just two feet wide.
It takes about 10 minutes to cross and if that brings you to the heights of fear and you don't want to take it step by step, you can just watch our show instead. We cross the world to bring you news, only the puns keep you in suspense, unless you find them pedestrian, in which case I'll just take a hike y'all.
I'm Carl Azuz for CNN 10.
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