In this CNN Student News: Two Car Bombs Explode in Turkish Town on Border with Syria; Former Guatemalan Dictator Guilty of Genocide
CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Back from the weekend. Ready to go with the new day of CNN STUDENT NEWS. Hi, everyone. I`m Carl Azuz. We`re going to be all over the map today. Our first stop is in the Middle East. We`ve reported on Syria`s civil war for a while now. There have been concerns about the violence spreading to neighboring countries like Turkey. This weekend, two car bombs exploded in the Turkish town that`s on the border with Syria. At least 46 people were killed, around 100 others were wounded. Turkish officials are blaming the attacks on Syria. A Syrian official says this country doesn`t have anything to do with it. The fighting in Syria has spilled over the boarder into Turkey before. Turkey has increased security forces in the area and it`s NATO allies have installed missile defense systems there.
Let`s head back now. Across the Atlantic, to Guatemala. On Friday, a group of judges there reached a surprising verdict in a very important case. It ruled that this man, Efrain Rios Montt was guilty of genocide, mass murder. Montt was a dictator who ruled Guatemala in part of the early 1980s. This is the first time that any country`s leader has been tried for genocide by his own judicial system.
While Montt was in power, more than 1700 native Mayans, descendants of the ancient civilization, were killed by the Guatemalan military. The country`s current president who was a military commander under Montt, denies this genocide ever happened. Legal experts expect Montt to appeal his conviction.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit?
The IRS sets tax rates in the U.S. No, not true. Congress gets taxes, it`s the IRS`s job to collect those taxes.
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AZUZ: Some groups don`t have to pay taxes. For example, organizations that aren`t in business to make a profit. In order to get tax exempt status, which is what it`s called, those groups have to fill out an application and submit to other checks from the IRS. And right now, the agency is being criticized over how it handled applications from Tea Party and other conservative groups. The Tea Party is actually more of a political movement that in recent elections has been organized in opposition to President Obama. It`s made up of a bunch of group from around the country, members generally want fewer taxes and less government spending. In fact, Tea stands for Tax Enough Already. A review of IRS practices shows that some Tea Party groups that applied for tax exempt status might have been the target of discrimination from some IRS agents. The review says this might have started in 2010 and then officials at the IRS knew about it in 2011. What happened is that some IRS agents searched for key words like Tea Party. If that showed up in the name of the group, the application was flagged for additional review.
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SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R ) MAINE: It contributes to the profound distrust that the American people have in government. It is absolutely chilling that the IRS was singling out conservative groups for extra review.
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AZUZ: The IRS director of tax exempt organizations admitted that agents used those key words, but he said it was just a shortcut, not because of a political bias. The White House says if any rules were broken, the misconduct should be addressed.
The International Space Station has been leaking. NASA`s known about this for a while, but last week, astronauts aboard the station noticed the leak had gotten bigger. The orbiter was losing five pounds of ammonia per day. This is important, because ammonia is used to cool off some of the system`s electronics. NASA said it wasn`t an urgent threat to the people aboard, but it was a big enough deal that two of the six folks up there stepped out for a space walk on Saturday. Their mission, stop the leak. After more than five hours, it appeared that they had by replacing a pump mechanism, but it could be weeks or even months before we know for sure if that fixed the problem. NASA`s hoping to use the station until at least the year 2020.
You probably don`t spend too much time thinking about your morning orange juice, it`s a product of Florida`s massive citrus industry. An industry that`s now under attack. John Zarrella explains how the battle could affect a lot more than just your breakfast beverage.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The last Florida oranges of a season are being picked. On some trees, blossom that will become next season`s fruit already are opening. The sweet smell permeates the grove. But the aroma masks a deadly problem.
DAN RICHEY, RIVERFRONT PACKING COMPANY: We cannot take this lightly. It is the most serious disease we`ve had to face in the last 50 or 100 years.
ZARRELLA: It`s called citrus greening. It has the potential, agricultural officials say, to bring the state`s $9 billion a year industry to its knees. At industry that supplies 70 percent of the nation`s orange juice.
ADAM PUTNAM, FLORIDA COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE: It has now reached an infection rate where it is present in every citrus producing country in Florida and every citrus producing state in America.
ZARRELLA: And this tiny bug, the size of a net, called an Asian citrus psyllid is the culprit. As it feeds on the leaves of citrus trees, it deposits a bacteria, now harmful for humans that causes misshapen fruit and can kill a tree in three years. There is no cure.
At one time, Florida produced 300 million boxes of oranges a year. Not anymore. The disease was first discovered here, in 2005. Since 2006, nearly 8,000 jobs have been lost.
Nearly every year, the production of oranges is falling, 140 million boxes this year. Now, growers say that`s not just because the citrus greening, but it`s the primary reason, and agriculture officials say, there is a tipping point, if the number of boxes falls below 100 million, than the industry begins to become irrelevant.
RICHEY: There`s a trickle balance. Everything from the guys who produce the cartons that you put the juice in, to the harvester that picks the fruit.
ZARELLA: At the U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Fort Pierce, researchers are looking into several possible solutions including a spray on antibiotic that would be absorbed by the tree and then kill the bug. Right now, this little bug is slowly squeezing the life out of a very big industry.
John Zarrella, CNN, Fort Pierce, Florida.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s “Shoutout” goes out to Mrs. Hofmann`s social studies classes at Rawlins High School in Rawlins, Wyoming.
The nation of Sierra Leone is located on what continent? Here we go. Is it part of Europe, Asia, Africa or South America? You`ve got three seconds, go.
Sierra Leone is in the western Africa, and it`s home to around five and a half million people. That`s your answer and that`s your “Shoutout.”
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AZUZ: In Sierra Leone and another places around the world, not everyone has the same access to education, especially girls. During the school year, we`ve reported on Malala Yousfazai and her fight for equal education rights in her home country of Pakistan. She is not alone. The student in our next report today is pushing for the very same thing in Sierra Leone.
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SARA: My name is Sara. I love reading and I love (inaudible) stories.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sara is a natural storyteller. But the young woman with the Tinkerbell backpack doesn`t write fairy tales.
SARA: They opened a school at the village and the girl wanted to go to the school, but her parents said only the boys are supposed to go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the story of war-torn Sierra Leone where poverty forced marriage and violence had kept many women from getting an education, women like her mother.
SARA: She can`t read and she can`t write. But I can read and I can write. So I think that makes a big difference between me and her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sara went to live with her aunt, who`s a teacher, so she could go to school.
SARA: She`s educated, and she wants me to be like her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s part of the project called “Girls Making Media”.
SARA: This is (inaudible)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sara is speaking up, because she wants a different ending for herself and other girls.
SARA: I report on the gender discrimination against girls in Sierra Leone.
If you do that through the radio, I think people deep in the village will hear something about it.
My dream is for me to become a super star of Sierra Leone.
AZUZ: And finally, one Florida family had an early visitor yesterday, their dog started barking earlier than usual because this was hanging out in their front porch. The mother that lived there thought it was some sort of elaborate Mother`s Day prank. If that`s true, worst gift ever. A local gator wrangler was called out to remove the reptile. It took a minute to measure it before he hold it off. The thing was nearly 8 feet long. The wrangler might have experience with these animals, but who knows if he`s ever dealt with something on this scale. It`s for the homeowners, if they`d want to avoid a repeat visit, they should put up a gator fence. We reached the tail end of today`s show. I hope to see you tomorrow when CNN STUDENTS NEWS returns. I`m Carl Azuz.
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