CNN Student News with transcript February 24, 2014: Ukrainian President Ousted; Final Medal Count for Sochi as the Olympic Games Close; Controversial Cases on Gun Rights and Limits of President`s Power for the Supreme Court; Medals of Honor Awarded to War Veterans after Many Decades; Raising of Federal Minimum Wage
CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for starting the last week of February with CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz with ten minutes of commercial free headlines for the classroom.
There`s a big question hovering over Ukraine right now. Who is in charge of the country? It doesn`t look like it`s President Viktor Yanukovych. Over the weekend, Ukraine`s parliament voted to throw him out, appointed parliament Speaker Olexander Turchinov to take on presidential duties and scheduled new elections for late May.
Yanukovych left the capital of Kiev saying he was forced out by “vandalism, crime and a coup.” But he also said he was still Ukraine`s legitimate leader and didn`t plan to resign. This all happened during protests in the capital. Some Ukrainians like the president want ties with Russia, some want closer ties with the European Union. People are mourning the dozens, who`ve died in recent clashes between the two sides. We don`t know where the president is. We don`t know what will happen next in Ukraine.
Our second story today, closing ceremonies from Sochi, Russia is the 22 Olympic Winter Games officially wrapped up last night. Spectacular fireworks and large scale choreography ringed the occasion. The Paralympics start early next month. As far as the final Olympic medal count goes, Russia got the most gold medals and the most medals overall. The first time the host country has done that since 1952. Russia has 33 medals, the U.S. took home 28 medals overall, and in order with 26, 25 and 24 medals Norway, Canada and the Netherlands.
But as the athletes headed home the nations all over the worlds, medals and the Olympic experience weren`t the only things they took with them. Gus Kenworthy, a U.S. Olympic silver medalist in freestyle skiing, took home some dogs, five of them, there were thousands of strays living around Sochi in the lead up to the games. Kenworthy loves dogs. When a friend showed him a photo of four puppies and their mother who needed home, he decided to adopt them taking home a dog family to his human family in the states.
The top judicial branch of the U.S. government is about to hear a case involving the executive and legislative branches. If Congress doesn`t pass a law on a particular issue, how much authority does the White House have? That`s one questions before the Supreme Court, the other involves gun rights.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There`s no shortage of controversy before the court. On Monday, the justices could decide to take cases that could significantly expand gun rights. The National Rifle Association is challenging a Texas concealed carry law that bans anyone under 21 from carrying guns in public. The NRA argues that Second Amendment right of self-defense extends to responsible 18 to 20 year olds, as well. And the NRA is appealing a federal ban on selling handguns to minors saying that also violates Second Amendment rights.
JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGE WASHIGNTON UNIV.: After the Supreme Court recognized the individual right to have guns, the question became what type of limitations should be put on that right?
JONES: Also, on Monday the court hears the case that could test the limits of President Obama`s push to use his executive power when Congress won`t act. This time on climate change. At issue, whether the EPA went too far. When without congressional approval it limited carbon emissions from power plants, factories and other sources of greenhouse gases beyond cars and trucks.
TURLEY: On the constitutional side, this is a classic conflict between Congress and the White House. Congress has refused to give the president what he wants and now the EPA is going it alone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit: In the U.S., the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. This is legit! The United States government requires employers to pay workers at least $7.25 per hour. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.
AZUZ: It takes an active Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. It last went up in 2009. Two major things happen that`s done. One, minimum wage workers make more money, which can help their standard of living, two, businesses have to pay employees more, which can hurt their ability to stay in business. That`s why better pay, but fewer jobs is usually part of this debate.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is not just a good policy. It also happens to be good politics.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Obama (INAUDIBLE) initiatives raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, and now he`d been praised on Gap.inc. A company he hopes will be a trendsetter. Gap, the parent company of Banana Republic Old Navy and Athleta stores announced this week it will raise the minimum wage for 65,000 employees to $9.00 by June of this year, and $10, 00 a year later.
LUIS VASQUEZ, MCDONALD`S EMPLOYEE: They are still not paying me enough to be able to survive.
FIELD: Luis Vasquez (ph) makes $8 an hour at a McDonald`s in New York City, fast food workers and the unions that support them have publicly lobbied for a much bigger pay hike, $15.
VASQUEZ: $15 an hour would allow me to move into my own place and be able to pay my own bills.
FIELD: But in New Jersey, Dolores Riley says if her payroll cost go any higher, she could be forced to shut down her daycare business.
DOLORES RILEY, DAYCARE OWNER: I don`t know if I can make it. I really don`t think I can afford it.
FIELD: When New Jersey raised its minimum wage to $8.25 an hour in January, Riley says out of fairness, she felt she had to increase every employer`s salary. Not just the lowest earner. Riley estimates she`ll pay an additional $10,000 to $15,000 in payroll this year.
RILEY: Which is a lot of money. I mean I`m not a rich company. I`m certainly not the Gap.
FIELD: The president is calling for more companies to follow the Gap`s lead along with action from Congress.
OBAMA: I`m going to be seeking Republicans who are – to work with us.
FIELD: This week, the Congressional Budget Office released its minimum wage report, one that adds fuel to both sides of a national debate.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, POLITICAL EDITOR: To Republicans, the CBO report, well, it kind of hammers home their point, that if you raise the minimum wage, you kill a lot of jobs. Democrats in the White House, they reject that argument and they point to a different part of the report that says nearly a million people will be raised out of poverty.
FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, New York.
AZUZ: Welcome to the “Roll Call.” This Monday, we are moving across the American South, starting in Sharpsburg, Georgia. East Coweta High School is on today`s roll. Hello to the Indians. Two states West, in Mississippi, we are glad to be online in Hattiesburg, that`s home to the Oak Grove High School Warriors and two states west of them, in Allen, Texas, it`s all about the Eagles. They are watching at Allen High School.
Now, a different sort of “Roll Call.” One that names those who were in the highest military decoration a U.S. service man or woman can get. For 12 years, Congress has been investigating whether some Americans weren`t awarded the Medal of Honor because of their race or ethnicity. The review found 19 people who the government says were discriminated against. They are among the 24 veterans whose actions will be honored next month.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sergeant First Class Melvin Morris was just 19, when he became a green beret. He volunteered to go to Vietnam. In 1969, under heavy fire hit multiple times, bleeding, he rescued dead and wounded troops. The Army says he showed “determination possessed by few men” and his ability to lead “has rarely been equaled.” Today, at 72 with his wife of 51 years, Mary, the pride, the dignity and now – a wrong will be made right. Morris is one of 24 veterans who decades late will receive the nation`s highest military distinction, the Medal of Honor. It is a roll call of bravery and heroism above and beyond the call of duty for men who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Only Morris and two other Vietnam veterans are still living.
In 2002, Congress ordered a review of Jewish and Hispanic veterans` war records. To find out who may have suffered discrimination and not been awarded the honors they deserved. Potential African American discrimination was also found. All are now being recognized.
COL. HARVEY BARNUM (RET.) U.S. MARINES: I`d heard rumors to the fact that there were certain people who – people thought should have received the Medal of Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Retired Marine and Vietnam vet Harvey Barnum received his Medal of Honor in 1967. His unit also under intense fire, with complete disregard for his safety, he moved to save others. Now, he has just one message for the Vietnam survivors.
BARNUM: I look forward to put my arms around them and call them brother and say welcome home.
AZUZ: Putting arms around someone and welcoming them home. Ties in nicely to our last story today. Three-year old Bridget Karr (ph) had no idea what was in the large box during her birthday party. But this president unwrapped itself. Her dad, her dad who`d been deployed in Afghanistan for four months. When he found out he`d be coming home a couple of weeks early, on the day of her party, he presented her with himself. He posted this on YouTube, so other family members could see it, but it went viral as an excellent example of thinking inside the box.
That`ll box out today`s edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`re back tomorrow. That should come as no surprise. We hope you`ll gift to see us then.
CNN Student News February 25, 2014: Plans for Cutting U.S. Military; Virtual School Day instead of Snow Day in New Jersey School; Young Generation of Designers on Milan Fashion Week; Metrodome Taken Down; After 66 Rounds Administrators out of Words for Spelling Bee Contestants
CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: CNN STUDENT NEWS is back in session. I`m Carl Azuz, hope your Tuesday is going well so far. First up, with U.S. combat troops out of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan winding down, the U.S. government wants to shrink its military. This could affect some of you who are planning to go into the U.S. Armed Forces. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says there are difficult decisions ahead, as the plan is to reduce the military to the size it was before World War II.
The government wants to cut costs and take advantage of modern military technology, but Congress has to approve the reduced budget, and some lawmakers may not be on board.
KARIN CAIFA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Since 9/11 the U.S. military has bulked up its resources, enabling it to wage wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and a global war on terror. Now, in a carefully crafted plan announced Monday at the Pentagon, the military says it will scale back to force levels not seen since before World War II.
CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We must now adopt, innovate and make difficult decisions to ensure that our military remains ready and capable.
CAIFA: The details: the Army will reduce its forces from a high of 570,000 to around 450,000 troops. The Marine Corps will cut its forces by 8,000. Or about four percent. And the elimination of the A-10 “Warthog” attack jet, which would save $3.5 billion over five years.
HAGEL: Our recommendations favor a smaller and more capable force. Putting a premium on rapidly deployable self-sustained platforms that can defeat more technologically advanced adversaries.
CAIFA: The cuts not only reflect a changing political climate, but also an evolution in how the military engages its enemies. Case in point, cyber warfare and special operations will not be impacted.
MAJ. GEN. JAMES “SPIDER” MARKS (RET.) CNN MILITARY ANALYST: If you`re going to conduct counter terrorism operations, it relies more heavily on great intelligence and great technology.
CAIFA: Critics argue fewer resources will leave the U.S. more vulnerable to attacks at home and abroad. Hagel recognized these cuts do not come without uncertainty.
HAGEL: Our future force will assume additional risk in certain areas.
CAIFA: The Pentagon will present its plan to Congress next week. In Washington, I`m Karin Caifa.
AZUZ: We don`t get many snow days here in the South, we don`t get much snow. I remember Saturday school once to make up for a winter storm we did get. But after a particularly brutal snow stormy winter, this is an issue that a lot of schools from the Midwest to the East Coast are dealing with. How do you fulfill a typical 180 day school year with so many days off from school? Here`s our colleague from cnn.com Jamie Gumbrecht.
JAMIE GUMBRECHT, PRODUCER, CNN DIGITAL: Well, hey, Carl. Many schools around the country are dealing with snow days in the double digits, and as much as you love them, your teachers hate them. Instead of adding days to the end of the school year or cutting spring break, some schools are trying something new: virtual school days. About 2,000 students from Pascack Valley regional high school district in New Jersey, tried this month after snow days piled on. By 8 a.m., students were required to crack up in their school provided laptops, so they could participate in English class discussions, finish up their algebra problems or ask teachers questions. Don`t think it was just a little extra homework. Although students took breaks to shovel snow or make lunch, most said it took them until 3 p.m. to finish up all their assignments and yes, this counted toward their grades. No word yet on whether the New Jersey Department of Education will count Pascack Valley Regional`s virtual day as a full day of school, but don`t think you are off the hook, if you don`t have a computer provided by the school. With so many snow days, teachers around the country said they are looking for ways to keep students on track while they are stuck at home. Some are asking students who have Internet access to check class Web sites and complete their assignments, even if you think you should be sleeping in and drinking hot chocolate. Thanks, Carl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I hosted the Summer Olympics back in 2008. I`m the second largest city in the world`s most populated country. I was named China`s capital in 1949. I`m Beijing! Home to 15.5 million people and lots of smog.
AZUZ: Partially surrounded by mountains, home to heavy industrial factories, rife with heavy traffic: this is what Beijing looks like under a smog alert. It`s a code orange, the second highest level of smog pollution, according to a new measuring system. Beijing has never hit code orange before. Some factories have closed. People use air filters in their homes and wear face masks when they are out and about. Thankfully, a cold front is in the forecast later this week, and the wind is expected to blow away some pollution.
China`s government says fireworks are partly to blame for this: the Lunar New Year, a major holiday in China was celebrated this month. Smog from fireworks is apparently still hanging around.
If car shows allow manufacturers to show off their latest vehicles and their coolest concepts, fashion week is the same thing for clothing designers. There are major fashion week events throughout the year in New York, London, Milan and Paris. The one in Milan, Italy just wrapped up. And while you can expect big showings from Armani, Gucci, Prada, what about smaller houses?
MYLEENE KLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Think of Milan and you think of fashion. And some of couture`s most powerful global brands.
As world top design, technology is taking center stage. Sunday, (INAUDIBLE) drones promote that autumn winter collection on the catwalk. This, biannual fashion extravaganza boasts more than 150 shows. The Italian masters still rule with insiders agreeing that (INAUDIBLE) coming designers have struggled to earn a place alongside them.
ANNA WINTOUR: For several years, we`ve all felt that it`s been very much dominated by the big houses. So, when somebody relatively new comes along, it`s just a pleasure to see a new face, a new concept, new esthetic in Milan.
KLASS: Fausto Puglisi is one of those new faces. Hailed as the next Gianni Versace, he presented his first collection at fashion week last October. Now his focus is all on this week`s show.
FAUSTO PUGLISI: Much more nervous than the first. How do you guys, you know, you have expectation from people, and then all the time you have to do more, and better, and better.
KLASS: Nurturing emerging talent is crucial towards a huge business. Italian National Chamber of Fashion estimates that the industry will be worth nearly $90 billion this year.
JANE REEVE, CEO CAMERA DELLA MODA: They young people are the future of any business. I believe in that the young people are going to make the difference. That we need to nurture them. I say we can do lots of mentoring to help them – to get help them way through the various problems that can be not only being creators (ph), but running businesses.
KLASS: Milan has always (INAUDIBLE) with Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, but new ideas, technology and the next generation, as we`ve seen here at Milan Fashion week, are certainly shaking up the industry. (END VIDEOTAPE)
AZUZ: Some call them coyotes, some call them coyotes, we are calling them on today`s roll. In San Tan Valley, Arizona, shoutout to the students of Combs High School. Up north now, the Highline Hawks of Chester-Joplin- Inverness High School are watching. We find them in Chester, Montana. And in Greenville, South Carolina, glad to see the patriots – the students of J-L Mann High School. Thanks for watching, yo.
I was once home to the Minnesota Vikings, once home to the Minnesota Twins, once named the worst stadium in the U.S. It stands no more. Well, most of it, anyway. The Metrodome was partially brought down on Sunday by 84 charges of dynamite. This isn`t the first collapse at the stadium. Heavy snow and high wind brought its Teflon roof down in 2010. This time, though, it won`t be repaired. A new stadium is being built nearby for the Vikings. In the meantime, the NFL team is playing at the University of Minnesota.
A spelling bee that never ends. Fifth graders Sophia Hoffman and seventh grader Kush Sharma are great spellers. After they went 66 rounds in their county spelling bee, administrators ran out of words. It was a T, I, E. And I don`t think the words were too easy. Scherzo, Fantocchini, Intaglio, Schadenfreude, they got all of those right. They`ll compete again next month, the winter represents Jackson County Missouri at the Scripts National Spelling Bee. Will their skills spell out success? They`ll decide whether they`ll get to bee or not to bee there, at least you know what the buzz is all about. CNN STUDENT NEWS will be back after a spell. We`ll see you W, E, D, N, E, S, D, A, Y. Because you`re going to love it. I`m Carl Azuz.
CNN Student News February 26, 2014: Venezuela Divided; Banning Unhealthy Food and Drink Adds from Schools; Google Glass Banned in Several States; Lake Superior in Cave Frozen; Dome Built for School in Beijing to Protect Kids from Polluted Air
CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: This is the CNN STUDENT NEWS. Welcome to Wednesday show. I`m Carl Azuz, reporting from Atlanta. Venezuela is one of three divided countries we`ve told you about recently. It`s seeing protests against its president, rallies in support of him and violence in the upheaval. Its current leader like its previous one has been controversial. He`s moved the country further towards socialism, expending the government`s control over things like businesses, the economy, the media. In fact, the government`s been pressuring Venezuelan media to downplay the violence in the country. But word of instability is getting out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More wreckage to fortify opposition lines. Caracas`s wealthier east side was blockaded Monday. Antigovernment activists responding to the twitter #day of the barricades.
“I don`t want to wait in food lines. I don`t want to be kidnapped. I`m a hostage in my own home,” she says.
Scores of picket lines sprang up. The opposition seems to be beefing up its bid to topple Venezuela`s socialist government. Outrage at soaring crime and a tanking economy triggered the protests. But across on the city`s poor west side, there are few signs government loyalists are deserting on mass. Pro-regime motorcycle clubs, just the latest call group to show public support for President Nicolas Maduro. The president insists the opposition is trying to stage a U.S. -funded coup attempt.
“The right wing extremists are being marginalized in Venezuela, and it`s us, the revolutionaries who were getting support from other countries, the president said. No rule opposition protesters agree on the changing tactics, especially since the barricades are in the opposition`s own neighborhoods.
“The pro-government loyalists are armed, and we aren`t,” so we are shielding behind barricades and wait for them to arrive, he says. As the day wore on, there was no word of serious clashes, but the battle lines have been drawn.
AZUZ: It`s Worldwide Wednesday on CNN STUDENT NEWS, and we`re going to stay in South America for the first part of today`s roll call. In the nation of Ecuador, we are glad to be part of your day at Academia Cotopaxi. This school is in Ecuadorian capital of Quito. Moving north now to Canada, thank you for watching at Philemon Wright High School. It`s located in Gatineau, Quebec. And across the Atlantic Ocean, the Italy – hello to the students and teachers of ITCS Leon Battista Alberti. Glad to see you in Veneto.
For the first time, the U.S. government is getting involved in how food is marketed in public schools. The Obama administration wants schools to eliminate ads for foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt. Critics say it shouldn`t be up to the government to decide what kids eat, and some school districts think the latest rules might mean lost revenue from ads.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Our classrooms should be healthy places where kids are not bombarded with ads for junk food.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New rules proposed by First Lady Michelle Obama and the U.S. Department of Agriculture would eliminate advertisements for unhealthy food and drinks in schools.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Parents should be in control of their kids` health. And their good efforts at home shouldn`t be undermined when they send their kids off to school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would mean hallways and score boards with coke or Pepsi advertisements would have to be changed. The new push comes on the fourth anniversary of the first lady`s let`s move initiative. It`s fighting childhood obesity by promoting healthy eating and exercise while encouraging healthy choices.
MICHELLE OBAMA: And water just surpassed soda as the most commonly consumed beverage in America. Yeah! Go on! Drink up!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says the program is showing results.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Children born today will be accustomed to eating healthy food during the school day. So for them the norm will be fruits and vegetables and not chips and candy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says, for schools healthy students are not the only benefit.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Although they are not changing – charging any more for their lunches, they are actually making more money because more kids are participating in the school lunch programs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The American Beverage Association, which represents brands like Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper, came out in favor of the new proposed measures. I`m Alisa Reiny (ph) reporting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for “The Shoutout.” Which of these adjectives relates to the sense of sight? If you think you know it, shout it out. Is it: ocular, obstruent, gustatory or haptic? You`ve got three seconds, go!
The adjective “ocular” has to do with eyes or eyesight, so that`s your answer and that`s your “Shoutout.”
AZUZ: A piece of ocular technology has Internet giant Google getting more involved in politics. We`ve talked about Google glass before. It`s eyewear with the small camera and TV screen. The camera lets you take pictures of whatever you see. The screen lets you read email, see texts and get directions and other info.
Lawmakers in several states are considering banning Google Glass for drivers. They are concerned the eyewear will create another distraction, and that people will pay more attention to what`s on Google Glass than what`s on the road. Google says laws against its product aren`t necessary. It`s lobbying politicians in several states to keep Google Glass legal. The company argues that Glass isn`t widely available enough to justify a ban. But an Illinois state senator who wants a ban says the wearable technology will be widely available in the future. Another lawmaker in Maryland says if someone`s pulled over with Google Glass, it will be difficult for police to prove whether the device was operating. The solution, he said, ban it altogether.
Our next story today is about Braille. It`s a universal system of writing for and by blind people. And users raised dots that are read when fingers are passed over them. Braille printers can run thousands of dollars, but not this one – it cost a seventh grader in California 350 bucks for the Lego Minestorms kit. Plus, the few extra dollars for some materials from the Home Depot. Shubham Banerjee hopes his invention will help people in poor countries who may not be able to afford a commercial Braille printer. His invention isn`t perfect. It`s slow and it needs improvements to print out full pages of text. Banerjee is working on those. And he`s putting a complete how to on the Internet. So anyone could build one of their one at a relatively low cost.
Yesterday we told you about incredibly high pollution in the Chinese capital and showed you some seriously foggy pictures. That show is available on our archive section at cnnstudentnews.com.
Until the cold front comes this week, the air is unsafe for anyone to spend time outside, even for recess. So, what`s a school to do?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Recess at the International School of Beijing. So where are all the students? All 1900 of them banned from going outside, because the air is so bad.
So bad so often, the school built an enormous dome to scrub out the pollution.
The dome cost $5 million to build and took nine months. It has a soft Teflon coated roof and the entire thing is pressurized. Also, that these children can play in Beijing.
Housing a soccer field and basketball courts, it`s their strange reality of growing up in China.
Tiny pollution particles threaten health the most. So they seal the air inside and clean it with three giant filters. Monitoring air quality levels twice a day at 25 spots around the school. In the past ten days alone, the pollution levels outside have been up to 12 times the World Health Organization acceptable rates.
On Lake Superior South Shore there are sea caves that people can typically explore by kayak or canoe. Or you can just stroll right in. One upside to a brutally cold winter, the ice on the lake is thick enough to walk to, then walk inside the caves. Water sipping through the ground was crystallized by the cold. The movie “Frozen” comes to life. More than 75,000 people have gotten these views on foot over the past month. We are guessing those who hesitated finally caved. After subfreezing temperatures, they needed to see what was a foot, what iceactly what this was all about (ph). They certainly got a superior view after all. What`s not to lake about it? Sad, isn`t it? We`ll see you tomorrow when CNN STUDENT NEWS returns.
CNN Student News February 27, 2014: Obama`s Plan for Full Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan; Tourists in Favelas for the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro; Welcoming Airman Teacher Home; River of Clouds over Atlanta; Rescue Dolphin Turned Artist
CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Happy to have you watching CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz. We`ve got a lot of ground to cover today, starting in Afghanistan. The U.S. has more than 33,000 troops there, supporting the military mission that began in 2001. Many of those troops will be coming home this year. The question is, will some stay to train Afghan troops and help them fight terrorists? The U.S. wants Afghan president Hamid Karzai to sign an agreement about this. Because he hasn`t, President Obama is threatening to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of December.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why this is happening? It`s because the U.S. says it`s really running out of patience with Karzai. He`s indicated he won`t sign that security agreement that would be the legal framework for troops to stay there after the end of 2014. With no agreement, U.S. troops would have to go. They can`t get him to sign, so President Obama publicly now saying plan for a full troop withdrawal.
AZUZ: A government official from Pakistan says that would be a mistake. He says, without some U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the country would have a civil war.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for “The Shoutout.” What`s the only South American country whose official language is Portuguese? If you think you know it, shout it out!
Is it Argentina, Portugal, Brazil or Guyana? There are several world nations whose official language is Portuguese. But the only one in South America is Brazil. That`s your answer and that`s your “Shoutout.”
AZUZ: Favela is a Portuguese word dating back to the 1940s. It translates to shantytown, or slum. An event coming soon to Brazil could bring a lot of money to some of Rio de Janeiro favelas. The FIFA World Cup, the biggest and most watched sporting event on the planet takes off on June 12. It will play out in Brazil over a month, and as the supply goes down for places where can stay, demand goes up as do prices and opportunities.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of the best views in Rio from some of the cheapest rooms in town. World Cup fans, take note: Rio de Janeiro`s one infamous shantytowns or favelas have opened their doors to tourists. Dutch backpacker Michael Blommers says it`s the only way to go.
MICHAEL BLOMMERS, BACKPACKER: If they want to see the World Cup, want to see some football matches and – experience a true Brazilian life, they should really come to a favela and just check this out.
DARLINGTON: As the hostels along the beach, which usually go for around $40 will cost as much as $400 a night. Many hotels will charge over $1,000. But a bunk here at Alto Vigigal (ph) will cost just $65. Four times the normal price, but still, a bargain.
(on camera): Cheapest price around, actually.
(voice over): Still, in many ways, visitors really do have to slum it. Garbage piles up along the roads, electricity, water and sewage services are spotty at best. And transportation precarious. And then, there is security. Just a few years ago, Rio`s favelas were controlled by drug lords. Police have since stormed many of them, so called pacification. Driving out armed gangs in an effort to make it relatively safe for residents and visitors.
With all these tourists coming up here now, people have opened up shops in their own homes. This guy right down here is selling handy crafts and then right up here, there is a new tapioca sandwich shop, which I have to say, sounds pretty good to me. Let`s go try it.
“People are opening up little hotels, because demand keeps growing,” he says. Indeed, upstairs his cousin has built a one bedroom that she`s going to rent for $500 during the World Cup. In other favelas the pacification efforts have had mixed success. In Hosigna (ph), Maria Clara Du Santos, says she could hear the recent shootouts from her terrace.
She rents rooms in her bright yellow house to foreign tourists. And she says safety depends on knowing where and where not to go.
That hasn`t stopped visitors in search of a more authentic experience and, of course, the great views.
Shasta Darlington, CNN, Rio de Janeiro.
AZUZ: At the beginning of black history month, we explored some inspiring words from African American historic figures. As February wraps up, we are reporting on some of those who were making a difference today. We`ll start with a pair of politically minded people. First, meet Chelsea Henry. She`s been named a rising start by the Republican National Committee. Last year, she spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference and two years ago, she was the youngest Republican delegate to the party`s national convention.
Next, meet Atima Omara. She`s the first African American to lead the young Democrats for America. And in 2013, she was named one of “Ebony” magazines Power 100. It honors some of the world`s emerging leaders.
Here`s Kimberly Bryan. She started a program called “Black Girls Code,” which we`ve covered before on our show. Bryan`s program teaches computer coding to young people. She says her students are able to take what they learn from their classes and use it to advance in other areas of their lives.
It takes a great deal of character to leave the people you love to serve the country you love. And while we love to show military homecomings usually involving U.S. service men and women surprising their kids, today`s character study is about how students celebrated an airman and a teacher at Linda Jobe Middle School in Mansfield, Texas.
ELIZABETH HOSTIN, JOBE MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Each of you are a participant today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call it a well-executed mission at Linda Jobe Middle School. With students assembled, his wife waiting in the shadows, Air Force tech sergeant Troy Harvey walked in to one surprising pep rally. His own.
Student council members planned the whole thing. To let their beloved teacher and coach know how much he was missed during his four months in Afghanistan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) as we celebrate that his return, please stand and put your hearts up for Harvey.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a message that Air Force veteran clearly received, time and time again.
TROY HARVEY, AIR FORCE TECHNICAL SERGEANT: They go to the trouble they did to set this up, and to express their things and love. It`s just amazing.
HOSTIN: I`m physically relaxing, probably for the first time in about four months.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Principal Elizabeth Hostin says her football, basketball and leadership coach has a calming presence that permeates the school.
HOSTIN: Having him here just gives all of us a sense of piece and comfort.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, having him back in their hallways?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s just like a ball of joy, like. He brings happiness wherever he comes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Students say now that is the perfect reason to cheer.
AZUZ: Let`s see who is watching us there. It`s time for the CNN STUDENT NEWS “Roll Call.”
Pocatello High School, home of the Indians. You are on today`s roll. Glad to have you online in Pocatello, Idaho.
How about Hinesburg? It`s in Vermont. It`s where the red hogs are checking us out at Champlain Valley Union High School and in the Orange State, it`s the bull dogs day. Hi to the students of Crestview High School in Crestview, Florida.
Undulatus Asperatus, also known as River of the Sky. It`s a lot easier to say that nickname and it`s a lot cooler to look at. Check this out. These undulating waves of clouds rolled over Atlanta, Georgia the other morning. Though they are often seen in the plain states, they are not common in the American southeast. And scientists aren`t sure what causes them. They think it`s either a cold front meeting a warm front or a dry front meeting a humid one. They do agree it`s a meeting of two fronts. And whatever the right answer is, it was beautiful to those people who weren`t scared by it, and it gave us, commuters something to look out besides traffic, which sometimes moves slower than the clouds.
You can`t really call it a fish story, but it is a sight to see. This dolphin named Chance is an artist, by chance. His brush is custom-made using a pool noodle. His masterpiece is made by mouth. He is a rescue. Chance was found three years ago, stranded on an Alabama beach. He`s been recovering at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi. His rehabilitation has allowed him to brush up on some new skills. He`s a regular Leonardo Dolphinci. A Paul Cezanne. A Fincent Van Gogh. A Marine Cassatt (ph), an Edward Flipper, a Georges Seurat (ph). Teaching him to paint with a stroke of genius, we`re sure he has a massive fin club. Art critics need to get in the swim, because this mammalian Matisse isn`t taking a dive. He`s making waves, yo. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN STUDENT NEWS.
CNN Student News February 28, 2014: Situation in Crimea; Dangerous Ice Jams on U.S. Rivers; FDA Changing Food Labels to Promote Healthy Choices; Celebrities Using their Fame for Good Cause; Spiders Live on Air
CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome! Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS with your last show of February. I`m Carl Azuz. Ukraine has seen a lot of changes in a short amount of time. It`s divided. Some Ukrainians want closer ties with the European Union, some like its ousted president, want closer ties with Russia. Ukraine`s parliament voted out President Viktor Yanukovych last weekend after violent protests in the capital. He`s taking refuge in Russia. Yesterday parliament voted on a temporary government to hold things together until elections in May. But then, there is Crimea. It`s a region of southern Ukraine where many people support the ousted president and want closer ties with Russia. Protesters there stormed the government building and raised the Russian flag yesterday. And Russia has started military exercises near its border with Ukraine. A Russian official says these were previously scheduled and not related to Ukraine`s unrest.
Ice jam. It almost sounds like something you`d want to see. You don`t, if you leave anywhere near one. You know, it`s been a brutally cold winter for the northern U.S. Some rivers in the region have frozen, then melted then refrozen and crusted over with large thick chunks of crushed ice. In the Kankakee River in Illinois, ice jam stretch for miles. Some people who live nearby are leaving their homes. One reason – how ice jams can affect areas near river. Say, there is a bridge with supports in the water. Drifting chunks of ice can get caught near them, clogging up the flow of water forming a dam. Water needs somewhere to go, so it floods the river banks. And that may not be the worst thing that can happen.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Everyone were talking who lives around here, says they`ve never seen this river looking like this. During the summer, this is a very popular place to go boating. But right now, it looks like a glacier landscape in Alaska.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, the water looks to be still, so nothing is moving. And that seems like a good thing. But in fact, there is still water piling up underneath, making the pressure high. So, all of a sudden, this is going to break free, break through, and you could see big pieces of ice in the people`s homes. You could see the ice dam up and big flooding go around it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There it goes! There it goes! There it goes!
TUCHMAN: This is what it looks like, when an ice jam finally breaks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suddenly, the entire river started moving. Extremely fast, like a freight train.
TUCHMAN: This was Ohio`s Rocky River last week.
AZUZ: Do you know there is nutrition labels on the sides of food you buy at the store? They`ve been around since the early 1990s. Now, the U.S. government wants to make changes to them. This is what the old label looks like: lists servings, calories, fat, vitamins. The Food and Drug Administration wants big bold labels for total calories. And it wants to change some dietary guidelines for things like sodium and vitamins. It`s hoping this will help Americans make healthier choices, but the changes could cost the food industry $2 billion to implement. That could mean higher prices. And the listed serving sizes could be higher, too.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the best way to put this. You know, maybe this would have been four servings in the past, and they say, look, what does a typical person really eat? Let`s give them that information. Maybe this is more like two servings now. And they`ll say that. So you`ll see the nutrition information for two servings.
Oh if you`re going to eat something likely in one single sitting. I don`t know – could you eat this in a single sitting?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
GUPTA: Then it`s just one, right?
GUPTA: They say. But they are going to say, look, OK, we know that this is typically considered four servings, but we know it`s likely people eat this in a single servings. So, let`s put that information on there as well. Or soda.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, that will be more prominent. So it will say something like ten chips equal this amount of calories and has this much fat.
GUPTA: It will say that sort of stuff, but it`ll also say if you eat this whole bag, here`s what you`re going to get. So, you don`t sit there and do the math. It makes you think a little bit more – maybe if you – you know, keep eating.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for “The Shoutout.” Where would you find the Brumidi Corridors, the Hall of Columns and the Crypt? If you think you know it, shout it out!
Is it the U.S. Capitol, the Vatican, St. Basil`s Cathedral or St. Louis Cathedral? You`ve got three seconds, go!
All three of these are features of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
AZUZ: There were also a couple movie stars on Capitol Hill yesterday. They were talking about some different issues that otherwise might not have been in the spotlight. They were raising awareness. But how much influence do celebrities have when they talk about issues that lawmakers already know about? How much the star power influenced you? How much does it influence Congress?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When celebrities come to Washington, the media and the politicians take notice. But does the spectacle of the star outshine or shed light on the cause they`ve come to promote.
EMILY HEIL, THE WASHINGTON POST: Often hearings in Congress are not about members of Congress learning something that they don`t already know. It`s performance art. If they wanted to really learn about issues they could get it from a briefing book.
TAPPER: On Wednesday, Oscar winner Ben Affleck arrived in Washington D.C. to speak about the crisis in the Congo.
BEN AFFLECK: Finally, it`s just a pleasure to be back here in the State Department after – the real State Department so I had to fake it for “Argo”.
AFFLECK: I get to see the real thing.
TAPPER: “The Argo” director has brought his cause to the table time and time again.
AFFLECK: My name is Ben Affleck. Just found on Congolese soil.
I`m working with and for the people of eastern Congo.
TAPPER: Just a few marble pillars away, Actor Seth Rogen testified about the effects of Alzheimer, which his mother-in-law suffers from.
Now, sure, these appearances bring some bonus. But ultimately, does anyone remember why Stephen Colbert testified before Congress? Or Bob Barker? Or Elton John? Or do they just remember that they did? With the cause lost in the flash of camera lights.
TAPPER: Truth is that it`s up to the celebrities` commitment to the cause and the journalists covering them.
Congo and Alzheimer`s likely wouldn`t be in the news today without Affleck and Rogen. Telling some stories without obvious news events is tough to do. Water shortages in developing nations got our attention last year, in part because of Matt Damon`s involvement.
(on camera): You attaching yourself to this means I will be sitting here, interviewing you, talking about an issue I probably wouldn`t. And people at home, viewers will be paying attention to an issue that they wouldn`t otherwise pay attention to.
MATT DAMON: Yeah, that`s the hope. I mean.
TAPPER (voice over): Affleck`s close friend co-funded Water.org. And their pal George Clooney is a longtime advocate for peace in Sudan, even getting arrested outside the embassy in 2012.
DAMON: I think we all individually fell that if – if cameras were going to follow us around, why not – why not make something good out of that?
HEIL: Celebrities bring attention to an issue, and especially if that issue is not the sexiest issue. If you get Ben Affleck involved, all of a sudden, it`s a little more interesting.
TAPPER: That`s something most politicians have known for a while. Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.
AZUZ: Not going to let a Friday go by without a quick CNN STUDENT NEWS “Roll Call.” Who`s on today`s roll? The Spartans are. La Canada High School in La Canada, California. Hope, you are doing well on the West Coast. Up north in the Badger State, how about the Warriors? Lac du Flambeau Public School in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin? Glad you`re watching. And we must mention the Mustangs. Thank you for checking out CNN STUDENT NEWS at Moore Traditional High School. Happy to see you, guys, in Louisville, Kentucky.
There are a lot of things that can distract news anchors when we are live on the air. Fortunately, we are a pre-recorded show, so we can just edit that out. Probably, won`t. But when the distraction takes on a mind and eight legs of its own, eeish.
AARON PERLMAN: Scare anybody?
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Bakersfield, California, it was sunny with a 100 percent chance of arachnids. PERLMAN: Oh, my gosh. Do you guys see that?
Sorry, there was a spider that fell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh.
MOOS: Yet another weather man .
PERLMAN: Creeped out right now.
MOOS: KBAK`s Aaron Perlman has been attacked by a spider while on the air. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take it easy, Pearlman, take it easy.
PERLMAN: I hate spiders, man, just especially when you`re bald, you feel them crawl on your head.
MOOS: But suddenly, the spider became itsy-bitsy and Aaron joined the ranks of weather people ambushed by arachnids.
KRISTI GORDON: Oh, my gosh. That was creepy. Oh, of course it had to be right on my head. Oh, I just don`t like that. OK, I`m going to move it.
MOOS: The spider wasn`t even in the studio last year when Global BC`s Kristi Gordon freaked out. It was just hanging out on the lens of a camera stationed outdoors. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
AZUZ: That audacious arachnid knew he had a victim when he`s spider. It was no cephalothorax accident when it comes to getting a leg up on prey, spiders are always up to something. You know where you can always look up a spider? On a Web site. You can also find CNN STUDENT NEWS next Monday on iTunes or on the Web. We`re done with these crawl puns. Have a great weekend, yo.
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