CNN Student News 26/08/2013

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CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz. Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`re starting this Monday in Syria. More than 100,000 people have been killed since the civil war started there in 2011. The United Nations aims to maintain global peace, so sometimes it gets involved in conflicts like this. This weekend, a Syrian official said the government would give U.N. inspectors access to any site of a suspected chemical weapons attack. The Syrian government and rebel forces have accused each other of using chemical weapons. CNN`s Fred Pleitgen asked a Syrian official about that.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are of course more and more videos popping up and more and more people accusing the government of using chemical weapons here on Wednesday. Did you use them?

FAISAL AL-MEKDAD, SYRIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: Absolutely not. This is a big lie. And in Syria, we have a responsible government, but at the same time we have irresponsible enemies. These are our enemies who are spreading such rumors.

AZUZ: A U.S. official says it`s nearly certain that the Syrian government is responsible for any chemical weapons use. President Obama has called the use of chemical weapons a red line, meaning a line that could lead to U.S. action. The president talked about it with CNN`s Chris Cuomo recently.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you start seeing chemical weapons used on a large scale, and again, we`re still gathering information about this particular event, but it is very troublesome.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Strong proof they used them already, though, in the past.

OBAMA: Then that starts getting to some core national interests that the United States has, both in terms of us making sure that weapons of mass destruction are not proliferating, as well as needing to protect our allies, our bases in the region.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for the shoutout. Which U.S. national park is home to Half Dome, Mount Lyell, and El Capitan? If you think you know it, then shout it out. Is it Glacier Bay, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains or Yosemite? You`ve got 3 seconds. Go.

These are some of the most well-known features of Yosemite National Park in California. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: A huge wildfire in California is torching its way into Yosemite National Park. The Rim fire doubled in size late last week. So far, it`s consumed 130,000 acres, which is larger than the city of San Jose. Firefighters have only a small percentage of it contained, partly because of wind changes and it`s hard to get into the canyons where this fire is burning.

As far as Yosemite goes, the fire so far has only reached into the northwest corner of the park. It hasn`t hit the Yosemite Valley, where Half Dome and El Capitan are located. But a state of emergency has been called for the San Francisco area, over 100 miles west of the park. Some of the city`s power stations had to be shut down because of their closeness to the fire. If the fire disrupts any others, it could start cutting the city`s electricity.The Rim fire has already destroyed a handful of homes. It is threatening thousands of others.

Our "Catching Up" segment gives us a chance to follow up on stories we previously covered. We talked about Sarah Murnaghan last spring. She needed new lungs because she suffers from cystic fibrosis. Sarah was too young to qualify for adult lungs, but the National Organ Network changed its policy temporarily, and this summer Sarah was able to have a double lung transplant. Two, actually. The first set of lungs failed.

She still has a long way to go, but Sarah is up and walking, and off supplemental oxygen for the first time in years. Also, sad news we`re catching up on. Zachary Reyna contracted a brain-eating ameba earlier this month. It`s something that very few people survive. On Saturday, Zachary lost his fight. A post on the FaceBook page supporting Reyna talked about his parent`s decision to donate his organs and said even though Zach has passed, he will still be saving many lives.

August 28, 1963 was one of the biggest moments in the U.S. civil rights movement. It was the march on Washington, and we`re going to have more on its 50th anniversary later this week.

AZUZ: This weekend, thousands of Americans reenacted that moment. One speaker at the original march on Washington, U.S. Congressman John Lewis, talked about young people carrying on the fight for equal rights.

REP. JOHN LEWIS, D-GA.: It is my desire to see another generation of young people with passion. I believe in passion.

AZUZ: Most famous speaker at the march on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His daughter, Bernice King, spoke with CNN about being the child of the civil rights leader.

BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: When the assassination occurred, I was asleep, and the next day my mother had to find a way to explain to me that your father, when you see him, he`s going to be in a casket and he won`t be able to talk with you. Wow. I mean, for a 5-year- old, wow.

Literally seven days before his assassination, was my fifth birthday. We couldn`t celebrate it that day, because my father was leading a march in Memphis, Tennessee, in fact. And he came back home, and it was the next day when we celebrated it. And you know, probably as usual, I was happy and joyous to have dad at home, but the interesting thing, the emotional rollercoaster that occurred for me, was when we were at the service here at Ebenezer, on April 9, 1968. Mother said, remember, that he won`t be able to talk with you. So right in the middle of that service, they played the speech from February 2nd, the drum major instinct, they played the portion where he talked about his funeral. And suddenly, his voice is booming forth, and I`m looking like, you know, looking for him.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.

KING: It is much more difficult, being the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., as an adult than it was as a kid.

AZUZ: Teachers, if you want to check out the full interview with Bernice King, it`s in the resources bin at

All right. CNN STUDENT NEWS roll call. A new way to get your school mentioned on our show. Teachers, there`s a video on our home page that explains how to be considered for the roll call. First up today, we`ve got the Blue Flame from Pickens High school in South Carolina. Then we`re heading over to Overland Park, Kansas. That is where you`ll find the Vikings from Shawnee Mission West High. And we go west to find north, the North Canyon High School Rattlers in Phoenix, Arizona. Thank you all for watching.

Blair Brettschneider did not grow up in the middle of a war zone. She`s never gotten a death threat, but many of the teenagers she helps have. They are refugees who came to the U.S. to escape danger in their home countries. Brettschneider`s work with them is why she is a CNN hero.

BLAIR BRETTSCHNEIDER, CNN HERO: It`s hard enough to be a teenage girl in the United States, so it`s even harder to be a refugee teenage girl.

My name is Blair Brettschneider, and I help refugee girls find their place in America.

In my free time after work, I was tutoring different kids. One girl was really struggling.

Hello. How`s it going?


BRETTSCHNEIDER: Nice to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had to do more because I`m a girl. I cook food for my family, go to laundry, take care of my brothers.

BRETTSCHNEIDER: We started going on field trips. We talked about college, and things started changing.

Are you getting excited for classes?


BRETTSCHNEIDER: One of our biggest goals together was for her to graduate from high school and be on a path to going to college. And she did. I thought that was really important, and I`m sure there`s other girls.

Girls –



There are about 50 girls in our different programs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re making great progress. I`m so proud of you, you know?

BRETTSCHNEIDER: Our mentorship program matches refugee girls from high school with mentors who work with them once a week.

You have to write an essay, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I want to write about my life.

BRETTSCHNEIDER: In walking down the street, they are just teenagers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to have my own salon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One day I`m hoping to become a nurse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be a teacher.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to become a doctor or a nurse.

BRETTSCHNEIDER: What I see is what all the girls can accomplish and everything that they can do. That`s really wild. It`s the best.

AZUZ: Wrapping things up today with a question for you. What animal is this? What`s it going to look like when it grows up? We`ve got some hints. It is native to China, eats a lot of bamboo, and if you said panda, you got it. Eventually, that little pink thing will grow up into a black and white giant panda. This one was born last Friday at the National Zoo. It will be a few weeks before we know whether it`s a boy or a girl, and it won`t be named for 100 days, following Chinese tradition. We`re sure they have a cub-full options just as a bear minimum, but after waiting that long to get a name, the announcement is bound to be pure panda-monium. I`m Carl Azuz, have a great rest of your day.



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