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STUDENT NEWS

U.N. Welcomes Libya`s New Leadership; The End of DADT

Aired September 21, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: The sky isn`t falling, but something up there is, and it could be down by the end of this week. I`m Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now.

First up, Libya steps into the spotlight at the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. The North African country is in the middle of a revolution that removed long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi from power.

Yesterday, the U.N. welcomed Libya`s new leadership into the global organization. The moment came with a symbolic gesture. The flag on the left is the United Nations` flag. The one on the right is the new flag of Libya. It was part of a ceremony inside the U.N.

It`s flying outside the building, too, along with the flags of other member countries. Later in the day, members of the General Assembly discussed the future of Libya. The fighting hasn`t stopped in that country. But these world leaders were planning ways to help Libya rebuild after its civil war is over.

Next up, the end of the U.S. military`s "Don`t Ask/Don`t Tell" policy. The controversial rule officially expired yesterday, that said that gays and lesbians serving in the U.S. military couldn`t tell anyone that they were homosexual, and they couldn`t be asked about it, either.

But if their sexual orientation became public they could be discharged. The Service Members` Legal Defense Network says more than 14,000 people were removed from the military because of "Don`t Ask/Don`t Tell".

With the rule gone, critics are worried that allowing homosexuals to serve openly could make other troops uncomfortable and possibly less effective. U.S. Senator Carl Levin, who pushed for the end of "Don`t Ask/Don`t Tell" called the moment, quote, "an important victory, not just for quality, but for integrity."

Around 90,000 members of the U.S. military are in Afghanistan. The goal for them and troops of other nations is to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. But in order to do that, they need to make sure that the Afghan military can take over its own country`s security.

And one of the biggest challenges is Afghanistan`s terrain. It`s something that Suzanne Malveaux discovered when she went along for a ride with Afghanistan`s developing air force.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Getting around Afghanistan is tough. It`s the size of Texas, but has poor roads, extreme weather and rugged terrain. Travelers are often the target of insurgent attacks.

We are taken on a training exercise aboard a Russian-made MI-17, often used for battlefield operations. On this day, we fly across a huge lake 20 miles east of Kabul. It`s a desolate area, but strategically important for supplying those fighting the Taliban.

MALVEAUX: Tell me a little bit about the mission, Americans, alongside the Afghans, flying these things.

LT. COL. JOHN CONMY, 538th AIR EXPEDITIONARY SQUADRON: Well, and it`s not only just the Americans and the Afghans. It`s Americans in our squadron, Kuwaitians (sic), folks from the Czech Republic and from Hungary, all of which are providing training in the helicopters that you see there. So it`s been the ride of my life so far, with respect to.

MALVEAUX: Mine, too.

CONMY: Yes. But it`s just been a phenomenal job.

MALVEAUX: And we saw some pretty rough terrain. They explained to us how important it is to have these helicopters in and out. I mean, it seems like it really is the best way to learn about these mountains, and how to supply these routes, yes?

CONMY: Yes, the options that you have are a donkey, possibly, or a helicopter. A lot of times, again, as you can see with the rough terrain, especially as you go out to the northeast of where we are, it just gets worse.

MALVEAUX: How important is it to make sure that the Afghans are able to fly these helicopters, not only as helicopters, but some more advanced aircraft, too?

CONMY: Well, the -- it`s a -- it`s a fairly expensive asset. I mean, it`s $12 million, each one of those helicopters that we have out there. And, you know, they need to make sure, in the leadership of Afghanistan, wants to make sure that the people that we have flying can handle that $12 million asset.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Nineteen-year-old Afghan Sofia Ferosi (ph), is training to become one of Afghanistan`s few female pilots. This is her first time ever on a plane. It`s a C-27. She tells me she`s excited. American Master Sgt. Erin Manley shows off the plane`s capabilities, by opening the rear ramp. Sofia (ph) gets to sit with the pilots. A bumpy ride makes her queasy, but she quickly recovers.

SOFIA FEROSI (PH), AFGHAN PILOT: (Speaking in native tongue).

MALVEAUX (voice-over): On landing, she tells me she`s not deterred, she feels great. Her American mentor is proud.

MASTER SGT. ERIN MANLEY, 538TH AIR EXPEDITIONARY SQUADRON: . us, and it`s great that you`re going to take this and run with it and build a foundation for future females in Afghanistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: It`s Hispanic Heritage Month, and we want you to be part of this event. Go to the "Spotlight" section at cnnstudentnews.com. Click on "Send Us an (sic) iReport," and you can talk about what your class is doing for Hispanic Heritage Month. Or if you`re Hispanic, share what it means to identify with your cultural heritage. cnnstudentnews.com, make your voice heard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mr. Martin`s (ph) World Geography classes at Minden High School in Minden, Nebraska. About how much of the Earth`s surface is covered by water? You know what to do.

Is it 25 percent, 50 percent, 70 percent or 85 percent? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Water covers about 70 percent of the Earth`s surface. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: So that means there`s about a 70 percent chance that a NASA satellite will hit water when it comes back to Earth later this week. Of course, it also means there`s a 30 percent chance it`ll hit land.

This thing is called the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS. It was originally launched in 1991, and it was taken out of service in 2005 after it finished its mission of measuring chemicals, temperature and energy.

The UARS isn`t small. It`s 35 feet long, 15 feet wide, weighs 13,000 pounds --that`s a pretty big thing heading back to Earth. NASA says they have it totally in control. They expect parts of the satellite to burn up in the atmosphere. The parts that do make it back to Earth`s surface, we don`t know where they`re going to land. Chad Myers is here to explain why -- Chad?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHAD MYERS, CNN WEATHER: Even NASA says that there`s about a -- one day, plus or minus, as to when they know this is going to fall.

And then, even after they give us that two-hour window -- that`s like a two-minute warning -- it`s a two-hour warning -- there`s still plus or minus 25 minutes from that two hours. So hour and a half or 21/2 hours from when they tell us it`s going to fall.

The only problem is it`s going so fast that, in that time, this thing travels 7,000 miles. And look at all the rest of this space junk up there that has to fall down someday, 4,000 pieces of junk up there.

There`s a thousand satellites that are actually really working. There goes one fast. He`s a high atmospheric satellite. Look at that one kind of going across there. I love watching that. And get on that Google Earth, too. This is what it looks like, about the size of a bus.

There will be 26 pieces that actually make it to the surface. I know a lot of it will burn up, but 26 pieces will not burn up. And where will it land? Well, around and around she goes, where she stops nobody knows. Kind of like a carnival barker, I believe, here.

Here it is right there. It is over Northern Africa at this point in time. But the successive travels takes it one and then another, and then another, and it goes around the Earth, because that`s what it was supposed to do.

It was supposed to take pictures of the entire Earth over the entire day. So, it goes around, and the Earth spins under it. When it falls down, we`ll have a couple of hours. If it starts to go out of -- outside of the atmosphere, somewhere down in the South Pacific, and it`s running over the North Atlantic coast, or somewhere up in here, we will know right away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s the word?

It`s a noun and it means a two-footed animal.

Biped -- that`s the word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: Going to introduce you to a biped named Mabel (ph). Mabel`s (ph) going to force us to edit that definition we gave you in just a little bit. You see, Mabel (ph)has two legs, but she`s not an animal. She`s a robot. In fact, her creators think she`s the first biped robot with knees.

That`s important, because it helps Mabel (ph)move over uneven ground. Right now, you can see the robot hopping . What`s really impressive about Mabel (ph)is her ability to run. She can go nearly 7 miles per hour and runs pretty much like a human.

Her designers say robots like Mabel (ph)could be helpful in search- and-rescue operations. They also see the possibility of her providing an exoskeleton, to help people who`ve been paralyzed walk again.

Before we go, a vehicle called the Nano was designed to bring affordable cars to India. I don`t think the members of this model got the memo.

This particular Nano costs around $4 million. A jewelry company covered the thing in 22 karat gold. That wasn`t enough -- silver, rubies, pearls, emeralds, hopefully a good security system -- the publicity stunt involves a lot of showing off, but, hey, if you`re going to design a luxury vehicle, you might as well go for the "gold."

And make sure to use your "ima-gem-nation." I guess we should probably put the "brakes" before these puns, but we just wanted to "drive" for as many as we could. This story was a "golden" opportunity. Enjoy the rest of your day, and please forgive us for all that. I`m Carl Azuz.

END