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STUDENT NEWS

Reports Say More than 100 Syrians Killed Sunday

Aired March 13, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET

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


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, I`m Mini-Carl, not to be mistaken with Cardboard Carl. Today CNN Student News episode will be funtastic. And to introduce our show, we`re going to go over to Holy Trinity School in Somerset, Ohio.

GROUP: Welcome to CNN Student News. Take it away, Carl.

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CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Great stuff. Thanks to all the students at Holy Trinity for the introduction. I`m Carl Azuz, bringing you today`s top headlines. We`re going to be talking about a story that has been all over social media lately.

But first up, we`re looking at Syria. Today is officially being called a day of mourning in parts of the Middle Eastern nation. This is in response to reports that more than 100 Syrians were killed on Sunday. That includes violence in the city of Homs that some opposition officials called a massacre.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Meanwhile, the latest attempts at peace talks don`t seem to have gotten anywhere. Kofi Annan, a former secretary-general of the United Nations, spent two days meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Annan suggested a cease-fire and asked for relief agencies to be able to get aid to victims in Syria.

When he left Syria on Sunday, it wasn`t clear whether Annan had gotten any agreement on those requests from al-Assad.

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AZUZ: Here at CNN Student News, part of our goal is to inform you about major events going on in the world. That is why you hear so much about the violence in Syria.

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AZUZ (voice-over): This is a humanitarian crisis, something that represents a major threat to the health and safety of a large group of people. Dozens are reportedly dying in Syria nearly every day. This violence has been going on for a year.

We say reportedly, because Syria has severely restricted the access that journalists can have in the country. That`s another big part of what`s going on here. In many situations, the world can learn about crises like this from first-hand news reports. But because of that restricted access, CNN can`t confirm the reports from the Syrian government or the opposition.

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AZUZ: Another crisis happening in the world, one we reported on last fall, involves Joseph Kony and a violent military group in Uganda. We`ve seen messages on our Facebook page about this. I`ve gotten tweets from some of you about Kony. Ralitsa Vassileva has this report on the viral video that has made Kony a household name on social media.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For 26 years, Kony has been kidnapping children into his rebel group, the LRA.

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RALITSA VASSILEVA, ANCHOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL (voice-over): A 30- minute video gone viral online has achieved what policymakers and activists have failed to do: make more people care about the atrocities of a bizarre cult called the Lord`s Resistance Army, or LRA, seeking to overthrow the Ugandan government.

Produced by a non-profit group called Invisible Children to create momentum for the capture of its leader, warlord Joseph Kony, the documentary has gone viral. Tens of millions have seen it, including celebrities like Rihanna and George Clooney. And donations have been pouring in.

BEN KEESEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CEO, INVISIBLE CHILDREN INC.: The beauty of "Kony 2012" is it starts with a movie. The movie is the entry point to a mission, and the mission involves influencing our policymakers, influencing our culture makers, so they can take the steps on the ground from disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of all of the LRA fighters.

VASSILEVA (voice-over): But "Kony 2012" has also generated controversy for its simplistic presentation.

ISHMAEL BEAH, FORMER CHILD SOLDIER: If you`re not interested in the geographies and the complexity of it, to know that it`s not black and white, to delve into that, the fact that you can`t glamorize this stuff, then I think you have no business in me being a changemaker.

VASSILEVA (voice-over): The war is over in northern Uganda. Kony soldiers, now a depleted force, have fled to Sudan and Central African Republic, but they still hold children captive.

AZUZ (voice-over): All right. So many Americans didn`t know Kony`s name a month ago. Now it seems like it`s everywhere on social media. And that`s what we`re asking about today on our blog. Why has this taken off to such an extent on social media? Talk to us at cnnstudentnews.com.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Frizzell`s seventh grade students at Arcohe School in Herald, California. What is the capital of Texas? You know what to do.

Is it Dallas, Houston, Austin or San Antonio? You`ve got three seconds, go.

If you`re looking for the capital of Texas, head to Austin. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

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AZUZ: For 25 years, Austin has also been home to the South by Southwest conference. Originally this was just a music festival, 700 people attending the first one. Now South by Southwest includes movies and technology and around 32,000 people show up in Austin for it every year. This year, that includes CNN`s Brooke Baldwin. She gives us a quick look around.

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BROOKE BALDWIN, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: So here we are, just outside the Austin Convention Center. This is basically the epicenter of South by Southwest. Inside there are hundreds of vendors, start-up companies trying to create buzz about their new product, maybe their new app.

It is a rainy day in Austin. You need one of these. You got your phone. Definitely no high heels here. Let`s go inside.

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BALDWIN: Well, sorry, this is how everyone here at the circus that is South by Southwest walks. Everybody is staring at their phones, and I tell you, we want to show you one thing, and we get turned off into something else. It`s like information interactive overload on all these different hallways, there are different vendors trying to get the buzz out about the big next thing.

It was 2007 when Twitter really took off. They started Foursquare here at South by, and so we`re just kind of checking it out with everyone else from all around the world to see what the next top thing is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Zee Board (ph). It`s something like a skateboard. You lean forward to go and you lean back to stop. Rotate on the pad and lean forward.

BALDWIN: Sweet Jesus!

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BALDWIN: And this is just one thing that jumped out at us. You know, it just shows that this may be the interactive portion of this festival, but take a look at this. There are all these different sort of columns all around the Austin Convention Center talking about, you know, politics.

This is probably one of the, maybe, films. Music to go to tonight. Check it out. You know, the anonymous here or there are the little codes where you can use your phone to find out what this is.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? U.S. territories like Guam and the Virgin Islands are part of the presidential nominating process.

Totally true. Territories hold presidential primaries and caucuses, just like states.

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AZUZ: One U.S. territory is holding a caucus today, and it is not alone. Voters in American Samoa and Hawaii will get together at meetings to talk about their preferences among presidential candidates.

Mississippi and Alabama are holding primaries, when people cast individual votes.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Primary or caucus, the name of the game for the Republican candidates is delegates. You need to win enough to get your party`s nomination. There are more than 100 delegates up for grabs today.

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AZUZ: All right. Time for your comments. A judge in Rhode Island permanently revoked a teenage driver`s license after he broke several laws and got into a terrible wreck.

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Jacob says a strong punishment, maybe several years without a license would be in order, but not a lifetime suspension.

John writes, "His license should be revoked, because he shouldn`t have been driving if his license was already suspended at the time."

Mya thinks the punishment is too harsh. He might need a long-term ban, but not a lifetime ban for Rhode Island.

Grace calls the punishment "completely fair. He was given the warning of having his license suspended, so by using it when he wasn`t allow to shows the authority that he`s not taking his actions seriously."

Mitch argues the suspension should last for one to two years. It`s just not fair to punish the driver permanently.

And from Taylor, "Teenagers are never taken seriously as drivers; adults expect us to crash, and we need to prove them wrong. Start permanently taking licenses, then teens will learn to be smart around the wheel."

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AZUZ (voice-over): "Schools of Thought": it`s CNN`s new education blog, and it`s for parents, teachers, students, anyone who`s ever been a student. One of the posts you`ll find on there today: is high school football too violent? The "Schools of Thought" blog. Check it out at cnnstudentnews.com.

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AZUZ: Before we go, if you have a fondness for fromage, then this is --

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AZUZ (voice-over): -- "wheelie" the event for you. It`s the world championship cheese contest, where the cream rises to the top. Competitors from all over the world brought more than 2,500 samples to the event. It`s where they separate the "Gouda" from the great. The event was open to the public, so people could come in and taste some of the different varieties.

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AZUZ: They were complete "un-feta-ed" access -- a cheese pun? How dare you. Maybe you thought that was a "Muenster" of a pun. Maybe you think we "bleu" it. Either way everyone can agree it was definitely cheesy. Back tomorrow with more CNN Student News. I`m Carl Azuz.

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