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STUDENT NEWS

Cease-Fire in Syria?; North Korea`s Rocket Test

Aired April 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: This is (inaudible) class at John (Inaudible) Middle School.

GROUP: Welcome to CNN Student News.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take it away, Carl.

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CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Thanks to Ms. Bailey`s (ph) class for that introduction You know we always think Friday`s are awesome, although you friggatriskaidekaphobics might disagree about this particular Friday. Today CNN Student News is taking you all over the world. We start in the Middle East.

Different groups from around the world have been pushing for an end to the violence in Syria. Yesterday, that seemed to happen, even if it was only for a short time. The sound of artillery fire has been daily event in many Syrian cities. Part of a peace plan set a Thursday deadline for the cease-fire.

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AZUZ (voice-over): And listen to this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

AZUZ (voice-over): What you don`t hear is artillery fire, no explosions. This YouTube video does show a tank in the middle of the city, but there doesn`t seem to be any fighting going on, at least for a few moments.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was a critical moment for ending the violence in Syria. But he also said the world was watching with what he called skeptical eyes, since the Syrian government hasn`t kept several promises it`s made in the past.

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AZUZ: The window for a North Korean rocket launch is open. The nation announced last month that the launch could happen any time between yesterday and Monday. We`ve reported on the tensions surrounding this rocket.

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AZUZ (voice-over): North Korea says it`s using it to launch a weather satellite into orbit. But other countries, like the U.S. and South Korea think the launch is just a cover for North Korea to test a ballistic missile.

Tom Foreman explains how experts might be able to learn what this rocket is for.

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TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Intelligence analysts and rocket scientists all around the world have watched very closely the development of this rocket. They know that there has been input from the Russians and from the Chinese in terms of the technology used. They know that the North Koreans have also played with that a good bit.

But they don`t know a whole lot of other things about this rocket, other than the general shape and the possible capability. Last one, the Unha-2, is about 100 feet tall. This one seems to be taller than that a bit, 176,000 pounds in weight roughly. And the payload, boy, this is a big guess here, anywhere from 200 to 1,400 pounds, maybe a lot more.

It`s hard to say, because there`s so many specifics we don`t know about this. We do know that when it lifts off, there will be an awful lot of things to watch as it blasts up into space, things that will give intelligence services a sense of how well it`s performing.

For example, do the boosters drop off as they should in the drop zones indicated by North Korea? And beyond that how does this thing fly once it gets into space? They will look at the color of the flames coming out of the back. This will give them an idea of exactly what kind of fuel is being burned, how effectively it`s being burned.

They`ll look at the trajectory of the flight. Is it flying more like a satellite launching missile, or is it flying more like a ballistic missile? There are differences in the direction which they fly. They`ll also look at the telemetry, all of the information coming out of this as it flies.

That won`t only be professional services looking at it, but all sorts of amateurs around the world, in Australia and South America, keeping track of that, seeing what they can figure out. And the overall performance, is it acting like a well-disciplined, well-constructed rocket as it flies 17,000 miles an hour, 300 miles in the air, and tries to launch this little satellite right here, which is really the focus of it all.

When you think about it, because that little satellite is actually a very low performance piece of technology as far as we know, kind of like Telstar was back in 1962. The big question is: would you put all of that technology to work just to launch this? That`s what intelligence analysts think is the big question.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Mr. Butler`s civics classes at Ben Gamla Charter School in Plantation, Florida. The Ring of Fire is located around which ocean? You know what to do. Is it the Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean or Pacific Ocean? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The perimeter of the Pacific Ocean is where you`ll find the Ring of Fire, although it`s shaped more like a horseshoe than a ring. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

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AZUZ (voice-over): The Ring of Fire is a huge area of seismic activity. In fact, around 90 percent of all the world`s earthquakes happen inside that region. That includes the powerful quake that hit Indonesia on Wednesday. Had a magnitude of 8.6. It was followed by a shock that was an 8.2. No immediate reports of any major damage, but that wasn`t the only activity in the Ring of Fire.

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AZUZ: Early the next morning, a pair of earthquakes hit off the coast of Mexico. They weren`t as powerful as the ones in Indonesia. They registered with magnitudes of 6.9 and 6.2.

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AZUZ (voice-over): We`re jumping from the Pacific Ocean over to the Gulf of Mexico now, where representatives from the Royal Dutch Shell Oil company say a sheen of oil has been spotted out in the water. The company says the sheen covers about 10 square miles.

That estimate would mean it`s equivalent to around 6 barrels of oil. Shell said activated an oil response ship to come out and deal with the sheen. The Coast Guard is trying to figure out who`s responsible.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can ID me. I was founded in 1846. I`m where you`d find George Washington`s uniform, the Star-Spangled Banner and Kermit the Frog.

With 19 museums, I`m the world`s largest museum and research complex.

I`m the Smithsonian, and many of my museums are located on the National Mall.

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AZUZ: The Smithsonian`s National Museum of American History has a new exhibit called "American Stories." The museum`s curator says it uses well- known and less familiar stories to tell the tale of America, from the Pilgrims to the present day.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Visitors can see some iconic cultural items, like Dorothy`s ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz." Kermit the Frog is part of this exhibit as well. And you`re about to see the boxing gloves worn by Muhammad Ali.

Technology also plays a big role in our society and a big role in the "American Stories" exhibit. The curator says her hope is that visitors realize they are part of America`s history, too.

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AZUZ (voice-over): You`ve read about a lot of that stuff in your history textbooks. In fact, much of what we learn throughout life comes from books. So in the spirit of National Library Week, we`re asking what your favorite book is and why. Do you even read for fun in your free time? If so, put that book down for just a second, and talk to us on our blog at cnnstudentnews.com.

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AZUZ: In the "Spotlight" section on our home page, you`ll see a link for CNN Heroes. It`s where you can nominate someone whom you think is making a difference in his or her community. Dr. Benjamin LaBrot doesn`t work in just one community. He`s found a way to affect lives all over. And the work he`s doing is why he`s one of this year`s CNN Heroes.

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DR. BENJAMIN LABROT, MEDICAL MARVEL: My name is Dr. Benjamin LaBrot. I don`t have a private medical practice. I make no salary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ben, you want to take her? This is Ingrid (ph).

LABROT: I started an organization called Floating Doctors to use a ship to bring health care to communities that have fallen through the cracks and denied access to health care.

Floating Doctors has a 76-foot 100-ton ship that we refurbished from a completely derelict hull, and we use that to transport all of our supplies. Since we set sail about 21/2 years ago, our mission has been continuous. We were two months in Haiti. We transited to Honduras. And we`ve been working in Panama for about the last eight months.

(Speaking Spanish.)

In the last two years, we`ve treated nearly 13,000 people in three countries.

OK, we`re on our way. We should be there in, like, 15 minutes.

I`ll find patients who have never seen a doctor before in their lives.

That was about as good a result on that ultrasound as we could possibly hope.

Typical community is usually living with no electricity, with no running water, with no sewage, essentially living with none of the basic requirements as we understand it.

We`ve built schools. We`ve done community projects. We`ve provided health education for thousands of patients.

Floating Doctors is an all-volunteer organization. Nobody gets paid. All of our medical supplies are donated. I had to postpone many aspects of my own personal life. I don`t have a home somewhere. I had to give up a lot, but I gained everything.

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AZUZ: When it comes to blowing up balloons, there`s the easy way --

-- and there`s the hard way.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two, one.

AZUZ (voice-over): This is the hard way. It`s called a Rube Goldberg machine, something that does a simple task in a hugely complicated way. These students at Purdue University broke their own world record with this 300-step machine. Bet you didn`t know you could peel an apple, make a burger, change a light bulb and sharpen a pencil, all on the way to blowing up a balloon.

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AZUZ: Setting a new world record may inflate those students` egos, but it`s also earned them a place in pop culture history. All right. Quick congratulations to the students at Jan Gingelwright (ph) Junior High, who got this week`s social media trivia question right. How did they accomplish that simple task? With a long series of steps.

First, they watched the video question. Then they figured out the answer. They typed up that answer, told us their school and city name, and then after that, we checked to make sure they were right. We confirmed their information, (inaudible) --

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