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Extreme Drought; Saudi Arabia to Build a Women-Only City

Aired August 14, 2012 - 00:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: I`m Carl Azuz. Whether your first day back to school was yesterday, or today, or even if it`s not for a couple of weeks yet, we are thrilled to welcome you to a new year of CNN STUDENT NEWS.

We`re going to start today with an incredible statistic. We want you to think about a map of the continental United States. So, everything except Alaska and Hawaii. Researches say that more than 60 percent of that area is suffering through drought conditions that are at least moderate, and a lot of places they are much more severe. A drought is a sustained period of dryness, and this one has been getting worse. You can see of the effects here, the dry cracked land, the damage to crops. That`s why the impact of this drought isn`t limited to the specific area that`s feeling the heat. Because of the damage to crops, food prices have been going up around the U.S. and around the world.

Here is another perspective on this -- an I-Reporter sent in this aerial video from Indiana. He said, the corn crops should have a green look to them. Instead, as you can see, they are yellow brown. Martin Savidge filed this next report from Tennessee. He is looking at the impact this drought is having on some other industries.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You might think this is some kind of desert just outside of Memphis. It`s not. I`m actually standing on the exposed bottom of the Mississippi River. That`s how dramatic the drought impact is being felt here. Hard to believe, a year ago we were talking about record flooding. Now, they are worried about a new kind of record: a record low. The river was three miles wide here, it`s now down to three tenths of a mile. And that`s causing all kinds of problems. There are some benefits, I mean, take a look over here: new beach front. In fact, some quip that now the Mississippi River has more beaches than the entire state of Florida, which would be funny if it didn`t have an impact on trade.

A lot of stuff we use goes up and down the Mississippi River. We are talking steel, coal, ore, grain. The problem is now a lot of those barges have had to lighten their loads, and even doing that, they are still running aground. There is a real fear that there could be a possibility of closing the Mississippi River. If that happens, well, all that product that used to be carried cheaply by barge is now going to be carried more expensively by truck or train. And guess who is going to pay for all of that.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this legit? The last time a South American city hosted the Olympics was in 1968.

Nope, South America has never hosted the Olympics, although that`s set to change soon.


AZUZ: In fact, the next Summer Olympics is scheduled to take place in Brazil. You know, you`ll be thinking the Olympics just ended. Why are we already talking about the next summer games? It`s because the people who are organizing it have to make sure they are ready in time, and a lot goes into that. Rio De Janeiro was announced as the host of the 2016 Olympics. They got the news back in 2009, giving the city seven years to get everything done. Rio is known for its beaches, but there are some questions about its infrastructure, its set-up, how will it deal with Olympic traffic? Are there enough hotel rooms? Also, some of the venues for the Olympics have to be built. Officials insist they are on schedule, plus they have another major sporting event before the Olympics, they can use this as kind of a test run. Brazil is hosting soccer`s world cup championship in 2014.

From South America, we are moving to Saudi Arabia. The Middle Eastern country is planning to build a new city with a really interesting rule: no men are allowed in it. The idea is to give a boost to Saudi Arabia`s female workforce. Women are allowed to have jobs in Saudi Arabia, but their options have been limited because of the Islamic laws that govern the country. This women-only city would change that. Construction is scheduled to start next year. Officials think the plan could create thousands of jobs for women. Nic Robertson explains some of the reasons for a new city.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why are they doing this? Why are they creating women-only environments? Well, they say the strictures of Shia law, Islamic law in the country mean that men and women cannot work side by side. So, until now, the many female graduates that the country has been producing have been going into the education sector. What the government is trying to do here, is open up other business centers: textiles, food processing and such like. Also, Saudi Arabia recognizes it`s falling behind the region in terms of the number of women or the percentage of women in their country that are employed. In Saudi Arabia, it`s only about 15 percent of women represented in a workforce.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for the "Shoutout": Myopia, macular degeneration and glaucoma can all affect which sense? If you think you know it, then shout it out. Is it taste, smell, sight or hearing? You`ve got three seconds. Go.

All of these diseases can affect the sense of sight. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.


AZUZ: Some folks might think that if you sense of sight is impaired, or if it`s even gone, there are certain things you can`t do. Like sports, for instance. But a camp in New York proves that`s just not true. Baseball, basketball, canoeing, gymnastics - all of it is the schedule there. Ben Tinker reports on how for these campers loss of sight does not mean a loss of vision.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, Camp Abilities!

BEN TINKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Every day at Camp Abilities starts the same way: with care to share.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Netted seven more shots, I was on the basketball court last night, and doing very well.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I rode three miles on (inaudible) bike.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did my first backflip on the rings at gymnastics.

TINKER: All these children are visually impaired, and they`ve come to Camp Abilities for a one week developmental sports camp.

LAUREN LIEBERMAN: We`re about empowering kids to dream and to make those dreams come true.

TINKER: Professor Lauren Lieberman teaches phys ed at SUNY Brockport. She specialized in adopted physical education for children who are blind, deaf, or deaf-blind.

LIEBERMAN: There are two main purposes of our camp is to teach the kids different sports and modifications that would make them successful, and then also to teach our students all the various instructional techniques and feedback techniques for kids with visual impairments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good job, buddy.

TINKER: Campers learn how to run track, ride bikes, practice judo, and check out this game: beep baseball. If you listen closely, the ball beeps.


TINKER: The bases make noises, too. So the batter knows exactly where to run, and everyone is blindfolded to put them literally on an equal playing field.

LIEBERMAN: It really drives me crazy when they say, I don`t do ball sports. Somebody told them somewhere, a parent, a physical education teacher that doesn`t know the modifications, I don`t do ball sports. And that rules out so many sports that are actually accessible with the beeping ball or modified equipment.

TINKER: There is even a game called goball, a team sports specifically designed for blind athletes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And as you land, you are going to come back down and bend those knees a little bit more.

TINKER: And this year, some extra inspiration ...


TINKER: Marla Runyan, the first legally blind Olympic athlete who competed in the 2000 and 2004 games.

MARLA RUNYAN, U.S. OLYMPIAN: Camp Abilities to me is all about empowering kids and teaching them what they can do, and giving them opportunities that they are not otherwise have available to them at public schools or after school programs.

TINKER: Just like the camp`s mantra says, "A loss of sight doesn`t have to mean a loss of vision."

LIEBERMAN: Because our motto for Camp Abilities is "Believe you can ...




AZUZ: CNN STUDENT NEWS is excited to be starting a new school year, and we want you to be part of the show. There are more ways for you to talk to us than ever before. One of them is at our Website, where you can see every show we`ve done and send us an email; another one, if you are 13 years old, is to send us an I-Report. That`s you on video. Third is our blog from A to Z with me, and if you are on Facebook or Twitter, so are we. So, we look forward to hearing from you throughout the school year.

We have one more really quick story before we go today, and it involves this little lady. Her name is Happy. She has a good reason to be, because Happy can skate. At least she can roll down the street on a skate board. And thanks to this home video, Happy now holds the record for the farthest distance skateboarding by a goat. She would have gone even farther, but she ran into a parking block.

So, if another animal comes along and breaks the record, we know who the skategoat will be. No offense, Happy, you know, we are just kidding around. We`ve goat to go, but we will be back tomorrow with more CNN STUDENT NEWS -- and yes, the puns will come with it. See you then.