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STUDENT NEWS

Will U.S. Attack Syria?; 64-Year-Old Swims From Cuba to Florida Without Shark Cage; Some Schools Opt Out of Healthy Lunch Program

Aired September 3, 2013 - 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: It`s a new day, a new week, and for some of you, a new school year. Welcome. And thank you for starting it with CNN STUDENT NEWS. First up today, we`re talking about the Middle Eastern nation of Syria. Its president, Bashar al-Assad, says the Middle East will explode if Syria is attacked. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says samples from inside Syria tested positive for signatures of Sarin gas, that`s a chemical weapon. The U.S. has considered taking action against Syria and moved warships into the area near the country. Congress has the power to declare war, but the president can order a military strike. Jim Acosta reports on "What`s Going On."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a city that feasts on political theater, it was high drama just passed high noon, as President Obama told the world he had pulled back from the brink of a military strike against Syria.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people`s representatives in Congress.

ACOSTA: Aides to the president say Mr. Obama decided to go in a different direction at almost a last minute. An approximately 6 P.M. Friday, the president made the stunning change in plans to seek congressional authorization.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The question is what are we, we collectively, what are we in the world are going to do about it?

ACOSTA: Just hours before the president`s abrupt move, Secretary Kerry had made a passionate case for urgent action, but aides say what Kerry and the rest of the president`s team didn`t know, is that Mr. Obama had been privately kicking around the idea of seeking approval from Congress for days, as Kerry was turning up the heat, the president seemed to be turning it down.

OBAMA: I`m very clear that the world generally is war-weary, certainly the United States has gone through over a decade of war. The American people understandably want us to be focused on the business of rebuilding our economy here and putting people back to work. And I assure you nobody ends up being more war-weary than me.

ACOSTA: The debate that counts is the one to come. In Congress, where lawmakers from both parties still have questions.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R ) TEXAS: In my view, U.S. military forces justified only to protect the vital national security interest of the United States. And to date, the administration has not focused on those interests.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL, (D) NEW YORK: I don`t see where America is threatened. I don`t see where our national security is threatened. And perhaps, between now and the time we get back in September, 9, the president will have information that would allow the Congress to effectively see where this danger is.

ACOSTA: Administration officials say the president still reserves the right to take military action as one top official put it, the commander-in- chief still has the authority to act, even if Congress says no.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AZUZ: Officials in Japan reported jumping radiation levels at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant. It had a meltdown after an earthquake and tsunami struck in 2011. These measurements were taken in pipes and containers holding contaminated water. Radiation is the flow of atomic particles and waves, it`s measured in the unit called milliSieverts. In an industrialized nation, like the U.S. or Japan, people are naturally exposed to about 3 milliSieverts per year. The highest reading at one of these tanks, 1800 milliSieverts per hour. High doses of radiation can lead to a wide array of health problems. They can potentially be deadly. The company that owns the Fukushima Plant says it`s confident that it can keep workers safe while they deal with the problem. Radiation can also spread. This animation shows how radiation from Fukushima makes its way across the Pacific Ocean. Experts say, the contamination is reduced, though, as it spreads out across the water.

The first time Diana Nyad tried to swim from Cuba to Florida, she had to stop because of rough waters. That was in 1978, when she was 29 years old. On Saturday, the 64- year old jumped into the water for her fifth attempt. On past swims, Nyad ran in the problems with jellyfish, severe stings cut her third an fourth attempts short. This time, Nyad wore a special suite and mask for protection. The path from Havana to Key West was around 100 miles. It was estimated that Nyad would take about 80 hours to make it, she did it in 53, walking onto the beach Monday afternoon. Diana Nyad is the first person ever to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective shark cage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANA NYAD, ENDURANCE SWIMMER: All those life lessons that came up during the swim, you can dream at any age. You should dream big. The bigger you dream, it doesn`t matter if you fail.

I don`t want to be timid. I don`t want to go home and say, well, I tried that Cuba thing so many times, but, you know, it was just too tough for me. I want to be in the ring, fail or not fail and be bold and go for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: We got a new segment this year. To CNN STUDENT NEWS "Roll Call", it`s how schools can get mentioned on our show. Now, there are two ways for you to make the request: one, if you are on social media, go to Facebook.com/cnnstudentnews or tweet us @cnnstudentnews. Please, include your school name, mascot, city and state. The second way: you could send us an email from our Website, that`s cnnstudentnews.com. Also, including your school name, mascot, city and state. And please, just let us know you like to be part of the CNN STUDENT NEWS "Roll Call." One big rule here: you have to either be a teacher or a student who is at least 13 to request a mention. We hope to hear your school on the CNN STUDENT NEWS "Roll Call".

That`s how you do it: who made the roll call today, we`re going to our map. Starting out west in Hemet, California with the bulldogs from Hemet High School. Next up, show me the show me state, and show me Raytownk, Missouri, home of the Raytown Blue Jays. And the Pilots from Fulton County High in (inaudible), Kentucky, anchor today`s CNN STUDENT NEWS "Roll Call".

See if you can I.D. me. I`m the world`s largest island, geographically, I`m considered to be in North America, but I`m officially part of the kingdom of Denmark. More than 80 percent of my lands are covered in ice. I`m Greenland. And the ice on my surface, on average, is 5,000 feet thick.

So, it`s not so green of a land, but after using radar to virtually peel back Greenland`s ice sheet, British and American scientists say they found a frozen secret: a mega-canyon, a giant gouge through Greenland surface that`s 50 percent longer than Arizona`s Grand Canyon, though not as deep overall. It runs from the middle of the country to its northern shore in the Arctic Ocean. It was detected by aircraft, because satellites are too far up to see through Greenland`s ice sheet. Scientists believe the canyon was carved by a river before ice covered it all up. Is this the greatest find ever? No. Is it a scientific research priority? Not really, but one researcher said it will help scientists understand how ice ebbs and flows across Greenland and other frozen environments.

In the last year or so, you might have noticed a change in your school`s cafeteria, what where supposed to be healthier lunches. Part of the national school lunch program. Around 100,000 schools signed up, but now, some are dropping out. Elizabeth Cohen examines why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The nation`s new healthier school lunches championed by first lady Michelle Obama are packed with more fruits and vegetables, but they are getting a failing grade from some students.

Several school districts are dropping out of the government subsidized lunch program after just one year, because they say students are rejecting the healthier fare.

TERESA THAYER SNYDER, SUPERINTENDENT: The children didn`t have options, they had to take what was there, and it`s not what they wanted to eat. So, frequently, they stopped buying lunch from us.

COHEN: In Upstate New York, the Voorheesville School District says it lost $30,000 in three months.

SNYDER: It began to be not cost-effective for us to continue in that program.

COHEN: Across the nation, some kids say calorie limits are too harsh, many of them bringing food from home.

High school students in Kansas made this Youtube video, complete with faint fainting. Federal health officials say the vast majority of schools are meeting the new guidelines, which set limits on calories, salt and fat. And in the statement they said, "We also encourage the very few eligible school districts that have chosen not to participate in the program, to take steps to ensure all children will still have access to healthy, affordable meals during the school day." The schools that have dropped out say their lunches are healthy.

SNYDER: We feel we have attracted back many students who had stopped buying lunches, and we have many students excited about eating at school.

COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AZUZ: You think treehouses are just for kids? Think again. Do you think bicycles only work on the ground? Think again. You think ladders are the only way to getting to a treehouse? You think we`ve run that idea into the ground? Yep. The idea in this Youtube video is going in the opposite direction. The inventor came up with a bicycle elevator because he said he was getting sick of going up and down the ladder. It takes some nearly 30 feet to get up to the tree house, or depending on how you look at it, just two feet. Other way, the bicycle elevator idea is off the chain. It might seem lighthearted on the way up, but right back down bring some gravity to the situation. Of course, you wanted to build one in the U.K., you`d need to ask for a lift. Do you think it`s a wheely good idea for us to stop before you tire of our puns? But we`ll be by tomorrow with more CNN STUDENT NEWS.

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