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Different Views of the Civil War in Libya; Violence Increasing in Israel

Aired August 22, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Hey, and thank you for joining us. I`m Carl Azuz, launching you into CNN Student News.

If you were with us last week, it`s great to have you back. If this is your first day, welcome to our 2011-2012 coverage.

First up today, two very different views on how the civil war is going in the North African nation of Libya. This conflict started months ago. Long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi and his forces are fighting against rebels, who was Gadhafi out. Other countries are involved in this, too, as part of a NATO mission to protect Libya`s civilians.

There were reports that hundreds of people were killed yesterday during fighting in and around the Libyan capital, Tripoli. The rebels say they`re making significant progress, advancing towards Gadhafi`s headquarters. But the Libyan government says the rebels are losing every battle.

Colonel Gadhafi went on the radio Sunday, urging his supporters to continue their fight. A CNN crew that`s been in Libya for weeks said this weekend`s fighting in Tripoli seemed to be the most intense fighting yet in the capital city.

Violence increasing in another conflict meanwhile, this one in the Middle East. It started with a series of attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers on Thursday, and it`s turned into days of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians. These two groups have clashed for decades. And two regions, Gaza and the West Bank, have traditionally been at the center of those clashes.

At least eight Israelis were killed in the attacks on Thursday. Israel then launched airstrikes against what it called terrorist targets in Gaza. And in response, say Israeli officials, around a hundred rockets have been fired into Israel. You can see some of the damage from those in this video.

Israel`s government says it will respond to any attempts to harm Israeli civilians or soldiers. Palestinian officials are urging Israel to stop what it calls the unjustified aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza.


Is this legit?

Storms in the Atlantic Ocean are given names when they become hurricanes.

Not legit. They get names when they`re classified as tropical storms, which is one level below a hurricane.


AZUZ: The ninth storm to get a name might be the first hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season. Forecasters predict that Tropical Storm Irene is picking up strength as it moved toward islands in the Caribbean Sea.

On Sunday afternoon, Irene had wind speeds around 50 miles per hour, won`t be considered a hurricane until those wind speeds reach 74 miles per hour. Experts think that could happen very soon. Officials announced hurricane warnings for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic yesterday.

Some predictions estimated that Irene could dump up to 20 inches of rain on parts of the Dominican Republic. There is concern that heavy rain could trigger mudslides there. That has happened before.

Vice President Joe Biden has finished a trip to China. But this was the scene when he arrived in the country last Wednesday. He was there for five days, meeting with Chinese leaders. And the biggest issue discussed during this visit was the U.S. economy.

China has bought more U.S. debt than any other foreign country, so officials there are concerned about America`s ability to manage that debt. During one speech, Vice President Biden explained why it`s important for the U.S. to protect Chinese and American investors.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ve read that some Chinese are concerned about the safety of your investments in American assets.

Please understand, no one cares more about this than we do, since Americans own 87 percent of all our financial assets and 69 percent of all our Treasury bonds (ph), while China owns 1 percent of our financial assets and 8 percent of our Treasury bills respectively (ph).


AZUZ: All right. Shifting gears now, around 1.6 billion people, just over a fifth of the world`s population, are Muslim. And we`re in the middle of the most sacred time in the Muslim calendar. It`s called Ramadan, and it lasts for an entire month, although there are disagreements about when exactly that month starts.


DAN GILGOFF, CNN RELIGION EDITOR: Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting. It`s meant to be a month of reflection, prayer and charity, detachment from worldly affairs, a month of purification. And it`s one of the five pillars or duties of Islam.

Ramadan is believed to be the month during which the prophet Mohammed started receiving the divine revelation, the Koran, or the Muslim holy book, from God or Allah.

And so the most holy night during Ramadan and of the entire Islamic year is called the Night of Power. And that`s the night on which it believed that Allah did start to reveal the text of the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad in the year 610.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. And the Islamic calendar operates according to the lunar cycle, the cycle of the moon. And so every year, Ramadan moves up around 11 days earlier than the previous year.

It`s supposed to begin with the sighting of the first new moon of that cycle. And every year, there are debates about when that first new moon becomes visible, so that various countries believe that they see the first new moon on various days, and Ramadan will begin on different days in different countries.

The fast is broken each night with what`s called the Iftar meal, and it`s a meal that`s oftentimes a communal or banquet style meal that`s eaten in a mosque. The fast each night is often broken with dates, which is believed to have dated to the time of Muhammad . And every year during Ramadan, the international sale of dates just skyrockets.

The month of Ramadan ends with a holiday called Eid ul-Fitr, simply in -- often simply referred to just as Eid. And it is the start of the next lunar month after Ramadan. It`s in an end -- it`s a break-the-fast holiday that`s marked by a lot of celebrations and feasting with friends and families. A lot of mosques hold carnivals for a couple of days after Ramadan ends.



Time for the Shoutout.

What historic figure once said, "out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope"?

If you think you know it, then shout it out.

Was it Queen Elizabeth the II, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy or Mahatma Gandhi? You`ve got three seconds, go.

That phrase was part of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.`s famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. That`s your answer and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: When Dr. King gave that speech, he was standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Now the civil rights leader will have his own memorial in the nation`s capital, the dedication ceremony being scheduled for next week. But we`ve got a little virtual tour for you right now.

The entrance with the two stones that have been separated is meant to symbolize the mountain of despair that Dr. King was talking about, and the single boulder inside is meant to be the stone of hope. There`s also an inscription wall inside the memorial, featuring more than a dozen of Dr. Martin Luther King`s most famous quotations.

Dr. King will join the other famous Americans who have memorials in Washington, D.C. The question we`re asking on our blog is: who else do you think should be honored with a national memorial? Head to; tell us your choices and your reasons why. We`re looking forward to your ideas, but please remember, it`s first names only on the blog.

This Ohio mailman is used to delivering greetings to people on his route. Last week, he was the one getting special greetings from all of them. That is because he was back home and delivering mail after spending a year serving in the Army National Guard in Afghanistan.

Rob Lustig said he was overwhelmed by the homecoming.


ROB LUSTIG, MAILMAN: I can`t keep a smile off my face, because every time I look around, there`s another sign or -- how you doing? And I just want to thank my customers for the support and the balloons and just their generosity and thoughtfulness and makes me feel good.


AZUZ: Makes us feel good, too.

We`re going to stay in Ohio for today`s "Before We Go" segment, and visit a national food festival. But these contestants aren`t bobbing for apples. They`re bobbing for burgers. They`re doing it in a kiddie pool filled with ketchup.

It`s just one of the competitions at the National Hamburger Festival. Another event, the Hamburger Eating Contest, the winner there gobbled up a quarter pounder and 10 patties in five minutes.

A victory like that deserves a "patty" on the back. It looks like there`s an "a-bun-dance" of fun going on there. We just hope you`ll "catchup" with us tomorrow for more CNN student news. Man, these puns are making me hungry. I`m Carl Azuz. Have a great day.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s a work of art. Look at this.