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Massachusetts Man Charged with Plotting Attack on Washington, D.C.

Aired September 30, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: This isn`t a bad view of Washington, D.C. It comes from the top of the Washington Monument. Engineers are working on the outside of this landmark. They`re looking for cracks. You`re in for a solid 10 minutes of commercial-free headlines. I`m Carl Azuz. CNN Student News starts right now.

First up today, a man from Massachusetts is charged with plotting an attack on Washington, D.C. One official says Rezwan Ferdaus was never really a threat, but he was the target of an undercover FBI investigation. Law enforcement officers have been in close contact with the 26-year-old U.S. citizen for months.


AZUZ (voice-over): According to these authorities, Ferdaus was planning to use remote-controlled airplanes, like what you saw just a moment ago, to attack the Pentagon in the U.S. capital. These remote- controlled planes are pretty big. They`re actually about 1/10th the size of a full-sized aircraft. Ferdaus was arrested on Wednesday. Officials say there`s no evidence that he was connected to a terrorist organization.


AZUZ: Health officials are trying to make sure that a severe outbreak of contaminated food doesn`t get worse. At least 13 people have died and more than 70 other folks have gotten sick from eating cantaloupes that have been contaminated with a bacteria called Listeria.


AZUZ (voice-over): According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,600 people get seriously ill from Listeria every year. Around 260 of those die. One CDC official said it`s OK to eat cantaloupe as long as you are certain it didn`t come from Jensen Farms in Colorado. If you have any doubts about it, the official says it`s better to throw the fruit away.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Brock`s classes at Sullivan Middle School in Fargo, North Dakota.

What country launched its first manned space flight in 2003? You know what to do.

Was it Russia, India, the United States or China? Get ready for the countdown, and go.

Its first manned flight in 2003 made China the third nation to send someone into space. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Usually when you hear about people going into space, they`re headed to the International Space Station. But China is not a part of that project. It wants to set up its own orbiting laboratory.


AZUZ (voice-over): And this will get China one step closer to that goal. Yesterday, the country launched its first space lab module on this rocket. Chinese officials say the module could have space for three astronauts, although no one`s on it yet. Eunice Yoon has more on yesterday`s launch and the future of the Chinese space program.

EUNICE YOON, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): The craft is an unmanned space lab module called Tiangong-1 or Heavenly Palace in Chinese. The eight-ton module will enter low earth orbit and is supposed to dock with an unmanned spacecraft in several weeks.

The rendezvous and docking will be the true test of the mission, because it paves the way for China to have its own manned space station for the first time by 2020.

YOON: The launch coincides with National Day festivities, and it`s filling Chinese citizens with pride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I`m very proud of our space program.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Spending on the space program is very necessary to advance scientific and technology in our country.

YOON: Only eight years ago, China put its first astronaut into orbit. Now a lunar probe is in the works, and eventually Beijing hopes to send a man to the moon, bringing China one step closer to becoming the next space superpower in the same league as the United States.


AZUZ: CNN Heroes, ordinary people doing extraordinary things to make a positive difference. You can vote for the Hero of the Year by going to the CNN Heroes box. We have it up at Today, we`re featuring one of this year`s top 10, a grandmother from Chicago, who opened her doors to try to change her community. Check it out.


DIANE LATIKER: Guns, guns and more guns. These are our young people. These stones represent them. We`re losing a generation to violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody`s scared to come out, they`ll get shot at. When they start shooting, you got to grab the kids and run in the house.

LATIKER: People run in the house and close their doors. They don`t even talk about it. But there are some people who are not scared to go outside, and I`m one of them.

My name is Diane Latiker. We opened a community center called Kids Off the Block. We`re known as KOB. There are kids that are in gangs, they`re homeless, some of them drug dealers. So they got a lot issues going on (ph).

Who signed up for Youth Ready Chicago?

I tell kids this is a peace place, this is a safe place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really want to be a veterinarian.

LATIKER: We have leadership workshops, (inaudible) preparation, music.

GROUP (chanting): K-O-B, K-O-B, K-O-B.

LATIKER: Just a range of things that goes on in here.

We started off with 10 young people. And the next thing I knew, I had 15. Then I had 25. At one point, I had 75 young people in three rooms of my house. And that`s how Kids Off the Block started, in my living room.

We opened the doors to the new KOB center in July. Last year, we served 301 young people. If they knock on that door, they can come in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I was 12 when I got in a gang, robbing people, stealing. Ms. Diane, she done changed my life. I love her for that.

LATIKER: I`m no different from nobody else. I just opened up my door. Why can`t we all come outside and see what`s going on in our neighborhoods? There are people here who care, and I`m one of them.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this legit? San Jose is the capital of Puerto Rico.

Not legit. Puerto Rico`s capital is San Juan, which is also the island`s largest city.


AZUZ: San Juan also has one of the biggest harbors in the Caribbean. It`s a harbor that many Puerto Ricans have used as they`ve made their way to the mainland United States. As CNN Student News commemorates Hispanic Heritage Month, today we`re putting a spotlight on Puerto Rico, both its people who are here in the U.S. and their home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The second largest group of Hispanics in the United States comes from the island of Puerto Rico. It`s not a country or state, it`s a U.S. territory in the Caribbean.

In 1898, America got Puerto Rico from Spain as a result of the Spanish-American war, and that`s part of the reason why the commonwealth`s flag is red, white and blue. The white star symbolizes the island of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Ricans have a distinct culture that`s influenced by their time under Spanish rule. The majority of Puerto Ricans speak Spanish, and most Puerto Ricans are Catholic. Nearly 4 million people live on the island, and almost that many tourists visit every year.

Because it`s part of the U.S., Americans don`t need a passport to get there. Throughout Puerto Rico`s history, travel went the other way, too, as many Puerto Ricans moved away from the island to find jobs. A lot of that migration happened after World War II, when there was a nationwide boom in manufacturing jobs.

The majority of Puerto Rican immigrants ended up in the Northeast. This Puerto Rican Day parade is held each year in New York City, and that city is home to the first Latina Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her parents moved from the island in the 1940s. Puerto Ricans are American citizens, but the island`s residents don`t pay federal income tax and don`t have all the rights that other U.S. citizens enjoy.

ANGEL HERRERA, FORMER U.S. SOLDIER: As members of the Armed Forces, we do not have the right to vote for the President of the United States, the same person who`s commanding us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Puerto Rico`s status as a territory is often debated. In a referendum on the island in 1998, almost half of Puerto Rican voters said they supported statehood. More said they didn`t. And about 2 percent wanted the island to become its own nation. Most voters agreed with this congressman, who grew up in Puerto Rico.

REP. LUIS GUITERREZ, (D), ILL.: It`s a colony. It`s Spanish. It`s a former Spanish colony, and it hasn`t changed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That vote resulted in the status quo. Puerto Rico remains a U.S. territory, celebrating Puerto Rican history and culture this Hispanic Heritage Month.


AZUZ: Before we go, have you ever seen a tortoise tear down a track? Well, here it is.


AZUZ (voice-over): On your mark, get set, go. Get set, go. All right. Flash -- his name is Flash -- he was last year`s champ. He`s obviously pacing himself. He doesn`t want to use up too much energy too quickly.

And he is -- this is unbelievable -- he has stopped on the track, taunting the other racers. Look closely: this is the look of a champion. And now it`s go time. There`s no way Flash is going to give up his crown.

And as we come down to the finish line, we come down to the finish line -- there we go. Flash gets ready for victory, whenever he`s ready. And he has now crossed the line, Flash triumphantly keeping his title.


AZUZ: The champ refused any post-race interviews. It turns out he was a little shy and they just couldn`t get to "come out of his shell." Ack! Time for us to "take off". We hope you have a great weekend and join us next week when CNN Student News resumes. I`m Carl Azuz.