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A Major al Qaeda Figure is Killed; France`s Post-It War

Aired October 3, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to October, and welcome to CNN Student News. We`ll be looking at this day in history. We`ve got a Shoutout for you. And today`s "Before We Go" segment is extra cheesy. I`m Carl Azuz, your anchor for the next 10 minutes.

First up, an attack that President Obama calls a major blow to the Al Qaeda terrorist network. Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in Yemen on Friday by a strike from a U.S. drone, an unmanned aircraft.

U.S. officials described al-Awlaki as the face of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The operation that killed him follows by five months the U.S. Navy SEAL operation that targeted Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.


AZUZ (voice-over): American authorities say al-Awlaki was a top terrorist recruiter because of his English language proficiency, his understanding of technology. He played an indirect role in several terror attacks and plots, including the 9/11 attacks in 2001.


AZUZ: There`s something else that made al-Awlaki unique. He was a U.S. citizen, and as Jessica Yellin explains, that`s raised some legal questions about this weekend`s strike against him.


JESSICA YELLIN (voice-over): It`s President Obama`s latest successful strike on a wanted Al Qaeda terrorist.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The death of al-Awlaki is a major blow to Al Qaeda`s most active operational affiliate. Al-Awlaki was the leader of external operations for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

YELLIN (voice-over): But this time, it`s different. Al-Awlaki was an American. This may be the first U.S. killing of an American target with no trial, no indictment.

VINCENT WARREN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: The problem here is that the U.S. has done something that I don`t think it`s ever done before. It has killed one of its citizens somewhere else around the world without any due process at all. This is about rule of law, and this is about rules to keep us all safe.

YELLIN (voice-over): Warren`s organization sued to take al-Awlaki off a terror kill list and lost. The White House wouldn`t offer a legal justification for targeting an American.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This goes to the assumptions about the circumstances of his death, and I`m not going to address that. I`m not going to speak hypothetically.

YELLIN (voice-over): An adviser to the U.S. State Department explained the government`s logic for killing anyone on the terrorist capture-or-kill list regardless of nationality.

HAROLD KOH, LEGAL ADVISER, STATE DEPARTMENT: A state that is engaged in armed conflict or in legitimate self-defense is not required to provide targets or legal process before the state may use lethal force.

YELLIN (voice-over): There`s no question this administration viewed al-Awlaki as a threat for some time.

MICHAEL LEITER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER: I actually consider Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, with al-Awlaki as a leader within that organization, probably the most significant risk to the U.S. homeland.

YELLIN (voice-over): Politically, the White House has support from both parties. Republican Congressman Peter King says, quote, "It was entirely legal," and from a top Democrat:

REP. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER (D), MD.: It`s legal, it`s legitimate, and we`re talking out someone who has attempted to attack us on numerous occasions.



AZUZ (voice-over): It`s October 3rd. On this day in history, in 1922, Rebecca Felton was appointed to fill an open seat in the U.S. Senate, making her the first female U.S. senator.

In 1974, Frank Robinson became the first African-American manager in major league baseball history. He was hired to manage the Cleveland Indians.

And in 1990, East and West Germany reunited as one nation after 45 years. The end of their division was significant in ending the Cold War.


AZUZ: The U.S. Supreme Court starts a new session today. The nine justices will hear arguments and make decisions on cases that involve some controversial issues. We`re talking about gay marriage, immigration laws, President Obama`s health care bill.


AZUZ (voice-over): The Supreme Court session lasts for months. The justices usually hear arguments about two weeks in a row, and then spend two weeks deliberating on the cases. Before the session starts, though, several justices take part in a tradition called Red Mass.

It`s a Catholic Church service that celebrates the legal profession. Although some people criticize it for mixing politics, religion and the law, Red Mass dates back centuries with the goal of bringing together everyone in the field of law so they can pray for the wisdom of God.


AZUZ: Up in New York City, some people are speaking out against the U.S. financial system, and they`re doing it with more than words.


AZUZ (voice-over): These protests are part of the "Occupy Wall Street Campaign." They`re angry about what they see as the inequities that the U.S. financial system creates. Crowds have been taking over parts of the park in New York`s financial district. The protests have been going on for weeks. Organizers say they want it to keep going for months.

Over the weekend, the protests spread to the Brooklyn Bridge. Police got involved, warning the protesters to leave the area. Authorities say they gave out more than 700 tickets. They also arrested hundreds of protesters, although those people were later released.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Graf`s classes at Washington Middle School in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

David Stern is the commissioner of what professional sports league? You know what to do here. Is it Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, National Basketball Association or the National Football League? Three seconds on the clock, go.

David Stern has been commissioner of the National Basketball Association since 1984. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: All right, here`s the deal: NBA training camps are supposed to be opening today. But instead of hitting the court, representatives from the league and the players` union are heading back to a conference room. They`re trying to negotiate an end to the league`s lockout. If that sounds familiar, you might remember the NFL went through its own lockout earlier this year.


AZUZ (voice-over): The NBA owners locked out the players back in July. The main issue: a contract that outlines how players get paid. So far, training camps have been postponed, pre-season games have been called off. If the two sides can`t reach an agreement, there`s a chance that part or all of the regular season might get canceled.


AZUZ: Zooming over to France where a battle has broken out, the sides are pretty evenly matched on paper. In fact, that`s where all the fighting is taking place. It`s on paper, although the real battle might be creativity versus productivity.

If all this sounds a little confusing, Jim Bitterman`s here to help make sense of a very sticky situation.


FABRICE CAMBONET, UBISOFT: Someone is coming, and just stick, again, the Post-It on -- see?

JIM BITTERMAN, CNN REPORTER: Just like that, another shot is fired in France`s Post-It wars. Who knew that those ubiquitous bits of half-glued colored paper could, in the right -- or wrong -- hands become weapons of glass obstruction?

But in office buildings across France, fierce competitions have broken out. It all apparently started here at the headquarters of the big French computer gaming company, Ubisoft.

CAMBONET: We sticked (sic) Space Invaders, a Space Invader character on the window. And the day after, at the BNT, which is the first bank in France, they.

BITTERMAN: Just across the way here.

CAMBONET: Yes, just across the -- across the way, they are -- they draw a Pac-Man. And that`s how the battle started.

BITTERMAN (voice-over): But planning and executing a multi-story mosaic is not a task for someone with an otherwise full agenda.

Those involved need concentration and an approach of military precision, because when you`re trying to make an artistic declaration over six or seven floors of an otherwise sterile office building, it takes time to work out where exactly to place all those thousands and thousands of bits, which brings up a sticky question.

How exactly does management feel about employees using time and energy on elaborate projects like these?

THIBAULT LHULLER, UBISOFT: It`s all pretty basically because you get other people from around the company, people that don`t know each other, and get to know each other over the course of a few days. And then they create something beautiful all together. So it`s a -- it`s a very good thing to doing (sic).

CAMBONET (voice-over): Not everyone, though, shares that view. In some places, management has forbidden block note window clutter, no matter how artistic.

Still, as you might expect in this highly contemplative country, there are sociologists who`ve reflected on the Post-It wars and what they might mean to the foot soldiers involved.

FRANCOIS DUPUY, SOCIOLOGIST: See, that`s perfectly try to communicate with people surrounding them, what difference it means vehicle used to communicate?

And here, in this case, it`s possible to communicate directly with your voice, because it`s even possible to open the windows, which mean that you`re going to find some things about states (ph) just to create some communication with other people surrounding you.


AZUZ: Before we go, what do you call a world record that isn`t yours?


AZUZ (voice-over): "Nacho" record! That`s exactly what you`re looking at right here, the world`s biggest plate of nachos. It looks more like a trough than a plate. But this one sour "creamed" the competition and made its way into the record books.

Chips, cheese, chili, salsa, onions -- once you stack all that up, this astronomical appetizer weighed in at nearly 4,000 pounds.


AZUZ: And if anyone tries to beat that record, we hope it`s someone who worked on this version, because then, at least, it would be a "chip" off the old block. So 4,000 pounds of nachos, bet you never "sal-such" a thing before in your life.

All right. We`re going to go now, before we bite off more than we can chew. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.