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MLK Jr Memorial Dedicated; US Sends Troops to Central Africa; Big Ben is Leaning

Aired October 17, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: An earthquake and hurricane may have delayed this day, but this is a day that would not be denied. For this day, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.`s return to the National Mall. In this place, he will stand for all time



GROUP: CNN Student News rocks!


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Mr. Johnson`s (ph) students, you rock for sending us that iReport. Thanks so much for that.

Hello, everyone, my name is Carl Azuz. This is CNN Student News. First up today, we`re going to Washington, D.C., and the event where President Obama was speaking.

The dedication of the national memorial for civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You heard the president mention delays from an earthquake, from a hurricane.

This dedication was actually supposed to happen back in August on the anniversary of the historic march on Washington. That`s when Dr. King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.


AZUZ (voice-over): During yesterday`s ceremony, President Obama talked about how Americans today could draw inspiration from King`s work and how, quote, "we can`t be discouraged by what is. We`ve got to keep pushing for what ought to be."

The dedication included musical performances and speeches by a wide range of people from Dr. King`s children to other leaders in the civil rights movement.


AZUZ: Martin Luther King Jr. was from Atlanta and some students from the city had plans to head up to D.C. for this dedication. They talked about why they were looking forward to the event.


JOVANAY CHARTER, STUDENT: I`m excited because not only will I be able to get to meet certain civil rights activist, but I will able to stand and see everything that Dr. Martin Luther King worked for.

ALEXIS BOOKER, STUDENT: He was not just about helping blacks. He was about helping all races, no matter what color, no matter what you did to him. He was about forgiveness. He wasn`t just about, OK, well, this is my race, and we don`t have this. He was about equality to all mankind. Everybody deserve equal rights.

LARCRECIA WALKER, STUDENT: I want to witness something that should go down in history like it`s very -- it`s very emotional for me, because since I wasn`t there when Martin Luther King was alive, it`s good to witness something like this and you have to come back and tell everyone about it.


AZUZ: The "Occupy Wall Street" movement seems to be going global. These protests started several weeks ago in New York. Different people who were involved say they`re protesting against a lot of different things. But anger at the U.S. financial industry has been a consistent theme with these.


AZUZ (voice-over): Well, the protests have spread to other cities in America, now to other cities worldwide, Rome, Berlin, London, Hong Kong, people all over, talking about how the world`s financial problems have hit them.

Most of the protests were peaceful. Some did turn violent. For example, in Italy, a different group joined the "Occupy" protests. They fought with police, set cars on fire and smashed windows.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Mr. Krieger`s social studies classes at Morgan Township School in Malden, Indiana.

On what continent will you find the capital cities of Kampala and Kinshasa? You know what to do.

Is it Europe, Asia, Africa or South America? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Kampala and Kinshasa are the capitals of two African countries. That`s your answer, and that`s your shoutout.


AZUZ: Specifically, those are the capitals of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. U.S. troops are heading to those nations and two others, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. They`re going to advise regional forces, so to give advice to folks in their fight against a militant group that`s accused of killing thousands of people and kidnapping large numbers of children.

President Obama says his decision to send troops is connected to protecting America national security. But some U.S. leaders have raised concerns about getting involved in a commitment that the U.S. might not be able to get out of. Barbara Starr looks at the U.S. military`s efforts across Africa.


BARBARA STARR, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): President Obama is sending 100 combat equipped troops to central Africa to advise local forces on getting rid of one of the continent`s most vicious operatives, Joseph Kony, the head of the Lord`s Resistance Army, a group responsible for atrocities across the region.

It`s the first open deployment of U.S. ground combat power to Africa since the Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia in the 1990s that killed 18 troops. U.S. troops may wind up now in Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It`s part of a growing military effort to engage in Africa.

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: And so our presence on the African continent is part of our network of building partners of gaining intelligence.

STARR (voice-over): Still, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff warned current budget cuts could risk it all at a time when the threat to Americans is rising.

Gen. Carter Ham oversees all U.S. military operations on the continent. His major worry: Al Qaida in Africa`s threat to Americans. Right now, he said, Al Qaida groups in Somalia, as well as Algeria, Mali and Nigeria, are trying to join forces.

GEN. CARTER HAM, U.S. AFRICA COMMANDER: At least the stated intent for those organizations to collaborate and synchronize, which, if they are able to do so, would establish an extremist link, network, if you will, that would extend from Somalia across the north, into the Sahel and then into west Africa. And that network would be very dangerous, not only to us as Americans, but clearly to the Africans as well.

STARR (voice-over): Gen. Ham, along with the Central Intelligence Agency, is focused on targeting the militant Al-Shabaab group in Somalia, which is recruiting American Somalis for terrorist training.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See if you can ID me. I`m a famous European landmark. You`ll find me in Italy, where my construction started in 1173. I`m known for not standing up straight.

I`m the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and I lean because I settled unevenly on soft ground.


AZUZ: Concern about soft ground is why some engineers are looking into another famous tower`s tilt. This one`s in London, the clock tower known as Big Ben. The lean isn`t nearly as noticeable as the one you`ll see at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In fact, some people weren`t sure if Big Ben was leaning at all.

So Max Foster went inside the mystery in the tower to get some answers.


MAX FOSTER, CNN REPORTER: Well, there it is, instantly recognizable, of course. But rumor has it this whole tower is toppling over. And what`s worse, it`s toppling over this way, so I feel a bit vulnerable right now. Anyway, to get to the bottom of these rumors, I`m going to climb right back up to the very top.

The first thing to say is we`ve just climbed 334 steps and, yes, I am feeling it.

The second thing to say is that when we talk about Big Ben, we`re talking about this: it`s the bell. Big Ben is not the tower, it`s not even the clock, it`s the bell. It`s a common misconception, but now you know.

Well, this is an iconic image. This is the clock face here at the tower, looking at it from behind, obviously. And a vast clock face it is from this angle. Jonathan Prew, thank you so much for joining us. You`re the principal surveyor here, and you`re the expert. So tell us: is the tower leaning or isn`t it?

JONATHAN PREW, SURVEYOR: Yes, the tower is leaning, but just by a very small amount.

FOSTER: How much?

PREW: Well, at this level here, where we`re standing, it`s just about 267 millimeters, which is about that much.

FOSTER: But, as I understand it, it`s leaning more every year. So it`s a -- it`s a -- it`s a growing problem?

PREW: It`s gradually leaning, but it`s leaning at a very small amount. It`s less than a millimeter per annum.

FOSTER: And at what stage, then, do we get to the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

PREW: Well, if nothing happened, it`s over 4,000 years.

FOSTER: And so nothing to worry about right now?

PREW: Nothing to worry about now.


AZUZ: Well, before we go, a lesson about why you should carefully consider how you answer some questions.


AZUZ (voice-over): For example, what would you do for a free season pass to your favorite amusement park? The answer to that one is why these people are chowing down on giant roaches. The promotion was simple: eat a roach, win free roller coaster rides, two events that aren`t for those with weak stomachs. There are some strategies for this. The best way to eat a roach is, of course.


AZUZ: . "insections." That was probably the first time they tried that promotion idea. Before the second attempt, you know, they`re just going to have to work the "bugs" out.

Ah, yes, the "pun" continues on CNN Student News. Our Facebook fans requested it. And if you`re on Facebook, stop by and help us decide whether to pun or not to pun. See you tomorrow.