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Exchange of Prisoners in the Middle East; Hillary Clinton Meets With Libya`s Temporary Leadership

Aired October 19, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


GROUP: Ms. Hamilton`s (ph) sixth grade current events: This is CNN Student News. See ya.

CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: You`ll see me right now. Thanks to the students at Covington Douglas in Oklahoma for kicking off today`s show by sending us an iReport. You can do that, too, at I`m Carl Azuz, bringing you the headlines on this Wednesday, October 19th.

First up, an exchange of prisoners in the Middle East. You`ve heard us discuss the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. This latest news has both sides celebrating. It was a trade of one Israeli soldier, who was released yesterday, for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners who will be released in two stages.

Why one person in exchange for more than 1,000?


AZUZ (voice-over): Well, the Israeli soldier named Gilad Shalit was captured by Palestinian fighters five years ago. So his release means a great deal to a great number of Israelis. The Palestinian prisoners have been held in Israel for a wide variety of offenses, so their release means a great deal to a great number of Palestinians.

Outside countries are hoping that this exchange of prisoners will help ease tensions between the two sides.

Next story today takes us to North Africa. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stopped by Libya yesterday, and met with the nation`s temporary leader. There was a lot of security at Secretary Clinton`s visit. She`s the first U.S. Cabinet-level official to visit the new Libya, and the country`s still fighting a civil war with people who support the new government, battling fighters who want Moammar Gadhafi back in power.

Gadhafi is Libya`s former dictator. The U.S. was among several countries that helped kick him out over the summer. Libya`s new leaders thanked Secretary Clinton and America for their support. The U.S. hopes Libya will become a democracy in the near future.

They`re still dangerous. They`re still radioactive. Japan`s damaged nuclear reactors could be shut down a month ahead of schedule. This is at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, a place badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th.

The Tokyo electric power company was hoping to have the reactor shut down and sealed off by January. Now they`re saying it could be done by December. Eighty thousand people had to be evacuated because of this, and experts say it could take decades to clean up all of the dangerous nuclear material that seeped into the soil and the environment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See if you can ID me. I`m located in the Mojave Desert. My unique water supply helped make me a major city. My name means "the meadows" in Spanish. People from around the world visit my hotels and casinos.

I`m Las Vegas and while I`m not the capital of Nevada, I am its largest city.


AZUZ: Las Vegas is also where CNN hosted the Western Republican Debate last night.


AZUZ (voice-over): You are watching a time-lapse video of us setting up for it. The stakes are getting higher for the candidates, who hope to run against President Obama next year. This was their eighth debate overall, and ratings for earlier matchups showed roughly twice as many Americans are watching this time around than the early primary debates of four years ago.


AZUZ: Location in Las Vegas is also significant here. The economy has been the biggest issue in these debates so far. And as T.J. Holmes shows us, it`s one of Las Vegas` biggest problems.


T.J. HOLMES, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Welcome to Las Vegas, underneath the glittering lights and entertainment, a city that`s struggling in the down economy. Just ask the cab drivers.

HOLMES: You think that people don`t get it, how bad you`re hurting?

LANCE OLIVIA, TAXI DRIVER: They don`t. You know, the Strip will be busy to them. We know it`s not.

ANDY ABBOUD, V.P., LAS VEGAS SANDS CORPORATION: People are coming to Vegas, but they`re hesitant to spend money.

HOLMES (voice-over): Andy Abboud helps to run the Venetian. He said business is starting to pick up, but it`s not enough by itself.

ABBOUD: So while other people in other parts of the country are rolling in, locals still don`t have the confidence they can go out and start buying homes again and making money.

HOLMES (voice-over): Construction, the engine of the Vegas boom, has come to a standstill. The unemployment rate is at 14.2 percent. The foreclosure rate is higher here than anywhere else in the country. One of the few places that`s bustling: Vetserve (ph), which provides meals for veterans who can`t afford them.

SHALIMAR CABRERA, VETSERVE (PH): The economy is closing down businesses, and they`re losing jobs. So the number one reason veterans are coming to us right now is unemployment.

HOLMES (voice-over): One idea to help Vegas rebound: trying to put the focus back on the people who live here.

ZACH WARE, ZAPPOS.COM: So this is Fremont Street, which is the original Strip.

HOLMES (voice-over): So Zach Ware works for the Internet`s premier shoe shopping site, The company is in the process of relocating more than 1,200 employees to downtown -- old Vegas -- the heart of an economically depressed area.

WARE: For us, the community and the locals are first. And if we happen to create something that`s really, really cool as a community, and they want to come visit, that is awesome. We`d love that.

I think that the most important thing we can do as a community is really focus on creating the elements in downtown Las Vegas that serve the community, and not sort of fall into the trap that (inaudible) the Strip has fallen into for all the right reasons, which is we need to serve the tourist community. We need to make sure it works for them first and then the locals second.


AZUZ: Call it the perfect dust storm.


AZUZ (voice-over): These weren`t rain clouds rolling into Lubbock, Texas, though heaven knows rain is needed there. The Texas drought is part of the reason why this 8,000-foot dust cloud descended on Monday.

Extra dry soil plus a cold front joined forces here. The cloud blew in on winds as fast as 75 miles per hour, taking down trees and causing some minor damage. It also coated everything around in dirt and dust. Texas` summer wildfires factored into this, too. Plants that normally would have held soil in place had burned up.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Mr. Mosqueda`s social studies classes at Santan Junior High School in Chandler, Arizona. Which of these vehicles was invented last? Here we go. Was it the locomotive, motorcycle, steam boat or hot air balloon? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The motorcycle, whose invention dates back to the late 1800s, came last in the group. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Some of the first motorcycles were three-wheelers. You had two wheels up front, one in the back. And some manufacturers would just take a bicycle and then slap an engine on it. We`ve come a long way in performance since then.

Not as far in safety. But in addition to helmets and protective clothing, Dan Simons spoke to an inventor whose two-wheeled vehicle wouldn`t tip over.


DAN SIMONS, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. But if it ever hits the street, it could very well revolutionize transportation.

Danny Kim took his expert knowledge of vehicles and engineering, and let his imagination run wild.

DANNY KIM, FOUNDER AND CEO, LIT MOTORS: The best way to describe it is we take the efficiency and romance of a motorcycle, and we integrate the convenience and safety of a car.

SIMONS (voice-over): It began with a simple scooter with Kim and a small team in San Francisco testing out their theories. They recently completed this prototype, which for now, is just a slick frame that sits in the middle of a three-story garage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get in it just like you would a normal car, and you shut the door.

SIMONS (voice-over): It has two wheels like a motorcycle, but the steering wheel of a car plus it will have a regular accelerator and brake and be fully electric.

KIM: There it goes.

SIMONS (voice-over): The secret, he says, to making this eventually run is with two gyroscopes that keep the vehicle upright. Kim says it represents eight years of research on mockups like the scooter.

KIM: We use the gyroscopes to stabilize the vehicle when it`s tilting and leaning in a turn. So let`s say if you come to an intersection and you get T-boned, you know, what happens is the vehicle would just skid and scoot over and it`ll never actually fall over.

SIMONS: So it`ll always be on those two wheels?

KIM: It`ll always be upright on two wheels.

SIMONS (voice-over): Kim hopes to have an actual product on sale in just a few years with what he says is an affordable price of $16,000.

KIM: My long-term vision is to have it be their primary commuting vehicle, at least in the United States.


AZUZ: You know sometimes if you`re playing basketball and you`re not up for one-on-one, so you just play Horse?


AZUZ (voice-over): So does he. This equine athlete is known as Amos the Wonder Horse. His vertical isn`t that great, but he gets the "mane" idea. Now before you go thinking you could totally take him on the court, wait. Amos also plays xylophone. Uh-huh. You may be this talented, but not this random.

Amos uses his tricks to make everyone smile, but he can`t tell you about it.


Because after all that activity, hey, he`s a little "horse". Just terrible.

If that you looking for another pun, we`ll "pony" up tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.