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European Leaders Work to Prevent Another Debt Crisis; Iran Claims to Have Shot Down U.S. Drone

Aired December 6, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Walker`s (ph) Hoover High School history class doesn`t want to "force" the news on you.

GROUP: But may the Azuz be with you.


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: The Azuz is with you. Thanks to Hoover High School and our viewers from all over the galaxy. This is CNN Student News, bringing you headlines from near and far, far away.

Leaders in Europe are trying to prevent another debt crisis with a new money plan, and this is needed because some European countries are spending much more money than they`re taking in. They`re running on huge deficits. And because many of them share the same currency -- the euro -- if one of these governments goes under, it could hurt all of their economies, the U.S. economy, and others worldwide.


AZUZ (voice-over): Here are two of the major players, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, getting out of the car here, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. These two leaders represent the two largest economies in Europe.

They believe their new plan will prevent another major debt crisis and stabilize Europe`s economies. But it still has to be ratified by most members of the European Union and what`s unknown is if it will be and if it will work.


AZUZ: Well, geography is playing a part in the latest disagreement between the U.S. and Iran. These two countries are not friendly, and Iran claims it recently shot down a U.S. drone, an unmanned aircraft used by the military to gather information.

Iran says the drone was flying over its airspace. The U.S. says its drones don`t fly over Iranian airspace. Barbara Starr explains how else geography factors in and why this is bad new for U.S. intelligence if Iran is telling the truth.


BARBARA STARR, CNN REPORTER: Iranian authorities say they shot down a highly classified U.S. unmanned spy plane over its territory along its eastern border with Afghanistan. Iran says the drone they shot down is an RQ-170. Now that`s one of the most secret drones in the U.S. military and intelligence arsenal, a stealth drone that can fly largely undetected, gathering intelligence and targeting information.

So far the U.S., using the NATO alliance in Afghanistan to issue a statement, is only saying, quote, "The UAV to which the Iranians are referring may be a U.S. unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week. The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status."

That according to the statement. Now U.S. officials tell CNN the flight crew operating the drone did report a loss of flight controls before the drone went down. But they`re not saying it was shot down and they`re not saying it`s an RQ-170.

The key question now is, shot down or not, do the Iranians have their hands on classified U.S. intelligence technology? If the Iranians do, the U.S. knows it`s not getting any of that back -- Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See if you can ID me. I`m a country located in southeast Asia just north of Malaysia. I`ve been in the news recently for months of historic flooding. My largest city is also my capital, Bangkok.

I`m Thailand, home to the world`s longest serving monarch.


AZUZ: That monarch is Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was formally crowned king of Thailand in 1950. That was two years before Queen Elizabeth began her reign in Britain. King Adulyadej is now celebrating his 84th birthday.


AZUZ (voice-over): Thailand is going to be celebrating this all week. It`s a chance for many people there to have a break from recovering from the floods and to be part of events that also include fathers` day and the pardon of tens of thousands of prisoners.

Like Britain, Thailand has a constitutional monarchy, which means the monarch`s powers are limited, and that the country`s parliament has the decision-making power. Unlike Britain, Thailand`s constitution puts the king in a place of worship, and the people aren`t allowed to criticize him.


AZUZ: Mail delivery could slow down in the new year. The United States Postal Service is losing billions of dollars. Some blame email for that; others blame bad planning in the organization. Bottom line: it needs money.


AZUZ (voice-over): So the USPS is proposing to cut costs by slowing down service. A first-class letter currently takes one to three days to deliver. It would take two to five days with more post offices and mail processing places closed. Twenty-eight thousand postal workers would lose their jobs by the end of next year. The service says the plan will save it more than $2 billion, but Congress would have to approve it.


AZUZ: Well, the U.S.-led war continues in Afghanistan, but thousands of America`s troops are returning home from Iraq as the war there quickly winds down. And though the country they`re leaving behind has an uncertain future, the one they`re coming home to has its arms outstretched. You`re going to see what we mean in this report by Chris Lawrence.



CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): At the first glimpse of her father in nearly a year, Alexandria Frey showed us just how fast a 14- year old can move. She started high school while her dad was gone. Her mom had to do everything alone.

MICHELLE FREY: It has been a very long 10 months. Glad it`s over.

LAWRENCE: Is there any way to describe what it feels like to have your dad back after so long?

ALEXANDRIA FREY: No. I don`t know, it`s good.

LAWRENCE: What did you miss most about him?

A. FREY: He was more like my best friend, so yes.

LAWRENCE: Now you`ve got your best friend back?

A. FREY: Yes. I had more of a bond with him than anything, so, yes.

LAWRENCE: Go enjoy your time.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): The last few hours of waiting were the toughest. Then, the plane full of soldiers finally landed, and the troops got a welcome home fit for rocks stars. Christmas wishes were answered, the fight in Iraq, finished. For Sgt. Maj. Erik Frey, it`s bittersweet.

SGT. MAJ. ERIK FREY, U.S. ARMY: I guess, in one sense, I feel happy that it`s -- that it`s over with and that we`re getting all of our (inaudible) out. But then you kind of look back at the sacrifices that our -- that our soldiers have made and our family members have made.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Both in blood and money.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): At one point, the U.S. was spending $5,000 per second in Iraq. The war took nearly 4,500 American lives, and 32,000 troops came home wounded. But these are some of the last Americans to leave Iraq. And they won`t be going back.

MAJ. MIKE IANNUCCILLI: This was my third deployment, first one with both of these guys, and it was a lot harder, but it just makes it that much sweeter coming home.



AZUZ (voice-over): It`s a new blog called "Schools of Thought." It`s about all things education. It`s a click away at And it`s something you teachers are going to love. "Schools of Thought" includes perspectives that include policies, practices and people. It makes trending stories in your world of education as close as your computer screen.


AZUZ: Robots are defined as machines that can do things for us, or in our place. We don`t often think of how they can influence us. For an interesting view on that, we`re headed to a high school in San Antonio, Texas, where it`s the robots that are helping build the students.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I wanted to try something different, so I was like, you know what, why not robotics?

MARY BAUGHMAN, TEACHER: It`s an opportunity for them to do something they`ve never done before. A lot of them are like, I`ve never worked with tools; I`ve never worked on a computer. And they found out, after six weeks, they can do it. And there`s nothing like getting a robot out there and seeing it do well, and the pride you have from doing something like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It opens possibilities for others, so.

REY SALDANA, CITY COUNCILMAN: And the wave of the future seems to be more folks are students that are educated in technology and science and engineering. You guys are already doing it, so thank you for at least accomplishing that much.

ZACHARY PERALES, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: This organization is all about helping each other, learning more, trying to become smarter as a group, as basically a community.

BAUGHMAN: Some of the students, it actually influences the jobs they do have. We`ve had students go to Lockheed and Boeing. We`ve had some that -- it can be as simple as belonging to a group. And, because of that, it`s important. I`ve already seen students` grades going up, their attendance going up, their leadership going up. And they don`t realize it`s happening until they get an opportunity like this.


AZUZ: We`ve got lights. We`ve got tinsel. We`ve got ornaments. We hope we don`t have this:


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A snake in our Christmas tree.

AZUZ (voice-over): That`s exactly what a six-year old recently found in this Christmas tree. The snake wasn`t poisonous, but it wasn`t welcome, either, as you can hear by the screams. So they got it out of there before it could scare Santa. The family who sent in this iReport says the tree is artificial, but the snake wasn`t, so it now lives out in the woods.


AZUZ: . though we hear the experience scared it out of its skin. The snake managed to hold its tongue through the ordeal, so we never got "hiss" side of the story. CNN Student News, back tomorrow. Bye-bye.