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Whitney Houston Dies; Rmeny Takes Maine, CPAC Votes; Rising Ocean Levels

Aired February 13, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: All right, it`s true. The weekend`s over, and I`m sorry about that. But that does mean it`s the start of a whole new week of CNN Student News. That`s a good thing. I`m Carl Azuz, bringing you today`s headlines from the CNN Newsroom in Atlanta, Georgia.

If you`ve been on the Internet or on Twitter, or if you watched last night`s Grammy awards, you know about the death of Whitney Houston. The pop superstar was found dead on Saturday. Officials are trying to figure out what caused Houston`s death. She was 48 years old.


AZUZ (voice-over): Whitney Houston was a musical icon. The singer launched a career in the 1980s. She sold more than 170 million albums and won six Grammy awards, and her success extended to movies, too.

In recent years, Houston made headlines because of her battles with drug addiction. There were reports she was making a comeback with new concerts and a movie in the works. There`s more on Whitney Houston`s life, death and musical legacy at


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this legit? A presidential candidate who wins a political straw poll is awarded delegates.

Not legit. Straw polls are unofficial votes that indicate general opinions.


AZUZ: The general opinion expressed by one recent straw poll is that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the leading Republican presidential candidate.


AZUZ (voice-over): The poll was taken at the CPAC conference last week -- that`s the Conservative Political Action Committee. It`s an annual meeting of political conservatives in Washington, D.C. The straw poll doesn`t officially affect the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

What is official are the results of Maine`s Republican caucuses. They wrapped up on Saturday, and former Governor Romney came in first place there as well. He got 39 percent of the vote. Representative Ron Paul was a close second, with 36 percent.

Former Senator Rick Santorum and Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who didn`t do much campaigning in Maine, came in third and fourth places.


AZUZ: The Arab League is trying to figure out what it might do about the crisis in Syria. The group is considering sanctions or penalties against Syria. It`s also talking about sending military experts into the country to examine the violence there.

Syria says it rejects any decision that the Arab League might make. Ivan Watson has the latest on the crisis.


IVAN WATSON, CNN REPORTER: Residents of the besieged city of Homs awoke once again at dawn on Saturday morning --

WATSON (voice-over): -- to another day of sustained bombardment from the Syrian military. That is routine, a deadly routine they have lived for for the better part of a week, a routine that has killed hundreds of people and wounded hundreds of more at the hands, according to the U.S. ambassador to Syria, of the Syrian military.

Take a listen to what Ambassador Robert Ford had to say to CNN`s Wolf Blitzer on Friday night.

ROBERT FORD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA: We know who is shelling Homs, and it is not the armed opposition groups. It`s the government. And that`s why I wanted that picture put on our Facebook account so that people could see there is the artillery and that`s what`s firing at Homs right now.

The opposition has rifles, it has machine guns, it even has a few rocket propelled grenades, but it doesn`t have artillery. Only one side in this has artillery.

WATSON (voice-over): The Syrian government has consistently argued since the beginning of this uprising nearly 11 months ago that it is fighting armed terrorists linked to Al Qaeda. That is how they have termed the -- what started as peaceful protests around the country.

Increasingly we are seeing signs that the opposition is resorting to the use of arms to fight back against the Syrian security forces. One Syrian opposition group claimed responsibility --

WATSON: -- for killing 10 Syrian soldiers in the northern province of Idlib as a result of an improvised explosive device and an ambush.

WATSON (voice-over): Now, Turkey has made an announcement, the Turkish foreign minister visiting Washington, that it is going to start a process, going to apply to the United Nations at its headquarters in Geneva to try to find some way to start sending humanitarian aid to Syria.

The potential obstacles to trying to send aid in would be significant and would probably require the permission of the Syrian regime itself, which is accused of encircling cities like Homs --

WATSON: -- and preventing fresh supplies of food and basic medicines -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Istanbul.


AZUZ: We`ve got comments on both sides of a report about whether a parade should be thrown for Iraq veterans.


AZUZ (voice-over): Breonna thinks we should have a parade for our veterans, "just not at the moment. I think this because not all of our veterans are home from war yet."

Madelyn feels that there shouldn`t be any debate about it. "If . people risk their lives for their country, they should be honored with a parade when they come home."

Peter says we should have a parade for Iraq war veterans, but we should do it "once all of our troops are out so they can take part."

Harasmiy doesn`t think it`s yet time to hold parades. The Iraq war is "a controversial topic.and to hold a parade now would only bring about more controversy."

Abbie writes, "The fact that our own government won`t celebrate our heroes who protect this country, just because they think it might be a premature celebration, is just plain sad and wrong."

And from Aaron: "We have grown up seeing the slogan, `support our troops,` yet when it comes time to recognize them, we hesitate and make excuses. They didn`t make excuses when it came time to fight. Now is not the time for us to."



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Mr. Kane`s global history classes at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School in Burnt Hills, New York.

Which of these is located below sea level? You know what to do. Is it Lake Tahoe, Rio de Janeiro, Lake Victoria or New Orleans? You`ve got three seconds, go.

New Orleans has a bowl-shaped terrain, so a lot of the city is located below sea level. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: In fact, New Orleans has gradually been getting farther below that zero elevation point. It`s because the sea level has been going up. In this next report, John Zarrella looks at some of the explanations for why this is happening. He also explains how last year was different.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Standing on the shore, looking out at the water, you see a difference? No, there`s no way you`d notice it.

Despite all that talk of rising sea level, scientists found that last year, it actually fell, just an itsy-bitsy bit, about 0.2 of an inch? Why? Just one of those freak things. More water happened to fall on land.

JOSH WILLIS, NASA OCEANOGRAPHER: So about a trillion tons of extra water fell on land that normally would fall in the ocean.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): The biggest recipients of all that extra water, Australia, where it caused terrible flooding that`s still going on, and the northeastern part of South America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can see the rainy seasons and the dry seasons over the continents.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): But it was just a hiccup in an otherwise steady rise in global sea level, which has been faster during the past 100 years, NASA scientists say, than at any time during the past 2,000.

A new satellite study of the Earth shows why. The blue shade indicates places where the land ice is being lost. Red is where it`s gaining. Huge amounts of the planet`s land ice, glaciers, Greenland, Antarctica and the ice caps are, the study indicates, melting annually and contributing to sea level rise.

Some spots in the U.S. -- Alaska, Louisiana, could be hard-hit. Studies indicate sea level rise in South Florida from 9 inches to two feet by 2060. Officials here say plans have to be enacted now or scenes like this will be come far more widespread -- John Zarrella, CNN, Ft. Lauderdale.


AZUZ: Last week, we showed you a dog watching ping-pong. That was child`s play --


AZUZ (voice-over): -- compared to this, ping-pong prodigy. Actually, this is child`s play, too, when you think about it. Still impressive. This baby`s parents plopped him on the table and started serving up practice shots. Then they served the video up on YouTube. Maybe one day this little guy will be the world`s greatest ping-pong player. We`ll have to table that idea for a while, because right now --


AZUZ: -- his career is just is its infancy. We`d say he`s probably the best baby ping-pong player we`ve seen, but that seems kind of like a backhanded compliment. When do you think he might consider a bigger sport? I`d say "ten-nis" probably a good guess. We`ll reset the table with more headlines tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.