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George Zimmerman Charged

Aired April 12, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz and welcome to CNN Student News. We have a bit of breaking news leading off today`s show, news out of Florida that happened right as we were producing this show last night.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey announced that George Zimmerman has been charged with murder in the second degree. Zimmerman is the neighborhood watch leader who shot and killed Trayvon Martin back in February. He told police he acted in self-defense.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman turned himself in to authorities yesterday, and you can get more details on the shooting and the special prosecutor`s announcement by going to the "Spotlight" section at

Once again, for you, though, George Zimmerman being charged with murder in the second degree in connection with the death of Trayvon Martin. The rest of today`s edition of CNN Student News starts right now.


AZUZ: A massive earthquake followed the threat of a tsunami for people in Indonesia. That combination could bring up tragic memories. In 2004, there was an earthquake off the Indonesian coast, and that triggered a tsunami, this giant wall of water. It killed more than 200,000 people --


AZUZ (voice-over): -- was absolutely catastrophic for the region. Well, yesterday, there was another major quake. This one had a magnitude of 8.6. It hit the same area, off the coast of the island of Sumatra. There was also a powerful aftershock a couple hours later.

Some residents were told to evacuate to get to higher ground, where they would be safer. Officials put out a tsunami watch, but they canceled that later in the day. Unlike the massive devastation of eight years before, there were no immediate reports of deaths or destruction from this quake.

We`ve been talking to you recently about this. It was a ship that was washed away by the tsunami that hit Japan last year. It was thought to be lost until it showed up off the coast of Canada. The thing was still intact.

It was part of this giant field of debris that the tsunami washed out into the Pacific Ocean. You see it moving across the Pacific in this simulation on your screen now.

Over the course of a year, this ship drifted all the way across the Pacific. The Japanese ship gradually drifted into U.S. waters. It was drifting at about a mile per hour, and heading toward fishing areas in the Gulf of Alaska. That`s when the U.S. Coast Guard decided to sink it. Officials said the Japanese vessel posed a threat to other ships in the area. They also said it might be an environmental hazard.

So late last week, the Coast Guard opened fire with cannons on this ship. They blew holes in its side. What`s interesting is it took more than four hours for it to sink.

On April 12th, back in 1861, Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. That marked the beginning of the U.S. Civil War. In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the longest-serving president in U.S. history, died a few months into his fourth term in office.

In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to travel into space. His historic journey lasted just under two hours. And 20 years after that, in 1981, NASA launched the space shuttle program. The vehicle was Columbia; the program lasted for 30 years.


AZUZ: April is National Autism Awareness Month. The goal is to educate people about this medical disorder and about issues in the autism community.


AZUZ (voice-over): Autism is actually a series of developmental disorders. They usually appear before someone turns three years old. The symptoms are different from person to person, but all autism disorders affect the ability to communicate and to interact with others.

Last month, a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about one out of every 88 of the 8-year-old children it surveyed has autism. These disorders are about five times more common among boys than among girls.


AZUZ: While autism is often diagnosed in childhood, is a lifelong disorder, there`s no cure for it, and for adults with autism, finding a job can be a very difficult struggle. Gena Somra reports on one business that`s trying to help.


GENA SOMRA, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Tom Pinchbeck never dreamed he`d turn his family rose farm into an employment center for people with autism.

After fierce international competition forced him to close the farm started by his great-grandfather, a family friend worried about his own autistic son`s future, helped reshaped Pinchbeck`s legacy. Now Pinchbeck is working with the non-profit group, Ability Beyond Disability to put a dent in the staggering 88 percent unemployment rate among Americans with autism.

JOAN VOLPE, VICE PRESIDENT, ABILITY BEYOND DISABILITY: He likes for folks to come into our program, learn the skills that they need to learn and let us help them place them in their community where they live and find a job and hopefully a career.

SOMRA (voice-over): Will Swartzell, a 19-year old with autism, is one of Rose`s employees. He and his mother, Sondra, say potential employers should put aside stereotypes that may prevent them from hiring those with autism.

WILL SWARTZELL, ROSES FOR AUTISM EMPLOYEE: I believe that autism only -- for me, it tells me that I learn a certain way that the majority doesn`t really, you know, is used to learning.

SOMRA (voice-over): With the help of a few charitable grants, Roses for Autism is now helping young adults with autism improve their lives, and Pinchbeck`s rose farm is also back, producing close to 1 million flowers per year -- Gena Somra, CNN, Gilford, Connecticut.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Chaney`s government class at Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat in Quinhagak, Alaska. Which branch of the U.S. military was established most recently. Here we go. Is it the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The United States Air Force was established as its own branch of the military in 1947. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Members of the Air Force don`t just serve in the sky. In fact, today, we`re talking about a group of airmen that does most of its work on the ground. It`s a specialty unit. It`s credited with saving hundreds of lives. Reynolds Wolf caught up with some of them recently and learned how they unleash their unique skills.

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Robins Air Force Base in Georgia is home to some 7,000 airmen, six of them are among the most deployed and most vital in the military.

Like Azak, a 5-year-old German shepherd -- yes, he`s a dog, but he`s also considered an airman.

STAFF SGT. ROCKY FOREMAN, USAF: They`re not people, obviously, but they, you know, they`re almost like that for us. They`re our partners, so that`s how we look at them.

WOLF (voice-over): Staff Sgt. Rocky Foreman is Azak`s handler.

FOREMAN: (Inaudible) my dog (inaudible).


FOREMAN: Get out of here! Oh!

WOLF (voice-over): He says there`s a lot more to his job than just holding a leash.

WOLF: What is his specific role?

FOREMAN: Well, he can find certain types of explosive or narcotics. He is also a patrol certified dog, so that means he can do the bite work, the escort, the detention and apprehension of suspects.

Get it, boy. Get it, boy. Azak, get him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoo! Get your dog. Get your dog. Get your dog off me.

FOREMAN: Whoa, buddy.


FOREMAN: Azak, out.

And they can save lives, just like soldiers and airmen can. They can stop the whole line of patrol before you even get to a detonation or a hazardous area, due to their detection sense. That`s when you would halt everything and basically you would -- whoever`s with you, that`s how many lives you saved because of his nose.

WOLF (voice-over): It`s estimated these dogs save an average of 150 lives each.

LT. COL. TOM MORSE, COMMANDER, 78TH SECURITY FORCES SQUADRON: The dogs don`t know that they`re being heroes. They`re just doing what they think is right between their relationship that they have with their handler and themselves.

WOLF (voice-over): That partnership is critical to their success.

MORSE: It`s extremely that we do find the right handler with the right dog. The better the relationship, the better the detection capability, the better the capability they`re going to be having when they`re going out there and doing any kind of mission.

WOLF: How do they decompress? How do they separate themselves from a very violent, from a very frightening situation?

MORSE: They have some downtime, where they`re able to go and relax. And it might be just that handler having time with the dog, petting it, playing with it a bit more. And then they go out and do the mission again. It becomes routine, and it becomes something that the dog looks forward to.

WOLF (voice-over): Staff Sgt. Foreman is relying on that relationship.

FOREMAN: Azak, out. Sit.

WOLF (voice-over): The two will head overseas in a matter of weeks.

WOLF: Do you feel confident when you`re deployed, having this guy with you?

FOREMAN: I feel completely confident with him by my side overseas. We`re good to go.


AZUZ: I`d be confident with him, too. And you know, dogs aren`t the only animals we`ve seen used in the military. We had a report recently about how dolphins are used to detect mines underwater. Always cool to see animals serving in our armed forces.

Well, before we go today, there is a new reason to think twice about texting while walking. This 400-pound black bear was wandering around the California neighborhood recently. The news helicopter tracking him had the perfect view for what`s coming up.

There`s a guy walking, looking down at his phone. Then he looks up -- there he goes. Takes off. Can you imagine, texting while walking, looking up and having a bear? A lot of people just walk into street signs. You can`t blame the guy for turning tail. He was actually texting to tell his boss he was going to be late because of some commotion outside his home. He was right.


AZUZ: Should have just showed him the video of the close encounter though, because that would have put the story into context. Luckily, the man was a runner, so he was able to get away, but just "bearly." We hope you enjoy the rest of your Thursday. We will be back tomorrow with more CNN Student News, possibly more puns if you`re lucky. I`ll see you later. I`m Carl Azuz.