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Sudan-South Sudan Conflict; A Year after Massive Tornado Outbrak

Aired April 30, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET




ERIKA BOOTH, MILITARY CHILD OF THE YEAR: Hi, I`m Erika Booth, Marine Corps Child of the Year, and you`re watching CNN Student News.


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: It`s the end of the month, but a new week of CNN Student News is just getting started. We want to give a big thanks to Erika Booth for helping us get things started today. You`re going to hear a lot more from her later on.

First up, though, we`re looking at a conflict in Africa.

The president of Sudan has declared a state of emergency for cities along his country`s southern border.


AZUZ (voice-over): That`s because of fighting between Sudan and South Sudan. The Sudanese Air Force has launched attacks against ground forces from South Sudan. Several South Sudanese soldiers were wounded in an attack on Sunday, according to a reporter who was traveling with them.

Sudan used to be Africa`s largest nation. It struggled through decades of war until a peace deal was reached in 2005. That led to South Sudan becoming an independent country last year.


AZUZ: But disagreements remained between the two countries, including the status of their citizens, areas along the border that are disputed and how the countries share their oil. Earlier this month, South Sudan took control of a region that produces about half of Sudan`s oil. That was part of what led to this weekend`s fighting.


AZUZ (voice-over): It`s April 30th, and on this day in history in 1789, George Washington was inaugurated in New York as President of the United States.

In 1803, representatives from the United States and France finished negotiating the Louisiana Purchase. The deal doubled America`s size.

In 1945, the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, committed suicide in his Berlin headquarters. Germany surrendered soon afterward.

And in 1975, the Vietnam War came to an end when South Vietnam surrendered after North Vietnamese troops took over Saigon.


AZUZ: One year and three days ago an outbreak of tornadoes ripped across parts of the southern United States. Fifty-three people were killed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, when one of the twisters hit there.

On Saturday, former pro football and basketball player Bo Jackson arrived in Tuscaloosa at the end of a 300-mile bike ride. Jackson said his goal was to raise money for tornado victims and raise awareness about the struggle to rebuild. George Howell has more on those efforts.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s been one year since this EF-4 monster left its mark on Tuscaloosa, a year since we last spoke to the owner of this Krispy Kreme Donuts.

HOWELL: Is all this a total loss?


HOWELL (voice-over): Today, Evan Smith is still working to rebuild.

HOWELL: We`re talking like a year after this tornado came through here, and we`ll still waiting for the concrete to be poured here.

SMITH: That`s amazing, you know, in one sense, you want to be upset and think how could it take 12 months. But a lot went on in those 12 months.

HOWELL (voice-over): First came the massive effort to remove debris, according to city officials, 1.5 million cubit yards of it, county-wide.

Overall, 12.6 percent of the city was destroyed.

SMITH: Most tornadoes hit a house, skip a house, hit a house. This thing was taking everything out, you know, half a mile, a mile wide.

GARY LIMMROTH, TORNADO VICTIM: There were trees all through here.

HOWELL (voice-over): Gary Limmroth survived by taking shelter in his basement. His home had to be demolished. So now he`s starting over.

LIMMROTH: It does take a while to figure out how do you want to build back, how do you want to do it -- do you want to come back? I mean, there were a lot of people that are still across the lake that are trying to decide. Some have decided they just can`t take it. They couldn`t be here in the constant reminder every day of seeing it.

HOWELL (voice-over): You can see the difference best from satellite imagery. This is the corner of 15th and McFarland (ph) Blvd., before the tornado hit. Here`s an image of the corner just after the storm came through. There`s debris everywhere.

HOWELL: This is what that same neighborhood looks like today. We`re left here with an empty field where these homes once stood. The tornado was on the ground for less than six minutes, and overall 53 people were killed here in Tuscaloosa alone.

This is going to be the safe room. This is poured-in-place concrete walls.

HOWELL (voice-over): Residents are rebuilding to be better prepared.

HOWELL: You worried this is going to happen again?

LIMMROTH: Yes. I mean, I think it`s obvious that Tuscaloosa is on the path now.

HOWELL (voice-over): And though there are signs of progress --

SMITH: As far as being this -- being in this business, I`m not better off till I get the doors open again.

HOWELL (voice-over): -- George Howell, CNN, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


AZUZ: From Alabama, we`re heading north to New York City for what`s expected to be a towering achievement.


AZUZ (voice-over): This time-lapse video shows construction at the area known as Ground Zero. It`s the site of the former World Trade Center, the twin towers that were destroyed by the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

The building that`s gone up has the same number as one of those towers, One World Trade Center. The project has been moving along at the rate of about one floor every week. Today, it`s expected to become the tallest building in New York City. But it won`t stop there. One World Trade Center is scheduled to reach its ultimate altitude, 1,776 feet, some time next year.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can ID me. I was established in 1775 by America`s Continental Congress. I`m a branch of the U.S. military. My motto is "Semper Fidelis," which means "Always Faithful."

I`m the U.S. Marine Corps, called on to be the most ready when the nation is generally least ready.


AZUZ: Erika Booth, who introduced today`s show, her father has served in the U.S. Marines for 29 years. April is the Month of the Military Child, which salutes the nearly 2 million American military children.

As part of the event, Operation Homefront recognizes a young person from each branch of the military who`s making a positive impact on his or her community. Erika is this year`s Marine Corps Child of the Year, and I had a chance to speak with her recently about her life as a military child. Take a listen.



BOOTH: I moved five times, been in six schools, lived in eight houses. I`ve actually really enjoyed being a military child, just because I can say my dad fights for our country every day, and that`s his job. And not everyone can say that.

The hardest thing is deployment. Definitely. And I`ve gone through 10 of them, so I definitely know that is the hardest thing. My dad has missed my first day of school since 8th grade, and I`m a junior in high school now. You just really have to know in your heart that they`re going to come back, and having family and friends really helps with that.

Military children are always more resilient to things.


BOOTH: Having lupus and my blood disorder, it`s made me more responsible. When I was diagnosed and I was in the hospital, I hit a brick wall, and I was like, I can either choose to do something or I can just sit at home and just stop my life.

And I decided, you know what, I need to keep going with my life. It`s not going to stop me. You can face all different types of adversity and nothing really fits for each problem, but really you need to take it full on.


BOOTH: All his motor skills and his sensory things, they`re hypersensitive. So things that wouldn`t bother us will bother people with autism and other spectrum disorders. He`s very independent now. He`s like -- he`s 13 now. He`s a teenager. We`re now getting into that brother- sister relationship that we should have had years ago.

And you know, we bicker a lot and we fight. But we`re still very close. So really you just have an open mind when you meet someone with autism or another spectrum disorder, because that`s really all you can ask for, and then try and just understand them. You know it`s hard, and just take them for who they are.

Basically what keeps me going is really my love and enjoyment of helping everyone.


BOOTH: I enjoy being on committees and planning things and then volunteering and seeing that I am making a difference in my community. I hope they see that if I can do it, they can do it. Then it will inspire others to face their problems and then succeed in life.


AZUZ: Erika is certainly succeeding.

Before we go today, a tournament in Germany that is a hair-raising experience.


AZUZ (voice-over): It`s the International Beard and Mustache Championships. Eighteen categories to compete in, from more standard styles to intricate design work, 163 men from all over the world put their best face forward for the event. They obviously put a lot of time and effort into their fantastic facial follicular fun. But the joys of victory can be short-lived. You know how these things go.


AZUZ: Hair today, gone tomorrow. Some of these judging decisions are a close shave. Hopefully the losing contestants can keep a stiff upper lip. How do you grow a beard that`s a cut above the rest? Well, it`s a mystery. It`s only spoken of in "whiskers." Whoo! All right. That trims off all the time we have for today. Check back tomorrow and we`ll have "re-abeard." For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.