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Terror Plot Foiled

Aired May 9, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET




MADISON WATKINS (ph): Hi, my name is Madison Watkins (ph), 11th grader at Fayetteville High School in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My favorite teacher is Ms. Burnett (ph), because she`s always willing to help and is a great history teacher. We love you, Ms. Burnett (ph).


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Nice job on that iReport, Madison (ph). We`re glad to see all of you tuning in to this midweek edition of CNN Student News. My name is Carl Azuz. Let`s get started.

First up, investigators are studying an explosive device that they say could have ended up on a plane heading to the United States. This is part of an alleged terror plot that officials say was broken up recently. They seized the explosive device and authorities say the person who intended to use it is no longer a threat.


AZUZ (voice-over): Intelligence agencies say this plot started in the nation of Yemen. That`s the home base for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which has been described as the most dangerous Al Qaeda affiliate.

This group was behind several attempted plots, like the so-called Underwear Bomber in 2009. The officials who broke up this plot say the device was similar to ones that the terrorist group has used before, like the ones you`re seeing in this video. They say it never posed an immediate danger, but they also described it as much more sophisticated than previous explosives.

That`s causing concerns that the Al Qaeda group could be advancing its bombmaking techniques.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about this plot right now. How is it broken up? Where is the person who was planning to use the explosive? What officials have said is that this bomb was designed to slip past airport metal detectors. On Monday, Brian Todd was reporting on the possibility of that happening.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is the huge question today. That is really being debated. Now Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rodgers, have just said, essentially, last night and this morning, that they believe that these scanners would have detected this potential explosive.

But if you talk to terrorism experts and security experts, that is not at all clear, that even these so-called back-scatter, these body scanners would have detected it. You know, they`re -- and also these body scanners are not used in every airport overseas, not even used in every airport in the United States.

So it`s a question of implementing those where they need to be and, again, whether they are sophisticated right now, sophisticated enough to actually detect these types of bombs, and that is really not at all clear at this point.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Staley`s social studies classes at Centennial Middle School in South Lyon, Michigan.

Which of these was one of the original 13 American colonies? You know what to do. Was it Maine, Florida, Vermont or North Carolina? You`ve got three seconds, go.

North Carolina is the only option that was an original colony. That`s your answer and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: You probably learned about North Carolina`s Lost Colony in school. In 1587, Governor John White left about 100 English settlers on Roanoke Island when he went to England to get supplies. When he back to North Carolina in 1590, everyone had disappeared. Erin Hartness of affiliate RAWL reports on some possible clues in this centuries-old investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lead on to the ship.

ERIN HARTNESS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Year after year, actors reenact the story of a lost colony for enthralled audiences. Now the 400-plus year mystery just got its big break.

BRENT LANE, DIRECTOR, UNC CENTER FOR COMPETITIVE ECONOMIES: This is the first solid clue that searchers for the colonists of the Roanoke Colony have had in 400 years.

HARTNESS (voice-over): The clue is found on this map, created from Sir Walter Raleigh`s first expedition to the New World.

LANE: What`s curious about this map is that while it`s highly accurate and very details, it contained two patches.

HARTNESS (voice-over): Lane says nobody had ever thought to look under those patches in 400 years. Researchers in Britain, where the map is housed, found this under one patch.

LANE: It turned out that it concealed a large symbol consistent with the sort of forts that were being built.

HARTNESS (voice-over): Lane says that likely means this was the location for a second English colony, the city would have been named Raleigh. Researchers discovered what they believe to be invisible ink written on top of the patch.

So Sir Walter Raleigh could likely show the map to the Queen or investors without most people knowing his plans. Raleigh would have been especially trying to hide them from the Spanish.

ERIC KLINGELHOFER, PROFESSOR, MERCER HISTORY: Who we know would have been very upset about the English presence here. They claimed all of this land, and they had destroyed -- I mean, totally destroyed -- massacred two different French colonies.

HARTNESS (voice-over): The map may also explain where most of the lost colonists went or tried to go.

JAMES HORN, V.P., COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG FOUNDATION: But I think this new discovery has now confirmed that they indeed went or intended to go to this location here.

HARTNESS: The biggest takeaway for researchers with these new discoveries and images is they now know where to look for more clues about the Lost Colony, right here in Burtee (ph) County.

LANE: There`s very good evidence now to suggest that this area deserves a good deal of attention.

HARTNESS (voice-over): Maybe there researchers will finally solve the mystery.

LANE: As North Carolinians, I think we`ve all felt the obligation to find the Lost Colony.


AZUZ: Next up, the state of Nevada is issuing a new type of license. It`s not going to a person. It`s going to a company, Google. Nevada is giving the technology giant the green light for a new type of car.


AZUZ (voice-over): You can see someone behind the wheel there, but he might as well be in the back seat, because the car is driving itself. It`s called an autonomous vehicle, and Nevada is the first state to allow them on the road.

There`s no driver needed, though Google says someone`s usually in the front seat and ready to take control if need be. This is what the car sees. It uses video cameras, radio sensors and a laser rangefinder to keep track of traffic. Plus detailed maps to navigate the road. Google says the autonomous cars have completed about 200,000 miles of computer directed driving.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s the word? It refers to someone who escapes danger by going to a different country.

Refugee: that`s the word.


AZUZ: According to the U.S. government, San Diego, California, is one of the largest refugee resettlement areas in the country. Mark Kabban works to help some of the area`s youngest refugees adjust to life in a new country. His efforts are why he`s one of this year`s CNN Heroes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Living in Iraq during the war was pretty hard. The explosions. The kidnappings. We wanted to come to U.S. It was like a dream, you know?

MARK KABBAN, CNN HERO: The United States resettles the most refugees in the world. Many of them are from Iraq and they`re being resettled in San Diego in large numbers. When they get here, they`re learning a new language. They have to find employment. Really, in a lot of ways, the struggle is just beginning.

When my family came from Beirut, I was nine years old. Working as a refugee case manager, I saw a lot of kids just idle, alienated. Having a normal childhood is something they really deserve.

My name is Mark Kabban and I use soccer to motivate refugees to succeed in the United States.

Now, everyone`s going to be on your toes.

YALLA is an Arabic word which means, "let`s go." And it`s really what we`re trying to do here with the kids.

Good, Mosim (ph), stay on him.

We have 200 refugees in our program. These kids come from all over Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Their families have endured the same struggle. When they realize that, they become like brothers and sisters.

KIDS: One, two, three, yes.

KABBAN: Soccer for them is an escape. It`s confidence. It`s making them feel like they belong. And it`s just fun.

YALLA uses soccer as a hook, and then we have them in our education program and try to get them on to college.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They help me to find friends and they teach me how to speak English. Now with YALLA and Coach Mark, it`s a fun life.

KABBAN: Their families have sacrificed everything for their kids to have a better life. If we can do anything to help them, it`s my honor.


AZUZ: All right. Before we go, we`re going to check out some mechanical mayhem.


AZUZ (voice-over): It`s the National Robotics League Championships, two bots enter, one bought leaves. Well, actually, they both leave, but one leaves as the winner.

Indianapolis hosted the Clash of the Titanium Titans last weekend. The event`s designed to get students interested in technology and manufacturing. The competitors had to qualify for this event by winning smaller bouts around the U.S.


AZUZ: Makes sense that battle robots have to compete on a circuit. They need to steel themselves for this type of faceoff before they test their "metal" at a national level.

And some people may think it`s thrilling to watch two machines get into a row, but others may think these mechanical battles just lack punch. That`s "battle" the time we have for today at CNN Student News. I`m Carl Azuz. We`ll see you tomorrow.