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More on the Foiled Terror Plot; Report on Obesity

Aired May 10, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET




FAITH (PH): Hi, it`s Faith (ph).

PARKER (PH): Hi, it`s Parker (ph).

Thank you, Ms. Coffman (ph), for such a great year.

FAITH (PH): Thank you so much for pushing us and making us work hard. It`s made all the difference.


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Good stuff. On our blog, some of you have been discussing what makes your favorite teacher so good. We`re celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week with some of those comments in about seven minutes. I`m Carl Azuz. You`re watching CNN Student News.

Yesterday we reported on an alleged terror plot that officials said had been foiled. We said there were still a lot of questions. Now we have some of the answers. The plot was designed to blow up a plane --


AZUZ (voice-over): -- headed to the United States. What we now know is that the person picked to carry out that attack is actually the person who prevented it. Authorities said the plot started in Yemen with the terrorist group known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Initial reports said the plan was thwarted based on a tip from Saudi Arabia, one of Yemen`s neighbors.

Turns out Saudi Arabia had a mole, a sort of spy inside the Al Qaeda group. He`s a Saudi intelligence agent. He volunteered for a suicide mission. Then he took the explosive device that would have been on the plane and turned it over to U.S. intelligence officers and told them about the plot.


AZUZ: Now there`s some concern about the fact that all this information was leaked. One source said Saudi officials are upset about the possible risks that this could mean for other undercover agents working inside the Al Qaeda group.

Some U.S. officials are worried that the leak could interfere with other operations. The U.S. director of national intelligence is launching a review to see if the leak came from an American intelligence agency.

All right. Turning to U.S. politics now, we know who the presumptive presidential nominees are for both the Republican and Democratic Parties, but primary season continues.


AZUZ (voice-over): Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the Republican primaries in North Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia on Tuesday. Not a major surprise. He is the presumptive nominee. But it`s not all about the White House in these primaries. Voters also cast ballots for state and local elections this work. In North Carolina, that included a vote on a constitutional amendment.


AZUZ: We talked about this earlier in the week. The amendment would change the North Carolina constitution to say, quote, "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in North Carolina."


AZUZ (voice-over): The unofficial results from Tuesday`s primary showed that around 61 percent voted for the amendments. Around 39 percent voted against. One critic called the amendment discrimination. She said, quote, "It gives the majority the chance to vote against the minority."

But a supporter of the amendment responded, quote, "We are not anti- gay. We are pro-marriage."


AZUZ: A recent Gallup survey shows the country overall is more closely divided on the issue. According to that poll, about 50 percent of Americans believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. Around 48 percent say same-sex marriages should not be legal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Verticchio`s AP human geography classes at Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, Florida.

What do fructose, glucose and dextrose all have in common. Here we go. Are they all alkali metals, proteins, halide salts or simple sugars? You`ve got three seconds, go.

These are all simple sugars, which are the foundation of carbohydrates. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Carbohydrates are an important source of energy. But if you eat too many carbs, it can lead to health problems like obesity. That issue is the focus of this week`s Weight of the Nation Conference.


AZUZ (voice-over): A new report was released at the meeting. It estimates that by the year 2030, 42 percent of the U.S. population will be obese. That`s 30 million more Americans than right now. The medical costs associated with that increase would total up to nearly $550 billion.


AZUZ: Soledad O`Brien talked with CNN`s Dr. Sanjay Gupta about some of the reasons behind this issue.


SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Sanjay, before we get to the numbers, explain to me why are we getting that fat so quickly?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, if there`s any good news in this -- and I`m not sure there`s a lot, Soledad, is that the numbers are actually originally expected to be worse. They said 51 percent at one time they predicted the nation would be obese. This is adults by the year 2030. So 42 percent is still nothing great, obviously. Eleven percent they think will be severely obese.

Look, Soledad, you`ll hear a lot of the same sort of things that you`ve heard for some time. I mean, you`ve been covering this for a long time now, as have I. Too many fast food restaurants. It`s too inexpensive to get unhealthy calories. There`s not enough parks, too many roads, all those things, those keep coming up.

And despite the fact that those messages have been heard and understood, the problem just keeps getting worse. I think, you know, there`s a lot to it at the individual level I think simple things can help, you know, simply eating more food in the morning, they find. Getting up and walking around.

But I think there`s a larger problem, and that is that it`s not just how much we eat but what we`re eating as well. You know, sugar, for example, I`ll just give you a quick example, probably behaves differently in the body than just about any other calorie. It makes you gain weight, but it also creates these lipids that are really bad for the heart, raises insulin levels and makes you store even more fat.

So for a long time, we thought health foods, for example, were low- fat, high-sugar foods. And as we became that country that ate that kind of diet, the problem just became even worse.


AZUZ: All right. Now you heard Dr. Gupta talk about some ways that individuals can work to prevent obesity. At the Weight of the Nation Conference, experts had some other ideas, some other solutions.


AZUZ (voice-over): Some of those include a shirt in farming policies so there`s more focus on fruits and vegetables. There`s also a suggestion for a possible tax on sugary drinks, though there`s some controversy associated with that. Another idea is to start the fight against obesity at school. For instance, requiring schools to provide an hour of physical education or activity every day.


AZUZ: Now picture this scenario: your team is moving through a building. The possibility of danger all around. You need to complete your objective to get everyone out safely. Sounds like a video game. It`s also a situation that firefighters routinely find themselves in. Brooke Baldwin explains how new technology can help them.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Raging flames, rooms full of smoke, working conditions of firefighters.

CAPTAIN STEVEN FLOYD, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA FIRE DEPARTMENT: You can`t see anything. You can only hear things, but it is still very confusing, complete blackout.

BALDWIN (voice-over): It`s hazardous situations like this that they train for, but thanks to some new technology, firefighters will be able to see the world in an entirely new way. This new high-tech mask gives first responders data about their surroundings. It is a vision of the future inventor Joseph Juhnke is trying to finally bring to light.

JOSEPH JUHNKE, TANAGRAM PARTNERS: I didn`t see it. A whole bunch of great authors saw it. Science fiction authors are fabulous in that they have to -- they get to make this up and we get to make it happen.

BALDWIN (voice-over): Giving firefighters information everywhere they look.

JUHNKE: Our job was really to kind of give them back their senses. All they have to do is put it on and display.

BALDWIN (voice-over): Firefighters will be able to see oxygen levels, temperatures and exit paths. It will even allow them to see what`s happening with the rest of their team.

FLOYD: To be able to see and then be able to also not only see where I am at, but to communicate with my team members, that`s a big relief.


AZUZ: Our blog`s been heating up with your salute to your favorite teachers.


AZUZ (voice-over): From Libby, "My teacher has made me stronger and pushed me out of my comfort zone so many times. But I know that every time he was just trying to push me to the limit."

Zyan says, "Mr. Dovico always has a smile and puts love into what he does and makes no excuses."

Leigh writes, "My 21st century literacy teacher has inspired me to think of ordinary things like tests in new, abstract ways."

Waleel honors Mr. Sebela "for always believing in me. He encourages me to do better in school and to graduate high school."

From Kendal, "Ms. McWilliams has had an impact on my life because she fostered my love for history through hands-on experiences."

Tasha`s favorite teacher, Ms. Schraufnagel, encourages her to keep trying and never give up.

Isaiah is home-schooled. His mom is his favorite teacher. She helps him improve his writing skills so he can write well-detailed reports.

And Ethan says that Mr. Schlabach is an extremely big part of his life. "He has taught me that when you hold to your beliefs, anything is possible."


AZUZ: And before we go, some memories may fade over time. That probably won`t be the case --


AZUZ (voice-over): -- for these Wisconsin students. They were taking pictures before the prom. But then the pier collapsed, sending almost everyone into the water. Prom ruined? No. They busted out the blow dryers and went to work. No one was hurt. They eventually all made it to the dance. The real hero might be the guy who kept his feet on the beams and kept his girlfriend out of the water.


AZUZ: That quick thinking probably earned him a place of prominence, and it certainly kept him and his girlfriend dryer than their "piers." We`re out of time for today, but we`ll plunge into more headlines tomorrow, and see you then.