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Observing Memorial Day; Tracking Tropical Storm Beryl

Aired May 29, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz and this is CNN Student News. We`re back to bring you headlines from around the world and out of this world. The U.S. political spotlight is on Texas today, as that state holds its presidential primary election. We`re going to have results on that later on this week. But we start today with some sights and sounds from the Memorial Day weekend.




AZUZ: You saw one of the traditions associated with Memorial Day right there, the president laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery. Memorial Day pays tribute to the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Ceremonies around the country honored their sacrifices.

Another tradition focuses on the sons and daughters of those fallen U.S. troops. Athena Jones has more.



ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the Good Grief Camp. Eleven-year-old Caleb lost his father, Air Force Captain Cortez Durham (ph) in a helicopter accident in Italy 41/2 years ago. Caleb and his brother, Christian, are joining 1,200 children, parents and other families of fallen service members as part of an event sponsored by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors or TAPS.

The Durham family looks forward to it each year.

MEKA DURHAM, LOST HUSBAND IN 2007: I brought my kids five months after my husband died because I wanted them to know they were not the only kids who had lost a parent either mother or father in the military.

And I wanted them to know that there`s a place they can go to where they feel normal and where they feel like they don`t have to always talk about what happened, that we`re all here for the same reason.

JONES (voice-over): TAPS has been bringing survivors together on Memorial Day Weekend since 1994 with grief seminars for the adults and the day camp for the kids.

BONNIE CARROLL, TAPS PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER: Grief is not a mental illness. Grief is not a physical injury. Grief is a wound of the heart and the absolute most therapeutic comfort for someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one is to talk with another young widow who was pregnant at the time of the loss, a mom who is grieving the loss of her only child.

JONES (on camera): What does this weekend mean to you?

M. DURHAM: What does it mean to you?

CALEB DURHAM, LOST FATHER IN 2007: That even though your parent or your husband or wife died, you can still have fun. And that`s -- I think that`s what this camp is for.

JONES (voice-over): For families like the Durhams, this weekend is an important reminder: they`re not alone.

AZUZ (voice-over): If you go to the "Spotlight" section on our home page, you`ll see a link to something called "Home and Away." This is an interactive site that lets people pay tribute to U.S. service members who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and share memories of the fallen.


AZUZ: Some Memorial Day`s activities in the southeastern U.S. were canceled because of a storm. Florida and Georgia especially felt the effects of this.


AZUZ (voice-over): It was called Beryl, and you can get a sense of the kind of impact it had from the wind and waves in this video. The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression by yesterday, but it still caused some damage along the East Coast.

Thousands of people lost power. Some roads were closed because of power lines being down. Ivan Cabrera has more details on these kinds of storms, including how they get their names and the role that they play in global weather.

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A tropical cyclone is an area of low pressure that forms in the tropical regions of the world.

Cyclones are actually very important, even though, of course, they can be deadly. They help essentially balance out the temperature across the globe. They are an equalizer, so they take the heat energy from the tropics and the translate that where we need it into the colder climates.

The generic term for it is a tropical cyclone. That can refer to any cyclone that has a closed center of circulation, anywhere in the world, like in the Atlantic, when they get strong enough, to a certain wind speed, we call them hurricanes. But if you`re in the western Pacific, a hurricane is called a typhoon. There`s no difference between a hurricane and a typhoon except in the name. They`re both tropical cyclones.

The naming system is based on the World Meteorological Organization. There`s a list of names. Depending on the basin, in the Atlantic Basin we recycle the names every six years. If a storm become particularly intense or is devastating for a coastline, or has a lot of casualties associated with it, we retire the name and don`t use it again, for example, Hurricane Katrina, that name will never be used again.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can ID me. I`m an international group that changes presidents every month. My goal is to maintain global peace and security. I have 10 temporary members and five permanent ones.

I`m the United Nations Security Council, and I have the U.N.`s main decision-making power.


AZUZ: Some members of the U.N. Security Council have spoken out repeatedly against the violence we`ve seen in Syria. The latest example is something that happened last Friday. For more than a year, the Syrian government has been fighting against protesters and rebels who want the country`s president out of power.


AZUZ (voice-over): United Nations officials say more than 9,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the violence. On Friday, 108 people died in the West Syrian city of Houla. U.N. monitors said nearly half of those people were children. Some people are describing this as a massacre carried out by the government. Syrian officials blame the violence on terrorists groups.

A U.N. representative said whoever`s responsible must be held accountable.

Our next headline today takes us from Syria to Egypt. Last week in the North African nation, people had the chance to vote for Egypt`s first freely elected president. Officials said 23 million Egyptians cast votes for the 13 candidates whose names were on the ballot. But none of those candidates got a majority. So Egyptians will head back to the polls next month.

The runoff election will be between Mohammed Morsi on the left side of your screen here, and Ahmed Shafiq. And what`s interesting here is that this kind of an old school-new school faceoff. Shafiq has been in Egypt`s government before. He`s the former prime minister. Morsi is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that`s promised significant political changes.

Well, summer is right around the corner, and on our blog, we`re giving you the chance to let us know what you`re going to be doing besides waiting for our show to come back, of course. Is it going to be family vacation, summer job, just hanging around the house? Sound off. We`re interested in what you have to say. Talk to us at



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Dr. Ratti`s class at Mesa High School in Mesa, Arizona. What is the largest manmade object ever to be put into space? Here we go. Is it the Hubble telescope, Mir space station, space shuttle Discovery or the International Space Station? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The International Space Station is the largest manmade object to be put into space. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ (voice-over): That massive space station is hosting a dragon. That`s the name of the capsule that arrived at the International Space Station on Friday. It was made by a company called Space X. And it`s the first private capsule to reach the ISS. Since NASA has retired the space shuttle fleet, this might be how astronauts get to the space station in the future.

This time, though, the Dragon capsule only carried cargo -- things like clothes and food -- and it`s scheduled to leave the ISS and splash down in the Pacific Ocean later on this week.


AZUZ: Finally, today, if you`re going to San Francisco --


AZUZ (voice-over): We hope you get there in time for this, the city`s famous Golden Gate Bridge turned 75 this year and San Fran is celebrating that anniversary with explosive style. It took 20 computers more than five miles of wire and more than two weeks of work to set up this 20-minute fireworks show. Certainly looks like it was worth the effort. The display ran through 14 different musical themes.


AZUZ: There`s one thing that linked them all together, though, the Golden Gate was the bridge. When it comes to puns about San Francisco, you really have to "bay" attention. We`re going to be back with more illuminating headlines tomorrow. Hope to see you then. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.