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Rescue Workers Search for Survivors After Earthquake in Italy; Massacre in Syria

Aired May 30, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET



GROUP: (Inaudible) Pine Hills Adventist Academy. Welcome to CNN Student News. Whoo!


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Pine Hills Adventist Academy, thank you for getting things going today. I`m Carl Azuz and you`re in for a world of commercial-free headlines from CNN Student News.

First up, rescue workers are searching for survivors after a powerful earthquake in Italy. News reports said at least 15 people were killed, around 200 others were injured. This quake hit on Tuesday with a magnitude of 5.8.


AZUZ (voice-over): It happened in the northern part of Italy. And this is actually in the same region where another earthquake hit less than two weeks ago. Seven people were killed by that one.

Here you can see some of the damage. One local official called the situation very serious. She said some parts of town have been closed down and some smaller villages have been completely evacuated. Scientists recorded at least 40 aftershocks that rippled through the region after the first quake.

From Italy, we`re heading across the Mediterranean Sea to Syria. Some of the country`s government officials are heading back to Syria.


AZUZ: That`s because they`ve been kicked out of the countries they`re usually in. We`re talking about Syrian diplomats, people who represent Syria to other places.

Eight countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany have ordered some Syrian diplomats to get out.


AZUZ (voice-over): This is part of the international response to what happened in the Syrian city of Houla last Friday. More than 100 people were killed. Nearly half of those were children. Syria blames the violence on terrorists, but a United Nations official says it`s clear that Syrian government forces were involved.

Next up, we`re looking at a story that`s happening off the cost of California, but in a way, this headline really starts over in Japan. That`s where bluefin tuna are born. A lot of these fish migrate across the Pacific.

Scientists took samples from some that were caught off California last August. They found traces of radiation connected to the nuclear meltdown in Japan last March. The radiation levels are about 3 percent higher than what you would expect the fish to pick up naturally, but researchers say the radiation levels aren`t high enough to be considered dangerous for humans who might eat the tuna.

And finally, we`re hopping across the Atlantic back to the United Kingdom for a celebration fit for a queen. It`s the Diamond Jubilee, and in fact, it`s a celebration for the Queen Elizabeth II. Jubilees mark significant milestones for British royalty.

This year is the Queen`s Diamond Jubilee, because she`s been on the throne for 60 years. Eleven U.S. presidents have been elected during that time, and Queen Elizabeth has met nearly all of them. You can check out this photo gallery of those meetings in the "Spotlight" section on our home page.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s the word? It`s actually a phrase that refers to the maximum speed that an object reaches when it`s falling freely.

Terminal velocity: that`s the word.


AZUZ: For a skydiver who waits to open his or her parachute, terminal velocity is around 150 miles per hour. Felix Baumgartner is expected to hit that at around 5,000 feet. Of course, by then, he`ll already have dropped more than 100,000 feet. Brian Todd dives into the details on this story.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Later this summer, Australian daredevil Felix Baumgartner will attempt the longest and highest freefall ever, from about 120,000 feet above sea level. That`s more than 22 miles. If he pulls it off, he`ll also break the speed of sound. No one`s ever gone outside a plane or spacecraft to fly more than 690 miles per hour.

TODD: Some of the more tense moments of this mission will be when Felix Baumgartner steps out of that capsule and into the stratosphere. At that point, the only thing protecting him from certain death will be this helmet and this high pressure space suit. This is similar to ones worn by U2 spy plane pilots. But those pilots are about 50,000 feet closer to Earth than Felix Baumgartner`s going to be.

TODD (voice-over): There`s only person alive who can fathom all this, retired Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger, the man whose record Fearless Felix will try to break. Kittinger jumped from 102, 000 feet in 1960.

COL. JOE KITTINGER, USAF (RET.): I know exactly what he`s about to go through.

TODD: What is it?

KITTINGER: He`s going to be awed by being at that altitude and that view that he`s got. But he`s also awed with the responsibility, because he`s got a bunch of people on the ground been working their rear ends off for 4-5 years with the goal to get him down. And it`s hostile up there. You don`t want to hang around if you don`t have to.

TODD (voice-over): Like Kittinger, Baumgartner will be taken to the stratosphere in a capsule pulled by a helium balloon. It`s a massive undertaking called the Red Bull Stratos Project.

TODD: Your first time here, you`re like a child in a candy store.

FELIX BAUMGARTNER, DAREDEVIL: Oh, yes, I mean, I was amazed.

TODD (voice-over): As Felix, Joe and I move around the Air and Space Museum, Felix says the sight of John Glenn`s and Yuri Gagarin`s space suits scares him.

BAUMGARTNER: If you compare it to my suit, I`m not sure if I would have done this in the old days with that kind of equipment.

TODD (voice-over): Kittinger is now a consultant on the project, who`s in Baumgartner`s ear on the test jumps.

TODD: How important is hearing his voice going to be to you when you`re up there?

BAUMGARTNER: It is extremely important, because this is what I figured on my last test jump when I was going up. Sometimes we lost communication for a couple of seconds. And immediately you can feel how lonely you feel, you know.

So I wanted to hear that voice because I`m so used to this. Every time I`d get (inaudible) practicing on the ground, Joe was talking to me. So I`m so used to that voice and it makes me feel safe.

TODD (voice-over): A mission that will obviously be tough to top, and it doesn`t look like Felix Baumgartner`s going to try to. He says after this jump, he`ll pursue his long-time dream of becoming a helicopter rescue pilot -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to the students at Lighthouse Shelter Cove Community Day Schools in Fort Bragg, California.

What is the highest civilian honor presented by the U.S. government? Here we go. Is it the Medal of Freedom, Distinguished Service Cross, Citizens Medal or Medal of Honor? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The Medal of Freedom is the highest U.S. civilian honor. That`s your answer and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: The Medal of Freedom was established in 1963 by President John Kennedy. It honors people who make extraordinary contributions to world peace or a national interest in security or who have a significant cultural impact. And that applies to yesterday`s 13 Medal of Freedom recipients.


AZUZ (voice-over): During a ceremony at the White House, President Obama presented the awards to a unique group. It included Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. secretary of state; former astronaut and U.S. senator, John Glenn; long-time Tennessee women`s basketball coach, Pat Summitt; and Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Most Medal of Freedom honorees are U.S. citizens, but people from other countries, like President Peres, are also eligible.


AZUZ: On Memorial Day here in Atlanta, one military family was asked to come on the field during the Atlanta Braves MLB game. They were there to represent all of the families waiting for loved ones serving overseas to come home. But this particular family didn`t have to wait long. Here`s why.


MASTER SGT. DAVID SIMS, U.S. AIR FORCE: My name is Master Sgt. David Sims, U.S. Air Force. I`ve just come home from a six-month deployment in Afghanistan. And I`m here today with the Atlanta Braves to surprise my family. I`m very excited. I`m very nervous. My family doesn`t know what`s going on. And so I`m looking forward to seeing the expressions of surprise on their faces.

I`m Master Sgt. David Sims, U.S. Air Force, assigned to headquarters ISAF in Kabul, Afghanistan. I want to send out my greetings to all my family there, especially to my wife, Robin (ph), my kids. I love you all so much and I miss you. I hope you`re having a good time along with the Atlanta Braves. I can`t wait to be with you again. In fact, wait one minute.


ROBIN SIMS (ph), WIFE OF DAVID SIMS: Oh, I`m so glad to see you.

D. SIMS: It`s so good to be home.


AZUZ: It was an excellent story. Well, before we go today, if you`re looking for a relaxing way to spend the say in Seattle --


AZUZ (voice-over): -- hanging out on a boat might do the trick. Hanging out on this boat would definitely do it. That is because it is also a hot tub. The guy who came up with this idea lives on a houseboat. He wanted to install a hot tub, but didn`t have enough room. So his solution: make a new boat with the hot tub built in. It seems like the perfect way to unwind.


AZUZ: Spending a day floating around in that thing makes the stress just drain away, and you`re definitely living a jet-set lifestyle.

All right. It`s time for us to pull the plug on today`s show before you "Jaccuzz-me" of watering down the puns. That was one of the better ones we`ve had. Hope you have a great day. See you tomorrow.