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War in Israel, Gaza Continues; Choosing the Right College

Aired November 20, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


NATISHA LANCE, CNN ANCHOR: So you may have heard that the day after Thanksgiving is sometimes called Black Friday. But do you know why? Well, you are about to find out. I`m Natisha Lance in for Carl, and this is CNN STUDENT NEWS.

War planes and rockets crossing paths in the sky. Right now that`s part of daily life for people living in parts of Israel and Gaza. The signs of the fight maybe in the air, but the impact is on the ground. This is an office building in Gaza that`s been used by some media organizations. It was hit by an Israeli air strike on Monday. Israel said Palestinian militants were hiding in there. Israel`s targets include government buildings, police stations and the homes of Hamas officials. That`s the terrorist group that took control of the government of Gaza in 2007. Israel has launched strikes against more than 1300 sites since the fighting started.

The rockets are flying in both directions. In Gaza, militants from Hamas are launching them into Israel. More than 1000 rockets have been fired from Gaza since the start of the conflict. On Monday, one of those hit a school in southern Israel. It`s been closed since the fighting began.

Now, CNN reporters are in Gaza and Israel covering this conflict, and at times doing their job can put them near the fighting. Now, you are about to see how they react in those situations. First, Anderson Cooper in Gaza, then Frederick Pleitgen in Israel.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One family, also two media centers built ....



Well, that was a rather large explosion. That occurred -- if you just look out here - I can`t actually see where the impact (no sound) that was, it`s actually set off a number of fire alarms. But that was probably the largest explosion that we`ve heard just in the past -- really, in the past hour. There have been a number of explosions in the last hour or two. But that one - that one was pretty loud.

FREDERIK PLELTGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, we have an alarm going off right now. I`m going to have to seek cover. We are going to go over here. Let`s take the camera off the tripod, though.

All right. Seems like something impacted in the distance, not sure how far away. OK, the alarm stopped.

So, it seems the impact was quite away in the distance, I would say, a couple of miles, probably, in the distance. There, over in the sky, you probably won`t be able to see it here, there is an interceptor missile taking off right now, that is the Iron Dome interceptor, right? If you just saw the flash in the sky, that was a rocket coming out of Gaza that was just intercepted right now.


LANCE: Now, you heard Fred Pleitgen mention the Iron Dome. It`s Israeli Defense System that shoots down rockets coming in from Gaza, so far it`s intercepted about 30 percent of those rockets. Frederik has more on this technology and how it works.


PLELTGEN: This video shows an Iron Dome missile intercepting a rocket fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv on Sunday.

The defense system had just been installed in Israel`s largest city a few hours earlier. Several days into the conflict, it`s already clear: the Iron Dome is having a big impact picking off hundreds of rockets.

I got a tour of the Israel aircraft industry`s plant that assembles the air defense system.

DR. ISRAEL OZNOWICH: Deployment is the matter of minutes.

PLELTGEN: Dr. Israel Oznowich is one of those in charge. One key element is an advanced radar.

OZNOWICH: The radar such as locates, tracks and intercepts and guides the intercepting missiles within several seconds, few seconds within the launching time.

PLELTGEN: It`s extremely hard to shoot down short distance rockets like the ones coming out of Gaza, in part because they are not in the air for older radar systems to lock onto them.



AUNG SAN SUU KYI, DEMOCRACY ADVOCATE: I would like to say how happy I am to receive President Obama in my country and in my house. The friendship between our two countries is of long standing. The United States has been staunch in its support of the democracy movement in Burma, and we are confident that this support will continue through the difficult years that lie ahead.

I say difficult, because the most difficult time in any transition is when we think that success is in site.


LANCE: There was some history happening right there, in that video. President Obama was visiting the home of Aung San Suu Kyi, that home is in Myanmar and Barack Obama is the first American president to go there. It was the middle stop on his trip to Asia. He went there after visiting in Thailand and before going to a conference in Cambodia. Myanmar, which used to be knows as Burma, was the big focus of this trip. For decades, it was closed off from the rest of the world, denied political freedoms and people who pushed for democracy like Suu Kyi were punished. The country has started making some reforms and during the president`s visit he said, also some changes could lead to incredible opportunities for Myanmar and its people.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for the "Shoutout." In the economic world, what color is associated with profits? If you think you know it, then shout it out. Is it green? Blue? Red? Or Black? You`ve got three seconds, go!

When a company is making a profit, it`s said to be in the black. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


LANCE: That`s why this Friday is called Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving officially takes off the holiday shopping season. It`s one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year, and it`s when stores make enough sales to hopefully put themselves in the black. Some stores aren`t waiting for Black Friday to start Black Friday. Wal-Mart, Sears, Target and Toys R Us are some of the stores that are open on Thanksgiving evening. That might sound good to shoppers, but not to some of the employees who work there. They`ve started petitions against the early openings, so that workers can spend Thanksgiving with their own families. Some Wal-Mart employees are planning to protest by walking off the job on Black Friday.

And before they sit down for Thanksgiving, or head out shopping on Black Friday, a lot of people have to get where they are going for the holiday. According to AAA, more than 43 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles for Thanksgiving. Most of those will be going by car, but more than 3 million will be traveling by plane. So, if you are heading to the airport, don`t expect to see too many empty seats on your flights.

So, let`s talk about college for a minute. There is still some time before applications are due at most schools, but how do you pick which college to apply to?

There is a lot to consider, there is location, what programs are offered, how much it costs, and how are you going to pay for it.

Those last two are what Christine Romans looks at in this report.


CHRISTIANE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this college fare high school junior Veronica Woodley is exploring her options.

VERONICA WOODLEY, HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR: Finding schools that had premed and I can major in biology to become a dermatologist. And to also minor in Spanish.

ROMANS: Picking the right college is a high stakes decision with a high price tag. Average tuition for a year at a public college is more than $22000 for in-state students. A private college, more than $43,000. Community colleges cost $15,000 a year. Not all kids borrow for college, but those who do, graduate with $27,000 in debt on average. With a price tag like that college choice is a careful investment that depends on the student`s talents and finances.

Most important, you have to graduate from school in four years, no more five years, and you have to pick the right school. If you haven`t saved any money, you can`t pick the super expensive school and graduate five years later.

For students like Veronica and her mom Kathy, it`s an exciting time. And a lesson in high finance. They are crunching the numbers and considering all the options.

WOODLEY: I mean on scholarships, financial aid, and then - I work, but my mom - -I think like my mom will do most of they paying, but I mean I will help her out, of course.

Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


LANCE: Thanksgiving is only two days away, and we ask you to tell us what you are thankful for. And you definitely didn`t hesitate with sharing with us.

Betsaida said she is thankful for the holidays, family and friends, as well as Thanksgiving day, because it reminds us of what we are most thankful for.

Ms. Risley`s reading class told us they are thankful for good health, a safe home and family members, plus they are grateful to the soldiers who keep us safe and for living in the USA.

Victoria is thankful for this country as well, and how it`s prospering even during the tough time. Sarah is thankful her great grandmother is still alive and will be turning 90 year old. Happy birthday, Grandma.

Ronnie is being raised to be a young man, thanks to his mom, and he`s also thankful for his great education and good grades.

While we all could probably agree with Peri on this one, who is thankful for everything that makes us smile. And so many of you wrote that you are thankful for your family, your friends and even for CNN STUDENT NEWS. But we are definitely grateful for all of you, too. And we are also thankful for the people who sent an I-report on this topic, so if you go to the spotlight section on our home page, you`ll find a link to watch those. But before we go, we are going to check out this cardboard village. They young people who you see putting it together, right there, they are planning to camp out there overnight. This was in Colorado, and yes, it`s going to be cold, but that was the point: they were trying to raise awareness about homelessness by facing some of the challenges that the homeless regularly deal with. It`s a good cause and a good story to wrap up our week. CNN STUDENT NEWS returns on Monday, and we hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving. Until then, I`m Natisha Lance.