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Longtime Leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has Died; Inside a Sinkhole; North Korea Threatens to Break Armistice

Aired March 6, 2013 - 00:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, ANCHOR, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Hi Everyone, I`m Carl Azuz, news out of South America leading off today`s show. Hugo Chavez, the longtime leader of Venezuela has died. Chavez was born in Venezuela in 1954. In 1998 he was elected president, the youngest one in Venezuela`s history. He was reelected in 2000, 2006, and 2012. Chavez was controversial. He spoke out against the United States and other countries.

He had been fighting cancer in recent years, traveling to Cuba for medical treatments. Venezuela`s vice president announced the death of Hugo Chavez yesterday afternoon.

Next up today, we`re turning to Wall Street. A new record set yesterday by the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow, not the entire stock market. It`s a group of about 30 major stocks, but it gives an idea of how the entire stock market is doing. Here`s a look at the last several years. In 2007, the Dow started dropping, it bottomed out in 2009, and it started going back up. Yesterday, when the stock market closed, the Dow was at a new all-time high. The Dow is one factor that experts use to figure out how the entire country is doing.

The Dow is doing well, but the economy is still struggling. What`s the deal? One possible explanation is that investors don`t have a lot of opportunities to make money in other ways, so the stock market is kind of the best game in town.

At the start of this week, we reported on a sink hole that formed underneath a house in Florida. Workers have finished tearing down that house and now we can see the actual hole. That`s it. About 20 feet wide, more than 50 feet deep. This opened up underneath a bedroom and swallowed one man up. In that same report in Monday`s show, we talked about how and why sink holes show up in Florida. This one formed on Monday, just three miles away from the first sink hole. It`s not as big; 12 feet across, 4-5 feet deep, and it`s between two houses. So it didn`t cause any damage.

David Mattingly had the chance to go inside a sink hole. This is what he found.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A massive sink hole, carved out of solid limestone by drops of water.

So this is what a sink hole looks like from the inside.

JERRY BLACK, GEOLOGIST: From the inside, yes, before you fill it up with sand and dirt.

MATTINGLY: And if someone were living right on top of this, they would be at risk?


MATTINGLY: Geologist Jerry Black says Sunshine State homeowners might be surprised to find out just how common these are.

BLACK: Rain water turns to ground water and that`s what`s naturally acidic. That`s the device that dissolves the limestone and will help create these cavities.

MATTINGLY: What is unusual about this sink hole is it`s easy to get inside. Called "The Devil`s Den," it`s open to tourists for viewing and diving.

And dive instructor Prince Johnson takes me under for a look. I find that this seemingly placid pool of water is anything but.

PRINCE JOHNSON, DIVE INSTRUCTOR: The water has gone down considerably because of the aquifer, but it has also risen. When we`ve had hurricanes and tropical storms, it has risen 45 feet.

MATTINGLY: Forty-five fee?

JOHNSON: Forty-five feet.

MATTINGLY: So the water`s constantly going up and down?

JOHNSON: Up and down.

MATTINGLY: Depending on drought and hurricanes.

Down here, it`s easy to see how fluctuating groundwater has silently wreaked havoc. I passed by limestone boulders as big as cars, sitting on the bottom. And these same forces are still at work compounded by the demand for fresh water.

Perhaps most striking to me, how appearances of this sink hole are so misleading. A single beam of light reveals the cavern is even bigger below the waterline, with tunnels and passageways carved deep into the darkness. But most disturbing could be the view from up top. The round opening is deceptively small. Little indication of the cavern that`s just beneath my feet.

Until a hole like this opens up, there`s really no warning is there?

BLACK: Correct. It is that random and that sudden. And it could happen obviously overnight or any time.

MATTINGLY: It can, and it does. With thousands of sink holes opening up in Florida every year.

David Mattingly, CNN, Williston, Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s shoutout goes out to Ms. Fuzi`s world history class at St. Gabriel`s Hall in Audubon, Pennsylvania.

Which of these terms is a synonym for "truce?" You know what to do. Is it acrimony, coup d`etat, armistice, or dilettante? You`ve got three seconds. Go.

Truce and armistice both mean an agreement that ends some kind of hostilities or fighting. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: One example, the armistice that was signed on July 27, 1953 it stopped the war between North and South Korea. Now, North Korea is threatening to end that truce.

Here`s the history. The Korean peninsula split into North and South after World War II. In June of 1950, the North invaded the South. That was the start of the Korean War. The U.S. supported South Korea, China supported North Korea. Hundreds of thousands of people died. Here`s the interesting part: the fighting stopped in 1953 with that armistice. There was never a peace treaty so the Korean War technically never ended.

Nowadays, North Korea is a closed society; it doesn`t have a lot of contact with the rest of the world. It does have a bad relationship with some nations including South Korea and the United States. Some of that has to do with North Korea`s controversial nuclear program. The U.S. is leading an international effort to punish North Korea for a recent nuclear test it did, and the North says that`s why it`s threatening to get rid of the 60- year-old truce.


JOHN KERRY, UNITED STATES SECREATRY OF STATE: North Korea keeps choosing to make belligerent and reckless moves that threaten the region, their neighbors, and now directly the United States of America.


AZUZ: The border between North and South Korea is called the DMZ. It stands for the Demilitarized Zone. It`s a tense place under the best of circumstances, which is what Paula Hancocks looked at while she was there.

PAULA HANCOCKS, DEMILITARIZED ZONE: Here in the DMZ you can see a North Korean soldier just across the border. They often come out of that area to see what is happening on this side, the South Korean border. This is the joint security area. It`s basically where all of the negotiations have taken place between the North and the South since 1953. Now, the blue huts behind me are half in North Korea, half in South Korea and the border itself is obviously very tense. You can see the South Korean soldiers facing off against the North Korean soldiers, and a very inauspicious border. The concrete slab that you can see in the middle there, just a few inches above the ground is effectively the border between North and South Korea.

So here we are in one of the huts in the joint security area. This is basically where all of the negotiations take place, half in North Korea, half in South Korea. Everything has to be completely equal and you can see at the moment it`s being monitored by South Korean soldiers because it`s the South Korean side that`s letting people in.

This is called checkpoint three along the DMZ and you can see how close we are to the demarcation line. These white stakes that you can see is effectively the border between North and South Korea. So just beyond that, beyond those trees you can see a building there. This is one of the buildings that obviously the North Koreans could be using to monitor South Korea just as here on the South Korean side, they`re monitoring the North Korean side.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can ID me. I`m an endangered species that`s been around for millions of years. My hundreds of teeth come in handy since I`m the largest predatory fish on the planet. Despite my name, the only part of my body is my underbelly.

I`m a great white shark and I can move through the water at up to 15 miles per hour.

AZUZ: One scientist said that finding a great white is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Researchers got their hands on one recently. They found it about 200 yards off the Florida coast. Researchers tried to haul her into this at first, but then realized they`re going to need a bigger boat. Once they landed her, the scientists had 15 minutes to do about a dozen things. They checked to see if she was pregnant, collected blood samples, and tagged her with a satellite transmitter to track her movements. They`re hoping to learn more about these sharks and to increase public safety. If a tagged great white gets too close to shore, the scientists will call authorities who can warn people on the beach.

San Francisco`s Bay Bridge doesn`t get as much attention as the Golden Gate. Then someone came up with this bright idea: it`s a combination of art and technology. Twenty-five thousand lights spread out across the nearly two mile bridge. If it looks like they`re shifting, they are. The artist set up a program that lets him control each light individually. He can run the whole thing from his laptop. The lights will be on every night for two years. If the artist has something else planned for then, then this display is just bridging the gap. At any rate, the Bay Bridge won`t be in the Golden Gate`s shadow for a while. This story`s not funny, the puns aren`t that great, but it makes sense as a before we go segment we try to focus on the lighter side of things.

It`s lights out for now, we`re back tomorrow for more CNN STUDENT NEWS.