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President Obama Visits Israel; Protecting the Pope

Aired March 20, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: .... high school is CNN STUDENT NEWS. Take it away, Carl.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks to Mrs. Sparks`s class from Nevada for launching today show. I`m Carl Azuz. We are starting today with the first for President Obama. He was scheduled to arrive in Israel this morning. This is his first trip there since taking office. He`s been to Israel before, just never as president. During his visit, the president is planning to meet with Israeli leaders and to talk about the relationship between Israel and the U.S. Another big topic of discussion: Iran -- a nation whose leader has threatened to wipe Israel off the map.

Israel was founded in 1948 as a Jewish homeland. Its neighbors are all Arab countries, and Israel has fought several wars against them since it was created. The U.S has been a close ally of Israel. Both countries have concerns about Iran`s controversial nuclear program. But President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu haven`t always agreed on how to deal with Iran. During this visit they are expected to talk about those differences.

Pope Francis has been formally installed as the new head of the Roman Catholic Church . The College of Cardinals elected the new pope last week, but he was officially inaugurated as pope yesterday. During this ceremony in Vatican City he gave a sermon and talked about how the Catholic Church should focus on caring for the poor and the sick. Pope Francis also discussed the importance of respecting the environment. There is a vehicle built especially for the church leader. It`s called the popemobile. President Obama gets his own car, too. An there is a difference between these two in cost: Popemobile, $565,000. The Beast, President Obama`s car, 1.5 million. But both vehicles are big on security. The popemobile has a bulletproof Plexiglas dome, the Beast is made from armor that`s eight inches sick. And the tires are reinforced with Kevlar on that. Yesterday Pope Francis greeted some of the people who came to his inauguration, but he wasn`t riding in the popemobile. He was in this open air vehicle. Security obviously a big concern for any world leader. Ben Wedeman looks at some of the challenges involved in protecting the pope.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a thrill for the crowds, Pope Francis walking out on the street to press the flesh. But it wasn`t a thrill for his security.

One Italian newspaper quoted a member of the pope`s security detail as saying, if he carries on like this it will drive us all crazy. But the Vatican spokesman isn`t panicking.

THOMAS ROSICA, VATICAN SPOKESMAN: The very confident security forces with the pope are there with him. They`ve been watching him, they`ll adept to his own movements and they will do their best to adept to new situations.

WEDEMAN: The Bishop of Rome has been a target in the past. In 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot four times by would be Turkish assassin in St. Peter`s Square. In 2008, a German woman tried to drag Pope Benedict XVI to the floor. A year later, she tries to do the same thing. Papal security has been provided by the Swiss guards for centuries. Now, they are bolstered by the Italian Secret Service and regular police and keep an eye on the tens of thousands of visitors who come here every day.

Vatican City is one of the world`s most popular tourist destinations, but at the end of the day, security can only do so much, after which they have to put their faith in God.

And that seems to be the attitude of most popes, says former Swiss guard Andreas Widmer.

ANDREAS WIDMER, FORMER SWISS GUARD: The first priority of the papacy isn`t security. The first priority is his ministry. And he knows what he needs to do for his ministry, and we`re going to cope with that

WEDEMAN: No easy task when dealing with a pope who thus far has been most unpredictable. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I`m a building whose first residents moved in in 1800. I was burned in 1814, during a war, but rebuilt afterward. I`m divided in two different wings, East and West, and President Theodore Roosevelt officially named me in 1901.

I`m the White House. And I`ve also been known as the president`s palace and executive mansion.


AZUZ: One tradition has been going on at the White House since before President Roosevelt gave it that name. The White House Easter Egg Roll. Kids and adults are invited to the president`s home for games, music and yes, egg roll. This year would be the 135th event. It`s set for April 1st. There is a chance that plans for the 2013 egg roll could get scrambled. This has to do with funding for the U.S. Government. It`s set to run out a week from the day, and if the president and Congress can`t agree on ways to extent that funding, some government offices or programs could be shut down. The White House said the Easter Egg Roll could be on that list. It warned anyone who has a ticket to the event, it could be canceled because of the funding issue. 35,000 people are expected to attend. One Republican leader called the threat to cancel the egg roll shameless and pathetic.

Another roll now, the roll of government. After we told you about proposals to either ban certain sugary drink sizes, or to prevent any bans like that, we asked what you thought about it on Facebook. Most comments were like Cody`s. I don`t think the government has any reason to worry about what we eat or drink. They need to stick to more important things that will fix our nation`s problems. Maureen asks, "Are they going to tell us how many Big Macs I`m allowed to eat, too? If I want that much sugar, that`s my business and mine alone." Cassie says, "The goal of government is to protect the rights of the people, not micromanage their lives." A couple of folks like Sam disagreed: "The government must do what is necessary to save money spent on health care for people affected by soft drinks and sugary products." Maris wrote, "Some people need guidance in their everyday life choices. There should be a ban on certain drink sizes. Benjamin feels, the government shouldn`t interfere with drink sizes, but it should do more to encourage exercise. And Dillon says "The role of government to guide society, keeping things running smoothly, not controlling it." We love hearing from teachers, too. It`s Tell us what you think of today`s show.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mrs.Hinz and the students at Yellow Medicine East in Granite Falls, Minnesota.

Which of these words means "spring" like the season? You know what to do. Is it Vernal, Sternal, Diurnal or Nocturnal. You`ve got three seconds, go.

Vernal is a synonym for spring. A season whose time has arrived. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout".


AZUZ: Today is the first official day of spring, but winter didn`t go quietly. What you`re looking at right now is hail in Mississippi pelting these vehicles. There were reports of damage in at least 14 counties. Snow and ice in North Dakota brought serious problems to some roads, there was a no travel warning in half the state. And the tornado touched down in Tennessee and stayed on the ground for nearly five minutes. It left this damage behind. There is no guarantee that the extreme weather will go away with the change of the season, but spring is officially here. It begins with something called the vernal equinox.

We already spring forward, why should we care about the vernal equinox? Well, for one thing: you`d be talking about an event that`s been celebrated for thousands of years by very different cultures. For another, you get to walk around saying vernal equinox. Even though you`re not on Jeopardy. That`s kind of cool. And most, of course, you live on the equator. In that case it`s warm, especially on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes when the sun is directly over the equator, and day and night are the same length. This only happens two times a year, and March 20th is one of them. It`s called vernal, which is Latin for spring. It`s the official beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere, and, well that`s pretty much it. But a lot of people get equinoxes confused with solstices, and you don`t have to. Look at the first three letters in each word. For equinox, think equal, meaning equal time for day and night, for solstice, think short of long, meaning the shortest or longest days of the year. You could say the difference between them is night and day. Equinoxes kick off spring and fall, solstices kick off summer and winter, and knowing this will help keep your seasons from being equinoxous.

You know that warning that when see a stunt, don`t try this at home? Definitely applies to this Youtube video. Although I don`t know why anyone would try it anyway. See that blue speck in the middle of the screen? It`s a guy. He and his friend are wearing wing suits, and the towers they are flying toward are only 26 feet apart. It looks like, thankfully for them, their aim was right on. The stuntmen -- look at this - they landed safely after buzzing between the buildings. That`s certainly a towering accomplishment. But remember, these guys are professionals, this isn`t the kind of thing where you can just wing it.

It`s time for us to fly. Enjoy the rest of your day.