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U.S. Citizen Held in North Korean Jail; President Obama Visits Mexico

Aired May 3, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome. Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS, my name is Carl Azuz. First up today, the U.S. and North Korea. You know, there`s been a lot of tension between these countries. Right now, a U.S. citizen is in a North Korean jail, and he`s been sentenced to be held there for 15 years.

Kenneth Bae was arrested in North Korean back in November. He has documents that let him travel there legally, but North Korean officials say Bae committed hostile acts against this country, although they`ve never given any details. The U.S. government is calling for his to be released immediately. Dan Rivers has more on the case and how it could play out.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There`s curiously little information about Kenneth Bae on line, just this Facebook page started by his friends campaigning for his release from the secretive regime. He`s being jailed for 15 years hard labor for "his crimes aimed to topple North Korea." The official news agency claiming "his crimes were proved by evidence, a possible reference to material reportedly found on a hard drive. One of Bae`s friends suggesting it may have been as innocuous as photos of orphans begging.

Whatever he`s done or hasn`t done, experts say, he`s now a bargaining chip for a new leader Kim Jong-un.

JASPER KIM, ASIA-PACIFIC GLOBAL RESEARCH: Well, I think North Korea kind of looks at any U.S. citizen, in and around North Korea as a mere asset, a commodity that can be traded in the open market, and so Kenneth Bae was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

RIVERS: And Bae isn`t the first. Scenes like this are becoming all too familiar, cue emotional captives reunited with their families, accompanied by a high profile politician. These was 2009, journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee celebrate freedom. Former president Bill Clinton takes the credit.

A year later, it`s a different former president Jimmy Carter with another relieved American Aijalon Gomes.

Kenneth Bae is the sixth American in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the North Koreans may once again be holding out for a high profile visitor before they give him up.

What North Korea wants above all are one-on-one talks with the United States, to gain concessions and get an aim to punitive sanctions. They may see Kenneth Bae as the perfect way to achieve that aim.

With the announcement of their third successful nuclear test in February the stakes couldn`t be higher. North Korea even threatened a preemptive nuclear strike during South Korean and U.S. war games last month.

Those maneuvers are over, but it seems the brinkmanship is not.


AZUZ: From North Korea we`re coming back to North America. And our first stop is in Mexico. President Obama arrived there yesterday, he went to meet with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto and talk about some of the issues that affect both of their countries. That include security and immigration. Some people in Mexico City greeted President Obama`s arrival with protest. They are angry about U.S. immigration policies. The latest estimates show that more than 11 million Mexicans leave in the United States. That includes an estimated 6 million who are in the U.S. illegally. The U.S. and Mexico share a border, they do a lot of business with each other, we are talking about $500 billion worth of business last year. Mexico is the United States third biggest trade partner. The U.S. is Mexico`s top trade partner. So, businesses in this countries` economies were likely to be big subjects of discussion yesterday. Just like they were when President Obama met with Pena Nieto at the White House last year.

Our next story takes us to southern California where hundreds of firefighters are dealing with at least two wild fires: an acre, for reference, is about the same size as a football field.

As of yesterday, these fires had burnt across more than 6,000 acres. Some crews are working from the air, they are using helicopters to drop water and chemicals on the flames, trying to get these things under control. Part of the problem is that southern California has only gotten a couple inches of rain this year. It doesn`t get a lot to start with, but it`s gotten less than usual. That`s left the area dry, and officials say that plus strong winds and warm weather can create extreme fire behavior. Kyung Lah reported on the conditions there yesterday.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can see how my hair is flying around, there`s a lot of wind now that the sun is up. This is bad news, they are very concerned about the high winds and the low humidity here. What they`re worried about, is what you`re seeing over here. This is a home, this is Joaquino`s home and you can see what happened when the fall fire came raging through this area. This home was engulfed in just minutes. The reason that he was able to survive is because he was already outside, he was in his car trying to escape.

What they`re surprised about, is the force of the fire happening so early in the year. This is the type of destruction you see usually in October, but because of the dry weather, the lack of precipitation we`ve had this year, that`s really a dangerous combination for what`s going to be they`re anticipating a very difficult fire season.


AZUZ: Now, we`re heading across the United States, from California to New York City. Construction crews there have been working on One World Trade Center. It`s a new building going up on the side of the original World Trade Center towers. Those were destroyed in the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Now, this is the new building. A year ago, during the construction process, it set a mark as the tallest building in New York City. When this part is eventually in place, it will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. This spire was lifted up on a temporary platform yesterday. Once it`s installed and One World Trade Center is finished, it will stand at a symbolic height of 1776 feet.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I was established in 1607 by explorers from the Virginia Company of London.

I was named for England`s king James I. And I was the first permanent English settlement in North America.

I`m the Jamestown colony, and I`m located near what`s now Williamsburg, Virginia.


AZUZ: Less than three years after colonists arrived at Jamestown, relations between the English settlers and local Indian tribes had fallen apart. The Indians laid siege to Jamestown and killed settlers who went hunting outside the fort. For the colonists, the winter of 1609 to 1610 became known as the starving time. Without any food left, they ate whatever they could find: horses, dogs, cats, rats and snakes. When the animals were gone, they ate leather, and when that was gone, according to accounts from Jamestown president, some of them ate human corpses. Archeologists are now saying they have proof of that. They`ve reconstructed the face of a 14-year old girl whose scull was found in a 17 century garbage area. By the markings on it and other remains, they say settlers appeared to cannibalize the girl after she died.

It illustrates the desperation the settlers face during a period that killed 240 out of 300 colonists. Researchers expect more evidence to surface, as one anthropologist said, you never know what`s going to be under the next shovel.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today "Shoutout" goes out to Coach Clement`s social studies classes at Gunter High School in Gunter, Texas.

The Revolution, Galaxy and Timbers are all teams in what professional sports league? Here we go. Is it the CFL, ATP, NBDL or MLS? You`ve got three seconds, go!

Those are the Major League soccer teams from New England, L.A and Portland. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: The Timbers played a match Wednesday against the Green Machine, a local amateur Portland club. The Timbers home crowd was not on the home team side.



AUDIENCE: Atticus!

AZUZ: Atticus Lane Dupre is the reason this match happened, he`s eight years old, cancer survivor and he loves soccer. So when the Make A Wish Foundation got in touch, his wish was for his youth soccer team to play his favorite MLS franchise. Atticus scored four goals including the game winner and said that one was his favorite. This wasn`t scheduled around the regular Timbers match, it was set up just for Atticus and his team and 3,000 people showed up to the stadium for it, ready to cheer the Green Machine on the victory.


AZUZ: Finally, we`re going to close out the week with a classic: Robert Ducky, you`re the one that strikes terror into the hearts of men - OK, that might be a bit extreme, but so is this duck. It`s 54 feet tall and it`s just floated in the Hong Kong. The inflatable art has been making its way around the world. It will hang out in Hong Kong until next month. The creators said, quote, "If it makes you smile, than that`s OK, but maybe it makes you cry." (inaudible) just quacks this up! Definitely, it won`t get over a shadow, though. When you`re talking about a duck that`s six stories tall, the thing automatically gets top billing (ph). I hope you guys have a great weekend. For CNN STUDENT NEWS, I`m Carl Azuz.