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U.S., Russia Try to Work Out Deal on Syrian Chemical Weapons; Heavy Rain in Colorado

Aired September 13, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome. Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS. We start today in Switzerland, the country has a reputation for neutrality. The Swiss city of Geneva has been a regular spot for diplomatic meetings and programs, the Red Cross was founded there. The Geneva conventions to protect war prisoners were signed there. Right now, U.S. and Russian officials are meeting there to discuss the idea of Syria handing over control of its chemical weapons. Yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said a diplomatic solution would make a military strike against Syria unnecessary. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, any agreement needs to be comprehensive and carried out in a timely fashion. Secretary Kerry also said, there ought to be consequences, if it doesn`t take place.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said yesterday that Syria will only agree to hand over its chemical weapons when the U.S. stops threatening to attack. He`s not the only world leader arguing against U.S. military action. Brianna Keilar looks at an article written by Russian President Vladimir Putin.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Russian President Vladimir Putin is criticizing U.S. policy in an op-ed in "The New York Times" saying U.S. military action in Syria would hurt civilians and spread conflict, he says "a strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. Putin also suggests the U.S. is being duped by the rebels and that Bashar al-Assad may not be responsible for recent chemical attacks, saying, "There is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons." Putin is taking aim at Obama`s claims that America is an exceptional nation, stating "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord`s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal." And the leader of a country who`s been accused of using force to get his way is no criticizing the U.S. He writes, "It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States."

One American lawmaker`s reaction on CNN.

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, (D) NEW JERSEY: And I have to be honest with that dinner, and I almost wanted to vomit.


ANNOUNCER: See if you can I.D. me. I became a U.S. state in 1876, which is why one of my nicknames is a Centennial State. I have the highest mean elevation of all 50 states. And my capital is sometimes called the Mile High City. I`m Colorado, and I`m home to more than 5 million people.

AZUZ: It started with this: heavy rain that began soaking parts of Colorado on Wednesday night. But it didn`t` stop, and that caused this: roads washing out, rescuers and residents getting trapped, parts of northern Colorado being cut off when more than half a foot of rain fell and rolled down mountainsides in less than a day. Several people have died in the floods, officials have told a lot of folks to stay home, because the roads are so bad, it`s hard to see where there is asphalt, and where there is just water. But there had been some incredible rescues coming out of this. Kelly Werthmann of affiliate KCNC saw one herself yesterday.


KELLY WERTHMANN, KCNC REPORTER: Moments ago we watched an amazing rescue: the bridge behind me here is completely washed out, and we watched as local rescue crews took a man out of his fully submerged car alive. We watched this rescue. All three cars, as you can see, just mangled and fully submerged. We watched when rescuers got into the water, the raging water, in fact, and had to turn the Sedan over, and inside they saw the man alive. They broke the window, so that he could breathe and they could get the rest of the water out, and then they were able to pull him to safety.

I`m told by local fire crews that all three drivers were pulled to safety alive, and they are now being treated for their injuries. This is just amazing, the bridge here completely washed out by all of the rain that has fallen in this area. It`s been falling since Wednesday afternoon, the flood waters downed power lines and even closed parts of major parkways. Residents, who have, of course, done what they could to protect their homes, parts of Boulder remain under a mandatory evacuation at this time, students at the University of Colorado came together to save their belongings after the flood reached the dorms, and that campus will be closed today, due to the widespread flooding. Now, conditions are expected to get worse. It is expected to rain all day today, as well as tomorrow, with more thunderstorms coming this weekend, again, just an incredible rescue here, outside of Boulder.


AZUZ: Earlier this year, Detroit, Michigan, became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy. It`s more than $18 billion in debt. One side effect of the city`s financial problems that you might not think about -- stray dogs, thousands of them have been abandoned, they`ve been roaming the streets and potentially posing a risk to humans. Poppy Harlow has more on the situation and some of the folks who are trying to help.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In America`s biggest bankrupt city, struggling just to keep the lights on, there is another problem: thousands upon thousands of dogs, roaming Detroit`s streets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s a stray. He`s so thin.

HARLOW: Most are pit bulls starving for food and affection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody had moved out, left him behind, he was tied up in the backyard.

HARLOW: This is the young stray pit bull that was just brought in here to the Michigan Humane Society, completely malnourished, injured, having a really hard time walking, and unfortunately, this is something that they see here every single day. One of the biggest problems facing Detroit and the stray dogs is the fact that so many are not spayed or neutered, and so the problem persists.

KRISTEN HUSTON, ALL ABOUT ANIMALS RESCUE: They are overbreeding, they are running the streets.

HARLOW: Kristen Huston is trying to curb the problem, educating owners to spay and neuter their dogs. She also provides free food to keep dogs in homes.

HUSTON: A lot of people have lost their homes, lost their jobs, and they just don`t have the funds. They love their animals, but, you know, it`s very hard to feed their own kids, and their family.

HARLOW (on camera): So, what are you going to do?

HUSTON: Exactly.

HARLOW: Are there more people living on the street or more stray dogs?

TOM MCPHEE, FOUNDER, WORLD ANIMAL AWARENESS SOCIETY: Right now there are more stray dogs. In all of the houses on this street, all of them are empty except one.

HARLOW (voice over): Tom McPhee is with the World Animal Awareness Society. He took us to deserted homes to see the strays living there.

(on camera): Would tearing down these abandoned homes help solve the problem?

MCPHEE: Absolutely. People are just quickly observing animals and then, passing them on to other people. There is no sense of guardianship and responsibility of having an animal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, animal control.

HARLOW (voice over): Detroit animal control hit by staffing shortages is overwhelmed. 70 percent are euthanized.

MALACHI JACKSON, DETROIT ANIMAL CONTROL: The problem is as bad as the economic problem, I think. The whole society is pretty bad. You know, people don`t have jobs, they use animals to build revenue, and protect their properties. Times are just tough.


AZUZ: Well, there is a theme to this Friday`s "Roll Call." I`m sure, you`ll pick up on it, as we fly right through. Start out west in Yuba City, California with the Eagles from Albert Powell High School. Then it`s over to Overton, Nebraska, home of the Eagles from Overton public school. And finally, we are winning our way down to Orlando, Florida and the Eagles from Edgewater High. "Roll Call." There is just no talon where it will go next.

The Jewish high holy days began last week with Rosh Hashanah. They conclude with Yom Kippur, which starts Friday night at sundown. Yom Kippur is considered the most important and sacred holiday in the Jewish calendar. The name means "day of atonement." And that`s what Yom Kippur is about. It`s the time to atone for sins from the past year, and ask for forgiveness from God and other people. Most Jews don`t eat or drink on Yom Kippur. The day-long services end with the blowing of the shofar, a ritual instrument carved from a ram`s horn.

Don`t forget about your chance to meet Malala Yousafzai, the girl who was shot by the Taliban, because she wanted to go to school. Students 13 to 18 in the 48 contiguous states can submit an essay explaining how they`ve been inspired by Malala`s work. Full rules for the contest can be found at url you see below, and the entry form at But don`t wait -- the deadline to submit essays is 8 P.M. Eastern on September 18th.

Well, it takes a certain level of determination to set a world record. Especially, if you have no idea you`re doing it. This goat might not get that it`s going for an all-time accomplishment, but it`s definitely on board for adventure. And it doesn`t have to do much besides just stand still and enjoy the ride. What you`re watching is the longest skateboard run ever by a goat, about 118 feet, and we`re glad she didn`t accidentally fall off, because if she had, you know, she get all the blame, she makes a perfect scapegoat. Seriously, though, congrats on the record, all kidding aside. We`ve goat to go, but we`ll be ba-ack next week with more CNN STUDENT NEWS. Enjoy your weekend.