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STUDENT NEWS

Iran`s Nuclear Program; Former Army Captain Receives Medal of Honor for Heroic Actions in Afghanistan

Aired October 16, 2013 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to your Wednesday edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz. Peaceful purposes or nuclear weapons? For years, that`s been the debate over Iran`s controversial nuclear program. Now, the discussion is happening face to face. Representatives from Iran, the U.S., the U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany started meeting yesterday in the Swiss city of Geneva. They are talking about that nuclear program. Iran says it`s serious about resolving disputes over the program. Representatives for the other country say Iran needs to address the concerns about the goals of the program.

In the past, Iran has been put under sanctions because of its nuclear program. Sanctions are restrictions, usually economic ones. The goal is to force the country to take action like changing a policy or starting to negotiate with other nations. Some officials and analysts think Iran is offering to talk about its nuclear program in order to get those sanctions lifted. One of them is Israel`s prime minister. He says Iran regularly deceives the international community, so he doesn`t think the sanctions should be relaxed too soon.

Authorities in the Philippines are trying to get an idea of how bad the damage is. A powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake violently shook the central part of the country Tuesday morning. Dozens of people were killed, most of them when buildings fell and dozens of others were missing as of last night.

A worker with the charity World Vision said people were staying in the streets in the hours after the quake because as you can see from these pictures, some of the buildings that were still standing, were very unsafe to be around. The Philippines is a nation of more than 7,000 islands. Earthquakes are common there. The country`s disaster council said this one damaged ports, roads, schools, churches and homes and some landslides were also reported.

Moving back over to Washington D.C., were the debate over the partial government shutdown and debt ceiling is getting more intense than ever. Yesterday, a group of military veterans held a rally in the nation`s capital. They urged the president and Congress to end the shutdown, before its impact hits veterans and their families. At the Capitol, there were reports of proposals from the Republican-led House, and the Democratic-led Senate. CNN reporters were told there are a lot of opinions, but no decisions. All while the clock kept ticking toward Thursday`s debt ceiling deadline.

Teachers, we have a bunch of great resources on the debt ceiling. They are in the resources bin on our home page. While you are there, make sure you check out our transcript and daily curriculum page. This is your one stop shop for free educational materials related to each day show, discussion questions, the media literacy question of the day, plus show transcript and downloadable maps. It`s there for you every day, teachers, it`s at cnnstudentnews.com.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: See, if you can I.D. me. I`m a U.S. military decoration. I was established in 1861 for the Navy, and in 1862 for the Army. I`m the country`s highest military honor. I`m the Medal of Honor and among more than 40 million U.S. military veterans I`ve been awarded fewer than 3500 times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: Many of those medals have been awarded posthumously. Before this week, there were five living recipients from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, there are six.

In what he described as monumental event, former Army Captain William Swenson received the Medal of Honor yesterday for his actions during a battle in Afghanistan in 2009. The statement nominating him for the honor talks about how Captain Swenson "wilfully put his life in danger multiple times in service of his fallen and wounded comrades."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a helicopter ride into the hell of war and the soul of Captain William Swenson, a soldier who refused to leave anyone behind and spoke up to senior commanders when it all went wrong.

FORMER CAPT. WILLIAM SWENSON, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: And what happened that day, it was a result of clouded judgment. It was result of clouded judgment on behalf of people who did later received letters of reprimand.

STARR: In this valley, four years ago, Swenson and his men were ambushed in one of the most brutal firefights of the Afghan war. Swenson said his men did not get urgently needed air support, a claim validated by the Army. Then his nomination file was said to be lost. Now, he`s finally receiving the Medal of Honor, the nation`s highest combat award.

It was early morning when the column of more than 100 U.S. and Afghan troops started up the valley`s narrow path. Enemy fire opened up from three sides.

SWENSON: Outnumbered, outgunned, and we have taken casualties.

STARR: Sergeant First Class Kenneth Wespert (ph) is shot in the throat and lain out in the open.

SWENSON: He called out to me and said, I`m hit. And he wasn`t panicked. There was no education of pain. I called to him all right, hold on, I can`t get to you. I`m pinned down, keep fighting.

STARR: Swenson run to cross-open ground dodging enemy fire to get him. Sergeant Kevin Duerst was crew chief of the Medevac helo coming to get the wounded. A helmet-mounted camera captures Swenson flashing an orange panel so the helicopter can find him, but it makes him an enemy target. arching of the MedEvac coming to get the wounded. A helmet-

STAFF SGT. KEVIN DUERST, CALIF. NATIONAL GUARD: He was completely under control of the whole situation. He knew exactly what had to be done and when.

STARR: Swenson and a medic helped Wespert to the helo and then a moment amid the mayhem. Watch as Swenson gently kisses Wespert good bye. Swenson has no memory of it.

SWENSON: I was just trying to keep his spirits up. I wanted him to know that it was going to be OK. And I wanted him to know that he`d done his job, but it was time for him to go.

STARR: Swenson determined to get everyone out, went back into the battle with other still under fire to find and bring out the bodies of dead American and Afghan fighters. Sergeant Wespert died a few weeks later. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: It`s time for "The Shoutout." Ruminate, sup and gormandize are all synonyms for what action? If you think you know it, then shout it out. Is it walk, eat, drink or paint? You`ve got three seconds, go!

After chewing that one over, hopefully, you`d figure that those are all synonyms for eating. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: Chewing that one over. All right, your parents probably told you, don`t talk with your mouth full. A restaurant in Brooklyn, New York is taking that lesson - is taking it a step further. During special meals, diners have to sip their lips from the minute they walk in the door.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE LANGFORD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A quiet revolution at this Green Point restaurant where every week or so, diners get the silent treatment. Four course, prefixed organic meals in complete silence inspired by a young chef`s time in an Eastern culture.

NICHOLAS NAUMAN, HEAD CHEF, "EAT" RESTAURANT: I spent some time in a Buddhist monastery in India when I was in college, and we had a silent breakfast everyday.

JORDAN COLON, OWNER, "EAT RESTAURANT: We just ask them to turn off their phones and to remain silent for the remainder of the meal.

LANGFORD: A hush fulls (ph) over the dining room, interrupted only by the occastional hand gesture or ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve made a lot of facial expressions, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We found other ways of communicating that (inaudible).

LANGFORD: So far, they haven`t had to discipline anybody for making noise, but there have been a couple of close calls.

A man steps outside to blow his nose while this woman struggles with a giggle. But how would the inevitable difficult diner complain other than suffering in silence?

EVA SCHMIDT, SOUS-CHEF, "EAT RESTAURANT": If there`s something that`s not quite right or, you know, maybe they wanted something different, like it gives one opportunity to kind of just like be with that moment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AZUZ: (inaudible) how the food is, though? Either way, we are talking about this on our blog, if you`re 13 or older, we want you to talk about it, too.

Could you make it through a mute meal? Dine without din, sup in silencio. Better yet, if you try it, tell us how it went. Our blog is up at cnnstudentnews.com.

It`s Wednesday. That`s when our "Roll Call" goes worldwide. Today, we`re heading to Canada, the Caribbean and Kiev. First stop, Welland (ph), in the province of Ontario. That`s where we check in with the Eagles at Eastdale Secondary School. Then, it`s down to St. Thomas and the U.S. Virgin Islands where the All Saints Cathedral School Vikings make our "Roll Call." And finally, we`ve got the Cossacks from Kiev International School in the capital city of Ukraine.

You`ve seen a cat play with the ball of string. Bears get the jumbo version. Actually, this one, his name is Eli, he`s playing tetherball. If you`ve ever played it, the point of the game is to smack the ball so the chain wraps around the poll. Faced on this YouTube video, it looks like Eli has got the hang of it.

He`s ducking and weaving, he`s timing his hits. Of course, he`s also not playing against an opponent, so when it comes to effort, Eli may just be giving it the bear minimum. Still, looks like he`s having a ball. How does he respond to autograph requests? He could growl or sign, get it, or sign. Bear paw (ph), just green in - it`s time for us to poll us. For CNN STUDENT NEWS, I`m Carl Azuz. Have a great rest of your day.

END