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Wildfire Outbreak in Australia; Syrian Refugees

Aired October 21, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Bringing stories from around the world right to your classroom. This is CNN STUDENT NEWS. First up today, we are heading to Australia where officials are worried that a wildfire outbreak could get worse. At least 56 fires are burning across Australia. On Sunday, authorities said 12 of them were out of control. A very dry winter and month without much rain set up conditions for wildfires. In this video, you can see how strong the winds are. That`s not helping either. Those winds can spread the wildfires, making it harder for firefighters to get the flames under control. Local news agencies are predicting hot, dry and windy conditions over the next few days.

Our next story takes us to Syria. International inspectors are destroying the country`s chemical weapons. The civil war is as brutal as ever. Since the fighting started two and a half years ago, more than 2 million people have fled from Syria. They might have gotten away from the violence, but life as a refugee comes with its own different challenges.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We talk a lot about the weaponry that`s being used in Syria. We talk a lot about the diplomacy that is being utilized to try to end the political crisis. It`s important to remind people that there are now at least 2 million Syria refugees. That`s just the number of registered refugees. It`s not getting any better and the world needs to be reminded, when you go to any of these refugee communities, what you see is truly chilling because this has the potential to become a lost generation for Syrians. And the refugees that I`ve spoken with repeatedly say they don`t know what`s going to happen to them. They want more than anything to go home, but they can`t go home, they are so fearful for their lives back at home, but they are also fearful for their future in the countries that they now reside in.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we`ve seen in the past with refugees, is if there`s an opportunity to go back, if they think it`s safe in their hometown, they will go back. If they don`t they will stay out at whatever cost. Because they know it`s better to be alive, even to be hungry, even to be cold, even to be living in a tent in a desert, they would rather do that than face the possibility of death. So, the future for the refugees is not a good one. It`s one where there`s not enough money coming in from the international communities to support them, and it`s one where they are increasingly unwelcome in the places where they are. The outlook is not good. And the history of this region is, that refugees once displaced, can sometimes spend even the rest of their lives outside away from their own countries.


ANNOUNCER: See, if you can I.D. me. I`m a famous luxury ship. When I was built, I was the world`s largest passenger ship. I only made one voyage, and I sank in the North Atlantic in April of 1912. I`m the RMS Titanic. And my wreckage was discovered in 1985.

AZUZ: This violin once belonged to a musician named Wallace Hartley. If the name`s unfamiliar, you`ll know the ship he sailed on. Hartley was the band leader of the Titanic. That`s the reason why the instrument fetched $1.7 million in auction October 19th England. Unlike many other Titanic artifacts, the violin didn`t fall to the ocean floor. Historians believe it was strapped to Hartley`s body when it was pulled from the water days after Titanic sank. It turned up in an attic in Britain seven years ago. And what helped identify it, was an engraving from Hartley`s fiance, "For Wallace on the Occasion of Our Engagement from Maria. The violin was returned to her after the shipwreck. Maria never married. To be fair, other historic violins have gone for more. A rare 1721 Stradivarius once fetched almost $16 million. This violin is one of many Titanic artifacts, including others from Wallace Hartley to come up for auction. It may be the most symbolic, though. It tells the story that is at once a romance and the tragedy. As remembered in films about the Titanic, this is believed to be the instrument Hartley used for the hymn "Nearer God To Thee" as the band played on and the ship sank into the icy Atlantic. Like the Titanic itself, Hartley`s violin keeps its secrets locked deep inside.

The Grambling State University football team is 0 and seven this season. This weekend, Grambling lost to Jackson State without ever taking the field. Most players refused to even get on the bus. They are angry about the team`s travel conditions. About the state of training facilities and about the head coach being fired. Last week, the team boycotted two practices, then players walked out of a meeting with university officials, and finally the decision not to play against Jackson State. Grambling will have to pay a $20,000 fine, and officials say players` scholarships could be revoked if they don`t go to practice or games, although last Friday school officials said they weren`t planning to enforce that. They also said some team facilities are due for upgrades in the next few weeks. What happens next? Grambling`s athletic director said quote, "we wait until Monday and see if they come to weight training."

ANNOUNCER: It`s time for the shoutout. Which of these words is an antonym for static? If you think you know it, then shout it out. Is it immobile, magnetized, dynamic or didactic? You got 3 seconds, go.

Static relates to things that are at rest, so its antonym or opposite is something that`s in motion or dynamic. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: And aerodynamics deals with the motion of air and with the force on things that are in motion in the air. So engineers have to consider aerodynamics when they are designing cars and planes. Or in the case of the Transition, both. It`s a new kind of vehicle, and before you can get in it, you need two licenses - one for driving and one for flying.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a bird, it`s a plane. It`s a Transition?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Traditional cars are in for some serious competition come 2015. The Terrafugia Transition -- literally a flying car. To be fair, it`s closer to a plane that drives than a car that flies.

Carl Dietrich, Terrafugia`s co-founder and CEO, got the idea for his flying car while he was studying at MIT.

CARL DIETRICH, CEO, TERRAFUGIA: The Transition is the evolution of a lot of years of thinking and you know, dreaming about things like this, and it started long before me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Way before. Glenn Curtis, the chief rival of the Wright brothers, designed the first flying car in 1918, but his bulky three-wing Curtis autoplane could only hop. So it flunked (ph). But what was once the stuff of fiction is now reality. If you have $279,000 lying around and at least 20 hours of flying time under your belt - the standard needed to pilot a light aircraft - this flying car could be yours.

The Transition is essentially a small plane designed to be roadworthy. Push a button and the wings pull up, allowing the pilot to drive it like a car. It even runs on regular, unleaded gasoline.

DIETRICH: It definitely gets a lot of attention. You know, when you are driving this on public roads, or we had it at a gas station yesterday filling up, and you know, people definitely stare a little bit. I would say it`s better than having a super sports car, I mean, because this one really does fly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But is it safe? Dietrich says it is. The flying car can travel at a speed of about 215 miles an hour, with a range of about 450 miles in the air, similar to a small plane.

DIETRICH: The Transition is kind of a symbol of what we can accomplish, and these things are totally technically achievable.


AZUZ: Roll call gives us a chance to feature all kinds of schools on CNN STUDENT NEWS. Today we`re adding three more to the map. We`ll start in West Columbia, South Carolina, with the Bulldogs from the Glen Forest school. Over in Indianapolis, Indiana, we`re checking in with the students at the Unique East Home School Coop. And finally, the Silver Eagles from Hodgson Vocational Technical High in Newark, Delaware.

Some stores employ security guards to keep customers safe. This night watchman, not on the payroll, and I doubt customer safety is the first thing on his mind. The gator wandered up to the front doors of a Wal-Mart in Florida early Sunday morning. Authorities said hung out for about an hour before making its way back to a pond behind the store. You might have come across some reptiles before, but probably not anything on that scales. The store might consider putting up some preventive measures, like a gate or a fence, but that`s a tale for another day.

Hope you enjoy the rest of this day. For CNN STUDENT NEWS, I`m Carl Azuz.