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Natural Disaster Stories in Philippines, American Midwest; Caroline Kennedy Becomes U.S. Ambassador to Japan

Aired November 20, 2013 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: I`m Carl Azuz. Thank you for spending part of your day with CNN STUDENT NEWS. The past week or so we reported on two natural disasters. One in the Philippines, the other in the Midwestern United States. In both situations, survivors face a long road of recovery and rebuilding. In the Philippines, the numbers tell part of the story. Nearly 4,000 people were killed, more than 18,000 were injured and as far as the missing go, 1600 people still missing.

When you`re able to get a look from above like Karl Penhaul did for this next report, you start to get a sense of the enormity of the physical damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s only if you take a video camera into the air, that you can begin to get a handle on the true dimension of this disaster. Look around you and imagine how it must have felt standing here on Magayannis (ph) street in Tacloban City as a towering wall of water raced in from the ocean. But take a look. The pictures speak clearly for themselves.

Wherever you look, international organizations and government rescue teams are hard at work pulling away debris, still looking for bodies of the dead trying to bring relief to the survivors. But seeing the scale here you begin to understand how daunting a task that will be. It`s a task that could take months, maybe years to rebuild. Karl Penhaul, CNN, Tacloban, the Philippines.


AZUZ: When severe weather hit the American Midwest on Sunday, it included reports of 76 tornadoes. The town of Washington, Illinois took a direct hit. As many as 400 homes in Washington were destroyed or severely damaged. The mayor sounded up simply - devastation, sadness, people that lost everything. Now, those people have to find a way to move forward.


KRIS LANCASTER, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I got hit by some debris or something, it cut my eye in three places.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His wife and children survived, too. But this is what happened to their house - gone. Even they can barely recognize it.

KRIS LANCASTER: This is my bedroom. Right here. I was sleeping on that side of the bed, And when the sirens went off and the (inaudible) at me, I jumped up, (inaudible) some clothes, you know, my running pants on and I went through the house. I actually went - checked here - the kids were over here, so I went through this way, it was my kitchen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Incredibly, the plates in the kitchen cupboard remained completely intact. The rest of the kitchen destroyed. The home was Mandy Lancaster`s dream house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (on camera): After you came out of the basement and saw what this tornado did to your house, were you incredulous that you survived?

MANDY LANCASTER: Yes. I don`t know how. Anybody might do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Mandy didn`t want her husband to shoot the video, but he was transfixed.

KRIS LANCASTER: That water tower over there, just to the left of it, is where I started seeing it coming across. Coming across, coming across.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn`t until after the tornado hit that Kris joined his family in the basement. The day after they looked for keepsakes.

KRIS LANCASTER: The video of my wedding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they tried to figure out what happens next.

MANDY LANCASTER: I don`t` know where to go. I don`t know what to do.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for "The Shoutout." The new U.S. ambassador to Japan is the daughter of which president? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Is it John F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush. You`ve got three seconds, go!

President Kennedy`s daughter Caroline Kennedy became the new ambassador. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: As ambassador, Caroline Kennedy is the highest ranking representative from the U.S. government to Japan. She lives there, maintaining diplomatic relations between the countries. There is a lot of ceremony involved when anyone starts this particular job, but for some Japanese, Kennedy`s name and her family`s history with Japan makes this especially significant.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clutching cameras and waiving, thousands of Japanese lined the streets to watch a daughter fulfill her father`s sojourn.

She`s completing the mission he couldn`t fulfill, says Junko Shibazaki. This is significant here. JFK was to be the first U.S. president to visit Japan, but he was assassinated. 50 years later, nearly to the day of his death, his only surviving child made a way to the streets of Tokyo by horse-drawn carriage to the emperor. She passed by many in this crowd who witnessed the first ever life TV images broadcast of the U.S. to Japan 50 years ago. News coverage of the assassination. Images of the two young Kennedy children seared into the collective Japanese memory. Caroline is like my friend, she says, of course we aren`t totally different worlds, but to me she is special. This is the sort of enthusiasm usually reserved for pop stars of the Japanese royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (on camera): Do you remember anyone ever getting this excited about a U.S. ambassador here in Japan?

(voice over): "Heck, no," said Watanbe who traveled 200 miles to be here, and ask anyone about job qualifications ...

(on camera): Caroline Kennedy doesn`t have a lot of diplomatic experience.

(voice over): That doesn`t matter, she says, emphatically, she can do the job. This is a country, after all, where bloodlines trump all, why American Nancy Nichols who lives in Japan says this child of Camelot is royalty here.

NANCY NICHOLS, SPECTATOR: Making a full circle and closing the bonds that we have and I think it`s great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After a brief ceremony with Emperor Akihito, Ambassador Kennedy returned to her carriage to begin her pass in U.S. Japan history.


AZUZ: Doing it all European edition of our worldwide Wednesday "Roll Call" and adding some countries to the map, that we haven`t visited yet. First up, Hohenfels, Germany. And the Tigers from Hohenfels Middle/High School. Next up is next door in the Netherlands. The Raptors from the Rotterdam International Secondary School and we`ll keep moving west to Hergit (ph), England, to check in with the Mustangs from Menwith Hill.

Former NFL player Donovan McNabb recently said that NASCAR champion Jimmy Johnson is not an athlete. Some of your reactions - Jack says, "NASCAR doesn`t take physical effort. All you`re doing is driving around the truck. In football, you`re running, pushing, jumping and throwing, which is way more exercise." Aundrea`s dad used to race and design stock cars and says that drivers are athletes. Imagine spending three hours going 140 miles per hour, with limited space, getting jostled by every bump and feeling the constant vibrations of the engine." Killian argues, "Drivers don`t have any athletic ability. Call me when they can hit a 90 mile per hour fastball." Sage says, "The G-Force that drivers face in their cars is like having hammers pounding on your chest. They are for sure athletes." From Cameron, "All you do in NASCAR is sit in a car and drive in an oval. In football, you get tackled and run a lot." Michayla says, "Race cars are totally different than the ones driven at home. They weigh a ton more, and drivers have to maintain a constant speed of about 200 miles per hour around a truck while trying to avoid crashing."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? Etymology is the study of insects. Nope, not true. That`s entomology. Etymology is the study of word history. And explanation of where words come from.

AZUZ: All right. See, if you can identify this etymology example. It`s a word that was first used in 2002 in an online forum. It`s been a decade popping up here and there on social media, especially photo sharing sites. In the past 12 months, its frequency has gone up 17,000 percent. You need one more hint? Selfie. The Oxford Dictionary has just picked it as the 2013 word of the year. Here is how that works. The word doesn`t have to be new, obviously. But it does have to show a recent surge in popularity. That`s where that 17,000 percent increase comes in. Selfie beat out runners up like binge-watching and bitcoin. Now, it joins pass words of the year like podcast, carbon neutral and unfriend. And we`re pretty sure it knows just how to memorialize the moment.

There is another social media shutterbug term that`s gaining momentum. Photobomb. And this cat is taking it to a new level - it`s not content to pop up in the background of the shot. When it`s spot at this local news crew, it jumped head first and camera second right into the middle of everything. It seems like it knows how to handle itself on a camera. I mean check out that black and white balance work. Hopefully, the cat has other skills. Otherwise, this photobombing feline is just a flash in the pan. It could have been the start of a catastrophe, the possibilities for damage might make you shutter. But the camera crew didn`t seem to purrturb - sorry like that lends itself to a lot of puns depending all on how you frame it.