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Investigation Into Train Derailment Continues; Two U.S. Citizens Detained in North Korea

Aired December 3, 2013 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: From the Earth to the Moon, we`ve got you covered. In today`s edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS we`re going to get started in the Bronx. Yesterday, we reported on a train accident in that borough of New York City. Four people were killed and more than 60 others were injured when seven cars jumped the tracks. The big question now is what happened, was the train going too fast, was there a problem with the breaks, was human error involved? Investigators are getting information off of the vent recorders that were on the train. And some of the passengers are giving their stories of what happened.


RYAN KELLY, INJURED PASSENGER: I`ve got thrown across back and forth. And it came to like a halt, and there were just people screaming.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Early Sunday, a throng of rescue workers scoured the grisly scene one rail card nearly plunging into the river where divers checked for bodies under water.

ARBEE GUIVESUS, INJURED PASSENGER: I can see some people like flying from my left like the rear sidings, people from the back - that`s just crazy.

FIELD: At 7:20 A.M. the commuter train carrying 150 passengers on its way to Grand Central Station from Poughkeepsie approached an extremely sharp curve that required a speed limit of 30 miles per hour along the Harlem River, compared to the straightway prior, requiring a speed limit of 70 miles per hour.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D ) NEW YORK: The curve has been here for many, many years, right? And trains take the curve, but it can`t just be the curve.

FIELD: The train conductor said he tried to apply the brakes, but says they didn`t work as all seven cars derailed barreling off the tracks.

AMANDA SWANSON, PASSENGER: By the time I looked up, it was completely going off its track, and there was just like the rubble from under the tracks like flying like at my face.

FIELD: Only 1700 feet away from a previous July derailment, that`s where ten garbage freight cars flipped on their sides.

EARL WEENER, NTSB: We don`t` know what the train speed was, we will learn that from the vehicle event recorders.

FIELD: This is the second passenger train derailment in six months from Metro-North. In May, an east-bound train derailed in Bridgeport, Connecticut and was hit by a westbound train. 76 people were injured.

Sunday`s crash eerily similar to the train that derailed in northwestern Spain killing 79 passengers. In that crash the train was approaching a sharp turn. Security video showed the shocking moment the train going more than twice the speed limit hurdled of the tracks. Officials are looking into what role, if any, speed played in the Bronx accident.


AZUZ: The next story today, Merrill Newman is 85 years old. He`s an American, lives in California. In October, he took at ten-day tour of North Korea. He never left North Korea. The country shut itself off from most of the world. It`s run by a dictator, Kim Jong-un, who can be unpredictable. So, it`s hard for other countries to know what the North Korean government is doing or why. Merrill Newman was detained by North Korean officials right before his plane left. Another American, Kenneth Bae, was arrested in North Korea last year. They could be released soon, but as one experts says, when it comes to North Korea, nobody knows very much.


MERRILL NEWMAN, AMERICAN HELD IN NORTH KOREA: I understand that in U.S. and Western countries there is misleading information and propaganda about DPRK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: North Korean state media released this video over the weekend of detained American tourist, 85-year old Merrill Newman reading a handwritten apology. Pyongyang saying Newman admits he`s guilty of big crimes when he fought for the U.S. in the Korean War killing civilians, working with anticommunist guerrillas and planning now, 60 years later, to try to meet up with them. The video shows Newman signing the four page statement he read on camera, dated November 9th and sealing it with him thumb print in red ink. What happened to him next isn`t clear. After being held since late October, taken off a plane just as his tour group was leaving.

The White House is now weighing in. A spokeswoman saying the U.S. is deeply concerned, calling on North Korea to release Newman and fellow American Kenneth Bae now held for more than a year. But one expert says, that could complicate an already sensitive situation.

DR. HAN PARK, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: North Korea doesn`t want to give the impression to the world that North Korea is - giving in to the demand or pressures coming from Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson who says his North Korean contacts aren`t responding, told CNN on Sunday, that Kim Jong- un isn`t following North Korea`s usual pattern of releasing Americans after getting the purported confession.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, this is baffling, but this is a newly regime of the new leader, and I suspect he`s sending different signals, but nobody knows what those signals are.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for "The Shoutout". What`s the third country to send the person into space? If you think you know it then shout it out! Was it Russia, China, France or the United Kingdom? You`ve got three seconds, go!

In 2003, China joined the U.S and Russia as the only countries that put a person in space. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: A decade later, China is hoping that breaking of that same (inaudible) group with another space milestone. So far, only the U.S. and former Soviet Union have launched spacecraft that have landed on the Moon. This week, a Chinese rocket took off in the same direction, and by later this month, the lunar landing list could lengthen the three.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s the latest milestone, and China is accelerating space program, aiming to be only the third country to execute a soft landing on the Moon surface.

Predawn on Monday in southwest China. The Long March rocket launched without a hitch. In the nose of the rocket the Chang`e 3 lunar probe carrying the (inaudible), or "Jade Rabbit" moon. Millions voted on the name, taken from Chinese folklore. If successful, the solar part buggy will touch down in mid-December using its six wheels and mechanical arm to conduct three months of scientific study in the Bay of Rainbows, a lunar lava plain. The last soft lunar landing was conducted by the Soviets way back in 1976. China`s space program was late in getting results, but with the government pouring billions into its manned and unmanned missions, China has taken its place as one of the major space players.

State media says the Chang`e probe has separated from its rocket and is now in the Earth orbit. They say, this is just the next step in the space program that aims for deep space. David McKenzie, CNN Beijing.


AZUZ: We`re (inaudible) into the "Roll Call" and all of today schools are high flyers. We just talked about China space program. John Glenn was one of the first American astronauts and the rockets from John Glenn High in Westland, Michigan make today`s roll. From there we rocket over to Ardmore, Oklahoma to tell the tale of the Dickson comets, and we come in for a landing in Crossville, Tennessee with the Cumberland County High School jets.

Unless you are a pilot or maybe a bird, you`ll probably love this idea: an order comes through at It`s boxed up in the nearby warehouse and sent rolling down a conveyer belt. Then it gets awesome: a drone or unmanned aerial vehicle picks it up and guided by GPS only, nobody is driving, flies it to your doorstep and drops it off within 30 minutes. Then your car folds up into a suitcase you can pick up and take to work. OK, so maybe it`s not quite the Jetsons, but it certainly sounds space age. Amazon hopes to be flying your order to your doorstep within five years, though an Australian book company hopes to airmail with drones next year. But as cool as it sounds to say, Prime Air delivered by octocopters, that`s what Air Amazon is called, it`s got some challenges in just getting off the ground in the U.S. One, it`s illegal. At least right now, the Federal Aviation Administration doesn`t currently allow unmanned vehicles to make deliveries. Two, it won`t work for everything. Just stuff under five pounds. So, kayaks won`t fly. Three, it would only work within ten miles of Amazon warehouses, that`s the range of the octocopters. And four, Amazon CEO says it can`t be landing on people`s heads. So, that`s a (inaudible) to work out.

We can drone on about the practicality, legality cost effectiveness and technology, but aside from all that, this would be great for ordering pizza.

If you`re already on Facebook, you can air your thoughts about this at

Sweet. How else would you describe the world`s largest cupcake mosaic? El Salvador just set the new record. A mosaic is a piece of art made out of smaller pieces arranged in a pattern. In this case, the pattern incorporates the El Salvador flag and the smaller pieces are more than 21,000 cupcakes. That adds up to a world record you could really sink your teeth into. The mosaic was impressive enough. The record, the icing on the cupcake.

It`s time to go, but we`re not deserting you for long. We are back tomorrow with more CNN STUDENT NEWS.