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Israel Holds Memorial Service for Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; Discouraging Jobs Number; A-Rod Suspended for Duration of 2014 Season

Aired January 13, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: I hope you had a good weekend. We are glad to have you watching CNN STUDENT NEWS on this Monday, January 13. First up today, Israel is holding a memorial service for a former prime minister. Here are three things to know about Ariel Sharon. One, he was a successful army general who later led the country from 2001 to 2006. Much of his focus during that time was on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. His actions included ordering air strikes on Palestinian security forces and later holding peace talks with Palestinian leaders. Two, Sharon had the reputation of being a fearless leader who could get things done. To many Israelis he was a popular hero, to some in the Arab world he was a killer. We`ll have more on that in a moment. Three, Sharon`s leadership was cut short. He had a major stroke in 2006 that affectively ended his service as prime minister. He stayed in the coma until his death on Saturday, at age 85.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a flag-draped casket Ariel Sharon enters the Israeli Knesset, the parliament for the very last time. As the nation mourns the death of a man whose presence was felt for better or for worse in the life of every Israeli.

RUTH SCHNEIDER, ISRAELI MOURNER: He built Israel, he`s Israel. He was Israel. He was the health, the heart, everything.

WEDEMAN: Few knew that better than his old friend than his old friend and sometimes rival Shimon Peres, Israel`s 90-year old president, who was the first to pay his respects. Afterwards, thousands of well-wishers filed through to light candles, to take pictures, to ponder what his passing meant. Among them many who had fought in Israel`s long succession of wars.

YITZHAK SHMUELIELI, ISRAELI MOURNER: All his life he fight for Israel.

HAIM FREIDMAN, ISRAELI MOURNER: He was an exception in a way because he`s known as the bulldozer, because he got his way. And he made things happen. And he was well respected for that.

WEDEMAN: But on the other side of this divided land, a mirror image. In Gaza, which was under Sharon`s iron-fisted control when he headed Israel Southern Command, one man`s hero is another man`s villain.

"He was a criminal and his hands are covered in blood," Mohamad tells us. He committed many war crimes and massacres.

WEDEMAN: Was Ariel Sharon a brave warrior and a visionary statesman or a bulldozer and a butcher? It all lies in the eyes of the beholder. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Jerusalem.


AZUZ: Our next story today takes to Haiti, a catastrophic earthquake struck there four years ago, on January 12. It made 15 percent of Haiti`s population homeless. And for tens of thousands life hasn`t changed much. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The Caribbean island nation that didn`t have many well-built structures or dependable services to begin with. When a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit at 2010, it killed hundreds of thousands of people. It sent hundreds of thousands of survivors to camps where conditions were horrible: dirty water, dirty tents, nowhere to put garbage, gangs and corruption. Though other countries have sent hundreds of millions of dollars to help, Haiti`s problems are still so big, and its ability to recover so limited. Aid workers are hoping that the anniversary will once again focus international attention and assistance on Haiti.

For today`s CNN STUDENT NEWS "Roll Call" we are headed out west. It may no longer be wild, but you`ll still find some outlaws like the ones at Sisters Middle School in Sisters, Oregon. We`ve also elected to feature some senators: Carson High School in Carson City, Nevada. And we`ll wrap our roll in the Midwest with the Holy Rosary School Rams. They are watching from Evansville, Indiana.

The U.S. unemployment rate is one indicator of how the economy is doing: a lower rate is usually considered a good thing, because it can mean more Americans are working. But not always. Last Friday, the latest unemployment rate came out. It`s 6.7 percent. That`s the lowest it`s been in years, but it`s only based on the number of Americans looking for jobs. Those who`ve given up aren`t counted. And the jobs picture itself is not a good one. The number of jobs that the U.S. created in December is less than half the number economists had expected. Brianna Keilar explains there figures when they came out on Friday.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s the number the White House wanted, but not the way they wanted it: the nation`s unemployment rate dropping below seven percent for the first time since President Obama was elected more than five years ago. But economists say the dip is due in part to more Americans giving up looking for work. Today`s jobs report was the worst in nearly three years: just 74,000 jobs created.

DAVID WESSEL, SR. FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: Now we are back to this really frustrating situation where the economy does seem to be picking up some momentum, but it`s not leading to a lot of job creation.

KEILAR: That, some say, doesn`t help the White House argument that the economy is recovering slowly, but steadily. Though it does help the administration`s push to extend long term unemployment benefits.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shoutout." Which term best describes someone who`s chose to help settle a dispute? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: auditor, arbitrator, appraiser or assessor? You`ve got three seconds, go!

When there`s a disagreement between two people or groups, an arbitrator can be brought in to settle it. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: An arbitrator has ruled in a case concerning baseball star Alex Rodriguez, and that ruling will keep him off the field for the upcoming 2014 season. All of it. Rodriguez is one of Major League Baseball`s top five all-time homerun hitters. He`s one of its highest paid players, rocking up hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts. The third basement admitted to using illegal performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003. But he is now fighting accusations that he used them again as recently as 2012. The 38-year old player for the New York Yankees is appealing the arbitrator`s decision.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alex Rodriguez, a Yankee known for setting records now has one more: he has the dishonorable distinction of getting hit with the longest suspension for doping in baseball`s history. A 162 games suspension, benching him for an entire season, and potentially ending the 38-year old`s career.

This after baseball`s chief arbitrator reduced the initial 211 game suspension MLB imposed on Rodriguez for allegedly using performance- enhancing drugs. Rodriguez releasing a statement saying "The number of games sadly comes as no surprise: as the deck has been stocked against me from day one. I have been clear that I didn`t use performance-enhancing substances, and in order to prove it, I will take this fight to the federal court."

MIKE WISE, WASHINGTON POST: My advice to Alex Rodriguez would be the same advice I gave Lance Armstrong years ago, just fess up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Major League Baseball wanted the initial suspension to stand, saying while we believe the original 2011 game suspension was appropriate, we respect the decision rendered by the panel, and we`ll focus on our continuing efforts on eliminating performance-enhancing substances from our game. Rodriguez went to arbitration after MLB imposed that 211 game suspension, but quickly became frustrated by the process. He spoke out on sports radio after he stormed out of the hearing last November, upset after learning baseball`s commissioner Bud Selig would not testify about allegations MLB used unethical tactics while investigating Rodriguez. In all, 13 players were suspended last year after MLB found they had used PEDs obtained from the now defunct biogenesis clinic in Florida. All suspended for 50 games, except for Milwaukee Brewers right field Ryan Braun who received a 65 game ban.

Some, but not all fans saying Rodriguez`s punishment was justified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like how do you hand out a 162 game ban to one person and not give anything to all these other people that are doing the same thing? But yeah, I guess it is. If you talk about just A. Rod here, I think it`s too harsh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he deserves it. I don`t think there should be doping in baseball. It`s America`s (inaudible).


AZUZ: Still water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but it`s got to be a lot colder than that to ice up a waterfall. Case in point, this might look like a still photograph, but it`s video: the distorted polar vortex that brought last week`s frigid blast contributed to a cold crackly crust around parts of Niagara Falls. Coming like a real life scene from the movie "Frozen." Temperatures here had dropped to negative two degrees Fahrenheit, negative 20 with the wind chill, and to think the person who captured it was just chilling.

It`s something so beautiful, it`s hard not to falls for. But folks who have seen it are like - it`s cool, but just water you`re looking at. Hope you`ll forgive us for that, watch again tomorrow with CNN STUDENT NEWS showers, more stories and more puns. I`m Carl Azuz.