Return to Transcripts main page


Winter Olympics Opening in Sochi, Russia; The High Tech Solution for Rio de Janeiro Infrastructure; Family Reunions of South and North Koreans Under Threat

Aired February 7, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome. You`ve landed on our February 7 edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. At the opening of today`s show we are talking about opening ceremonies in Sochi, Russia for the 22 Olympics Winter Games. They are happening today, more than 6,000 Olympians plus more than 1600 Paralympians competing. 7500 people can fit into Olympic Park alone, but thanks to the magic of television, 3 billion will be able to watch worldwide.

There are some security concerns. The latest warning from the U.S. was that explosive materials could be hidden in cosmetics. Yesterday, the U.S. banned all gels, liquids and powders in carry-on luggage on flights between the U.S. and Russia. But Russian authorities are saying the games will be secure, and that with other issues worked out, everybody will be focused on excellence in sport.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, if you can I.D. me. You`ll find me below the equator in South America. I`m the second most populated city in Brazil. Translated from Portuguese, my name means "River of January." I`m Rio de Janeiro, the most visited city in South America.

AZUZ: It`s about to get more visitors. Later this year, Rio de Janeiro is scheduled to host a FIFA World Cup, the biggest sporting event on the planet. And in 2016, the Summer Olympics Game will be there. The city`s more than 400 years old. It has some of the most beautiful sculpture and scenery in the world. It`s used to crowds of tourists. But one thing that will help this city of history is a monitoring center of the future.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A breathtakingly beautiful city that clings to the Brazilian coast. Rio de Janeiro is not always the easiest place to live. 6.32 million people, precarious housing and a series of major events, from a Pope`s visit to the 26 Olympics are pushing the limits of the city`s infrastructure. But here, in the heart of Rio, an ultramodern operations center, may give officials a leg up. A giant wall of screens streams video from roads, subways and weather satellites. Employees in white jumpsuits quietly tackle crisis after crisis.

Pope Francis`s visit last July was a major test. The director tells us he slept just three hours a day.

PEDRO JUNQUEIRA, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF OPERATIONS: When the pope was here, all of us - we had to arrive here before he left home. And we could only leave after he arrived home.

DARLINGTON: A pioneering system designed by IBM at the behest of Rio`s mayor, the center integrates data from 30 different agencies.

TERESA NASCIMENTO, IBM SMART CITY SOLUTIONS: We`re now trying to replicate in other places that could help cities, you know, to manage their daily operations.

DARLINGTON: Inaugurated at the end of 2010, the nerve center sounds the alarm when mudslides threatened hillside favelas and reroutes traffic when accidents block roads.

The center is going to face a big challenge during the World Cup when they have to try and get teams and fans to the stadium and yet keep the city running.

EDUARDO PAES, MAYOR, RIO DE JANEIRO: We are not as modern as London or Tokyo or Hong Kong or New York. But in our stage, technologies being more helpful in Rio than it`s in New York, it`s in London, it`s in Tokyo, it`s in Hong Kong.

DARLINGTON: Of course, no other city has both the World Cup and the Olympics on the horizon, presenting a major challenge for this new technology. Shasta Darlington, CNN, Rio de Janeiro.


AZUZ: From South America, we are sailing to the Korean Peninsula. North and South Korea have been divided since 1953 when fighting ended in the Korean War. In South Korea, a republic, people are free to travel. In North Korea, a communist state, the government has to approve travel, and many families separated in the war have been kept separate since.

In the past, the two countries agreed to allow reunions. 100 people from each side were set to meet and send time together later this month, but now North Korea may be going back on that promise, because of annual military drills that South Korea holds with a North Korean rival.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 100 South Koreans who were preparing to be reunited with relatives in the north, are once again in limbo this Thursday. Just one day after setting a date for family reunions of 20 to the 25 of February, North Korea is now threatening to pull out. The National Defense Commission says it doesn`t make any sense to carry out the reunions during what it calls a dangerous nuclear war practice.

Now, it`s fulfilling to the U.S.-South Korean annual military drills which starts at the end of this month. This war games have often angered the North, especially last year, although the U.S. and South Korea say they are defensive in nature. Pyongyang has called on them to be canceled, but even after today`s warnings, South Korean`s defense ministry says they will go ahead.

The family reunions are a highly emotive issue. Millions of families will split after the Korean War more than 60 years ago. Tens of thousands have applied to see family members one last time, and many of them are now in their 70s, 80s and 90s. So, time is running out. Some have passed away already without seeing their relatives for one last time.

There is a precedent for this. In September of last year, Pyongyang pulled out of planned family reunions just days before they are expected to take place. They would have been the first since 2010. Paula Hancocks, CNN Seoul.


AZUZ: Religious freedom was one of the subjects President Obama mentioned yesterday at the national prayer breakfast. This is the Washington tradition dating back 62 years. It brings together presidents, world leaders and guests of different faiths and political backgrounds.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Here as Americans, we affirm the freedoms endowed by our creator. Among them, freedom of religion. Yes, this freedom safeguards religion, allowing us to flourish as one of the most religious countries on earth. But it works the other way, too. Because religion strengthens America.


AZUZ: We`ve been around the world on today`s show. Now, we are going cross-country from east to west. Hail to the chiefs! We`re glad to be part of your day at West Lincoln Middle School in Lincolnton, North Carolina. In the American heartland, we`re stopping by Fredonia, Kansas, the buzz is all about the Fredonia High School yellow jackets. And out west to Wenatchee, Washington we paused to recognize the Panthers who were stocking CNN STUDENT NEWS from Wenatchee High School.

All right, it`s time to unlock some truth - the band we are reporting on today has released three CDs and counting. They`ve been on the beats by (inaudible) commercial. They are playing an event with dozens of other bands in April. And they are heavy metal. When you think of that heavy metal bands, these kids might not fit the stereotype, but that`s fine by them.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Malcolm Brickhouse, Jarad Dawkins and Alec Atkins, they are quickly gaining notoriety as the heavy metal band Unlocking the Truth.

MALCOLM BRICKHOUSE, LEAD GUITARIST: People who saw us in the city, they (inaudible) home watch us on YouTube.

BLACKWELL: One of those YouTube clips went viral, with more than 1.4 million views. The trio has since been profiled by magazines and featured on shows like "Totally Biased."

For a group of kids from Flatbush, Brooklyn, known more for hip hop and heavy metal, Unlocking the Truth rising success is breaking down barriers.

JARAD DAWKINS, DRUMMER: Us being black and heaving a heavy metal band is really tough, but then fun.

ALEC ATKINS: Heavy metal, the nail polish, the rock sing - they only see stuff like that.

BLACKWELL: With the support from their families, the boys are undeterred.

TRACEY BRICKHOUSE, FATHER/MANAGER: All three of the boys are like that. Just feel free and do what you want to do, and don`t care what other people think.

BLACKWELL: And you can hear that in their music.

BRICKHOUSE: Most my lyrics right now, are all being free.

BLACKWELL: Although the group has not graduated to singing (inaudible) just yet, it has not stopped them from gaining new fans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every single person I know that these kids are doing it.

JON GLASCOE, BASSIST, KRONOS EFFECT: As a black man and grown up listening to punk rock and heavy metal, I was almost brought to tears looking at these kids.

KIT KELLY, GUITARIST, KRONOS EFFECT: We wanted to be here. We want them to feel our energy and know that there is, you know, a lot of people out there who respect what they are doing.

BLACKWELL: What they are doing is what they love making music and just being themselves. Victor Blackwell, CNN, Atlanta.


AZUZ: Before we go, it`s a pretty famous footrace. But winners finish in less than 12 minutes. That`s because it`s all uphill. Up the stairs of the Empire State Building. 1576 steps, 86 fights of stares, and the hardest part for top competitors - it`s got to be the fact that the stairways are pretty narrow, making it hard to pass slower climbers. Fastest male runner made it in ten minutes and six seconds, fastest female, in 11 minutes 57 seconds. There is no question they got a lot of stares. Getting a sense of how fast you have to be is empirical. You make sure you`re in a healthy state and then you start endurance and strength building. Getting to the top is a tower of your achievement. You`re fighting an uphill battle, but finishing with one awesome runners high. I`m Carl Azuz, and I`m going to hoof it. Have a great weekend.