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Massive Snowstorm Bringing Tragedy and Hardship in American Northeast and Southeast; President Obama`s Facing Lawsuit for NSA Surveillance Program; Comcast Plans to Buy Time Warner; Cleaning Burj Khalifa, the Highest Building in the World

Aired February 14, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Valentine`s Day, everyone. I`m Carl Azuz. Welcome to another lovely edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. One thing that isn`t lovely as far as many Americans are concerned, the weather. From North Carolina to Boston, another winter storm is frosting the East Coast, possibly the worst the northeast has seen this winter. Ice, sleet, snow, freezing rain, all making it nearly impossible in some places to go anywhere. And staying home wasn`t great either for more than 700,000 power customers in the dark. New Yorkers were looking at 15 inches of snow and that`s just a snapshot of the eastern seaboard.


SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, Mother Nature is serving up tragedy and misery. There are ten confirmed deaths due to the storm. Obviously, amid this tragedy, there also problems and pain, but some people are able to find simple pleasures in so much wicked weather.

A snowball fight in front of the Lincoln Memorial shows the lighter side of the storm, but government agencies are taking the snow seriously. Forecasters expect up to ten inches of snow in the nation`s capital. Officials have ordered all federal offices closed. The plows were out on force Wednesday in Raleigh, North Carolina, but for a lot of stranded drivers, it didn`t do much good. Officials in the southeast urge people to stay home if they could as the road conditions got progressively worse. Even first responders who are having a hard time getting around slipping and sliding as they try to get their vehicles moving again.

As if ice on roads wasn`t bad enough, the weight of ice and snow brought trees down into power lines and in some cases, into homes.


AZUZ: This "Roll Call" is going to the dogs, because Valentine`s Day is all about puppy love.

At Harrisburg High School in Harrisburg, Missouri, we`ve got the bull dogs. Thanks for watching, yo.

Up to Chicago, Illinois, it`s where we find the Uno Soccer Academy High School and the fearsome wolves. And in Williston, North Dakota, some coyotes are watching CNN STUDENT NEWS. Howlo to Williston High School.

All right, big business is making big headlines this week. Cable and Internet provider Comcast is planning to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. This would combine the two biggest cable companies in the U.S. And give Comcast $30 million customers. The U.S. government must first approve the deal, and it may not, if it thinks it would give the new company too much control over the market. Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable say this is good news for customers, that the merger will mean higher broadband Internet speeds, faster Wi-Fi in people`s homes, faster releases of new products. But critics are concerned it would limit people`s choices and lead to higher prices. And last year, a consumer satisfaction index ranked the companies lowest in the nation for TV and Internet customer service.

Can you sue the president? The answer is yes. Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all been sued. The outcomes vary, of course, but it shows you that even the leader of the country is not immune to lawsuits. The latest one involving President Obama has been brought by Republican Senator Rand Paul. He says the president and other parts of the U.S. government violated Americans privacy rights by collecting millions of Americans phone and email records. The government says its controversial program has helped to prevent terrorism. What the courts will say is uncertain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rand Paul`s lawsuit joined by the Tea Party umbrella group FreedomWorks is the latest legal effort to put the heat on President Obama and the National Security Agency over collection of telephone metadata, the numbers, dates and times of calls, but not the content.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R) KENTUCKY: This we believe will be a historic lawsuit. We think it may well be the largest class action lawsuit every filed on behalf of the Bill of Rights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unusual lawsuit that Paul hopes will gain public support, it goes after the president and the director of National Intelligence, of the NSA and the FBI, on behalf of millions who have been customers, users and subscribers of phone service since 2006.

Paul wants the federal courts to declare the metadata collection program unconstitutional, shut it down and order the government to approach (ph) the information from its systems. But the administration insists the program is legal.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It has been found to be lawful by multiple courts. And it receives oversight from all three branches of government including the Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the lawsuit a good idea?

SPENCER KAMCHEE: Our information, I think it should be private.

LAUREN WOODS: The idea that anybody could be listening to my private life. That kind of, you know, it`s a little bit creepy.

STEVE MEDLIN: I think it`s just kind of a stunt to get attention. I doubt anything (INAUDIBLE) should go over to the lawsuit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were already cases in the federal courts involving the same legal questions: whether the program violates your constitutional right.

STEVE VLADECK, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW: There is no question that the underlying legal question is going to have to be resolved by the federal courts sometimes soon. It just doesn`t seem like Senator Paul suit is going to be the vehicle, through which the courts do it.


AZUZ: Time for "The Shoutout." Acrophobia is the fear of what? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it ice, spiders, dancing or heights? You`ve got three seconds, go!

If you dread heights, you might just be acrophobic and you wouldn`t want the job we`re about to describe. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

And that`s because it`s at the world`s tallest building. Not near the bottom of it, not indoors. The Burj Khalifa stands more than half a mile high. It`s located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a place that`s no stranger to sand storms. How do they keep it clean?


JON JENSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When they built the world`s tallest building, Dubai`s Burj Khalifa, it was covered in 24,000 separate panels of glass. Dipak Ghal`s job is keeping them clean.

"The work is interesting, and the view is beautiful," he tells me. Dipak is one of around 60 migrant workers, mostly from Nepal, India and the Philippines who clean windows here.

And in this dusty desert climate, there is plenty of work for them.

They start at the very tip top.

We`re standing on the 159th floor of the Burj Khalifa. That`s about 35 stories higher than most tourists get to go. It doesn`t sound that high, perhaps. But if you come over here, take a look over the edge, I think you might change your mind.

It`s more than 2700 feet, or nearly a kilometer straight down, certainly not a job for the faint of heart, especially when you`re repelling.

Dipak had never seen a building even half this height before, let alone climbed one. But his brother said he should leave Katmandu and give it a try. Safety comes first. And while they trust their equipment, harnesses and ropes are checked and double checked. Wind speed is also measured. Because up here, one big gust could be dangerous.

"The wind can toss you around the building, from right to left, "He says. "If it`s too strong, we don`t work that day."

When the inspections are done, they step out over the edge and deep down to business.

It will take those three months to clean each and every window and then they start all over again. The building`s contractor, though, says, rope access is still the most efficient way to get the job done. For Dipak, it`s also a decent living. As a new recruit, he can make over $600 a month, much more than he`d earned as a construction worker building skyscrapers like this one.

"My mom always asks me why I do this. And says it looks dangerous," he tells me. She wants me to come back to Nepal and get a regular job, but I tell them no, no, no. I like it. And this is a good living.

And he says, just another day at the office.

Jon Jensen, CNN, Dubai.


AZUZ: Americans are expected to spend $17.3 billion on Valentine`s Day stuff. That`s over 55 bucks for every person in the country. Chocolate boxes, a popular gift, date back to the 1860s. But few things are sweeter than the long awaited and well deserved homecoming of U.S. troops.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it`s not only me. It`s them that made that sacrifice.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I want my mom to come home .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, this is (inaudible). He`ll meet Dad for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t try to pull it off. They think I`m coming home in about three weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really just want to make - make them feel better about it, you know, and hopefully this .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I can`t even explain.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The absolute joy.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome back home.



AZUZ: It`s tough to beat something so heartfelt. Whether or not you love Valentine`s Day, we hope you have one sweet weekend with chocalot of fan. We will be off Monday for the President`s Day holiday. So we`ll look forward to seeing you again on Tuesday. I`m Carl Azuz.