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Anti-Government Protests in Kiev, Thailand and Venezuela; Unemployment and Youth Unemployment Causing Concerns in Japan, Middle East, North Africa, U.K. and United States; NBA`s 76ers Calling Player with Down Syndrome

Aired February 20, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Political and cultural divisions lead off CNN STUDENT NEWS this Thursday. I`m Carl Azuz. We`re glad you`re watching. Over the past couple of weeks, we`ve told you about protests going on in three world capitals, Kiev, Ukraine, Bangkok, Thailand, Karakas, Venezuela. These are divided nations. Governments and those who support them are facing off against protesters who want those governments changed. And what`s started as peaceful demonstrations in some cases, have turned violent. Our look into these events begins in the Ukrainian capital where dozens have died in recent fighting as other countries consider getting involved.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Capital cities are in chaos. Karakas ...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the streets of Bangkok.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The images are stunning and the atmosphere - it`s deadly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at live pictures here of antigovernment protests taking place in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the protesters came up to the parliamentary building, they called government quite (ph) around it, and this is when the flashes started.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I (inaudible) in Independence Square which has been the setup point for the opposition movement.

And it is where the crowds have effectively been driven through the streets of Kiev.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the long line of fires. Those are fires set by whom? What exactly are we looking at?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is bad, as far as I can see, a burning fire, an (inaudible) and the purpose is clearly to form a defensive barrier and stop the police and security services getting through.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R) ARMED SERVICES CMTE. This is all about whether Ukraine is a European nation or part of Russia. That`s what this is really all about.

The protests are also taking place on the streets of Thailand. Protesters have been camped out in Bangkok since November, demanding the prime minister step down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a street process that was supposed to be peaceful, and then this happened.

One of the police officers was killed, at least three civilians in the ensuing violence, Patricia, have also been killed. The protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who leads this umbrella group of protesters, if you like. He said he was sorry about the violence, but he said that they will backed out in force. So, they want to see her step down. She`s refusing to go, she held an election. It was inconclusive. And now we are seeing that things are getting up to boiling points on the streets of Bangkok.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Demonstrations last week left three people dead, four people have already died in protest against the socialist government ...

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Antigovernment protesters are still blocking the six lane freeway that leads through the heart of Karakas.

That move to blockade (inaudible) comes just hours after the Harvard- educated, Ohio State educated Leopoldo Lopez turned himself in to the National Guard. The government has accused him of provoking what they called fascism after stocking this (inaudible) in Karakas, which have now been going on a week. But if (inaudible) is much bigger than a fight just against the government of Nicolas Maduro. This is Venezuela right wing opposition, fighting against what they see as a 16-year old experiment in socialism. They say, enough is enough. And (inaudible) of government.


AZUZ: An update last night concerning Ukraine. President Viktor Yanukovych said that negotiations had begun aimed at stopping the bloodshed and stabilizing the situation in Ukraine "for the sake of civil peace." The U.S. State Department said the Ukrainian government and opposition were moving toward a truce, though fires set in Kiev continue to burn throughout the night.

The economies of the world are tied together. A boomer bust in one world capital can affect the economies of others. Easy concept. But predicting what the global economy will do is like predicting the future. One article I read yesterday said the global economy is weak. Another says it`s on the up and up. One thing economists look at when making predictions is unemployment.


VLAD DUTHIERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Japan`s unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in December a six year low, while the availability of jobs improved to a six-year high. And while that is good news, the number of contract workers who are paid less than regular staff, is still at a record high. And this week, Japan released GDP figures, which pointed to a slowing economy due to weak exports and a concern over job security and wages. Now, that fear seems to be holding back consumer spending before a rise in the national sales tax in April makes goods much more expensive.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pressed large companies like Toyota to raise wages. It`s not very clear that smaller companies will be able to follow soon.

JOHN DEFTERIOUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Middle East and North Africa region has a dubious honor of having the highest youth unemployment rate in the world. The situation has most occurred in the countries of the Arab Spring. In North Africa, youth unemployment is 29 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think what Arab Spring has, indeed, to a certain extent locked out or slowed down the development of the private sector, because it slowed down - slowed down attracting investments coming into the region.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.K. unemployment picked at 8.4 percent in 2011, right to the height of the nation`s double dip. Well, since then it`s tumbled rapidly toward seven percent, a figure deemed significant by the Bank of England. But even that number is more than two percent higher than pre-recession levels.

The creation of new jobs didn`t keep pace with the numbers people entering the labor market, meaning that the rate of unemployment actually rose from 7.1 percent to 7.2.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The last two employment reports out of the U.S. were big disappointments. December showed only a gain of 75,000 jobs. January only showed a gain of 113,000 jobs. But analysts are cautioning not to read too much into these week numbers, because it`s believed that the severe weather across the U.S. really kept people from job hunting and kept the employers from hiring. And don`t be surprised to see February`s numbers impacted as well, as the Eastern part of the country was pounded by snow and ice.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shootout." What U.S. city is known as the city of brotherly love? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it Nashville, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Flagstaff, Arizona, or Loveland, Ohio? You`ve got three seconds, go!

William Penn called Philadelphia the city of brotherly love in hopes that it would be a healthy and wholesome place. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: People who know Kevin Grow say he has those Philadelphia ideals. He`s an 18-year old student at Bensalem High School. He recently signed a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. It`s a two day agreement, not two years. Two day. But we have a feeling the thrill is going to last a lot longer for the NBA team, for Kevin and for his growing number of fans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bensalem High School. Number 33 ....



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meet the new breakout star of the Philadelphia 76ers. Already, a fan favorite and the center of the team huddle.

His name is Kevin Grow.

Before he was a free agent, the 18- year old with Down syndrome was already a star player.

For four years, Kevin was the manager of the Bensalem High School basketball team. With two minutes remaining in the final game of the season, Kevin`s coach took him off the bench and put him in the game. He scored four three pointers, knocking in this ...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the play went viral, it was only a matter of time before the pros came calling. The (inaudible) signed Kevin to a ceremonial two-day contract with the team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations!

KEVIN GROW: You two!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you can - but you can play defense, too?

GROW: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I say we give him a three-day time ...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kevin hit the court for team practice sporting his new custom jersey, scouring extra points with fans and family. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The joy and love that he brings is just incredible.


AZUZ: We`re going to settle up and head out west for today`s "Roll Call". We`ll start with the Hawks, they are perched in Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Moving up to Spring Creek, Nevada. This is Spartans country, Spring Creek High School. And springing over the Rock Spring, that`s in Wyoming. It`s also where the tigers watching are Rock Springs High School.

One of my favorite Winter Olympic events is the snowboard cross. The cameras all over the course give you great views of what`s going on. But what does it look like for the riders? We now know, thanks to British Olympian Zoe Gillings. She wore a helmet cam while she was training for the games, and now we can see what top competitors see as they ride camboard (ph) turns, jumps, drops and eventually pass their competition. It`s an event with plenty of snowboarders, but absolutely snoboardom. We`re grateful that Gillings wore the camera Sochi could show us what it was like. Though riding at that level would be an Olympic achievement. We`ve got to go right now, but we`ll be right back tomorrow on CNN STUDENT NEWS.