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Situation in Crimea; Heavy Rain Striking Southern California; Julia Ernst, Female Wrestler

Aired March 3, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: It`s the third day of the third month of 2014. Happy you taking ten minutes for CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz. It was a tumultuous weekend in Ukraine. We`ve told you about protests in the capital Kiev that led to the ouster of Ukraine`s president last month. Most of those protesters want their country to have closer ties with Europe, but many Ukrainians, like their ousted president, want closer ties with Russia. And one region where support for Russia is strong is Crimea. It`s in southern Ukraine. It`s where most residents identify themselves as Russian, and it`s where what we assume to be Russian troops came in the Ukraine over the weekend and took control of the Crimean peninsula, according to the U.S.

The troops surrounded three Ukrainian military bases. There wasn`t any combat, but the U.S. calls this an active Russian aggression and says Russia is breaking international law by sending troops to Ukraine. Russia says there is no open confrontation here, but that it has the right to defend its people and interests in Ukraine.

Time for "The Shoutout." What`s the most populated state in the U.S.? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it Florida, Texas, New York or California? You`ve got three seconds, go!

With around 38 million residents, California is far and away the most populated state in the U.S. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

It`s been the season of extremes for residents of southern California. While other parts of the country were shivering under snow, ice and bitter cold, areas near Los Angeles have been parched by drought. Windy dry conditions fostered the spread of wild fires, and when rain finally came from a recent storm system, there wasn`t much vegetation left to soak it up. So that meant mudslides. Thankfully, no death have been reported because of the rain and mudslides, but the drought has been so bad that the storms barely made a dent in water levels. Much of the rain is streaming back out to sea and water reservoirs are still at minimum levels. Even a forecast for more rain isn`t good news for some folks.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It happened in minutes. Fire scorched land couldn`t hold the rain, so mud poured down from the Glendore (ph) foothills below.

RYAN FRIEND, RESIDENT: It`s (INAUDIBLE). It`s bad. It looks - I mean it`s bad. It hasn`t been this bad in a long time. It wasn`t like this 20 minutes ago.

LAH: They are getting out while they can.

(on camera): But you are not taking anything with you, just grabbing your dog?

MARIO VASQUEZ, RESIDENT: No, we got my laptop. I don`t need too much, too many things. Everything is going to be fine. It`s all replaceable.

LAH (voice over): Just a couple of inches of rain and you can see the effects here when the ground, which is burned by the fire can`t hold all of this and something you`ll notice - the debris it shows - it`s been scarred by wildfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to make some friends to help get you out. OK?


LAH: 1,000 homes are under a mandatory evacuation order. Because they sit below these scorched hills. Two months ago, it was wildfire. Today, mud into their pools and backyards. California has been in drought for months. The sudden rain caught some by surprise.

Two people were found stranded in a tree trying to escape the rising water of the Los Angeles River. Take a closer look. It`s not just people, but there are two dogs. You can see the rescuers, the Los Angeles firefighters as they carefully move the frightened animals out of the tree one by one to the nearby rescue boat.

And there`s more rain coming. Just bad news for Kim and Dennis Kralik. They chose not to listen to the mandatory evacuation order. Their one road in and out too covered in mud to drive.

(on camera): Because you can`t get out.

KIM KRALIK, RESIDENT: No, not right now. Until they clear this, we`re stuck here.

LAH: What has Mother Nature been like the last couple of months for you?

KIM KRALIK: We had fire, droughts and now torrential rain.


KIM KRALIK: Yeah, pretty much everything.

DENNIS KRALIK, RESIDENT: Yeah, we`ve hit all four elements at this point. I think we are done at this point with any more crazy storms.


AZUZ: There may not be much we could do about the weather, but we do a pretty good job of keeping track of it. And NASA has teamed up with Japan`s Aerospace exploration agency to launch a satellite that will track rain and snow. It`s called the Global Precipitation Measurement Co- observatory. And if that sounds like an advanced name, it`s a pretty advanced satellite. It`s designed to circle the earth every hour and a half, observe where it`s raining and send that info back to scientists every three hours. It can tell the difference between rain, ice and snowfall, and the different amounts of each. And it will help researches keep track of the global climate and its water cycle. This is not a cheap project. The satellite cost NASA $933 million. It`s designed to last at least three years.

First "Roll Call" of the month begins in the Pacific Northwest. We`re starting in the Evergreen state where Waterville high school shockers are watching CNN STUDENT NEWS. Glad to be part of your day in Waterwheel, Washington.

Moving east to South Dakota, specifically gregarious South Dakota. It`s where we find the gorillas of Gregory High School. And on the Atlantic Coast, the Collinswood Language Academy Jaguars are on today`s roll, hello to everyone in Charlotte, North Carolina.

March is women`s history month in the U.S. Congress designated this in 1987, and it honors the accomplishments of women and how they`ve changed the country. Good report to kick off this month is about Julia Ernst. You won`t find her in history books, yet she is currently a high school student, a future Harvard student and a 120 pounds wrestling champion.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the mat, the wrestler in green is fast, fierce.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And female. It is a rear sight even now in this overwhelmingly male sport. But Julia Ernst is a rare soul, a young woman beating the boys at their own game.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of only three females on the seventh grade team at her private school, by freshman year the others had quit, and Julia stood alone.

JULIA ERNST, HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLER: Despite the fact that I have supportive coaches and supportive teammates, it`s still an interesting feeling to walk into a room and be the only person of your type. You know, you`re in a locker room and you can`t really josh around with the boys, you can`t really make nicknames for each other. Talk about whatever - cool moves your learned in practice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Julia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yet encourages by her parents who are into martial arts, she`s started winning over and over again, sparking a range of reactions. Some boys would outright refuse to wrestle her, others .

ERNST: Yes, they are coming into the match with this sense of pride, and the sense of superiority that they are male, they are for there, they are going to win the match. If I do end up beating them, then often, you know, those are the kids that are going to go off and cry in the corner or be really ashamed or have parents that come and yell at them.

JUSTIN GAVRI, GEORGETOWN DAY WRESTLING COACH: She`s one of the hardest working wrestlers I`ve ever met. The hardest working person I`ve ever met, whether it`s school or whether it`s athletics, she`s just - she just goes as hard as she possibly could on every .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That wins tournaments and fans. With the season winding down, Julia, a team captain, faced one match to become the winning wrestler in her school`s history.

JENNY ERNST, JULIA`S MOTHER: Everybody was on their feet, shouting and cheering Julia! Julia! And when she won, everybody jumped up and down, women were literally crying to see this victory. She represents for all of these women, and I`ve had many conversations with women at this matches. Julia is my hero. She`s doing, you know, she`s trailblazing for women.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Julia believes her little brother may soon enough eclipse her record, but for now she reigns supreme 26 losses, 107 wins. All against men.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (on camera): When you hear your coach talk about your record at your school, what do you think?

ERNST: I - I`m happy. I`m very happy. I get a little bit giddy to do a little bit of a happy dance, maybe.



AZUZ: Call it Carnival, call it Mardi Gras. In New Orleans right now, it`s whatever floats your float. Despite this video, there is no crabbiness here. Thousands in the Big Easy. To let the good times roll, the party is going on for nine days now. It wraps up tomorrow. Mardi Gras, after all, means "Fat Tuesday." It ends when the Roman Catholic season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The Mardi Party may not be as big here, as it is in Rio de Janeiro, for instance. But for those who are here, it takes the king cake. The crowd just lent yeps (ph) this up. They`ve got to beat on all the funds. Some might say, they are - crew, but they are OK by me if they are OK by you. We`ll float some more news. See you tomorrow on CNN STUDENT NEWS.