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Search for Missing Plane; Invention of World Wide Web; Circadian Rhythms and Sleep Patterns; Causes and Effects of Deforestation

Aired March 12, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: New information in the search for a missing passenger plane, but still no closure for families. This is CNN STUDENT NEWS. There`s little hope and a lot of grief for the families of 239 people. That was the number onboard Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared early Saturday morning. Word came out yesterday from Malaysia`s government that somehow the plane`s transponder was turned off. That`s an instrument that transmits altitude, location and direction. Malaysia`s air force was still able to track the flight as it apparently turned, and flew over the Straits of Malacca, hundreds of miles off course. Unfortunately, that`s where the answers end.

As of last night, there was still no sign of the plane. We can show you what it`s like to search the area near the plane`s last known location.


SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is no easy task. This C-130 plane has been carrying out regular search and rescue missions since flight MH- 370 disappeared. It`s the first time the minister for defense and transportation and the chief of defense force have been out to survey this massive operation. They invited CNN to join them.

(on camera): I have to put this life jacket on because we are now descending to just 500 feet above sea level. Lying low, the doors are opened for the search to begin. We flew past the number of ships, scouring the sea for the plane, those on board or any clues at all to what`s happened.

DATUK SERI HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN DEFENCE MINISTER: I just want to find the plane, you know, at all costs and as long as we are still standing and as long as people are out there, praying for us, we will continue to (INAUDIBLE), and this is something that I will not stop. This is what I promised to families.

MOHSIN (voice over): We flew to the Malacca Straits to the west of Malaysia.

(on camera): For 16 ships surveilling this area, that`s more than 12,000 nautical square miles. They are joined in the air by 14 air crafts.

(voice over): And that`s just the area to the west of Malaysia. There are more than 30 aircraft and more than 40 ships in the entire operation. As we look how to cross these vast expense of water, far into the horizon, holding his hat in his hands, the minister tells me he`s over overwhelmed.

HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN: When you are looking for something, this - sea, it`s a reality check. I have to find, what a huge craft like a triple seven, but we must never, never give up hope.


AZUZ: What`s next today, their countries may be at odds politically, but cooperation is strong in the space program. After five months on the international space station, an American, a Russian, and a native of Crimea made it safely back to Earth together on Tuesday. There is no space shuttle program, so you might be wondering how they got here. Well, here we go -they got onboard the Soyuz, a Russian space capsule, and rode it back toward the Earth. The Soyuz has a shield that protects it from the heat of re-entering Earth atmosphere. Once it`s there, a small parachute deploys, slowing the capsule down, then a larger one slows it further. And about two seconds before touchdown, some engines fire making the landing as soft as possible. NASA pays Russia`s space agency to transport American astronauts two and from the space station. Each trip costs the U.S. $71 million.

You might not be familiar with the name Tim Berners-Lee, but you probably can`t imagine life without his invention. You used it to view the show: The World Wide Web appeared on the scene 25 years ago today, and it made accessing the Internet a lot easier for untold numbers of people. But even in the mid-1990s, when there were some actual pages on it, they were sparse, think black or gray text on a white background, maybe a couple of low resolution pictures. It was slow. You want to visit a web page, be patient, it would load minute or two, or five.

Even six years after the Web was introduced, only 14 percent of American adults had Internet access. Now, it`s more than 77 percent of all Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the Shoutout. Which of these has the most influence over your sleep cycle? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it your respiratory system, circadian rhythm, sebaceous glands or cerebellum? You`ve got three seconds, go!

The circadian rhythm is your 24 hour cycle of human activity, which includes sleeping and waking. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: Of course, we all try to modify and master our circadian rhythm, but researcher say, there is really not much we can do to change it. It`s closely tied into the sun. When it`s up, our bodies released hormones that make us more awake and alert. When it sets, hormones tell us it`s time to start shutting down. The doctors say if you get too far off track from your natural circadian rhythm, it will throw your body out of whack. It can increase your chances of getting sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes. It might even contribute to mental health issues. And as far as your students are concerned, some research has shown that those with unnaturally early start time, so figure those who have to be awake before the sun is up, don`t do as well academically as those who start a little later.

We love global news, we love global schools. Here, just a few of those watching in this World Wide Wednesday "Roll Call." First up, hello to the students of Ibaraki High School. They are watching from Osaka, Japan. Next, we are headed to Linz, Austria. The students of Bor Glintz (ph) on Panara (ph) Strasse. Glad to see you. And in the nation of Tanzania, we some viewers at Icorongo Secondary school. Thank you for watching in Mara.

Palm oil is something you`ll find in everything from crackers to microwave popcorn, to shampoo. It is the most widely used vegetable oil on the planet. Mars Incorporated, the maker of Snickers, Skittles, (INAUDIBLE), Lifesavers, Five Gum, says from here on out, it`s only going to use palm oil that`s obtained without hurting the environment. One way to do that is by planting oil palm trees and making sure that much of the palm oil they produce goes to good use.

But there`s another way to get the ingredient. One that`s more harmful for the environment, one that involves deforestation. What does that matter?


PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deforestation is the practice of cutting down forests for various different reasons, but it`s fundamentally cutting down trees and living behind a vast open wasteland.

Deforestation is most common in countries like Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and Russia.

The main causes of deforestation can be classified into three categories. Basically, industrial uses, chopping down the forest to build factories or to build residential areas. The second one is agriculture. So cutting down forest in order to grow, for example palm oil plantations. Agricultural deforestation can also be caused by non-food crops, for example, paper plantations. And the third cause is life stock. So, in many places, for example, in Brazil, deforestation is caused by farmers clearing the land to create pasture land for cows.

Deforestation can happen on a lot of different scales. It can be anything from illegal squatting, a dozen folks in local village using small rudimentary chainsaws and cutting down the trees and then, of course, on the other end of the spectrum is massive industrial scale. Deforestation, when they bring in lots of heavy machinery for advanced technology, and they can go in and clear forest in a very short amount of time.

Deforestation affects the environment in two main ways: trees, of course, absorb carbon dioxide and as human beings put more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the more trees we cut down, the more we hinder the ability of the planet to balance how much carbon is in the atmosphere.

But another impact of chopping down forests is, of course, reducing the habitat for animals to live in. Every year over thousand different species go extinct around the world. That is a conservative estimate, and a big chunk of that happens because of deforestation.


AZUZ: Follow the leader - a boy and his bear. It sounds like some sappy children story, but it seemed to play out in real life, when a boy and a bear who is much bigger started imitating each other at a zoo. Not something we`d recommend anyone ever try without the glass, and we are not entirely sure the bear is just having fun instead of trying to catch lunch. But it`s not every day the two get to play and no one gets hurt. I just don`t think anyone can bear to watch that. Even what we just saw is just barely bearable. They do seem to make a fine bear, no harm is brought to bear. There is no sign of beardom, but though it`s made for possum (ph) video, a clawsome encounter, the boy would have just been (INAUDIBLE) for asking, what`s our sign? We`ll have more tomorrow, if you can bear it.