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President Obama`s Visit to Rome; Search for Debris of Flight 370; The Decision that Could Change College Sports; Helping Salmon Survive in California Drought

Aired March 27, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: One day away from Friday, five days away from April. Welcome to this March, 27 edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz working in Atlanta. U.S. president is working in Europe. Yesterday, President Obama met with European leaders in Brussels, Belgium, one of the stops on his weeklong trip through Europe and the Middle East.

Ukraine and Russia dominated the discussion. The president and several European leaders don`t like the fact that Russia recently annexed Crimea, a former part of Ukraine. That happened after Crimeans voted to become part of Russia. The U.S. supports Ukraine`s new government, opposes Russia`s move to annex Crimea and warns Russia not to annex any more of any other country.

From Brussels, President Obama is headed to Rome. The leader of the U.S. will meet with the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the largest denomination of Christianity.


WOLIF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For more than 200 years, the politician behind the desk in the Office and the bishop seated on the throne of Peter have marked history together. On Thursday, President Obama and Pope Francis will open a new chapter at the Vatican. In 2009, President Obama brought his family to the Vatican for his meeting with Pope Benedict.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Sasha was still pretty young at the time. And they see the Sistine Chapel and they are going through these various chambers, and each time, you know, she`d see somebody dressed up in the clothan (ph), she`d say, is that the Pope? Is that the Pope? How about that guy over there? And they would say, no, no, you`ll know when it is finally the pope.

BLITZER: Joshua DuBois was President Obama`s director of faith, paste and neighborhood partnerships during his first term.

(on camera): So, you think there`s a little shift going on from the relationship with the former pope and the current pope?

JOSHUA DUBOIS, AUTHOR, THE PRESIDENT`S DEVOTIONAL: Well, I think they have a deep mutual concern for issues related to the poor, economic inequality and making sure that people can leave lives of dignity.

BLITZER: But there are differences and there are sensitive issues, in which these two men will disagree.

DUBOIS: President Obama is pro-choice, Pope Francis is pro-life. President Obama supports marriage equality, Pope Francis does not. However, these are the type of men who are not going to let disagreement on two issues, even those two very important issues prevent them from collaborating on many other things including addressing economic inequality in the United States and around the world.

BLITZER: The meeting also takes place while Catholic groups in the United States are fighting the administration in court over the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act. They say it violates their faith.

NEWT GINGRICH: Pope Francis is a very, very clever man. He`s pretty good at dealing with politicians. There are very, very big differences between the Obama administration secularism and where the pope is. But my guess is, though, I have a positive friendly meeting. This is - this is the pope who said - (INAUDIBLE) I want to love you and witness to you, not yell at you.

BLITZER: Like the history of meetings before between popes and presidents, there will be no shortage of topics when the doors close on their private meeting.


AZUZ: Next, up, the best lead so far in the search for a passenger plane that vanished on March 8. A satellite picked up 122 objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean. They could be debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. They were scattered over an area the size of Denver, Colorado, but the images were from Sunday, and when planes searched this area yesterday, they found nothing. Could the debris have drifted? Likely. One main search area is in the roaring 40s. Between latitudes of 40 and 50 degrees in the Southern Hemisphere. There are gale force winds year round. And this part of the Indian Ocean there is no land to block those winds. Imagine searching in this. If something is located, and searchers think they are close to underwater wreckage, they have a unique tool to help find it.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this device dives into the ocean several miles and it creates a map of the ocean floor. It`s called an AUV, an autonomous underwater vehicle. And it uses side scan sonar. You can see it right here to create that picture. It`s also equipped with a GPS system. You can see it right over here. And of course, that lets the crew know where this probe is at any point in time. Now, just go ahead and start launching. In the case of MH-370 what a probe like this would be able to do, is it would be able to narrow the debris field, it would help narrow the search, which, of course, is one of the daunting tasks that we`ve been talking about in the Indian Ocean.

So what we are seeing here is this probe is going to go into the water, now for demonstration purposes it`s tethered. That would not be the case, of course, in the Indian Ocean. It would be untethered, it would go several miles deep into the ocean, and then it would start creating this picture of the ocean floor. Now, once this launch is onto the water, you`re going to see it - it kind of floats, it`s buoyant, but again, it goes deep into the ocean. Now, in a control room, there are crew who would be programming the mission for this device. In the case of MH-370 a piece of equipment like this would scour the ocean floor, looking for any oddities (ph), looking for anything that looks like a debris field. Anything that looks like the wreckage of MH-370.


AZUZ: Football players in Northwestern University are a step closer to forming a union. Yesterday, we told you why they wanted to unionize. Yesterday afternoon, the Regional National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that they could. The board decided that the players are like employees, saying they get scholarships, work a certain number of hours per week and generate money for their schools. The school says they are students, not workers, and that it will appeal this decision. If it`s upheld, it could change how college sports are governed or lead some schools like Northwestern top scale back their sports programs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I`m part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 1940, I was a combination of the Bureau of Fisheries and the Bureau of Biological Survey. My mission is to conserve and protect America`s wildlife, plants and fish. I`m the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and I do everything from enforce wildlife laws to restore fisheries.

AZUZ: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to protect and land a helping fin to salmon in California. Part of the state had been parched by extreme drought. And with water levels low, the fish have slimmer chances of surviving their annual migration up to Sacramento River. The tracking project you`re about to see costs half a million dollars, and it comes with a bit of risk. The salmon might not know where to swim back to when it`s their turn to spawn.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the quiet of the morning, more than 400,000 three to four months old Chinook salmon are loaded into three tanker trucks embarking on a four hour journey. You can see their small silver bodies make their way through the clear tubes. Here`s project manager Scott Hamelberg.

SCOTT HAMELBERG, PROJECT LEADER: We`re just getting them closer to the ocean for their release.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a 300 mile trip. The young fish hauled from the fish hatchery in Anderson to the west delta in Rio Vista. A route they usually swim. But this year things are different. It`s no secret California`s scathing drought conditions have created low water levels, a situation the Department of Fish and Wildlife believes could be detrimental to the millions of migrating salmon at the mercy of predators. So, they are getting a ride.

HAMELBERG: In hopes that they`ll survive better, contribute to the ocean fishery better in three years. As opposed to having poor survival had we released them on station.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And eventually, contribute to the large lucrative California salmon industry. Tuesday`s fish haul is part of a much larger state and federal effort transferring millions of salmon down river over the course of two months.

HAMELBERG: There`s 12 million that will come from our facility and then an additional 18 million that will come from four other state facilities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the process the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife believes is crucial.

HAMELBERG: We do what we need to do to get the job done.


AZUZ: Call it the Great Lake state, the Wolverine state. On today`s roll call it`s the bearcats state. Talking about Michigan. That`s where the bear cats from Battle Creek are watching in Battle Creek Central High School. Over to Ohio now, in the city of Ashtabula, right on Lake Erie, it`s great to see the warriors of Edgewood High School. And on Florida`s fantastic gulf coast in the city of Sarasota, we are happy to have the barracudas of Brookside Middle School.

What`s the record for Girl Scout cookie sales? If you think you know it scout it out! OK, we`ll tell you. It`s 18,107 boxes and this girl did it. A sixth grader from Oklahoma City who says she wants to break the 20,000 mark by the end of the month. She says selling cookies is fun and has three ingredients: time, commitment and asking everyone she sees if they want to buy cookies. Her family has an SUV that can hold loads of them, and if they run out, they can just feel it up with some more (ph). Her mom is a driver, she tags along, and while all those sales mean no short bread, they also bring lots of smiles and delights to buyers. These puns are getting pretty thin. I`m having trouble minting new ones. I guess that`s just the way the cookie crumbles. Thanks a lot for watching. I could say thank you berry much, and we`ll scout out more for you tomorrow.