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Russian Troops` Amass on the Ukrainian Border; Training Facility for First Responders Recreates Scenes of Disasters and Catastrophes; Saved Fox in British Sanctuary

Aired March 31, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: It`s the last day of March. I hope it`s going well for you so far. I`m Carl Azuz with CNN STUDENT NEWS. Today`s show begins in Ukraine. U.S. officials say there maybe tens of thousands of Russian troops near Ukraine`s eastern border. Russia annexed Crimea, formerly a region of Ukraine earlier this month. After Crimeans voted to be part of Russia. Does Russia want to take over more of Ukraine? It says it has no intention of invading, and that its troops are just doing military exercises. But this as Ukraine on the defensive, and tensions are high.

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss ways to ease this crisis.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dim lights cast long shadows over this border checkpoint, just beyond thousands of Russian troops amassing. The U.S. fears its old Cold War foe may be ready to roll into this corner of Northeast Ukraine.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It may simply be an effort to intimidate Ukraine or it may be that they`ve got additional plans.

PENHAUL: A short drive into Ukraine, Vladimir Fedorok is mastering (ph) a self-defense militia made up of civilian volunteers.

They know Western powers have no stomach for war. They are digging trenches aware they may be the last line of defense if Russian tanks invade.

VLADIMIR FEDOROK, COMMANDER SELF-DEFENSE MILITIA (through translator): If we don`t learn the lessons of Crimea, then we will be a nation of idiots. The Russian hordes are coming. We are in the middle of a geopolitical struggle.

PENHAUL: Most of the men here said they have had some military training. They`ve picked up second-hand uniforms from surplus stores, but they are short on real weapons. FEDOROK: We are preparing for guerilla-style partisan war, and we`ll divide into five men squads. Our government is too passive, and we can only hope for the support of ordinary Ukrainians.

PENHAUL: It`s clear they are winning that support when you see passes-by donating supplies.

OLEK PAMFIL, VAN DRIVER: It`s our troops need some help, so I have a decision to bring food for our troops.

PENHAUL: Up the highway, a detachment of Ukrainian troops. They say they are on high alert. A T-80 tank and personnel carrier`s pointed at nearby bridge. The order - defend it or blow it up. In Ukraine`s Crimea region, the army didn`t put up a fight, not clear if things here would be any different. Intelligence experts still don`t really know if the Russians are coming. Moscow insists they are just doing drills.

Among the Ukrainian soldiers here there`s very much a sense of disbelief. They say that during Soviet times and afterwards, they trained alongside the Russians. They still very much see them as brothers in arms. But now, they are facing them down the barrel of gun.


AZUZ: Next up, it wasn`t a major earthquake by Southern California standards, but people still felt it, and it caused some damage when it hit on Friday night. It was a tremor of magnitude 5.1. This brings only minor damage in areas that are used to earthquakes where buildings are built to withstand them. But there have been more than 100 aftershocks that struck over the weekend. So, it makes sense why some folks are on edge. First quake`s epicenter, the spot on the earth`s surface right above the quake starting point was in Orange County, part of the greater Los Angeles area. Emergency officials say one person was slightly injured. The last major quake to hit here was of magnitude 6.7 tremor in 1994. That one killed dozens of people and caused $42 billion in damage.

So, if something major strikes again, how would first responders be prepared? Think people who specialize in search and rescue, emergency medicine, dangerous materials disarming explosives? You can read about how to do that stuff in a book. But there`s a place where they actually train for these scenarios, a place where a fire chief says, the pretend goes away.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got sent help, OK?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: About a 100 miles south of Atlanta, there are signs of disaster everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: so, this is the replica of the Murrah Building collapse in Oklahoma, a parking garage and the garden apartment collapsed from (INAUDIBLE)

VALENCIA: Welcome to Guardian Centers, a new training facility for first responders. For this pros, it`s kind of like a doomsday Disneyland. Built on the side of what once was a Cold War missile plant, the 830 acre property can recreate just about any disaster scenario imaginable.

CHRIS SCHAFF, BATTALION CHIEF: To come here and to be able to do this and like you said, as soon as you come in here, the - the pretend goes away.

VALENCIA (on camera): You`ve got smoke (INAUDIBLE) here, you`ve got the pretend. There`s no pretend about this.

SCHAFF: No, and at night they have fire that fires up. They have sparks, so you have really a disaster environment. You have buildings that collapsed.

All right, guys. Let`s settle up.

VALENCIA (voice over): First responders are fully immersed in simulations tailored to the center`s clients. Among them, FEMA, the U.S. Marines and elite urban search and rescue teams from across the country.

UF: Unknown on the status of any people inside. We have zero contract.

VALENCIA: The diverse disaster scenes, is really what makes this place state of the art. This is a real subway car that they brought from Washington D.C., and this scene here is meant to simulate an attack on a subway system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, there`s been an explosion. They have (INAUDIBLE) smoke and flames, no one has been able to communicate, and anybody inside .

VALENCIA (on camera): When you had that idea all those years ago, and you look at this, what do you think?

GOEFF BURKART, GUARDIAN CENTERS OF GEORGIA: Oh, I guess the best way to summon up is that it meets and exceeds everything that I could dream of. There`s no public money in this initiative. And .

VALENCIA: This is all privately funded?

BURKART: It is. It`s - one of those right things to do that we are trying to make a business out of.

VALENCIA (voice over): Open for just 18 months, the center is change the game for disaster response training.

Real props are used, like that car submerged in water and actors positioned on top of these houses to help recreate the drama of a national disaster.

LOUIE FERNANDEZ, FEMA SPOKESMAN: When my eyes first saw this, it was a wow factor.

VALENCIA (voice over): A disaster journeyman for the last two decades, FEMA`s spokesman Louie Fernandez says the facility`s realism makes it a difficult test for anyone.

FERNANDEZ: Our men and women have been around the proverbial block for many years. But this facility, this type of environments that we are finding here, really puts us to work.

VALENCIA: Work, Fernandez says that will make his team better prepared for the next disaster. Nick Valencia, CNN, Perry, Georgia.


AZUZ: Haybalers! That`s not hey, bailers! It`s one word for one sweet mascot in Hollister, California. They haybalers of St. Benito High School are first up on today`s "Roll Call." From now, we are going to ramble on over to Indiana because it`s in Attica High School that we found the ramblers. Good to see you in Attica, Indiana.

And in Tyrone, Georgia, not very far from Atlanta, we`ve got some Patriots on our roll. Hello to everyone at Sandy Creek High School.

Engineers at NASA are designing a new spacesuit. The ones astronauts wear now are 22 years old. They want the public to vote on its favorite design. NASA says one prototype would recall the world`s oceans, another is supposed to reflect advancements in technology, and a third option is intended to look like what people could be wearing in the years ahead.

Of course, it doesn`t look like something you`d see at the mall, but the first job of the Z2 space suit is to protect people in space. It has the most technologically advanced materials to make that possible. But previous suits have caused about $2 million each. Sine this one is still being designed, the price like the suit itself, could be on the rise.

Time for "The Shoutout." What does the fox say? Takes a listen and shout it out. Is it A (SOUND), B (SOUND), C (SOUND), or D (HORSE NEIGHS)? You`ve got three seconds, go.

It`s not by mo-o-o-os. If you said see, you know what the fox say.

It`s not really an age-old question that Ylvis, a pair of Norwegian comedians asked last year, but we do have an answer (SOUND). Someone who brought this animal into a rescue center thought she was a dog. She`s not. But since she can no longer survive in the wild, an English animal sanctuary took her in. And now, we don`t have to risk getting rabbis to actually here what the fox say or what the fox says. It looks like she wild her way into a pretty good life. People who see that get all tickled, although you muzzled, try that with the wild fox. In that case, there`s something neferal (ph). I`m Carl Azuz, tomorrow we`ll have more stories to tail. I hope to see you all then.