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STUDENT NEWS

Wildfires in California; Keeping Memories of 911; Russian-American Space Partnership Can Be Coming to An End; Channel Connecting America and Russia

Aired May 16, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome. Thank you for spending ten minutes of with CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz. Think about the ground covered by a football field. Now, multiply that by 10,000 and you have an idea of who much land has burned in California, San Diego County. In the city of San Marcos, in southwestern California, one wildfire was nearly uncontrollable. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated, schools were shut down, a college graduation ceremony was canceled. Firefighters are working around the clock doing everything they can to save homes and businesses. One of the worst droughts the state has ever seen, plus hot temperatures and high winds, have all combined for what`s being called "tinderbox conditions.

In California`s wildfire season, it`s just beginning.

12,500 objects, 580 hours of film and video. Rescuers, families of victims and survivors of the September 11 terrorist attacks had access to all of that yesterday, at a dedication of the National 911 Museum.

On Thursday, we showed you the tour that one of our anchors got in advance, but it didn`t include one of the rooms in the museum. Families of those who died had access to that first. Today, we have a moving look inside that exhibit and inside the memories of some who visited.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Line from floor to ceiling, with smiling fathers, daughters, brothers, nieces, family. And loved ones. In the same way we have photos in our own homes, these pictures are live, with the memories of the birthdays and weddings, barbecues and baseball games, of those we lost. What you will be looking at, are the pages of the chapter in our history we call September 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a good picture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would be so proud of your daughter. Just amazing, just like you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, all these faces is people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here you are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Hannah, this is you. This was a couple of weeks before 911 actually happens. It was our last family picture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love this one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. That`s him. And that`s you. That`s your (INAUDIBLE) that must - that`s you. You act just like him.

Manners - and everything - is just like your father. You look like him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you act like him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And sound like him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AZUZ: A very moving piece. Next up, today is an anniversary, the 60th anniversary, the historic Supreme Court decision, Brown versus Board of education was handed down this week in 1954. It was actually five separate cases that were before the court.

They all focused on segregation, separation by races in U.S. schools. The name Brown was for Oliver Brown, a man whose daughter wasn`t allowed to attend third grade in a white elementary school in Topeka, Kansas. The chief attorney in the case was Thurgood Marshall, who`d later become the first black justice of the Supreme Court.

The verdict was unanimous: all justices agreed that in public education, the idea of separate, but equal, didn`t work. That separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. The cases started desegregation in U.S. schools.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shoutout." At their closest point about how many miles separate Russia and the U.S. You know what to do. Is it 2300 miles, 1540 miles, 90 miles or 50 miles? You`ve got three seconds, go!

The Bering Strait which separates Alaska and Russia, is just over 50 miles wide at its narrowest point. That`s` your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: China has an ambitious idea that connects itself with the U.S. By railroad. And this is where the Bering Strait comes in. The high speed railway would start in northeast China, it`ll run through the Russian region of Siberia, connect with Alaska through a tunnel under the Bering Strait and head south through Canada to reach the U.S.

The trains would travel at more than 200 miles per hour. Experts say they`d cover about 8,000 miles over two days.

China would paint to build it. But - and that`s a big one, it`s not clear if China`s railway industry has the money. It is not clear if this is needed as many travelers just fly. And Chinese engineers say the Bering Strait Tunnel would need to be 125 miles long, that`s four times longer than the tunnel under the English Channel. Engineers have never built something like that before. This project is just in the discussion phase for now.

Also, getting a lot of discussion, Russia says it`s going to quit using the International Space Station four years earlier, and that would affect the U.S.`s ability to get to it. This likely has to do with the crisis in Ukraine. The U.S. has penalized Russia economically for its stance on Ukraine`s crisis. Russia may be retaliating by ending its space station mission.

Bering Strait

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Final farewell .

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They were all smiles in the International Space Station this week, but could this be one of the last times that American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts joining together through space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the International Space Station .

SCIUTTO: Russian officials are taking the battle over Ukraine into orbit, wowing to abandon the Space Station four years earlier in 2020.

And banning Russian-made rocket engines to launch U.S military satellites. The deputy prime minister even suggested astronauts instead use a trampoline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The final liftoff of Atlantis!

SCIUTTO: And this is no small problem, because since NASA retired the shuttle in 2011, American astronauts have no other way, up or down, than hitching rides on Russian rockets.

JIM LEWIS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTENATIONAL STUDIES: The Russian announcement really means we need to rethink our reliance on them, because it shows we are dependent on them in ways that might have made sense ten years ago. But it doesn`t make since anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (speaking Russian)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you do the talking, Moscow.

SCIUTTO: The U.S. Russian space partnership has thrived for decades, one of the most visible symbols of daytime during the Cold War and the new peace after the fall of the Soviet Union. And it was very much a win-win. The U.S. saved billions on the shuttle, Russia made billions as a high tech taxi service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Kak dela?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: U.S. officials express hope the Russian threat is just bluster.

SCIUTTO: It`s most likely the U.S. will depend on private space companies, such as SpaceX to develop new space vehicles to transport American astronauts to the space station. And as for Russian engines used to launch American satellites, the U.S. has stock piled engines that supply good for about two years of launches. That it`s some coverage, but many believe that NASA and Washington really need to develop a more reliable, longer term plan. Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AZUZ: When you have Highlanders, Falcons, Bucks and gazelles, all on the same place, you must be watching the CNN STUDENT NEWS roll call. The highlanders are in Somerville High School. It`s in the city of Somerville and the base state of Massachusetts. The falcons are at Nation Ford High School. It`s in the town of Ford Mill in the palmetto state of South Carolina. And the bucks and gazelles are yanked in middle school. We found then and yanked them in the Mount Rushmore state of South Dakota.

You might be first in your graduating class, you might be last. This girl is both. Charlie Gorlasky (ph) will be the only student in her school to graduate this year. It`s not because everyone else failed. It`s because her high school in Texas is new. It`s upper classmen are in the 11 grade. The first time the school will have a 12th grade, is next year. But Charlie took on work of a junior and a senior to finish a year early. And that puts her truly in a class by herself. Of course, we wish her and all of you seniors congraduations. We hope you`re commenced doing great things, and that you always stay classy. I`m Carl Azuz. CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`ll be back next week, we hope to see you then.

END