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Devastating Flooding in Balkans; Air Force Fighting California Wildfires; Tracing White Shark; Linguistic Diversity in the United States

Aired May 19, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for kicking off a new week with CNN STUDENT NEWS. Ten minutes of current events with no commercials. I`m Carl Azuz at the CNN Center. First up today, disaster in the Balkans. This is a region of Europe, east of the Adriatic Sea. And the nation of Serbia is dealing with its worst flooding since people started keeping records 120 years ago. Rain and rising rivers are the reason why more than 24,000 people have been evacuated in Serbia. But one rescuer says, many more need to get out. They just don`t want to leave their homes. Several people have died in Serbia, as well as in neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnian officials say one town got two months` worth of rain in less than two days. More than 10,000 troops have been helping with rescue efforts in the region. Other nations from Russia to Israel are sending supplies.

The West Coast of the U.S. has been dealing with another sort of disaster, but since last week, officials in California have made a lot of progress in containing wildfires. The weather shifted. Cooler winds and moist air from the Pacific Ocean helped firefighters get a handle on most of the blazes in southern California. One of them scorched the chunk of land the size of Manhattan. And fire season is just beginning, but crews have a lot of tools to deal with it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A wall of flames closing in on a Marine air strip, a military base under siege.

COL. WILL HOOPER, 3RD MARINE AIRCRAFT WING: I watched as this thing marched from about a half a mile away, almost within 200 meters of us, and I could feel the heat on my face, as this thing approached.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Enter the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and 22 helicopters ready to battle the flames. On this flight, we are headed for a lake on the base with the 300 gallon bucket in tow. Our chopper is guided by a crew chief, many (INAUDIBLE) the chopper floor. From our window, you can see the delicate balance is other choppers low toward the lake. Our pilot does the same - lowering the bucket till it submerged. Once it`s full, we head for the fire line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, we`re flying directly over the fire line. You can actually see how badly burned this area is after these fires.

The crew chief spots the right moment to make the drop. On his signal, the water is released. In all, these choppers made over 900 drops, at the fire`s peak, Captain Bradley Gibson pulled it off with zero visibility.

CAPTAIN BRADLEY GIBSON, PILOT: You see your lead aircraft going to smoke and it just disappears. You don`t know if it`s going straight ahead. You don`t know if it`s coming out to the left. You don`t even know if it got its bucket dropped off or not, so - the best you can do is hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The smoke so intense it cut off the main water supply on the base, forcing the crews to look elsewhere.

This video shows a Marine chopper hovering over the Pacific Ocean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually reassuring to see my neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These Marines don`t just fight fires on Camp Pendleton, but in nearby communities.

In some cases, water drops like this are to protect even their own homes.

ERIC LANDBLOM, PILOT: You know, you confidence. And I can - I can call home and call the wife and say, hey, (INAUDIBLE) looks good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The water drops these Marines could have make in 2003, when the massive cedar wildfire killed 20 people. Today, new policies have united the Marines with local firefighters.


AZUZ: New Smyrna Beach on Florida`s East Coast has been called the shark attack capital of the world." No one has ever been killed by a shark by there, but attacks are pretty common. There`ve been several this year including one last week. Make come as no surprise that Katharine the Great White Shark was recently tracked not too far away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This shark is named Katharine by Kat customers in honor of Katharine Lee Baits (ph).

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are taking a stroll at the Sebastian Inlet Park about a 140 miles north of Miami. Researches tagged this 9300 pound great white shark all the way up in Cape Cod Massachusetts back in August. They spent about 15 minutes with her, they did an ultrasound, they measured her, they even got a blood sample, and they put this special tracking device so they can keep tabs on her not just for right now, but also for the next five years. So far, this shark has traveled more than 3600 miles.

And the reason they are doing this is because they are trying to unravel the mystery behind the great white shark in the Atlantic Ocean. They want to figure out where and when these sharks are breeding, and also where their nurseries are located so they can protect these areas.

Now, the cool thing about all of this for you and I, is that we can actually keep tabs on this research real time and we are all waiting to see where Katharine will head next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shoutout." After English and Spanish, what`s the most widely spoken language in U.S. homes? If you think you know it, shout it out!

Is it French, Chinese, German or Arabic? You`ve got three seconds, go!

An estimated 2.8 million people in the U.S. speak Chinese at home making that your answer. And that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: Now, that`s for the U.S. as a whole. It has no official language, though English is spoken by more than 82 percent of people in the U.S. And it is official in 28 states. When you take each state, though, you break down what`s spoken after English and Spanish, you`ll see an incredibly diverse linguistic landscape.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Other than English, Spanish is the most spoken language in almost all U.S. states. But watch what happens when you remove Spanish from the equation. Now there is the melting pot. In Michigan, Arabic clocks in as the third most commonly spoken language. In Minnesota, it`s Hmong. In Oregon, it`s Russian. It`s Vietnamese in four states, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Washington. It`s a Filipino language called Tagalog in Hawaii, California and Nevada. In four states, it`s Native American languages, it`s French in 11 states and in 16 states it`s German.

If you`re surprised at that number, according to recent Census measures of countries of ancestry, people of German heritage outnumber all other groups in the United States, even Irish. Remember, until the First World War by some accounts, German was the second most widely spoken language in all of the United States.


AZUZ: We appreciate the thousands of schools that have requested a mention on our "Roll Call" this year. Today, we are starting with one in the Golden State. Temescal Canyon High School, it`s the home of the Titans. They are online in Lake Elsinore, California. In the Sunflower state, it`s the Falcons that are soaring over Pomona, Kansas. They are watching from West Franklin High School and in the Yellow Hammer state, hello to the leopards of Blount High School. Good to see you not too far away in Eight Mile, Alabama.

Finishing a triathlon, scaling China`s Great Wall, hiking the Grand Canyon. Project "Athena" is a program that helps women do things like this after they`ve had a traumatic injury or medical setback. The project gives grands, covering travel, equipment, coaching, whatever`s needed for its adventure. It`s founder is a firefighter, an Iron Man competitor and inspiration. She`s also a CNN Hero.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) hurt in 2005. I had 46 surgeries in attempts to salvage the leg. I finally decided on amputation.

A lot of people view as a loss, but I got my life back.


ROBYN BENINCASA, CNN HERO: Very often, people are saying, OK, I survived, but now what? And we want to be that now what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good job, ladies!

I was a world class adventure racer. In the world championships I hit the deck. And the doctor said you`re never going to run again. I`ve had four hip replacements. After my first, I said, I`m just going to put something on my calendar, so that I`m still training for something. It just makes you realize it`s not about the setback, it`s about the comeback.

So, I thought, let`s do that for other women.


BENINCASA: I started an organization that helps survivors of medical or traumatic setbacks live an adventurous dream as part of their recovery.

You`re strong kid, Elli girl!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in the place of such uncertainty, so finding the Website was such a message of home to me.

Here with group of women who understood it on a different level?

BENINCASA: Athena girls! Yeah, baby!

Being an Athena, you are not just a survivor. You are an adventurer. We give them a different label to put on themselves and it`s something they become on the way to the finish line.


AZUZ: It`s graduation tradition to toss your cap in the air. One graduation speaker recently tossed a football.


PATON MANNING: I`m truly humbled to be here today to help you celebrate this remarkable time in your lives.


AZUZ: That`s Super Bowl winning quarterback Paton Manning and fortunately for some graduating seniors at the University of Virginia, he didn`t throw as hard during Saturday`s event as he typically does in the NFL. There were no dropped passes, no YouTube infamy for the receiving graduates, just a chance to have a ball in the pro.

A lot of people would pay tons for that experience, receiving a pass and some advice, running back to you, see, without going on the defensive. Very few would pass on that, Manning. I`m Carl Azuz. We`ll kick off another show on Tuesday.