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U.S. Supposedly Bombing al-Shabaab in Somalia; Russia in Confrontation with NATO; New Comprehensive Data for License Plates in L.A. Stirs Controversy

Aired September 3, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS. Current events without commercials for middle and high school students. I`m Carl Azuz.

We start today in Somalia.

It`s located in eastern Africa. It`s been very unstable in recent decades, though Somalia`s in the process of building a federal republic. Somalia`s

been fighting a terrorist group called al-Shabaab. It wants to turn the nation into a theocracy, a fundamentalist Islamic country. It has murdered

dozens of civilians in attacks in east Africa. This week, the U.S. attacked al-Shabaab. It`s done that at least twice in the past year.

Somali intelligence officials say Monday`s airstrike possibly by an American drone like this hit a convoy of al-Shabaab officials.

The U.S. says it was targeting their leader, we don`t know yet if he was killed.

Meanwhile, news broke yesterday that another terrorist group we`ve been reporting on had killed an American journalist. This is the second time in

a month that ISIS, Islamic state in Iraq and Syria has brutally murdered a U.S. civilian who was abducted in the Middle East.

It said it did it in response to U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq.

Just the facts: NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It has 28 member countries and their mostly European, though Canada and the

U.S. are also members.

NATO aims to protect these members through diplomacy, and if necessary military action.

It operates on the idea of collective defense and attack on one NATO country is an attack on all of them.

Russia isn`t part of NATO, but it borders several countries that are. That includes Estonia, it`s a small nation of 1.2 million people. It`s

expecting Air Force One to fly in today.

President Obama`s visit is expected to show support for NATO, and to send a message to Russia. Don`t get involved in other neighboring countries like

you have in Ukraine. The international community has accused Russia of supporting the rebels who were fighting Ukraine`s government. Russia has

denied this.

But at a NATO summit later this week, leaders are expected to announce they are moving troops closer to Russia in Eastern Europe.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of Russia`s most frequently state and geopolitical concerns and indeed one of its biggest justifications for its

policies toward Ukraine, is NATO`s eastward expansion. The belief that NATO has moved east absorbing former Soviet states and satellites without

pausing to think about Russia`s own security concern. So, that can be little surprise that Russia is not happy with NATO talking about ramping up

its activities in Eastern Europe, with more exercises, a rapid response force, possibly pre-deploying assets and resources. Moscow says it will

adjust its military planning accordingly.



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The renewed focus on Russia`s military started with its annexation of Crimea in southern Ukraine, but you should

really look back six years ago to 2008 when Russia invaded another former Soviet state, Georgia.

There`s a view in Russia that that`s when the world started taking Russia seriously again, because for years Russia had seen itself as being far

behind, hopelessly behind the West in military terms, and that`s a problem that Russia`s leadership wanted to correct.

In recent years Russia`s started what many military analysts call a massive rearmament. 730 billion U.S. dollars over ten years, in military terms we

are talking about 100 new warships, 600 new warplanes, 1,000 new helicopters to go along with what remains the largest nuclear arsenal in

the world, larger even than the U.S.

Now, the focus is not on another Cold War necessarily, really, on what Russia calls "the near abroad." Those are the former Soviet republics like

Ukraine, like Georgia that Russia wants to expand, reassert its influence once again. And it feels it needs in order to do that, to expand its

military again.

But you have to put this in a larger context. Today, Russia`s military is about fifth the size that it was during Soviet times. In terms purely of

soldiers, there were 2 million soldiers in the Soviet Army. There are about 800,000 in the Russian military today, but it has the intention of

adding to those ranks, setting a goal of adding about 400,000 troops to the Russian military.

What does this mean for U.S. Russian military relation? Will it change the relationship? Very likely? And that is the risk that U.S. officials and

the administration in the State Department and elsewhere are wrestling with today.


AZUZ: So, we`ve got this segment called "Roll Call." It`s a chance to have your school announced on CNN STUDENT NEWS. There`s now only one way

to submit a request and you need to be at least 13 years old. Go to

Click words says "Roll Call" and leave a comment at the bottom of our transcript page. We`ll pick three schools from each day transcript. You

can make one request every day, but spamming will not help you. Please tell us your school name, city, state and mascot - good luck.

License plate scanners - they are intended to keep crime off the road. A police sergeant says you`ll call them a success if your car is ever stolen

and they help get it back. Civil liberties advocate say there could be an invasion of privacy, if they are used to keep tabs on you wherever your


Some police departments delete the data they gather from them, some don`t. All are hoping it will curb crime.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Since the early 1990s, crime rates have steadily declined across the country.

One possible explanation - smarter data driven policing.

Here in Los Angeles, the LAPD is embracing new technologies and big data analytics like never before, changing the way we fight crime.

Watch commander Sergeant Kennedy showed us how big data analysis is changing the force.

SGT. SCOTT KENNEDY, LAPD: This is our license plate reader.

We have three cameras attached to the light bar.

CRANE: License plate readers installed on patrol cars have become common place. And they automatically scan every license plate they drive by.

KENNEDY: It goes to the Sacramento database to check for California vehicle system, to see if it`s stolen, or if there`s a warrant on it for

some reason.

On alert. $30,000 award. Parked car that we just passed. That`s right behind us.

CRANE: Over the course of a day, the LAPD can scan tens of thousands of license plates across the city. At the LAPD`s real time analysis and

critical response division, those license plates scans are fed into a game- changing data mining system called Palantir.

A powerful application that can claim the CIA as an early investor.

CAPT. JOHN ROMERO, LAPD: Palantir is a federated search system, it combines data sets, allows us to access them very quickly. With a single

key stroke, you get the effect of a 30 person taskforce.

CRANE: After searching over 100 million data points, Palantir displayed an impressive web of information on one burglary suspect. Creating intuitive

graphs linking him to cell phone numbers, arrest records, known associates and past addresses. They could even track the suspect`s past locations

based on previous license plate scans.

ROMERO: If we are searching for him, we don`t have to search all of L.A. County. We know where he frequents.

CRANE (on camera): Anybody who is a vehicle owner is then in Palantir?

ROMERO: Anybody who is a vehicle owner in a public place and has passed a license plate. Really, will be in our data set. We cannot just go

searching for you or anyone else without a reason. Because we have a lot of data for people who`ve done nothing.

CRANE (voice over): For those people who`ve done nothing, the ACLU of Southern California believes that LAPD`s license plate readers may be

violating civil liberties.

PETER BIBRING, ACLUE OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: A system of license plate readers that`s persuasive enough to really track the movements of every,

every car in the city in reasonable detail would effectively substitute for GPS trackers for everybody.

The public should be the one`s deciding what the proper balance is between their privacy rights and their public safety.

CRANE: The LAPD believes the public wants Palantir on its side.

ROMERO: You want to have the effect of 30 detectives working that burglary or that auto theft. It is hugely important to make those cases solvable.


AZUZ: Quick, what`s the capital of Malaysia? Here`s a hint, it leads off today`s "Roll Call". It`s Kuala Lumpur. And it`s where you`ll find the

International School of Kuala Lumpur, which happens to watch CNN STUDENT NEWS.

To the U.S. northeast, we`re happy to be online at Newport Middle School. The Tigers are watching in Newport, New Hampshire. And in neighboring

Massachusetts, we`ve got the Panthers. Good to see you all at the presentation of Mary Academy in Methuen.

Bonneville, Utah. If you are looking to set a land speed record on wheels, the (INAUDIBLE) flats are a great place to do it. Especially in a tub like


It`s a classic catalogue. It`s a hot tub. It may just be the world`s fastest hot tub.

The car waves 4600 pounds. But when you feel it with heated jetted water, it`s 9,000 pounds of relaxing racing.

After six years of construction, its owners believe they`ve set this speed record at 55 miles per hour.

Hey, whatever floats their boast, the idea certainly holds water, the jets given that extra boost, it`s certainly sails through that quarter mile, and

it`s stuck with heated seats. You`d better wash out because in a word, it`s the ultimate carpool. I`m Carl Azuz. This is CNN STUDENT NEWS.