Return to Transcripts main page


The Status of Hong Kong; Ole Miss Votes Tuesday on Confederate Flag; Is Nuclear Fusin About to Change Our World?

Aired October 20, 2015 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: CNN STUDENT NEWS, the current events you count on, the puns you put up with, and the sweater vest you love.

I`m Carl Azuz. Here we go.

Hong Kong, we talk a lot about this part of Southeast Asia a year ago when thousands of protesters shut down parts of its business district. Today,

we`re following up on what`s happened since then.

Officially, Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency says Hong Kong is not an independent

country, but people there have certain freedoms, like freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and expression that the communist Chinese government

does not allow in other places.

Hong Kong`s government type is listed as a limited democracy. Over the past year, those limits have been tested.


SUBTITLE: How does Hong Kong operate?

SARA CHAKALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, it was agreed the city would operate under a principle

called "one country, two systems". That means it`s officially a Chinese territory but it still maintains its own currency, government, and laws.

For example, residents can protest, they can criticize the government and the press is not censored.

Britain and China also agreed Hong Kong`s high degree of autonomy would last for 50 years, with the aim of eventually establishing an election

system based on universally suffrage, that means "one man, one vote".

Hong Kong has a population of 7 million. But currently, only an elite committee of just 1,200 people have any say in deciding the city`s top

leadership, many of whom are Beijing loyalists.

SUBTITLE: What about full democracy?

CHAKALES: A lot of people here say they`re ready change. They`ve been pushing for one man, one vote for years. But China has been stalling.

SUBTITLE: Trigger point?

CHAKALES: In August 2014, China finally unveiled its plan for democratic reform, ruling Hong Kongers could only vote for their next chief executive

from a list of candidates that had to be pre-approved by Beijing.

That sparked widespread outrage, fueling Hong Kong`s occupy or umbrella movement, a mostly student-led protests against the Beijing plan.

Thousands of people filled the streets for months, pitching tents, shutting off key parts of the city, creating works of art all in the name of

democracy. It was unlike anything the city has ever seen before.

Hong Kong lawmakers later voted down Beijing`s proposal, with some saying they would never accept a, quote, "fake democracy".

So, what happens next?

For now, the status quo remains, with no clear plan forward. The only thing certain in Hong Kong`s future is a return to full Chinese control in



AZUZ: Students at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, also known as Ole Miss, are having a vote this afternoon. They`ll be deciding to whether

or not to remove the Mississippi state flag from campus. Its design features the Confederate battle flag, which represented Confederate states

during the U.S. Civil War.

In recent decades, there`s been a lot of controversy over the Confederate flag. A number of groups in the South have pushed for its removal from

public buildings and state capitals. They see it as a symbol of racism.

This summer, South Carolina`s government voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from its capital, after a racially motivated shooting in the


Yesterday, Green County, Tennessee, was considering the flag over its court house. Supporters see it as a symbol of wartime sacrifice, history and

Southern heritage. Several U.S. states including Mississippi still maintains some form of Confederate design in their state flags.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the charming southern city of Oxford, Mississippi, relics of the Confederacy are pervasive. This

week, the university of Mississippi associated student body senate will vote on a resolution to try and remove one of those symbols, the

Mississippi state flag.

The explanation of why lies largely in the past.

VALENCIA: Twenty-year-old sophomore Senator Allen Coon introduced the proposal to take down the flag.

ALLEN COON, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI STUDENT SENATOR: We`ve flown this symbol of oppression, we defended it, we fought for it and it`s time to

recognize that that was a mistake.

VALENCIA: Over the years, Dr. Jennifer Stollman with the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation has chronicled the complex on-campus history.

JENNIFER STOLLMAN, THE WINTER INSTITUTE: They`re creating the best and most inclusive campus that they can and they`re navigating some old

narratives with new expectations.

VALENCIA (on camera): Last year, a spasm of race-related episodes dragged (ph) painful memories here on campus, including a noose that was hung from

the statue of James Meredith. He`s the first black student to attend the university here, desegregating it in 1962.

Even still, at least one student senator says there`s more to be proud of here than not, which is why he`s opposing the resolution to bring down the

Mississippi state flag.

(voice-over): Student Senator Andrew Soper wrote in a petition, "Removing symbols, flags and monuments will do nothing to change the way

people feel in their hearts. Ole Miss students and my fellow Mississippians, rise up and push back on political correctness and support

the state flag."

The school is deeply rooted in tradition, a vestige of Southern history and pride.


AZUZ: It`s not Instagram. It`s not Twitter. It`s not Facebook. It`s, where our producers look for "Roll Call" requests.

We`ve got one yesterday from Chengdu, China. It`s in the central part of the world`s most populous country and it`s where you`ll find Chengdu

International School.

Falcon Ridge Middle School is next. The Falcons are flying over Apple Valley, Minnesota.

And rounding out our roll, American Christian Academy in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We`re saluting the Patriots.

Think about the energy given off by a nuclear bomb. Scientists worldwide are trying to figure out how to control and contain that same reaction to a

process called nuclear fusion. It could yield clean energy with no pollution. It could bring power to the world with a relatively low cost,

but it`s very hard to do.

The energy it could take to achieve nuclear fusion could be greater than the energy the fusion yields, and critics say the investment of billions

could better be spent on researching renewal resources instead.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We`re hungry for power and we`re constantly looking for more.

What if there was a way to get all the energy we could ever dream off, a way that wouldn`t pollute the planet and would never run out?

TAMMY MA, PHYSICIST, NATIONAL IGNITION FACILITY: This is the world`s largest, most powerful laser.

My role here at the NIF is to lead and execute experiments primarily in pursuit of achieving thermonuclear ignition, fusion.

CRANE: Our stars power themselves through a process called nuclear fusion, something that`s been nearly impossible for us to recreate on Earth, but

many believe that we`re on the brink of cracking that code. And investors and governments around the world are spending billions to make sure we do.

MA: The NIF is, in fact, 192 separate lasers and we`re taking a huge amount of energy, megajoules of energy and we`re going to focus all of it

down on air filled capsule, which consists of deuterium and tritium, which are isotopes of hydrogen.

And so, what we`re trying to do is get that fill up to such high temperatures and densities that those hydrogen atoms actually fuse, and as

I do so, the remaining atoms will weigh a little bit less and that liberate in mass gets converted into energy and that`s the fusion energy we`re

working to harness.

CRANE: Thousands of miles away in France, the world`s most ambitious attempt at fusion is being built. This is ITER, a multinational project to

make fusion a reality. Construction should be completed by 2020, with a price tag of an estimated $20 billion. Unlike NIF, which is experimenting

with lasers and x-rays to achieve a fusion reaction, ITER will use something called Tokamak, to activate hydrogen isotopes with powerful

magnetic fields, electricity and extreme heat to try and achieve fusion. The reaction could reach temperatures 10 times greater than the sun`s core.

MA: We get a good portion of our energy on earth from the sun. It is the lifeblood of humankind and everything living on earth. So, if we can

harness that within the laboratory, if we can figure out how to make this a viable energy source, that`s huge.


AZUZ: Before we go, something you`d never expect a Swiffer Sweeper to pick up, an owl, in a guy`s kitchen. He came home one night to find the

uninvited visitor and thankfully he had a camera as well as a sweeper.

Slowly, slowly and begging the owl not to fly at him, after all, it was giving him a pretty intense stare. The man lowered the animal through the

opening in the window, flick it from the broom and celebrated.

Of course, he could have tried soothing the savage beast with music like owl, fly away. Could have also offered it food if he had any owl pellets.

It was a glaring challenge the man hopes won`t come beck (ph). A staring contest the owl won, though we doubt it gave a hoot.

We sure hope you`ll swoop by tomorrow for more CNN student hoos.