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Britain Expels 23 Russian Diplomats; Remembering Stephen Hawking; Thousands of U.S. Students Walk Out of School

Aired March 15, 2018 - 04:00   ET



And our first report this Thursday is related to international espionage.

Thank you for watching. I`m Carl Azuz at the CNN Center.

The United Kingdom is kicking 23 Russian diplomats out of the country and suspending its high level communications with Russia. British Prime

Minister Theresa May says this is the single biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats in more than three decades. So, why is it happening?

A former Russian spy who`s 66 years old and lives in Britain was poisoned on March 4th, so he was his 33-year-old who was with him. They were

apparently exposed to a nerve agent that`s made in Russia. As of last night, both victims were still alive but in critical condition at a British

hospital. A police officer who tried to help them was also still hospitalized.

Prime Minister May says her country has concluded that Russia is responsible for the attack and she says the removal of the Russian

diplomats whom she described as undeclared intelligence officers will hurt Russia`s ability to gather intelligence in the U.K. for years to come.

Russian government officials have called the accusations unfounded, and said that Russia had no motive in targeting the victims. Russia also says

the British government, quote, made a choice in favor of confrontation with Russia instead of completing its own investigation. The relationship

between Britain and Russia has been rocky since another former Russian spy was assassinated in Britain in 2006. These latest events are likely to

make matters worse.

Staying in England for our next story: world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking died at his home in Cambridge yesterday. He was born on January

8th, 1942, the 300th anniversary of the death of the astronomer Galileo. Hawking was also a cosmologist, a mathematician and an author.

And while several of his theories met with skepticism or cause controversy in the scientific community, many people considered Hawking the world`s

greatest modern day scientist.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: By any measure, Stephen Hawking`s life was incredible, even more so because in the 1960s,

he was diagnosed with ALS or motor neurone disease, and given just a few years to live.

This rare form of motor neurone disease left him virtually paralyzed, unable to express his profound vision of humanity and science without a

voice synthesizer.

STEPHEN HAWKING, PHYSICIST: At one point, I thought I would see the end of physics as we know it. But now I think the wonder of discovery will

continue long after I am gone.

CHANCE: But this was never a man bound by his own physical limitations. He reveled in zero gravity flight freeing him, he said, from the confines

of his wheelchair.

He also wrote a series of children`s books about space with his daughter Lucy. He had two other children and three grandchildren.

For more than three decades he was a professor at Cambridge University`s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics specializing in

the study of black holes and revered as a member of the academic elite.

But Professor Hawking also did much to popularize science playing himself in "Star Trek".

HAWKING: Recessed in the opposite direction.

CHANCE: And "The Simpsons".

In 2014, his life and romance with wife Jane Wilde was depicted on the big screen in the acclaimed film "The Theory of Everything".

EDDIE REDMAYNE, ACTOR: The universe getting smaller and smaller, getting denser and denser, hotter and hotter.

FELICITY JONES, ACTRESS: And you rewind back the clock?

REDMAYNE: Exactly. Wind back the clock.

CHANCE: Hawking consulted on the bio-drama which earned five Academy Award nominations and a Best Actor win for Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of

the physicist.

Hawking`s most famous work, "A Brief History of Time" remains ones of the bestselling science books ever written. And he was deeply concerned with

humanity`s survival.

HAWKING: I see great danger for the human race. There have been a number of times in the past when its survival has been a question of touch and go.

The frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future. We shall need great care and judgment to negotiate them all successfully.

But I`m an optimist. If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe as we spread into space.

CHANCE: He was, as ever, looking firmly to the future.


AZUZ: More than 3,000 walkout events were planned at schools across America yesterday one month after a deadly shooting at a high school in

southeast Florida. Students had planned to stay outside for at least 17 minutes, one minute for each of those fatally shot in Parkland. The two

main things they wanted, stricter gun laws in the U.S. and an end to school shootings.

One high school junior who participated in New York said students were all working together on the walkout, which was, quote, something we haven`t

seen from the adults in a very long time.

At Florida`s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students said they were overwhelmed by the nationwide support. Not all students were allowed to

walk out. In several states, school districts said unauthorized walkouts would be punished by unexcused absences or suspensions. Some schools said

they were concerned about student safety.

And not all students who were allowed to walk out chose to. While one senior in Michigan said he supported his classmates` decision to

participate, he said he didn`t support those who, quote, use a tragic event to push their political agendas. A sophomore in Minnesota said the

movement seemed too vague for him to get involved.

In addition to the walkouts, rallies, marchers and sit-ins were also planned and events related to the U.S. demonstrations were held in several

other countries as well.


AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

Which U.S. state was named after a fictional island paradise in a 16th century Spanish novel?

Arizona, Hawaii, Florida, or California?

California, which became the 31st U.S. state in 1850 was named for a fictional island.


AZUZ: And it`s with a story from that state that we`re kicking off a new series today on CNN. It`s called "Positive Athlete". It celebrates

student athletes across the country who`ve overcome tough circumstances, who are making a difference in their communities or who just have a really

good attitude.

If that sounds like someone you know, head to There, you can nominate a positive athlete for the series.

A great example, to lead things for us, is Kendall Stier.


KENDALL STIER, POSITIVE ATHLETE: Hi. My name is Kendall Stier. I go to Saddleback Valley Christian School and I participate in shot put.

MADISON STIER, MADISON`S TWIN SISTER: My name is Madison Stier and I`m Kendall`s twin sister and I go to Saddleback Valley Christian. I

participate in the 1,600 meter event in track and field. I also participate in cross country.

K. STIER: My disability is cerebral palsy. I was born with it. I will compete with other high school students who have disability similar to


SUBTITLE: Kendall is coached at home by her mother Shannon.

KENDALL`S MOTHER: So, she gets six throws. And they only let you re-strap in between the three.


K. STIER: This is the U.S. Paralympic flag. I`m hoping that one day, I don`t know for sure, but maybe one day that I`ll go to the Paralympics. My

sister Madison, she`s been in southern sections this past season for cross country and she was the only person in my whole entire school to actually

achieve that. And California is a big state.

M. STIER: Kendall has won the state of California for shot put and she`s also won nationally, which is huge, because it`s national. It`s 50 states.

K. STIER: Everyone kind of has their own battles and their own struggles and just because mine is visible and you can see my disadvantages or what

is difficult for me doesn`t mean that life is over.

M. STIER: Kendall has a greater reach I think than she knows and then she`ll give herself credit for. She -- all the time, we have people come

put to us and say, Kendall has inspired me to join a sport.

K. STIER: If you just say, oh, I`ll never do this. I`m not good enough, then you always be in this state of mind where I`ll never do anything and

you just have to just keep yourself from a positive mind frame.



AZUZ: You athletes are probably familiar with the saying, there is no offseason. Alvin Kamara, a running back for the New Orleans Saints, shows

you exactly what that means.

Here, you see him working out, which isn`t like most of us work out. Kamara is carrying a squat rack with four plates on it. It`s also tied to

a Jeep that he is dragging along with him for 20 yards.

I guess after doing this, carrying a defensive end is like carrying a chicken.

It`s not a Kamiracle. It`s Alvin a days workout. You don`t rack up 19 touchdowns in a season by sitting on the bench. You carry the weight of

the world or at least Jeep on your shoulders until you`re in the end of the end zone, #motivation.

I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.