Return to Transcripts main page

CNN 10

Recovery Efforts in Joplin, Missouri; NATO Meeting in Chicago

Aired May 22, 2012 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST: I`m Carl Azuz and you`re watching CNN STUDENT NEWS.

Today, we`ll take you to Joplin, Missouri to check on recovery efforts there one year after a massive tornado struck.

But we are starting today in Chicago with the NATO meeting about the war in Afghanistan.

World leaders got together on Sunday and Monday to talk about plans to end that war. The international security force led by U.S. troops is scheduled to end combat operations and be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

President Obama says that plan is on track.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Two years ago in Lisbon, our nations agreed on a framework for transition in Afghanistan that would allow us to responsibly wind down the war. We agreed that this transition to Afghan lead for security would begin in 2011 and that it would conclude in 2014.

At this time, we said that we would seek a long-term partnership with Afghanistan and the Afghan people.

Over the past two years, we`ve made important progress. Our forces broke the Taliban`s momentum. More Afghans are reclaiming their communities. Afghan security forces have grown stronger. And the transition that we agreed to in Lisbon is well underway.


AZUZ: Meanwhile, protesters outside the NATO meeting fought with police officers on Sunday. A law enforcement official said at least 45 people were arrested and four officers were injured.

Turning now to the race for the White House, it`s primary day in two states today. Voters are heading to the polls in Arkansas and Kentucky. Primary season is winding down, though.

And after Tuesday`s Republican contests, there are seven more to go.

The Texas primary is next Tuesday, then five states the week after that and Utah closes things out in late June.


RACHEL BERRYHILL, JOPLIN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: It was definitely stressful and it -- it`s so much harder than like -- like how my life was. Like it`s changed a lot and it`s still different. But I know it`s going to be better.


AZUZ: EF-5, it`s the most powerful and most destructive category of tornado. And that is what hit the city of Joplin, Missouri exactly one year ago today. More than 150 people were killed. There were homes, businesses, the local high school just destroyed.

This is a quick look back at the natural disaster and it`s immediate aftermath.


VIVIEN MORENO, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: A lot of us are in shock because we`ve always been like, oh, Joplin is always the place where the tornado misses or we`ve always been like, oh, nothing ever happens in Joplin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s total devastation, with the hospital down, the high school down.


AZUZ: So that was a year ago. And today, Joplin is rebuilding. Officials estimate that nearly 130,000 workers have spent hundreds of thousands of hours helping with the recovery process. Juniors and seniors at Joplin High spent this year going to classes in part of a shopping mall. The school`s graduation ceremony was yesterday. The speaker was President Obama.

And one of this year`s graduates, Lydia McAllister, talked about her city`s efforts to move forward.


LYDIA MCALLISTER, JOPLIN HIGH STUDENT: There are a lot of reminders, still. But honestly, I think that we can all say that we`re really happy with the progress that we`ve made.

The tornado definitely changed our lives because, I mean, obviously, I -- I didn`t have a house after the tornado. I didn`t have a school. I didn`t have half of a town.

So a lot -- a lot changed for me and a lot changed for everyone in Joplin. And I think it`s still -- it`s still an ongoing thing, because there`s not a day that goes by that I don`t think about the tornado. And I don`t think that that will ever stop.

Just seeing my town rebuilt and seeing all the strength that everyone else has, it`s really given me courage to have that same strength. And I think one of the things that the tornado did teach you is how strong, like how strong a person can be. And even though so much happened to me and my family, I don`t think that any of us ever gave up hope. And I think that`s just something that`s really awesome.


AZUZ: Awesome, indeed.

Now, our next story is also about overcoming adversity, but it`s about one woman. Her name is Aesha. And she`s from Afghanistan.

A few years ago, her husband, a member of the Taliban, cut off her nose and ears as punishment for running away. Aesha was featured on the cover of "Time" magazine. She became a symbol for the Taliban`s repression of women and girls in Afghanistan and the potential violence that they face.

Aesha is now living in the US. She has a very different life, but she still deals with unique challenges.


AESHA: I think all the time, why this thing happen to me?

Why they cut my ears and nose?

If I had my nose, I could have my life now.


Women for Afghanistan Women shelter, Kabul, 2010

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Born in a village in Southern Afghanistan, Aesha was forced into marriage at a young age. She was given as payback for a crime committed by someone else in her family.

After years of abuse from her in-laws, Aesha ran away, but was caught.

She spent months in prison. Her father-in-law retrieved her and with her Taliban husband and others, brutally cut off her nose and ears.

She appeared on the cover of "Time" and was brought to the U.S. for reconstructive surgery. But she was deemed too emotionally fragile to undergo the procedures.

Almost two years later, she has settled with an Afghan family who wants to give her the life she never had and the tools to become independent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don`t you say it in English?

You can say it better in English.

AESHA: My English is not good. I don`t have enough words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t worry, if you go off words, we will help you in English.

AESHA: I`m studying. Learn. I want to be a police officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She wants to be a police officer. That`s what she wants to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. She loves justice. And she thinks she found it by police officers and soldiers.

AESHA: I love police officer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aesha had arrived in America more traumatized than anyone had anticipated.

AESHA: Somebody wants to kill me or somebody following me. Every second night, she has this kind of dreams.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For more than a year, a strong support system of women surrounded her. But still, Aesha struggled to find a sense of belonging.


AZUZ: Very powerful images. Aesha`s story is incredible. You just saw part of it. But if you go to our home page at, scroll down to the spotlight section, that`s where you`ll find a link to the full video about Aesha, her struggles and her accomplishments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Mezick`s English class at Valley High School in Valley, Alabama.

What does the word "annular" refer to?

You know what to do.

Is it forming a ring, happening every year, related to glands or taking place indoors?

You`ve got three seconds.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Annular comes from a Latin word that means forming a ring.

That`s your answer and that`s your Shoutout.

AZUZ: And that`s why what you see here is called an annular solar eclipse. It happened over the weekend, but only certain parts of the world could see it.

The moon gradually moves in front of the sun, blocking it out -- but not all of it. There`s still a little ring of sun left that you can see around the moon. That`s where the annular eclipse name comes from, because of that ring.

Parts of the Western U.S. were in the path that could see the eclipse. It`s the first one to appear in the United States since 1994. But even though everyone can`t get a glimpse of it, these things happen fairly frequently.

The next solar eclipse will be in November. NASA says that one will be visible over Australia.

All right, Before We Go, we`re checking out some unique wedding ceremonies, starting with a kiss from a dolphin seems different. But we really dive in when the newlyweds go underwater. And it wasn`t just one couple. Several couples participated in this marine marriage ceremony in China. For richer or poorer, for drier or drenched. You may kiss the bride, but you should probably wait until you`re back on dry land and not wearing an oxygen mask.

All that equipment might pull the gown and tuxedo askew, but it makes for a memorable moment. Just the idea of getting married underwater, that might sound fishy, but, hey, those folks just have a different way to see life.

We`re going to dip on out of here.

We`ll see you back tomorrow for more CNN STUDENT NEWS.