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CNN 10

Fatal mudslide in Washington State; Michelle Obama Promoting Students Studying Abroad; College Athletes Fight for Their Rights

Aired March 26, 2014 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Time for ten minutes of commercial free current events. I`m Carl Azuz. Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS.

Our first today centers on the landslide in Washington State. The governor has declared the state of emergency and hopes for finding survivors are fading. This happened on Saturday night affecting two rural communities north of Seattle. It covered a square mile and killed at least 14 people. Officials say more than 170 others are still unaccounted for, though that doesn`t necessarily mean they are all victims. At least 50 homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed.

How does this happen?


JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: What happens when you get more rain than you should right around this mountain ranges. It becomes very, very heavy and the soil begins to soak and gravity just pulls it down and when you get those very steep slopes, too steep to support it, the slope falls and that`s where you get your mudslide and that`s exactly what has happened.


AZUZ: U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama has gotten a lot of attention over the years for her efforts to fight childhood obesity in America. She promotes another cause involving young people. She wants them to study abroad. Right now she`s in China where she discussed exchange programs yesterday with Chinese and international students. But she recently sat down with CNN I-Report to answer some viewers` questions about studying abroad.


MICHELLE OBAMA: Hi. I`m First Lady Michelle Obama and I`m here to answer your I-Report questions.

WILL JAMES, ATLANTA GEORGIA: Hi, Mrs. Obama. My name is Willie James. I`m from Atlanta, Georgia. And I studied abroad in Kyoto, Japan, for one year, back in 2008-2009. My question to you is what advice would you give to young American students going abroad for the first time?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Number one, be open. Try to enter the experience with no preconceived notions about the country you`re going to or the people in that country. You`ve got to try to shake the fear. You know, you can`t approach this opportunities thinking that everything is going to feel good and comfortable and you`ll get everything right. You probably are going to make a lot of mistakes, but you know what, that`s life.

In other parts of the world that you go to, they will appreciate your effort, your energy as long as you come into the experience respecting the people and the culture that you`re coming into.

APRIL THOMPSON, ACCRA, GHANA: Hi, Mrs. Obama. My name is April Thompson. And I`m currently in Accra, Ghana. My question for you is where did you receive your first passport stamp and how that experience impact the person that you are today?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Our sophomore class had an opportunity to spend a week for break in France, and initially, I was nervous about taking that week. I didn`t want to ask my father to pay for that trip. It felt like an extravagance. And I remember breaking down in tears feeling guilty about even asking him if I could go. He wanted me to have all the experiences that he didn`t` have. And he didn`t blink an eye in paying for that trip.

So, I got on a plane with some of my classmates and we stayed in a youth hostel and spoke a lot of bad French and learned a lot.


AZUZ: You heard the First Lady mention cost there, and while studying abroad can unlock a lot of cultural and educational doors for students, it`s usually done at an additional fee, and not everyone can afford it. Student loans might help, but as things stand now, the average debt for college graduates who got student loans is more than $27,000.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Undergraduates, you`ve got some company. You`re not the only one leaving school with a mountain of debt. And, in fact, graduate students are taking out even bigger loans. More than $57,000, to be exact. That`s the median debt load for a student with the graduate degree, anything from an NBA to a master`s and medical or a law degree. And that 57,000 is up from 40,000 in 2004. A 43 percent increase according to the New America Foundation. There are a few factors at play: schools have raised prices partly because they are getting less aid from state governments. Some people lost their savings in the recession and have to borrow more these days. Also, many undergraduates are having a hard time finding work, so they are going back to school for a higher degree. That could add to an already existing debt load. But some say, it`s worth it because in the long run, there`s a return on investment in the form of higher earnings, and many students believe grad school will give them a leg up when they start looking for a job. I`m Alison Kosik in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shoutout." Which term best describes an organization that`s formed to ensure certain wages and benefits for its members? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it merger, union, allotment or junction? You`ve got three seconds, go!

A union, specifically a labor union focuses on working conditions and pay for its members. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: But that`s for paid employees in the workforce. What would it look like on a college campus if football players try to unionize? They are not paid in wages, though many of them get scholarships, they are not guaranteed medical benefits for injuries, though they have a choice about whether to play. These are questions and arguments that could be settled in court.



SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was Jafiar Bros (ph) childhood dream to play college football.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is my best season.

GANIM: But it could cost him a lifetime of pain.

(on camera): You were (INAUDIBLE) fastest guys in the Stanton (ph) High School.


GANIM: And now you can`t run.


GANIM (voice over): He fractured his legs while playing, and now has metal rods in both. He can`t afford the surgery to have them removed, because there is no financial help for former college athletes. A big burden for someone with chromic injuries like his.

(on camera): But this would cost a significant amount of money, if you were to take this out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Over $20,000. Between $20,000 and $30,000 to take it out.

GANIM: But then it would all be on you.


GANIM: No one else will pay for that?


GANIM (voice over): Medical coverage is just the beginning of the criticisms against the NCAA and how they treat their college athletes. But never before have current players been so vocal and standing up for themselves. That is not until now. Last month the members of the current Northwestern Football Team got together and they decided they are going to try something. Something that could revolutionize the way the NCAA works.

KAIN COLTER, FORMER NORTHWESTERN QUARTERBACK: I would like to take the Northwestern .

GANIM: They are trying to form a union, an incredibly bold move, given the tight control over athletes in a multibillion dollar industry of college sports.

COLTER: Athletes don`t have a voice.

GANIM: The idea came from former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter. Ironically, he got it during a college course. Almost all of his teammates back him.

COLTER: The current model resembles a dictatorship.

GANIM: Now, they are taking their fights before the National Labor Relations Board.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, two, three!

GANIM: But the team is up against their own university, which has applauded their leadership, but said, "Student athletes are not employees, but students."

And the NCAA added that "their participation in college sports in voluntarily." While there is growing public support for NCAA reform, some question whether this is the right approach.

RICHARD EPSTEIN: I think it`s just very risky .

GANIM: Labor law professor Richard Epstein is no fan of the NCAA. He`s called it a cartel. But he doesn`t think a union is the solution.

PROF. RICHARD EPSTEIN, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Generally speaking, putting a union opposite an industry cartel creates more instability than it eliminates.

GANIM: But Yarboro (ph) says he`s never been more proud to be a wildcat than the date those players stepped up and essentially said enough.

So, this hearing boils down to this: whether or not the judge agrees that these athletes should be considered employees. The university says no, they are students first. But the athletes say football dominates everything they do. There`s a lot of testimony about the rigorous of their schedule, the amount of hours they put in, the classes that they simply don`t have time to take. And if the judge agrees with them that they are, in fact, employees of the university, then they can move forward and unionize.

Sara Ganim, CNN, Chicago.


AZUZ: Today`s Roll Call is going global. Why? Because it`s worldwide Wednesday and you`re going to love it. We are starting with Grace Christian Academy. Great to see you on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. Then we are saying hello to the overseas family school. They are online and watching CNN STUDENT NEWS from the island nation of Singapore. And from there, we`ll travel to Bangladesh. Where we`re glad to have viewers at the University of Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital.

People can appreciate a good magic trick. The coin is there, it`s gone. Whoopi! Not as fun for dogs. A magician recently made a treat disappear right in front of dogs` noses. He wanted to know if dogs like magic. The answer - nope, not fun. Some would call this a doggone shame (ph). To be fair, the dogs were given treats right before and after the trick. So, while they might have been confused by the empty hand, they weren`t confounded with an empty stomach. So, they didn`t` have to hound in for a one more treat, though some thought (INAUDIBLE) tease. Some might have wanted to pick and ease into his bag of tricks, and mastiff his intentions were good. Or if he had plotted against them all along. Hey, at least they got something to chow. And while I love the terrier I know the puns pug some of you. We`ve had a voilat (ph) of them. Just how many more canine think of? I wish someone could pointer me in the right direction. They don`t appear by magic, then I wouldn`t have to caleave you just yet and say good bye for shnouzer. We`ll retreat more news and pun for you tomorrow.