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Supreme Court Deciding on Whether Aereo is Legal Equipment Supplier or Pirate; Recovery Efforts in Oso, Washington; Deepwater Horizon`s Catastrophe and British Petroleum Restoration Efforts in the Gulf Area

Aired April 23, 2014 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: A Supreme Court decision concerning race and college admissions. It`s our first story today on CNN STUDENT NEWS. We are happy to have you watching.

Back in 2006, 58 percent of voters in the state of Michigan decided that race shouldn`t factor into college admissions. That public colleges can`t give preferential treatment to people based on race, gender or where they are from.

But last year, a lower court struck down the law saying it violates the U.S. Constitution`s guarantees of equal protection.

Well, this went to the Supreme Court, the final legal authority in the U.S. It ruled six to two that the lower court didn`t have the right to overturn Michigan`s law. So, it wasn`t a decision directly about affirmative action, but about who has the power to resolve the controversy. Because of the ruling, Michigan`s law against preferential treatment can`t stay in place.

Yesterday, the high court also heard the case involving Aereo. It`s a company that allows subscribers to watch and record TV channels without having to get cable, which is more expensive. Aereo has thousands of TV antennas. They captured the free over the air signals of TV stations, connect them to a DVR and then allows subscribers to watch them from a mobile device.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDETN: Now, it`s time for the nine justices of the Supreme Court to rule on whether Aereo is legal or not.

On Tuesday, the justices heard oral arguments in this case, which has been bubbling up for two years. Ever since Aereo came on to the market in New York City offering customers a new way to watch over the airwaves television stations via the Internet. Aereo charges $8 a month, and it disrupts the existing ecosystem for television in the United States. Because stations, local stations in New York City have gotten used to receiving retransmission fees from cable and satellite companies that want to rebroadcast their content.

While Aereo works around that system, it has its own array of tiny antennas that allow customers to watch TV without having to pay for cable or satellite and thus, without having to pay for those retransmission fees. All of the broadcasters say, this is a blatant copyright violation. And here on Tuesday, we heard a vigorous debate about what Aereo really is. The broadcasters say it`s a gimmick that should be essentially ruled to be illegal and made extinct. Aereo says it`s - this is not about copyright at all. They say what they are doing is perfectly legal because of the way they`ve set up the array of antennas.

Here in court, Aereo`s attorney argued they are just an equipment supplier. They just provide the same kind of technology that you could buy at RadioShack, but then they hook it up on the Internet so you can watch it from anywhere. The broadcasters` attorney on the other hand, argue that it is much more than that. That it is really a pirate cable-like system that is stealing their signals without permission and then providing them to customers and charging for it.

Most of the questions from the Justices revolved around a couple of key points: one is about the idea of public performance. Aereo says what they are doing is a private performance, but the broadcasters say, under the copyright law, what Aereo does is a public performance of their copyrighted content.

Both sides come out here to the Supreme Court steps after the hearing to speak about what they saw happened.

PAUL CLEMENT, COUNSEL FOR BROADCAST NETWORKS: They are obviously concerned about the consequences, both for the broadcast industry and for other technologies, but I think they also understand that there is fundamental difference between a service that provides content in the first instance and something that provides simply essentially a stored service.

DAVID FREDERICK, AEREO COUNSEL: We are cautiously optimistic based on the way the hearing went today that the court understood that when a person watching over the air broadcast television in his or her home is engaging in a private performance, and not a public performance that would implicate the copyright act.

STELTER: The justices will rule at some point in the next two months, and until then Aereo will remain in limbo.


AZUZ: Also in the news today, it`s been just over a month since a tremendous landslide swept over part of a community in Washington State. As the area was having of its most rain soaked months ever, a giant filled of land slipped, rushing downhill over homes and roads killing dozens of people. The search has been incredibly challenging.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Is this the last zone to be searched?

BEN WOODWARD, SEARCHER: No. It`s not the last zone.

CABRERA (voice over): The work seems never ending. It`s been one month since a mountainside plunged into the town of Oso, Washington. Searcher Ben Woodward took us right into the heart of the slide.

(on camera): What was here before the landslide?

WOODWARD: You know, houses, sparse houses, trees.

CABRERA (voice over): We walked along what was once a highway, the surroundings don`t even resemble the community that once flourished here. Yet this is progress.

WOODWARD: It was six foot under water or so right where we are standing.

CABRERA: Water and mud still creating the biggest challenges for this search crews. We are told water was above my head when that landslide first hit. What they`ve had to do is create a water channel with pumps to be able to move the water out of this area just to give search crews access to look here.

Special machinery like this floating excavator just arrived to help search for the missing in the obstacle-filled wreckage.

This gives you an idea of what search crews are up against, logs, mud, piles of debris stuck 20 to 40 feet high in some places.

The slow, sloppy and dangerous work comes with an emotional toll: so far at least 41 victims have been recovered in a disaster zone. A Washington spruce tree left standing in the middle of the slide area now serves as a makeshift memorial to honor lives lost.

(on camera): This is a special place for the searchers that are out here?

WOODWARD: Absolutely.

CABRERA (voice over): Woodward says it provides the source of strength for the ongoing recovery effort.


AZUZ: It`s Worldwide Wednesday on the CNN STUDENT NEWS "Roll Call." That means we are going to places like India where we are glad to be part of the school day at Oberoi International School in Mumbai. We are also online in a two-room school house in Manitoba, Canada. Hello to our viewers at the San Antonio school in Bissett.

And at the Green Gates School, a British international school in Mexico, it`s great to see everyone in the capitol of Mexico City.

On April 20, 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. 11 workers were killed and in the month after that, about 210 million gallons of oil leaked from the well underneath the rig.

This was the worst oil slip in U.S. history, and the oil company BP has paid out billions to those affected because it was found partly responsibly for the disaster.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what some Gulf coast beaches looked like in the spring and summer of 2010. Oil sheen covered the surface of the Gulf and clogged the back bays. And cleanup crews outnumbered tourists.

TONY KENNON, MAYOR, ORANGE BEACH: And unless you were here in the middle of it, just no way to understand what our community went through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon remembers the nightmare, but says in the past four years, progress has been made. Kennon say overall, he`s pleased with how BP has handled the cleanup, but the mayor still doesn`t have a lot of admiration for BP.

KENNON: The British Petroleum has done some good things, and we appreciate those - let`s don`t get carried away, you know, they are mindless faceless a (ph) more entity whose sole purpose is to make money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: the environmental impacts of the oil spill are still visible, and we`ll be for years. Balls of tar continue to wash up in Orange Beach and gulf shores on a regular basis, especially after heavy storms. This is video from Gulf shores, Alabama in February. Tar balls littering the coastline for hundreds of yards. The amount of tar balls that washing on shore varies from location to location, and from day to day. For example, a check of several beeches this weekend couldn`t find any tar balls.

Locals seem to be pleased with B.P.s restoration efforts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they`ve done a very good job because you can see that the beaches are beautiful (INAUDIBLE) again. We got a lot of people coming down and join at the - so, I`ve got no complaints whatsoever.

ANDY JOSEPH, ANDY`S ICE CREAM AND GRILL: We probably lost about $200,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Countless businesses were impacted by the oil spill. A few folded and closed their doors, others lost tens of thousands of dollars.

CHIP BEGNAUD, PLEASURE ISLAND PARASAIL: We have had people that have shown up down here. We`ve talked to they`ve never been in the area before, and it`s because I saw the commercials and things like that. And they really don`t (INAUDIBLE) for it, but I still - in my opinion, I think they need to do a little more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The impacts of the oil spill are slowly fading. Life is getting back to normal here. The locals are taking the gun, but never forgotten the approach when remembering what happened to you in 2010.

AZUZ: The title of this last video pretty much sums itself up: dog barking at herself, barking at herself, barking at herself. And it sure does growl on you. This YouTube clip is adogable. Is sure gets her hackles up, and there is no paws in the action. We are not sure what upsets her so much or why she hasn`t figured out that it`s herself barking at herself. Whatever the case, something doesn`t passed the sniff test. She should probably see a barkevioral therapist. Maybe even a psychologist. There`s got to be some kind of dogtor that can help with her animalisis, get her barking at the right tree or determine if she needs rehabarkitation. I`m Carl Azuz, and we are snout of time, but you nose where to find us tomorrow.