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About 10,000 U.S. Troops to Stay in Afghanistan; Republicans Want to Change Child Nutrition Law of 2010; Crime Prevention Using Surveillance Plans Can be Controversial

Aired May 28, 2014 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Wednesday`s edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. You are half way through the week. I`m Carl Azuz, it`s good to see you. First up today, there are about 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, plus those of some U.S. allies. President Obama announced yesterday that almost 10,000 American troops would stay in Afghanistan through next year. Their role is changing, though. The president says the U.S. combat mission ends this year, remaining troops will be focused on training Afghan forces and fighting al Qaeda terrorists. Afghanistan`s got to agree to U.S. troops staying, though. It`s current president Hamid Karzai won`t, but the two political candidates competing to succeed him say they will. Some Republican lawmakers say they are glad the U.S. will keep some troops in Afghanistan, but that putting dates on their withdrawal could lead to violence afterward. The U.S. official says U.S. forces in Afghanistan will be reduced to about 1,000 after the year 2016.

Republican lawmakers are considering significant changes to a child nutrition law passed in 2010. The law`s goal was to encourage students to eat healthier school lunches. The government required schools to use less sodium in meals and it required students who qualify for free or reduced price meals, about 30 million students nationwide, to pick up a fruit or vegetable with their lunch. First lady Michelle Obama is a strong supporter of the law.


MICHELLE OBAMA: Parents have a right to expect that their kids will get decent food in our schools, and we all have a right to expect that our hard-earned taxpayer dollars won`t be spent on junk food for our kids.


AZUZ: But an official from the School Nutrition Association says they are not pushing for junk food in lunches, they just want the fruit or vegetable requirement dropped. The group says there is a lot of waste from students picking what they have to get the fee meal, but then immediately throwing it away.

Next story involves planes and law enforcement. Technology that has been around may be a little after the Wright brothers is combining with camera surveillance technology, and it`s getting policy in apprehend and tracking some crime suspects. Not everyone`s on board with the idea of pursuing people using an eye in the sky, but it is having an impact.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From their specially equipped Cessnas Ross McNutt and his firm Persistent Surveillance Systems can monitor large sections of cities. Because they are in the air for hours at a time, they can track back to the moment of a crime and before it. (INAUDIBLE).

ROSS MCNUTT, PERSISTENT SURVEILLANCE SYSTEMS: They meet up three to four times prior to the murder, including one time right outside the murder scene.

TODD: In the moments afterward ...

MCNUTT: We actually can follow all of the cars, so we are actually going to jump over and follow the car that the shooter got into and see where it goes to.

TODD: They tie in a Google Earth street view image to show police the house where the suspect went to hide. McNutt`s team helped police make arrest in that shooting.

MCNUTT: We`ve actually (INAUDIBLE) 34 murders so far, and we actually have confessions that account for 75.

TODD: McNutt`s team has monitored other high crime cities. Campton, California, Philadelphia, Baltimore. Then can replicate their operation center in Dayton, Ohio - anywhere.

In a typical operation, law enforcement officers will sit in this area monitoring the police scanner. When a call comes in that a crime has been committed, these analysts immediately start to track back when and where it occurred. And sometimes, they can catch up to a suspect in real time.

Dayton, 2012. They get word of a burglary. Track the suspect in the white truck as he`s getting away, and direct police right to him. Dayton`s police chief says the technology`s helped his depleted force.

CHIEF RICHARD BIEHL, DAYTON, OHIO POLICY DEPT.: Allows us to gain data on, criminal offenses, for which there are often or not witnesses and clearly, police officers are not there to prevent.

TODD: But privacy advocates say this smacks of Big Brother.

MARC ROTENBERG, ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER: Then we`ve actually crossed the line. This creates the opportunity after the fact to look at anybody for any reason.

MCNUTT: We are responding in support of law enforcement to reported crimes only.

TODD: And McNutt says, they closely monitor their own analysts to make sure they are only tracking suspects.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shoutout." Who made the first solo flight around the world? If you think you know it, shout it out!

Was it Wiley Post, Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker or Chuck Yeager? You might not be familiar with Wiley Post, but he made history in July of 1933 with the first solo flight around the world. That`s you answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: That was back in the Golden Age of aviation. A time period between World Wars One and Two when tremendous achievements were made in flight. Charles Lindbergh`s trans-Atlantic solo in 1927, Emilia Earhart`s trans- Atlantic solo in 1932. Records were made, then broken, then broken again. And now, a 19-year old is hoping to fly in the history, kind of like Wiley Post did.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On Wednesday, Guthmiller will hop aboard its 1981 beach craft A-36 Bonanza in hopes of becoming the youngest person to fly solo around the world. He says he was inspired after 21-year old Jack Wiegand of Fresno completed the trip last spring. Wiegand currently holds the Guinness world record. The college sophomore says his passion for flying started at a young age.

MATT GUTHMILLER, PILOT: You know, I always played flight simulator games growing up, always wanted to go eat of the airport cafe and watch planes take off and land.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guthmiller told us that trip should take him about 40 days or 160 hours of flying time. He plans to make about 20 stops on five continents and update his status on social media along the way. The young pilot says, when he shared his interest in flying with his parents, they didn`t think he`d take it this far.

GUTHMILLER: You know, I think at the time, they thought I was just going to do this a little 20 minutes like get it out of my system. And now, three years later, I`m going to go fly solo around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Although Guthmiller has his eyes on earning a spot in the history books, he says he hopes the trip will inspire other young people to follow their dreams.

AZUZ: Roll call. Time to stamp some passports. It`s Worldwide Wednesday. Hello at everyone at the AAS Moscow High School. They are watching CNN STUDENT NEWS from the Russian capital. Spinning the globe now to Vietnam. At the Singapore international school, we`ve got some viewers in Da Nang, and at the Hong Kong Academy, thanks for taking ten minutes for us, it`s good to have you watching in Hong Kong.

There`s a modified form of baseball called beep baseball. It`s for blind or visually impaired people. Some rules are different, and the balls on bases beep, so players no where they are. A woman named Judy Byrd was watching a game one day when she asked, if the same idea could help kids play kickball? Her nonprofit association says beep kickball is now played in more than 50 camps and schools for the blind.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Each one of these kids is visually impaired, but it doesn`t stop them from kicking, running and sliding into base. They are playing beep kickball.

JUDY BYRD, FOUNDER BEEP KICKBALL ASSOCIATION: Beep kickball is an adapted sport to kids who are visually impaired one, and it`s played with three pieces of equipment. A kickball, which is two bases for each - and de Blanco. All the kids were blindfold to equalize the differences in Vision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beep kickball founder Judy Byrd says the rules are simple.

BYRD: Catch the ball and be run to the (INAUDIBLE) that it`s buzzing. His job is to catch before one of the - now that the field - look at the ball and kick it up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 11-year old Christopher Abel was born blind, and says he loves everything about beep kickball.

CHRISTPOPHER ABEL, BEEP KICKBALL PLAYER: It`s not even when you go (INAUDIBLE) with the ball, then you know it is going flying and like running - to get one of the times than I just get to run as fast as I can as hard as I can. Like tackling the bases, because it`s just so fun to hit it. I`m not going to - I`m like feel thing. Because it`s always just amazing when you pick up the ball and say I got it before the runner could get the base.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coach Melissa Allen says the benefits go beyond the physical.

MELISSA ALLEN, CO-FOUNDER COBB COUNTY BEEP KICKBALL: The sport itself, it gives the kids a lot of confidence, a lot of times vision-impaired students are not able to play a lot of athletic team sports.

DAVID ABEL, PARENT: For him it`s just a running. It`s getting used to with him being blind. Run it at an area where he`s not going to run into something, he`s not going to collide with anybody, you know, so he can just run as fast as he wants without worrying about if he`s going to hit a wall or tip over something.

CHRISTPOPHER ABEL: It`s just so exciting: running to the bases, hitting it, knocking it over - there`s nothing bad about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And for this young team, having fun is exactly what it`s all about.


AZUZ: For Taylor Crofton senior prom came and went without her dad. He`s in the U.S. Air Force and was deployed to Cuba for months. Graduation also started without him, but it didn`t stay that way. Sergeant Chris Crofton was there in more than spirit. He rushed onstage as Taylor was about to receive her diploma. The surprise made the event even more memorable for her whole family. Sergeant Crofton has been away on nine deployments since Taylor was a baby. He says he`s missed birthdays, Christmas celebrations, he wasn`t going to miss this.

TAYLOR KROFTEN: I`m just so happy he`s here. Better than a - than anything. So, yes, that`s all I wanted for graduation.

AZUZ: So, her graduation wasn`t too soon for a reunion. Who knew a hug will be part of our walk? It was a great way to commence spending time with the family and it helps us wrap today`s show with a little class. CNN STUDENT NEWS returns tomorrow.