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Maya Angelou`s Tough Childhood and Inspiring Life and Poetry; Search for Malaysian Flight MH-370 Comes to a Pause; Life; Towns of the Future Built in Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Aired May 29, 2014 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN STUDENT NEWS. It`s Thursday, May 29th, I`m Carl Azuz. The first story we are covering - President Obama`s speech yesterday at West Point. It was a graduation speech at the U.S. Military Academy, but it was a foreign policy speech, too. The president wanted to define how his administration has dealt and would deal with other nations. Basically, represent the U.S. on the world stage. He`s being criticized on this issue. Republicans say America has lost influence in the world under President Obama`s leadership. Critics say the U.S. has appeared soft on issues concerning the Syrian civil war and unrest in Ukraine. The president highlighted his administration`s work to end the war in Iraq, wind down the war in Afghanistan. Kill terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. He also said that true leadership isn`t only having the world`s most powerful military, but in doing the right thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shoutout." Who said, "We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated?" If you think you know it, shout it out!

Was it Franklin Roosevelt, Kevin Garnett, Helen Keller or Maya Angelou? You`ve got three seconds, go.

It was poet Maya Angelou who penned these words in addition to many others. That`s you answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: American writer Maya Angelou or Angelou knew something about defeat. She was sexually abused as a child, she struggled and made mistakes before her rise to renown, her refusal to be defeated led her to victories in literature, dancing, acting. Angelou passed away yesterday morning at age 86. Fredricka Whitfield reviews her life as enduring and preserving as the words Angelou wrote.


MAYA ANGELOU: "The hells we have lived through and live through still have sharpened our senses and toughened our will." FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Celebrated poet and activist Maya Angelou, may have been speaking about herself on that day in 1995. Born Margaret Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, April 4, 1928, the hells she lived through began at the age of seven when she was raped by her mother`s boyfriend. After she spoke out against him, he was beaten to death by a mob. Young Margaret blamed herself.

ANGELOU: I was 7.5 and my 7.5-year-old logic deduced that my voice had killed him so I stopped speaking for almost six years.

WHITFIELD: And it was during those years of silence that she discovered poetry and her love of art. WHITFIELD: Her poetry was first physical. Winning a dance and drama scholarship in San Francisco, then later touring Europe in 1954 in "Porgy and Bess." But her growing love for the written word took her to Egypt and Ghana where they became a newspaper editor. In Ghana, she met Malcolm X and returned to the U.S. in 1964 to join his fight in the civil rights movement. After Malcolm X`s assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, asked her to join him. He was killed on her birthday in 1968. The following year her first memoir was published, "I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings." More bestsellers would follow.

Blazing trails on the big and small screens, she directed documentaries. Her screen play for 1972`s "Georgia Georgia" was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Maya Angelou was dominated for a Tony Award. She won three Grammys and in 2011 President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

ANGELOU: I am the hope and the dream of the slave. And so naturally, there I go rising.


AZUZ: Jamesville, Howell and Tuscaloosa are three cities in three states that are on today CNN STUDENT NEWS "Roll Call." Jamesville`s in Wisconsin, the Craig High School Cougars are there, ticking off today`s segment. Next, to Howell, Michigan. It`s where we`ve got the Highlanders on our list. They are watching from Howell High School. And in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, it`s the Eagles we are talking about. Thank you for watching at Duncanville Middle School.

A great mystery we covered this school year involved the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. It hasn`t been solved. The plane hasn`t been found. No wreckage has been recovered. Malaysian officials released satellite information earlier this week. Experts use this to conclude that the plane crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. The critics say there are some holes in the data, that it`s not complete and the search itself has been put on hold.


SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wednesday marks the last day for the Bluefin-21 to carry out its underwater search for Flight MH-370, in the Southern Indian Ocean just around 1600 kilometers away from the western coast of Australia. Now, it`s carried out more than 20 missions over the last few weeks, searching an area of around 40 square kilometers at a time. But now that underwater search is going to meet quite a lengthy pause, longer than we were expecting. While The Australian Authorities, Malaysian and Chinese as well, tens of new contractors were faced to. They want to bring this one step up or they want one contractor to provide several underwater search vehicles, sidescan sonars. They want them all map out and check out a wider area in that 60,000 square kilometer searching for any signs of the plane, any kind of debris as well, or the blackboxes which could lead to the answers of what exactly happened onboard Flight MH-370.


AZUZ: This is a dangerous season for young drivers. AAA and organizations that promote safety on the road says the 100 deadliest days for teenage drivers start on Memorial Day. Chances of a fatal crash are 26 percent higher now than they are the rest of the year. So they released a few tips on driving safety. One, drive only when you have somewhere to go, just driving around for the heck of it can increase the risk of a wreck. Two, spend some time driving with a parent. Might not be as fun as with your friends, but they`ve been driving a long time and can explain how to handle different situations. Also, the more friends you have in a car, the more likely you are to crash. Three, drive less at night. AAA says more than half of night time crashes happen between 9 p.m. and midnight.

George Orwell`s book "1984" was published in 1949. Aldous Huxley`s "Brave New World", 1932. Ray Bradbury`s "Fahrenheit 451", 1953. They all imagine what the world would be like decades or hundreds of years in the future. Scientists are trying to do that now, but with cities.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What if you could build the perfect city from scratch? What would it look like? Around the globe, developers are trying to answer those questions. In Songdo, South Korea, it`s a $35 billion preplanned smart city that uses pneumatic tubes to transport trash. In a desert of Abu Dhabi, Masdar City is a $19 billion oasis to sustainable energy. That recycles 80 percent of its water and is replacing cars with electric (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your destination .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And in Japan, a $592 million called Fujisawa will soon have smart streetlights with motion sensors that create an invisible security network. Each house will also be solar-powered and has a capability to stay off the grid for up to three days.

Many of these projects like Masdar have been government-funded. But increasingly, money is coming from commercial and private organizations. A New York-based development firm called Gale International is building Songdo, while Fujisawa is funded by Panasonic. So far, the answer is mixed: 33,000 have moved into Songdo. Fujisawa will only build 1,000 homes, and Masdar currently only has a few thousand residents. To attract more people, Masdar has deliberately quartered academics and scientists teaming with MIT to build a satellite campus. They are hoping that the masses will follow the brains. In each case, these custom-built towns seem to be more laboratory than final product, each is trying to look into the future to see what tomorrow`s generation will need. One thing seems clear, the world`s major cities aren`t going anywhere, but these popup cities may very likely show us all how to live better.


AZUZ: When my producer said today`s "Before We Go" segment was otters playing a keyboard, I knew we had won. Look at this, it`s otters playing the keyboard. Someone at the National Zoo thought it`d be awesome to let otters play a keyboard. They were right. These are Asian small-clawed otters, they are participating in the Zoo program that`s supposed to help animals get creative and stimulate their senses of sight, touch and hearing. Some probably thought that was otter than swimming, maybe they thought the keyboard otherworldly. But even if they thought they ought to stay away, none tried to weasel his way out of it. These creatures are always in the something or otter. I`m Carl Azuz. And we`ll have an otter edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS on Friday.