Return to Transcripts main page

CNN 10

Prisoner Swaps in America; Young Americans Pessimistic about American Dream; Carlsbad Desalination Plant Will Help Provide California with Water

Aired June 05, 2014 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: It`s great to have you watching CNN STUDENT NEWS. This is our second to last show of the school year. I`m Carl Azuz. And I`m glad to bring it to you.

We`ve covered a lot of back and forth this week surrounding a controversial prisoner exchange. In order to bring home Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the last American captive from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama administration okayed the release of five high ranking members of the Taliban. Afghanistan`s former rulers who have ties to terrorists. A new video from the Taliban shows the moments when Sergeant Bergdahl was released. He`s taken from a truck, walked over to U.S. Special Forces who were seeing shaking hands with Taliban members, and put aboard a Black Hawk helicopter. A U.S. senator says this video will likely be used as propaganda by the Taliban. That group has called this exchange a big victory. The Obama administration, which has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans over the exchange says it needed to act fast, because Bergdahl`s health was in jeopardy. As debate over that continues, Randi Kaye looks into the history of prisoner exchanges.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prisoner swaps in America are as old as the country itself. Think back to the American Revolutionary War when President George Washington exchanged enemy prisoners for Americans. This letter from the National Archives written by Washington himself lays out the terms of one such exchange.

President Madison swapped prisoners, too, during the war of 1812, trading the enemy for American military personnel. Abraham Lincoln also traded enemy fighters for American soldiers.

Fast forward to 1962 when Francis Gary Powers, an American U2 pilot was released by Russia in exchange for a convicted Soviet spy named Rudolph Abel. Powers plane was downed in 1960 during a reconnaissance flight over Moscow. The two were exchanged in the middle of a bridge between East Germany and West Germany. Powers family was informed just five minutes before the White House announced it.

In March, 1991 at the end of the First Gulf war, Iraq accepted the terms of cease-fire. That led to an exchange of POWs including 35 Americans, which were freed in center Riyadh. As many as 20 prisoners from allied forces were handed over, too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone on is a hero (ph). They look happy to be home, happy to be in freedom.


KAYE: But what about an ongoing conflict, when the U.S. soldier is being held by a designated terrorist organization? On that score, there does not seem to be any precedent. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


AZUZ: Welcome to the "Roll Call." Look up in the sky, it`s a bird, it`s a plane. It`s Golden Eagles, the Ferndale High School Golden Eagles are watching. They are parched in Washington State. Over in Belle Plaine, Minnesota we see some tigers on the prow. Hello to Belle Plaine Junior High. And in the peach state, in the city of Griffin, Georgia, it`s the mustangs of Rehoboth Road Middle School rounding up today`s roll.

It`s happened before, a hail storm struck the woodhouse auto family, a car dealership outside of Omaha, Nebraska and people from all over called up looking for discounts. The hail that hit this week was the size of baseballs. It dropped on 4300 vehicles. Company officials estimate the damage it caused at $162 million. Police say 20 people in the area were taken to the hospital with injuries. The line of severe storms that hit the nation`s heartland brought at least 12 reports of possible tornadoes. Trees are down, powers knocked out, and flooding stranded some folks in Nebraska. Severe weather was headed east last night, storms are expected in the Mid-Atlantic States today.

It`s been five years since the great recession officially ended. This was the economic downturn that hit between 2007 and 2009, but it`s still having effects on people. CNN Money says the recovery of U.S. jobs has been the slowest ever. More Americans are using food stamps than ever. Wages are rising, but barely. Is this all taking a toll on the American dream?


ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The American dream is this national ideal, the goal of prosperity and success. But in CNN Money`s American dream poll, 59 percent of people say regardless of how you define it, it`s not achievable. Young adults are the most pessimistic, they`ve had a hard time finding good jobs as the country recovers from the recession, and there are already concerns about the next generation, too. 63 percent of Americans say that most children in the U.S. will not be better off than their parents. The problem is that while most people are managing to tread water, that`s not translating into solid financial security. But not everybody is onboard with these findings. The Brooking Center says the American dream isn`t dead and that this negative perceptions are necessarily supported by facts since two major studies early this year show that the ability to climb the economic ladder hasn`t changed significantly over time. I`m Alison Kosik in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shoutout." Where would you find the line "Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink?" You know what to do. Is it "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "Moby Dick", "The Old Man and the Sea," or Seabiscuit? You`ve got three seconds, go!

Coleridge`s "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," has this line about being surrounded by seawater, none of it drinkable. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: Of course, those sailors had only been able to desalinate that water, to take the salt out of it, then they could have drunk it. The basic process of converting seawater to drinking water is ancient, but doing this on a large scale is difficult and expensive. And the fact that more than 70 percent of earth is covered by ocean inspires scientists to keep on trying.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With California experiencing one of the worst droughts in the state`s history, access to fresh water has never been more important or more difficult.

Here in Southern California the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere is being constructed. It will soon take water from the ocean and create 50 million gallons of fresh water a day.

BOB YAMADA, SAN DIEGO COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY: California is in a serious drought right now, and any new water supplies are important to the region.

PETER MACLAGGAN, POSEIDON RESOURCES CORPORATION: We have a $190 billion economy in this region. It`s dependent on water. The question you need to consider is what`s the cost of not having enough water.

YAMADA: Unlike, let`s say, water that comes from rainfall or water that comes from snowpack, we are utilizing what essentially is the world`s largest reservoir, the Pacific Ocean.

CRANE: The Carlsbad desalination plant will cost approximately $1 billion. The fresh water will be pumped ten miles underground to a regional delivery system. Providing water to an additional 300,000 San Diego County residents.

(on camera): Customers, they won`t know whether they are drinking desalinated water or not.

YAMADA: That`s right. That`s right. It will just become part of the overall supply.

CRANE (voice over): Through a process called reverse osmosis, the plant will convert every two gallons of seawater into one gallon of fresh water, filtering out 99.9 percent of the salt. The salt, or brine that`s removed is discharged back into the ocean. The desalination process traditionally takes a lot of energy. A plant this size would normally use as much energy in a single day as 70 homes in a year. Officials at the Carlsbad plant say theirs will use 46 percent less energy.

The project is not without criticism. Environmentalists point out that desalination requires a lot of energy, and that brine discharge can negatively impact marine life.

MACLAGGAN: We are creating more marine (INAUDIBLE) in the south in the San Diego Bay to create new habitats where fish can reproduce there. To the respect of the brine discharge, we dilute the brine with seawater before (INAUDIBLE).

CRANE: The plant is expected to be competed in 2016.

YAMADA: And everybody is extremely excited to see this project coming on line and providing us with new water supplies.


AZUZ: Before we go, many of you probably felt like this this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wake up, Thor. You have to get up, Thor. You have to get up -you cannot lay down all day. You got ..


AZUZ: That`s all for the Great Dane wants to do. He`s dog tired. To the puppy`s credit, this video was taken at 3:30 in the morning with his owners have to get up to open their bagel shop, but no matter what they say, or what they do, Thor just wouldn`t Dane to get out of bed. He finds just the thought of it alarming, or he probably dreams of activities like snorkeling or sleepwalking, but if you ask him to live all that in his wake, he`ll probably just choose to sleep on it.

I`m Carl Azuz, a lash of the school year is tomorrow. We hope you are up for it.